No. 35 : PLATE XXXV p.322
MANDASOR INSCRIPTION OF KUMARA GUPTA (I) & BANDHUVARMAN:
THE (KRITA) YEARS 493 AND 529.
This inscription was first brought to notice of scholars in 1885 by Peter Peterson in the JBBRAS., Vol.XVI, pp.380-81, where he has given us a brief summary of its contents and discussed the significance of the date. It was, thereafter and for the first time, edited in full by J.F.Fleet in the Ind.Ant., Vol XV, and pp.194 ff. The credit, however, of discovering it goes to the latter scholar as the copyists he sent to Mandasor for taking impressions of the fragmentary pillar inscription1 of Yasodharman, discovered not only the duplicate copy of this pillar inscription2 but also of the record that is under consideration. The inscription was afterwards re-edited by Fleet in an amplified form in CII., Vol.III, 1888, pp.79 ff., and Plate XI. There were, however, many mistakes in Fleet’s reading and rendering of the text. Most of these were corrected by R.G. Bhandarkar in the BBRAS., Vol.XVII , Pt. II, pp 94 ff and some by Durgaprasad in Nos. 51-52 of the Prachina-lekha-mala published in the Kavyamala Series. The whole text and most of the translation were afterwards revised by G. Buhler in Die indischen Inscriften und das Alter der indischen Kunstpoesie, pp91-96 and pp.8 ff.
MANDASOR or more properly DASOR, is as already stated, the chief town of the Mandasor District of Madhya Pradesh. The inscription is engraved on a sand-stone slab which was originally built into a wall of the flight of steps leading to a shrine of Mahadeva on the river and consequently to the Mahadeva ghat called after that god. About the end of April 1905 I visited Mandasor and inspected the inscription which I then found was in an utterly neglected condition3. As no particular sanctity attached to it, I recommended the removal of the stone to some place of safety. The stone, however, was not removed from the place till M.B.Garde was appointed Superintendent of Archaeology of the Gwalior State. It is now in the Museum at Gwalior.
The inscription opens with three verses of mangala addressed to the SUN, the first and the third of which invoke the blessings of the divinity and the second and middle one of which offers obeisance to him. Verses 4-5 speak of the migration of a GUILD OF SILK-WEAVERS from Lata or Gujarat to Dasapura or Mandasor. Verses 6-13 give a word picture of Dasapura, its position in the world, its lakes and its edifices. Then follows a graphic description of the Guild and the different hobbies pursued by its different members (verses 14-20). Verse 21 describes the pre-eminence of the silk cloth manufactured by them and the next, the desire of the Guild to make some religious benefaction, having regard to the transitory nature of the world.
1 CII.,Vol.III,pp.149ff.and plate. 2 Ibid., pp.142ff.and plate. 3 PRAS.W.C.,for 1904-05, p. 63, para 84.
Verse 23 mentions KUMARAGUPTA(I) as the suzerain, and verses 24-29, BANDHUVARMAN, son of Visvavarman, as the ruler of Dasapura, during whose reigns the religious benefaction was carried out, namely, the BUILDING OF A TEMPLE OF THE SUN, which according to verse 30, looked like the crest-jewel of the western ward (paschima-pura) of Dasapura. This is followed by a poetic description of the Winter Season (verses 31-33) during which the temple was constructed.
The actual date of construction is, however, given in verses 34-35 as follows: “when four centuries, increased by ninety-three had elapsed, according to the reckoning of the Malavas….. on the blessed thirteenth day of the bright half of the month of Sahasya…”Thereafter we are told that when a considerable time had elapsed and some kings had passed away, “one part of the temple was shattered” (verse 36) apparently by lightning and the same Guild rebuilt it (verse37), “when five centuries of years, increased by twenty-nine years, had elapsed, and on the second lunar day of the bright fortnight of Tapasya”(verse 39), when the Spring had commenced, a description of which season is comprised in verses 40-41. This is followed by a wish that the temple may endure for ever (verse 43). And verse 44 which is the concluding verse tells us that VATSABHATTI not only composed the purva or the above ‘descriptive statement’ with care but was also in charge of the building and re-building of the temple first because he was ordered by the Guild to see the work through and secondly because he was a devotee of the Sun.
It will be seen from the above summary of the contents of the inscription that there are two dates specified here. One of these is 493 and the other 529. They are, of course, Krita years, which are identical with those of the Vikrama era. They are consequently equivalent to 437-38 A.D. and 473-74 A.D. respectively. The first is that of the original construction of the temple which thing occurred, we are told, when Kumaragupta (I) was the supreme ruler and Bandhuvarman the local ruler of Dasapura. This seems to be the natural sense of the stanzas referring to these princes. The other interpretations proposed by scholars have been considered below on p. 329, note 2. The second date is that of the re-building of the temple when part of it had been damaged, apparently, through lightning. But we have not been informed as to who the rulers were at that time. We are simply told that some other kings had passed away by that time. Of course, Kumaragupta I was then dead. His son, Ghatotkachagupta , who apparently was his immediate successor, had also passed away.And so Skandagupta also. This last was doubtless succeeded by Kumaragupta II. Whether he was actually living in Vikrama Year 529 is doubtful. Similar changes must have taken place in the succession also of the ruling family of Dasapura. Vatsabhatti is thus fully justified in saying that, from Vikrama year 493 to 529, kings other than Kumaragupta I and Bandhuvarman had passed away. He does not, however, mention who were actually ruling in 529, probably because it was a troublesome period of the Gupta sovereignty.
As regards the localities mentioned in this inscription, Lata represents the greater portion of modern Gujarat. According to Buhler1 and Bhagwanlal Indraji,2 it corresponds to the country between the Mahi and the Konkan or the Tapti. But Hultzsch3 maintained that it was that portion of Gujarat which intervened between the Tapti and the Sheri. The latter view is supported by the
Cambay Plates of Govinda IV4. The second locality mentioned in this record is Dasapura which is obviously identical with Mandasor. As stated elsewhere, the best explanation of the formation of the name Mandasor is that it is a composite name
1.Ind.Ant.Vol.V, p.145 2.B.G. Vol.I,Pt.I, p.7 3.Ind. Ant.,Vol. XIV, p.198 4. Ep. Ind. Vol. VII, p. 36
-3- p. 324
consisting of Man and Dasor which were originally lying side by side and of which Man has been completely wiped out of existence. The second of these, namely, Dasor is a regular modern derivative of the ancient Dasapura . And, in fact, in some bilingual sanads or warrants of more than two centuries ago, whereas the Persian draft gives Mandasor as the name of the place, the vernacular version preserves the old name Dasor, as J.F.Fleet has assured us. Again Dasapura has been mentioned not only by Varahamihira in Brihatsamhita (chapter XIV, verse 11-16), but also by Kalidasa in the Meghaduta (I.47). As to inscriptions, it is found as early as in those of the Nasik caves. It is mentioned in one of the records of Ushavadata (=Rishabhadatta), son-in-law of Mahakshatrapa Nahapana, along with the three big cities, Sorparaga, Govardhana and Bharukachchha, where he executed work of public utility. Possibly it was the capital of Nahapana also and was known as Minnagar1. Quite in keeping with this is the fact that there is a Brahmana caste called Dasora after Dasapura. Two more interesting details are supplied by our inscription about this ancient town. One is that it was encircled by two rivers. At present, however, one river only is known in the close neighbourhood of Mandasor, namely, the Siwana. Probably, the other river has either dried up or has been filled up with the ancient remains of the town. The other details about it mentioned in the inscription is the piece of information that the temple of the Sun built by the Guild was situated in the western pura or Ward of the town. The word here used is pura, which gives rise to the inference that Dasapura was so called because it consisted of dasa puras or ten wards. Fleet is, therefore, quite right in remarking that just as now the township includes from twelve to fifteen outlying hamlets or divisions, such as Kilchipur, Jankupura and so forth, so in ancient times, at any rate, when it was originally constituted, Dasapura included exactly ten (dasa) such hamlets (pura)2.
1. Ind.Ant. Vol.XLVII, p.78. [Dasapura is mentioned, along with Madhyam, in a sixth century A.D. inscription at Chitorgarh. Cf.Ep. Ind., Vol. XXXIV, pp.53 ff—Ed.]
2. CII., Vol. III, 1888, p. 79, Note 2.
Text in Sanskrit in pp. 324 to 327 is omitted here.
Line 1. Luck!
Verse 1. May that (Sun) Light-giver (bhaskara), the cause of the destruction and prosperity of the universe, protect you, who is worshipped by hosts of gods for fortitude (of mind); by the Siddhas, being desirous of supernatural powers; by the Yogins, who, being desirous of liberation, are occupied with the one end, namely, meditation, and have sensual attractions under subjection; and, with devotion, by sages, rich in rigorous austerities and who are powerful enough to curse or bless.
Verse 2. Obeisance to (the Sun) Generator (savitri), whom the Brahmana sages and others, exerting themselves, cannot fully comprehend though they are conversant with the knowledge of Truth; and who nourishes all the three worlds with (his) spreading rays; who when he has risen, is praised by Gandharvas, gods, Siddhas, Kinnaras and Naras8 and who grants the devotees (their ) desires.
Verse 3. May that (Sun) Illuminator (Vivasvan), whose ornament is exquisite beams, protect you, who, with (his) mass of rays dropping down from the wide and lofty summit of the Rising Mountain, every day looks intensely red like the cheeks of intoxicated women !
Verse 4-5. From the province of LATA, which is lovely in consequence of choice trees, bowed down with the weight of flowers, temples, assembly-halls and Viharas, (and) the mountains of which are covered with flora, there came to (the town of) of DASAPURA those (people) of well known craft, first with their mind full of regard (for it) and afterwards (bodily) in a band together with children and kinsfolk, disregarding the unceasing discomforts of journey and so forth, being manifestly carried away by the good qualities of the ruler of the country.
Verse 6. In course (of time) this (town) has become an excellent forehead beauty-mark of the Earth, which is adorned with thousands of mountains the rocks of which are besprinkled with the drops of rut trickling down from the sides of the temples of intoxicated elephants, and the ear-ornaments of which are the trees bending down with flowers.
Verse 7. (The town), where the lakes shine with waters, on the bank, being variegated with many flowers fallen from trees growing on the margins, are adorned with full-blown lotuses; (and) are full of ducks;
Verse 8. Where in some places the lakes shine with swans, become tawny with the pollen falling from the lotuses set in motion of the tremulous waves, and, in some, with water –lilies bent down with the weight of their filaments;
Verse 9. Where the woods are adorned, with lordly trees, bowed down with the burden of their flowers; --with the humming of the swarms of bees become bold enough through intoxication,--and with the women-folk of the town strolling unceasingly;
Verse 10. Where the buildings, with moving flags, full of women, intensely white, (and) extremely lofty, bear resemblance to the peaks of white clouds variegated with forked lightning;
Verse 11. And (where) other (buildings) resemble the lofty summits of Kailasa, with long terraces and rail mouldings1 resounding with the notes of music, with works in painting set up and adorned with waving plantain trees;
Verse 12. Where the buildings, being decorated with rows of terraces2 resembling lines of gods’ palaces (and) as pure as the rays of the full-moon, (appear) to have risen up as if by tearing open the earth;
Verse 13. Which (town) being enclosed by two charming rivers of tremulous waves, shines like the
of the God of Love, clasped in private by (his wives) Priti and Rati, possessed of ( ) breasts;
Verse 14. Which, with the Brahmanas who are endowed with truthfulness, forgiveness, self-control, quiescence, religious vows, purity, fortitude, study of Veda, proper conduct, modesty and understanding, and who are stores of knowledge and penance( and yet) free from conceit, shines like the sky with glowing planets;
Verse 15. Then having come in contact with constant meetings, and with cordiality augmenting day by day, (and) being honourably treated like sons by the kings, they lived in the town in joy and happiness;
Verse 16. Some are intensely attached to music (so) pleasing to the ear; others, being proud of (the authorship of ) a hundred excellent biographies, are conversant with wonderful tales; (others), filled with humility, are absorbed in excellent religious discourses; and others are able to say much that is pleasing, free from harshness, (and yet) salutary;
Verse 17. Some excel in their own religious rites; likewise by others, who were self-possessed, the science of (Vedic) astronomy was mastered; and others, valorous in battle even to-day forcibly cause harm to the enemies;
Verse 18. Likewise, others are intelligent, possessed of attractive figures, with renowned and long-extending lineages and adorned with deeds befitting (their) lineage; others, with the vow of truthfulness, are expert in (conferring) obligations on favourites, and are firm in friendship accompanied by a sense of trust;
Verse 19. Likewise, with others who have overcome attachment to worldly objects, who are disposed towards piety, who are gentle, who are of abundant inherent stuff, who are engaged on worldly affairs, who are the forehead-mark of their own clan, who have cast away passion, who are magnanimous-with such-like (members)and the guild shines gloriously;
Verse 20. Womankind, though saturated with youth and complexion (and) decorated with golden necklaces, betel leaves and flower-dressing, does not attain to transcendent beauty until she has put on a pair of silken garments;
Verse 21. By whom this whole surface of the earth has been adorned with silk cloth, agreeable to the touch, variegated with different colours and arrangement (of parts), (and) pleasing to the eye;
Verse 22. The mind of these has (turned) towards (spiritual) welfare, they having then reflected that the world, the human body and the accumulations of wealth are as very unsteady as the charming flower-sprout ear-ornaments of the Vidyadhara women, set in motion by the breezes;
Verse 23. While KUMARAGUPTA was ruling over the Earth, whose waist-girdle is pendulous with the waters of the four oceans, whose plump breasts are Sumeru and Kailasa (and) whose smiles are the beautiful and full-blown on the outskirts of the woods;
Verse 24. There was king Visvavarman, the protector (of men) who was equal to Sukra and Brihaspati in understanding, who was the ornament of the kings on earth (and) whose deeds were like those of Partha in battles;
Verse 25. Who was compassionate to the poor; who gave consolation to the helpless and the distressed classes; who was excessively full of tenderness; who was a protector of the forlorn; who was the wish-giving tree to the supplicants; and who granted freedom from fear to the frightened; and who was the friend of (his) subjects;
Verse 26, His son (was) king BANDHUVARMAN possessed of firmness and statesmanship’ beloved by (his) friends; a friend, as it were, to (his) people; who removed the afflictions of (his)
friends; the only skilful in destroying the haughty partisans of (his) enemies;
Verse 27. He is handsome, young, fit for battles, and possessed of modesty; a king though he is, he not accessible to such intoxicants as self-conceit and others; he shines like the incarnation of Erotic Sentiment, even when without decoration; in point of beauty he is as it were a second God of Love;
Verse 28. Even to-day, when the long-eyed beautiful women of (his) enemies, afflicted by the fierce calamity of widowhood, remember him, a tremor springs up through fright causing torture to (their) compact breasts.
Verse 29. While that same Bandhuvarman, a bull among kings, the magnanimous (and) the high-shouldered one, was protecting this (town) Dasapura which was abundantly prosperous, a lofty and peerless temple of the bright-rayed (Sun) was caused to be made by the WEAVERS OF SILK-CLOTH FORMED INTO A GUILD, WITH STORES OF WEALTH ACQUIRED THROUGH (THEIR) CRAFT;
Verse 30. (The temple) which has broad and lofty spires, which (thus) resembles a mountain, is pale-red like the mass of the rays of the moon just risen, and , being charming to the eye, shines like the tucked-in lovely crest-jewel of the western ward (of the town);
Verse 31. (In the season) which is pleasant in consequence of the interiors of the houses being crowded with young women (and) in consequence of the rays of the sun, (and) the warmth of fire, during which the fish lie deep in water and which is destitute of the enjoyments (caused by) the rays of the moon, flat
roofs of houses, sandal paste, palm-leaf fans, and garlands; and when the water-lilies are bitten by the frost;
Verse 32. In the season which is charming on account of the swarms of bees exhilarating with the juice of the full-blown flowers of the Rohr (and) priyangu trees and the jasmine creeper, when the solitary branches of myriads of the lavali creepers dance with the winds violently cold with particles of frost;
Verse 33. When the falling of frost and snow is derided b y the fast clasping of the massive, lovely and plump thighs, breasts and hips of the beloved women by young men, fallen into the power of sexual love;
Verses 34-35. When four centuries, increased by ninety-three, had elapsed, according to the reckoning of the Malavas, in the season when the massive breasts (of women) are worthy of enjoyment, on the blessed thirteenth day of the bright half of the month of Sahasya, this edifice was consecrated with the performance of auspicious ceremonies;
Verses 36-37. When considerable time had passed away and, one part of this (temple) was shattered; hence now, for the augmentation of their own fame was again renovated most munificently by the magnanimous guild, this whole edifice of the Sun.
Verse 38. Which is very lofty, burnished, as it were touching the sky with (its) attractive spires, (and) has become the receptacle of spotless rays of the moon and the sun at (their) rise;
Verse 39. When five centuries of years increased by twenty and nine years had elapsed , on the second lunar day of the bright fortnight of the charming month of Tapasya;
Verse 40. In the season when (Kamadeva), whose body is purified by Hara, displays (his) arrows, having verily attained to (his) identity, with the distinct and fresh bursting-forth of the flowers of the Asoka tree, the Ketaka, the Simduvara, the pendulous Atimuktaka creeper and the Madayantika;
Verse 41. In the season, when the solitary large branches of the Nagana are full of the music of the swarms of bees delighted with the drinking of honey, when the lovely and exuberant Rodhra (trees) are over strewn with flowers newly bursting forth;
Verse 42. As (is) the pure sky with the moon, the breast of Sarngin, indeed, with the Kaustubha jewel, so is this whole extensive tow n decorated with (this) best structure;
Verse 43. As long as Isa (Siva) bears a mass of tawny matted hair covered with the spotless digit of the moon, (and) as long as Sarngin (Vishnu) a garland of full-bloom lotus flowers clinging to (his) shoulders, so long may this stupendous structure remain eternal.
Verse 44. By VATSABHATTI was caused to be made this edifice of the Sun through the order of the guild and in consequence of (his) devotion (to the god), and was composed with care this detailed description;
Line 24. Hail to the composer, engraver, reader and listener! May there be luck!
[Extract taken from Vol.III Plate XXXV p.322 to 332 of CORPUS INSCRIPTIONUM INDICARUM.
This is made available to the readers by Dr. Uchida Norihiko and Sri O.S.Subramanian.15 Nov.2003.