Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Appendix IV :Explanation of the Expression "Daivaputrasahisahanusahi"

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Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Tej Ram Sharma

Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978

The full text of this chapter has been converted into Wiki format by Laxman Burdak

Appendix IV :Explanation of the Expression "Daivaputrasahisahanusahi"

Scholars do not agree in their views about the explanation of the expression 'Daivaputrasahisahanusahi' mentioned in line 23 of Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta. Daivaputras along with Sahis, Sahanusahis, Sakas, and Murundas, and the people of Simhala and all (other) islands are said to have acknowledged the suzerainty of Samudragupta by rendering to him all kind of service (seva) such as coming to the emperor personally (atmanivedana) gifts of maidens (Kanyopayana), presents (dana) and application (yacana) for charters bearing the Imperial Gupta Garuda seal (Garutmadanka) by which they would not be disturbed in the enjoyment (bhukti) and administration (sasana) of their respective territories (svavisaya). 1

Fleet, V.A. Smith and Allan split 'daivaputra-sahi-sahanu- sahi' into three different titles denoting three different princes, 2 who might have been rulers of three smaller states into which the Kusana empire was divided, each one of them appropriating one of the titles for himself. 3 But Majumdar, 4 Bhandarkar, 5 Sircar 6 and Raychaudhuri 7 take 'Daivaputra-sahi-sahanusahi' to indicate one Kusana ruler.

Goyal 8 raises the objection that there was no Kusana ruler so powerful in the third quarter of the fourth century A. D., to whom could be attributed such a great title as 'daivaputrasahi-sahanusahi'. He divides the whole expression into two parts 'daivaputrasahi' and 'sahanusahi' to denote two powers. According to him, the former is to be identified with the Kidara Kusana king and the latter with Shahpur II, the Sassanian Sahansah. His contention is that the word Devaputra has not been used as a title, its taddhita form shows that it is an adjective to the next word Sahi.

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 319

Buddha Prakash 9 gives new suggestion that the whole expression 'daivaputrasahisahanusahi' denotes a Persian king. His assertion is that the Kusanas had lost their importance and independence by that time by allying themselves with the Persians; this is clear from Kalidasa, who in referring to the North-Western conquests of Raghu, does not mention the Sakas but refers only to the Persians. 10 Moreover, in the Kusana records Sahanusahi has never been used as the imperial title of the Kusanas and has been a title exclusively employed by the Sassanian sovereigns. He thus takes 'devaputra' to stand for the Kusana king of the Indus valley and Kasmeremandala and Sahanusahi for the Sassanian emperor Shahpur II (A.D. 309-379) and concludes that, the mention of 'devaputrasahanusahi' together suggests an alliance of the Kusanas with the Sassanians, cemented by the marriage between the Kusana princes and Hormizd II (A.D. 302-309 ).11

The contention of Dr. Buddha Prakash is unacceptable. He neglects the word 'Sahi' occurring between Daivaputra and Sahanusahi. Moreover, he takes into his account the word 'Devaputra' but does not consider the form of Daivaputra. 12 It may be noted that the word 'Shahi' has been indiscriminately used by the Kusanas, the Hunas and by the kings of Kabul, Turks as well as Hindu kings of the brahmana clan. 13

The suggestion of Goyal may likewise be dismissed. In interpreting the expression we have to keep in our view the following considerations :

(i) It is to be noted that - 'Daivaputra' in itself is an independent word and its taddhita form denotes those 'who belong to Devaputra', i.e. Kaniska 14 (The Kusanas used Devaputra as their title).

(ii) Sahi stands for the Persians or a sub-branch of the Kusanas; 15 and

(iii) Sahanusahi for the Sassanians.

Moreover, the context does not suggest any particular reference to any king by name. Here we have an enumeration of tribes, viz., the Daivaputras, the Sahis, the Sahanusahis, the Sakas and the Murundas. 16

From the Jain legend Kālakācāryakathānaka we know : "The Saka king who lived on the other side of the Indus used

320 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

the title Sahanusahi, while his feudatories ; were simply styled Sahis" 17 Chattopadhyaya states that the. Sakas never used the; title of Sahanusahi which was : mainly a Rusana title' Whatever; may be the truth, but it supports our assertion - that the Sahis and the Sahanusahis were two separate entities and not one. From the study of Kushano-Sassanian Coins, we know that these are the money of the Sassanid prince-governors of Bactria, who bore the title Kusanshah. 18 It is possible that these Sassanians who had submitted to Samudragupta; might have reared their head after his death and were later subjugated again :by Chandragupta II, if we believe the evidence of the Meharauli Iron Pillar Inscription of Candra is relegated to. Chandragupta II.


1. No. I, LL., 23-24 : देवपुत्रषाहीषाहानुषाहि-शक मुरुंडै:सैंहलकादिभिश्च

सर्व्वद्वीप वासिभिरात्मनिवेदन-कन्योपायन-दान-गुरुत्मदंक स्वविषयभूक्तिशासन (या ) चनाद्यु-पाय-सेवाकृत....।

2. Pandey, Wx. p. 75, f.n. 4; Fleet, (Dx)1 , p. 14.

3. Majumdar, Pg. p. 147.

4. Ibid.

5. JJ. I. , p. 259 : 'It is forgotten, that the initial word is not 'Devaputra, but Daivaputra' a taddhita form, which shows that the term cannot stand by itself and must be taken along with what follows. The whole expression corresponds with the full royal insignia 'Daivaputra-maharaja-rajatiraja' of the later great Kusanas.

6. Sircar, Hz. p. 266, f.n.l.

7. Raychaudhuri, Az. p. 460

8. Goyal, D. 176-77.

9. IJ. Vol. XIII, p. 85, 'The political Geography of India on the eve of Gupta Ascendency', pp. 85-90.

10. Raghuvamsa,IV 60.

11. Buddha Prakash, IJ. Vol. XIII, p. 85.

12. P.L. Gupta, Sx. pp. 267-69; D.B. Pandey, Ng. pp. 46-49 and 52.

13. D.B. Pandey, Ng. pp. 46-48.

14. Jz. p. 60, Panini, 4/1/85

15. H.C. Raychaudhuri, Az. (ed. 1972), p. 408; D.C. Sircar, Hz. pp. 138-39.

16. No. 1, LL. 23-24

17. Sudhakar, Chattopadhyaya, Hx. 70.

18. Mg. p. 81

End of Appendix IV

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