Bhanu Gupta

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Bhanu Gupta, also Bhanugupta, Bhanu-Gupta, was a king of later Guptas. We come to know about him from Eran Posthumous Iron Pillar Inscription (of Goparaja) of the time of Bhanugupta year 510 AD.[1] K P Jayaswal [2] has identified him with Baladitya II as mentioned in the following text from his book An Imperial History Of India. Baladitya of Kashmir reigned from 561-598 AD. [3]

Bhanu Gupta and Prakataditya

[The course of history after 510 A.D.]

In this section the chief personality is P. or Pra. (as in Tibetan). He is the son of Bb. and is a contemporary of king Gopa who does not belong to the dynasty. The only king of the dynasty who had the name Bh. was Bhanu Gupta, and his subordinate ruler was Gopa-raja who fought for Bhanu-Gupta and died on the battle-field of Eran. Pra. was a bad boy of the family and had been imprisoned up to the age of 17. He was brought out of prison by an Invader who was very powerful and had reached the East, having come from the West.

He enjoyed kingdoms acquired by others. He crowned the young Pra. as king of Magadha at Benares, and then died on his march. His name is given as H., i.e., Huna. H. was succeeded by his son who was very wicked, a patron of Brahmins; he was so pressed by his enemies that he lost his kingdom. He was marked with the appellation of Planet [Mihira = sun].

K P Jayaswal feels certain that this H. was Toramana and the Planet is Mihirakula. They are called Sudras. A writer writing about 700 A.D. when describing a small community as the Hunas who had

An Imperial History Of India: End of page 53

been settled for two centuries as Hindus, would naturally call them Sudras.

The MMK adds to our existing knowledge of the Hun invasion, and removes the mist from the personality of Baladitya of Yuan Chwang.

The Huns under Toramana had reached Magadha and gone to some town called Bhagavatpura, where Pr. was caught hold of and set up as the king of Magadha at Benares, and Toramana who was retiring west-wards, died at Benares. When Mihirakula became king, Magadha was subject to him. This is confirmed by Yuan Chwang who says that Baladitya rebelled and refused to pay tribute, and when Mihirakula was brought as a prisoner before Baladitya, Mihirakula refused to show his face as the position between the master and the subject had been reversed.

Then, who was Baladitya and who was this Pra., and what became of Bh. (Bhanu-Gupta)?

Although Pra. was installed at Benares, it is stated that he actually became king after the death of the Planet. It is also implied that the imprisonment and release of Pra. took place during the life-time of Bh. The king intervening between the death of H. (Huna Toramana) and the death of the Planet, his son, we may take it, was Bhanu Gupta who in 510 A.D. at Eran is described as ruling and as the bravest man on the earth. Evidently Bhanu Gupta's aditya-name was Baladitya. The name of the son of a second Baladitya whose one ancestor at least was another Baladitya, was Prakataditya (GI, p. 285). Pra.'s successor, according to the MMK, were two short-lived brothers who were followed by Rajyavardhana. Yuan Chwang saw pious buildings at Nalanda raised by successive kings in the following order (Beal, ii, 168,170; Watters, ii. 164-65).

  • Kumara Gupta II Sakraditya (evidently a mistake for Sri-kramaditya as in several other names e.g.,Mahirakula for Mihirakula.)

An Imperial History Of India: End of page 54

Then a king from Mid-India

Siladitya (Harsha ?)
Against this we have in the MMK; and in Inscriptions or Coins.
Kumara Gupta [II] Kumara Gupta [II]
U. [Budha Gupta] U. Budha Gupta
Bh[anu Gupta] Bhanu Gupta [Baladitya]
Pra[kataditya] and V[ajra],his younger brother [I] Prakataditya
Rajyavardhana Rajyavardhana,

It is thus clear that here we are dealing with a Baladitya who flourished after, not before Kumara Gupta II, i.e., Baladitya II, and that this Baladitya, father of Prakataditya (Sarnath insc.) is to be identified with Bhanu Gupta, father of Pra. (MMK) , and that Tathagata Gupta came in between Budha Gupta and Bhanu Gupta (in the period c. 500 A.D. to 510 A.D.) , that the Vajra of Yuan Chwang is identical with Prakataditya's brother V. of the [T. MMK] or with Prakataditya himself.

Malwa ruler

Baladitya (बालादित्य) or Bhanugupta Baladitya (भानुगुप्त बालादित्य) became ruler of Malwa after 40 years period of Skandgupta. Baladitya has been mentioned along with Jat ruler Yasodharman in defeating the Huns. [4]

Text of Eran inscription of Bhanugupta

Text of Eran inscription of Bhanugupta in Sanskrit language is as under:

श्री भानुगुप्तो जगति प्रवीरो, राजा महान्पार्थसमोडति शूरः।
तेनाथ सार्द्धन्त्विह गोपराजो, मित्रानुगत्येन किलानुयातःड्ड
कृत्वा च युद्ध सुमहत्प्रकाशं, स्वर्ग गतो दिव्य नरेन्द्रकल्पःड्ड
भक्तानुरक्ता च प्रिया च कान्ता, भार्यावलग्नानुगताग्निराशिम्ड्ड

(ऐरण अभिलेख)

In this inscription Bhanu Gupta is described as ruling and as the bravest man on the earth. Bhanu Gupta's, subordinate ruler was Gopa-raja who fought for Bhanu-Gupta against Hunas and died on the battle-field of Eran. His wife became the Sati.


  1. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Names of the Gupta Kings and Queens by Tej Ram Sharma, pp.29;Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Code of Inscriptions, by Tej Ram Sharma, pp.24, Gupta Year 191 (A.D. 510) Hz. p. 345 (Dx) 1 , p.91
  2. An Imperial History Of India/Gauda and Magadha Provincial History, pp.53-55
  3. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/List of Kings,p.xxi
  4. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, p. 710

Further reading

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