THE GUPTA INSCRIPTIONS
place named Airikiṇa, the town of his own district,4 (the virtuous one) has set up (here a
temple of Janārdana) for augmenting his own glory.1
(Verse 8) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . when the king said . . . .
(The rest of the inscription is entirely broken away and lost.)
No: 3 : PLATE III
NĀLANDĀ COPPER-PLATE INSCRIPTION OF SAMUDRAGUPTA :
THE YEAR 5
This plate was unearthed at Nālandā in 1927-28 in Monastery Site No. 1, near the
copperplate of Dēvapāla. In 1935 it was transferred to the Archaeological Section of the Indian
Museum, Calcutta, where it is at present deposited. A preliminary note on it was published by
Hirananda Sastri.2 He was good enough to send me a photo and an estampage of the same
to enable me to edit it in the Epigraphia Indica. But on examining the same carefully I found
that I could not agree with my friend that this was a fabrication. Nor could I agree with J.F.
Fleet that the sister Gayā Plate (No. 4 below) of the same king, namely, Samudragupta,
was a spurious one. I, therefore, made the following remark: “Like No. 1540, Sastri thinks this
also to be fabricated. But one ungrammatical clue, which is common to both, is not enough
to stamp either as spurious. On the other hand, the alphabet of this plate is really of the time
of Samudragupta, though that of No. 1540 is of the 8th century”.3 As this inscription was
to be finally published in that journal, I was collecting further information on the point. This
was a laborious task involving some amount of thinking and some expenditure of time, when I
was agreeably surprised to find that the record had been published by A.Ghosh.4 Mr.Ghosh
frankly admits that in deciphering the text he had received much valuable help from N.P.
Chakravarti, then Government Epigraphist for India. He also tells us, and quiet correctly as
I knew beforehand, that some portions were more legible before that plate was chemically
treated. Mr. Ghosh was soon followed by Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sircar with a note printed
bhōgika and bhōgapati. It therefore seems natural to take the first to mean ‘a zemindar’ and the second, ‘the head of a
bhōga,’ Precisely the same is the case with the Sarsavaṇī plates of the early Kalachuri Buddharāja where also the
terms bhōgika, bhōga and bhōgapati are found in lines 18, 19 and 24 respectively in exactly the same senses (ibid.,
Vol. VI, p. 298). Of these, line 19 has Bharukachchha-vishay-āntarggata-Gōrajjā-bhōgē Bṛihannārikā-pratyāsanna-Kumāri-vaḍaō ēsha grāmaḥ. This clearly shows that in Gujarāt and in the time of the early Kalachuris bhōga as a territorial
unit was smaller in area than vishaya. This agrees with the fact that in the Khalimpur plates of the Pāla king
Dharmapāla bhōgapati is placed between vishayapati and shashṭhādhikṛita (ibid. Vol. IV, p. 249, line 44), and that
in the Pāṇḍukēśvar plate of Lalitaśūra, bhōgapati ranks after vishayapati (Ind. Ant., Vol. XXV, p. 179, line 13).
It will thus be seen that bhōgika by itself means ‘a zemindar’ and is not identical with bhōgapati. Nevertheless, bhōgika is distinguished from Bhōgika-pāla or Bhōgika-pālaka who apparently is an officer and is the same as bhōgapati (Ep.
Ind., Vol. II, p. 21, line 9 and p. 23, line 4, Vol. V, p. 41, No. II, line 27.) Now, in the inscription which we are
dealing with, bhōga appears to have been employed to denote some territorial division. But whether it is a vishaya or a sub-division of vishaya it is difficult to decide. It is, however, worthy of note that, in line 7 of Ēraṇ Stone Boar
Incription of Tōramāṇa (CII., Vol. III, 1888 No. 36, pp. 158 ff.), Airikiṇa is mentioned as the name of a vishaya.
It is quite possible that the bhōga of the inscription under review has been used synonymously with the vishaya figuring in the inscription of Tōramāṇa.
1 “The lacunae in this verse,” says Fleet, “render it impossible to say whether here, and below, sva, ‘his own’
refers to Samudragupta, or to some feudatory of his, who may have been mentioned here.” But the lacunae can
very well be filled up as shown in the footnotes on lines 25 and 26 of the text so as also to throw light on the object
of the inscription and bring it in conformity with Cunningham’s suggestion that the inscribed stone was originally’
attached to some temple which enshrined the colossal Vishṇu found in the ruins of Ēraṇ (p. 221 above).
2 A.R.ASI., 1927-28, P. 138.
3 A list of the Inscriptions of Northern India., p. 290, note 1.
4 Ep. Ind., Vol. XXV, pp. 50 ff.