Tummalagudem Inscription

566 AD : Tummalagudem Inscription of Vikramendra Varman II (555 AD - 569 AD) in Nalgonda
Sanskrit and Southern Characters.
These records are present in Navodaya Samiti, Hyderabad. Both the Tumulaguda sets, written in Sanskrit language and Southern characters belong to the Vishnu Kundin dynasty. One of them, in characters of about the fourth-fifth centuries A.D., was issued in the thirty- seventh year of the reign of Maharaja Govindavarman, son of Maharaja Madhavavarman, and grandson of Maharaja Indra-varman. It records that the king granted two villages called Embudala and Penkapara to the vihara of the senior-queen (agra-mahishi) Parama-mahadevi. The other set refers itself to the reign of Vikramendra-bhattaraka Varman alias Uttamasraya and is dated in his eleventh regnal year and in Saka 488 (A.D. 566-67). It records the grant of the village Irundoro, by the king, to the same vihara built at Indrapura. It also refers to the defeat of the Pallava ruler Simha by Uttamasraya.

At the outset, many observed that in almost all the known records of the family where the name of royal house occurs outside the compounds, including the Sets under study, the dynasty is spelt only as Vishnukundinam which denotes the i-ending of the name. However, the respective editors of records have corrected into reading, into ondinam with n-ending, evidently to fall in line with "very incorrect" text of the Chikkulla plates. So herein after let us spell the name only Vishnukundi and not Vishnu Kundin, has been usually done.

Here he is referred to by his title Uttamasraya and is described as the son of Satyasraya which is apparently a title of Vikramendrabhatta rakavarman's father Indrabhattarakavarman. Then after praising the Vishnukundis to have got the authority to rule on account of their devotion to the god Sriparvatasvamin and to have the brilliance of both the Brahman (i.e., Brahmana) and Kshatra (i.e., Kshtriya), the section gives the royal genealogy. It is said that in the above family there was the Maharaja Govindavarman, a believer in the Sugatasasana (teachings of the Buddha) and a builder of many viharas (lines 3-6). His son Maharaja Madhavavarman was the performer of eleven Asvamedhas and other srauta sacrifices. He was also a ruler of all the land surrounded by the seas in the east, south and west and by the river Reva (i.e., Narmada) in the north (lines 6-9). This land is nothing but the Southern Chakravarti Kshetra. His son, through a Vakaṭaka princess, was the Maharaja Vikramendra (I), a mahakavi and Paramasaugata (follower of Buddhism lines 9-10). His son was Indrabhattarakavarman, the conqueror of the whole (of the Southern) Chakravartikshetra in many chaturdanta (four-tusked elephants) battles and the terror to all his dayadas or kinsmen (lines 10-13). His son was Vikramendrabhattarakavarman, the ruling monarch. He was enthroned by the prakriti-mandala (the council of ministers) even when he was a boy (saisava eva) (lines 13-16).

The second grant section records the following declaration monarch addressed to the future kings: It is stated here that on the Karttika ba. 8th his eleventh regnal year, while being in the Parama Bhattaraka-mahavihara, built by Paramabhattarikamahadevi, in Indrapura the king gifted away the village Irundora, evidently to the above vihara, for the enjoyment of the Buddhist monks. The above Paramabhattarika-mahadevi is described as the mother of Madhavaraja, noted for his aggressive conquests (lines 18-21); as a princess of the family of Prithvi Maharaja, the foremost among the feudatory families on account of its marital tie with the Vishnukundis (lines 21-24); and as the wife of Govindaraja, who had beautified the Deccan by building great stupas and viharas built in every-district, and who was the foremost among the past and future kings of the Sriparvata family (lines 24-29). The above is followed by the usual imprecatory passages (lines 34-41).

The last or the third section contains two verses. Of them the first tells us that the king Uttamasreva i.e., Vikramendrabhattarakavarman II issued the present edict in Saka year 488, when he came returning first to Sakrapura after crippling the Pallava king named Simha. In the second verse a certain Srimularaja, claiming to have restored the fallen fortunes of the family of the overlord i.e., Vikramendrabhaṭṭarakavarman, figures as the ajnapana or the executor of the charter.

There cannot be any doubt regarding the identity of the issues of the charter II. He was no other than the Vishnukundi king Vikramendravarman II, who issued the Chikkulla and Kandulapalem plates. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the above contents of these two charters show that the king Govindavarman, his queen Paramamahadevi, and the vihara built by her, all mentioned in Set I, were respectively identical with their respective counterparts mentioned in the grant portion of the Set II. Again the identity of the description and praise of Govindaraja in grant portion with that of Govindavarman in the genealogical account in the same Set II indicates that both the persons were identical. Then it would follow that Madhavaraja of the grant portion was also identical with Madhavavarman of the introductory part. 

It may be seen now that the king No. 4 viz., Madhavavarman II, the performer of 11 Asvamedhas etc., who was the grandfather of Indrabhattarakavarman (i.e. of the Ramathirtham plates) and the great-grandfather of No.7 Vikramendravarman II name (of the set II etc.,) had his grandfather in No. 2 by Madhavavarman. At the same time according to the list of the Vishnukundi kings given by the Polamuru plates Set I, the donor of that charter, viz., the king Madhavavarman Janasraya, who was also a performer of 11 Asvamedhas etc., had his grandfather whose name was Vikram Mahendra- (i.e., Vikramendra) Varman and not Madhavavarman. So, the king Madhavavarman the great grandfather of Vikramendra- Varman II was altogether different from his name sake of the Polamuru Set I though both claim to be the sons of their respective fathers both named Govindavarmans and to have performed equal number of same sacrifices, i.e., eleven Asvamedhas, thousand Agnishtomas etc. Thus, these present charters help us, to a considerable extent, in answering the vexed question of the Vishnukundi genealogy.

Similarly, by equating the Saka year 488 or 566-67 A.D., with the 11th regnal year of Vikramendra Varman II, the charter II helps us also in solving the much discussed problem of the Vishnu Kundi chronology. For, it assigns the accession of the above king to 555-56 A.D., and the reign of his father Indrabhattarakavarman to 526-56 A.D. So the reign periods of other earlier kings of the family can also be fixed now with certainty. Again, it is needless to point out that king Vikramendravarman II, ruling about 566 A.D., could not have been the adversary of the Chalukyas when they invaded and conquered the Vengi country about half a century later.

Moreover, by calling the Vishnukundi kings as Sriparvateyas of the kings belonging to the Sri Parvata, Set II gives us a clue to investigate the origin of the family. On the basis of this one may not be wrong to connect the Vishnukundis with the Sriparvatiya Andhras of the Puranas, though one need not enter now into the question whether the said Sriparvatiya Andhras were the Chutus or the Ikshvakus. Again, the reference to the Vishnukundis as having the qualities of both the Brahma and Kshatra throws light on the social status of the dynasty. The term Brahmakshatra is variously interpreted. However, it would be sufficient for us to bear in mind that Parasurama, who was a product of an intercaste marriage of the Brahmana sage, Jamadagni with a Kshatriya woman, Renuka is described by Kalidasa as having the qualities of both the castes. On the other hand, the Puranas give the name Brahmakshatra or Brahmanakshatriya to the descendants of a person who was born in a Brahmana family but was adopted subsequently to a family of the Kshatriyas.

Moreover, the description of Madhavavarman II and his grandson Indrabhattarakavarman as the suzerains of the Southern Chakravarttikshetra or the entire Deccan, though conventional to some extent, is no doubt interesting. For, after the Satavahanas it was only Madhavavarman II who seems to be the first king to claim such suzerainty.

Similarly, the titles Satyasraya of Indrabhattarakavarman and Uttamasraya of Vikramendravarman II are significant, though the Vishnukundi kings Govindavarman and Madhavavarman of the Polamuru plates (Set I) are already known to have had similar titles viz., Vikramasraya and Janasraya respectively. Perhaps Indrabhattarakavarman (526-56 AD) was the first known ruler to bear the title Satyairava. Another Sarvatraya viz., Pulakesi-I (535- 66 AD) was his younger contemporary. The other Satyasrayas like Pulakesi -II. Satyasraya Dhruvaraja Indravarman of the Goa plates, and others belonged to subsequent times.

Feudatory Prithivimula family
The reference to the chiefs of the Prithivimula family as the feudatories of the Vishnukundis is an important one. There can hardly be any doubt that the executor of the Set II viz., Srimularaja and Prithvi Mula or Prithivisrimula who issued the Godavari plates Set I and II, belonged to this family though one cannot be sure now, whether both of these chiefs were identical or not. However, it is certain that Prithivimula's adversary Indrabhatraraka referred to in the former's Godavari Set I was the Vishnukundi Indrabbattarakavarman. as Prof. Kielhorn suggested and not the Eastern Chalukya of that name, as Dr. Fleet thought earlier. The description of Indrabhattarakavarman's great grandmother as a princess of the Prithivimula family suggests that this family had a history much older than what we know at present.

The Buddhist nature of both the records under study and the description of Govindavarman and Vikramendravarman I as Buddhists seem to shed welcome light on the religious policy of the Vishnu Kundi monarchs, who are hitherto known only as Saivites and as the followers of the Vedic religion.

This suggestion seems to get some support from the unusually long chain of epithets of Govindavarman, running over ten lines, the complete silence about Sriparvatasvamin, the god of the king's family, the stress on the king's leaning towards the Buddhist religion, the glorification of the Buddha and the Buddhist clergy, and the excessive use of the Buddhist technical terms in this context.

Indrapura also called Sakrapura
Of the geographical units mentioned in the records the city Indrapura also called Sakrapura where Govindavarman's queen had built a monastery is to be identified with Indrapala Gutta area near Tummalagudem the findspot of the charter about five miles from Ramannapeta (17° 15' Lat. 79° 15' Long.). May be, the city was founded by and named after Govindavarman's grandfather Indravarman. Of the two gift villages of the Set I viz., Ermbadala and Prenkapara, the former may be identified with the modern Yerra Baliguda (17° 35' Lat., 79° 40' Long.) and the latter with Pankabanda (17° 25' Lat., 79°45' Long.) or Pankara (17° 45' Lat., 79° 45' Long). The gift village Irundoga of Set II is difficult to identify.

Set-I Translation

(Line 1): Success! Hail: Victory is achieved by that most enlightened Bhagavat, the very embodiment of pity, by whom the path for attaining salvation is shown to the pious.

(Line 13): On the Full-moon day of the month Vaisakha in the thirty seventh year of the increasingly victorious rule of his own, by the illustrious Maharaja Govindavarman;

(Lines 2-3): Who was the ornament to the whole of the spotless great family of the Vishnu Kundi kings who had the treasure of multitude of virtues like energy, truthfulness, sacrifice, noble descent, wisdom, discipline, perseverance; who got (their) kingdom by their own effort; who had then displayed their excellent great fame by properly governing (their) subjects;

(Line 4): (by Govindavarman) who was an excellent grandson of the illustrious Maharaja Indravarman, and an excellent son of the illustrious Maharaja Madhavavarman;

(Lines 5-12): (by Govindavarman) who carved out his own kingdom by dint of his own wisdom, power of arms, perseverance, might and affection; who had penetrated into the heart of the kingdoms of other chiefs by means of (his) heroism, intelligence and strength, whom all the castes, asramas, kinsmen and servants loved, because of (his) gifts and honour etc; who had gifted away thousands of villages, cultivable lands, gold, elephants, horses, cows, bulls, beds, seats, vehicles, drink, food, habitations, clothes, ornaments, virgin girls, and maid and male servants; who had embellished all the quarters by constructing afresh many temples, monasteries, halls, drinking (water) houses, ponds, wells and gardens and by keeping (the old ones) in good repair; whose collection of rich wealth, lawfully acquired was being enjoyed well by the monks, the Brahmanas, the helpless, the beggars, the sick, the depressed and the wretched; who had sacrificed over and again all his wealth; who had an unique eye (for the perception of things both) in this world as well as in the other on account of his learning and through knowledge of the important of all the scriptures; who was a good asylum of the scholars, warriors and persons of noble birth; and who had developed, in his mind, the thoughts of great enlightenment for saving all the creatures.

(Line 20); who was desirous of creating a material thing (i.e. a gift) as a token of meritorious action (i.e. a gift) which could be gifted away and enjoyed, in favour the assembly of the noble ones the four quarters;

(Line 18-19) that travels by three vehicles (or paths) that very unsurpassed (rich) field of merits because of the group of virtues, such absence of likes and dislikes, moral principles principles, discipline, the practice of asceticism the study and hearing and application of, and meditating upon, the Buddhist preaching, the meditation the intense Self-contemplation, and the attainment (of all the stages of the samadhi); and that has entered into the path of the Budha,

(Line 13-18) who had perfect enlightenment through the uninterrupted and faultless knowledge of all things; who had desire, hatred, delusion and the miseries of birth and death; accumulated loads of innumerable equipments of merit and wisdom, gathered during many ages of the world for uplift of all creatures drowned the multifarious miseries like birth, old age, death, sorrow etc., (resulting from) the continued process of transmigration; who was distinguished by the thirty-two characteristic signs of great men (indicating perfection) and was adorned by the eighteen-fold special characteristics of the enlightened; and who mastered the four subjects of confidence and had ten-fold forces;

(Lines 21-23) for alleviating all miseries of poverty of all beings and of his own father. and mother and for (maintaining) the continuity of the roots of merits like (supplying) lamps, incenses, sandals, flowers, flags, drinks, food, beds, seats, medicines for the sick and for repairing the dilapidations and the decay of the monastery of Paramamahadevi, his own queen:

(Lines 23-24) were gifted away (by Govindavarman), by pouring water, the two villages named Ermadala and Penkaparu together with their treasures on and under the ground together with the right to punish (culprits), to collect taxes, to get free labour and with (right for) the payment of the bhaga and bhoga abandoned by himself (i.e. the king).

(Lines 25-26) (These villages are free from the entry of the officers) like charas, bhatas, dutas, vallabhas and rajapurushas; and are liberated with all exemptions (from taxes) and they are to be protected and augmented by the kings born of the Vishnukundi family.

(Lines 26-28) The (original) decree is restored. The five great sins (fall on one's head) if the decree is violated. And on the transgression of (this) decree, one would consume the result of (one's own) evil deeds both in the hell full of endless miseries and also in the births of the animals and ghosts.

(Lines 28-32) On this subject there are (the following) verses sung by Manu. (Here occur three customary imprecatory verses).

(Line 32) May the order of the Vishnukundis govern the earth as long as the Meru and the sea exist on the earth and the moon, the sun and the god of wind in heaven!

Set-2 Translation

(Line 1): That glorious Uttamasraya son of Satyasraya is victorious, by the splendour of whom-as brilliant as the young sun-the circle of quarter is pervaded.

(Line 2): Prosperity!

(Lines 13-16): The glorious Vikramendrabhaṭṭarakavarman, the pair of whose excellent feet is illuminated by the rays of the gems on the diadems of many bowing chiefs; who is extremely righteous and is a righteous conqueror; on whom the burden of the kingdom is imposed, even at the time of childhood, by the council of ministers on account of his wealth of all virtues of royal saints and the unique valour worthy of him (i.e. his father Indrabhattarakavarman); and who is the beloved son.

(Lines 10-13): of the glorious Indrabhattarakavarman, who completely destroyed the veil of the dense darkness in the form of all (his) kinsmen by means of the lustre of the sun which his own hand surrounded by rows of hands that held (and rows of the rays in the form of) glittering swords who acquired the rulership of all the Chakravartikshetra by means of victories over innumerable four-tuskes (elephants in the battles) and who was the son.

(Lines 9-10): of the glorious Vikramendra who was a great poet and was a devout worshipper of Sugata (the Buddha); who was the son of the great queen of (the family of) the Vakataka; and who was the beloved son.

(Line 9.6) of the Maharaja glorious Madhavavarman, who was the lord of the earth adorned with the circle (and, bracelet) of the waters of the Reva as well as of the oceans of the east, south and west, who carried out the performance of all difficult desire-fulfilling rites (like) eleven Asvamedhas, Bahusuvarna. Rajasaya. Purushamedha, etc., which he performed well every day and which are ordained in the Sruti; and who was the son.

(Lines 3-6): of the Maharaja glorious Govindavarman who acquired a lot of inexhaustible best merit by establishing big monasteries whose great and varied beauties vied with (those of) the mansions of gods; who had faith in Sugatsa`s (Buddha`s) instruction born out of compassion of Shadabhijna (the Buddha) in (delivering) sermons with the miracle of mind-reading; (and who belonged to the family).

(Lime 2-3): of the Vishnukundis, who, like Vishnu, have got the wealth of valour and political wisdom; who bear the brilliance of (both) the Brahman and Kshatra; and who have acquired the right of protecting subjects, through (their) meditation on the feet of the glorious holy Lord of the Sri Parvata;

(Lines 16-18); Inferius as follows - after duly honouring all the future saint-kings, the ornaments of the families of his own and of others:-

(Lines 29-30): “In the glorious Paramabhattarikamahavihara bounded by Paramabhaṭṭārika-mahadevi as if she was desirous of highly beautifying the glorious Indrapura;

(Lines 18-21): "who gave birth under the pretext of a son, to the (very) heap of virtue (like) political wisdom, endowed with charming personality, bearing the glorious name Madhavaraja and having an unsurpassed might manifest in forcibly seizing the royal seats (i.e. cities) that had been completely beneficial to other royal families reputed might;

(Lines 21-24): "who (Parama Bhattaraka Mahadevi), taking birth, adorned the Sri- Prithivimula family-just Sri (Lakshmi) (did) the ocean-which, abundance of rays lights causes extensive quarters space to shine; whose greatness manifest in (its) honourable and unique marriage-relationship the Vishnukundi family; and (therefore) whose noble descent stands in the foremost the families all feudatories;

(Lines 24-29): "on account whom (Parama Bhattaraka Mahadevi) the glorious Govindaraja resembling Govinda (Vishnu) by virtues, beauty and wealth, did not crave for Sri (goddess Lakshmi) having corporeal body (Govindaraja), who gave rise to the fame that resembled kaustubha gem that shines uniquely centre at the centre of the necklace in form of the row kings of the past and future of the family (sprung) from Sri Parvata; and who beautified the whole of the Dakshinapatha by the highly varied attractive and sublime works viz., the wonderful stupas and monasteries (built) in every district;

(Line 30-33): "on eleventh year of the increasingly victorious reign, on the eighth lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartika, village named Irundora gifted by us with the exemption from all obstacles and with the constituents of the gift (or with custom-duties) the enjoyment the universal congregation best (Buddhist) monks.

(Lines 34-36): “(this gift) may also be well protected by all the sage-kings following (the path) of the sruti, smriti and sadachara. Whosever, being victim of greed, carelessness, or the wickedness of his mean servants, proceeds on (gift) with a view to destroy the charity, to him will accrue these sins enjoined smritis".

(Lines 36-41): [Here there are three the usual imprecatory verses].

(Lines 41-44) : "Having made the Pallava named Simha as weak as a fragment of the sprout and having returned back and come first to Sakrapura, the king widely known as Uttamasraya, issued this edict when four hundred and eighty-eight years of the lord of the Sakas have elapsed.

(Lines 44-45): The ajnapana (of this charter) is that Srimularaja who is born of a reputed family; who is the foremost among the kings; and by whom the down-fallen fortune of the family of the overlord is restored by means of political wisdom and valour".