Emperor Samudragupta (335-380 AD), the second ruler of the Gupta Dynasty, is known as the one who ushered in the Golden Age in India. Son of Chandragupta I, he was a benevolent ruler, great warrior and patron of arts.Perhaps the greatest king of the Gupta dynasty, his empire extended from, the Himalayas in the north to the river Narmada in the south and from the Brahmaputra River in the east to the Yamuna River in the west. His outstanding achievement was the political unification of most of India or Aryavarta into a formidable power, after which he assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja (The King of the Kings) by performing the Ashwamedha Yaga.

Samudragupta came into rulership at a time when India was fragmented into small states and kingdoms, which were constantly at loggerheads with one another. Samudragupta’s first task on being crowned was to wage war with each of these states and bring them under his suzerainty. An outstanding warrior with a benevolent heart, he showed great nobility towards all the kings he defeated, giving various tribal states autonomy under his protection. He forged great unity and peace through his able leadership and warfare. He brought peace and prosperity through war!

In Samudragupta’s kingdom, art and culture, music, and poetry flourished in the last fourteen years of his reign, during the season of peace he had forged through his season of war. He introduced a monetary system, minting seven different types of coins that exhibited fine quality of technical and sculptural finesse. His court was full of Poets and Scholars and he had a keen interest in music. and was probably an accomplished Lyrist (a musical instrument). His double tactics paved the way for the prosperous reign of his son, Chandragupta Vikramadiyta (380-413A.D.), earning it the title ‘the golden age of the Guptas’. To ensure that the next generation lives in harmony and peace is the prerogative, goal, aspiration and fight of the previous generation!

War & Peace are thus two sides of a coin, the coin of life & living, a coin we all indulge in unconsciously. No farmer has been able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, or sit under his tree to enjoy his leisure without first waging a war for it. He battles the elements of the earth, soil, weather, predators etc, before being able to gather in a harvest. No mother brings forth life, without first struggling through the process of birth, before she is able to gaze with calm devotion at her baby. No builder or engineer has ever been able to raise an edifice, or build tracks and roads without first grappling with digging holes, unearthing vegetation or other barriers to progress. No student has ever been able to rise to the heights of education and learning, unless and until he or she has struggled to stay away from sleep or carousing or even laziness. No man can ever hope to become an entrepreneur or businessman before combating discouragement, lack of resources or even loss of vitality. No doctor has ever been able to bring the peace of healing, unless and until he has worked against the ravages of disease and depression. There is no gain without at least a modicum of pain through tussle and conflict.

Warfare then, is not just nation states bashing one another up, but a striving to achieve, in all walks and parts of life in some form or another. The real wisdom and acumen rests in the ability to know when to do what – when to war and when to rest in peace. A look back at history will show us people who have lost, by relaxing when they should have been working; by being complacent when they should have been watchful; by sleeping when they should have been awake; and by thinking of peace when it was time to war. David, the beloved King of Israel, fell into adultery because he was loitering on his terrace while his troops battled earnestly to capture an enemy stronghold. Great statesmen and women, such as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and others knew just when to take the sword and when to extend the olive branch.

War and peace are, therefore, Siamese Twins that are part and parcel of the process of accomplishing anything. You cannot hope to achieve a target unless you are ruthless to everything that would hinder the forward movement of the task. You may not call it a war or battle, but nevertheless, focusing on a goal involves being radical against all that would harm or delay it.

Remember that the greatest Man of Peace, Jesus Christ, was also the One Who did not hesitate to wield the whip to overturn and clean the courts of the house of God, saving it from those who would contaminate it with corruption and greed! He vehemently opposed oppression and unrighteousness, never having any qualms in attacking and destroying the stand of those who made it their right to subject in the name of God. He Who gave His life a sacrifice to save all of humanity warred against all powers of destruction

The cross is the greatest sign of defense against darkness as well as the greatest banner of peace on earth and goodwill to all men!

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