An Introduction to Emperor Vikramaditiya and the Bhavisa Puran
Hinduism is a vast ocean and it has a deep philosophy. It also has tales of great emperors and sages as well men with supernatural powers. The tales are thrilling and many do have some proof, but some do not have any and have existed for centuries. One of the legendary kings who is much extolled in the ancient scriptures is Vikramaditya. Though there are many tales about this great emperor, yet there is no have no solid proof, yet we cannot dismiss them out of hand.
As per Hindu philosophy, Vikramaditya was a great king. He is held in great respect by all Hindus as a just and fair ruler and also as a man who ruled by “Dharma" that amorphous quality that means righteousness. Again what this righteousness is open to interpretation. as no clear-cut definition exists. "Dharma" for different people meant different things.Whatever it may be the Emperor Vikramaditya is the last word among Hindus of a just, great and secular king. He is supposed to have ruled with the city of Ujjain as his capital. Ujjain is among the holiest of Hindu cities and the life of a Hindu is incomplete in case he has not visited Ujjain for prayer during his lifetime.
As per popular myths, Vikramaditya ruled over a vast kingdom with Ujjain as his capital, yet this Vikramaditya is not identified in Indian history, though many kings assumed his title in India like Chandragupta II and Samrat Hemraj Tukaram also popularly called Hemu. In other words, history does not record any king having ruled from Ujjain by the name of Vikramaditya.
Despite no clinching evidence about this Vikramaditya, the fact is that he must have existed. The only place where this great emperor finds mention is in the Puranas, the ancient Hindu books of knowledge. In particular, the Bhavishya Puran specifically mentions about Vikramaditya and his kingdom in central India
Deciphering the Bhavishiya Puran
One of the most ancient books of Hinduism is a set of volumes known as the Puranas. Out of this one book called the Bhavishya Puran gives a forecast of the future. It also mentions the arrival of Muhammed and Issa Masih (Jesus Christ). This book does mention that a great king will rule in central India and his capital will be Ujjain. The book mentions that he will sit on a celestial throne and be a man of great wisdom and valor.
The Bhavishya Puran also mentions the name of the father of this king who is given the name of Vikramaditya. The extent of his empire is also delineated. This is the only reference to Vikramaditya. Obviously, such an emperor must have existed, but as records of that period are scanty, the exact details of Vikramaditya are unknown except those which have passed from word to mouth and can be termed fables.
However, a visit to Ujjain can be an interesting revelation as the tour guide will show you a throne close to the banks of the river Narmada. He will tell you that this is the throne of Vikramaditya. Nobody has done any carbon dating test to find out how old this throne is, but it appears to be pretty old and is now in decay.
The Bhavishya Puran says Vikramaditya was a great warrior and man of infinite wisdom and the populace loved him. Such noble king is certainly within the realms of reality. going by the period mentioned in the Bhavishya Puran it is possible that this king reigned between 70 BC and 15 AD. He died at the age of 85.
Myths and Legends
The name Emperor Vikramaditya is associated with some special tales that show his wisdom in encounters with a Vetala, a superhuman creature from the netherworld. The tales which encompass a volume of 25 stories relate the adventures of Vikramaditya and the Vetala. The apparition asks many tricky questions to Vikramaditya and the noble king answers each of them correctly. These tales are thrilling and have come down from centuries. In particular, they are a great source of entertainment for children and many comics with these tales are published.
There is another set of 32 tales that have the throne of Vikramaditya as the central theme. These stories relate the effort of a Raja Bhoj to climb up to the throne of Vikramaditya which had 32 steps. On each step sat a lovely maiden, who would not allow Raja Bhoj to climb up. Ultimately Bhoj does sit on the throne which flies into heavens.
These myths and tales have come down from ancient times. It is obvious that they center on Vikramaditya, who certainly was a real character. Perhaps at later date, more information on this legendary king will emerge. These tales bring out the inherent spiritual character of Hinduism and are in its own way an absolute delight