Let’s read the story of Chandragupta II.
The legends of king Vikramaditya almost seem out of a fictional book. For most of the time, historians even considered him a mythological character. But a recent development in the works of Kalidas had made certain that Vikramaditya was another name for Chandragupta the second.
Chandragupta the second was born to the great king Samudragupta. He was named after his Grandfather, Chandragupta the first. Once Chandragupta the second became a king he decided to take up another name, Vikramaditya.
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Vikramaditya became a popular folklore hero. He was the one who had done it all. He had fought the Gods, had impeccable principles, and dealt with otherworldly powers. All of this probably started with Kalidasa. Vikramaditya, like his father, continued keeping creative artists as ministers in his court. One of these artists was the legendary poet and dramatist Kalidas. His dramas became popular all around the nation. The main character in his dramas was the king named Vikramaditya. Over the centuries, the name Vikramaditya became a brand.
One of the most popular folklore is that of Vikram and Baitaal. Baitaal was a supernatural being who lived deep in the forest. He possessed all the worldly knowledge. Vikramaditya wanted to ask him some questions and hence went seeking him. He found Baitaal and persuaded him to come along. Baitaal hopped onto the back of Vikramaditya. But he had a certain condition to do so. King Vikramaditya was not supposed to utter a single word until his journey back to his kingdom was complete.
But Betaal was as clever as they come. He would start by narrating a very interesting story. Vikramaditya would be transfixed by the story. Then Betaal would stop telling the story before the climax. And unconsciously Vikramaditya would ask him for the ending and Betaal would flee back.
There are a series of such stories that Baitaal tells Vikramaditya. Over the centuries people have contributed to this series, creating a massive collection of Vikram-Betaal stories.
Another famous folklore is that of Vikramaditya’s throne called ‘Singhasan Batteesi’. The throne was called so because of the belief that Vikramaditya had captured 32 angels in form of statues. These statues would recite 32 different stories of Vikramaditya to whoever sat on the throne. These stories were meant to guide a king in ruling his kingdom.
The real-world contribution of King Vikramaditya is as big as his role in folklore and fiction. His main field of work was spirituality and religion. Vikramaditya played a crucial role in the upliftment of Hinduism. He started the glorification process of holy sites like Ayodhya and Banaras.
Many believed that the majority of ghats in Banaras is the work of Vikramaditya. He also rebuilt and beautified the Jagganath temple of Puri. Vikramaditya also led to a Brahminifiaction movement. For all the new temples, he needed more Brahmins. So he, through his power as a king, made many new Brahmin classes.
Vikramaditya inherited the tough job of controlling one of the largest kingdoms from his father the Great Samudragupta. And he was able to do so with help of his solid values, unshakable principles, and effective work. This is the reason he is not only considered a great king of history but an ideal example of what a leader should be like. The name Vikramaditya has over time become synonymous with a good king.