Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain was one of the most prominent and real king who lived in the 1st century BCE (57 BCE) . He was the one who defeated Saka and saved India from being invaded.
Vikramaditya was the most controversial king of the history whose existence was denied multiple times . Some historians used to call him as a myth but the evidences which were collected speak much louder than the lies spread.
There are plenty of evidence which indicate about the existence of the great Vikramaditya in the first century BCE (57 BCE) . He was the one who ruled not just India but whole Asia and countries of middle -east . His era was also known as the “ krta era “
The major source of Vikramaditya’s history came from Buddhist and Jainism Jataka. According to Jain sources, Vikramaditya was a descendant of Gardhabhill.
The complete evidence of the existence of Vikaramaditya is mentioned later in the article which will stand with the historians who used to call him the real .
King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who lived in the first century BCE (57 BCE) was an exceptional king ever walked on the planet Earth after whom the Vikram Era started .
He is widely famous in India for his mastery over the powerful betaal. His story with betaal fascinate all kinds of people.
King Vikramaditya was courageous , wise, devoted to God, self-less, generous and fearless in dealing with his enemies. He was greatly devoted to Saivism.
His name is always misleaded by the other name as “Chandragupta II ” of Gupta Dynasty who ruled northern India in 4th century .
|Ujjain ( avanti)
|Mahendraditya and Saumyadarshan
|57 BCE – 3 AD
|Defeating Saka and ruling all over India
Vikramaditya was famous for his ruling all over India from 57 BCE – 3 AD after defeating saka and starting Vikram samvat era during his period . He is also famous for his name already mentioned in various Puranas like Bhavishya Purana and Skanda purana which were written thousands of years ago .
Ujjain was the capital of Avanti during the period of Vikramaditya .
He was entitled with the names Shashanka , Vishamsila , Sakari , Sakantaka , Raja , Nrpati , Deva . The Sakari name was the most popular among the Malava republic ( People of Ujjain ). Sakari represents one who has imposed victory on saka .
He was considered to be the father of fatherless , friend of friendless and protector of all unprotected among his subjects .
Vikramaditya’s courageous tales frightened some of the historians or scholars in such a way that they started to outcast Vikramaditya as a real figure. They started to fabricate a myth in such a threatening way that anyone who tried to present the fact embedded in history , were labelled as insane and demented .
The first attempt to call him a myth was begun by some European orientalists of the 19th century . Then later on , it was adopted by some Indic historians impulsively.
There were many eras started in the past like the Kali-samvat , Maurya era ,Saka era, Gupta Era , Buddha era , Mahavira era , chedi era etc. But Vikram era raised to the top and talks about its greatest vitality of survival. Even after introducing Christian era , people of India never forget to use the Vikram era.
There are long list of great Indian kings who adopted the name Vikramaditya . The first name which started was Samudragupta . Then other names are Chandragupta II , Kumargupta , Skandagupta, Vikram chola.
In Bhavishya Purana , his name is mentioned twice.In Skanda Purana, it is said that after completing the 3000 years of kaliyuga , Vikramaditya will take birth and liberate the Kingdom from the barbarism of foreign invaders.
The most earliest literary tradition which talks about the great emperor king Vikramaditya is “Gathasaptasati” . It was composed by Hala Satavahana who was then the Andhra king Pratishthana .
Somdeva also refers to the life story of King Vikramaditya in several sections of his book. Another literary work “ brhatkatha” of Gunadhya written in Paisachi Prakrta also widely talks about the life of Vikramaditya. this work of him flourished in first century AD.
Other legendary works which throw light on the life of Vikramaditya are Simhashana Dvatrimsaka , Vetalapancha-avimsati and Suka-Saptasati.
Who was King Vikramaditya
He was the son of King Gandharvsena and Saumyadarsana . Vikramaditya was the one who not just ruled India but also entire middle east , many parts of china and some countries of Asia from 57 BCE- 3 AD . Gandharvsena was known as Gardabhilla according to Jain accounts .Another popular name of him was Mahendraditya. The queen was also favoured as Viramati .
Mahendraditya left his kingship and started to wander in the forest for ascetic life, When Vikramaditya was in his early age .
His education started at the time of his upanayana ( Initiating ceremony). He was very quick and fast in picking up the vast knowledge in a very short period of time . He absorbed different kinds of knowledge to the highest degree of excellence.
From childhood , he started to fight with heavenly weapons which were then beyond anyone’s reach .This was the most noticeable act of his life and this action of him gave a relief to the people of his kingdom that he would be the one who will liberate them from foreign invader’s mischievous and barbaric act .
He received education in the field of Arts of peace and war. Kalidasa in “Svayamvara of Indumati “ describes the physical appearance of king Vikramaditya. He described him as a strong man with long arms, expansive chest who looks like the sun which is trimmed by Tvashtri by being placed on a turning wheel .
He was married to more than one woman . Some well-known wives of him were Malyavati and Madana lekha .
Story of Vikramaditya
One of the fascinating story of emperor Vikramaditya is mentioned in “ Brihatkatha-manjari” which was a work of Kshemendra .And the story goes like :
When powerful demons , sons of Aditi ,started to spread havoc on the planet earth , Lord Indra and other gods approached Shiva and told him that the Demons who had been killed by him in the past had now again reborn in the form of “mlechchhas” ( saka ) and again started to frighten us. They all requested him to deal with mlechchhas.
After listening to their words, Lord Shiva instructed his gana “ Malayavant “ to eliminate this demon from the planet Earth.
Receiving the order from Lord Shiva , Malayavant incarnated himself as a son of the Ujjaini king ,Mahendraditya. When he grew up, he saved the kingdom from the destruction of mlechchhas or Saka .
War with Sakas
After exilation of King Vikramaditya’s father to the forest , he was the one who took over the leadership of Malava kingdom .When he took over the reign of Malava Kingdom , the Magadha Empire had declined to a weak power under Kanvas .
After the invasion of Saka , the power of bacterian greeks in North West also got weaker. The extreme south, Kalinga and other territories were under the hands of fragile rulers.
There was a dire need of a powerful king who could lead victorious campaigns all over India and freed them from wicked rulers. And Vikramaditya became that ruler who made their dreams into reality.
As Saka had already invaded Saurashtra and Sindh , now his vicious eye was on the kingdom of Malava ( Ujjain ).Vikramaditya had to organise a war against Saka with a very well structured army and also needed a huge finance to work it out .
The first problem arised before him was to raise an efficient Army to fight with sakas. To lead a powerful military , he first divided the whole military into 3 heads and they are
- Fortification of the capital and other strategic position
- Manufacturing and storing of arms weapon
- Recruitment and maintenance of Army
He also got the helping hands from nearby Kingdom to defeat saka :
- Shaktikumara , the king of Gauda
- Jayadhyaja , the king of Karnata
- Vijayavarman from Lata
- Sunadana from Kashmir
- Gopal of Sindh
He had successfully assembled a massive Army with three fold systematic policy
He was motivated by his mother Soumyadarshan and one of his companions named Bhattamatra to wage a war and liberate his kingdom from the brutality of Saka.
He literally possessed the superhuman courage and prominent expertise in the fields of organising the army .The Jain writers showed his greatness with a line “ He shone like a Universal monarch “ .
Finally with his huge compelling army and valiant kings , he began the war and eventually with his great and heroic administrative power , he defeated the Saka and liberated India from foreign inhuman sakas .
The historic defeat of Saka was celebrated as an event . Now , the country had been freed from invaders. After the defeat of Saka, he was adorned with the name Sakari.
This was the time in Indian history an Era was founded and named as “Krta era “ which later on became popular as Vikram Era .
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After an unprecedented victory over Saka , the biggest concern came before him was to secure Saurashtra and Sindh after expelling Saka from Avanti but he managed it very successfully through his threefold systematic policy which were extermination, expulsion and subjugation.
His intention was never to annex the territory to build a unitary Empire but to establish political authority over countless territories for the political unity of the country without harming the life of the people and defeated States Kings.
Conquered territories of king Vikramaditya
Vikramaditya empire had stretched and ruled whole of the Deccan and South , all Western Sea-coast comprising Konkan and Malabar, whole Northern India ,South Eastern Bengal , modern Kashmir, Indian Islands, Kalinga, Berar , entire middle east and whole Asia .
Here providing old names of modern India :
- Dakshinapatha ( whole of the Deccan and South )
- Aparanta (All Western Sea-coast comprising Konkan and Malabar)
- Madhyadesha ( whole of Northern India except Punjab and kathiyawada )
- Saurashtra ( Gujarat, Kutch and kathiyawada)
- Anga ( North esteem of Bihar Comprising Darbhanga,Bhagalpur)
- Vang ( South Eastern Bengal )
- Kashmira ( modern Kashmir)
- Dvipas ( Indian Islands)
- Vidarbha ( berar )
During the reconciliation of territories and war, the prominent king Vikramaditya also used effective weapons of diplomacy. He had taken a longer time in organizing a massive Army to establish his supremacy all over India.
Arts and literature
King Vikramaditya had great inclination towards art and literature .According to book “ Jyotirvidabharana “ , Vikramaditya Court was adorned with nine gems or also widely known as Navratna . They were highly distinguished poets , writers, Physicians, astrologers etc.They were as follow :
- Kalidasa ( a great phenomenal poet and very dear to Vikramaditya)
- Varahamihira ( Greatest astrologer)
- Dhanvantari ( Greatest physician )
- Vararuchi ( Great grammarian )
- Amarasimha ( composed Amarakosha )
- Vetalbhatta ( Famous for super human activities )
An old manuscript of Kalidasa Which throws light on Vikramaditya’s reign and that is “ Abhijnana-sakuntala “.
The land which was then considered to be the basis of economic life, was divided into different types and they are fertile, desert, grassland, Sandy, forest, Barren, parisara( land near mountain)
Fertile land was considered to be the most useful land as this land was capable of producing various crops. These crops are millets, masoor, barley, green barley, wheat, black mustard,arhar, Sesame, rice, beans etc .And these lands were irrigated by different sources like some were irrigated by rain , some by Artificial lakes or dams.
Evidence of king Vikramaditya
According to Jain Harivamsa , King Vikramaditya belonged to a Rasabha or Gardabhilla family .One of the most notable jain , Kalakasuri also narrated the invasion of Saka in India and then talked about reconquest of Ujjain by Vikramaditya and starting of his era.
Another work of Jain literature is “Prabandha sahitya” . There are some more important Jain works which narrate the life and achievements of Vikramaditya.
- The Puratana-prabandha-samgraha
- The Vikram-charitra of Indra Suri
- The Vikram-charitra of Devamurti
- The Vikram-pancha-danda-prabadha of Purna chandra suri
- The Prabandha-kosa of Rajasekhara suri
- The Prabandha-chintamani of Merutunga suri
An archaeologist of India, Carlleyle had discovered a large number of small coins on which it was mentioned “ Malava-ganasya Jayah” which means the victory of Malvas against saka in 57 BCE .
According to book ” Sayar-ul – Okul ” which is found in the library of Istanbul , there was an inscription found inside Kaaba in Mecca which talks about the King Vikramaditya which indicates the existence of him even in the middle east during his period .
Vikramaditya was killed by a potter’s son Salibahana in 1st century. After 78 AD , Saka again tried to invade India and this time in the absence of abled leader, they successfully captured Sindhu, Saurastra and Avanti.
Why is Raja Vikramaditya famous?
Vikramaditya was famous for defeating the Saka and then ruling all over India from 57 BCE – 78 AD . He was the one after whom the vikram samvat started in India .
What was the name of Vikramaditya’s father?
Vikramaditya’s father name was Mahendraditya . He was also known as Gandharvsena . He was the king of Ujjain in 1st century BCE .
Is the Vikramaditya empire real?
Yes . He was real and lived in the 1st century BCE . His reigning period was between 57 BCE – 3 AD . Kalidasa , one of the gems of his court ( Navratna ) , described his appearance and his valiant and courageous act through his “ Abhijnana-sakuntala “.
Is Vikramaditya and Chandragupta 2 same?
No . Both are completely different . Vikramaditya ruled from 57 BCE – 3 AD while Chandragupta II ruled India from 375 – 415 CE. Vikramaditya was the one who defeated Saka .
Which dynasty belongs to Vikramaditya?
According to Jain accounts King Vikramaditya belongs to Rasabha or Garddabhilla tribes .
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