The Ashokavadana is an Indian Sanskrit-language text that describes the birth and reign of the Maurya Emperor Ashoka. It contains legends as well as historical narratives, glorifies Ashoka as a Buddhist emperor whose only ambition was to spread Buddhism far and wide. Ashokavadana is one of the avadana texts contained in the Divyavadana, an anthology of several Buddhist legends and narratives. According to Jean Przyluski, the text was composed by the Buddhist monks of the Mathura region, as it praises the city of Mathura, its monasteries and its monks. Known as Ashokarajavadana, it was translated into Chinese by Fa-ch’in in 300 CE as A-yu wang chuan, as A-yu wang ching by Sanghapala in 512 CE, it was translated into French by Jean Przyluski in 1923, in English by John S. Strong in 1983. Annotated sections of the Ashokavadana are part of Rajendralala Mitra's "The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal". Mitra extensively uses the translation made by M. E. Burnouff. There are several versions of Ashokavadana, dating from 5th century CE to 16th century CE.
According to Simon Coleman and John Elsner, the earliest finished form of the text dates back to 2nd century CE, although its oral origins may go back to 2nd century BCE. The text begins with the stories about the Buddhist monk Upagupta, described as the spiritual teacher of Ashoka, it first describes his birth and his youth in Mathura. It goes on to given an account of his encounters with a courtesan named Vasavadatta and his ordination as a monk. Ashokavadana further tells of his conversion of Mara. One of the legends in the text describes an incident the previous birth of Ashoka, when he was named Jaya, it states that Jaya met Gautama Buddha as a young boy, gave him a bowl of dirt, dreaming that the dirt is food. The Buddha predicted that several years after his parinirvana, the boy would be born as a chakravarti king ruling from Pataliputra; the Ashokavadana states. Ashoka killed his step-brother and the legitimate heir by tricking him into entering a pit with live coals, became the king, he became notorious for his bad temper, had 500 of his ministers killed because he believed that they were not loyal enough.
He had the women in his harem burnt to death when some of them insulted him. He built an elaborate torture chamber, termed as the "hell on earth" or Ashoka's Hell. Once he encountered a Buddhist monk, not troubled by any of the sufferings. Impressed by the monk, Ashoka became a pious man and built 84,000 stupas. Like other Buddhist legends, the text intends to dramatize the change resulting from the Ashoka's conversion, therefore, exaggerates Ashoka's past wickedness and his piousness after the conversion; the text describes in detail the efforts of Ashoka towards the expansion of Buddhism. According to Ashokavadana, Ashoka first converted his brother Vitashoka to Buddhism. Next, he taught his minister Yashas to honor the Buddhist monks. Accompanied by Upagupta, he went on a pilgrimage to the holy places associated with the Buddha's life, he held a grand pancavarsika festival for the Buddhist monks, during which he encountered Pindola Bharadvaja. The text tells of Ashoka's son Kunala, who became a blind beggar due to a plot hatched by Ashoka's young queen Tisyaraksita.
Kunala achieved enlightenment and was united with his father. It makes no mention of Mahinda, the son of Ashoka who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka according to Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa. Ashokavadana mentions two incidents of Ashoka turning towards violence after adopting Buddhism. In one instance, a non-Buddhist in Pundravardhana drew a picture showing the Buddha bowing at the feet of Nirgrantha Jnatiputra. On complaint from a Buddhist devotee, Ashoka issued an order to arrest him, subsequently, another order to kill all the Ajivikas in Pundravardhana. Around 18,000 followers of the Ajivika sect were executed as a result of this order. Sometime another Nirgrantha follower in Pataliputra drew a similar picture. Ashoka burnt his entire family alive in their house, he announced an award of one dinara to anyone who brought him the head of a Nirgrantha heretic. According to Ashokavadana, as a result of this order, his own brother, was mistaken for a heretic and killed by a cowherd, their ministers advised him that "this is an example of the suffering, being inflicted on those who are free from desire" and that he "should guarantee the security of all beings".
After this, Ashoka stopped giving orders for executions. According to K. T. S. Sarao and Benimadhab Barua, stories of persecutions of rival sects by Ashoka appear to be a clear fabrication arising out of sectarian propaganda. According to the text, Ashoka started giving away his empire's resources to the sangha during his last days, his ministers denied him. Ashoka gave away all of his personal possessions and died in peace; the Ashokavadana ends with the story of Pushyamitra, the Shunga king whose rule succeeded the Mauryan empire. However, the text wrongly mentions him as a member of the Maurya family, it has been quoted for its disparaging description of Pushyamitra as an enemy of the Buddhist faith, which before him had been supported by the Mauryan empire:... Pushyamitra equipped a fourfold army, intending to destroy the Buddhist religion, he went to the Kukkutarama.... Pushyamitra therefore destroyed the sangharama, killed the monks there, departed.... After some time, he arrived i
The Akbarnama which translates to Book of Akbar, is the official chronicle of the reign of Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor, commissioned by Akbar himself by his court historian and biographer, Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, one of the nine jewels in Akbar's court. It was written in Persian, the literary language of the Mughals, includes vivid and detailed descriptions of his life and times; the work was commissioned by Akbar, written by Abul Fazl, one of the Nine Jewels of Akbar’s royal court. It is stated; the original manuscripts contained many miniature paintings supporting the texts, thought to have been illustrated between c. 1592 and 1594 by at least forty-nine different artists from Akbar's studio, representing the best of the Mughal school of painting, masters of the imperial workshop, including Basawan, whose use of portraiture in its illustrations was an innovation in Indian art. After Akbar's death in 1605, the manuscript remained in the library of his son and Shah Jahan. Today, the illustrated manuscript of Akbarnma, with 116 miniature paintings, is at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
It was bought by the South Kensington Museum in 1896 from Mrs Frances Clarke, acquired by her husband upon his retirement from serving as Commissioner of Oudh. Soon after, the paintings and illuminated frontispiece were removed from the volume to be mounted and framed for display; the first volume of Akbarnama deals with the birth of Akbar, the history of Timur's family and the reigns of Babur and Humayun and the Suri sultans of Delhi. Volume one of Akbarnama encompasses his upbringings. According to the Abul Fazl Humayuan, the second Mughal emperor and Akbar's father, is praying to the Ka'ba, an islamic holy place, for a successor to the Mughal empire. After this prayer, Maryam Makani showcases different signs that she is pregnant with Akbar such as having a shining forehead that others believe to be a mirror on her face or the warmth and joy that enters her bosom when a light shines on her. Miryam believes the light to be God's Light blessing her unborn child. Nine months while Humayuan is away, Maryam gives birth to Akbar under what is considered an auspicious star and there is great celebration.
The second volume describes the detailed history of the reign of Akbar till 1602, records the events during Akbar's reign. It deals with that how Bairam Khan and Akbar won the battle of Panipat against Hemu an Indian warrior; the third volume is named Ā’īn-i-Akbarī, details the administrative system of the Empire as well as containing the famous "Account of the Hindu Sciences". It deals with Akbar's household, the revenues and the geography of the empire, it produces rich details about the traditions and culture of the people living in India. It is famous for its rich statistical details about things as diverse as crop yields, prices and revenues. Here Abu'l Fazl's ambition, in his own words, is: "It has long been the ambitious desire of my heart to pass in review to some extent, the general conditions of this vast country, to record the opinions professed by the majority of the learned among the Hindus. I know not whether the love of my native land has been the attracting influence or exactness of historical research and genuine truthfulness of narrative...".
In this section, he expounds the major beliefs of the six major Hindu philosophical schools of thought, those of the Jains, Nāstikas. He gives several Indian accounts of geography and some tidbits on Indian aesthetic thought. Most of this information is derived from Sanskrit texts and knowledge systems. Abu'l Fazl admits that he did not know Sanskrit and it is thought that he accessed this information through intermediaries Jains who were favoured at Akbar's court. In his description of Hinduism, Abu’l Fazl tries to relate everything back to something that the Muslims could understand. Many of the orthodox Muslims thought that the Hindus were guilty of two of the greatest sins and idolatry. On the topic of idolatry, Abu’l Fazl says that the symbols and images that the Hindus carry are not idols, but are there to keep their minds from wandering, he writes that only worshipping God is required. Abul Fazl describes the Caste system to his readers, he writes the name and duties of each caste. He goes on to describe the sixteen subclasses which come from intermarriage among the main four.
Abu’l Fazl next writes about Karma about which he writes, “This is a system of knowledge of an amazing and extraordinary character, in which the learned of Hindustan concur without dissenting opinion.” He places the actions. First, he writes many of the different ways in which a person from one class can be born into a different class in the next life and some of the ways in which a change in gender can be brought about, he sicknesses one suffers from. The third kind is the death of a child, and the fourth kind lack thereof. The Ain-i-Akbari is housed in the Hazarduari Palace, in West Bengal; the Akbarnama of Shaikh Illahdad Faiz Sirhindi is another contemporary biography of the Mughal emperor Akbar. This work is not original and a compilation from the Tabaqat-i-Akbari of Khwaja Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad and the more famous Akbarnama of Abu´l Fazl; the only original elements in this work are a few verses and so
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
A biography, or bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work and death. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae, a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, may include an analysis of the subject's personality. Biographical works are non-fiction, but fiction can be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in diverse media, from literature to film, form the genre known as biography. An authorized biography is written with the permission, at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs. An autobiography is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter. At first, biographical writings were regarded as a subsection of history with a focus on a particular individual of historical importance; the independent genre of biography as distinct from general history writing, began to emerge in the 18th century and reached its contemporary form at the turn of the 20th century.
One of the earliest biographers was Cornelius Nepos, who published his work Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae in 44 BC. Longer and more extensive biographies were written in Greek by Plutarch, in his Parallel Lives, published about 80 A. D. In this work famous Greeks are paired with famous Romans, for example the orators Demosthenes and Cicero, or the generals Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Another well-known collection of ancient biographies is De vita Caesarum by Suetonius, written about AD 121 in the time of the emperor Hadrian. In the early Middle Ages, there was a decline in awareness of the classical culture in Europe. During this time, the only repositories of knowledge and records of the early history in Europe were those of the Roman Catholic Church. Hermits and priests used this historic period to write biographies, their subjects were restricted to the church fathers, martyrs and saints. Their works were meant to be inspirational to the people and vehicles for conversion to Christianity.
One significant secular example of a biography from this period is the life of Charlemagne by his courtier Einhard. In Medieval Islamic Civilization, similar traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and other important figures in the early history of Islam began to be written, beginning the Prophetic biography tradition. Early biographical dictionaries were published as compendia of famous Islamic personalities from the 9th century onwards, they contained more social data for a large segment of the population than other works of that period. The earliest biographical dictionaries focused on the lives of the prophets of Islam and their companions, with one of these early examples being The Book of The Major Classes by Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi, and began the documentation of the lives of many other historical figures who lived in the medieval Islamic world. By the late Middle Ages, biographies became less church-oriented in Europe as biographies of kings and tyrants began to appear; the most famous of such biographies was Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.
The book was an account of his Knights of the Round Table. Following Malory, the new emphasis on humanism during the Renaissance promoted a focus on secular subjects, such as artists and poets, encouraged writing in the vernacular. Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists was the landmark biography focusing on secular lives. Vasari made celebrities of his subjects, as the Lives became an early "bestseller". Two other developments are noteworthy: the development of the printing press in the 15th century and the gradual increase in literacy. Biographies in the English language began appearing during the reign of Henry VIII. John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, better known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, was the first dictionary of the biography in Europe, followed by Thomas Fuller's The History of the Worthies of England, with a distinct focus on public life. Influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, A General History of the Pyrates, by Charles Johnson, is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates.
A notable early collection of biographies of eminent men and women in the United Kingdom was Biographia Britannica edited by William Oldys. The American biography followed the English model, incorporating Thomas Carlyle's view that biography was a part of history. Carlyle asserted that the lives of great human beings were essential to understanding society and its institutions. While the historical impulse would remain a strong element in early American biography, American writers carved out a distinct approach. What emerged was a rather didactic form of biography, which sought to shape the individual character of a reader in the process of defining national character; the first modern biography, a work which exerted considerable influence on the evolution of the genre, was James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, a biography of lexicographer and man-of-letters Samuel Johnson published in 1791. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research.
Itself an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography, it has been claimed to be the greatest biography writte
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and of Buddhism. In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Shah Mir dynasty. Kashmir was part of the Mughal Empire from 1586 to 1751, thereafter, until 1820, of the Afghan Durrani Empire; that year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir.
The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy of the British Crown, lasted until the partition of India in 1947, when the former princely state of the British Indian Empire became a disputed territory, now administered by three countries: India and China. The word Kashmir was referred to as káśmīra; the Nilamata Purana describes the Valley's origin from the waters, a lake called Sati-saras. A popular, but uncertain, local etymology of Kashmira is. An alternative, but uncertain, etymology derives the name from the name of the Hindu sage Kashyapa, believed to have settled people in this land. Accordingly, Kashmir would be derived from either kashyapa-meru; the word has been referenced to in a Hindu scripture mantra worshipping the Hindu goddess Sharada and is mentioned to have resided in the land of kashmira,or which might have been a reference to the Sharada Peeth. The Ancient Greeks called the region Kasperia, identified with Kaspapyros of Hecataeus of Miletus and Kaspatyros of Herodotus.
Kashmir is believed to be the country meant by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria. The earliest text which directly mentions the name Kashmir is in Ashtadhyayi written by a Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini during 5th century BC. Pāṇini called the people of Kashmir as Kashmirikas; some other early references to Kashmir can be be found in Mahabharata in Sabha Parva and in puranas like Matsya Purana, Vayu Purana, Padma Purana and Vishnu Purana and Vishnudharmottara Purana. Huientsang, the Buddhist scholar and Chinese traveller called Kashmir as kia-shi-milo, while some other Chinese accounts referred Kashmir as ki-pin and ache-pin. Cashmere is an archaic spelling of present-Kashmir, in some countries it is still spelled this way. In the Kashmiri language, Kashmir itself is known as Kasheer. During ancient and medieval period, Kashmir has been an important centre for the development of a Hindu-Buddhist syncretism, in which Madhyamaka and Yogachara were blended with Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta; the Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka is credited with having founded the old capital of Kashmir, now ruins on the outskirts of modern Srinagar.
Kashmir was long to be a stronghold of Buddhism. As a Buddhist seat of learning, the Sarvastivada school influenced Kashmir. East and Central Asian Buddhist monks are recorded as having visited the kingdom. In the late 4th century CE, the famous Kuchanese monk Kumārajīva, born to an Indian noble family, studied Dīrghāgama and Madhyāgama in Kashmir under Bandhudatta, he became a prolific translator who helped take Buddhism to China. His mother Jīva is thought to have retired to Kashmir. Vimalākṣa, a Sarvāstivādan Buddhist monk, travelled from Kashmir to Kucha and there instructed Kumārajīva in the Vinayapiṭaka. Karkoṭa Empire was a powerful Hindu empire, it was founded by Durlabhvardhana during the lifetime of Harsha. The dynasty marked the rise of Kashmir as a power in South Asia. Avanti Varman ascended the throne of Kashmir on 855 CE, establishing the Utpala dynasty and ending the rule of Karkoṭa dynasty. According to tradition, Adi Shankara visited the pre-existing Sarvajñapīṭha in Kashmir in the late 8th century or early 9th century CE.
The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam states this temple had four doors for scholars from the four cardinal directions. The southern door of Sarvajna Pitha was opened by Adi Shankara. According to tradition, Adi Shankara opened the southern door by defeating in debate all the scholars there in all the various scholastic disciplines such as Mīmāṃsā, Vedanta and other branches of Hindu philosophy. Abhinavagupta was one of India's greatest philosophers and aestheticians, he was considered an important musician, dramatist, exegete and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture. He was born in the Kashmir Valley in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of, Tantrāloka, an encyclopaedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula. Another one of his important contributions was in the field of philosophy of
Harsha known as Harshavardhana, was an Indian emperor who ruled North India from 606 to 647 CE. He was a member of the Vardhana dynasty. At the height of Harsha's power, his Empire covered much of North and Northwestern India, extended East till Kamarupa, South until Narmada River. Harsha was halted by the south Indian Emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty, when Harsha tried to expand his Empire into the southern peninsula of India; the peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars and religious visitors from far and wide. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha and wrote a favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity, his biography Harshacharita written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta, describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha. After the downfall of the Gupta Empire in the middle of the 6th century, North India was split into several independent kingdoms.
The northern and western regions of India passed into the hands of a dozen or more feudatory states. Prabhakara Vardhana, the ruler of Sthanvisvara, who belonged to the Vardhana family, extended his control over neighbouring states. Prabhakar Vardhana was the first king of the Vardhana dynasty with his capital at Thaneswar. After Prabhakar Vardhana's death in 605, his eldest son, Rajya Vardhana, ascended the throne. Harsha Vardhana was Rajya Vardhana's younger brother; this period of kings from the same line has been referred to as the Vardhana dynasty in many publications. Sources suggest; the Chinese traveller Xuanzang mentions an emperor named Shiladitya, claimed to be Harsha. Xuanzang mentions that this king belonged to "Fei-she"; this word is translated as "Vaishya". Rajya Vardhana and Harsha's sister Rajyashri had been married to Grahavarman; this king, some years had been defeated and killed by king Devagupta of Malwa and after his death Rajyashri had been cast into prison by the victor. Harsha's brother, Rajya Vardhana the king at Thanesar, could not accept this affront on his family.
So he defeated him. However, king of Gauda in Eastern Bengal entered Magadha as a friend of Rajyavardhana, but in secret alliance with the Malwa king. Accordingly, Shashanka treacherously murdered Rajyavardhana. On hearing about the murder of his brother, Harsha resolved at once to march against the treacherous king of Gauda, but this campaign remained inconclusive and beyond a point he turned back. Harsha ascended the throne at the age of 16; as North India reverted to small republics and small monarchical states ruled by Gupta rulers after the fall of the prior Gupta Empire, Harsha united the small republics from Punjab to central India, their representatives crowned him king at an assembly in April 606 giving him the title of Maharaja. Harsha established an empire; the peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars and religious visitors from far and wide. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha, wrote a favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity.
Pulakeshin II defeated Harsha on the banks of Narmada in the winter of 618-619. Pulakeshin entered into a treaty with Harsha, with the Narmada River designated as the border between the Chalukya Empire and that of Harshavardhana. Xuanzang describes the event thus: "Shiladityaraja, filled with confidence, marched at the head of his troops to contend with this prince. In 648, Tang dynasty emperor Tang Taizong sent Wang Xuance to India in response to Harsha having sent an ambassador to China; however once in India he discovered Harsha had died and the new king attacked Wang and his 30 mounted subordinates. This led to Wang Xuance escaping to Tibet and leading a joint force of over 7,000 Nepalese mounted infantry and 1,200 Tibetan infantry attacked the Indian state on June 16; the success of this attack brought Wang Xuance the prestigious title of the "Grand Master for the Closing Court." He secured a reported Buddhist relic for China. Like many other ancient Indian rulers, Harsha was eclectic in his religious practices.
His seals describe his ancestors as sun-worshippers, his elder brother as a Buddhist, himself as a Shaivite. His land grant inscriptions describe him as Parama-maheshvara, his play Nagananda is dedicated to Shiva's consort Gauri, his court poet Bana describes him as a Shaivite. According to the Chinese Buddhist travel er Xuanzang, Harsha became a devout Buddhist at some point in his life. Xuanzang states that Harsha banned animal slaughter for food, built monasteries at the places visited by Gautama Buddha, he erected several thousand 100-feet high stupas on the banks of the Ganges river, built well-maintained hospices for travellers and poor people on highways across India. He organized an annual assembly of global scholars, bestowed charitable alms on them; every five years, he held. Xuanzang describes a 21-day religious festival organized by Harsha in Kannauj.
The Prithviraj Raso is a Brajbhasha epic poem about the life of the 12th century Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan. It is attributed to Chand Bardai; the earliest extant copy of the text dates back to the 16th century, although some scholars date its oldest version to the 13th century. By the 19th century, several interpolations and additions had been made to the original text under the patronage from Rajput rulers; the text now exists in four recensions. It contains a mixture of historical facts and imaginary legends, is not considered reliable. According to tradition, the Prithviraj Raso was composed by Chand Bardai, Prithviraj's court poet, who accompanied the king in all his battles; the last canto, which narrates the death of Chand Bardai and Prithviraj, is said to have been composed by Chand Bardai's son Jalhan. The oldest extant recension of Prithviraj Raso is from 16th century, it exists in form a manuscript copied in 1610, for a grandson of Kalyanmal, the Rathore ruler of Bikaner. Its oldest portions are written in Lata Apabhramsha language and style typical of 12th and 13th centuries.
According to R. V. Somani, the original Prithviraj Raso was composed around 1235 CE, within 3-4 decades after Prithviraj's death. Other scholars, such as Cynthia Talbot, Narottamdas Swami and Namwar Singh date the text to the 16th century, during the reign of Akbar. Since 16th century, the size of the text has expanded because of several interpolations and additions, resulting in multiple recensions. Only a small portion of the existing recensions is to have been part of the original version. A small 1300-stanza manuscript in Bikaner is closest to the original text; the longest available version is the Udaipur manuscript, an epic with 16,306 stanzas. Today, four different recensions of the text are known: Edited by Rajmal Bora: the shortest recension, titled Candvardāīkṛt Prithīrājrāsau Edited by Mataprasad Gupta, titled Pṛthvīrāj Rāsau Edited by Kavirav Mohansimha, titled Pṛthvīrāj Rāso Edited by Mohanlal Vishnu Pandya and Shyamsundar Das, titled Pṛthvīrāj Rāso: the longest recesion, developed in late 17th century under the patronage of the Mewar courtAmerican academic Cynthia Talbot compiled a list of nearly 170 manuscripts of the text.
The patrons of only 17 of these can be identified: they include kings and princes from the royal families of Bikaner, Kota and Udaipur. The present version of Prithviraj Raso is composed in Brajbhasha dialect, with some regional Rajasthani peculiarities; the language of the texts available today appears to be post-15th century and to be based upon the 17th-century compilation commissioned by Amar Singh II, the Sisodiya ruler of Mewar. Amar Singh's predecessors had commissioned re-working of Prithviraj Raso beginning in 1630s or 1640s, during the reign of Jagat Singh I; the version commissioned by Amar Singh was compiled by the poet Karuna-udadhi. Its manuscript dated to 1703 CE, states that "stupid poets" had separated Chand Bardai's text into different parts: Karuna-udadhi wrote the current version by "picking through the strands" on the orders of Amar Singh; the resulting text is a revised text, different from the earlier versions of the text. This version appears to have been written as the part of a campaign to revive the Mewar dynasty's prestige, which had declined as a result of their setbacks against and alliance with the Mughals.
The Mewar recension enlarges and embellishes the role of the Mewar family in history, through their association with Prithviraj Chauhan. For example, it mentions Amar Singh's ancestor Samar Singh as the closest associate of Prithviraj Chauhan. On the other hand, the shortest recension of Prithviraj Raso does not mention Samar Singh; the Mewar recension claims that Samar Singh married Prithviraj's sister Pritha, fought alongside Prithviraj against Jaichand of Kannauj. Such claims are first made in two earlier Brajbhasha texts composed during the reign of Amar Singh's grandfather Raj Singh I: Rajvilas of Man and Rajaprashasti of Ranchhod Bhatt. Unlike the shortest recension which mentions Samyogita as Prithviraj's only wife, the Mewar version claims that Prithviraj married 12 other princesses, many of them presented to him by his nobles. On the other hand, the Mewar family's Samar Singh is the only one who marries a woman from Prithviraj's family, thus highlighting Samar Singh's high status; the recension devotes an entire chapter to the marriage of Samar Singh and Pritha, describing how Prithviraj's father Someshvar decided to marry his daughter to Samar Singh, because of the Mewar's family's glory.
This is a summary of the shortest recension of Prithviraj Raso: Prithviraj was born to the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer. He married the daughter of the ruler of Delhi. Anangpal was cursed with not having any male heir, because he had meddled with the iron pillar of Delhi. So, he appointed Prithviraj as the king of Delhi; some time king Jaichand of Kannauj decided to conduct a Rajasuya ceremony to proclaim his supremacy. Prithviraj refused to participate in this ceremony, thus, refused to acknowledge Jaichand as the supreme king. Meanwhile, Jaichand's daughter Sanyogita fell in love with Prithviraj after hearing about his heroic exploits, declared that she would only marry him. Jaichand did not invite Prithviraj. Prithviraj marched to Kannauj with a hundred warriors and eloped with Samyogita. Two-third of his warriors sacrificed their life in fight against the Kannauj army, allowing him to escape to Delhi w