Impact of Vedic Culture on Society

by Kaushik Acharya | 2020 | 120,081 words

This page relates ‘Sanskrit Inscriptions (F): The Early Gurjaras’ of the study on the Impact of Vedic Culture on Society as Reflected in Select Sanskrit Inscriptions found in Northern India (4th Century CE to 12th Century CE). These pages discuss the ancient Indian tradition of Dana (making gifts, donation). They further study the migration, rituals and religious activities of Brahmanas and reveal how kings of northern India granted lands for the purpose of austerities and Vedic education.

Sanskrit Inscriptions (F): The Early Gurjaras

[Study of Sanskrit Inscriptions Issued During Early and Early Medieval Period (F): The Early Gurjaras]

As a feudatory of different dynasties, the Early Gurjaras [also known as Broach (Bharuch) Gurjaras] ruled in the Lata region that in the South Gujarat region. The known rulers of this dynasty were as follows–

  1. Dadda-I (c. 585–605 CE)
  2. Jayabhaṭa-I. Vītarāga, (c. 605–620 CE)
  3. Dadda-II. Praśāntarāga, (c. 620–650 CE)
  4. Jayabhaṭa-II. (c. 650–675 CE)
  5. Dadda-III. Bāhusahāya, (c. 675–690 CE)
  6. Jayabhaṭa-III. (c. 690–710 CE)
  7. Ahirole (c. 710–720 CE)
  8. Jayabhaṭa-IV (c. 720–737 CE)

A branch of the Gurjara family of Rajputāna occupied Broach and the regions around it, and gradually a large part of Malwa passed into their hands in the early seventh century CE. The Gurjaras of Broach ruled as feudatories of either the main Gurjara family of Rajputānā or of the Cālukyas, but never assumed imperial titles.

The common language of this dynasty was Prakrit. However, we find a good number of Sanskrit inscriptions during the period under discussion. Most of the cases of migration to initiate vedic teachings and for serving vedic sacrifices in this dynasty happened during Dadda -I I viz. Praśāntarāga's time (approximately 620–650 CE). Although they survived not more than 150 years, the inscriptions issued by the rulers provide enough information regarding the issue of our present discussion.

A set of Kaira Plates of Gurjara King Dadda-II (Praśāntarāga), issued in c. 629630 CE,[1] refers to the grant of a village named Śirīṣapadraka situated in the Akrureśvara viṣaya. The village Śirīṣapadraka was granted collectively to forty brāhmaṇas belonging to the different branches of the Vedas along with the usual rights and privileges.[2] The primary purpose of the grant was to increase the religious merit of his family and secondly, the promotion of study the Vedas along with its four branches and helping them to perform bali, caru, vaiśvadeva, Agnihotra, atithi; the five great sacrifices. The village was given to the following brāhmaṇas belonging severally to the four caraṇas (branches).

Notably, the grant was distributed among the specialists in each of the four branches of the vedic learning Ṛg-Yajus-Sāma and Atharva.

  1. Bhaṭṭi-ādhyāpaka (teacher) the brāhmaṇa adherent of Āśvalāyaṇa, belonging to Vatsa-sagotra and Bahvṛca, i.e, ṛgveda who had migrated from Jambūsara and is resident in Śirīṣapadraka included in Akrūreśvara-Viṣaya (the village granted),
  2. Gopāditya,
  3. Bhaṭṭi-gaṇa,
  4. Visākha,
  5. Agniśarmmā,
  6. Droṇa (all the above six of Vatsa-sagotra),
  7. Bhaṭṭi-dāma and,
  8. Vatra of Kāśyapa- sagotra (all the above eight belonged to Bahvṛca-caraṇa of Ṛgveda branch),
  9. Tāpiśarmmā (i),
  10. Tāpiśarmmā (ii),
  11. Dattasvāmin,
  12. Bhāgisvāmin,
  13. Pitriśarman,
  14. Bhaṭṭi,
  15. Droṇa,
  16. Kakka-adhyāpaka,
  17. And Ābuka of Dhūmrāyaṇasagotra,
  18. Vāṭa-śarman,
  19. Śaila,
  20. Ghosha,
  21. Mahādeva and,
  22. Bāva of Kauṇḍinya-sagotra,
  23. Dhara,
  24. Viśākha,
  25. Nandi,
  26. Rāmila of Māṭharasa gotra,
  27. Dharmmadhara of Hārita-sagotra (all these Nos 9-27 were Adhvaryus and adherents of Vājasaneya-śākhā) (white Yajurveda), and Kaṇva school),
  28. Indraśarman,
  29. Āditya-Ravi,
  30. Tāp-iśūra,
  31. Indraśūra,
  32. Iśvara-I,
  33. Dhara,
  34. Dāmadhara,
  35. Iśvara-II, All of whom–(Nos; 28-35) were adherent of Chāndogya (Sāma) branch belonging to Bhāradvāja-sagotra and Kauthuma school (all the above-listed thirty-five brāhmaṇas seem to have migrated from Jambūsarā and settle in Śirīṣapadraka),
  36. Bhandra,
  37. Vāyuśarman,
  38. Droṇasvāmin,
  39. Rudrāditya and,
  40. Pūrṇṇasvāmin of the Pippalāda school belonging to Chauli-sagotra and adherents of Atharvaṇa branch (of the Vedas), residents of Bherajjikā, having migrated from Bharukachcha.

This inscription bears a lot of information about domestic migration. The grant was made collectively to forty brāhmaṇas, and they were to enjoy the income from the donated village together. It is noteworthy all the preceding thirty-five brāhmaṇa-d onees in the list given above, were adherents of ṛgvedīya, yajurvedīya and Chāndogya (sāmavedīya) śākhās seem to have been residents in Śirīṣapadraka having migrated from Jambūsarā. Only the Athavavedins subsequently mentioned had migrated from Bharukachcha. Mirashi, the editor of the plates, identifies the village Śirīṣapadraka with Sisodra, about eleven miles west by south of Ankleśvara, in Navsari district, a city in Gujarat. The Adhyāpaka Bhatṭi and other thirty-four brāhmaṇas had emigrated from

Jambūsaras or Jambūsara. Jambūsaras still bears its ancient name and is about twentyseven miles to the north of Broach, a modern city in Gujarat,and at the time of the grant, were residents of the donated village.[3] Others had come from Bharukachchha or Broach and were a resident of Bherajjikā.[4] Bherajjikā was probably the modern Borjai, twelve miles east of Ankleśvara, in Bharuch/ Broach district in Gujarat, Bharukachchna was, of course, the old name of the contemporary Bharuch district city in Gujarat.

Another inscription “Kaira Plates of Dadda-II, Praśāntarāga-B” (c. 633-34 CE)[5] issued by the king is a continuation of the previous charter. The text of this record is identicalwith the other charter from Kaira,except the alterations in the list of the brāhmaṇa recipients of the village Śirīṣapadraka as noted above. Interestingly, for some reason, those specializing in Atharvaṇa-veda have been deleted from this list. It is anybody’s guess as to why after five years after the issue of the earlier charter the five brāhmaṇas of Atharvaṇa-veda were omitted mention here. It would appear that the land allotted to them earlier was resumed by the king and reallocated to the others listed here.

Further, of the other thirty-five brāhmaṇas figuring in the earlier charter, only twenty-nine are found mentioned in the list in this charter. Those omitted were: A. Vataśarman and Mahādeva of Kauṇḍinya-sagotra and B. Indra-śarman, Dhara, Dāmadhara and one of the two Iśvaras of Bhāradvāja-sagotra-belonging to Chāndogyaśākhā. The reason for this omission is not stated. However, five more new names are seen added here.[6]

To all appearance, all the thirty-four brāhmaṇa donees of this charter as in the earlier charter, hailed from Jambūarā. Whereas in the previous charter it was found necessary to mention that all these brāhmaṇas except those belonging to Atharvaṇa-veda were resident in Śirīṣapadraka, such mention is seen omitted here [as per the earlier charter during c. 629 -630 CE, those athavavedins brāhmaṇas were migrated from Bharukachcha (modern Broach in Gujarat) and were resident in Bherajjikā (modern Borjai, Broach district in Gujarat)].

This is more interesting that he was the one who was said following the rules of time, with the prohibition of the entry into it of Cāṭas and Bhaṭas, with the assurance that the enjoyment will be uninterrupted so long as the moon, sun, oceans, and earth last, and could be enjoyed hereditarily in the line of sons and grandsons in the last charter, but after just five years in the second part of the same charter, he (Dadda-II viz. Praśāntarāga) had changed and corrected his previous decision definitely for some unknown benefit. For some reason, those were specialized in Atharvaveda have been deleted from this list, which seems that the king didn't need them anymore or the relevance and utility of Atharva-veda were reduced than the others at that time under discussion.

Two sets of Sankhed Plates, both dated in c. 642 CE,[7] were issued by Dadda-II (Praśāntarāga) for the due observance of the pañchamahāyajna rituals, bali, cāru, vaiśvadeva, Agnihotra, etc. and to increase religious merit and fame of his parents as well as of his own. It records a grant of the eastern quarter of Suvaṛṇṇārapalli village (with the usual rights and privileges as listed here is identical with that found in the Kaira plates) to a Brāhmaṇa Sūryya, a student of Vājasaneya Mādhyandina śākhā of white Yajurveda belonging to Bhāradvāja sāgotra. Brāhmaṇa Sūryya , the recipient of the grant,was an immigrant from Daśapura, and a resident of the village of Kṣirasara[8] and he was endowed with two fields bordering on the village of Kṣirasara. Daśapura, the place where the donee hailed from, was the ancient name of the modern Mandasor in western Malwa in Madhya Pradesh and the granted land was at Suvaṛṇṇārapalli village that in Bharuch or Broach district in Gujarat in recent times. The editor of the charters, V.V. Mirashi, has identified Kṣirasara with Khariakua about a mile to the east of Kukadi, eight miles to the west-south-west of Sankheda in the Baroda district. So it can be said the donee of this charter, Brāhmaṇa Sūryya migrated from Mandasor (Madhya Pradesh) to the Broach (Gujarat).

“Umeta Plates of Dadda-II” (c. 648-49 CE)[9] issued by the King Dadda-III[10] with all probable privileges for his performance of the (daily routine) rituals of the five great sacrifices (pañcamahāyajña) i.e., bali, caru, vaiśvadeva, Agnihotra, and such to BhaṭṭaMādhava, son of Bhaṭṭamahīdhara, a scholar of the Bahvṛca branch of Ṛgveda, belonging to cāturvidyāsāmānya (well versed in four Vedas) of Kānyakubja, of vaśiṣṭha sagotra who hails from Kānyakubja. Kānyakubja was the original home of the donee Bhaṭṭa-Mādhava, which is now called Kanauj in Uttar Pradesh.

Bagumra Plates of Dadda-II (c. 663 CE)[11] issued by the King Dadda-III records a grant of the village Tatha-umbarā as bounded on the east by the village Ushilathaṇa, on the south by the village Ishi, on the west by the village Saṃkiya, on the north by the village Jaravadra, included in the Tatha-umbar-āhārād-valiśa to cāturvidyāsāmānya Bhaṭṭa-Govinda, son of Bhaṭṭa Mahīdhara, of Chāndogya śākhā of Kānyakubja (modern Kanauj, in UP), wherefrom he hailed.

Early 7th century onwards,Bharukachcha [modern Broach (Gujarat)] became one of the destinations of vedic brāhmaṇas. Many of them left their ancestral homes at Kānyakubja (modern Kanauj, in UP)

“Ilao Plates of Dadda-II Praśāntarāga” (c. 665 CE)[12] issued by the King Dadda-II, Praśāntarāga records the grant of the village Rāidhaṃ falling within Ankuleśvara-viṣaya as bounded by the village Vāraṇera in the east, Varaṇḍa river on the south, the village Suṃṭhavaḍaka on the west, the village Araluaṃat the north, included in AkuleśvaraV iṣaya along with the usual privileges, guarantees[13] as brahmadeya with the empowerment to abhyantara-siddhi to Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa, son of Bhaṭṭa Govinda, a scholar–adherent of Bahvṛca school who belonged to Kāśyapa-gotra and hailed from Abhichchhatra and was a Cātur-vidyā-sāmānya of that place.

The geographical features mentioned in the record have been identified as follows:

1. About four miles north-east of Ilāo (the findspot of the charter) and eight miles southeast of modern Ankleśvar, the Village Vāranera is situated; which is identified with the modern Walner.

2. The river Varandā with Wandkhari.

3. The village Sumthavadaka has been doubtfully identified with modern Sunthwad in the Chikhli Taluk of Sūrat District, but this is inadmissible as the villages concerned must be sought in Broach District in which ILao is situated.

4. The village Raidham and Araluam have not been identified. Akuleśvara, the chief city of the Viṣaya bearing its name, was the modern Ankleśvar. In the latter reference, Fleet has read the names of the geographical localities differently from Bhandarkar.

5. What has been read as Abhichchhatra on the plates, apparently referred to the place Ahichchhatra situated in Uttar Pradesh; it is noteworthy that the beneficiaries of the Umetā and Bagumra charters also hailed from Kānyakubja, again in Uttar Pradesh.

The Gurjaras still held sway over the Broach region at the end of the 7th century. King Jayabhaṭa -I II issued a set of plates in c. 705-706 CE from Navasari,[14] now a city of Gujarat. In the plates mentioned the name of a brāhmaṇa viz . Devasvāmin or Kallumbara, son of Datta, who had left his home in Girinagara in Kathiawar and at the time of the grant he was living in Śrāddhikāgrahāra[15] which, however, is not identified yet. He was granted the Samipadraka village in Korillāpathaka. Mirashi identifies Samipadraka with Sondarn, seven miles south-west of Karwan and twelve miles north of the river Narmadā, and Korillāpathaka with Koral, on the northern bank of the river Narmadā, about ten miles north-east of Broach in Gujarat. Hence, in this case, the migration was confined within Gujarat.

Mention should be made here of some charters, where is no indication of the original home of two donees, who are only described as residents of a particular area. The Prince of Wales Museum Plates of Gurjara Dadda-III dated in c. 676-677 CE, records a grant of a village Uvarivadra in Korillā. Korillā has been identified with Koral. Mirashi identifies Koral, on the northern bank of the river Narmadā, about ten miles north-east of Broach in Gujarat. However, the village has not been identified yet. Through the description, it seems that the village was within the sub-division named Korillā, which probably comprised of eighty-four villages. The donee was an unnamed brāhmaṇa but a resident of Sāvatthi.[16] The editor of the charter, S.N. Chakravarti, has not mentioned the identification of Sāvatthi. However, ‘it is perhaps the same as Śrāvasti, in Uttar Pradesh or sometimes in the wide region known as Madhyadeśa, representing the upper and middle Gangetic basin and the Yamuna-Chambal catchment area.’[17] As these regions were far away from Gujarat, the donee must have emigrated from his ancestral home. However, the word vāstavya (residing at) instead of vinirgata (migrated from) has been used in the charter.

Another charter of this category belongs to Anantavarman, son of Devendravarman of the early Eastern Gaṇga family. He issued ‘Parlakimedi Plates’ in the year c. 700 CE that records that the Brāhmaṇa Viṣṇusomācārya, a resident of Śrngaṭikagrahāra in Kāmarūpaviṣaya[18] got the village Talatthere in Kroṣtukavarttani as a donation from Anantavarman. The donated community is as yet unidentified. However, Kroṣṭukavarttani in which the village was situated in was the region in the modern Ganjam district. Śrngaṭikagrahāra, the original home of the donee, is not identified. The editor of the charter, R.K. Ghoshal, suggests that the Kāmarūpaviṣaya to which the village Śrngaṭikagrahāra belonged is not in modern Assam, but possibly is an unknown district of ancient Kaliṇga. R.K. Ghoshal, however, has not given any reason to explainthis. Hence in the absence of any explanation, it can be said that Brāhmaṇa Viṣnusomācārya had lived in Assam andhe must have migrated to the region of Ganjam district of Odisha where he later received a grant.

Jayabhaṭa-IV was the last known of the early Gurjaras, who reined more or less c.720 CE to c. 737 CE. The only date available for him is the one provided by his Prince of Wales Museum Plates of c. 735-736 CE. It records Bhaṭṭa Achchada, son of Adityanāga whose original home was in Āhāra and pathaka of Lohikakṣa,[19] which is yet to be identified. He received the village of Mannātha, located in the Bharukachchhaviṣaya. The editor of the charter, Mirashi,identifies Mannātha on the right bank ofthe Dhādhar. According to Mirashi, it is the same as Magnath about two miles south-east of Jambūsara; however,it still bears its ancient name and is about twenty-seven miles to the north of Broach, a modern city in Gujarat.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

USVAE, vol. IV, part I, pp. 355-366.

[2]:

Along with the privilages of udraṅga and uparikara, entitlement to all levies/due from the land–holder in that village, exemption from all ditya, viṣṭi and pratibhedikā, in accordance with the rules time, with the prohibition of the entry into it of Cāṭas and Bhaṭas, with the assurance that the enjoyment will be uninterrupted so long as moon, sun, oceans and earth last, and could be enjoyed hereditarily in the line of sons and grandsons, has been granted with due libation of water.

[3]:

CII, vol. IV, p. 62.

[4]:

Loc. cit.

[5]:

USVAE, vol. IV, part I, pp. 462-466.

[6]:

Two among the five vedic brāhmaṇas, were; Brāhmaṇa Vāḍa of Vatsa-sagọtra and Brāhmaṇa Indraśūra of Dhaumrāyaṇa-sagotra. It is observable that these names are identical with those listed under Bhāradvāja–sagotra and Chāndoga-śākhā in the earlier charter. It is possible that there was a mistake in the mention of their gotra and śākhá in the earlier charter and the same was corrected in the present charter, it is also possible that these brāhmaṇas were different.

[7]:

USVAE, vol. IV, part I, pp. 523-529.

[8]:

CII, vol. IV, pp. 77, 80.

[9]:

USVAE, vol. IV, part I, pp. 580-587.

[10]:

It is seen that the first Dadda (the grandfather of the Dadda II who issued these three charters) from whom the genealogy is traced in these three charters was invested with the same praśasti (sa-jala-ghana-patala etc.) as was attributed to Dadda II in the Kaira plates dealt with above. From this it may appear that Dadda who issued the three records (Umeta, Bāgumra and Ilao)was the third of this name in the dynasty. But it is seen that the format of the genealogical account in the Prince of Wales Museum plates of Dadda II dated year 427 (era unspecified but attributed to Kalācuri era) (CII, vol. IV, p. 617-622) and Navsāri plates of Jayabhata III is entirely different from that of the present and the two other plates, from Bagumra and Ilao. There in Bagumra and Ilao plates, Dadda II, the grandparent of Dadda of that charteris said to have carried the protection of the ruler of Valabhīfrom Śrī Harṣa. And, Dadda III who issued that record was credited with the alternate name Bahusahāya. Moreover, the sign-manual of the Dadda given at the end of that record was ‘Śrī-Daddasya’ instead of ‘Śrī-Vītarāga-sūnoh’. However, ‘Śrī-Praśantarāgasya’ as found at the end of these three records (Umeta, Bāgumra and Ilao) are also found in the Kaira and Sankheda plates of Dadda II. It is also seen that Dadda II's son Jayabhața had the sign-manual, Śrī-Jayabhaṭasya as evidenced in the Navasāri plates. (The names Dadda and Jayabhaṭa rather than Vītarāga, and Praśantarāga were alternately borne by these kings of the Gurjara dynasty). Hence it is very difficult to identify the king of these records -whether he was the second or the third Dadda. It is also difficult to assume that some interested party forged these three different dates Saka 400, 415 and 417 to these records. However, it is to be noted that the donees in all these three charters are stated to have hailed (vastavya) from the Gangetic plain modern Uttar Pradesh. two (Umeta and Bhāgumra) from Kanyākubja modern Kanauj and one (Ilao) from Ahichchhatra (Buhler has tried to establish that the Umetā plates must be deemed as genuine, (IA, vol. XVII, p. 185). However, by examining the reign period of Dadda II And Dadda III, the types of Grant they made, the language and pattern of the charters, (USVAE, vol. IV, part I, p. 585) it seems that here the donor king was Dadda II (Praśāntarāga), not Dadda III (Bāhusahāya) which records the grant of the said village viz. Niguḍa. The village Niguda has been identified with Nagod, at a short distance from Kamrej; Baghauri (Vaghaurī) with Rudhvārā, Phalahavadra with (Moti) Phalod, Vihānā with Vihan, and Dahithali with Dethli (IA, vol. XVII, p. 184).

[11]:

USVAE, vol. IV, part II, pp. 153-157.

[12]:

Ibid., pp. 165-169.

[13]:

Entitlement to, undraṅga, uparikara, the contributions in paddy and gold (ādeya), free labour as due, with a bar on the entry therein of all royal (officials), with a guarantee on (its-grant’s) lasting till the moon, sun, oceans, earth, streams, mountains last, and that it (the granted land) could be passed down in inheritance to sons, grandsons in the family, with their exception, however, of whatever had been already granted to gods.

[14]:

CII, vol. IV, p. 82.

[15]:

Ibid., p. 86.

[16]:

EI, vol. XXVII. pp. 200-201.

[17]:

K.K., Dasgupta, The Topographical List of the Brhatsaṃhitā, pp. 60-61, 69.

[18]:

EI, vol. XXVI, p. 67.

[19]:

CII, vol. IV, p. 106.

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