Laxmi & Saraswati

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 19 22:16:55 UTC 1998

Re: Laxmi & Saraswati

"The coins of Kumaaragupta bear out this estimate of
the importance and creativity of his reign. He continued
with certain modifications, four types of his father, and
revived four discontinued earlier types. These last
suggest ... deliberately invoking the period of greatest
Gupta glory in the fourth century. There were certain
innovations as well. For example, the KArttikeya type,
with the war god seated frontally upon his peacock vehicle,
refers clearly to KumAragupta's own name. This theme is
echoed in several other coin types that gratuitously
include a peacock on the reverse."
(p. 64, The Art of Gupta India, J. G. Williams, Princeton UP, 1982)

KumAragupta (=Kaarttikeya in Hindu pantheon) named his
crown prince and successor, Skandagupta.

He issued an inscription at JunAgaDh inscription declaring
that LakSmI selected him above "the sons of Kings".
(J. F. Fleet, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III,
2nd edition, 1963)

In North Indian history, KumAragupta is one of the few Kings
interested in KumAra cult. (Though KumAra is present
in Indus valley civilization (cf. I. Mahadevan, A. Parpola))

So, I would think your coin represents Laxmi feeding (protecting?)
Peacock (Kumaaragupta symbolically?), rather than Sarasvati
feeding her vAhana.

With kind regards,
N. Ganesan

I have an ancient gold coin minted by great Gupta emperor, Kumargupta
which depicts a goddess feeding a peacock. All the gupta emperors
minted coins showing Laxmi sitting on lotus. But this coin seems
to be totally different from rest of them. I have a feeling that perhaps
Kumargupta tried to mint coins showing Saraswati instead Laxmi
which many of the scholars simply considering `Laxmi feeding

I wrote earlier:

Kalidasa`s epic heroines, princesses have pets -
does or peacocks. Would this be some thing like that.

May be Kumaragupta shows that Laxmi (or Sarasvati?)
protects him. Kumara Karthikeya has peacock as the

N. Ganesan

Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list