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The Forgotten Maharajadhiraja Samudragupta

Ever wondered who was the ‘king of the kings’ in the true sense? It was Samudragupta, the successor of Chandragupta I. He unified India under his reign using his intellect for political planning.

Expansion Endeavours

Samudragupta is the only ruler who conquered almost all of India through his political influence and well planned military endeavors. In fact, his whole life is a vast military campaign for unifying the Indian subcontinent. He was the greatest king of the Gupta Dynasty. Right after the death of Chandragupta I he commenced his great plan of conquering India. The king did not rest until his empire stretched from the Himalayas to Narmada and from the Brahmaputra to the Yamuna.

His elaborate military plans consisted of three phases. His first campaign was in Aryavarta and Dakshinapatha. The second campaign was in Atavika, the forest kingdoms. These forest kingdoms were impossible to conquer because of the dense population of the fauna. The third phase of the campaign was the setting up of diplomatic relations with the distant foreign land. This strategy was undertaken in order to subdue the north and the south. The neighboring kingdoms were forced to come under the wing of Samudragupta so as to safeguard their kingdoms. These kings formed diplomatic relations with the Gupta Dynasty. They had to pay taxes to the king. However, these kings continued to rule their respective land under Samudragupta.

Life & Personality

The life and personality of Samudragupta was a proud one. He also prides himself on the fact that he was the son of Kumardevi. This pride led him to name himself as Lichchhavi-Dauhitra. We are able to find his self-portraits on the coins. These coins were circulated in the dynasty as currency. Here he is shown to be playing veena which suggests that the conqueror also had an artistic side.

Apart from the military and political works, Samudragupta also appreciated art and culture. He was also a brilliant poet. He also proposed many philosophical ideas. Samudragupta put many great musicians his time to shame. He also attained the title of ‘king of poets’ during his reign, but unfortunately, none of his works survived the thrashes of time. Though the ‘Indian Bonaparte’ a vast land of India, still, there were no signs of conflict, and every citizen lived in peace and humility.

Inscriptions of The Rajadhiraja

Samudragupta was a huge believer in Hinduism and a believer in the Brahminical systems of worship and rituals. However, Buddhism also prospered under his rule. Samudragupta was also a devotee of Vishnu and also established many idols of Vishnu too. The inscriptions on the rock edicts found in Kausambi account for the historic facts.

Here the inscriptions detail the conquests of Samudragupta. It is shown that Samudragupta had a charming body that was covered in the beautiful marks of battle. These marks are due to the blows of arrows, axes, spears, spikes, and swords. This was written by Harisena who was a prominent poet in Gupta Dynasty.

Samudragupta is undoubtedly one of the greatest monarchs of Indian History. As a soldier, a warrior and conqueror, a king, an administrator, and a patron of culture. HE stands eminent among the rulers of India. In a true sense, India was in her ‘Swarn Yug’ under his leadership. But, unfortunately, we have forgotten this Maharajadhiraja.