ancient indian history



Pandavas or Panduvamsis ruled Mekala region during the 6th and the 7th centuries. The Panduvamshi kings, worshipped Shiva and were descent from the legendary dynasty of the Pandavas.
The Panduvamshis ruled the region, near maikal hills and included parts of Mandla, Shahdol and bilaspur district.

Inscription number 58.
Bahmani Plates of Bharatabala– (Regnal) year 2.

This inscription is dated in the regnal years of the king, instead of any popular calendar era but based on some evidences, historians have assigned different dates to the reign of pandavas dynasty.

Provenance: Village Bahmani, tehsil Sohagpur, Police station Burhar, A railway station on the Bilaspur-Katni
section of the Bengal-Nagpur railway, Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh,
Script: Nail-headed variety of Brahmi of the southern class, of about the 5th century A.D.
Language: Sanskrit.
Vv. 1, स्रग्धरा
V.2 : वसन्ततिलका
v.4, 9: मालिनी
v.6,7: शार्दूलविर्कीडित
v.3: उपजाति
v.5: इन्द्रवज्रा
V.8: आर्या
vv.12-14: अनुष्टुब
References chhabra, Ep.Ind., XXVII, pp.132-145.
Footnote 1.
Bharatabala and his family are not known from any other source. In verse 11 (11.32-34) below, Chhabra
reads a veiled allusion to Bharatabala’s sovereign, the Vakataka emperor Narendra Sena, whose son
Prithivishena 2, in his Balaghata plates (Ep.Ind., IX, pp-271, 11.11, 27-28, Also Supra III, 11) states that the former’ s
(Narendrasena’s) commands were obeyed by the lords of Kosala, Mekala and Malava (कोसला मेकला मालवा धिपत्यभ्यच्र्चित शासन)
Thus Bharatabala was a contemporary and a subordinate of Narendrasena (435-70 AD.). Tentatively assigning 60 years rule to the three ancestors of
Bharatabala, and placing him about 460 AD. chhabra arrives at 399-400 A.D. as the approximate date of coming to power of Jayabala, the first ruler of the
Pandava dynasty in Mekala.


1. From the facsimiles Ep.Ind., XXVII, between pp.140 and 141.
2. Expressed by the spiral symbol.
3. The visarga after svasti is not required, as the word is treated in classical Sanskrit as an indeclinable.
In the Vedic literature, on the other hand, it is treated both as an indeclinable and as a substantive. cf.
स्वस्ति पूषा असुरो दधातु न:
(Rigveda, V, 51, 11) as an indeclinable, and पुन: पूषा पथ्या य स्वस्ति
(Rigveda, X,59.7), also (स्फय: स्वस्तिर्विघन: स्वस्ति:) etc as substantive.
(Taittiriya S, III, 2,4.1)
1. N.P. chakravarti, suggests the emendation वत्सेश्वर – प्रतिसमो
That would make out vatsaraja as the real name of the king, who was comparable to Udayana the famous king of Vatsa, who also was a descendant of the Pandavas.
Chhabra explains this phrase as, distinguished as a highly venerable personage, a deity and a supreme divinity. He states that such epithets are known to signify paramount
power, but fails to give a single identical example.
Those cited by him use instead of Parama guru-devatadhi daivata-Viseshah, the epithet paramadaivatadhidaivata and
Paramadaivata (somadatta’s soro plates B and C, EpInd,
XXIII, pp. 202, (infra, IV, 2-3)
and sivarajas Patiakella plates (Ibid., IX,
pp-287 and XXIII, pp. 200 (infra, IV, 6). In both the cases each feudatory king prefixes the additional title, Paramabhattaraka to the name of his overlord. Here the emphasis is on the great respect accorded to teachers by the king in keeping with Indian tradition; cf. गुरुब्रहमा: गुरुविष्णु: गुरु: साक्षान्महेश्वर: !
गुरुरेव परं ब्रहम त्समै श्रीगुरवे नम: !!
Second plate first side
From या + शत genitive singular used in the sense of
यानं + कुर्वत:
By failing to detect the intended reading as TSf,
Chhabra has misinterpreted the entire verse. It is not surprising that the Rupaka in equating Indra with
sacrificial fire escaped his notice. All the adjectives, in the verse apply to both. some of them, e.g. Snehavan and Vasu-hutah have double meanings. However, his conjecture that Indra was another name of Bharatabala, appears very plausible. It is obvious that it refers
to the latter.
1. Grammatically correct form (gen. dual of bhują) is bhujayoh, But in order to meet the requirement of the metre, the base has been changed to bhuj to give the form sva-bujoh.
2. The phrase is in prose. It is to be
construed with in 1.28 below.
3. The mark of punctuation is superfluous.

1. Dirna is from dri to tear into pieces.
There is a pun on the word narendra and all its adjectives, which qualify both the king (Narendra) ie Bharatabala
and his suzereign Narendra Sena Vakataka. Vairah is used here in the sense of a host of enemies (Vairinam
samuhah vairam, as in Magha’s Sisupalavadham XIX, 100.
2. Vardhamanaka may be identified with the village of Bamani, the find-spot of the plates. Panchagartta
vishaya is apparently the district round Bahmani, and may have more or less comprised the same area, as the present Rewa district. On the analogy of Trigarta, Panchagartta signified a region of five river valleys. These should be the five tributary rivulets of
the son, flowing on either side of Bahmani. Chhabra suggests that Pachgaon, about 5 km south of sahdol,
possibly represents the headquarters of the Panchagartta distrlct. However C.R. Krismamacharlu preferred
the reading Pandagartta and was inclined to identify it with the modern Pandra, about 80 km. south east of
Sohagpur. In fact, the syllable looks more like nda than ncha cf. gandaka in 1.35 below. However, a district name like Panchagartta is more probable tham Pandagartta,which does not seam to make any sense. unless Panda was the name of a river. Mekala, as a country is mentioned in the Ramayana, Kishkindha K., XLI, 9.
(मेखलानुत्कलाश्चैव दशार्ण नगराण्यपि )
The corresponding reading in the Laghu Ramayana of Govindanath Guha
(Kishkindha K, VII 17). evidently based on the Bengal recension, seems to be better. It is, मेकलानुत्कलाश्चेदीन दशार्णा कुकुरानपि
Mekala is mentioned also in the
Mahabharata (Bhishma P., VI, 39), the Padma Purana, (Adi Khanda, VI, 36 उत्तमाश्च दशार्णाश्च मेकलाश्चोत्कलै: सह )
The Vishnu P. and some other Puranas (for references see B.C. law, Ancient Indian Tribes, II, pp.28)). Varaha-mihira (Brihatsamhita, V. 39, 73, XIV, 7, XVI, 2)
also mentions it. More interesting is a reference in Balaghat plates of Prithvishena 2, (see n.1 on
Bharatabala, above).
K.P. Jayaswal, (History of India,
150 A D. to 350 A.D., pp.181) identified Mekala as a province of sapta-Kosala, below the Maikal range of hills, ie. with the present districts of Raipur and
Bastar in Madhya Pradesh through which flows the river, Narmada, which was also known as the Mekala-kanyaka.
Chhabra thinks that Mekala under Bharatabala was a vast country, divided by the river Son, in its upper reaches
into the Uttara and the Dakshina provinces or Rashtras.
It comprised the south-eastern part of the Rewa district, northern part of the Bilaspur district and some area in the eastern part of the Mandla district.
The mark of punctuation after वर्द्धमानके
is superfluous.
Third plate.
ग्रामकूट = Village headman. Dronagra is evidently the sane as Dronamukha or Dronamukhya, occurring in
in the Divyavadana (ed. Cowell and Neil, pp.620, 11, 12, 21 and 28.) Its dictionary meaning is,the chief
or the most beautiful one of 400 villages द्रोणार्गक: = presumably is the designation of the head of a dronagra,
नायक = leader of a small military unit.
देव-वारिक = a superintendent of temples. गण्डक possibly = a warrior.
2. The subject of समाज्ञापयति is स—-नरेन्द्र
in 1.11.
1. The mark of punctuation is superfluous.
2. The designation, Rahasika was presumably meant to go with Siva.

English Translation of the inscription.

L.1. Om Hail !
1,1-4 (V.1) There was, in the lineage of the Pandavas of absolutely flawless fame and great majesty, a king
in Mekala with established (samprasuta) great fame, who was an honour to the rulers of the earth a
fortunate one and a disposer of fortune, adorned with an array of superior qualities, and possessing a charming figure, and who is always celebrated in this world, as Jayabala, because of his famous deeds.
L1.4-6 (V.2) To him was born a son, Vatsesvara, who was likewise fanous, compassionate, virtuous, conversant
with law (or rituals), who brought victories from battles, (and) made the palace gardens of his enemies
teem with wild beasts.
L1.6-8(V. 3) The illustrious Vatsaraja, became a king of great in influence, a praiser of good deeds, a recogniser
of differences in ability, benevolent to men, devoted to righteousness (and) prominent for equity.
L1.8-11 His son, meditating on his feet, a devout worshipper of siva, greatly devoted to the Brahmanas, (and) to
the excellent supreme divinity, the Gurudeva, ie. the preceptor, was the fortunate (and) illustrious
Maharaja Nagabal a begotten on the illustrious queen Dronabhattarika.

while on a march the earth with th highways pounded fine by the fall of horse.hoofs, no sooner pollutes the
far-ends of the quarters, with the
intervening space roughened and thickened with dust, than they are restored to normaly having been moistened with spray by his elephants whose temples are soiled with rut.
L1,13-15. His son, meditating on his feet, a devout worshipper of Siva, greatly devoted to the Brahmanas (and) to the excellent supreme divinity the God-like preceptor, is the illustrious Maharaja Bharata (i.e, Bharatabala),
begotten on the illustrious queen Indrabhattarika.
L1.16-17(V.5) To her (Indarabhattarika) endowed with compassion,
virtuousness, good qualities and with generosity and shrewdness, was born, as Karttikeya to Parvati, a son, Indra (by name) of flawless and charming lustre.
L1.17-21 (V.6) Indra or (call him) the very sacrificial fire, born out of the churning sticks (aranis), full of affection on melted butter is as bright as its (i.e. fires) brilliance, rose in stature, being pleasantly supported by
the brahmanas, stead fast in a good conduct his (i.e. Indra’s as also Agni’s) sight brings happiness and
improvement to the virtuous people, the accompisher of dharma and artha (righteousness and prosperity, the
first two ends of human life) for human beings on being invoked for riches when established in sacrifice, on the sacred platform, (and) is always worthy of adoration by the virtuous.
L1.21-24(V.7) Like a huge presiding elephant of the quarters,
he pulled off and thickly covered all the extensive directions with the thick crowd of smashed tall trees,
in the fom of (his) enemies. A king whose feats are such, may establish over the entire sphere of the earth, an abundant majesty of good government
ensuring righteousness, prosperity and desired pleasures.
L1.24-25 (V.8): In prowess equal to the Lord of gods, is the illustrious king Bharata, the best of kings. who
holds the fortune, of the hosts of (his) slain enemies sheltering under his own arms.
L1.25-28 (V.9): The single (royal consort), like the Ganges,
bearing crystal-clear flawless character for water, flowing in a serene current, between the (two) banks of mental and physical descipline, ripply with a
host of calm virtues, has of her own will come from heaven to this world, (and thereby) purifying the people.
L1,28-31 (V.10) Of King Bharatabala whose fame is like the bright rays of the moon, the excellent queen,
Lokaprakasa, born in Kosala and bearing high renown of (being of)
divine origin, (and) very much an
illuminator of the world (since) she repels darkness by her constant activities or the advancement of religion, has attained fulfilment and stability through sons and excellent grandsons, the leonine princes, devoted to righteousness and self-descipline.
L1. 31-34 (V.11) The illustrious king, the paramount ruler, whose virtues are well-known, who has destroyed enemy
hordes who has all the quarters trampled under his pair of feet that have the lustre of a fully blown
lotus flower and are touched by many chiefs, prostrating in salutation by reason of his perfect triple power
(and) whose birth is highly extolled by people as being the famous Lunar (or auspicious) family.
L1.34-36. Thereupon commands all the inhabitants concerned, headed by (the state officials, namely) the village
headmen (Gramakuta ). the officer-in-charge of district headquarters ( dronagra) the military commander (nayaka), the temple superintendent (devavarika) and
the warriors (gandakah) at (the village of) Vardhamanaka
in the district (vishaya) of Panchagartta within the northern province in Mekala country.
L1.36-40: Be it known that for the purpose of increasing the religious nerit of his mother and father and also
himself, this village (i.e. Vardhamanaka is granted, to the extent of its (present) four boundaries. by His Majesty, together with the udranga and uparikara, taxes, treasures and deposits (together with the
privilege that it is out of bounds for the district begar officers and troops except or punishing thieves, to last till the dissolution of the moon, the sun
the earth and the stars to the illustrious Lohitasarasvamin of Vatsa gotra and the Madhyandina sākha (of the sukla
L1,40-43. Knowing thus you should obey his orders, giving him due share (in crops) and other (customary) benefits. Executed by (the King) himself And the kings who are born in our lineage, should also confirm and protect this donation. And whosoever cancels this gift he shall be invested with the five great sins.
L1.43-46 (VV.12-14) (These are the usual customary verses)
L1.47-49. And this charter is (thus) concluded. In the year 2, of the increasingly victorious reign, on the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Bhadrapada, during the ascendency of Pushya costellation. And this charter is
written by siva the son of Isana, the confidential secretary (Rahasika) and engraved by Mihiraka, the son of the goldsmith Isvara.

1. The yamas and the niyamas are the first two of the eight angas or steps prescribed for attaining yoga.
The eight steps ares – यम नियमासन प्राणायाम प्रत्याहार धारणा ध्यान समाध्योष्टाचंगानि
They are ten in the Yajnavalkya as the ब्रहमचर्य दया क्षातिर्दानं सत्यम कल्कता !
Sometimes only five are listed as the yamas अहिंसा सत्यवचनं ब्रहमचर्यम कल्कता ! अस्तेयमिति
पंचाहुर्य माख्यानि व्रतानि च !
The ten niyamas are: शौचमिज्या तपो दानं स्वाध्यायोपस्थ निग्रह: व्रत – मौनोपवासं च स्नानं च नियमा दश !!

2. Note the pun on the name, Loka-prakasa which literally
means, the illuminator of the world.
Chhabra translates rajasimhaih into.(would be) foremost kings. It is unnecessary to stretch the meaning.

3. Indra, appears to be another name of Bharatabala, who is compared with the king of gods in prowess in V.8 below.
4. The three constituents of regal power enumerated in treatises on Hindu polity are: majesty (prabu-sakti)
counsel (mantra-sakti) and courage or morale (utsaha-sakti).

5. The designation Rahasika, i.e. a privy councillor or a confidential secretary. appears variantly in other inscriptions as the Rahasya (Ep.Ind., III, pp. 21, XIII,
pp.78 Ind.Ant. XIV, pp.12, XVIII, pp.145 Rahasika Ind. ant.XIII, pp.121, text 1.50) Rahasyadhikata Ep.Ind. I, pp-7, text 1.50) Rahasyadhikrita (Ibid.,VI,
pp.13-14; XXIV. pp.144-45, 298, 303) etc.

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