Samudragupta’s Inscriptions

Written by Alok Mohan on August 9, 2022. Posted in Uncategorized

The Allahabad Pillar Inscription, which was composed by Harisena, stands witness to the glory of Gupta empire and is the most important .

historical source of information about Samudra gupta.

According to these inscriptions, it is discovered that Samudra gupta was not only a great warrior, but he promoted science, art culture music and poetry,also, in his empire.

Aryabhatta- the astronomer and Kalidasa the poet adorned the court of Samudragupta. Harisena was a Sanskrit poet & was an important figure in the court of samudragupta empire. His most famous poem, written dueing c. 345 C.E., describes the bravery of Samudragupta and is also inscribed on the Pryagraj pillar inscription.

Harishena had a great interest in playing the flute with his friend Samudragupta. Harishena had also played an important role in the marriage of Samudragupta with Dattadevi.

Aryabhata, the famous mathematician and an astronomer, was another tall personality of the gupta empire. He discovered an approximation of pi, 62832/20000 = 3.1416. He also correctly believed that the planets and the Moon shine by reflected sunlight and that the motion of the stars is due to Earth’s rotation.

He flourished in Gupta era and contributed an important work, which is known as Aryabhatiya.

Aryabhata created a system of phonemic number notation in which numbers were represented by consonant-vowel monosyllables. Later commentators such as brahmgupta divided his work into Ganita (“Mathematics”), Kalakriya (“Calculations on Time”) and Golapada (“Spherical Astronomy”). His pure mathematics discusses topics, such as determination  of square and cube roots, geometrical figures with their properties and arithmetic progression problems. Aryabhata calculated the value of Pi to the fourth decimal digit. Aryabhata’s sine table and his work on trigonometry were extremely influential and was the most important contribution of gupta era.

 In his spherical astronomy, he applied plane trigonometry to spherical geometry and gave calculations on solar and lunar eclipses.

He discovered that the apparent westward motion of stars is due to the earths rotation about its own axis. Aryabhata also noted that the luminosity of the Moon and other planets is due to reflected sunlight.

Samudragupta created a vast empire under his direct control. His empire extended from Jamuna and Chambal in the west to the Brahmaputra of Assam in the east and the Himalayan foothills on the north side of the River Narmada in the south.

Samudragupta didn’t stop to capture more of territories and states. He built an enormous military empire in the country. And that became one the humongous kingdoms in the history of ancient india.

He built a Buddhist monasteries in different parts of his empire. He died in 380 AD. He was succeeded by his son, Chandragupta II. We know Chandragupta II by the name Vikramaditya.


At the height of Samudra Gupta’s power, he controlled nearly all of the valley of the Ganges (Ganga) River and received homage from rulers of parts of east Bengal, Assam, Nepal, the eastern part of the Punjab, and various tribes of Rajasthan. He exterminated 9 monarchs and subjugated 12 others in his campaigns.


Inscription number 6.
Eran Stone Pilar Inscription of Samudragupta (c.335-76 A.D.)
Provenance: Eran. Sagar district. Madhya Pradesh (now in the
Indian Museum Calcutta
Script: Box-headed variety of Late Brahmi.
Language: Sanskrit.
Metre: Vasantatilaka. Since this is the metre used in all the extent verses of the record including the surviving lines of the verse 2 and 7, it is presumed
that the lost lines, too were in the same metre.
References: J.F. Fleet, C.I.I, III, pp-20, Bandadarkar’s list number 1539.
D.C.Sircar Sel.Inss, I, pp 268- 70.
Footnote 1
Though Sometimes described as Central Indian variety,
because it is found mostly used in inscriptions located
in that region, it is not totally confined to it. It was also used in the Kadamba records in the Kannad country.
The chief characteristics of this script is that the letters are surmounted with boxes or squares. There is a nail
headed variety also, whose letters are surmounted by triangles with base at the top.
2. From the facsimile in C.I.I., III Pl.ii A, This may have been earlier than the Prayagraj Pillar Inscription.
Footnote 2
It is engraved below the line. Restorations of initial words in each line are by D.C. sircar.
The use of Past perfect tense, led some scholars to believe that the record is posthumous.
D.C. Sircars’ Select.Inss pp – 269, n.2, however rejects the
suggestion citing numerous uses of past and perfect tenses in epigraphical literature. He seems to be right.
Otherwise the subordinate ruler of Airikina, who raised this pillar must have paid a tribute to whosoever
was his sovereign, if it is not Samudragupta.
The context shows that the missing lines do not refer to any other overlord.
3. Fleet – द ध्र त
Footnote 3

दत्ता stands for दत्तदेवी just as कुबेरनामा stands for. कुबेर नागादेवी

in poone copper plate inscription of
Prabhavatigupta of the regnal year 13 cf. also her Rithapur copper plate inscription of the time of Pravarasena
II- Regnal year 19 (see infra, III, Nos 1-2) The Mahabhashya permits such usage. The obvious implication is that Samudragupta won the hand of Dattadevi in an open contest.
2. Read वधूवर्तिनी
3. Airikina = mod. Eran
4.. Read बृडन्हणात्र्थम्
5. The rest of the record is lost.
English Translation of the inscription

L. 1 to 6, containing the whole of the first verse and the first half of the second, are entirely broken away and lost.
Ll.7-8. who in making gifts ef gold
completely encompassed the kings Prithm, Ragheva and others.
L1.9-10 His son was Samudragupta, woo was like Kubera,
when pleased and like Yamaraja, when angry (and)
who possessed in equal measure (to his father the qualities of) bravery and statesmanship.
L1.11-12 on approaching whom, the whole tribe of kings an the
earth with their royal majesty scattered, stood trembling
Ll.13-16: Indeed. he is the same irresistible king, who was
honoured with the dignities of the title and majesty of ‘Rajan” by announcement and other rituals,
by (his) highly satisfied father, who was pleased with (his) devotion, statesmanship and heroism.
L1.17-20: In whose home was established the picus and faithful,
high-born bride (named) Datta, whose dowry (bride money) was paid in the form of manliness and bravery,
who was possessed of an abundance of elephants, horses, Jewelry. Money and grain, and who always
moved about joyfully in the company af many sons and grandsons.
Ll.21-24 Whose mighty fame, kindled with prowess displayed in warfare, is circling round the earth (and)
whose enemies tremble even in their dreams on recollecting his mighty deeds in battle.
This pillar in his on dominion of Airikina province — has been set up for the sake of augmenting his own fame.
Ll.27 –when the king said

Inscription number 7

Nalanda Spurious Copper Plate Inscription of Samudra-gupta – year 5,
Provenance: Nalanda, Patna district, Bihar.
Language: Sanskrit
Script: Late Brahmi of the northern class of about 5th and 6th centuries AD
References: H Shastri, A.S.I, A.R, 1927-28, pp-138, D.T. Bhandarkars list no 2076, A. Ghosha, Ep.Ind, pp-50,
D.C. Sircar. ibid, XXVI, pp135-36, Select.Inss, Pt 1, pp- 270-272..

Footnote 1

This and the next (Gaya) plate. are no doubt, fake.
The title Paramabhagvata was assumed by his successors,
but never by Samudragupta.The latter did not even claim the performance of Ashvmedha in his Prayagraj Prasasti,
which as issued late in his reign. though we know from Bhitari Pillar of Skandagupta. C.I.I, III, pp-53 f. that
he did.But he could not have perfomed it before the year 5 of his reign as stated here. The Gupta genealogy from some official document adding the epithet Paramabhagavat to Samudragupta in the belief
that it has been left out through overs sight in the original record in his hands when his script reached the word.
Samudragupta, he found, he could not use genetive with the
subject of his sentence, and committed the grammatical blunder of using a case different from the adjectives of
the subject. Such mistakes are unknown in Gupta records.
Forgery seems to have taken place quite early in Gupta Period
2. in 11. 3 and 10 resembles the 6th – 7th century form.

Footnote 2

1. From the facsimile in EpInd,. XXV, facing pp.52.
2. Nalikanta Bhattasali (some Image Inscriptions ( 1939 AD) (of the time of King lahaya chandra Deva). EP:Ind XVII, pp.349-52) opine (ibid, pp-352) that the spiral symbol or which I have read as ओ
represents the words सिधिरस्तु
According to him this symbol was customarily used in Bengal, till about
the end of the 19th century, as stylised representation of the trunk of Ganesha, the giver of success. Further as It was called amji, and was read as सिधिरस्तु
He further argues that in Gupta inscriptions, it is never used together with सिद्धम
But in Ep.Ind XI, pp.8 and ibid, XIV, pp-159, it is found before Om in words.
Since repetition of om, is needless
It must represent siddham.
Bhattasali rejects the views of Al Beruni (Vol,1, pp.173),. Hoernle (Intro. Bower Manuscripts, Ind.Ant. reprint. pp – 22) and Fleet (Stone Image Inscription of Kumaragupta
(C. 1.1. P46, n.3) Al Berni states, the Hinđus begin their books with OM, the word of creation, as we begin
them with in the name of God.
The figure of the Word
Om is D
This figure does not consist of letters it is simply an image invented to represent this word. which
people use believing that it will bring the. a blessing and meaning thereby a confession of the unity of God.”

Hoernle writes, “It (OM) may either be written in full or indicated by a symbol. The latter takes the form of a spiral, which may tum either to the right or
to the left. and which is probably a conventional representation of the sacred sankha, or conch-shell.
Fleet writes, “As was usual throughout the whole of the period covered by this volume, this word is represented
by a symbol, not by letters. Om is not of very frequent occurrence at the commencement of Buddhist Inscriptions..
According to D.C. Sircar, ( Sel.Inss I,, pp 270 – 72 etc.)
it is a symbol for सिद्धम
later pronounced as सिधिरस्तु
or and is written as in Bengal even now.
The symbol with slight modificatian is even now used by
sikhs as a sacred symbol in the form ੴ
and is pronounced as Ek onkar एक ओंकार
Sikhs also used an alternate symbol for the same
I find no reason, even if it is
repeated in words, to accept it as a representation of to use it for
We find the figures of eras and the number of units gifted in kulyavapas,
repeated in words as well as in figures in a large many inscriptions recorded in these pages.
3. Sastri reads नुपुर

Footnote 3
1. In the Monghair Grant of Devapala (Ep.Ind, XVIII, pp.304 ff.)
Krimila vishaya is stated to be located in the bhukti of Srinagara, i.e. Patna.
2. Restored from his Spurious Gaya plates.
3. Sircar (Select.Inss. I, pp.271. n.5) refers to fleets’
view that बलत्कौषन or वाभ्यास
wasthe designation of some officials. since two officials ae meant the correct reading should have been .बलत्कौशाभ्याम
we cannot rule out a mistake here. Some inscriptions mention
a dignitary called महाबलाकोष्ठिक

(see Majumdar Ins.Bengal III, pp-187)
4. Read चार्थो विदितो बो
Note the indiscriminate use of. व and ब
in the record. a characteristic of a much later
This is another Inscription of its fabrication and period. at a later date, e.g. 5th-6th century AD.
5. Read भवत्बतौ
6. Restored from Gaya spurious plates.
7. Read अति सृष्टो
For the definition of अग्रहार
see infra , lII, No. 8, l, 13, n-ii.
Footnote 4

1. Read वचनं श्रोतव्यम
2. Read देया : न
3. Read प्रवेशयितव्या अन्यथा
4. After the stop there are three horizontal strokes.
Read सम्वत and नीबद्द
Gupta era of 320 AD. would give Chandragupta 1 a very brief reign of less than five yeare. It can neither be
the regnal year as nowhere else in Gupta records are the regnal years used. If we assume that the Gupta era
commenced with the accession of Samudragupta in 320 A. D..
then we will have to assign as many as 130 years to only three reigns. So the dating also is spurious here.
6. The Gaya plate reads अन्य ग्रामा – अक्षपटलधिकृत
keeper of records,from अक्षपटल
A court of law,
A depository of legal documents. According to the Artha Shastra, his duty was to keep the accounts of profit, loss, expenditure, delayed earnings, Vyaji or premia realised
in cash or kind. status of the government agency employed.
wages paid. free laboures engaged in connection with capital invested or wok undertaken, market rates and the
price of gem and commodities.
The office this appears to be equivalent to, the Present day office of Accountant General.

Footnote 5

Lit. the highest officer of the armed
forces. May be equated with a Field Marshal.
Chief officer of the elephant division Gopesvamin’s order followed the entry in his records by the village Record
2. He probably acted as the kings representative as executer
of the deed,

in other records

English Translation of the inscription

L-1 Om ! Hail !
L-1 From tbe victorious camp, full of worships, elephants and horses. Situated at the Settlement (called)
L1.1-5 The most devout worshipper of the divine (vishnu).
the Maharajadhiraja Sri Samadragupta- who is the exterminator of all kings, who is a matchless warrior on the earth, whose fame is tasted by the waters of the four oceans, who is equal to (the Gods) Kubera, Varuna, Indra and Yamaraja, who is the very axe of Yama (the god of death) who is the giver of many crores of lawfully acquired cows and gold, who is the restorer
of the asvamedha sacrifice, that had been long in abeyance, who is the great grands an of Maharaja Sri Gupta, who is the Grandson of the Maharaja sri
Ghatotkachha (and who is the son of Maharajadhiraja shri chandragupta. (and) the daughter’s son of the
Lichchhavis, begotten on the Chief queen kimaradevi, commands the two villages Valatkaushans, led by the Bramanas, at the two villages, (namely).
Bhadrapushkaraka in the district of Tavirgunya (?) and
Purnanaga in the district Krimila.

Ll.6-7 And “Be this matter known to you that I have granted these two villages, as agraharas for the increase of
religious merit of my parents and myself to Jayabhatti-svamin with the assignment of uparikara.
LL.7-10 Therefore. you should pay attention to this scholar of
the three vidyas (.e. Vedas) and (his) Commands should be obeyed and all customary tributes of the village,
such as in kind (maya, i.e. measurable commodities) and
cash (hiranya gold. should be paid. And from this time forth, the tax-paying cultivators and artisans, of other villages should not be introduced by this Trivedin (for the Purpose of settling in it and carrying on their occupations) (for) otherwise, there would
certainly be a violation of (the privileges of) an agrahara.

This charter has been put in writing on the 2nd day of (the month of) Magha in the year 5.
L1.11-12 Written by the orders of the Mahapilupati (i.e. Senior
Lord of Elephants), Senior General Gopasvamin, after the
village record-keeper’s entries. The prince S. Chandragupta (was the Dutaka).

(This designation of village officials occurs only in the
two spurious grants of Samudra-gupta. Their exact duties cannot be guessed from these)

Inscription number 8
Gaya Spurious Copper Plate Inscription of Samudragupta – Year 9.
Provenance: Gaya, Bihar.
Script: Late Brahmi of the Northern class of about 6th or 7th century A.D.
Language: Sanskrit.
References: Fleet. C.I.I., i, No 60,
pp-254, f.,
Bhandarkar’s List No 1540, D.C. Sircar. Select Inss. Pt.I, pp.272-74.
Footnote 1

Fleet dates tbe forgery in early 8th century A D.
because of the use of the late idiom महा नौ हस्त्यश्व स्कंधावा – रात
.lBut this phrase occurs in the grants of Harsha of 627 and 630 A D, about which time the present record may
have been forged. This is confirmed by its paleography.
Gopadevasvamin, the donor of the Gaya plate. and Gopasvamin
under whose orders the Nalanda and Gaya plates were prepared appear to be different persons. The donor was a
Brahmana engaged in the study of the Rigveda, not the Akshapatalika (Accountant General) From the remarkable similarity in the draft of the two records it is clear that they were forged by the same person. These may have been prepared to replace a damaged record, whose seal was
attached to the new record. The characters an the seal belong to an earlier period than those of the plate.
2. From the facsimile in C.I.I. III, Pl XXXVII, opposite pp – 256.,
3. is expressed by the symbol
1. Readचिरोत्सन्ना चिरोच्छिन्ना श्वमेधाहस्त्तुमहाराज
2. Read लिच्छवि
3. Read ब्राहमणा
Footnote 5
2. विदितम्बो
5. Read सब्रहमचारिणे for fellow student. Here it may mean just a student of ऋग्वेदा
6. Read ब्राहमण
7.Read उपरिकर Tax paid by temporary tenants or casual taxes. ऊददेश =
space above the suface of the land. often specifically mentioned as .
8. Read परत्य़ाया= tax revenue inoome.
9. Read चैतत्प्रभुत्येतदाग्रहारिकेणान्यग्रा
10. Read प्रवेशयितव्या : अन्यथा
11. अग्रहार was a free gift of village
together with entire land attached to learned Brahmans to enable them to pursue their academic and religious
activities. In earlier times such land gifts were given to Brahmana students on return from gurukula after
completing education.
Footnote 6

1. Read संवत
2. Intended reading possibly was अनुग्रामाक्षपटलाधिकृत – दूत
Gopaswami, who does not seem to, have been fictitious
character seems to have been given the additional charge of a
Duta, since after the Nalanda Plates of the year 5. D.C. Sircar
(Sel.Inss Pt I, pp – 274, n.7)take in the sense of धूताधिकृत
for which there is no justification.
3 Read म्यादेशालिखितो यं लेख :

4. The characters in the legend on the seal show a form remarkably earlier than found in the writing on the plates. The copper of the seal also has a different texture. Probably a genuine seal of Samudragupta was detached from another plate and was
attached to the present plate, which may have been prepared as a substitute far earlier plates lost or
destroyed in the course of earlier centuries.
English Translation of the inscription

Om ! Hail !
L1- From the Ayodhya encampment of the
great victorious military base of warships, elephants and horses.
The most devout worshipper of Bhagavat (i.e. Vishnu)
the Maharajadhiraja Sri Samudragupta- the exterminator of all kings the unrivalled warrior of the world, one whose fame tasted by the waters of the
four oceans, who is an equal of (the gods) Kubera
(the God of wealth), Varuna (the ocean God) Indra and Yamaraja, who wields the axe of Yama (the killer god)
who is the giver of many crores of lawfully acquired cows and gold (Coins) who is the restorer of the
Asvamedha sacrifice that has long been in abeyance, who is the great-grandson of Maharaja Sri Gupta, who is the Grandson of Maharaja Siri Ghatotkacha, who is the
son of Maharajadhiraja Sri Chandragupta, who is the
daughter’s son o the Lichchhavis, begotten an the
Mahadevi Kumaradevi, speaks to the two village Valtkaushans together with the Brahmanas, at the
village of Revatika belonging to the Gaya Vishaya.
L1-8-11. Be this matter known to you. For the sake of, increasing the religious merit of my parents and of myself. this village is granted by me as an agrahara
with the assignment of the uparikara, to the Brahmana
Gopadevasvamin, of the Bharadvaja gotra (and) the student of Rigveda.
Therefore.attention should be paid to him by you and (his) order should be acted upon and all the customary tributes of the village consisting of
measurable commodities (grains etc) and gold (i.e. cash should be given and from this time forth, the
tax-paying cultivators artisans & other
villages, should not be introduced by the awardee of this agrahara (for the purpose of settling
in e and carrying on their occupations)
of an an agrahara.
L14: The year 9, the 10th day of vaishakha.
This deed has been written by the order of the duta Gopasvamin after entries by the officer incharge of
legal documents of the village.

Alok Mohan

The admin, Alok Mohan, is a graduate mechanical engineer & possess following post graduate specializations:- M Tech Mechanical Engineering Production Engineering Marine engineering Aeronautical Engineering Computer Sciences Software Engineering Specialization He has authored several articles/papers, which are published in various websites & books. Studium Press India Ltd has published one of his latest contributions “Standardization of Education” as a senior author in a book along with many other famous writers of international repute. Alok Mohan has held important positions in both Govt & Private organisations as a Senior professional & as an Engineer & possess close to four decades accomplished experience. As an aeronautical engineer, he ensured accident incident free flying. As leader of indian team during early 1990s, he had successfully ensured smooth induction of Chukar III PTA with Indian navy as well as conduct of operational training. As an aeronautical engineer, he was instrumental in establishing major aircraft maintenance & repair facilities. He is a QMS, EMS & HSE consultant. He provides consultancy to business organisations for implimentation of the requirements of ISO 45001 OH & S, ISO 14001 EMS & ISO 9001 QMS, AS 9100, AS9120 Aero Space Standards. He is a qualified ISO 9001 QMS, ISO 14001 EMS, ISO 45001 OH & S Lead Auditor (CQI/IRCA recognised certification courses) & HSE Consultant. He is a qualified Zed Master Trainer & Zed Assessor. He has thorough knowledge of six sigma quality concepts & has also been awarded industry 4, certificate from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Knowledge Hub Training Platform  He is a Trainer, a Counselor, an Advisor and a Competent professional of cross functional exposures. He has successfully implimented requirements of various international management system standards in several organizations. He is a dedicated technocrat with expertise in Quality Assurance & Quality Control, Facility Management, General Administration, Marketing, Security, Training, Administration etc. He is a graduate mechanical engineer with specialization in aeronautical engineering. He is always eager to be involved in imparting training, implementing new ideas and improving existing processes by utilizing his vast experience.