Source of Ancient Indian History: The Indian History Literary sources of many difficulties have to be faced in writing the history of ancient India, because the significance of the accounts of physical events has not been identified separately in the sources of our history.
|Source of Ancient Indian History|
Sources and Function of Ancient Indian History
The literature of ancient India : consists of many subjects such as narrative, theology, economics and genealogy. The Indian outlook has always been spiritual. Yet we have sufficient means to know history. We have the largest literature in the world which is our cultural heritage. In later times many of our literary material was destroyed by the invaders.
There is so much of the content of Indian history that there is no lack of projections, counter-arguments and exaggerations in that immeasurable material-ocean. By making them the foundation of history and the means of knowing history, anyone can explore throughout life. Some of the poetic, but realistically, written materials of ancient times can be met with immeasurable Indus and historical events. Every place in the sea does not have beads, and not all are valuable. Similarly, ancient history is contained in the ancient Indian texts. The works of ancient Indian artists are also no less, so that our ancient history can be understood. Excellent examples of sculpture, painting, building construction and other fine arts still remind us of our ancient civilization and culture in our destiny.
There are only two instruments of the history of any country :- first the works of litterateurs and second, the works of various artists, the instruments of Indian history can also be divided into these two parts -
1. Literary :-The literary material is divided for convenience as follows-
- Religious literature
- Secular literature
1. Religious literature : It is also of two types -
a. Brahmin texts
b. Abrahamic texts (Buddhist and Jain texts)
The Brahmin texts are also divided into two parts, 1. Shruti and 2. Smriti. The four Vedas, Brahmins and Upanishads are counted under Shruti and two epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Purana and Smriti are included in the memory.
- Foreign statement
- Biographies and
- Imaginary and fiction literature (pure literature)
- Literary material
1. Veda :
The Vedas are the oldest texts of the Aryans. Due to antiquity and greatness, they are considered to be God-given rather than human. The Vedas are four - Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. The utility of the four Vedas is partially desirable in history-exploration, but the Rigveda, which is the oldest, has proved more beneficial in this subject. In the ancient times, how and how far Arya was able to spread in India, the description of his struggles with the Anyaas, the praise of Saptasindhu etc. comes from Rigveda itself. In the absence of this initial text, it would have been difficult to get a clear knowledge of the expansion of Aryans.
2. Brahmin :
The prose commentaries of Vedic mantras and samhitas are called Brahmins. Ancient Brahmin Aitareya, Panchvinsh, Shatapatha, Taittariya etc. are especially important. It is only by studying Aitareya that one gets knowledge of the coronation and the names of some ancient anointed kings. Their information can be made historical with the help of other materials. Similarly, Shatpath sheds light on the Gandhara, Shalya and Kekya etc. of the northwest of India and Kuru, Panchal, Kaushal and Videha in the oriental country. The knowledge of the well-known Aryan king Parikshit and much later Indian history becomes very clear by the Brahmins.
3. Upanishads :
Among the Upanishads, Vrihadaranyaka, Chandogyadi are more ancient. These texts can be helped to know the history of pre-Bimbisara. Parikshit, his son Janamejaya and later kings are mentioned from the Upanishads, from which it can be accepted that they must have been composed some time after Parikshit and before Bimbisara. In fact, the history of Parikshit to Bimbisara can be given some thought from the combined study of Brahmins and Upanishads. Keeping in view the philosophicality of the Upanishads, it can be said from the claim that the philosophy of the ancient Aryans extended beyond the philosophy of other civilized countries. The complete knowledge of the spiritual development of the ancient Aryans comes from the Upanishads. These are the living examples of the religious state of ancient times, thinking and moral development. These make the greatness of Vedas and Brahmins more powerful.
For Vedic studies, branches of specific disciplines were born which are known as Vedang. The six Vedangas are mentioned in the Mundaka Upanishadak - 1.education, 2.kalpa, 3.grammar, 4.nirukta, 5.chhandashastra and 6.astrology. The Vedic text was made simple and comprehensible from the six branches of Vedang. Later on, there were some changes in the reading and reading of these subjects and thus their separate class was established under Vedic branches. The formulas were formed in the form of text books of these sections. The Kalpasutras were divided into four parts. The sources related to Mahayagna, the Shrutasutra, the Sutras which throw light on house-rites, the Dharmasutra and the Yajna and Havan Kunda, respectively, the altar and measure etc.
5. Epic (Mahakavya):
After Vedic literature, two pillars of Indian literature are the manifestation of Ramayana and Mahabharata. In fact, they hold a high place in the entire religious literature. These epics can only be given much credit for bringing Indian history to greater light. Mahakavi Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, has made the political, social and religious status of the then India comprehensible by writing the life-character of Maryada-Purushottam Ram.
The second epic is the Mahabharata. The creator of the original Mahabharata is considered Vyas Muni. There are three versions of Mahabharata, Jai, Bharat and Mahabharata. The present form of Mahabharata can be considered as a repository of ancient history stories, stories and teachings. The Mahabharata sheds considerable light on the social and religious situation of ancient India. Some details of the political situation are also given in it, but unfortunately there is a complete lack of history according to the date. The inclusion of some fictional stories also presents difficulty in the exploration of historical facts.
The Puranas have their place after the epics. The number of Puranas is 18. The creation of the Puranas has been attributed to Sutlomahdrasha or his son (Sauti) Ugrashravas or Ugrashravas. Under Puranas, the description of five subjects is generally-
- Canto (adi sristi)
- Resonance (reoccurrence after the Holocaust),
- Dynasty (lineage of gods and sages),
- Manvantara (Mahayuga of Kalpas, in which the best manu of man is considered),
- Hereditary (Chronicles of Ancient Royal Clans).
Despite the above five themes of Puranas, eighteen Puranas do not find the case of hereditary. This is unfortunate, because in the Puranas, which is a more important subject from the historical point of view, it is hereditary. Hereditary is found only in Bhavishya, Matsya, Vayu, Vishnu, Brahmand and Bhagavata Puranas. The Garud Purana also gives the table of the Paurava, Ikshvaku and Bahadratha dynasties, but their date is completely uncertain.
The Puranas present abundant material of history. They introduce many important events related to history from ancient times to the Gupta period, for which we have to resort to other evidence for authenticity. Historians have been completely dissatisfied with the Puranas that they are not date-based, as well as the inclusion of fictional events, stories and fictions have been made in these Puranas.
7. Memories (Smritiya) :
Memoirs also have special significance from the point of view of historical utility in Brahmin texts. The statutes of Manu, Vishnu, Yajnavalkya, Narada, Vrihaspati, Parashar etc. are particularly notable. It is known as theology. In all the memories, generally the subjects of Varnashrama Dharma, King's duty and Shraddha and Atonement etc. have been highlighted. Thus, as much as it is written in these memories only on social and religious subjects, it is probably not in any other book.
8. Abrahamic book :
The purpose of the literature created by the followers of Gautama Buddha, is purely religious and historical. The contents of Indian history have a lot of inherent in it. The Tripitaka is more important in Buddhist texts. Sutta, Vinay and Abhidhamma together are called Tripitaka. The Sutta has five bodies, long, majjhim, samyukta, angush and khudka. All these bodies have Buddhist principles and stories. Theories have a lot of historical importance, because they give a lot of yoga in the study of Buddhist philosophy. The stories also chronicle the then social stage. Patimokkh, Mahabagga, Chullavagg, Sutvibhang and Parivar describe the rules of monks. The above five texts are under Vinay. Abhidhamma has seven collections. It is discussed in philosophy. These texts have great importance in the study of Buddhism and the social and religious conditions of the time.
Buddhist texts: The greatest feature of the Tripitakas is that they present a complete description of the organization of Buddhist associations. At the same time, we also make sense of the political situation of the day.
- Jataka - Jataka is second in Buddhist texts. Their number is about 549. Narratives of Lord Buddha's previous birth are stored in the natives. Although his outlook is purely religious; But their studies throw enough light on the social and economic condition of the time. They throw enough light on the cultural and religious fields. Some of the natives also get an idea of the political conditions of pre and Buddha India.
- Deepavans & Mahavans - After Tripitaka and Jatakas, there is a place of two Pali epics called Deepavans and Mahavans. Both these texts prove more helpful in studying the history of the Mauryan Empire, but it is necessary to work with logic and wisdom while accepting their information.
- Milindapanho - This is another Pali text. In this book, there is a conversation between the Greek King Milind or Minander and the Buddhist monk Nagasen. In addition to the social and religious stages of this era, a complete description of the economic state is also obtained from this book. There is a lively depiction of India's foreign trade. Relevant details of the political situation of the time are also found in this book.
The above mentioned Buddhist texts are written in Pali language. Apart from these, the description of Sanskrit texts is-
- Divyavadaan- This book of Sanskrit prose holds its historical significance. Much information is obtained about Ashoka and his successors.
- Manjushree Moolakalpa - This is also a Sanskrit text. In this, the political events up to the pre-Mauryan and Harsha have been mentioned only in between. This book is also very important from the historical point of view.
- Lalit vistar- This sheds light on the life of Mahatma Buddha and the incident: the description of the then religious state and social customs is also obtained
Jain texts : - Like Buddhist texts, Jain texts are also completely religious. Appendix Parvana is particularly important in these texts. Bhadrabahucharitra is the second important Jain text. This book also sheds some light on the life of Jainacharya Bhadrabahu as well as Chandragupta Maurya. In addition to the above mentioned two major texts, many Jain texts like Kathakosh, Punyashrava-Kathakosh, Public Department, Trilok-Prajnapti, Essential Sutras, Bhagavati Sutras, Kalikapuran etc. present the contents of Indian history. There are also some texts in Jain literature, which have not been published or translated into other languages, from which many historical materials have not been obtained; However, the usefulness of whatever material can be obtained from the Kalpasutras is indisputable.
There are five types of secular literature -
- Foreign statement
- Biographies and
- Kalpana-Pradhan and Fiction-Literature (Pure Literature).
1. Historical book :
Under this, apart from the description of kings and their successors, governance and other political situations, economic and social conditions also come. The actual meaning of the word historical is taken here, it means kings and their governance. The texts that throw light on these have been given this noun.
- Rajatarangini - Kalhan's Rajatarangini is one such book of ancient Indian literature, which can be called historical in the true sense. It was composed in 1149–50 AD. The purpose of Kalhana was to discuss facts with raga-malice-exchange. The author's approach to Rajatarangini was purely historical. He has written a complete history of Kashmir (from time immemorial). It was only after studying various texts that Kalhan composed his book. Although this book contains some fictional stories, the Kashmiri history described in this book after the seventh century AD can be fully believed.
- Gujarati historian- Like Kashmir, the practice of making the praise of his heroes and their memories new was prevalent in Gujarat. Many poets and writers made successful efforts in this direction. The name of Someshwar can be specifically taken from them. His two books Rasmala and Kirti-Kaumudi throw considerable light on some aspects of Gujarati history. The history of Gujarat can be seen by the study of Ari Singh's Sukriti-Sankirtan, Rajasekhar's Prabandhan Kosh, Jai Singh's Hammir-Mad-Mardan and Vastupal-Tejpal-Prasasti. Meerutung's Prabandha-Chintamani, Udayaprabha's Sukritikirti-Kallolini and Balachandra's Vasantvilas are also such texts, from which the history of Gujarat is highlighted. The purpose of all these texts and authors has been praise and praise, but there is also no lack of historical facts in them. The historical depiction of the historical activity of Gujarat under the Chalukya dynasty is available to us only from the above texts.
- Kautilya's Arthashastra- Kautilya's Arthashastra also has a very important place in history books. In this book, there is a detailed discussion of the governance system, political system, social and economic life of Mauryan India. Thus, BC For the history of the fourth century, this book helps well.
- Shukranitisar - From the historical point of view this book also has its own utility. Its study gives a complete understanding of the erstwhile Indian society, its thinking and its tendency. Knowledge of certain facts related to politics (which does not belong to any particular king), we get from this type of ethics.
- Kamandaki Niti-sarra - Around the seventh-eighth century AD, Kamandaka collected several theories of Kautilya's Arthashastra in his book Nitisara and also composed some original terms. According to the economic policy also became prevalent like economics and many Sanskrit commentators and writers also cited it. Although Kautilya's Arthashastra does not have much importance in relation to the practical policy, the revenue principles of that era, the king's duties and other social customs (which were related to the interests of the state and the state) become more clear than the practical policy.
- External economics - At least twenty texts were composed in the tradition of economics, but they either ended in the flow of time, or were extinct in the greatness of a giant text. Only one more Arthashastra is obtained after Kautilya's Arthashastra. Which is known by the name of bourgeois economics. From the point of view of the usefulness of the subject, this book has also been placed in the category of historical text. There is no authentic evidence regarding its date of creation. It is estimated that some parts of it were composed in the ninth and tenth centuries AD.
2. Semi-historical :
The texts mentioned in this class are; It would be necessary to say about them that the purpose of their authors, although not historical, but the path followed by the authorship, is parallel to history. Therefore, the reflection of historical events is seen in these texts. Among these semi-historical texts, Ashtadhyayi of Panini, Margamshita, Mahabhashya of Patanjali, Malavikagnimitram of Kalidasa and Mudrarakshasa of Visakhadatta are of special importance.
- Ashtadhyayi of Panini - Although it is a grammar book, it sheds considerable light on the pre-Mauryan and Mauryan political situation. Some grammar have been mentioned in this book, which also makes it clear that some other grammar-texts of Sanskrit were composed even before this.
- Margamshita - This is a part of Purana. Yavana-invasions are mentioned in it. From this book (with some other evidences) we know about the invasion of India on or around the first century.
- Patanjali's Mahabhashya - Although Patanjali created Mahabhashya with the intention of resolving Panini's Ashtadhyayi's disputed theories and some unobtrusive rules, but interesting: the examples and explanations that are used as examples provide abundant material. is.
- Malavikagnimitram - This is probably the first play of Mahakavi Kalidasa. Despite being of purely literary interest, this historical drama can be placed in the category of semi-historical texts. This play gives a sense of the contemporary political situation of the Sunga dynasty and its predecessors. This is a mirror of the internal life of the princes.
- Mudrarakshas -Visakhadatta - This play, while taking the shelter of imagination, achieves the fullness of its literacy, but by mentioning Chandragupta Maurya, his minister Chanakya and some erstwhile kings, it adds a lot to solving history. Probably the first detective drama of Sanskrit literature.
3. Foreign statement :
Apart from Indian material, some indigenous material of our history is also obtained, which gives an understanding of many important facts related to history. These materials are obtained from the works of enthusiastic travelers, devout and traveling students and foreign historians and hence they are called foreign descriptions. Importance of foreign details is well accepted in studying Indian history in chronological order. In fact, these are the foreign details that fill the shortage of Indian materials. Where Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts become silent, only these foreign accounts can give some light to the historian.
Regarding foreign details, one thing is notable in the beginning that they have some limitations. Greek, Roman, Chinese, Tibetan etc. were often unfamiliar with Indian tradition. Many of them had no knowledge of our language. In such a situation, some illusions are inherent in their writings or descriptions. Terius can give a table of bizarre customs, every temple to Fahyan and Hieun Tsang could see a Buddhist-vihara. But, despite these limitations, we cannot reduce the importance of descriptions of foreigners. While referring to the instruments of Indian history, we give more importance to foreign details, because some of them have also come as ambassadors, which are often responsible tasks. The passion and enthusiasm of independent tourists has also been commendable.
Greek - Greek descriptions have been conveniently divided into three classes - 1. Pre-Alexander, 2. Alexander-Carpet and 3. After Alexander
1. Alexander's pre-writer - Among the Greek writers of Alexander's past, Sky Lax, Hiketius Miletus, Herodotus and Cassius are notable. Sky Lax was a Greek soldier who came to India to explore the Indus River as ordered by the Persian Emperor. He prepared the details of his journey, but his information was limited exclusively to the Indus Valley. The second author of this tradition was Hiketius Miletus (549–496 BC). Its knowledge was also limited to Indus Valley. The sacred place among the authors of this tradition is that of Herodotus (484–431 BC). He is called the father of history. We get information about India in his famous work Historica. Casius was a Greek monarch. It has also written about India, but in terms of authenticity, most of its material is doubtful. The descriptions of the above mentioned writers before Alexander are not literally true and reliable, but some advantage can be gained by making these details authentic by other scriptures.
2. Alexander-Carpet- In the moments of exploration of the contents of Indian history, the memory of Alexander comes. Along with Alexander, there were some enthusiastic people who wrote the script of his trip. Among these authors, Aristobulus, Niarchus, Chars, Eumenes, etc. are famous. These authors have given a lively depiction of Alexander's invasion. Although their texts are not available in original form, their later authors produce enough historical material from the texts they wrote about their texts. From this point of view, the importance of the above authors is more.
3. After Alexander - After Alexander returned from India, many Greek writers came to India as ambassadors or travelers. Some writers composed the book on the basis of Alexander's followers, from which rich material of Indian history is obtained. Among these authors, the names of Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy, Dymacus, Diodarus, Plutarch, Arrian, Cartius, Justin, Strebo, etc. are particularly notable.
- Megasthenes- came to the court of Chandragupta Maurya as ambassador of the Greek ruler Seleucus. Megasthenes returned to stay in Pataliputra for a few days (possibly for 6 years). He has written a lot about the social and political situation of India at that time. Although its original book is not available, its citations are found in other texts, which provide sufficient historical material. With the help of Megasthenes book Indica, some Greek and Rome writers have described India.
- Dymekus - The second person as Ambassador came to Dymekus India. It came from the Syrian court and stayed for a few days in Bindusara's court. Similarly, Dionysius also came to India as ambassador. There is no trace of the original texts of both the above mentioned authors. Yes, his later writers have mentioned his name and also used his description in his texts, on the basis of which some can be known. Other Greek writers can only be named, because their description has no special historical significance. The traveler who reached the corner of India has depicted the whole of India on that basis.
- Tolemy- is the second author, whose name is particularly notable from a historical point of view. Around the second century AD, he wrote a book related to the geography of India. Ptolemy's approach was purely scientific, so there is more truth in its description. Although the exact idea of the geography and map of India did not come in the mind of Ptolemy, his effort cannot be considered a complete failure. Pliny can be named after Ptolemy. Its book Natural History is also very important in this field. Pliny mentioned the animals, plants and minerals of India.
Chinese- Indian Buddhism reached China in about the first century AD, then a special interest arose in the heart of the Chinese people towards India. Chinese travelers became elated to discover religious facts and obtain knowledge related to it. He also believed firmly that the holy birthplace of Gautam Buddha would be definitely worth visiting and a treasure trove of spirituality. Faced with these aspirations, the Chinese came to India and wrote a complete account of their journey. Chinese literature gets an introduction to a long era of Indian history. Though the viewpoint of the travelers was purely religious and they used to see anything from this point of view, however, from their descriptions, rich material of history is obtained.
The first historian of China, Shumashin, lived around the first century BC. Wrote a history book. This book by Shumashin throws a lot of light on ancient India. Before Shumashin, no other Chinese writer had highlighted any subject related to India. The Chinese people who can be named specifically in this regard are the three travelers Fahyan, Hieun Tsang and Etsing.
- Fahyan-came to India in 399 AD, suffering the hardships of traveling. For about 15-16 years, he lived in the religion-curious India and learned the facts related to Buddhism. At that time, India was ruled by Chandragupta Vikramaditya. He wrote a complete account of the governance and social status of the Gangavarti provinces. The book of Fahyan is still attainable in its original form. Apart from religious matters, he was often indifferent to secular subjects, which makes his description seem incomplete. But what Fahyan has written about Buddhism is sufficient. Fahyan provides us with sufficient material regarding Buddhist principles, conventions, rules and its progress.
- Xuanzang (hensang)- occupies a higher place among Chinese travelers. It came to India in about 629 AD. At that time Harshavardhana was the emperor of India. Hiuen Tsang was a very curious and enthusiastic person. He spent sixteen years of his life visiting the monasteries, viharas, pilgrimages and universities of India. Hiuen Tsang toured almost the whole of India, except in southern India. He also attended Raj Sabhas. It created a book called Desh of Western World. A lot of introduction to the political and social state of Harshavardhana's reign is found in the book of Hieun Tsang. It has described the religious situation very clearly. Fahyan and Etsing have not even named the emperors of their time, while Hiuen Tsang has written much about Harshavardhana and other contemporary kings. He gave a brief description of the states through which he ended his journey, as well as Hewensang also threw a special light on the general condition of the whole of India. In the absence of the description of Hieun Tsang, the Indian history of the seventh century AD probably would not have been so much settled - at least for the perception of a happy social and religious situation, we would have had to wander a lot. With other materials, the study of Hieun Tsang with materials proves very useful.
- Etsing-Between 673–95 AD, another Chinese called Etsing traveled to India. It has given a lively depiction of the then religious state of India (especially the state of Buddhism). Although its description is mild to Hiuen Tsang, Fahyan's description is no less useful.
Apart from these three well-known travelers, material from Indian history is also received from some other Chinese writers. Hweli is more famous among those authors. This was a friend of Hiuen Tsang. It wrote a biography of Hieun Tsang, the study of which draws some material from Indian history.
Tibetan - Tibetan writer Lama Taranath's texts Kangyur and Tangyur also have substantial historical material. In fact, it is from Chinese and Tibetan writers that most of the history from the Mauryan period to the times of Shaka, Parthian and Kushan etc. is learned.
4. Biographies :
Biographies are very important in literary materials. If these biographies are called commendatory, then it would not be unfair because their authors have used their writings in praise of their refugee kings. The approach of those authors was purely literary. In fact, for the sake of literature-making, he took shelter of kings as per tradition. He is respected even today for his literary talent. The number of these biographers or commendation singers is many, but only a few of them provide historical material. In a literary book, the showers of similar metaphors, the ornamentation of ornaments and the device of exaggeration are all in these lives. The literacy of these texts hurts their historicity.
- Harsh charitra - From the historical point of view, biography has a very high place. This poetic Sanskrit prose was composed by Sanskrit Gadyacharya Banabhatta in about 620 AD. Baan lived in the court of King Harsha of Kannauj and Thaneshwar. Apart from the delightful arrow, Baan introduced his unique talent to Kadambari in his other book; But Kadambari has no significance in providing historical material. Baan wrote the life-character of his refugee Harsha in his great text, Harshacharit, whose importance is universally accepted from the point of view.
Pure literature :
By pure literature, we mean those literary texts, which the authors have created from the point of view of art. Subject to self-satisfaction or some other inspiration, books of this category were composed. With these texts, a part of history - civilization and culture - is illuminated. Pure literary texts give us a sense of the prevalent language, literature, popular interest of the people of their time or social status in a nutshell. Three of Harsha's plays - Naganand, Ratnavali and Priyadarshika are particularly notable in these texts. These plays throw some light on seventh-century India. Some of Kalidasa's plays can also be counted in books of this category. In the seventh-eighth century after Buddhist natives there was again a flood in the creation of the Kathagranthas. In these texts, Vaishali Brihatkatha of Gunadhya (which has disappeared, but has been mentioned by many authors), Buddha Swami's Brihatkatha, Kshemendra's Brihatkha Manjari and Somdev's Kathasritasagar are particularly notable.
2. Archaeological material :
Like literary material, archaeological material also has equal importance to know history.
Records - Regarding the usefulness of the records, it would be necessary to say that where every type of instrument is relaxed, some history can be known only from these records. As much light on the political condition of ancient India can come from these records, not from any other literary or archaeological material. The history of ancient India, what those ancient people have written on rocks, copper sheets and other metals, is indelible. Like literary material, it usually cannot contain projections. The period of records is also clear from the linguistics. Some inscriptions have been very helpful in keeping the historical series established.
Unfortunately no previous records of Ashoka are found. The records begin from the time of Ashoka. Since Ashoka there is a multiplicity of records all over India. Apart from this, there are some foreign records from which the material of the history of ancient India can be obtained. The Indian inscriptions are also divided into two parts, the Ashoka period and the later of Ashoka. The Ashoka period inscription refers to the inscriptions produced by the emperor Ashoka himself, and all the state and other inscriptions in Ashoka's Parvatin inscriptions, which were built by the later emperors and during his period.
It is necessary to first throw light on the records of Ashoka, because he himself is a class. When Ashoka became great after Kalinga-Vijay, he decided to lay down the fundamental principles of humanity for his spiritual victory. With the intention of freeing the people from all kinds of sufferings, bringing him on a beautiful path and establishing a close relationship between the king and the subjects, Ashoka laid a net of pillars and inscriptions in every corner of his entire kingdom. Ashoka engraved his edicts and proclamations on the pillars and rocks. He did this only to bring the common people from darkness to light. Whatever the purpose of Ashoka, these records are more valuable to the student of history. These records throw a lot of light on Ashoka's civilization and culture. Ashoka himself is an important part of Indian history and to know its complete history, we have to take recourse to its records. Therefore, the usefulness of these records is undisputed in this subject. Such records are not found in world history.
In publishing the history of ancient India, the records of Ashoka period and after Ashoka are particularly notable. So far, more than 1500 different types of records have been found before the Gupta period. They all have some usefulness in some subject, but it is impossible to mention those numerous records.
- In the post-Ashoka records, which can be called royal, some commendations are of particular importance. In their absence, we would not have been able to realize even the light pillar of Indian history.This commendation is engraved under the Ashoka-pillar in praise of Samudragupta, which is nowadays in the fort of Prayag (Allahabad). The material which throws full light on the Digvijis of the great emperor Samudragupta of the Gupta-dynasty and its personal qualities is none other than this commendation. Probably due to lack of this commendation, we could not know the importance of Samudragupta. Some other records have to be resorted to in knowing the history of Gupta-dynasty.
A number of Gupta-related records have been received regarding the grant of grants, which are related to almost all important Gupta-kings. We can definitely say the number of seals and currency inscriptions is very heavy, so numerous. The history of Chandragupta-II, Kumar Gupta, Skandagupta, etc. has been published more from these records, like Samudragupta from Prayag-Prasasti. These records have a huge hand in the creation of the lineage of the Guptas. It is only due to grant letters, seals and currency inscriptions that a dark outline of the dark history of the Guptas can also be presented - where other evidences were either muted or presenting misleading details.