India’s social and political life. The Graeco-
underwent a profound transformation and the Mahayana doctrine radiated to
China by way of Turkestan.
The Gargi Samhita, the Mahabhashya of Patanjali, the Divyavadana, the
Malavikagnimitra of Kalidasa and the Harshacharita of Bana furnish many
details about the sungas. The later Sunga history is brightened by inscriptions
from Ayodhya, Vidisa (modem Bhilsa) and Bharhut and the coins found at
Kausambi (modern Kosam), Ayodhya, Ahichchhatra and Mathura.
    The success of Pushyamitra’s coup d’etat was due, in large measure, to
popular disaffection which enfeebled the last of the Mauryas (Brihadhata)
when he could not protect the empire against the Greek onslaught. According
to the Yuga Parana of Gargi Samhita the Greeks overran several parts of
north India and reached Pataliputra. This invasion might have taken place
under Demetrius when Pushyamitra was yet a general of the Mauryas. The
Sungas are usually regarded as Brahmins belonging to the Bharadvaja clan.
    Pushyamitra was succeeded by his son Agnimitra. He is the hero of
Kalidasa’s Malavikagnimitra. Agnimitra was succeeded by Sujyeshtha,
identical with Jethamitra of the coins. After him came Agnimitra’s son,
Vasumitra, who was soon murdered by Muladeva of Kosala.
    Vasumitra was succeeded by Vajramitra. His unimportant reign was
followed by that of Bhagavata, who is identical with king Bhagabadra of the
Besnagar Pillar Inscription. It was to his court that Heliodorous was deputed
as an ambassador by the Greek king Antialcidas. It not only shows that the
Sungas maintained a close friendship with the Indo-Greek kings, but also
demonstrates the vitality of the Indian culture when Heliodorus succumbed to
the Bhagavata religion. Bhagavata enjoyed a long reign and was succeeded
by Devabhuti, who was however overthrown by his Brahmin minister
Vasudeva. This brought about the downfall of the Sunga dynasty.
    The Sunga period witnessed the revival of Brahmanism and the growing
importance of the Bhagavata religion. The great grammarian, Patanjali, born
at Gonarda in central India, was a contemporary of Pushyamitra. The Sunga
period also witnessed a new form of art which is clearly distinct from
Mauryan art. The reliefs of Bharhut are a striking commentary on