Kanishka I

Kanishka-I was the most power ruler of the Kushana Empire and is known for his military prowess. His main capital was Purushpura (Peshawar) and regional capitals were Taxila (Pakistan) , Begram (Afghanistan) and Mathura (India).

  • His date of accession is disputed. However, most sources agree that Kanishka was the founder of the Shaka Era of AD 78.
  • This has been mentioned as Saka kala or Saka Nripa kala, probably because he was thought to be a Shaka.
  • Under Kanishka, Kushana Empire reached its climax and it extended from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan to Mathura and Kashmir.
  • As per the Tibetan Sources, Kanishka is considered to have conflicted with the Pataliputra and Saket and had taken Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist Monk to Purushpura.
  • A city kanishkpur in Kashmir is also connected to Kanishka.
  • Kanishka conflicted with Chinese general of King Han Ho-ti, the emperor of Han Dynasty and defeated him in second attempt.
  • He is also known to have subjugated the rulers of Khotan, Yarkand etc. and is considered to have established a great kingdom only after the Mauryas in India.
  • He was a patron of Buddhism and convened the 4th Buddhist council in the Kundalvana of Kashmir (or may be in Jalandhar) in 78 AD.
  • This council was headed by Vasumitra and it marked the collection of Buddhist texts and engraving of the commentaries on Copper sheets.
  • Some scholars are of the view that the Abhidhama Mahavishasa was prepared in the 4th Buddhist council.
  • Some of the scholars in the Court of Kanishka were Parsva, Vasumitra, Asvaghosa, Nagarjuna, Charaka and Mathara.
  • Charaka has been called the Court Physician of Kanishka, though it is very much disputed.
  • Sushruta who wrote Sushruta Samhita has also been connected to Kanishka.

It was Kanishka’s time when Buddhism got divided between the Hinayana and Mahayana.

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