Literature in Gupta Period

 

Famous Sanskrit Authors of the Gupta Period

  • The Gupta period was India’s golden age of culture and one of the greatest and most glorious times. The Gupta kings patronized the classical Sanskrit literature.
  • They helped liberally the scholars and poets of Sanskrit.
  • In fact Sanskrit language became the language of cultured and educated people.

1. Kalidas

  • Wrote many beautiful poems & plays.
  • His works in Sanskrit are considered the gems of Literature.
  • He wrote passionate plays and poems.
  • His wonderful skill is exhibited in his poem Meghaduta, Ritusambara, Kumar Sambhavam and Raghuvamsha.
  • His plays are Abhijan Shakuntalam, Vikramorvashi and Malvikaganimithram.

2. Vishakhdutta

  • He was the great play writer of this period.
  • He wrote two great historical plays like- Mudra Rakshas and Devi Chandra Gupta.

3. Shudraka

  • He wrote an exciting play Mrichchha Katikam or the Toy Cart.
  • It is a great source of socio-cultural conditions of that time.

4. Harisena

  • He wrote poems praising the valour of Samudra Gupta.
  • It is inscribed on Allahabad pillar.

5. Bhasa

  • He wrote 13 plays which echo the lifestyle of the era along with its prevalent beliefs and culture.

Kushana period

The Kushana kings patronised Sanskrit scholars.

Ashvaghosha

  • He wrote the Buddhacharitra which is the biography of the Buddha.
  • He also wrote Saundarananda, which is a fine example of Sanskrit poetry.
  • India produced great literary works on subjects like Maths, Astronomy, Astrology, Agriculture and Geography etc.
  • Books on medicine were written by Charak and on surgery by Sushruta.
  • Madhava wrote a book on pathology.
  • Books written on astronomy by Varahamihira and Aryabhatta and on astrology by Lagdhacharya had all achieved prominence.
  • There is none that can compete with Varahamihiras Bhrihatsamhita, Aryabhatia and Vedanga Jyotisha
  • Somadeva’s Katha-sarit-sagar and Kalhan’s Rajatarangini are of historical importance.
  • It gives a vivid account of the Kings of Kashmir.
  • The Geet Govinda of Jaidev is the finest poem of Sanskrit literature of this period, besides numerous works on different aspects of art and architecture, sculpture, iconography and related fields.

Other sanskrit literature

  • The law books called the Dharmasutras and smritis, together known as Dharmashastras.
  • The Dharmasutras were compiled between 500 and 200 BC.
  • These lay down duties for different varnas as well as for the kings and their officials.
  • They prescribed the rules according to which property had to be held, sold and inherited.
  • They also prescribe punishments for persons guilty of assault, murder and adultery.
  • The Manusmriti tells us about the role of man and woman in society, their code of conduct and relationship with each other.
  • Kautilya’s Arthashastra is an important treatise of the Mauryan times. It reflects the state of society and economy at that time and provides rich material for the study of ancient Indian polity and economy.
  • The works of Bhasa, Shudraka, Kalidasa and Banabhatta provided us with glimpses of the social and cultural life of northern and central India in times of the Guptas and Harsha.
  • The Gupta period also saw the development of Sanskrit grammar based on the works of Panini and Patanjali.
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