ancient indian history


Inscription number 68.
Paharpur Copper-plate Inscription of the Gupta Year 159 ( = 479 A. D.)
Provenance: Paharpur, Rajshahi District, Bangla Desh.
Script: Late Brahmi of the Northern class of 5th century A.D.
Language: Sanskrit
Metres: Vv.1-5: श्लोक अनुष्टुब
References: K.N. Dikshit, Ep.Ind., XX, pp.59 ff. D.C. Sircar, Sel.Inss,. I,
pp. 359-63.
First side.

1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind. Plates. between pp.62 and pp 63,
2. Dikshit युक्तक Sircar justifies the plural number on the ground that there were more than two Ayuktakas at
Pundravarddhana, the headquarters of the province. Gen. Cunningham identified Pundravarddhana with extensive ruins known as Mahasthanagarh, 13 km. north of the town of Bogra
3. अधिष्ठानाधिकरण = the Board of Admini stration at the headquarters, Pundravarddhana in this case.
See Damodarpur Plate of Kumaragupta 1, G.E, 124 and notes (supra, II,20; ll,4-6 and note). The Nagarasreshthin headed this Board. It may be noted that the charter is issued jointly by the Ayuktakas and the Board of Administration.

1. Vatagohali may be identical with the present day village of Goalbhita located north west of and extending to
the mound, where the temple, the provenance site, has been unearthed.
2. Evidently, Vithi, mandala and parsva were progressively smaller administrative divisions. Vithi = a district on a river bank, according to some. Pravesya (from prevesa, meaning income or revenue) area that was included for the purpose of assessment and collection of revenue.
Gohali = skt. gosala = mod. Bengali,
goal; but here it is used as a part of the names of villages, that had, possibly, sprung up as heardsmen’s
settlements. D.C. sircar (sel.Inss. , I, pp.360, n-1) suggests that the Mula-Nagiratta was the headquarters
of the Nagiratta-mandala, and the locality Jambudeva was naned after a person. But mula, which means
original, appears to be the name of the original settlement of the city of Nagiratta, which seems to have expanded to include Nitvagohali.

1. समुदय – बाहय = not ylelding any production. शून्य – प्रतिकर = अप्रतिकर = not yielding any revenue. The reclaimable
waste-land of the state was sold in this case at a cheaper rate, viz. 2 dinaras per kulyavapa.
2. H. Sastri identifies the Navyavakasika and Dikshit
with Kasi. Sircar conjectures that the Guhanandi and Panchastupa sects belonged to the locality called Panchathupi near Varanasi.
3. पण्चस्तूप – निकायिक =
belonging to the sect called Panchastupa-Nikaya or Pancha-stupakula-Nikaya.
Panchastupa possibly was the locality where the sect originated.
निग्रन्थ = Jaina.
4. तल – वाटक = तलभूमि = तलवृत्ति =
the land granted to a religious establishment for its maintenance at the time of its consecration. In some cases तलवाटक has been explained as a class of persons serving in temples see See C.I.I, III pp. 21 6-17. In these
charters the word is used in the sense of a home stead land to be used for constructing a residential building
inside a fenced enclosure.
1.अध्यर्द्ध = 1/2
2. अर्द्ध-त्रिक = 2/2. The total area donated was 1+1/2 vastu-dronavapas at Vatagobali + 4 dronavapas at Prishthima pottaka, + 4 dronavapas at Goshatapunjaka + 2+1/2
dronavapas at Nitvagohali= 12 dronavapas or 1+1/2 kulyavapas.
1 kulya = 8 dronas,
1 drona = 4 adhas
1 adha = 4 prasthas
These were measures of grain, The land was measured in terms of the quantity of seed-grain that
could be sown in the area.
Thus kulyavapa is the area
of farm land that could be sown with one kulya of grain.
3. Dikshit: शशिनन्दिषु प्रथम नु नामव
4. Dikshit and Sircar: तधधुष्माम्र्बा
amended to तधधुष्मान् ब्रा
4 adhavapas = 1 dronavapa
(चतुराढ़को भवेदद्रोँण:)
D.C. Sircar, who hails from east Bengal, states ( Sel.Inss, pp.361, n.7) arha is still used as a land measure in some parts of Bengal. In Mymensingh District, it is equal to 100 x 100 sq. yds. (J. Deptt, of Letters, Calcutta Universlty.XVI,. E.Hist.Beng. pp.45), the
scheme being, 4 Kakas = gand; 20 Gandas = one katha;
20 kathas = one kani, 4 kanis = one arha, 16 arhas = one dron.
But as regards Mymensingh, Hunter (J.Deptt.Lett,.. V, pp.447 f.) speaks of arha (a little above 1+1/2 acres)
as 1/16 of pura ( = 25 acres, 3 roods, 12 poles) in some Parganas or of drona which is equal to 5 acres,
2 roods, 12 poles in some Parganas, but to 16 acres, 3 roods, 1 pole in others. see also Gunaighar Plate of
Vainyagupta, supra, II,46, L8, n5, and LL .18ff )
2. परमभटटारकपाद here refers to Budhagupta (476-494 A.D.).

Footnote 7.
1. i.e. together with the homestead land which was to be the principal source of maintenance. Sircar suggests
the emendation-वाटकं वास्तुना
2. Only abbreviations are given in the text
3. Dikshits स्वकम्र्मणा

4. According to Sircar षटक – नल =
6 cubits long, and not possibly a unit of land measuring 6 x 6 reeds. In my view the measuring reeds were calibrated
differently into 6, 8 or 9 units. For accuracy, sometimes the land was measured more than once with differently calibrated reeds.
5. This date would fall in January, 479 A.D.
English Translation of the inscription.
L1,1. Peace From Pundravarddhana.
L1,1-3. The ayuktakas and the administrative board of the
adhishthana headed by the noble Nagarasreshthin, after
stating their well-being, in form the Mahattara and other agricultural householders headed by Brahmanas
residing) in (the villages) Vatagohali within the Palasatta parsva, Prishthimapattaka and Goshatapunjaka
(both) within the Jambudeva pravesya, ( and) Nitvagohali within the Mula-Nagiratta pravesya, all situated
within the Nagratta mandala of the Dakshinamsaka vithi.

L1.3-9 The Brahmana Nathasarman and his wife, Rami have
petitioned to us that within the jurisdiction of your board of administration of this adhishthana there is current, the proceedure of sale of umproductive waste and homestead lands which yield no revenue in the form of perpetual endowment at the rate of two dinaras par kulyavapa. Therefore, following this procedure, deign to grant us in perpetual endowment after collecting three dinaras from both of us, one and
a half dronavapa of homestead land from out of this vary
Vatagohali, (and) a field measuring four dropavapa in prishtimapottaka within Jambudeva pravesya (and)
four dronavapas from out of Goshatapunja and, two and a half dronavapas from out of Nitvagohali
situated in Mula Nagiratta pravesya; thus (a total of one and a half kulyavapa land, for the increase of our
religious merit, and for the supply of perfumery, incense, flowers, lamps and the like for the worship of the divine arhats and for the construction of a residential quarter in the monastary in this very Vatagohali, presided over by the desciple of the Jain monk ( sarmanacharya) Guhanandin
belonging to the Panchastupa sect of Kasi.
L1,9-12. Because it has been determined after investigation
by the head record Keeper, Divakaranandin, (and) the
Record-Keepers, Dhritivishnu, Virochana, Ramadasa, Haridasa,
Sasinandin, suprabha and manudatta that there is within
the Jurisdiction of our administrative board the procedure of sale of unproductive and wasteland and
homestead land, yielding no revenue, as perpetual endowment enjoyable for ever at the rate of two dinaras per kulyavapa.
L1.12-17: If this Brahmana, Nathsarman and his wife Rani solicit for the procurement of perfumery (sandalwood etc) incense etc. for the (worship of) Arhats and
for the construction of a residential quarter in the noble monastery presided over by the grand-desciple of
the desciple, of the Nirgrantha (Jaln) teacher Guhanandin belonging to the Panchastupa kula sect of
Kasi (and) stationed at vatagohali in the Palasatta parsvaa, one and a half dronavapa of homestead land
at Vatagohali itself, and four dronavapa land at Prishthimapottaka in the pravesya of Jambudeva (and)
our dronavapa (land) at Goshatapunja, (and) two dronavapas increased by two adhavapas from out of
Nitvagohali in the pravesya of Mula-Nagiratta thus
in all one and a half kulyavapa. there is no conflict of interests with the state, rather there is advantage, in as much as there will be increase of revenue for
His Majesty and there is gain of one-sixth part of religious merit.
L1.17-19: So the same should be done.
Following this determined procedure, after collecting into revenue
account three dinaras from both the Brahmana, Nathasarman and his wife Rami, for the series of purposes set out
in the petition, one and a half kulyavapa land, inclusive of the residential enclosure, in the above specified
cowherd villages, has been granted in perpetual endowment (viz.) kulyavapa 1, dropavapas 4.

L1.19-21. Therefore, you should hand over (possession of land) after measuring it out with measuring reeds calibrated in sixes at a site which is not in conflict with your own cultivation. And you should nourish it in accordance with the laws pertaining to perpetual endowments for ever as long as the moon, the sun and the stars last.
In the year 159, the 7th day of Magha.
And it has been stated by venerable Vyasa:-
L1.21-25: (Here follows, five of the usual imprecatory verses).

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