Gupta Culture as the Golden Age
The Gupta age is described as the Golden Age or the Classicalï¿½Age. It was a period in which literature, art, architecture andï¿½various branches of knowledge reached high levels of excellence.ï¿½There was phenomenal intellectual and artistic activity duringï¿½the period. Peace and prosperity of the period as well as liberalï¿½patronage of culture made a significant contribution.
The Gupta age was marked by a strong growth of Sanskritï¿½literature. Sanskrit replaced Prakrit. The Gupta rulers wereï¿½liberal patrons of Sanskrit language. Many Gupta rulersï¿½themselves were very good writers in Sanskrit. Samudraguptaï¿½even had the title of kaviraja. Sanskrit was not only made theï¿½official language but also was adopted as the spoken language inï¿½the royal palaces in general and that of Ujjain court in particular.ï¿½Brilliant literary achievements of the period have led theï¿½scholars to consider it as revitalisation of Sanskrit literature. Theï¿½Buddhist and Jaina literatures that began with Pali and Prakritï¿½in the later phase used Sanskrit to a considerable extent. Most ofï¿½their works were in prose with verse passages in mixed Sanskrit.ï¿½The Mahayana monks in particular started to write their worksï¿½in Sanskrit.
Gupta literature can be classified into two groups – religiousï¿½and secular. The growing influence of Brahmanism gave anï¿½impetus to the development of religious literature. The eighteenï¿½Puranas and sixteen Upapuranas received their final shape duringï¿½this period. Even the great epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharataï¿½acquired their present shape during this period. Manusmriti orï¿½the code of Manu was revised.ï¿½In Buddhism, Nagarjuna founded the Madhyamikaï¿½school of philosophy. He was the author of Madhyamika Sutraï¿½and a commetary on Prajnaparamita Sutra. Arya Deva, a pupilï¿½of Nagarjuna wrote Chatussataka. Asanga wrote Sutralankar. Hisï¿½younger brother, Vasubandhu wrote Ashidharmakosa, which is aï¿½major work of Mahayana Buddhism. Dinaga wrote the famousï¿½treatise on logic, the Pramana-Samuchchaya.
The Jaina canonical literature was also influenced byï¿½Sanskrit and within a very short time produced many greatï¿½scholars.
Written by princy