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Raajaa Vikramaaditya-1
1st century BC
See also    Vikramaaditya-2,     Vikram and Vaitaal Stories,    Sinhaasan Batteesee,

Avantee (Ujjain) was ruled by Gardabhilla, when Shak people captured Avantee and killed Gardabhilla. Four years later, the son of Gardabhilla Vikramaaditya expelled the Shak king and recaptured the kingdom. Then he ruled it for 60 years. Two stories about him are very famous - Vikram and Vaitaal, and Sinhaasan Batteesee.

King Vikramaaditya, Vikram in short, has been famous among children in reference to Vikram- Vaitaal stories. Historically, King Vikramaaditya might have lived in the 1st century BC and may have been defeated by Shaalivaahan. According to "Kathaa Sarit Saagar" account, he was the son of Ujjain's King Mahendraaditya of the Paramaar Dynasty. Traditional Indian dating, Vikram Samvat, also makes him 1st century BC king. However general Indian history dates do not place any Vikramaaditya during this period.

He was an ideal king, very brave and very just. His justice was very famous, that is why Vaitaal all the time expected him to reply with full justice, and since his justice was very famous, he could not keep silence also, so he had to answer his question. As soon as he spoke Vaitaal's condition was broken and he went back to the same tree from where Vikram brought him. This he did 24 times, but the 25th time he could not answer, so Vaitaal could not run away. Then he told him how to save himself from that Yogee. Vikram remembered it, saved himself and killed that Yogee.

Besides he had a special throne which had 32 female figures who once told Raajaa Bhoj 32 stories about Vikram's qualities. This happened when Raajaa Bhoj found this special throne and wanted to use it for himself. The 32 female figures laughed as soon as Bhoj wanted to ascend the throne and Bhoj used to be scared. They used tell a story about his qualities and asked him whether he had any qualities like Vikramaaditya, and Bhoj had to agree that he didn't. Thus when all the 32 figures had told about Raajaa Vikram abandoned the idea of using throne for himself and returned that throne to the same place from where he got it. These stories are famous as " Sinhaasan Batteesee". Both, Vikram and Vaitaal and Sinhaasan Battessee stories are found in various versions in Sanskrit and Hindi languages.

Nava Ratn in Vikramaaditya's Court
It is believed that he had Nava Ratn (nine gems - nine best people) in his court. On the same pattern Emperor Akbar also had nine gems in his court. The names of the nine gems are found in the following beautiful Sanskrit verse. This verse appears in Jyotirvid Aabharan, which is supposed to be a work of the great poet and dramatist Kaalidaas but is in fact is a late forgery. This verse appears in the last chapter (Shlok 20 : Chapter XXII) of Jyotirvid Aabharan. That the great Kaalidaas is the author of Jyotirvid Aabharan is difficult to believe because Varaah Mihir, one of the nine gems listed in the verse, in his Panch Saiddhaantikaa refers to Aaryabhatt, who was born in 476 CE and wrote his Aaryabhatiyaa in 499 BC or a little later. Jyotirvid Aabharan is a later work of about twelfth century CE. So there might have been a very respected Vararuchi in the court of one King Vikram, but the identities of the particular Vararuchi (of Vikramaaditya's court) and the King Vikram are uncertain.

Dhanvantari kshapanak Amarasinh Shanku,  Vetaal Bhatt Ghatakarpar Kaalidaasaa |
Khyaato Varaah mihiro nupate sabhaayaa,  Ratnaani vai Vararuchirnav Vikramasyaa ||

The names of the nine gems and their traditional claims to fame are the following:
(1) Dhanvantari was a medical practitioner),
(2) Kshapanak was probably Siddhasen, a Jain monk, author of Dwatrinshik),
(3) Amar Sinh was the author of Amar Kosh, a thesaurus of Sanskrit,
(4) Shanku is little known,
(5) Vetaal Bhatt was a Maga Braahman who was known as the author of the 16-stanza Neeti Pradeep (the lamp of conduct) in tribute to Vikramaaditya,
(6) Ghatakarpara was the author of Ghatakarpar Kaavya in which a wife sends a message to her lover - reverse of Meghdoot,
(7) Kaalidaas was a renowned classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language,
(8) Varaah Mihir was a well-known astrologer and astronomer, and
(9) Vararuchi who was a great poet and grammarian.

Vikramaaditya Who Started an Era
The Hindu calendar which started in 57 BC was named after him and begins with the beginning of his rule. It is not clear that Vikramaaditya himself started this calendar or someone else did it and gave his name. Normally we follow "Christian era", taking 00 as Christ's death year. So before 00, the years are called BC or Before Christ, and after 00 the years are called AD or After Death (of Christ). Before British came to India this era was followed by Christians in West. But since they came here, we have also started following the same in everyday use. To keep our own records in India, such as marriage, auspicious dates etc, we follow "Shaalivaahan Shak Samvat". It started 78 years after Christian era. It takes the name of King Shaalivaahan who was a Shaakya. Only very great people can create era. Thus Shaalivaahan and Vikramaaditya are two great people who created era.

In fact, several kings have taken the name "Vikramaaditya" as their title. Chandra Gupt II was also called Chandra Gupt Vikramaaditya (375-415 BC).

About 850 years ago, "Chaalukya-Vikram" era was in vogue in Karnaatak state. King Vikramaaditya, the VIth, ascended the Karnaatak throne on 26th January, 1077 AD; so the Chaalukya-Vikram era starts from the same date. Karnaatak's history is very old, more than 2000 years old. Chaalukya dynasty was one of the greatest dynasties among the rulers in Karnaatak state. They came twice on the throne. First time their capital was Badaamee or Vaataapee. They ruled for 250 years and after they were defeated by Raashtrakoot of Maanyakhetaa. They came again and ruled for 225 years. Vikramaaditya, the VIth, belonged to this dynasty.

Literature about Vikramaaditya
(1) 15 chapters in Bhavishya Puraan.
(2) Kathaa Sarit Saagar, Brihat Kathaa, Vetaal Panchavinshati, Sinhaasan Batteesee.
(3) Saahasaank Charit in 3 volumes
(3) All genealogies of Paramaar kings which survive after burning by British.
(4) Literatures by Nava Ratn of Vikramaaditya. This system was copied by Akbar.
(5) Description of Vikramaaditya by Al-Biroonee, Abul Fazal and by all Persian historians of India & Persia like Farishtaa, Badauni. They were invaders but not forgerers of history like Oxford scholars whose Boden chair was set up for this purpose only.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/25/13