Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain (city originally named as Ambavati) lived during 101 BCE – 19 CE based Jyotirvidabharana of Kalisada, Jyotishaphala Ratnamala of Krishna Misra, history of Nepal, Kashmir, Stapatha Brahmana, Bhavishya Purana.
This king is considered legend, while he is actually part of history and even referred in Puranas.
Few vedic astrology books written during his time prove his existence in 1st century BCE.
Vikrama Saka (era) followed in vedic panchangs since 57 BCE as Vikram Samvat.
Famous poet Kalidasa, Astrologer Varaha Mihira were among the 9 gems in his court.
Kalhana‘s Rajatarangini (river of Kings), Vikramditya’s contemporary Krishna Misra’s astrology book Jyotishaphala-Ratnamala, few mentions in Bhavishya Purana, recorded history of Nepal prove his existence with correct dates and years.
“purne thrimsachchate varsheKalau prapte bhayamkareSakanamcha Vinasardham AryaDharma vivruddhaye Jatassivajnaya sopi kailasatGuhyakalayat.”
– Bhavishya Maha Purana (3-1-7-14,15 verses)
“Vikramaditya namanam pita Krutwa mumodahaSa balopi mahaprajanah pithruMathru priyamkarah”(3-1-7-16)
“pancha Varshe vayah prapte Tapasordhe vanam gatahDwadasabdam prayathnenaVikramena krutam tapah” (Bhavishya 3-1-7-17)
“Paschadambavatim divyamPurim yatah sriyanvitahDivyam simhasanam ramyamDwathrimsan murthi samyutam” (Bhavishya 3-1-7-18)
Translation : At the completion of 3000 years after the advent of the terrible Kaliyuga, (ie.101 BCE.) a person descended from the abode of Guhyakas in Kailasa, at the command of Lord Siva, for the purpose of destroying the Sakas and uplifting Arya-Dharma. He was born to the Great King Gandharvasena. The father named him ‘Vikramaditya’ and felt very much rejoiced.
Though aboy he was very wise and pleased his parents.
When he was 5 years old, Vikrama went to the forest and did penance for 12 years. Having enriched his greatness by penance he reached the city Ambavati (Ujjain) and was anointed as a king on a golden throne decorated with 32 golden dolls.
Borders of Vikramaditya’s Empire
paschime sindhu nadyante, setu bandhhehi dakshine
uttare badari sthane, poorvencha kapilantike
Translation : This verse from Bhavishya Purana states that, in the west the other bank of the Sindhu River; in the South the Setu; Badarinarayana in the Himalayas formed the North limit and the city of Kapilavastu, the boundary in the East. These were the limits of Vikramaditya’s Empire.
There are other instances which prove that he travelled beyond these borderd later to conquer other kingdoms.
Among the Paramara kings, the first one reigned between
|Name of King||Years|
|Paramar||2710 – 2716 Kali Yuga (392 – 386 BCE)|
|Mahamara||386 – 383 BCE|
|Devapi||383 – 380 BCE|
|Devdatta||380 – 377 BCE|
|Sakas defeated next kings, who left Ujjain and fled to Srisailam||377 – 182 BCE|
|Gandharvasena (1st time)||182 – 132 BCE|
|Sankharaja (son of Gandharvasena) went to forest for meditation and died without a child||132 – 102 BCE|
|Gandharvasena (2nd time) returned from exile and took over the throne again||102 – 82 BCE|
|Vikramaditya (2nd son of Gandharvasena born in 101 BCE i.e. 3001 kali yuga)||82 BCE – 19 CE|
|Devabhakta||19 – 29 CE|
|[Names of Kings not mentioned in Puranas]||29 – 78 CE|
|Salivahana dynasty rule||From 78 CE|
Salivahana established his own Saka in 78 CE, which is followed even today in most parts of India and years in panchang (vedic almanac) known as Saka Samvat or Shaka Samvat.
Paramara dynasty continued to rule Ujjain, which ended in 1305 CE, whose last king was Mahakaladeva.
One sloka in bhavishya purana mentions that Devabhakta knew that his killer was born and traced him to be in Pratishtana (modern day Paithan in maharashtra).
In a war, Devabhakta, after ruling for ten years, was killed in a battle by the cruel Sakas. (Kali 3130 or 29 CE).
Vikramaditya conquered Middle-East
Victories of Babylon, Persia, Turks led Vikramaditya to the Arabia. When he conquered Arabia, he did so to cheers from the Jewish and Arab Community, who welcomed him as a liberator. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.
The victory over Arabia expressed all the facets of the policy of conciliation which Vikramaditya had followed until then. He presented himself not as a conqueror, but a liberator and the legitimate successor to the crown. He took the title of “King of Aryavrata and Liberator of the Arabs, Turks and Jews”.
Vikramditya had no thought of forcing conquered people into a single mould, and had the wisdom to leave unchanged the institution of each kingdom he attached to the Aryavrata Crown. Vikramaditya was upright, a great leader of men, generous and benevolent. He spread the Vedic Culture in the land of Arabia. He also reconstructed the temple of Brahma and Mahesh and placed a Jiyotarlinga there. Several other Vedic Temples were made in Babylon, Persia and Turkistan. For the first time they got a King that cared for the inhabitants of his Empire. Arabs, Kurds and Persians saw him as ‘the annointed of the Lord’.
After the 4 year of Wars that saw whole west Asia under the belt of Vikramaditya Empire he stayed for a year in Arabia till the Mahadev Temple was not completely reconstructed.
He built admirable highways, and developed an excellent postal system both of which allowed him to receive rapidly information from his provinces. He accepted Perisans as Aryans and called them as long lost cousins. During the Vikramaditya’s regions persians felt like they felt under the region of Cyrus. He also bulit several monuments in the respect of Chandargupta Maurya and Cyrus. Another project undertaken by Vikramaditya was the royal road, the world’s longest, extending 1,700 miles. Due to an extensive network of relays, postmen could travel the road in six to nine days, whereas normal travel time was three months. The motto of the Vedic postal service became memorable: stopped by neither snow, rain, heat or gloom of night.
The US postal service also adopted this motto and the famous Pony Express mail delivery resembled the original Vedic design. Vikramaditya laid the foundation of Vardhan Dynasty. His empire controlled many parts of Modern day China, Entire Middle East and Many Parts of South East Asia. After his death his descendents and Parthians controlled Iran.
By 102 CE descendents of Vikramaditya lost control over Iran and Parthians established there empire in Iran and Babylon.
Vikramaditya mentioned in Ancient Vedic Astrology Books
Jyotirvidabharana is an astrological work by Kalidasa.
Here, he mentions that he was writing it to enhance the fame of Vikramaditya of the Paramara dynasty (Panwar dynasty), his patron king. [Jyotirvidabharana. Sloka No. 4—89]
Kalidasa also defines the word Saka.
He says that whoever kills large number of Sakas, will become Saka-Karaka.
This book Jyotirvidabharana, says Kalidasa, he began to write in the month Vaisakha (around May) of 3068 Kali Era (or 33 BCE) and was completed in the month Kartika (around november) of the same year.
In the beginning of the 22nd chapter Kalidasa described, to some extent, the Emperor Vikramaditya and in the 6th sloka he says that this book of 22 chapters and 1474 slokas is written with the purpose of invoking good to Vikramaditya, the Emperor of Bharat.
In the 7th sloka of Chapter 22 Kalidasa gives some particulars of Vikrama’s empire, which are as follows:-
1. It extended over the whole of Bharata-Varsha of 180 Big jyotisha yojanas (approximately 1800 miles)in length and breadth. ( 1 Big yojana [not to be confused with Yojana in Ramayana etc] in those days is close to 10 miles )
2. The Bharata-Varsha shines forth with the culture of the Vedas and Dharma Sastras. This book is dedicated for the good of Vikramaditya, the emporer of Malwa, by me (Kalidasa).
In the 8th and 9th slokas of Chapter 22 Kalidasa gives a list of poets and pundits adorning the court of Vikrama.
1. Sanku, 2. Vararuchi, 3. Mani, 4. Angudatta, 5. Jishnu, 6. Trilochana, 7. Hari (Hariswamy, the commentator of Sukla Yajurveda and the head of the departments of Dana and Dharma (Daanaadhyakshaa and Dharmaadhyakshaa), 8. Ghata karpara, 9. Amarasimha, 10. Satyacharya, 11.Varahamihira, 12. Srutasena, 13. Badarayana, 14. Manittha, 15. Kumara Simha and astrologers like 16. Myself (Kalidasa), and others. (Slokas 22-8,9)
9 Gems in court of Vikramaditya
Kalidasa mentions the nine Gems of scholars
adorning the court of Vikramaditya :
n 22-11 Kalidasa gives a further account of the court of Vikrama.
There were 800 Vassal kings, one crore of good soldiers, 16 great scholars, 16 astrologers, 16 efficient doctors, 16 bhattas and 16 scholars of Vedik lore; Vikrama sitting on his throne was illuminated by these scholarly courtiers.
In 22-12 the following particulars are given about the army of Vikramaditya :-
His army continuously spread over 18 yojanas (small jyotisha yojanas, 1 small jyotisha yojana is around 5 miles) and consisted of the following:—
1. There were 3 crores of soldiers.
2. Ten crores of various vehicles.
3. 24,300 elephants.
4. 4,00,000 (four lakhs) of ships,
This was the army that accompanied him in his expeditions. In this respect there was no emperor to be compared to Vikrama in those days, says Kalidasa.
Sloka 13 of the 22nd chapter says that Vikrama annihilated innumerable Sakas (who were Mlechcha Kshatriyas) and established the Era. Every day he made gifts of pearls, jems, gold, cow, horse, elepahnts to the four castes. Hence he was called “Suvarnaanana“.
Sloka 16 of chapter 22 says that Ujjyini, the capital of Vikrama gives salvation to the inhabitants on account of the persence of Lord “Siva” in the name of ‘Mahakala‘.
Sri Krishna Misra, lived in the court of Vikramaditya wrote in his book, Jyotishaphala-Ratnamala, a book on astrology, that :
Let that Vikramarka, the Emperor, famous like the Manus, who protected me and my relations for seventy years, having endowed upon me one crore of gold coins flourish for ever with success and prosperity.. [sloka 10 of Jyotishaphala Ratnamala]
Sri Krishna Misra was in court of Vikramaditya for 70 years from 57 BCE, which means that the emperor lived atleast till 13 CE.
Having consolidated his empire, Vikramarka went to Nepal; he made the king, Amsuvarma a feudatory, and as a symbol of his over-lordship founded his Saka in Nepal in 57 BCE.
Another book Satapatha Brahmana, also mentions of Vikramaditya.
A resident of Ujjain, who belongs to Parasara Gotra, the son of Naga Swamy, holding the offices of ‘Dharmadhyaksha’, (Justice of Vaidika Dharma) and “Danadhyakska” (Distributor of gifts) adorning the title of “Sarvavidyanidhana Kavindracharya Saraswati” (Treasure of all sciences and Learning, Professor of Poets or poet Laureate, the goddess of the Muses) in the court
of Vikramaditya, the king of Avanti, by name “Hari Swamy“, has written commentary or Bhashya to Satapatha Brahmana.
Vikramaditya in History of Kashmir
When 82nd king in the list of the Kashmir monarchs, Hiranya died without leaving any heir to the throne, the cabinet of the ministers, in Kashmir sent a prayer to their over-lord, Emperor Vikramaditya and requested him to depute a ruler. Then, out of his favour towards Matrigupta, a Scholar-poet of the court, Vikramaditya installed MatriGupta with the sovereignty of his vassal state, Kashmir in 14 CE. [Rajatarangini 3-125]
Vikramaditya in History of Nepal
In the year 3044 Kali or 57 BCE, Vikramaditya visited his vassal state Nepal and established his Era there (Vikrama Saka). This information is published in the Indian Antiquary Vol. XIII. Pages 411 onwards.
Several works by Jain authors include legends about Vikramaditya. These include:
- Prabhachandra’s Prabhavaka-Charita (1127 CE)
- Somaprabha’s Kumara-Pala-Pratibodha (1184 CE)
- Kalakacharya-Katha (before 1279 CE)
- Merutunga’s Prabandha-Chintamani (1304 CE)
- Jinaprabhasuri’s Vividha-Tirtha-Kalpa (1315 CE)
- Rajashekhara’s Prabandha-Kosha (1348 CE)
- Devamurti’s Vikrama-Charitra (1418 CE)
- Ramachandrasuri’s Pancha-Danda-Chhattra-Prabandha (1433 CE)
- Subhashila’s Vikrama-Charitra (1442 CE)
- various pattavalis (records of lineage of head monks)
Ayodhya re-discovered by Emperor Vikramaditya
A local legend in Ayodhya states that the city was re-discovered by Vikramaditya, after having been lost for centuries. Vikramaditya started searching for Ayodhya, and met Prayaga, the king of tirthas (Prayaga personified). Guided by Prayaga, Vikramaditya marked the place, but subsequently forgot its location. A yogi told him that he should let loose a cow and a calf: Ayodhya would be at the place where milk starts flowing from the cow’s udders. Using this advice, Vikramaditya managed to re-identify the site of ancient Ayodhya.