ancient indian history


Inscription number 53.
Sirpur Plates of Maha-Sudevaraja – Regnal Year 7.
Provenance: Sirpur, Raipur district, Madhya Pradesh.
Script: Box-headed variety of central Indian Brahmi.
Language: Sanskrit.
During the reign of Sarabhapuriya dynasty, Sirpur was developed, as a big city. It is now being regarded as most important cultural & historical place by scholars of ancient history. It is located at the bank of holy Mahanadi river.
Sirpur was earlier known as ‘Shripur’ and was the capital of South Kosal.

The charter consists of three plates, of which the first is damaged, nearly half of its right portion being broken off and lost. Each of the plates has in it a round hole (about half an inch in diameter) at a distance of a about an inch from its left edge. This Sanskrit inscription is a record of Maha-Sudevaraja, a Hindu king’s donations and grant of a village, to a Brahmaṇa.
(The real name of the king was Sudeva)
V.24 T
vv.3-51 3gsg
Refrences: Pandit Lochan Prasad Pandeya, Mahakosala Historical Society’s Papers, II, 1937, pp.42-43,
S.L. Katare, Ep.Ind, XXXI, pp.103-8.

As suggested by D.C. Sircar, (Ep.Ind, XXXI, pp.103,n 1) the real name of the king was sudeva. Sudeva-raja is equivalent to sudeva-Maharaja.
Similarly his father’s name, engraved on the attached seal as Mahajayaraja is Jaya. His five charters, issued from sarabhapura (which cannot be identified with certainty) were engraved by Drona simha, while one from Kauvatal, (infra III,54) issued from Sripura (modem Sirpur
Raipur district, M.P.) was engraved by Golasimha, who was also the engraver of the Sripura charters of his younger
brother and successor, Pravara 2. His present charter and the Kauvatala, one were both issued in the same year. Thus both sarabhapura and Sripura were, his seats of Government, manned by different officials. It is noteworthy, that Dronasimha continued to engrave his subsequent charters issued
from Sarabhapura, eg. his Arang plates of the year 8, (infra III, 55).
1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind, XXXI, between pp.106-107, including the seal.
2. Expressed by the spiral symbol.
1 The lower right section of the first plate is broken and lost. Thus six syllables of 1.1 seven of 1.2,
Eight of 1,3 and nine each of 11.4-6, are lost. All these except those in 1.4 recording the name of the
donated village along presumably with its district, can be restored with the help of the other known charters of the king.
S.L. Katare, reads the first letter of the missing section of 1.4 as ignoring
the distinction between व and च maintained throughout the record. व is given a square base, while च is written with a rectangular base, as here. The correct reading is चु. Curiously, the Kurud charter of king Narendra, the grandfather of Sudeva, recorded the
grant of a village केशवक in the district named चुल्लाडसीम to a Brahmana, named Bhasrutasvamin of
Dharani gotra. In the phrase, चुल्लाडसीम- भीगीय – केशवके
There are exactly nine syllables between the initial चु as read by me, and
वके reading at the end. If we
restore these syllables and consider Nanna as a popular contraction of Narendra, it becomes evident that the
present charter purports to confirm the grant made by Narendra through Kurud charter to Bhasrutasvamin of
Dharani gotra. In that case it is clear that the present donee, who is of Parasara gotra, has obtained the
confirmation on a spurious claim.
1. Most probably, Kassippasvamino (skt Kasyapasvamin) was intended. Nanna is spoken of here as if he were
an ancestor. Possibly, Nanna is a popular contraction of Narendra, who was the great grand father of sudeva.
2. Better, प्रतिवसय

English Translation of the inscription.

Om hail ! From Sarabhapura, the illustrious Maharaja Sudeva, whose two feet, are washed by the water which is the effusion of the lustre from the crest-jewels in the tiaras of chiefs, subjugated by his prowess, who is the cause of cessation of hair-do of his enemies’ wives, who is the giver
of riches, of land and of cows, who is a devout worshipper of Bhagavata (i.e. Vishnu) who is blessed by his respected mother and father, issues the following command to the householders residing in vaka in the district of Chu
Be it known to you that this village, as a Promotor of happiness and stability for the donors in heaven (lit. the
abode of Indra) had earlier been granted along with its major and minor deposits, out of bounds for the begar officers and soldiers and freed from all taxes by our venerable Hanna, to the Brahmana examiner (or scribe), Kansippasvamin, of Parasara gotra and a student of Talttiriya sakha, to be enjoyed as long as the world, with it’s terrible darkness dispelled by the rays of the sun, the moon and the stars, endures, has now again, at the recommendation of the chief queen and the members of the royal family, been confirmed by us through this copper charter.
Therefore, having learnt thus, you should live on happily, listening to and obeying his orders and presenting him
his due share of taxes and produce.
“And he enjoins on the future kings
(Here follows a customary verse of religious advice of preserving the land-gifts, made to Brahmanas)
Therefore, you should also preserve this gift.
And in this context people quote the (following) verses sung by Vyasa
(Here follow four of the customary benedictory and imprecatory verses).
With the order from (His Majesty’s) own mouth. The year 7 of the flourishing and victorious reign, on the 10th
day of the second (i.e. adhimasa) Bhadrapada, Engraved by Dronasimha,

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