Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Names of the Gupta Kings and Queens
Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978
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Names of the Gupta Kings and Queens
Names of the Gupta Kings and Queens
Names of Gupta Kings
All Gupta kings excepting Ghatotkacha have the surname 'gupta' at the end. Before taking up the names of individual Gupta kings we may discuss the significance of the term gupta. Does it signify the family (a vaisya family) or the predecessor of the family ?
In the inscriptions, Sri Gupta appears as the founder of the dynasty. His name is always given first in the dynastic table.1 Moreover, we find in the Udayagiri Cave inscription, of the year 1062 the wording "Guptanvyanam nrpasattamanam rajye" (in the reign of the family of the best of kings, belonging to the Gupta lineage) which shows that all these kings belonged to a family which was founded by the above Gupta ; hence they were called Guptas. 3
In Sri Gupta 'Śrī' is an honorific term as in the case of other Gupta emperors mentioned in the inscriptions.4 Had the name of the first king been 'Sri Gupta', it would have been mentioned as Sri Sri Gupta 5 as we find in the case of the name of Srimati in the Deo-Barnark Inscription of Jivitagupta II. 6 If we accept that Gupta was the name of the first king of the family we may dismiss the possibility of the Gupta ending signifying a surname.
Now the question arises why the family was named after this Gupta ? In many cases families are named after some important person born therein, and when once a family is so named, the tradition is maintained even though the successors may reach much higher positions. Prior to this the family might not have attained any significant status. For the first time this Gupta got the status of a Maharaja as is mentioned
in the Gupta inscriptions,7 the status remained unchanged in the second generation, and from the third generation the Gupta kings became Maharajadhirajas. Literally, Maharaja means a great king. But the apparent and deliberate differentiation in the status of the earlier and later kings suggests that the political status of this Gupta was not much high in his own times.8 Probably he was only a feudal chief and not an independent king.
The name Gupta is so short that it looks suspiciously queer.But we must point out that the first part has not been lost or damaged in the inscription. Palaeographically it is quite categorical that the name is Gupta, there is no loss or damage of syllables.
In ordinary life in all societies we find the convenient tendency to drop one part of the name. We address a person by the purvapada or the uttarapada whichever is convenient to us. By the passage of time that name becomes his popular name. In some cases even his original name may be forgotten. In our own case Gupta may have been the uttarapada of the name of the first king by which he may have been generally known. The name Gupta was probably very popular, so much so that the dynasty itself was named after it.
The practice of shortening the names is not known in the Vedic times ; it is noticed by Panini and seems to have been fashionable in the times of Katyayana and Patanjali.9 Several examples of it are also met with in the Buddhist literature.
In modern historical usage Sri has become so much associated with the name of the first king of the Gupta dynasty that it has become a real part of his name generally written as 'Sri Gupta'.
V.A.Smith10 suggests that this name was not simply Gupta, but Srigupta, implying thereby that Sri is an integral part of his name, not the honorific prefix. Fleet11 has thoroughly refuted all his arguments and we may not discuss them here.
Some corroborative evidence for the historicity of Sri
Gupta is afforded by two seals of which one is in Prakrit and gives the legend 'Gautasya while the other is in Sanskrit and has the reading Śrī Guptasya. It is most probable that these seals belong to the founder of the Gupta dynasty, especially the Sanskrit Seal.12
The dynastic name is derived from the termination Gupta of each king's personal name, showing that the line had no respectable origin as clan, tribe, or caste.13
Jat origin of Guptas
The word Gupta is derived from √gup to protect.14 The Vishnu Purana15 says "(The termination) sarman is prescribed for a brahmana ; varman belongs to a kshatriya; (and) a name characterized by gupta and dasa is approved of in the case of (respectively) a vaisya and a sudra". The commentary in the Bombay edition gives as examples, Somasarman, Indravarman, Candragupta, and Sivadasa.16 The Manavadharmasastra17 also lays down a similar rule without specifying the terminations. On the basis of these authorities, it has been suggested that the Early Guptas were not of a high caste, being at best vaisyas, and hence felt pride in their matrimonial alliance with the Lichchhavis.18
But we find that the rules regarding the naming of persons prescribed in the Dharmasastras were not always strictly followed. To give only a few examples the name of the well known astronomer, Brahmagupta, a brahmana, ended in 'Gupta' 19 and likewise Dasavarman is the name of a brahmana,in line 36 of the Nerur grant of Vijayaditya (dated Saka-sarhvat 627). 20
We know of the names of the kings ending in Gupta as early as second century B.C. from the records of the excavations and explorations conducted in Central India.21 It may be noted from Talagund stone pillar inscription of the time of Santivarman (A.D. 455-70)22 that the grandson of a brahmana king Mayurasarman was named as Kaku(ut)stha varman. Thus on consideration no weightage can be given to the word 'gupta' denoting a Vaisya class.
In this context we must note that Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II and chief queen of the Vakataka king Rudrasena II describes herself as belonging to the Dharana gotra in her Poona and Riddhapur copper plate inscrip-
This Dharana gotra has been variously interpreted by scholars.
This view has been supported by Gokhale. 26
Jayaswal emphasizes the similarity between the name of the Dharaniya Jats in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan and the Dharana gotra of the Guptas. 27 Chandragomin's grammatical illustration "ajayat jarto Hunan" (The Jarta or Jat king defeated the Hunas) has also been interpreted by Jayaswal to refer to the Gupta ruler Skandagupta's victory over the Hunas. 28 Thus the Jat origin of the Guptas has been a favourite thesis of Jayaswal.
According to Raychaudhuri the Dharana gotra of the Guptas suggests that they were related to Dharini, the chief queen of Agnimitra Sunga. 29 This view is untenable. The similarity in the two names is not sufficient to establish the origin of the Dharna gotra.
On the basis of the evidence of the Skandapurana Dashrath Sharma 30 says that Dharana was a gotra of the brahmanas of Dharmaranya, a tract in the present Mirzapur district of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. But Sharma is not ready to accept that the Guptas were brahmanas, he considers them to be either kshatriyas or vaisyas who adopted the gotra of their gurus, as sanctioned by the laws of the Smrtis and the Dharmasutras. 31
But Goyal 32 considers the Guptas to be brahmanas. He relies on the evidence of their matrimonial alliances :
We find that Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II was married to the brahmana king Rudrasena II. 33 Kadamba king Kaku(ut)sthavarman who was a brahmana says that he married one of his daughters to a Gupta king. 34 Buddhist scholar Paramartha (A.D. 600) says that Baladitya, the Gupta king, married his sister to Vasurata, a brahmana by caste. 35 According to the Mandasor inscription of Yashodharman
Thus, we see that three of the Gupta princesses were married to brahmanas.37 There is only one instance of the Guptas marrying a daughter of a Kadamba king, who was a brahmana.38
It is to be noted that matrimonial alliances played a significant part in the foreign policy of the Guptas. Chandragupta I rose to power by marrying the [Lichchhavi]] princess Kumaradevi and Samudragupta accepted the offers of daughters from his feudatories. Thus, marriages with the most powerful and distinguished royal families in different parts of India continued to be an important policy of the Guptas.39
Hence, the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas seem to have sprung from political considerations. 40 Politically the Kadambas were no match for the Guptas. It may be inferred that it was on account of political pressures or as a matter of pride for the Kadambas that they had married their daughter to the Gupta king. We can explain all the matrimonial alliances of the Guptas even without bringing political reasons in the picture. As we know, inter caste marriages, especially of the anuloma type, have been permitted by the Smrtis. In three out of the four cases Gupta princesses were married to brahmana bridegrooms. If these are taken to have been anuloma marriages Guptas could have belonged to any of the remaining three varnas. It is only the marriage of a Kadamba princess with a Gupta king which requires the Guptas to have been brahmanas, otherwise it will be a case of a pratiloma marriage.
The Guptas do not mention their caste in any of their records. Had they been brahmanas they must have been proud to refer to it, especially because they were staunch supporters of Hinduism. We find a parallel in the case of Pala kings of Bengal who are silent about their caste since they were Buddhists.
Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 19
would not have agreed to have a joint coinage (bearing the legend Licchavayah, the Licchavis) with the Lichchhavis who were Vratya ksatriyas.41 Even if the Guptas had agreed for a joint coinage as a political matter, they might have objected the word Licchavayak on the coins. More astonishing is the fact that even the name of the Guptas is not linked with the legend 'Licchavayah'. Above that, Samudragupta was ready to be called Licchavi-dauhitra and seems to have mentioned this epithet in his records as a matter of pride. 42 It may also be noted that Prabhavatigupta though married to a brahmana king Rudrasena II, was the daughter of Chandragupta II born of the union with a Naga princess Kuberanaga.43
If Guptas could do such acts out of political expediency, we do not admit them to be orthodox brahmanas and are not ready to give any weightage to their matrimonial alliances as Goyal has done for the consideration of their caste. They were kings, for them all such matters were first political and then social.44 Kosambi also ascribes to a similar view by stating that the Guptas followed a series of political marriages ignoring tribal or caste norms. 45
Thus we can conclude that the question of the caste of the Guptas cannot be said to have been finally settled. If their Dharana gotra was not borrowed from the gotra of their purohita and it originally belonged to them then they must be described as brahmanas. We will have to wait for some more weighty and specific evidence to give the final verdict.
Names of the Gupta kings
Following are the names of the Gupta kings which we divide into two categories :
A. Main rulers
B. Other members of the dynasty
A. Main Rulers
10. Kumaragupta II
13. Kumaragupta III
B. Other members of the dynasty
A. Main Rulers
- (No. 1, L. 28; No. 21, L. 4; No. 22, L.I; No. 47, L. 1; No. 49, L. 1; No. 50, L. 1; No. 51, L. 2, L. 4; No. 53, L. 1) :
He was the founder of the family. We have already discussed his name.
- (No. 1, L.28; No. 47, L.I; No. 53, LL. 1-2; No. 46, L. 1; No. 49, L. I; No. 50, L. I; No 40, L. 3; No. 21, L. 4 :
The inscriptions name Maharaja Ghatotkacha as the successor of Gupta. He should not be confused with Ghatotkacagupta whose name occurs on some seals found at Vaisali (वैशाली), and also in the Tumain Inscription of Kumaragupta and Ghatotkacagupta (G. E. 116).46
Ghatotkacha was the name of a son of Bhima-sena by the Raksasi Hidimba. 47 Names based on Ghata (घट) are very rare in Sanskrit literature. Thus Ganesha is named Ghatodara 'pot-bellied'. 48 The name Ghatotkacha refers to the practice of bearing traditional names based on Epics and Puranas. Derivatively it means a person having a hairless head. 49 In Prachina Charitrakosa it has been suggested that Ghatotkacha was so called as his head was like a ghata (pitcher) and was hairless. 50 Tripathi suggests on the basis of the Skanda Purana that Ghatotkacha was so called as he produced a loud voice while laughing which may be compared to the voice produced by thumping the pitcher quite aloud at its mouth by hands.51 But
the first derivation seems to be more plausible from linguistic point of view 52 while the other explanation may be more important from socio-psychological or mythological point of view.
It is possible that it was the nickname of Ghatotkacha which might have become his famous name.
3. Chandragupta I :
- (No. 47, L.2; No. 53, L. 2; No. 40, L. 3; No. 21, L. 5; No. 1, L. 28; No. 30, L. 1) :
While his two predecessors are each given the title of Maharaja, Chandragupta I is described in the inscriptions as Maharajadhiraja, 'king of kings'. Mookerjee connects the passage from the Puranas defining the extent of the Gupta territory with the period before Samudragupta, i.e., under Chandragupta I. 53 It has been suggested that Chandasena of the play 'Kaumudi Mahotsava' is to be identified with Chandragupta I. The Licchavi alliance is the common point in the account given by the drama and the inscriptions. 54 Other details of the drama, however, do not support this identification. The drama condemns Chandasena as an usurper and belonging to low caste whom the citizens of Magadha could not tolerate and drove out to die in exile. Linguistically also Candasena and Candragupta are different names. Chandra can become Chanda in Prakrit but Gupta cannot be transformed into Sena. Moreover, in the fifth act of the play we are informed through a character Lokaksi that the cursed Candasena has been killed and his royal family uprooted. 55 Thus we know about the total annihilation of the dynasty after the death of Candasena which is not applicable to the dynasty of Candragupta which ruled for several generations after him.56 The name of the deity Candra 'moon' has been given to this king; Gupta is the surname. It may refer to his handsome physical features.
- (No. 1, L. 29; No. 47, L. 3; No. 53, L. 3; No. 21, LL. 6-7; No. 2, L. 10; No. 40, L. 4; No. 41, L. 1; No. 10, L. 4; No. 49, L. 3; No. 50, L. 3; No. 13, L. 4; No. 12, L. 19)
He is introduced as Maharajadhiraja in all references except the Mathura Pillar Inscription of Chandragupta II, G.E. 61 57 where he is mentioned as Bhattarakamahciraja rajadhiraja. He was the daughter's son of the Licchavis, and son of Maharaja-
dhiraja Sri Chandragupta I born on the queen Kumaradevi.58 He has been mentioned as a Paramabhagavata (a devout devotee of Lord Visnu).59 No. 2, L. 10 gives the justification of his name Samudragupta. 60 Mookerji says that the name Samudragupta was probably a title assumed after his conquests. It means 'protected by the sea' and may refer to his dominion which extended upto the sea. The Mathura Inscription of Chandragupta II actually describes the fame of his conquests as extending up to the four oceans (caturudadhisalilasvaditayasasah). The name Samudragupta may be split up into two parts, Samudra being his personal name, and Gupta being his surname. This is supported by the fact that the obverse of his coins of standard type sometimes bears the legend 'Samudra' while the reverse has Parakramah as his title. The name Samudra also appears on some other types of his coins, such as the Archer type and Battle-Axe type.61 Mookerji62 holds that Samudragupta's personal name was Kacha and that Samudragupta was his title. But the identification of Kaca with Samudragupta has been rightly opposed by scholars.63 Vamana in his Kavyalamkara64 refers to Candraprakasa as the son of Candragupta which Goyal takes to be another name of Samudragupta. 65 But it seems to be the name of a local king of Ayodhya rather than that of a member of the Imperial Gupta dynasty. 66 Another probable and most suitable explanation of the name 'Samudragupta' may be 'protected by Lord Shiva', Samudra being an epithet of Shiva.67
Samudragupta is given many epithets in No. 1. Some of these are also supported by numismatic evidence.68
5. Chandragupta II :
- (No. 30, L. I, L. 2; No. 32, L. 2; No.47, L. 4; No. 3, L. 1; No. 7, L. 1; No. 6, L. 1; No. 7,L. 10; No. 46, L. 3; No. 53, L. 4; No. 42, L. 1; No. 47,L. 4; No. 41, L. 2; No. 39, L 1, L. 6; No. 5. L. 3,L. 7; No. 20, L. 5) :
He is mentioned as apratiratha paramabhagavata, mahardjadhirdja and a son of maharajadhiraja Sri Samudragupta born of his chief queen Dattadevi;69 or as Bhattaraka-maharajadhiraja, the good son of the Bhattaraka-maharajadhiraja, the llustrious Samudragupta;70 or in one case simply as a king (raja) in No.30, L. 1. In No, 46, L. 3, L. 4, his title is Vikramaditya. He is
mentioned by other names as well. Devaraja as his favourite name (priyanama) is mentioned in No. 5, L. 7. 71 In the Poona copper plate inscription of Prabhavatigupta and the Ridhapura grants of Prabhavatigupta her father's name is Chandragupta.72 The Chammak copper plate inscription of Vakataka king Pravarasena II, however, names Prabhavatigupta's father as Devagupta.73 This proves that Devagupta was another name of Chandragupta. Candragupta had a third name, Deva-Sri, which appears on his Archer and Conch-types of Coins.74 No. 32, L.2 justifies his name Candragupta 'who is like a moon in the galaxy of Gupta kings with the famous name Candragupta'.75 No. 20, L. 5 refers to his quality of handsomeness. 'His name was Chandra and he was holding the glory of a full moon on his face'. 76
6. Govindagupta :
- (No. 42, L. 2; No. 32, L. 3) :
In No. 42, he is mentioned as the son of Chandragupta II. His mother's name as Dhruvasvamini. No. 32 explains the basis of his name : "The lord of the earth, i.e. king Chandragupta, produced a son whose exalted name was Govindagupta, who was as famous as Govinda (Visnu) for the glory of his virtues, and who resembled the sons of Diti and Aditi, i.e. the demons and gods."77 The poet means that Govindagupta resembled demons in physical strength and valour, and gods in spiritual virtues.
Govindagupta probably ruled as emperor between (his father) Chandragupta II and (his younger brother) Kumaragupta I. His reign could not have been more than three years, the interval between the last known date of Chandragupta II (G.E. 93) and the earliest known date of Kumaragupta I (G.E.96).78 P. L. Gupta assigns his short regnal period between A.D. 412 and 415. 79 That Govindagupta could have ruled as emperor only for a very short period is also evident from the fact that he has left no coins. Being a collateral, Govindagupta does not appear in the genealogical table in the inscriptions of Kumaragupta and his successors.80
It is also likely that Kumaragupta defeated or ousted Govindagupta and seized the throne; and after his accession, avoided all references to his elder brother. 81
7. Kumaragupta I :
- (No. 30, L. 2; No. 53, L. 5; No. 49, L. 5;
- No. 50, L. 5; No. 39, L. 7; No. 17, L.13; No. 30, L. 4;
No. 31, L. 1; No. 39, L. 3; No. 46, L. 4; No. 35, LL.1-2; No. 34, L. 2) :
No. 30, L. 2 says that Sri Chandragupta's son Kumargupta resembled the great Indra (Mahendra), who embraced and protected the whole earth. sup>82 In No. 53, L. 5 Kumaragupta is mentioned as 'Maharajadhiraja' son of ( paramabhagavata Maharajadhiraja Sri Candragupta' born of the cheif queen ' Dhruvadevi. He has been mentioned as father of Purugupta and son of Chandragupta II. 83 In No. 30, L.4 Kumaragupta is described as shining (ruling) over the earth like the Sun in the winter. He is called 'Paramabhattaraka' and 'Maharajadhiraja' in No. 31, L. I. In No. 46, L. 4 he is mentioned only by his title 'Mahendraditya', and as the grandson of Samudragupta and son of Chandragupta II. The Arya-Manju-Sri-Mulakalpa corroborates the title giving his name as Mahendra. 84 In No. 34, L. 2 he is mentioned as 'Paramadaivata', 'Parmabhattaraka' and 'Maharajadhiraja'.
- (No. 15, L. 3; No. 46, LL. 7-8; No. 14, L. 3: No. 16, L. 3; No. 13, L. 8; No. 12, LL. 6, II, 23, 25):
In No. 15 he is equated with Indra.86 In No. 46 he is described as equal to the Chakravartins in prowess and valour, to Rama in righteousness and to Yudhisthira in the matter of speaking the truth and in good conduct and modesty. 87 According to some scholars 88 these are vague praises; but in view of his achievements these epithets seem to be richly deserved. In No. 14, L. 2 he is described as 'rajarajadhiraja', and as 'Paramabhagavata' and Maharajadhiraja' in No. 12, LL. 23, 25.
9. Purugupta :
- (No. 47, L. 6; No. 53, L. 6; No. 49, L. 6;No. 50, L, 6; No. 38, L. 1) :
and predecessor of Narasimhagupta is spelt as Purugupta. 89 The reading Purugupta is unmistakeable on the fragmentary Nalanda Seal of Narasimhagupta and is also fairly clear on the seals of Kumaragupta II. The medial u sign in the first letter of the name Purugupta is indicated by an additional stroke attached to the base of the letter and the downward elongation of its right limb; mere elongation of the right limb by itself would have denoted the short medial u as in puttras in LL. 2 and 3. In the second letter of the name, viz. ru. the medial u is shown by a small hook turned to left and joined to the foot of r. Palaeographical onsiderations apart, the name Purugupta yields a more plausible-sense than Puragupta and fits better in the series of the grand and dignified names of the Gupta kings. The first part of the Gupta names constituted the real or substantive name and yielded satisfactory meaning independently of the latter half, viz.gupta, which being family surname was a mere adjunct. Pura, by itself is neither a complete nor a dignified name while Puru is both. Puru or its variant Puru may, like Vainya in Vainyagupta signify the homonymous epic hero of the lunar race who was the ancestor of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, or may mean abundant or great.90
10. Kumaragupta II : (No. 48, L. 5) :
Kumaragupta II was the immediate successor of Purugupta in the light of the data given in two dated inscriptions, viz. the Sarnath Buddha Stone Image inscriptions of Kumaragupta and Budhagupta. The first (No. 48) mentions A.D. 473 as the date of Kumaragupta who must, therefore, be taken as Kumaragupta II and the second (No. 54) mentions A.D. 476 as the date of Budhagupta. No. 48 records the date, Gupta year 154 91 when Kumaragupta was protecting the earth.92 The renovation of the Sun temple mentioned in No 17, LL. 20-21 seems to have taken place in his reign. 93 It seems that Mookerji has by mistake, connected the reference94 meant for Kumaragupta I with Kumaragupta II. 95 The temple was originally constructed in the reign of Kumaragupta I in M.S. 493=A.D. 436 (L. 19).
11. Budhagupta :
- (No. 54, L. 1; No. 55, L. 2; No, 18, L. 2; No. 33, L. 1; No. 53, L. 8) :
Nos. 54, 55, 18 and 33 respectively mention him as reigning in :
G.Y. 157, 159, 163 and 165. No. 33 gives his titles as 'paramadaivata 'paramabhattdraka' and 'maharajadhiraja'. In No. 53 he is mentioned as the son of Purugupta born of the queen Chandradevi.96 In No. 55 his title is maharajadhiraja. According to Sircar there is no space for the name of any other Gupta prince between Purugupta and Bhudhagupta and their relationship is clearly mentioned by the word 'putra' occurring at the end of line 6.97 In other words purugupta was the father of Budhagupta.
In his description of Nalanda, Hiuen Tsang says that the monastic establishments at that place were enriched by the successive endowments of Sakraditya, Budhagupta, Tathagatagupta and Baladitya.98 On the strength of this statement it has been suggested that Budhagupta was the son of Kumaragupta I who had the title of Mahendraditya (Mahendra=Sakra). 99 In veiw of the clear epigraphic reference to the parentage of Budhagupta the proposed identification must be rejected.100 The statement of Hiuen Tsang was based on hearsay and not on sound history, or else his Budhagupta is not to be identified with Budhagupta of the Imperial Gupta line.
The name Budhagupta is based on Mercury. Budhism had quite a prominent place in the time of Budhagupta. But in view of the special leaning of Gupta kings towards the brahmanical faith we prefer to interpret Budha as referring to Mercury either as god Mercury (regarded as a son of Soma or the Moon) or as the planet Mercury.101
12. Narasimhagupta :
- (No. 47, L. 8; No. 49, L. 7; No. 50, L. 7; No. 38, L. 2)
Narasimhagupta has been mentioned as 'Paramabhagavata' and maharajadhiraja. Hiranand Shastri'102' says that the seal of Narasimhagupta (No. 47), though not entire is valuable in establishing his identity as the son of Purugupta born of the the queen consort Sri Vainyadevi and not Vatsadevi as has hitherto been believed. But the correct reading of the name of her mother is Sri Candradevi, on his seal.103 In No. 50. L. 6 we find his mother's name as 'Vatsadevi'. In No. 49 he is mentioned as the father of Kumaragupta III. No. 38 describes the issuer of this seal, Vishnugupta, as the son and successor of Kumaragupta III, who in his turn was the son and successor
13. Kumaragupta III :
(No. 49, L. 8; No. 50, L. 8; No. 38.L. 3; No. 47, L. 5) :
Kumaragupta mentioned in Nos. 49 (L. 8); 50(L. 8); 38 (L. 3); 47 (L. 5) should be considered as Kumargupta III. He is described as the son and successor of [Narasimhagupta]] and has been given the title of maharajadhiraja.
14. Vishnugupta (No. 38, L. 4) :
Visnugupta is mentioned here as a Paramabhagavata and maharajadhiraja. He was the son and successor of Kumaragupta III who in his turn was the son and successor of Narasimhagupta. Unfortunately the name of the mother of Visnugupta (and the wife of Kumargupta III) has been lost in the portion of the last line.
The Kalighat hoard 105 contained besides Candragupta II's coins those of Narasimhagupta, Kumaragupta III and Visnugupta. Altekar identified Visnugupta of the coins with the homonymous ruler of the later Gupta family of Magadha, who flourished in the eighth century A.D.106 At that time the learned professor had no knowledge of this seal of an earlier Visnugupta.
His name is clearly based on god Visnu.
B. Other members of the Dynasty
1. Ghatotkacagupta :
- (No. 45, L. 1; No. 30, L. 3)
Ghatotkacagupta of No. 30 is identical with that of No. 45.
A distinction must be made between Ghatotkacagupta and Ghatotkacha, the latter being the grandfather of Samudragupta. Unfortunately the word expressing the exact relationship between Kumaragupta (the ruling emperor) and Ghatotkacagupta (the provincial governor) is lost in the missing portion of the inscription. He was probably a son or younger brother of Kumaragupta I 107 and may have been one of the claimants for the throne after the death of Kumaragupta I. Altekar considers him to be a brother of Kumaragupta. 108
2. Vainyagupta : (No. 51, L. 5; No. 52, L. 1) :
Vainya is the synonym for the first king 'Prthu'. 109 Hiranand Shastri mentions Vainya as a synonym of Kubera, the god of wealth. According to Sir Richard Burn Vainya was another name of Vajra whom Hiuen Tsang mentions as the son of Baladitya. He chiefly relies on the St. Petersburg dictionary where Vainya is derived from Vena and is connected with Indra; Vajra is the thunderbolt and Vainya is a patronymic from Vena who is Indra.'110' But the suggested identification is extremely far-fetched. Vajra cannot by any stretch of imagination be described as a synonym of Vainya. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that Hiuen Tsang would have referred to the king by such a name in preference of the real name.
In No. 51 Vainyagupta is mentioned as a paramabhagavata and maharajadhiraja, but in No. 53 he is described as a devotee of Lord Shiva (bhagavan mahadevapadanudhyata) and a maharaja only. Some scholars hold the opinion that it shall be wrong to disconnect Vainyagupta from the Gupta family on the basis of the argument that the Guptas were Vaisnavas while Vainyagupta professed to be a Saiva.111 We find both the epithets 'paramabhagavata' and 'mahadevapadanudhyata' for him in our records.
It is interesting that even his Pādadāsa and Uparika are styled as maharajas (LL.3 and 16). His title Maharaja, therefore, cannot prove that Vainyagupta was an insignificant prince. 112
The legend on No. 51, though partially preserved, resembles in point of style the legend on the other seals of the Imperial Guptas. Here Vainyagupta is specifically called paramabhagavata. Moreover, his name, like those of other kings in the Gupta dynasty ends in the word Gupta. It is thus clear that Vainyagupta belonged to the line of the Imperial Guptas. He seems to have ruled in any case over considerable parts of Bengal and Bihar113 almost immediately after Budhagupta. We do not know anything about the relationship of Vainyagupta with Budhagupta and Bhanugupta of the Eran Inscription of A.D. 510.114 Some scholars assign him a reign of four years before Bhanugupta (A.D. 510).115
The regnal period of Vainyagupta witnessed a considerable decline in the power and prestige of the Imperial Guptas. The
rise of the ruling dynasty consisting of Dharmaditya, Gopachandra and Samacharadeva in Central and South-West Bengal in the first half of the sixth Century A.D., possibly points to the extirpation of Gupta rule from Bengal excepting the bhukti (province) of Pundravardhana (North Bengal). 116
3. Bhanugupta (No. 19, L. 5) :
He is known only from No. 19. His no other coin or seal has yet come to light. As regards the position of Bhanugupta, several alternatives are possible. First, he may have been a successor of Vainyagupta and the dominions of both may have included parts of Eastern Malwa. Second, Vainyagupta may have been the lord of the eastern part of the Gupta Empire when its western part was being ruled by Bhanugupta. Third, Bhanugupta may have been a viceroy in the Malwa region like Govindagupta and Ghatotkachagupta. It is possible that he belonged to the Imperial Gupta line but whether he succeeded Vainygupta, or the two ruled at the same time respectively over the western and eastern parts of the empire, is difficult to determine. The latter view seems more probable and this internal dissension perhaps paved the way for the downfall of the 117Bhanugupta, in spite of the high encomiums paid to his bravery in Eran Inscription, remains a shadowy figure, and we do not know what was his position in the Gupta Imperial family, or what part he played in the dark days of the Gupta empire.118
His name is based on the god Sun 'Bhanu'.
Names of the Gupta Queens
Following are the names of the Gupta queens available in our inscriptions. They have been mentioned as Mahadevis.
3. (a) Dhruvadevi (b) Dhruvasvamini
6. Sriva (tsa) devi
1. Kumaradevi :
- (No. 1, L. 29; No. 4, L. 8; No. 10, L. 4;
- No. 12, L. 18; No. 13, L. 3; No. 21, LL. 5-6; No. 40,L. 4; No. 47, L. 2; No. 53, L. 2; No. 49. L. 2; No. 50,L. 2)
- (No. 4, L. 10; No. 10, L. 5; No. 12, L. 20; No. 13, L. 4; No. 47, L. 3; No. 53, L. 3; No. 49, L. 3;No. 50, L. 3) :
3 (a) Dhruvadevi :
- (No. 53, L. 5; No. 12, L. 21; No. 13, L.5;No. 49, L. 4; No. 50, L. 4; No. 47, L. 5)
She was the mother of Kumaragupta I and the wife of Chandragupta II. Literally 'Dhruva' means unchangeable or constant. It is also the name of the polar star (personified as son of Uttana-pada and grandson of Manu).120
3 (b). Dhruvasvamini (No. 42, LL. 3-4) :
We come to know of Dhruvasvamini only in No. 42. Lines 1-3 mention her as the wife of Chandragupta II and the mother of Govindagupta. As we have noticed Dhruvadevi elsewhere appears as the wife of Candragupta II and mother of Kumaragupta I. It is not much likely that Candragupta II had two queens with almost identical names. As the real name of the two is the same (Dhruva) it would be better to hold that Dhruvasvamini was another name of Dhruvadevi and Kumaragupta I and Govindagupta were real brothers.
4. Anantadevi :
- (No. 49, L. 5; No. 50, L. 5; No. 53, L. 6; No. 47, L. 6)
She is mentioned as the wife of Kumaragupta I and the mother of Purugupta. According to Monier Williams Ananta is the name alike of Visnu, Sesa (The Snake-god), Shesha's brother Vasuki; Krishna, his brother Baladeva, Siva and Rudra; and is also included in the list of the Visve-devas and the Arhats, etc.
5. Chandradevi : (No.47, L.7; No. 53, L.7)
The name of the mother of Budhagupta occurring at the beginning of the extant portion of line 7 is not clearly legible; it
consists of four letters, the first of which is either ca or va and the second is certainly n with some subscript mark or letter; the third and fourth letters clearly read devyam. It is, therefore, highly probable that her name was Candradevi, known from some seals to have been the name of the queen of Purugupta. Hiranand Shastri takes the relevant legend to be 'Srivainyadevydm'122 but regards the correct reading to be Candra in place of Vainya.123
No. 47 mentions Candradevi as the name of the mother of Narasimhagupta.
The name Candradevi is based on the god Chandra (Moon).
- (No. 49, L. 6; No. 50, L. 6)
'Śrīva' is clearly legible but the terminal 'tsa' can only faintly be seen.
She is mentioned as the wife of Purugupta and mother of Narasimhagupta. 'Srivatsa' is the name of Vinu, which literally means 'beloved or favourite of Sri' (Laksmi). 125 It is also a symbol or mark of Vishnu.126
- (No. 49, LL. 7-8; No. 50, L. 7)
No. 49 mentions mahadevi Sumatidevi as the wife of Narasimhagupta and mother of Kumaragupta III. Fleet read the name as Mahalaksmidevi127 and Hoernle as 'Srimatidevi'.128 But in No. 50 the reading is clearly 'Mitradevi'.'129' Mitra is one of the several names of the Solar deity.
2. (DX)1 . p. 258, L. 1
5. It may be noted that here also the epithet Sri indicates that the founder's name was 'Gupta'. Cf. D.C. Sircar, JJ. XIX, p. 19 : "The first known king of the Gupta dynasty was Gupta whose son was Ghatotkacha; but when the latter's son Chandragupta I founded an empire, his descendants always stuck to the
name-ending gupta and soon the family became known as the Gupta dynasty"; Cf. Dashrath Sharma, Journal of the Bihar Research Society, XXXIX, p. 265.
6. Sri-srimatyam : (DX)1 . p. 215, L. 2.
8. B.G. Gokhale, Ez. p. 28.
9. For details of abbreviated names, places, see Agrawala, Jy., pp. 190-192.
10. Lj. Vol. LIII, part I, p. 119, and note.
11. (DX)1 . p. 8, note 3.
12. GJ. XV, pp. 42-43.
13. D.D. Kosambi, G. p. 290.
14. See F.W. Thomas, 'The Root gup and the Guptas',UJ, 1909, pp. 740-743.
15. Book, III, chap. 10, verse 9.
16. See also F.E. Hall's edition of H.H. Wilson's Translation, Vol. Ill, p. 99f.
17. Manavadharmasastra, II, 31, Burnell's Translation, p. 20.
18. This is shown by the appearance of the name of Kumaradevi and her father's family on some gold coins of Candragupta I, and by the regular use of the epithet, daughter's son of Licchavi (or of a Licchavi king)" for Samudragupta in the genealogical passages in the inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty.
19. To give other examples :
Visnugupta is the name of the Sutrakara and Bhasyakara of the Arthasastr. Arthasastra 15/1/4 स्वयमेव विष्णुगुप्तश्चाकार सूत्रं च भाष्यं च Padmagupta is the name of a dramatist, the author of the Navasahasa-nkacaritam. Vasugupta is the author of the Sivasutras.
In the Chapter XII of the Tantraloka, Chapter 37, we find clear mention of the brahmanic names with Gupta-endings.
- 1. Atrigupta as a brahmana (dvijanma) Vol. XII, chap. 37, Karika 38.
- 2. Varahagupta, Ibid., 53;
- 3. Narasimhagupta, Ibid., 54;
- 4. Abhinavagupta, Ibid., 56;
- 5. Laksmanagupta, Ibid., 61; (Teacher of Abhinavagupta)
- 6. Manorathagupta, Ibid., 64;
- 7. Ksemagupta, Utpalagupta, Abhinavagupta, Cakragupta, Padmagupta (All cousins of Abhinavagupta), Ibid., 67.
- 8. Ramagupta, Ibid., 68.
20. HJ. Vol. IX, p.131.
21. K.D. Bajpai, Cz. p. 119 : A circular lead piece bearing the seal mark of Indragupta rano Indagutasa inscribed in the Mauryan Brahmi script was recovered which gave the name of a king who ruled over Eran about 200 B.C.
22. D.C. Sircar, Hz., p. 475.
23. Ibid., p. 436 See Ibid., pp. 436-37, f.n. 9 : The queen refers to her paternal gotra rather than that of her husband's family and thus contradicts the injunctions of the Smrtis, p.439.
24. Ibid., p. 443
25. K.P. Jayaswal, Ay. pp. 115-16.
26. B.G. Gokhale, Ez. pp. 25-26.
27. NJ. 1934, p. 235.
28. Ibid., XIX, pp. 115-16. Majumdar disagrees with this surmise. Some scholars have given the emendation 'Gupta' for the original jarto, jato, or japto which also is not,however, acceptable (R.C. Majumdar; Pg. p. 197, see f.n.l). Hoernle while identifying the people with Jats interprets the passage as referring to the defeat of the Hunas by Yasodharman.
29. H.C. Raychaudhuri, Az. p. 526, f.n. 1.
30. ZJ. Vol. VII, No. 1 (January 1965), pp. 183-85.
31. Ibid., p. 185, f.n. 8; (Cf. Mitaksara)
- राजन्यविशां प्रातिस्विक् गोत्राभावात प्रवराभावस्तथापि पुरोहित प्रवरो' वेदितव्यौ
This is the view also of Baudhayana, Apastamba and Laugaksi.
32. S.R. Goyal, D., pp. 78-81.
33. Ibid., p. 78.
35. Ibid., p. 80.
36. Ibid., p. 81.
37. These three marriages are not of much importance as a brahmana can marry in any caste according to the injunctions of the Smrtis. So even being of lower class than brahmanas, Guptas could have married their daughters to the brahmanas.
38. R.C. Majumdar, Pg. p. 170 ; It has been suggested that Candragupta II arranged a marriage between his son and the daugther of Kaku(t)stha Varman, the most powerful ruler of the Kadamba family who was the ruler of Kuntala, Kanarese country in the Bombay Presidency.
39. Cf.Ibid., p. 170.
40. Ibid., p. 169.
41. Ibid., p. 128.
42. Majumdar says that 'we may reasonably assume that the marriage of Candragupta and Kumaradevi led to the amalgamation of the Gupta principality with the Licchavi State, and the epithet licchavi-dauhitra was deliberately given to Samudragupta to emphasize his right of succession to the dual monarchy'.
R.C. Majumdar, Pg. 129. Cf. V.S. Pathak, TJ, XIX. Pt. II, pp. 140-41: Pathak takes the meaning. of dauhitra in the technical sense of the Smrtis, i.e., "a person having. dual parentage (dvamusyayana)".
43. D.C. Sircar, Hz., p. 436. Poona Copper-plate Inscription of Prabhavatigupta, LL. 7-10.
44. We know that Seleucus married his daughter to Candragupta Maurya even though the Greeks used the word barbarian for non-Greeks, Xz, p. 91 and were not in favour of mixing with them. Marriages among kings attached more significance to political than to social considerations.
45. D.D. Kosambi, G. p. 290.
46. GJ, Vol. XXVI, No. 11, p. 117, L. 3.
47. Fz. p. 375, col. 1; Mahabharata, i, iii, Bhagavata Purana, ix, 22, 29.
48. Kathasaritsagara, IV. 165.
49. Fz., p. 375, col. 1 घट = the head (Mahabharata I, 155, 38). Ibid., p. 175, Col. 3 उत्कच = hairless
50. सिस्धेश्वर शास्त्री चित्राव, भारतवर्षीय प्राचीन चरित्रकोश, पृ.१९२
51. भागीरथ प्रसाद त्रिपाठी, पाणिनीयधातुपाठसमीक्षा पृ. १४८ √
- घटोत्कच √गग्घ् (गग्घ) हसने ।
- भीमसूनोरभिधेयं घटवद् हसनत्वात 'घटोत्कच' इति जातम - तव-रूपमहं दृष्टवा घटहासं सदोत्काचम् । प्रणम्य पादयोर्वीर !स्थिता ते वचङकरी ।। स्कन्द पुराण
52. In coloquial Punjabi a hairless person is called 'Roda', 'Rodu'. He is generally referred so in his absence but in presence called so in rough tone or satirically. In Bengali such a person is called 'Nyaramatha' and in Telugu it is called 'Gundu'.
53. R.K. Mookerjee, Ag., p. 13 : "The kings born of the Gupta family will rule over the territories (Janapadas) situated along the Ganges (anu Ganga) such as Prayaga, Saketa (Oudh) and Magadha".
54. Ibid., p. 14.
55. निहताश्चण्डसेनहतक:...उन्मूलितचण्डसेनराजकुलं ।
56. Jagannath 'The Kaumudimahotsava as a Historical Play. E. pp. 116-117.
57. GJ. Vol. XXI, No. 1, p. 8, L. 1.
58. No. 1, L. 29.
59. No. 40, L.4.
60. No. 2, L. 10 : (पुत्रो) बभूव हि धनदान्तक-तुष्टि-कोप तुल्य: पराक्र मनयेन समुद्रगुप्त:
61. Ag. p. 17.
63. Rx., pp. 54-59. UJ., 1889, pp. 75-76; UJ, 1893, p. 95; HJ, 1902, p. 259; (Dx)1 , p. 27;
64. III. 2.2.
65. S.R. Goyal, D., p. 209.
66. R.C. Majumdar, Pg., pp. 155-56.
67. Fz., p. 1166, col. 3 :
- D.C. Sircar, Hz, pp. 290-91, f. n. 4,
68. R.K. Mookerji, Ag. p. 40.
69. No. 53, L. 4.
70. No. 41, L. 2.
71. (Dx)l, p. 32, note 1; Ibid., p. 33, note 6, Fleet takes it as the name of one of his ministers.
72. D.C. Sircar, Hz. pp. 436, 439.
73. Ibid, p. 444. LL. 14-16.
- ...वाकाटकानां महाराज श्रीरूद्रसेनसूनोर्म्महाराजाधिराज-श्रीदेवगुप्त-सुतायां प्रभावती गुप्तायामुत्पन्नस्य ....।
74. R.K. Mookerji, Ag. pp. 44-45.
75. No. 32, L. 2 :गुप्तकुलयोम्नि चंद्रकल्प: चन्द्रगुप्तप्रथिताभिधान: ।
76. No. 20, L.5:चन्द्राहवेन समग्रचंद्रसदृशीं वक्त्रश्रियं विभ्रता । :See the appendix No. 1.
77. No. 32, LL. 3-4 : गोविन्दवत्ख्यात-गुणप्रभावो गोविन्दगुप्तोर्ज्जित-नामधेयम् । वसुन्धरेशस्तनयं प्रजज्ञे स दित्यादित्योस्तनयैस्सरूपम् ।।
78. Cf. Jagannath, f Govindagupta, a new Gupta emperor', JJ, XXII, pp. 286 ff.
79. P.L. Gupta, Sx, p. 300.
80. GJ. 27, pp. 13-14.
81. YJ. p. 94.
82. D.C. Sircar, Hz. p. 297 :
- श्रीचन्द्रगुप्तस्य महेन्द्रकल्प: कुमारगुप्तस्तनयस्समग्राम् ।
- ररक्ष साध्वीमिव धर्म्मपत्नीम् वीर्याग्रहस्तैरूपगुह्य भूमिम् ।।
83. Nos. 49, 50, L. 5.
84. R.K. Mookerji, Ag. p. 91.
85. Fz. p. 292.
86. No. 15, L. 3 :राज्ये शक्रोपमस्य क्षितिप-शत-पते स्कंदगुप्तस्य शान्ते ।
87. No. 46, LL. 4-8: तस्य पुत्र चक्क्र्वर्तितुल्यो महाबलविक्रमेण रामतुल्यो धर्म्मपरतया युधिष्ठिर सत्येनाचारविनयै: महाराज-श्रीस्कंदगुप्तस्य...।
88. GJ., XXXIII, p. 307.
89. Purugupta was originally read as Puragupta D.C. Sircar, Hz., p. 330, f.n- 2.
90. Gj. 26, pp. 237-38 : M.A. Winternitz, By. Vol. I, pp. 379-80. From the Mahabharata 1, 75 and 1, 76-93, we know of the Yayati-legend which states that Yayati having become old demanded the youth of his sons to enjoy more lust, but every one declined except the youngest Puru who declared his willingness. Puru left his youth for Yayati. After enjoying the pleasures of youth for another thousand years Yayati still felt dissatisfied. At last he took up the burden of his old age and returned his son Puru his youth. He installed Puru on the throne and retired to the forest.
91. No. 48, L. 1 वर्षशते गुप्तानां सचतु: पंचाशदुत्तरे [गुप्त संवत 154 = ई. सं. 473)
92. No. 48, I. 1: भूमि रक्षति कुमारगुप्ते...।
93. No. 17, LL. 20-21 : वत्सरशतेषु पंचसु विन्शत्यधिकेषु नवसु चाब्देषु -(मालवसंवत 529 =ई. सं. 472) ; See also U.N. Roy, Lz. pp.59-65.
94. No. 17, L. 13 : ....कुमारगुप्ते पृथ्वीं प्रशासति ।।
95. R.K., Mookerji, Ag., p. 109.
96. See the appendix No. II.
97. JJ. XIX, p. 274.
98. S. Beal, U. II, p. 168.
99. Raychaudhuri, Az. p. 265.
100. JJ., XIX, pp. 123-24; D.C. Sircar, Hz. p. 331, f.n.l.
101. Fz. p. 734 : Moreover Buddha (the name of lord Buddha) is spelt different from Budhagupta (one letter 'd' in the first part of the name is elided). The former means 'awakened' or fully enlightened man who has got wisdom, while the latter means the Constellation Mercury.
102. XJ. No. 66, p. 29.
103. See the appendix No. II.
104. Fz. p. 529.
105. Allan, Z. p. CXXVI.
106. As is known from his newly discovered inscription dated in the Year 117 (Harsa Era) A.D.723. TJ., Vol. III, Part I, pp. 57 ff.
107. GJ, Vol. XXVI, p. 117.
108. Rx, p. 186.
109. Fz., p. 1023; Rgveda, VIII. IX. 10; JJ, Vol. VI, p. 57, note 2.
110. XJ., No. 66, p. 29.
111. JJ.VI, pp. 50-51.
112. Cf. R.C. Majumdar, Cg. Vol. I, pp. 49-50.
113. D.C. Sircar, Hz. p. 341, note 4.
114. D.C. Sircar, Hz. p. 346 f.
115. JJ.VI, pp. 50-51.
116. Ibid., XIX, pp. 275-76; Cf. R.C. Majumdar, Pg. pp. 210-11
117. R.C. Majumdar, Pg. p. 190.
118. Ibid,, p. 191.
119. Fz. p. 467.
120. Ibid., p. 521.
121. See the appendix No. II
122. XJ. No. 66, p. 65, L. 7.
123. Ibid., note 2 (Also see CJ. 1934-35, p. 63).
124. See the appendix No. II.
125. Fz. p. 1100, col. i.
127. HJ. XIX, p. 225.
128. LJ. Vol. LVIII (1889), p. 89.
129. The reading is checked by me. The name 'Mitradevi' is clear in No. 50, Plate VIII (e) of the seal of Kumaragupta III, in XJ., No. 66 (see the plates attached in the last portion of the Journal)