No. 14.- PLATES OF THE TIME OF SASANKARAJA ;
BY E. HULTZSCH, PH.D.
These plates were received in February 1900 from Mr. H. D. Taylor, I.C.S., Acting Collector
of Gañjâm, in whose office they had been lying unclaimed. It is not known where they come
from. They will be deposited in the Madras Museum.
These are three copper-plates, the first of which bears writing on one side only, and the
other two on both sides. But the second side of the third plate is so much worn that I have
not been able to read the whole of it. The plates measure 5½ʺ in breadth and 2¼ʺ in height.
Their edges are slightly raised into rims for the protection of the writing. On the left side of
each plate a hole is bored for passing through a ring, which is 3¼ʺ in diameter and about ¼ʺ
thick, and which was cut by Mr. Venkayya on receipt of the plates. The ends of the ring are
secured in the base of an elliptical seal, which measure ʺ by 1⅜ʺ. In the depression of the seal
are in relief, a couchant bull facing the proper right, a vertical line across the breadth of the
seal, and at the bottom the legend Śrî-Sainyabhîtas[y*]a.
The alphabet is the ‘ acute-angled type with nail-heads,’ which forms the transition from
the Gupta to the Nâgarî alphabet.1 Two sings of interpunctuation are used, viz. a single
horizontal line (ll. 1, 24, 27) which corresponds to the single vertical line of other records, and
the usual double vertical line.─ As regards orthography, I would note that the upadhmânîya
occurs twice (ll. 5 and 17) and that b is throughout represented by the sign for v. In saṅhâra
(l. 16) the guttural nasal stands for the anusvâra ; in nṛi(tṛi)bhuvana (l. 17) the vowel ṛi takes the
place of the syllable ri ; and in saṁhâta (l. 5) h is an error for gh. The group ddy is simplified
into dy in udyôtita (l. 15), while t is doubled before r in śatattrayê (l. 2), mâtâpittrôḥ (l. 21)
and gôttra (l. 22).
The anusvâra is generally changed into the corresponding nasal before
consonants of the five first classes. Two cases of wrong saṁdhi are paradattâm=vâ (l. 27) and
ºdât=mahârâjaº (l. 8).─ The language of the inscription is Sanskṛit. The bulk of it is in
prose ; lines 24 to 29 contain four imprecatory verses ; and after them there seems to have been
a fifth verse of which I can read only the last word (l. 31). The Sanskṛit of the prose portion
is not very correct. Thus in line 8 f. the words priya-tanayô maharaja(ja)-Yaśôbhîtaḥ ought
to stand in the genitive case and the following pronoun tasya ought to be omitted ; in line 11
four words have to be transposed ; line 16 contains a compound in which two superfluous
synonyms are included ; and in line 21 f. we find arddhêṇa and ºpurassarêṇa for arthê and
The inscription is dated in the Gaupta year three hundred (l. 2), i.e. Gupta-Saṁvat 300 = A.D. 619-20, and during the reign of the Mahârâjâdhirâja Śaśâṅkarâja (l. 3).
This king is probably identical with Śaśâṅka, the king of Karṇasuvarṇa, who, according to
Hiuen Tsiang, murdered Râjyavardhana, the elder brother and predecessor of the great king
Harsha of Ṭhâṇêsar. In Bâṇa’s Harshacharita the slaying of Râjyavardhana is attributed to
the king of Gauḍa who, according to one manuscript of the Śrîharshacharita, was called
Narêndragupta, but who, according to the commentator on the Harshacharita, was named
Śaśâṅka. The translators of the Harshacharita very ingeniously find an allusion to king Śaśâṅka
in the word śaśâṅka-maṇḍalam. If the Śaśâṅka of the Si-yu-ki and of the Harshacharita is
 See Professor Bühler’s Indische Palæographic, § 23.
 Beal’s Buddhist Records of the Western Worlds, Vol. I. p. 210.
 Ep. Ind. Vol. I. p. 70.
 Bombay 1892, p. 195.
Ibid. p. 199, and Cowell and Thomas’ translation, p. x and p. 275.