Topic outline

    • Traders, Kings and Pilgrims

      Q40. Who was Gautamiputra Shri Satakarni? How did we come to know about him?

      Ans. The most important ruler of the Satavahanas was Gautamiputra Shri Satakarni. We know about him from an inscription composed by his mother, Gautami Balashri.


      Q41. What is Bhakti? Who could follow Bhakti?

      Ans. Bhakti is generally understood as a person’s devotion to his or her chosen deity. Anybody, whether rich or poor, belonging to the so-called ‘high’ or ‘low’ castes, man or woman, could follow the path of Bhakti.


      Q42. Why was silk so expensive?

      Ans. It was very expensive, as it had to be brought all the way from China, along dangerous roads, through mountains and deserts. People living along the route often demanded payments for allowing traders to pass through.

      Q43. What were the main features of Bhakti?

      Ans. Main features of Bhakti

                           i.        Those who followed the system of Bhakti emphasised devotion and individual worship of a god or goddess, rather than the performance of elaborate sacrifices.

                           ii.        According to this system of belief, if a devotee worships the chosen deity with a pure heart, the deity will appear in the form in which he or she may desire.


      Q44. Write about the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims.

      Ans. The best-known of these are the Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Fa Xian, who came to the subcontinent about 1600 years ago, Xuan Zang (who came around 1400 years ago) and I-Qing, who came about 50 years after Xuan Zang. They came to visit places associated with the life of the Buddha as well as famous monasteries. Each of these pilgrims left an account of his journey.


      Q45. What kinds of evidence do historians use to find out about trade and trade routes?

      Ans. Fine pottery, especially bowls and plates, were found from several archaeological sites throughout the subcontinent. Traders may have carried them from the places where they were made, to sell them at other places.

      South India was famous for gold, spices, especially pepper, and precious stones. Pepper was particularly valued in the Roman Empire, so much so that it was known as black gold. So, traders carried many of these goods to Rome in ships, across the sea, and by land in caravans. There must have been quite a lot of trade as many Roman gold coins have been found in south India.

      Q46. How did Buddhism grow during Kushana dynasty?

      Ans. Buddhism during Kushana dynasty

                                i.        The most famous Kushana ruler was Kanishka, who ruled around 1900 years ago.

                               ii.        He organized a Buddhist council, where scholars met and discussed important matters.

                              iii.        Ashvaghosha, a poet who composed a biography of the Buddha, the Buddhacharita, lived in his court.

                              iv.        A new form of Buddhism, known as Mahayana Buddhism, developed.

                                v.        The worship of Bodhisattvas became very popular, and spread throughout Central Asia, China, and later to Korea and Japan.


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