Information on Fa-Hien (Fabian, Fa-Hsien) in India

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Information on Fa-Hien (Fabian, Fa-Hsien) in India


Fa-Hien (also Faxian, Fa-hsien) is the famous Chinese pilgrim who visited India during the rule of Chandra Gupta II.

Fa-Hien started from China in 399 A.D. and covering all the way through the deserts came up to Peshawar. Here he changed his way and went South East covering Taxila, Mathura, Kanauj, Kosambi, Kashi, Kusinara, Saraswati, Kapilvastu, Vaishali, Patliputra and Nalanda. He went to Bengal and from there he took a sea voyage for his journey back home visiting on the way Ceylone and Java.

He took 15 years in the whole of his journey and reached China in 414. Out of these 15 years, he spent 7 years in India alone. For three years, he was in Patliputra, learning Sanskrit and writing his memoirs of the journey.

Fa-Hien was a pilgrim and was a devout Buddhist. He was interested only in spiritualism pertaining to his own creed and he did not bother to note down social or political conditions of the time. It is extremely surprising that he does not even mention the name of Chandra Gupta Vikramadiya. All that he has written about the social, economic or political conditions of the time is simply a passing remark and as such it cannot be taken to be true picture of the time.

Relying upon his version, however, one can say that the people were prosperous and peace-loving. The Government was efficient and there were very mild punishments. There was no capital punishment and for crimes of rebellion. The king has been described as Rajya Rishi in one of the inscriptions and it indicates that he had saintly qualities. The system of administration was almost the same as those of the Mauryas.

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