Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Names of Brahmanas ; Jainas and Bauddhas
Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978
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Names of Brahmanas ; Jainas and Bauddhas
Names of Brahmanas
Names ending in Bhatta
1. Devabhatta (देवभट्ट) (No. 43, LL. 14-15; L. 26) :
Deva, the first part of the name, means 'god, heavenly or divine'. The second part is a name-ending suffix used for learned brahmanas. The ending Bhatta denoting a scholar later became a surname, just as the English word 'Master' is undergoing a change in usage with the Gujarati-speaking people and the word 'professor' may soon have with the Marathl-speaking people.1 Devabhatta was a brahmana. He was an inhabitant of Pundravardhana. He belonged to Vajasaneyacarana, and was versed in the four Vedas.
2. Kurama(ā)ravyabhatta (कुमाररव्यभट्ट) (No. 39, L. 5) :
He is mentioned as a teacher of Chandoga (Veda), with the gotras Asva and Vajin. Kurama means bad (or misused) wealth and 'ravya' means 'famous'; bhatta is a surname added to the names of scholarly brahmanas. So the whole expression may mean 'a teacher who is known for the ill use of his wealth'. Though such queer names are actually in practice it is not unlikely that in the present case it is the nick-name which has been mentioned.
3. Visnupalitabhatta (विष्णुपालितभट्ट) (No. 39, L. 5) :
He was the son of Kuramaravyabhatta, a teacher of the Chandoga (Veda), with the gotras Asva and Vajin. The first part of his name 'Visnupalita' literally means 'protected by god Visnu'; the second part 'bhatta' signifies a learned brahmana.
Names ending in Datta
1. Amaradatta (अमरदत्त) (No. 43, L. 15; L. 26) :
The first part 'Amara' means 'a god' and the second part 'datta' means 'given'. Thus the whole will mean 'Given by gods'. He was an inhabitant of Pundravardhana, and is described as belonging to' Vajasaneyacarana and as versed in the four Vedas. Amaradatta was also the name of a lexicographer and also of a prince in the Kathasaritsagara.2
2. Mahasenadatta (महासेनदत्त) (No. 43, L. 15; L. 26) :
The first part is 'Mahasena' which is the name of Karttikeya or Skanda .3 The second part is 'datta' which means 'given'. The whole expression means 'given by god Skanda'. Mahasenadatta was a brahmana inhabitant of Pundravardhana, belonging to Vajasaneyacarana and versed in the four Vedas.
Names ending in Sarmman
1. Nagasarmman (नागशर्म्मन) (No. 29, L. 3) :
The first part is Naga based on the Naga or serpent-demon. The second part sarmman (or sarman) is a brahmana surname.
2. Nathasarmman (नाथशर्म्मन)(No. 28, LL. 3-4; L. 12; L. 17) :
In lines 3-4 and 12 we get the second part as śarmman but in L. 17 we find it as śarmma. The first part is Natha meaning 'protector, patron, possessor, owner, lord'4 The second part is a brahmana surname. Natha is the name of several authors.5
3. Sivasarmman (शिव शर्म्मन)(No. 29, L. 3) :
The first part is the name of god Siva and the second is sarmman.
Names ending in Svamin
1. Gopadevasvamin (गोपदेवस्वामिन) (No. 21, L. 10) :
The name has two parts. The first part is Gopadeva and the second part is ( svamin Gopadeva means 'Lord of the cowherds' and is often applied to Indra, Krsna or Visnu, mostly to the last two in the post-Vedic period. The second part 'svamin' means 'a spiritual preceptor, learned brahmana or Pandita' (used as a title at the end of names, especially of natives of the Karnataka).6
2. Jayabhattisvāmin (No. 40, L. 6) :
The first part of the name is Jayabhatti. Jaya literally means triumph or being victorious (in battle, lawsuit, etc.). It was also the name of Arjuna (the son of Pandu), Indra, the sun, of an attendant of Visnu and of many sages.7 Bhatta or Bhatti is affixed to the names of learned brahmanas.8 As explained above, the second part of the name svamin is the surname added to the names of learned brahmanas. Jayabhattisvamin was a brahmana and has been mentioned as traividya in subsequent lines of the inscription9 (L. 8; L. 9).
1. Amṛtadeva (अमृतादेव) (No. 37, L. 6; L. 14) :
The first part is Amrta and the second is 'deva'. The term can mean 'the god Amrta' which is the name of Lord Visnu or we may call him 'the god of nectar' (Amriasya deva). It may also be explained as "Whose Lord is the nectar" or amrtam devo'sya. He was an inhabitant of Ayodhya.
2. Deva (देव) (No. 16, L. 5) :
It is an abbreviated name without any surname. Literally it means 'god, heavenly, divine' (also said of terrestrial things of high excellence.)10 It is also the name of men, and is used as a short form for Devadatta.11 Deva of our inscription belonged to the community of the Caturvedins of the locality called Padma in the town of Indrapura.
3. Devavisnu (देवविष्णु) (No. 16, L. 5) :
The first part is 'Deva' which means 'god'. The second part is Visnu which may be the name of his family deity. Devavisnu belonged to the community of Caturvedins of the locality called Padma in the city of Indrapura. He performed the Agnihotra of the Rāṇāyaṇīya Śakhā of the Vedas every day.
4. Dudika (डुडिक) (No. 16, L. 5) :
He was a brahmana belonging to the community of Chaturvedins of the locality known as Padma in the city of Indrapura. He has been mentioned as the great grand-father of the brahmana Devavisnu, the giver of an endowment for the maintenance of a lamp in the temple of the god Sun.
It is an abbreviated name with the ending ika 12 like Devika for Devadatta; Yajnika for Yajnadatta and Chadika for Chandodatta.13
The name 'Dadda' (डड्ड), 'Dudda' (डुड्ड) or 'Dudda' (डुड्डा) 14 cannot be derived from any Sanskrit root. Nor are these names found in any Sanskrit or Prakrit dictionary. Dr. H.D. Sankalia suggests that these names were derived from the Sanskrit term Dardara, 15 meaning 'a mountain', or a region having holes or ravines. The man may have shifted from a hilly region.
We find references to geographical names like 'Daddarapabbata' and 'Mahadaddara' in the Daddara Jataka. 16 The Daddarapabbata may be identified with the mountainous tract of Dardistan, lying to the north-west of Kashmir, and south of Little Pamir. Since the river Sindhu after its origin in the Himalayas near Tibet flows through this country, Panini calls the river Daradi Sindhuh.
The people of this tract, the Daradas are mentioned in the Mahabharata in the list of the foreign tribes which sprang up along with the Yavanas, Mlecchas and Sakas, from the cow Kamadhenu, when she was being forcibly driven away by Visvamitra from Vasistha's ashrama.18 The Daradas are the people, living above Peshawar. 19 But the basic weakness in the suggestion made by Dr. H.D. Sankalia 20 is, as he himself admits, these names are not found in any Sanskrit or Prakrit dictionary.
It may be noted that the words Doda (डोडा) and Dodda (डोड्डा) are synonyms used for a brahmana and Dodini (डोडिनी) stands for a brahmani, or a brahmana-woman. 21 These are desya words and hence refer to local elements.
In Punjabi language a person who is very simple or credulous or who can be very easily cheated is called 'Doda' (डोडा). It is not unlikely that on account of his pious ways and bookish approach a brahmana was generally taken to be a simple person. In the Sanskrit story books the picture of a typical brahmana is that of a simpleton who can be easily duped. Hence it is possible that a brahmaaa was called 'Doda' (डोडा) and the feminine form of 'Doda' (i.e. Dodini) was used for a brahmana -woman. 22
In Karnataka 'Doddu' (डोड्डु) means 'big' or elder. 'Doddacharya or 'Duddacharya' a term of respect for a learned Pandita is also used in satire.
It is interesting to note that Dadda (डड्ड) is also an English slang word meaning 'a foolish person'.
5. Haritrāta (हरित्रात) (No. 16, L. 5) :
The first part of the name is Hari, which means 'God' and is also the name among others of Lord Vishnu and Krsna. Generally Hari is derived from √hr to take away or remove evil or sin. 23 The second part trāta means 'protected'. Thus the whole literally means 'protected by Hari'. 24 Haritrāta was a brahmana belonging to the community of the Caturvedins of the locality called Padma in the town named Indrapura.
6. Karppatika25 (कर्प्पटिक) (No. 34, L. 6) :
The inscription records the purchase of land measuring one kulyavapa by a brahmana, named Karppatika, for the purpose of his agnihotra rites.
The word 'Karpaṭika' or Kārpaṭika means 'acting deceitfully, fradulent, dishonest, a rogue, cheat'. 26 It also means a beggar. 27 Both the meanings may be applied here.
7. Traividya (त्रैविद्य) (No. 40, L. 8; L. 9) :
His real name which occurs in L. 6 of the inscription was 'Jayabhattisvamin'. He was also known as Traividya The term literally means 'one who knows the three Vedas Rig, Sama and Yajus.
Names of Jainas and Baudhas
1. Abhayamitra (अभयमित्र) (No. 48, L. 2; No. 54, L. 2) :
The name consisting of two parts 'abhaya' and 'mitra' can mean a friend of unfearfulness or 'an unfearful friend'. 'Abhaya' is also the name of Lord Shiva 28 and 'mitra' is a synonym for the god Sun. Thus it may also be a name formed by combining the names of two deities as in the case of Ramakrsna. Abhayamitra was the name of a Buddhist monk who caused a pratima to be built.
2. Bhadra (भद्र) (No. 22, L. 4) :
3. Bhattibhava (भट्टीभव) (No. 31 , L. 2) :
The image on which the Mathura Jaina Inscription of Kumaragupta I, of G.E. 113 is inscribed was set up by Samadhya (Shyāmādhyā), the daughter of Bhattibhava. Bhattibhava seems to have been a brahmana-follower of Jainism. Bhatta or Bhatti, a surname meaning 'a teacher' has been put here before Bhava. Bhatti is the Prakritised form of Sanskrit 'Bharti' meaning a lord or master which came to be accepted as a Sanskrit word. 'Bhava' means 'a god, deity' and is also the name of Lord Siva. Bhava also means 'prosperity, welfare'. 30 Thus the full name literally means 'one who is a (source of) prosperity, for his teacher'. It can also be a case of a name after the deity 'Bhava' or 'Siva'.
4. Bhattisoma (भट्टीसोम) (No. 15, L. 6) :
It was the name of a Jaina worshipper. He is described as a mahatman the son of Somila who was a treasure-house of many virtues. The name Bhatti-soma literally means, "Who is just like a Soma (a life-giving element) for his teacher." It can as well be a case of a name after the deity Soma.
5. Buddhamitra (बुद्धमित्र) (No. II, L. 1) :
6. Datilacharyya (दतिलाचार्या) (No. 31, L. 2) :
He was a Jaina acharyya. The correct form of the name should have been Dattilacharya. The word seems to be in a Prakritised form. According to Monier Williams31 'Dattila' is one of the forms of names terminating in 'datta ' Names like Devadatta when contracted may turn into Dattila. 32 Acaryya seems to be an epithet.
7. Gosarmman (गोशर्म्मन) (No. 22, LL. 4-5) :
'Go' means cow and sarmman means 'shelter or protection'. 33 Thus the whole may literally mean 'one who is a shelter for the cows'. Acaryya Gosarmman mentioned as a muni seems to have been a Jaina Acaryya.
8. Guhanandin (गुह नन्दिन) (No. 39, L. 6; L. 13) :
The names of the Digarhbara Acaryas of the third and
fourth centuries, such as Yasonandin Jayanandin, and Kumara- nandin generally end in nandin. As Pundravardhana was one of the seats of Jaina pontiffs, beginning with Gupti-Gupta or Visakhacaryya, the disciple of Bhadrabahu II, it has been suggested that Guhanandin also belonged to the same place. 35
9. Jitasena (जितसेन) (No. 52, L. 30) :
The first part of the name 'Jita' means 'won'. 'Sena' the second part of the name, generally refers to an army but in the present case we may translate it better as 'body' which is supported by lexicographers. 36 Thus the whole may literally mean 'One who has won the body', i.e. one having control over one's senses'. This would suit the context because Jitasena was an acaryya of the Buddhist order. 37
10. Kapila (कपिल) (No. 41, L. 6) :
It is a name based on colour. Kapila means 'monkey-coloured' or 'yellow-coloured'. He was one of the teachers of the Mahesvara cult and has been mentioned as Bhagavan Kapila.
11. Kusika (No. 41, L. 5) :
He is described as one of the pupils of Lakulin (Nakulin in the Vayu Purana), an incarnation of Mahesvara. 38 It is an abbreviated name formed by the addition of the surffix 'ika'. According to lexicographers literally Kusika means 'squint-eyed'. 39 In the present inscription the name has the epithet bhagavan prefixed to it.
12. Madra (No. 15, L. 8) :
He was a follower of Jaina cult full of affection for brahmanas and religious preceptors and ascetics and set up five stone images of Adikartrs or Tirthankaras, i. e. the five images in the niches of the column and the column itself, at the village of Kakubha, i.e., Kahaum.
Madra is the name of a country to the north-west of Hindustan proper, or a king (pl. the people) of this country. It was also the name of a son of Sibi (the progenitor of the Madras). 40 Madri, we get the name of a princess of Madra. 41 Literally it means 'joy'. 42
13. Parasara (पराशर) (No. 41, L. 6) :
He is mentioned as an acharya of the Mahesvara cult. The epithet 'Bhagavan' has been prefixed to his name. Literally Parasara means 'a crusher, destroyer'. 43 Parasara is also the
name of an ancient sage, an authority on Jyotisa, Krsi, Vrksayurveda and Dharmasastra.
14. Parsva (पार्श्व) (No. 22, L. 3) :
The name has its origins in Parsva or Parsvanatha; the best of the Jinas. It is the name of the 23rd Arhat of the present cycle and his servant. 44
15. Rudrasoma (रूद्रसोम) (No. 15, L. 7) :
He is the son of Bhattisoma who has been mentioned as a mahatma. He is described as having another appellation of Vyaghra. 45 It may be a name formed by the combination of the names of two deities Rudra and Soma.
16. Samkara (शंकर) (No. 22, L. 6) :
It is the name of a Jaina monk 46 , who installed an image of Parsvanatha. Literally meaning 'causing prosperity', it is one of the common names of Lord Siva. 47 The present case goes against the traditions of the Smrtis which forbid the giving of the names of deities directly to human beings.
17. Sanasiddha (सनसिद्ध) (No. 23, L. 1; L. 9) :
It was the name of an upasaka. It seems to be a Prakritised form of Sanskrit 'svayam siddha 48 , meaning 'existing on one's own strength'. Another possibility is that as 'sana' means 'old, ancient', 49 the whole may mean 'Siddha of old'. It may be noted that in the Aitareya Brahmana sanasruta (meaning famous of old) appears as the name of a man.
18. Santideva (शांतिदेव) (No. 52, L. 4) :
He was a Buddhist monk of the Mahayana school and has been mentioned as Acaryya Santideva. 50 The name Santideva was quite popular among the Buddhists. Literally the name means 'the god of tranquility or prosperity'.
19. Somila (सोमिल) (No. 15, L. 6) :
It is the name of a follower of Jainism whose great grandson Madra is mentioned as having established the five excellent images referring to the five named Jaina Tirthamkaras sculptured on the column (viz., Adinatha, Santinatha, Neminatha, Parsvanatha and Mahavira).51 Somila can be an abbreviated form of the name 'Somadatta'. 52 In Punjabi usage a person named 'Somadatta' may be addressed as 'Somi; Somila may be a similar form convenient to utter. Somila can also be formed by adding 'suffix to the word 'Soma' and hence meaning 'full of
Soma'. Somila was the name of a poet. 53 Kalidasa also mentions a poet named Saumila (identical with Somila) along with Bhasa. 54 In the Kathasaritsagara Somila is the name of an Asura.
20. Udi(ta)caryya उदि(ता)चार्य (No. 41, L. 8) :
Udita means 'proclaimed' or 'high' 55 and 'acaryya' means teacher, the whole literally meaning 'a high teacher'. Arya Uditacaryya was one of the acaryyas of the Mahesvara cult, tenth from the Bhagavan Kusika and fourth from the Bhagavan Parasara.
21 Upamita (उपमित) (No. 41, L. 7) :
Literally the name means "compared or illustrated by comparison". 56 or in other words 'one who is quoted for comparison, i.e., very high or perfect'. Upamita was one of the acaryyas of the Mahesvara cult.
- See next chapter for references quoted above - Epic and Puranic Names