THE KṚITA ERA
gata-vatsara-śataiḥ dvādaśaiś=cha shaṭviṁśa-pūrvakaiḥ,1 that is, “with 1226 years elapsed from the
Mālava lord (or lords)”. This corresponds to a Gwalior inscription dated ēkādaśasv=atītēshu
saṁvatsara-śatēshu cha ēkōnapañchāśati cha gatēshv=advē(bdē)shu Vikramāt // Pañchāśē ch=Āśvinē
māsē kṛishṇa-pakshē. . . .aṁkatō=pi 1150 // Āśvina-bahula-paṁchamyāṁ,2 “When eleven hundred
years had elapsed, and when (also) forty-nine years had gone by, since Vikrama, . . . . again
in figures, in 1150 etc. etc.” This shows that the years were counted since the passing away of
Vikrama. Similarly, Mālavēśa-gata-vatsara-śataiḥ of the Mēnālgaḍh record must be interpreted
to mean “with 1226 years gone by since the Mālava lord.” On the other hand, the Kaṇaswā
inscription has the following: saṁvatsara-śatair=yātaiḥ sa-paṁchanavaty-arggalaiḥ saptabhir=
mMālavēśānāṁ, “when seven hundred and ninety-five years of the Mālava lords had gone by.”3
This indicates that the years belonged to the era started and used by the Mālava lords and not
commencing with the demise of the Mālava lord as the Mēnālgaḍh inscription clearly implies.
The tradition referred to in the Kaṇaswā record is supported by the Mandasōr stone inscription4 of Prabhākara, which, in verse 13 has: “When, in course (of time), there had elapsed a
number of years, viȥ. five centuries increased by eight multiplied by three (i.e., 524), indicative
of the fame of Mālava lineage, . . . .” This clearly shows that the year 524 pertained to the era
originated by some Mālava dynasty. This was also the case with the Vikrama era.
pointed out that according to one tradition this era was founded to commemorate the passing
away of Vikrama. But there was also another tradition according to which the era was founded
by Vikrama or Vikramāditya himself. Thus, we have the copper-plate grants of the Chaulukya
kings, Bhīmadēva and Tribhuvanapāladēva, containing various dates described as Śrīmad--Vikramādityōtpādita-saṁvatsara.5 As these two traditions are in conflict with each other and are
found current both in connection with Mālava-kāla and Vikrama-kāla, the conclusion is irresistible that the real origin of the Saṁvat era has to be sought for elsewhere. Nay, there is a
third tradition in regard to the Mālava era which gives a clue to its genuine origin. Two of the
inscriptions bearing on this point were included in the first edition of this volume and have
already been noticed by Kielhorn. They both come from Mandasōr.6 Of these, the earlier one
contains two dates, the first of which is expressed in the words: Mālavānām gaṇa-sthityā yātē
śata-chatushṭayē tri-navaty-adhikē=bdānām . . . . Though the credit of discovering the inscriptions
certainly goes to Fleet, the late P. Peterson was the first to publish this date and demonstrate
that it was a years of the Saṁvat era. The latter translates it as follows: “when four hundred and
ninety-three years from the establishment (in the country?) of the tribes of Mālavas had
passed away.”7 Fleet’s rendering of the verse is as follows: “when, by (the reckoning from) the
tribal constitution of the Mālavas, four centuries of years, increased by ninetythree had elapsed
. . . .”8 Soon thereafter, another inscription from Mandasōr was discovered by Fleet and published, giving the date in the words:
Pañchasu śatēshu śaradāṁ yātēshv=ēkānna-navati-sahitēshu / Mālava-gaṇa-sthiti-vaśāt. . . . The
last phrase Fleet translated as “from (the establishment of ) the supremacy of the tribal constitution of the Mālavas”9, adding in a footnote: “but it is very difficult to find a really satisfactory
meaning” for the word vaśāt in the passage. Fleet, no doubt, recognised the difficulty, but was
1 D. R. Bhandarkar: A List of the Inscriptions of Northern India, No. 346.
2 Ind. Ant., Vol. XV, p. 41, verses 107-08.
3 Ibid., Vol. XIX, p. 59.
4 D. R. Bhandarkar, A List of the Inscriptions of Northern India, No. 7.
5 Ibid., Nos. 438, 451, 481, 486, 490, 526, 527 and 534.
6 CII., Vol. III, 1888, Nos. 18 and 35.
7 JBBRAS., Vol. XVI, p. 381.
8 Ind. Ant., Vol. XV, p. 201; CII., Vol. III, 1888, p. 87.
9 Ind. Ant., Vol. XV, p. 228; CII., Vol. III, p. 158.