Before we move towards the Medieval History of Bihar , it would be better to have a look on the foreign traveller’s who came to India , especially to Bihar , and pen down a few words about the people , places , mystery and Monestries of Bihar . Ancient Bihar , like Ancient India , remained a focal point of political power . The first all Indian Empire of MAURYA was was founded in MAGADHA i.e Bihar . Similarly , LORD BUDDHA & LORD MAHAVIRA got emancipation here . Two great religions of the world : BUDDHISM & JAINISM emerged in Bihar . And those foreign traveller’s wrote many things about them all . Since they had touched our history many times through their travelogues , that’s why their mentionings in my blog are necessary . And these Foreign Travellers were as follows : 1. MEGASTHENES 2. FA-HIEN 3. HIUEN-TSANG
1. MEGASTHENES Megasthenes ( 350-290 BC ) was the Greek ambassador of Seleucid King SELEUCUS – 1 NECTOR to the court of MAURYAN King CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA . He came to Pataliputra . He went to other parts of India including BIHAR & PUNJAB . He compiled the accounts of his journey in his book INDICA . It is said that the original book of INDICA has been lost during the period of time and later it was compiled from the instances of the other Greek and Latin writers like ARRIAN , PLINY , STRABO etc . “ANCIENT INDIA as described by MEGASTHENES AND ARRIAN ” by J.W. Mc CRINDLE , M.A. ( 1877 ) , a well documented book , gives a vivid accounts of MEGASTHENES . MEGASTHENES had divided the entire Indian society including that of Bihar into seven categories : 1. PHILOSOPHERS , 2. FARMERS , 3. HERDERS , 4. ARTISANS, 5. MILITARY , 6 . OVERSEERS , 7. COUNCILLORS & ACCESSORS . To MEGASTHENES, India was a large country full of flora and founa ; rich in minerals like silver , gold , copper ; its people were of more than average height as India grew ample amounts of foods , fruits and vegetables to eat ; the Kingdom of MAGADHA was well established ; and the administration of the King CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA was well organized . His accounts especially of PATALIPUTRA gives a marvelous picture of ‘ the grip which the government had on the people for their good . ‘ Land Revenue and Irrigation development were looked after with utmost importance . BIHAR, being an agrarian society ( now a state ) , these fields of administration were more people-oriented . MEGASTHENES , further , says that theft was a rare occurrence among the people . Wine drinking was also rare . People were not lier . Farmers were regarded as public benefactors , that’s why protected by the state so that they could not get any harm . All these were made through spies who directly reported to the state for any wrong doings as such . To MEGASTHENES , CHANDRAGUPTA’S army was comprised of 600000 infantry , 30000 cavalry , 9000 elephants and a lots of chariots . The affairs of the army and navy was managed by a governing body of thirty which was further divided into six boards having each of them five members . Similarly , according to MEGASTHENES , for the governance of the people of rural areas , there existed a governing body which were assigned duty to manage the affairs of land revenue , irrigation and public works*.
* Public Works Department ( PWD ) is the most ancient Department of India . It even existed during the INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION as such . KARL MARX had also supported this view that it was the most ancient Department of world as such .
2. FA-HIEN FA-HIEN ( 405-411 AD ) , a Chinese traveler visited India during the reign of CHANDRAGUPTA-2 . His travelogues is known as ‘ A RECORD OF BUDDIST KINGDOMS ‘ . He entered into India from North-West and reached PATALIPUTRA , the then capital of the GUPTA DYNASTY . He took many Sanskrit books to CHINA from PATALIPUTRA . He translated those books into CHINESE language . About cities and towns , he wrote , that they were prosperous . The inhabitants were rich , benevolent and righteous people . After the conquest of western India , CHANDRAGUPTA-2 shifted his capital from PATALIPUTRA to UJJAIN; so that the capital could be kept in the center of his Empire . It was the period when FA-HIEN visited the KINGDOMS of MAGADHA . In PATALIPUTRA , he saw all shorts of charitable institutions including a Hospital . Even in Europe there did not exist a Hospital as such that time as it existed in MAGADHA , and as per a historian on the subject about five hundred years later a Hospital was established in the Europe as such . FA-HIEN observed about the Hospital of PATALIPUTRA in the words which were as follows : ” hither come all poor or helpless patients suffering from every sort of infirmity . They receive help of all kinds gratuitously , and a doctor attends to them ; food and medicine were given according to their wants . Thus they are made quite comfortable , and when they are well they may go away. “*
*As quoted in ” BIHAR ” by RAM CHANDRA PRASAD ( 1983 ) P-54 published by NATIONAL BOOK TRUST , INDIA .
3. HIUEN-TSANG HIUEN-TSANG ( 629-645 AD ) was a BUDDHIST Chinese traveler who reached India during the period of HARSHVARDHANA , the founder of the VARDHANA DYNASTY . He traveled to India from 629 to 646 AD . He collected more than 657 Indian Text Books and brought them to CHINA . He translated many of them in the CHINESE language so that the people of CHINA could be benefited out of those books . He had made vivid description of the city of PATALIPUTRA . He came here in 637 AD after his return from NEPAL . MAGADHA was ruled that time by the King HARSHVARDHANA of Kanauj . To HIUEN-TSANG, PATALIPUTRA originally called KUSUMAPURA was a city interestingly founded by a prince called PUTRAKA who created it ‘with a stroke of his magic staff and named it in honour of his wife the princess PATALI .’ In the KATHASARITASAGARA also one can find such story about the city of PATALIPUTRA . He found the city having a deserted look . It was perhaps might be due to the HUN invasion of the city in the past that benevolent people of PATALIPUTRA had left the city . Before invasion the city of PATALIPUTRA had more than 100 Temples & Monestries which during the visit of HIUEN-TSANG remained only two or three intact . Other historical records states that in 530 AD a severe earthquake had hit PATALIPUTRA which had destroyed the city considerably . Some other historians are , of the opinion , that the ANTI–BUDDHIST King SASANKA of BENGAL might have destroyed the city of PATALIPUTRA , that’s why when HIUEN-TSANG visited the city he saw a deserted look in the city as such …..etc.
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS …..ARBIND KUMAR , THE BLOGGER .
One thought on “HISTORY , MYSTERY AND MONASTERIES OF BIHAR , PART- 4”
Your curiosity is genuine . I’ll come on BUDDHISM & JAINISM in detail separately as per your wishes in my other blogs . Presently I am outlining the history of Bihar emphasizing only on main events of curiosity for my benevolent readers . So that people should judge Bihar on the basis of their past also . As you are judging Greece on the basis of their past , why should not be Bihar also . People from allover the world come for PIND DAN at VISHNU PAD MANDIR , GAYA. Similarly , people from almost all Buddhist countries visit BODH GAYA for pilgrimage . Moreover , JAIN from the world wide visit PAWAPURI to see JAL MANDIR, a pious place for JAINISM . So , your curiosity would be fulfilled in days to come . Thanking you .
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