Kanishka: The Kushan Dynasty
Kanishka was the most powerful ruler of the Kushana Empire. The capital of his empire was Purushpura (Peshawar). Under his rule, Kushana Empire extended from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan to Mathura and Kashmir. Kanishka was the successor of Vima Kadphises, as demonstrated by an impressive genealogy of the Kushan kings, known as the Rabatak inscription.
Extension of His Empire:
Kanishka's empire was certainly vast. It extended from southern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, north of the Amu Darya (Oxus) in the north west to Pakistan and Northern India, as far as Mathura in the south east (the Rabatak inscription even claims he held Pataliputra and Sri Champa), and his territory also included Kashmir, where there was a town Kanishkapur, named after him not far from the Baramula Pass and which still contains the base of a large stupa.
Some important facts related to Kanishka are as following:
• It was during Kanishka’s reign that Buddhism was divided into Mahayana and Hinayana.
• He was the founder of the Shaka Era of A.D. 78.
• He had invaded Patliputra and had taken the Buddhist monk Asvaghosa to Purushpura.
• Charaka and Sushruta were in the court of Kanishka.
• Kanishka was a patron of Buddhism and he called the 4th Buddhist council in the Kundalvana of Kashmir in 78 AD.
• The council was chaired by Vasumitra and during this council the collection of Buddhist texts took place and the commentaries were engraved on copper sheets.
• The scholars who resided in Kanishka’s court were Vasumitra, Asvaghosa, Nagarjun, Charaka and Parsva.
• Kanishka had fought against King Han Ho-ti who was the king of Han dynasty of China. Kanishka defeated the Chinese king in the second attempt.