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Annual Reports 1935-1944

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Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Volume 2, Part 2

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Early Gupta Inscriptions

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valuable information that he was a dvija, which usually means a Brāhmaṇa. Later Vākāṭaka inscriptions mention Vishṇuvṛiddha as the gōtra of the Vākāṭakas. How Vindhyaśakti I was related to the gṛihapati Vākāṭaka mentioned in an inscription at Amarāvatī we do not know; but it is not unlikely that like the Śaka Mahāsenāpati Māna, he also had previously occupied a position of power and vantage under the Satavahanas, which facilitated his rise to royal power.

...Scholars are not agreed about the original home of this Vindhyaśakti. The Purāṇic passage referred to above is supposed to indicate that he was a ruler of Vidiśā.1 This is not correct. The Purāṇas mention not Vindhyaśakti I, but his son Pravarasēna I (under the name Pravīra) in connection with the rulers of Vidiśā, because, as shown below, the latter annexed the kingdom of Purikā where a scion of the Nāga family of Vidiśa was ruling Vindhyaśakti’s home was probably situated in the Central Deccan not far from Vallūra, the original habitation of the ministerial family which faithfully served the Vākāṭakas for several generations. The Purāṇas mention two capitals Purikā and Chanakā of his son Pravarasēna I.2 Of these, Chanakā was probably the older capital from which Vindhyaśakti was ruling. It has not been identified.

...The Ajaṇṭā inscription highly glorifies Vindhyaśakti I. He is said to have augmented his power by fighting great battles. When enraged, he was irresistible. He had a large cavalry, by means of which he exacted submission from his enemies. We have no reliable information about the extent of his kingdom. His name is supposed to be a biruda, suggesting the extension of his kingdom to the Vindhyan region, but according to the Puranic account this was achieved not by him but by his son Pravarasāna I. We may, however, well believe that starting from his base in the Central Deccan he raided and occupied parts of Vidarbha. The Sanskrit and Prakrit charters of the Vākāṭakas omit Vindhyaśakti’s name and start the genealogy of the royal family invariably from his son Pravarasēna I. Again, no regal title is prefixed to his name even in the Ajaṇṭā inscription. From this it has been surmised that Vidhyaśakti I received no formal coronation.3 This is hardly convincing. The reason for the omission of his name seems to be that the real founder of Vākāṭaka power was not he, but his son Pravarasēna I, who greatly extended his dominion. The Ajaṇṭā inscription which mentions his name is in verse. It mentions no regal titles in connection with the names of other rulers also. So there is no reason to doubt that Vindhyaśakti carved out an independent kingdom for himself in ancient Vidarbha. He probably flourished in the period 250-270 A.C. In some Purāṇas he is credited with a reign of 96 years, but the period, if correct, may rather represent his long life.4

...Pravarasēna I, who succeeded Vindhyaśakti I, was the most renowned king of this dynasty. He extended his dominion in different directions. He carried his arms to the Narmadā in the north and annexed the kingdom of Purikā. The Purāṇas say that a king named Śiśuka, who was the daughter’s son of a Nāga king of Vidiśā, was ruling there. Pravarsēna deposed him and incorporated his kingdom into his own dominion. He then transferred his capital to Purikā. This city was situated somewhere at the foot of the Ṛikshavat or Sātpuḍā mountain.5 We have no definite knowledge about the other

1 N.H.I.P., p. 96.
2 D.K.A., p. 50. I adopt Dr. Jayaswal’s amendation भोक्ष्यते च समा: षष्‍टिं पुरिकां चनकां च वै ।
3 N.H.I.P., Vol. VI, p. 97.
4 Cf. षण्णवतिं भूत्वा पृथिवीं तुसमेष्यति in a Ms. of Vāyupurāṇa. D.K.A., p. 48.
5 Cf. Harivamṡa, Vishṇuparvan, 38, 22 त्रंध्क्षवन्तं समभितस्तीरे तत्र निरामये । निर्मिता सा पुरि राज्ञा पुरिका नाम नामत: ॥ Rikshavat is mentioned in the Vishṇupurāṇa as the source of the Tāpī, Payōshṇī and Nirvindhyā, and therefore corresponds to the Sātpuḍā mountain.

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