The epigraphic records of the kings are found for a long course of time. With regards to the Sanskrit epigraphs, Ayodhyā inscription, Gośūṇḍī inscription and Hāthibāḍā inscription are dated as earliest ones. (Indian Epigraphy by Rechord Solomon, Page 86). These inscriptions are dated as 1st BCE on the basis of Paleography and other factors. After them, Sanskrit inscriptions of 1st CE, were found from Mathurā and other nearby places. In southern part of the country, an inscription from Nagārjuna koṇḍa is recorded as the earliest and dated as 3rd CE. Among the other inscription after this inscription, the epigraphs of Pallavas possess a significant place. Among the inscriptions starting from 4th CE, the earlier ones were issued in Prākṛta and the others were issued in Sanskrit. The epigraphs are found till ninth century CE. These are the real keys to the Pallava history. Sri. T.N.Subrahmanyan copiled thirty copper plates of pallavas. After him, many copper plates were found and were published by so many scholars. The copper plate that is dealt in this article is one of them.
This copper plate was purchased by the State archeology of Andhra Pradesh from Mallampaḷḷi Somaśekhara śarma. This bunch contains seven plates. The length and birth of the plates are 9.2 inches x 3.9 inches. The seal is round and contains bull the usual sign of pallavas. A lamp and Khaṭvāṅga, the weapon of my Father are also chiseled. N.Ramesham, the publisher of the plates mentioned that a śivaliṅga flanked with parasol and chauries are found on the top portion. But the symbol seems to be śrīvatsa and not śivaliṅga as mentioned by the editor.
This plate was issued by Nṛpatuṅga varmā, one of the last successors of the pallava dynasty. The inscription from Maṭhavala seems to possess his last regnal year as 41. Another plate namely “Bāhūr plate” was issued by the same king in his eighth regnal year. This plates was issued in his sisxth regnal year.
Date of the plate
I have revised the chronology of pallavas in my previous article and as per my conclusion, I suggest the date of this plate as 851 CE.
Language and script
The plate contains Sanskrit and Tamil. Usually the copper plates which are found in Tamilnadu have Grantha script for their Sanskrit portion and the plates found in Andhra have Telugu-Kannaḍa script for Sanskrit. But this plate, though found in Andhra, has Grantha script. The Tamil portion is written in Tamil script. A significant feature in the Tamil portion is the words like Bhāradvāja and Prāvacana are mentioned as Bhā and Prā abbreviated words as used today. Those these abbreviations are found in other plates, excess of usage is found in this plate. The Sanskrit verses were written in nine metres.
Edition of the plate
This plate was edited and published by Sri. N.Ramesham on the journal of State archeology of Andhrs Pradesh during 1972. Further discussion was given by him in his book “Medieval South Indian history”. The second edition of thirty copper plates of Pallavas, published by the World Tamil research centre has the extempage and the lines of the plate. Meaning and discussions were not given.
On his sixth regnal year of the king, as per the requisition of Kāḍupaṭṭi muttharaiya, Ciṙṙūr belongs to Paṉmānāḍu of Maṇaviṙkoṭṭam was donated to brahmins after removing it’s the status of Brahmadeya and other previous statuses with the name Pṛthivī mahādevi Caturvedimaṅgalam as taxless.
The Sanskrit portion
The Sanskrit portion has twenty verses.
FIRST PLATE : II SIDE
- स्वस्तिश्री दुर्ब्भेदन्तिमिरं यदन्यमहसामादो (आदौ) निरस्यान्तरं
- शुद्धज्ञानसदृशो निदर्श्श्य नयति स्वर्गापवर्गो (अपवर्गौ) पुनः ज्योति
- स्तत्परमम् विधातृ जगतस्सर्व्वस्य शर्व्वाह्वयम् विश्वव्याप्यं विन
- श्वरन्निरुपमन्निश्रेयसायास्तु वः।। बुध्द्यत्वन्धूकसून
- स्तबकरुचिमुषा चक्रवालेन भासां शश्वत्विश्वं विधत्ते क्षत
- तमतिमिरं यः क्षणादेव देवः धाता सर्वस्य सोयम् प्रतिनवनलिनीपत्रसं
- काश पत्रो मित्रो मित्रायतां वो नयनमविकलालोकमे
SECOND PLATE : I SIDE
- कन्त्रिलोक्याः।। विश्वयोनिरभवन्मुरद्विषो नाभिजम्(जन्म)सरसि(सरसीरुहोदरात्)रुहोदरात्
- सूनुरस्य पदमंगिरा गिरा (पदं, अङ्गिराः गिरां)न्तत्सुतश्च सचिवश्शचीपतेः ।। तस्मादभूत् शं
- युरतश्शुभंयुर्म्मुनिर्ब्भरद्वाज इति श्रुताख्यः द्रोणोस्य सूनुर्द्रुहि
- णोपमानस्ततोशनिर्द्रौणिररिद्रुमाणाम्।। क्षत्रमोलि(क्षत्र मौलि)निहितां
- ध्रिपल्लवः पल्लवः पुनरवातरन्महीम् अप्यनेकनृपतिशन्मवा
- न्वंश एष विदितो यदाख्यया।। बभूव तस्मात् शमयन्गुणोघै
- श्शरीरिणां शोमशोवर्म्मा हरिप्रभावो हरिगुप्तनाम्नः काडार्यवर्म्मा पुनर
- स्य सूनोः।। उर्व्वी सर्व्वनृपाच्चि (अर्चितांघ्रितांघ्रिनलिनद्वन्द्वेषु भुक्त्वा चिर(ञ्ज्या)मल्ला
- दिषु पल्लवक्ष(क्षिति)तिधरेष्वस्तंतेषु क्रमात् सिंहः श्रीनरसिंह इत्यरि कु
SECOND PLATE : II SIDE
- लस्तम्बेरमाणामभुद्यश्शय्यागृहमश्मभिर्ज्जलनिधो (जलनिधौ) चक्रे महच्चक्रिणः।।
- तस्येन्द्रप्रतिमो महेन्द्रनृपतिर्जज्ञे तनूजोत्तमो वीरोस्मात्परमे
- श्वरश्शुभयशाश्श्री राजसिंहस्ततः यः काञ्च्याम्महदश्मवेश्म विदधे शै
- लोपमं शूलिनस्तस्मात् श्रीपरमेश्वरः परबलध्वान्तांशुमाली नृ
- पः।। बभूव तस्याध्तसमस्तलोक विपल्लवः पल्लववंशके
- तुः नन्दी सुतस्तस्य मुकुन्दकल्पश्श्रीदन्तिवर्म्मा सुरदन्तिकर्म्मा।। अभूदमुष्मादधिको
- धनुष्मतां स्वयं वपुष्मानिव पुण्यसञ्चयः अरातिलक्ष्मीनलिनीमदद्विपो नृ
- पोथ नन्दी जगदेकनन्दनः।। श्रीराष्ट्रकूटनृपतेः पुनरात्मजायान्तस्मा द
- भून्नृपशतार्चितपादपद्मः राजा विराजितजगत्त्रितयो यशोभिस्तुं
THIRD PLATE : I SIDE
- गो नृपेषु नृपतुंग इति श्रुताख्यः।। स्मि (अस्मिन्महीं) महीमवति कश्चिगत्रये
- शो राजाभवत्बलिकुलाम्बरभानुमाली यस्मिन्पराञ्जयति नाम यथार्त्थ (यथार्थ)
- मेव लोके परञ्जय इतीह जनैरवादि।। चूडाचंद्रकलेव शंकरजटा
- जूटस्य विद्युल्लते वाम्भोदस्य सुरापगेव नभसो दीप्रेव दीप्तिर्म्मणोः हंसी
- वांबुरुहाकस्य (अम्बुरुहाकरस्य) निरता देवद्विजाराधने तस्याभूत्पृथिवीभृतः पृथिविमा
- णिक्काभिधाना वधूः।। उर्व्वीं सुरैस्सर्व्व गुणोपपन्नैः स्थानार्त्थमभ्य
- र्थ्थत सा कदाचित् द्विजानुरोधादथ सापि साध्वी पतिं समभ्यर्थयद
- र्थनीयम्।। तेन शैलत्रयेन्द्रेण विप्रेन्द्र(विप्रेन्द्राणाम्)णा म (नुग्रहात्) स्था
- नम् प्रत्यवनीपालः पल्लवेन्द्रस्स याचितः।। तेभ्यो नरपतिरदि
THIRD PLATE : II SIDE
- शन्पृथिविमहादेवि मंगलाख्या म(मंगलाख्या मसौ)ग्रामम् भूमिसुरेभ्यः
- प्रशस्य सस्योपकणु भुवम् (सस्योपकण्ठ भुवं)।। विलुप्तिरज्ञानकलिः कलाज्ञः परञ्ज
- यो रञ्जितबन्ध वर्ग्गः आज्ञप्तिरस्य द्रमिडाधिराजो धर्म्मस्य धर्म्मात्मजकीर्त्तिरा
- सीत्।। ना क्रामन्त्यापगेन्द्रास्सकलकुलगिरिश्रेणिसम्भारगुर्व्वी
- मुर्व्वीः (उर्व्वीं) सर्व्वान्नयावद्युग विगमचलोत्तुंगवीचीकलापाः स
- म्पर्कं द्वादशार्कें र्गगनतलमिदं यातयावन्न सोयन्धर्म्मस्सत्वर्द्ध (यावत् न सः अयं धर्मः सद्वर्द्धमानः)
- मानः प्रशमति सकलोपद्रवस्तावदास्ताम्।। कृतवानकृतक हृदः कृती कृत
- ज्ञः कविः कुमाराख्यः विद्यानद्यम्बु निधिः प्रशस्तशीलः प्रशस्ति मिमाम्।। प्रशस्ति
- रिय मुत्कीर्ण्णा शिल्पिना नल्पबुद्धिना नम्प नाम्ना लिपि ज्ञेन कूपग्रामनिवासिना
- Let the light in the name of śiva which removes the unremovable darkness, and leads towards heaven and salvation by giving wisdom and which created all the worlds and which is incomparable, bestow the great salvation to you all.
- May the Sun god, the eye of three worlds, who leads the worlds with his shining glory which resembles the bloomed bandhūka flower, removes darkness by second, creates worlds, who has petals in his chariot like that of a lotus, be your friend.
- Brahmā, born from the navel lotus of Viṣṇu, became the root cause of all the worlds. His son was Aṅgiras. He became the dwelling place of speech. He was the minister of Indra.
- Śaṃyu was born to him. Śubhaṃyu was his son. He had another name as Bhardvāja. Droṇa, who was equal to Brahmā was his son. His son was Drauṇi (Aśvatthāmā). He was thunder bolt to the enemy-trees.
- Then Pallava was born in this race whose foot leaves were placed on the crowns of kings. The race attained the name from him.
- Aśoka varmā, who was equal to Indra by his might, and who removed the distress of the subjects by his qualities, was born to him. His son was Harigupta and Kāḍāryavarmā was born to him.
- Then after pallava Kings like Jyāmalla and others, whose foots were adorned by the crowns of other kings, left the world after enjoying it, Narasiṃha, a lion for the enemy-elephants was born. He built a temple for reclining form of Viṣṇu on the sea shore with stones.
- Mahendra Varmā, who was equal to Indra was born to him. Parameśvara varmā, best among the sons and adorned with pure fame was born to him. From him, Rājasimha, who built a mountain like stone temple at Kāñcī got birth and Parameśvara who was like Sun to the enemy-darkness was born to him.
- Nandi, who rejuvenated all the worlds and who was the flag of the Pallava race became the king and Śri Dantivarmā, who was like Viṣṇu and whose actions were like divine elephants, was born to him.
- From him, Nandi, who was a great among the warriors, an embodiment of virtuous deeds, an elephant for the lotus like lakṣmi of enemies and who pleases all the worlds, was born to him.
- From him, through the Rāṣtrakūṭa princess, a king was born whose name befits his quality (Nṛpa – king, Tuṅga – great) and whose feets were worshipped by hundreds of kings.
- During his rule, Parañjaya who destroys others and who was a sun to the sky like Bāṇa race, became the lord of three mountains.
- Pṛthvī Māṇikya, became the queen for the king like the crescent moon to the matted hair of my Father, lightening to the clouds, Gaṅga in the sky for the heaven, glow for a gem and swan for the lotus-lake. She was always engaged in worshipping gods and Brahmins.
- Once she was requested by qualified Brahmins for their residential place. She requested her lord for the same purpose.
- The Pallava king was also requested by the lord of three mountains to provide residential area for the qualified Brahmins.
- The king ordered to bestow a fertilizing land with the name “Pṛthvī Mahādevī Māṇikya Maṅgalam” to the qualified Brahmins.
- The executer of this charity is Dramiḍādhirāja – Tamiḹppēraraiyan. He was devoid of kali embodiment of ignorance. He was knower of arts. His name was Parañjaya. He was the pleaser of his relatives. His fame was like that of Dharmarāja alais Yudhiṣṭhira.
- This charity should stay till the destruction of the earth, where all the mountains are dipped into the sea, and the twelve suns have contact with the sky.
- Kumāra, the poet, wrote the Praśasti, whose heart is pure, who is virtuous, grateful, ocean of wisdom and whose actions are commendable.
- The Praśasti is incised by Namban of Kūpaka village. He was a great intelligent and knower of all scripts.
Some notes :
- This plate gives the name of Harigupta, son of Aśoka varmā for the first time.
- The generalized name “Kāḍārya” is also mentioned in the plate as in the plates of Coḹas were the personified name “Coḹa” is found. Mostly the name, Kāḍavan may have been sanskritized and used. N.Ramesham identifies him as Kāḍuveṭṭi.
- The name Jyāmalla is also a new one in the chronology. It is not clear that this is the synonym for the name Pṛthvī malla or Jyāmalla itself is the original name.
- Very significant detail found in this inscription is Narasiṃha I built a stone temple for Viṣṇu on Sea shore. Till that some cave temples were dedicated to Narasiṃha I. This plate mentions a structured temple built by him for the first time. N. Ramesham identified the same with the Viṣṇu between the two śiva temples at the sea shore at Mahābalipuram which were built during the reign of Narasiṃha II. He further argues that the five Rathas belong to Narasiṃha I. This is disputable.
The Viṣṇu’s shrine at the sea shore has the image of Viṣṇu which is carved on the original rock as seen in the cave temples. He identified with this reason only. Further the tradition of building śiva temples on both sides of a Viṣṇu shrine is non-traditional and this proves the claim of N.Ramesham. Sri. K.R.Srinivasan too mentioned that this reclining form of Viṣṇu is earlier and an ābhicārika from in the book Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture – Lower Dravida Desa. Avantisundari Kathā, written during the reign of Narasiṃha II, too mentions the alteration of the image was only done. This strengthens the above view. Hence it can be concluded that the Viṣṇu image at the sea shore of Mahābalipuram belongs to Narasiṃha I.
But an inscription was found on the lintel of the shrine during 1966 which has the text “Narasiṃha Viṣṇugṛham”. This makes a view that Narasiṃha II built the shrine. Hence It can be concluded that Narasiṃha I made the image of the Viṣṇu where the extension as well as the super structure were built by Narasiṃha II.
- The Tamil word Tamiḹpperaraiyan is sanskritised as Dramiḍādhirāja. Hence it can be claimed that the Sanskrit word Dramiḍa was used to denote Tamil atleast by 9th