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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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Life in the Gupta Age

Life in the Gupta Age

(p.237) 25 Life in the Gupta Age
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

The Gupta kings adopted pompous titles such as parameshvara, maharajadhiraja, and paramabhattaraka. Kingship was hereditary, but royal power was limited by the want of a firm adherence to primogeniture. The Guptas organized a system of provincial and local administration. There was a decline in long-distance trade. The striking development of the Gupta period was the emergence of priestly landlords at the cost of local peasants. Buddhism stopped to receive royal patronage during the Gupta period. This religion was also not as important during the Gupta period as it had been in the days of Ashoka and Kanishka. Bhagavatism originated in post-Maurya times and centred on the worship of Vishnu or Bhagavata. Bhagavatism was marked by bhakti and ahimsa. Bhagavatism or Vaishnavism overshadowed Mahayana Buddhism by Gupta times. This period is remarkable for the production of secular literature. The Gupta craftsmen distinguished themselves by their work in iron and bronze.

Keywords:   Gupta period, Bhagavatism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, maharajadhiraja, local administration, priestly landlords, secular literature

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