ancient indian history

Inscription of Gautamiputra satakarni

  • Inscription number 159
    Nasik Cave Inscription of Gautamiputra satakarni (106-130 A.D.)
    Regnal Year 18 ( =C. 124 A.D)
    Provenance: Nasik District, Maharashtra. On the east wall of the verandah in Cave Number. 3,
    under the ceiling.
    Script: Brahmi.
    Language: Prakrít.
    Refrences: Bhagwanlal Indraji Mumbai Gazette. XVI, pp-558 ff,;
    Buhler.Archeological Survey of western India.IV, pp-104 f,
    Number. 13: Senart Ep.Ind. VIII, pp.71, Number. 4,
    Luders’ list number 125 (for more references) : D.C. Sircar Sel.Inss, I,

According to the matsya Purana and the Vayu purana, Gautamiputra ruled for close to 21 years.

There are number of evidences which  suggest that the western Kshatrapas  expanded their empire at the expense of Satavahanas in the years preceding the reign of Gautamiputra Satakarni. But Gautamiputra revived the Satavahana power and defeated the shakas.

  This inscriptions states that his forces had emerged victorious in a fight against his enemy & brought the entire region under the empire of Satkarni. He grants special immunities to the residents of western Kakhati, which was earlier being controlled by Rishabhadatta.

The predecessors of Satakarni, was Shivasvati as per Bhagavata, Matsya and Vishnu Purana. While Vayu puran names Shivasvami, as his predecessor.

1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind., VIII.
Line 6 below records the issue of the copper plate, whose copy
was engraved on the Cave wall. The inscription is in unadvanced stage of decay and is hardly legible.
2. Vaijayanti in this context appears to be an adjective of तेना meaning victorious army’, referring to some
expedition led by the king, very probably the one against Rishabhadatta. Senart seems to be wrong in accepting the word as the name of a city. which he
identifies with Banavasi in North Kannara.
Footnote 2

1. Some read कटका
D.C. Sircar opines
(Sel.Inss, pp-198, n.4) This reading suggests that Gautamiputra Satakarni issued tne charter from Bena-
kataka बेनाकटकात .which place was evidently situated on a river called Bena.
In records, however the epithet स्वामिन
is found after the matronymic and
close to the name of the king.
It is therefore, better to take बेनाकटक – स्वामिन as an instance of Sakaparthivadi
Samasa to indicate ‘the lord now residing at Benakatakaa.
This Benakataka (as well as the river Bena) was situated in the Nasik region. The Bena, therefore can hardly be
identified with the Penganga or the wainganga. Note this interpretation alone explains why only here and in the
Nasik Cave inscription of Vasishthi- putra Pulumavi- Regnal Year 22 (see infra No. 166 ) the Satavalana king is refered to as lord of a particular place.
Records were generallyissued from the capital, which was not normally mentioned.
These two are unusual cases and hence the places find an explicit mention.
2. One nivarttana of land was about 4+3/4 , 3, 2 +1/4 or 2 acres
or 3/4 acres according to different authorities ( Ep.Ind. XXVIII, pp. 245).
It appears that the measure varied with
time and place.
Footnote 3

1. Read तेरसिकानं (=त्रैरश्मिकानां)
i.e. of the inhabitants of Trirasmi hill).
Read एतस च खेतस
2. अविय means भणित or उक्त
See the Desinamamala,
3. This date falls very near the last known date of Nahapana cf. the Jogaltembhi board of the latter’s
coins restruck by Satakarni (Rapson, B.M.C. pp. 1xxxviii-1xxxix) and Sel-Inss, I, pp.204, n.5.
4. It is followed by a swastika mark and the next inscription. e.g. of the regnal year 24 without break in the line.
Footnote 4
1. अमात्या देशा दिकायं -निर्वाहका: मन्त्रिणो व्यवहार -द्रष्टार इति भेद:

Ramavaman ‘s comentary on the Ramayana, I.7.4. But
sometimes this distinction is not observed and the word अमात्य includes mantrin as well.
2. Accepting senart ‘s interpretation. Sircar (Sel.Inss pp:197- 99, notes)
explains, cf. the Yaksha, named Ajakalaka in a Bharahut
inscription (Barua and Sinha, Bharahut, Inss. pp-67)
The field may have been named after the presiding Yaksha.
Note that Rishabadatta, son of Dinika and son-in-law of the Saka Kshatrapa, Nahapana of Kshatrapa dynasity,
and his wife Dakshamitra had earlier made several gifts in Govardhana (= Nasik) district including caves on
Trirasmi hill, and recorded them in their Nasik Cave Inscriptions. I however accept the interpretation of
Buhler and Bhagwan lal Indraji in my translation.
All minerals found in the land belonged to the king. cf. आकरेभ्य : सर्वंमादयात्
(Vishnu samhita, III, 35).
and आकरे लवणे शुल्के तरे नागवने तथा ! न्यसेदमात्यान्र्नपति स्वाप्तान् वा पूरूषान हितान !!
(Mahabharata, Santi..69.29).
Footnote 5
1. वि नी से वि नी means to govern or control सेविनीय is therefore government or control (by punishment)
स -दंडदशापराध
means, to govern or control of later records, referring to the power of punishing minor offences
transferred to the ne donee.
Senart translates not to be interfered with by the district police.
2. उपलक्षित may also signify marked as does लान्छित
in later records लान्छित itself appears to be the Prakrit form of लक्षित
and re-adopted in Sanskrit. महास्वामिक
may as well be the designation of a class of Officials.
English Translation of the inscription
Success !
From the camp of victory at (lit.of)
Govardhana of the conquering army. Sri Satakarni, son of Gautami. and lord of benakataka, commands Vishnupalita, the officer at Govardhana. In the village of western Kakhati, the
field enjoyed by Rishabhadatta till today – two hundred (200) nivartanas.
We bestow on these recluses of (i. e. residing in) Trirasmi (caves).
We also grant immunity to (in respect of) this field that it is not be entered (by royal officers) not to be interfered with
(by them) not to be dug for salt (on behalf of the king).
not subject to enforcement of laws by the state and (in brief) it is to enjoy all kinds of immunities. You are
required to) invest it with these immunities, and register
here, this immunisation of this field. Verbally ordered.

Recorded by Amatya Sivagupta and examined by the Great Lord. The (copper) plate (i.e. the deed) was delivered in the 18th year on the 1st day of the 2nd fortnight of the
rainy season. (Executed by Tapasa.)

Inscription number 160

Nasik Cave Inscription of Gautamiputra Satakarni
Regnal Year: 24 ( = c. 130 A D.)
Provenance: Nasik, Nasik District,. Maharashtra.
On the east wall of the veranda in Cave Number. 3. under the ceiling, separated in the continuous line
by a swastika symbol (from the earlier
inscription of the regnal year 18.
Script: Brahmi
Language: Prakrít.
Refrences: Buhler. Archeological survey of western India. IV pp.105 ff.
B.L Indra ji, Mumbai Gazette, XVI, pp-560 ff, Senart Ep.Ind.,VIII, pp-73. Number-5,. Luders List, number 1126, (for other references)
Sircar Sel.Inss , pp-200-1.
Footnote 1
1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind.. VIII,. Pl.II.
The record is in an advanced stage of decay and hardly legible.
This is also copied from a charter on plates. The later part is carelessly engraved.
2. Some read समक
Footnote 2
1. Some read समव
The word jeevsuta suggests
that the king was ill and dying and the queen and the queen-mother, who were in actual control had to assure the people that he was alive and well to safeguard the interests of the empire, against transitional disorders. But the king evidently had not survived illness.
Apparently this village stood on the eastem borders of western Kakhadi, mentioned in the earlier Inscriptions,
of the year 18. Apara-Kakhadi may as well, have been
the western section of Kakhadi.
3. The letter is indistinct. Some read व

Footnote 3
1. Drafting of an official document by a woman is interesting, though it was natural for the queen-mother
to utilise the services of the nearest attendant. Even the humble Palace Guard, that too a woman, was educated
speaks highly of the standard of literacy.
2. Read दता पटिका सव छरे
3. Some read पुज़ितिना
4. Inadvertantly repeated by the engraver.
Footnote 4
1. She may have been the superintendent of the Palace guards
2. Note that the registration took place in the first summer month, while the engraving on cave wall, took
place, nearly five months after that.
English Translation of the inscription

Success the king’s order to be handed over to syamaka, the officer at Govardhana. At the bidding of king Gautamiputra Satakarni and the chief queen (and) queen mother, whose son is living Syamaka, the officer at
Govardhana, shall be wished good health. and then shall be
told. We had earlier donated a field in the village Kakhati to recluse mendicants, living in tne cave-dwelling, a pious gift of ours, here on mount Trirasmi. (But this field is not tilled. nor is the village inhabited. Matters being
such, the royal field which is now our own property, on the boundary of the town of this field we grant to the recluse mendicants of Trirasami, one hundred 100-nivartanas of land and to that field we grant immunities forbidding
entry and interference (by royal officers) digging for salt (by the state) and enforcement of penal laws. (in short) it shall enjoy all kinds of immunities. Invest it, with these
immunities, and get the immunities of the field for it, registered here.
Verbally ordered, and the document written down by Lota, the door-keeper. Done (1.e. engraved) by
Sujivi on the 5th day of the 4th fortnight of the rainy season of the year 24. The deed was registered on the 10th day of
the 2nd fortnight of summer in the year 24.

It is evident from the inscriptions of the hindu kings that the charity services undertaken by the hindu kings that the human values of sanatana dharma were embedded in them. The pillars of Sanathana Dharma, or the permanent religion of God are ‘Sathyam’ (Truth), Dharma (right conduct), Shanti (peace), Prema (Love/compassion) and Ahimsa (nonviolence). Sanatna dharma is the real religion of God which is in existence since the creation of humans and will always exist.

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