Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History

Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History

Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History: In this chapter we are going to learn about the phase which comes after the Decline of Mauryan Empire where there was a rise in several smaller kingdoms in different parts such as in the Eastern India, Central India and the Deccan. The Mauryas were succeeded by the Sungas, the Kanvas and the Satavahanas. And, in north-western India the Mauryans were succeeded by a number of ruling dynasties from Central Asia.

Sunga Dynasty

Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History

• After Ashoka about five or six rulers of the Mauryan dynasty came to the throne of Patliputra, but they were all weaklings and so the Mauryan Empire gradually deteriorated under them. According Purana, Brihadratha, the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty was assassinated by his own commander-in-chief Pushyamitra Sunga (185-148 B.C.)

• In about 155 B.C. Menander, the Greek ruler of Kabul and the Punjab occupied Mathura and Ayodhya but, according to Patanjali, they were pushed back with heavy losses by Pushyamitra Sunga. The ruler of Vidarbha, Yojnasena was defeated and obliged to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Sunga ruler.

• From the Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharvella, it appears that Pushyamitra suffered a defeat at the hand of that illustrious ruler.

• He fought two wars and won them, conducted two Asvamedha Yajnas. The Yajnas marked the revival of Vedic rituals. Patanjali is said to have officiated as priest in the Aswamedha Sacrifices.

• According to Divya Vadana, Pushyamitra prosecutor of Buddhism and he put a price of one hundred gold Dinaras on the head of every Buddhist Monk. The ninth king Bhagavata was identical with the king Kasiputra Bhagabhadra mentioned in the Besnagar pillar inscription and to whose court, the Greek king Antialkidasof Taxila sent his ambassador Helidorus, son of Dion Diya. He created a Gurudhvaja in the honour of Vasudeva Krishna and called himself a Bhagvata.

• The last Sunga king Devabhumi, who was assassinated by Vasudeva Kanva in 72 B.C. The sway of the Sungas marked the revival of the Hindu culture and the Sanskrit language which had seen a great set-back under Ashoka. They, in fact, set the ground for the advancement of Hinduism under the Guptas.

• The Sungas were great patrons of art. They constructed a large number of Stupas, Viharas, Gateways and Railings, etc. The railings of Bharhut Stupa, one of the Gateways of Sanchi Stupa and the Chaitya Hall at Karle are some of the exquisite examples of art of the Sunga period.

Additionally Sungas were also great patrons of education and literature. The great Sanskrit Grammarian, Patanjali, was them. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata were also given final touches during this period. The famous book on Hindu Law ‘Manusmriti’ was also compiled during this period.

Post-Mauryan Period of Ancient Indian History

Also Read: The Maurya Empire of Ancient Indian History

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