ancient indian history

Nandsa Pillar Inscription

  • Inscription number 149

Nandsa Sacrificial Pillar Inscription of the Malavas- Krita Year 282 ( =225 A.D.)
Provenance: Nandsa village, Sahara district. Rajasthan.
Malavas were ancient tribal communities of Punjab region.
Consequent to Alexander’s invasion, they migrated southwards to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Their power had gradually declined as a result of defeats against the western Satrapas during 2nd century CE. Present-day Gujarat, was also part of the Malava ruled country. Vidisha, was the capital of the Malavas, while Ujjain was the capital of Avanti kingdom. The inscriptions were issued to commemorate the Performance of the Vedic sacrifice. called Ekashashti yatra, by Srisoma, the head of the republican

state of the Malavas. His claim to have attained immense
prosperity and success through his own Prowess and bravery must have been based on his success in some
armed conflict. During the reign of Rudradaman 1, about 150 A.D, the sphere of Saka influence extended to
Bahawalpur, for in his Girnar (Junagarh) Inscription, Rudradaman 1, claims to have conquered Maru (Marwar)
Sindhu (i.e. Sind-Sagar Doab) and Sauvira (ie. Sindh)
and to have defeated the powerful Yaudhayas, who were
probably ocoupying at this Period, the country from Rohtak to Bahavalpur. The Małava homelands, in
Southern Rajasthan (Udaipur-Mewar region), remained
under saka control for about 50 years. Saka hold weakened durng the 15 years (181 to 196 A.D.) of
struggle for the Saka throne between Jivadaman and his uncle
Rudrasimha 1. The Malava chief Prabhagravardhana (A D. 180 to 200). the Grandfather of Srisoma,
must have played a leading zole in this stuggle. Presumably on the side of the winning faction and was
Conferred the title of Jayanartana, and in the process, gained considerable political power. Perhaps, a semi-
independent status.
It appears Srisona threw off
the saka yoke altogether after defeating either
Rudrasena 1 (A D 220-222) or more probably his brother
Singhadaman (A.D 222-23). The two brief reigns are indicative of. sudden
death in conflict of these saka rulers. The Present inscription was issued by Srisoma, only three years after the end of simhadaman’s rule. The
Ecashashtiratra sacrifice was probably initiated to celebrate the restoration of Malava prosperity.
According to the panchavimsa Brahmana, XXIV, 18, as a result of
this satra, the nature regains its original vigour and brilliance: and there ensues a period of all round prosperity.
2. The palaeographical charactedstics of these records are also found by and large in the Girnar Rock Inscription of Rudradaman- 1, dated in the (Saka) year 72 (=150 A.D.) and also in the Kushana Inscriptions of the second and third centuries A.D.
Script: Western Brahmi of the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D
Language: Sanskrit except the prakritised word kritahi in
inscription B.
References: AS. Atekar. Ep.lnd-. XCVII, pp252 ff,.
R.B. Pandeya. Historical and Literary Inscriptions, pp56.

Footnote A
1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind. XXIV,, between pp.264 and 265. The Pillar was erected as a yupa to commemorate the Perfomance of an Ekashashtiratra sacrifice by a chief of the republican Malava tribe. The two
Inscriptions A & B are practically identical in language and content. The inscriptions possibly the earlier of the two, is engraved vertically along
the pillar and B the later one, is engraved in horizontal, lines. evidently to facilitate reading.
2. This is the earliest Epigraphical reference to the Krita era, which has been identified with the Vikrama era.
3. The line after pratha, is restored from the text of the inscription below.
Footnote B
1. Read अवतार्य

2. An unnecessary stroke is engraved to the left of the vertical of ka, below the left side horizontel line.
3. The anuswara is surmounted with a semicircle. The orthographical Peculiarity is repeated several
times in this record.
4. The inscription B has the correct reading: etc र्पसडगै पुराण
5. The phrase seems to mean, Ishvaku-vat Prathite Rajarshi-
vamse, 1.e. (born) in the royal family as famous as the one of ikshvaku.
Inscription B
1. All the letters put within square brackets and with
an asterisk at the end have been restored conjecturally,
mainly with the help of the horizontal copy of the record found on the pillar.
2. Read अवतायैक
3. The orthographical peculiarity of surmounting anusvaras, with an inverted crescent continues in the B version of the inscription also.
English Translation of the inscription A

Succese ! On the full-moon day of (the month of Chaitra of the year, two hundred and eighty two. (282), in
the Krita era.
On the aforesaid (day) a yupa (i.e. a sacrificial pillar) has been ceremonially established on (his) great
tank that rivals (lit. censures) (the sacred tank of Pushkara and is like a bridge (made of his own virtuous
deeds (for enabling him to cross over to heaven across the
mythical river vaitarani), and which (tank) is crowded with
yupas (sacrificial pillars) (made of the wood) of holy trees very often scratched thoroughly with horns by exhilarated and furious bulls on the occasion of (or forming part of
the religious gifts of several hundred thousands of cows.
of (i.e. by) sri soma, the leader of sogis, the son of Jayasoma (and the grandson of Prabhagra. Vardhana,
the dancer at victory (Srisoma) who is born in the lineage of the Malavas, a lineage of sage-like kings as famous as that of Ishvaku who is experiencing manushyata (human existence) in the earth in real terms (lit. according to the real meaning of the word in no way different (i.e. inferior to) Manu by his extensive qualities, who is
ever detemined to follow the pious foot-steps of ancient sagely kings through activities, such as (construction) of
white (washed assembly halls, rest houses, tanks and wells,
temples, and (Performing sacrifices), making religious gifts,
being truthful and providing immense Protection to his subjects, who is totally free from air, who has ensured room
for himself in the worlds of Brahma, Indra. Prajapati, great sages and vishnu as a result of offering. on the sacrificial
ground to the Brahmanas, who are varietable Agni-vaisvanarus
i.e. sacrificial fires) oblations in the form of a torrent of wealth, which is like a torrent of flood of all the pleasures;
after having expanded his own successes in the form of great
Prosperity that accrued as if by magic from the Profusion
(Lit. wealth or richness) of his own actions, (and) after
having encompassed the ample space between the sky and the
earth with his unsurpassable fame on having assumed the
hereditory (Lit. coming down from his father grandfather etc.)
responsibilities of administration (lit administrative yoke):
and after (i.e. as a result of) having caused to descent down
to the country of the Malava republic the great Ekashashtiratra.

The names, Srisoma and Prabhagravardhana, have not
been deciphered with certainty. Sogis still live in Mewar as a caste group.
Note that three Malava chiefs, named here, bears any royal
feudatory or military titles, true to the republican traditions of the Malavas.
2. There is pun on the word manushya, which literally
means a descendant of Manu. The word is formed with
the suffix “yut” in the sense of descent.

  • 1. The purohita is called Agni-vaisvanara, in the Aitareva
    Brahmana, VIII. 25.
    The words used in the clause have
    a double entendre. Vasordhara is the technical name of the final oblation offered to Agnivaisvanara, at the
    end of the sacrifices, when he is made whole and entire.
    Agni is the Priest among the gods, and so the compound
    brahmanagnivaisvanara Would mean Agni-vaisvanaa who is
    Brahmana. Veso-dhara consisted of 401 ghi offerings made
    continuously to fire. They were so-called, when Agni receives them, he satisfies all the desires of
    the sacrificer. Vador-dhara also represented the
    consecration Ceremony of Agni as a king. it was therefore regarded as a kind of superior consecration
    ceremony for the royal sacrificer himself, more potent
    than the Rajasuya or the vajapeya.
    No wonder that King Srisoma was extra generous on the occasion, although
    according to the Purva-mimamsa, (X 2. 35)
    Explained by sabara as
    dakshina is not to be given on the occassion of sattara, as in sattra, the priests themselves are the sacrificers.
    The givers and takers being the same. Dakshina was therefore meaningless.
    2. The Ekashashtiratra satra
    i.e. a sacrificial session
    lasting sixty one nights, is the longest ever recorded in the inscriptions. The following constituent Sacrifices
    were offered in this session.
  • Sacrificial session (pleasant) like the sighting of the new moon and amounting to an immeasurable quantity of religious
    merit, by great exertion (lit. manliness) matching his great
    strength and qualities.
    1st day: prayaniya.
    2nd day: Chaturvimsa
    3rd to 20th day: Three Abalplava sacrifices, each of six days.
    21st to 26th day: Prishthya
    27th to 35th day: Mavaratra
    36th to 41st day: pratiloma Parishtya
    42nd to 47th day: Abhiplava
    48th day: Ayu
    49th day: Gau
    50th to 59th day: Dasaratra
    60th day: Mahavrata
    61st day: udayaniya
    For further details see, Kausitaki brahmana XXIV, 1-3, Aitareya Br. IV 10-16, Panchavimsa Br, XXIV, 18, Ketyayana Srauta Sutra, 25,18, 27-24, Sankhyana Srauta sutra IX,
    22 etc. Since a sattra can be performed only by Brahmanas,.
    who alone could be ritviks (Priests) and Yajamanas
    (sacrificers) (of Puva-mimsa, VI, 6, 18:
    In Kshatriya hero of this
    inscription ’caused it to be performed

Inscription number 150
Nandsa Fragnentary Pilar nc peion of
Mahasenapati Bhattisoma
Provenance: A pillare not far from the Sacrificial Pillar of the Malavas in the village, Nandsa, Sahara
distt, Udaypur, Rajasthan.
Script : Western Brahmi of the 2nd and 3rd centuries A. D.
Language: Sanskrit
References: A.S Altekar, Ep.Ind XXVII, pp256 ff, Inscription C.
From the facsimile in Ep.Ind. XXVII, facing pp.265, No letters are visible to the left of the first five lines and Altekar thinks, there were not any.
But as the lines 6 and 7 extend to the left as far as the edge along which the lightening stroke solit the
stone Pillar it is evident that the visible letters in all the seven lines belong to their end sections.
2. The turning of the curve or the medial matra u to the right is a peculiarity shared by this Inscription,
with the inscriptions. A and B Compare kupa in A 1.4 and B 1.10.
English Translation of the inscription
1. Whose
2. All the worlds
3. In his own country at kotitirtha
4. Nearby a salmali tree
5. In hermitage forest of the asceties
6. For the growth of family and lineage, stable with sons and grandsons
7. Of MahaSenapati Bhattisoma of the family of sogis.

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