Art and Culture of the Gupta Empire

  • An engrossing talk on the art and culture of the Gupta Empire by the one and only Satavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh. 

In this Atharva Forum talk Dr Ganesh gives us priceless gems about the great legacy of the Gupta Kings—their contribution in art, culture and literature; generously patronized and propagated by the great Gupta rulers. Under the empire of the great Guptas, Indian art, Indian culture, Indian literature and all aspects of Indian culture developed and reached their zenith. Though the Indian heritage, Indian culture started with the dawn of Vedic civilization, it saw its present beautiful form by the time of Guptas. Extraordinary work was accomplished in the realms of architecture and sculpture during the Gupta Era. Numerous cave temples have continued to remain the priceless gifts of the Gupta period. 


Though Bharatavarṣa had many other Kings, many other dynasties and many scholars, poets, artists, scientists, and they promoted, enriched Indian culture even after the Gupta period. But the best of Indian tradition as we have today certainly was much to the credit of the great Guptas.


It is an unfortunate reality that in our history books, in our school and college curriculum while dealing with history, we don't give new importance to the contribution of the Guptas. Even in other countries, everywhere while teaching Indian history, Guptas have been not given the due credit. Though certain pages are devoted, it is all half-hearted, inept and ambiguous. The truest aspect of the Gupta legacy has to be explored further and further.


Though many great scholars for two centuries have worked in this direction and have brought out tremendously rich and highly illuminating information in this area, our scholars of recent times and our serious students of this age are not able to get access to that. It needs a multi-disciplinary approach.


This needs people who are thorough in many aspects of learning. Saṃskṛta scholars, Prakrt scholars and they should be some knowledge of Greek as well. Apart from that, they should be well-versed in many Sciences and arts, starting from astronomy, philosophy. They should also have knowledge of Buddhism, Jainism, Sanatana Dharma and all the Vedangas. Apart from that, various sciences connected with the Dharma, Artha, Kama and Mokṣa and also various art forms like Gita, Nṛtya, Vadhya, Citra, Śilpa, Sahitya and many other. All the 64 arts as mentioned by Vatsyayana should be known to those who want to explore and expound the contribution of the Guptas. And then other aspects of Gupta are what we see as the crystallized Sanatana Dharma, the popular Hindu culture in present day has much of the essence in the Gupta period. In that sense, the real Golden Age of Sanatana Dharma and the real Golden Age of Indian culture goes to the Gupta period.


To watch Atharva Forum talk by Satavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh (1 hour 13 minutes) click on Link


To hear all Atharva Videos


Also read

1. The Tradition of Kshaatra in India: The Gupta Empire

2. Kulapati K M Munshi on the Gupta Empire


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