Satavahanas Inscription

Written by Alok Mohan on July 14, 2022. Posted in Uncategorized

  • Inscriptions of the Satavahanas
    Inscription number 156.

Nasik Cave Inscription of the time of Krishna.

Provenance: Nasik, Nasik District, Maharashtra.
On the upper sill of the Right window in Cave No. 19.

Script: Brahmi of the second half of the first century B.C.
Language Prakrit.
Bhagwanlal Indraji and Buhler Architectural Survey of West India,
IV, pp-91, No 1, Senart Ep.Ind.
VIII. p.93. Number-22, Luders List. number. 1144; Sel.Inss, pp. 189-90
Footnote 1.

1. Earlier scholars generally placed the early Satavahana kings about the middle of the 2nd century B.C. But
according to some later scholars like R.P. Chanda
(AS.I Memoir. No 1) the Nanaghat records are to be assigned to a much Later date on Palaeographical grounds.
Angular forms of some letters (cf म of महा ) in the present epigraph. according to them, prove beyond doubt that the record is not earlier than the later half of the first century B.C. Authorities on Indian architecture also are now inclined to support the views of the earlier art critics, who assigned the Nasik hall to the later half of the first century BC ( C.H.I, I, PP.636 ff-).
Footnote 2.
1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind., VIII, , Number. 22, Plate.VI facing pp-86,.
2. The mention of Nasika and not Govardhana suggests that the two places, though adjacent were not
Footnote 3.
This royal family has been called Andhra or Andhrabhritya
in the Puranas, though in the contemporary Inscriptions,
the dynasty is always named as Satavahana. No early Satavahana king had anything to do
with the Andhra country ie the region around the mouth of the Krishna and Godavri rivers (cf. Mayidavalu plates)
The list of countries forming the empire of Gautamiputra, the 23 rd Andhra
king aocording to the Puranas,
does not include Andhra-desha, though Nasik Cave Inscription of Vasishnthiputra Pulumavi,
mentions his presence on three sea coasts. (त्रि -समुद्र -तोय -पीत – वाहनस्य)
Epigraphic and numismatic evidence as well as literary traditions – brahminical, Jain and greek, referring to
Pratishthana (mod Paithan in Aurangabad district Maharashtra) as the capital of the Satavahana
kings, shows that the original Satavahana kingdom was
located in the northern deccan (see Rai Chaudhry,. P.H.A.I. fourth edition. pp-346 f ) Vasishthputra Pullumavi. (Siriptole-maios, ruler of Baithan, in Ptolesmi’s ‘ Geography) as
the first king who extended Satavahana pover over the Andhra country. The Puranas evidently refer to a period,
when Satavahana rule was confined to the Andhra country. Satavahana district is the 3rd & 4th century name of the Bellary region, merely proves the extent of the family’s suzerainty and has nothing to do with its original home. Discovery of their coins in Berar, proves nothing on this point. The name of the dynasity found in literature
Senart translates “by the officer in charge of the Sramanas at Nasik after amending समणेन
into समणानं
His hypothesis is that the Satavahanas too conforming to the Asokan practices, maintained dharma Mahamatras, in-charge of the Buddhist monks.
But the Present record
would not make any sense unless it commemorates the name of the donor. Hence I believe महामात्र is a proper name rather than an official designation here.

English Translation of the inscription
Under the kingship of Krishna of the Satavahana family, this cave-dwelling has been caused to be made by the Sramana, Mahamatra, of Nasika.

According to the Puranic genealogy, Krishna was the brother of the first Satavahana king Simuka, who founded
Satavahana Dynasty, who was a native & primary local ruler and had issued his coins in consultation with other rulers of this region.. Ancient Dharanikota was the capital of Satavahanas.
The Satavahanas were subsequently succeeded by the Ikshvakus in the east, Abhiras in the west, Chutus in the south west, Pallavas in the south east and collateral branch of Satavahanas in the Northern provinces.

Most of Satavahana period,. Inscriptions record donations to Buddhist institutions or other religious donations by individuals or mention about various Vedic sacrifices performed by the royal family The Satavahana inscription from Nashik Cave number 19, states that the cave was commissioned by Mahamatra Saman of Nashik during the reign of king Kanha. The language of the inscriptions is actually closer to Sanskrit than to the literary Prakrit.

Satavahanas were also referred to as the Andhras in the Puranas
They were an ancient Hindu dynasty (Brahmins)  based in the Deccan region.  The Satavahana kingdom mainly comprised the present-day Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. At different times, their rule extended to parts of modern Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.

According to the Puranas, their first king overthrew the Kanva dynasty. In the post-Maurya era, the Satavahanas established peace in the Deccan region and resisted the onslaught of foreign invaders. In particular their struggles with the Saka Western Satraps went on for a long time. The dynasty reached its zenith under the rule of Gautamiputra Satakarni and his successor Vasisthiputra Pulamavi.
Satavahanas were Hindus but they had made generous donations to Buddhist monasteries.A number of Buddhist monastic sites emerged in the Deccan region during the Satavahana period.

Alok Mohan

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