How Did Ancient Indians Evaluate Emperor Taizong of Tang
Hieun-Tsang, also called the Tang Monk, went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures and spent more than ten years learning in India. He attracted a king’s attention in North India， who was Siladitya, founder of Harsha Dynasty of North India. Siladitya held a grand welcoming ceremony for Hieun-Tsang in the capital Sankisa in 642 AD. They had a positive interaction and talk.
At the moment, China was in the famous Zhenguan period. As information exchange existed despite plenty of snow mountains and deserts between ancient India and China, Siladitya talked about what he knew about the Tang Dynasty: “I heard that your emperor was called Prince of Qin.
He was very outstanding at young age and became wise and talented when growing up. Previously, the nation was in an extreme turmoil and wars were frequent, leaving the nation and people in a miserable situation. Your Prince of Qin owned the great ambition of saving the common lives and building a peaceful country and finally realized it.
His cultural education and graces spread at home and abroad, attracting neighboring countries’ admiration and kowtowing to the Grand Tang. We have heard praises of him long time ago. Are they all true? And is the Grand Tang you talked about the country of Prince of Qin?”
Siladitya’s words showed us the true situation of the information flow between East Asia and South Asia, and he was aware of some political and military conditions of Sui and Tang Dynasties.
Of course, he didn’t know more about Li Shimin who was not Prince of Qin anymore and had become the emperor of Tang Dynasty due to the limitations in methods of communication.
Actually, Siladitya was also a king of great talent and bold vision，just like Li Shimin. As the Chinese old saying goes, a hero will, of course, admire anther hero. When Siladitya talked about Li Shimin, he had an amiable feeling. And we also know that they both frequently sent ambassadors for interaction later.
Hearing what Siladitya said, the Tang Monk replied, “The truth is that our country is called the Grand Tang, and our emperor was Prince of Qin before he succeeded to the throne of the Emperor.”
After this meeting, Siladitya invited Tang Monk to ride an elephant to cruise the India Peninsula, leaving us a much-told story.