Madhuban plate of Harshavardhana (590–647 AD) of year 25
This plate was discovered, in January 1888, in a field near the village of Madhuban in the paragana Nathupur of the tahsil Sagri, in the Azamgarh district of the Benares division of the United Provinces, and is now in the Provincial Museum of Lucknow. The inscription which it contains has been already edited, by the late Professor Buhler, in Ep. Ind. VoL I. p. 67 ff. As it is desirable to issue a facsimile of the plate, I re-edit the inscription from impressions that were furnished to Dr. Hultzsch by the late Mr. E. W. Smith.
This is a single copper-plate, about 1' 8" broad by 1' 3/4" high, and inscribed on one side only. Judging from the impressions, a seal was soldered on to the middle of the proper right aide of -fee plate, just as is the case with the Banskhera plate of Harsha and the three plates of the Maharajas of Mahodaya, but it must have got detached from the plate and has not been discovered. In the upper part and on the proper left side the plate has suffered somewhat from corrosion, but the writing throughout is so deeply engraved that on the back of the impressions every letter of the 18 lines which the plate contains may be read with absolute certainty. The size of the letters is about 5/16 ". The characters belong to the north-western class of alphabets in general, they closely resemble those given (from the Lakkha Mandal inscription, North. Inscr. No. 600).
The inscription is a charter of the well-known king Harsha or Harshavardhana, the hero of Bana's Harshacharita, who ruled part of Northern India at the commencement of the 7th century A.D.by -which the village of Somakundaka (सौमकुण्डक), in the Kundadhani (कुण्डधानी) vishaya of the Sravasti Bhukti, which had been previously held by a Brahman on the strength of a forged charter, -was granted to two other Brahmans. The king's order was issued from the royal residence or camp of Kapitthikā , and is dated on the 6th of the dark half of the month Margasirsha of the year 25 (apparently of the king's reign1). The actual order is preceded by the genealogy of Harsha, in the course of which it is stated that his immediate predecessor, his elder brother Rajyavardhana, after defeating Devagupta and other kings, was treacherously slain in his enemy's quarters. On this event and on the genealogy generally it is now unnecessary to comment.
Of the localities mentioned in the inscription, Kapitthika apparently is the Kie-pi-tha (Kapittha) of Hiuen-Tsiang, which, again, is the same as Samkasya, identified by the late Sir A. Cunningham as the modern Sankisa, on. the Kalinadi river, about 40 miles north-west of Kannauj. And Sravasti, after which the Sravasti-bhukti was called, is the modern Sahet-Mahet in the Gonda district of Oadh. Kuṇḍadhānī, from which the Kundadhani-vishaya received its name, and the village of Somakundaka have not been identified.
Madhuban plate of Harsha : English translation
(Line 1) Om Hail !
From the great Royal residence of the victory, (furnished) with boats, elephants and horses -
(There was) the Maharaja Naravardhana, begotten of Vajriṇīdevi, his son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the devout worshipper of the Sun, the Maharaja Rajyavardhana I.
Begotten on Apsarodevi, his son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the devout worshipper of the Sun, the Maharaja Adityavardhana. Begotten on Mahasenaguptadevi, his son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the devout worshipper of the Sun, the Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Prabhakaravardhana whose fame crossed the four oceans; before whom other kings bowed down on account of his prowess and out of affection for him ; who wielded his power for the due maintenance of the castes and orders of life, (and) who, like the sun, relieved the distress of the people. Begotten on the queen of spotless fame Yashomati, his son, who meditated on his feet, (was) the devout worshipper of Sugata (Buddha)- like Sugata solely delighting in the welfare of others - the Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Rajyavardhana II, the tendrils of whose bright fame overspread the whole orb of the earth; who appropriated the glory of Dhanada, Varuna, Indra and the other guardian (deities) of the world; who gladdened the hearts of suppliants by many donations of wealth and land acquired in righteous ways, (and) who surpassed the conduct of former kings.
He in battle curbed Devagupta and all the other kings together, like vicious horses made to ton away from the lashes of the whip. Having uprooted his adversaries, having conquered the earth, having acted kindly towards the people, he through his trust in promises lost his life in the enemy's quarters.
(L. 8. ) His younger brother, who meditates on his feet, the devout worshipper of Maheshvara (Siva)- like Maheshvara taking compassion on all beings- the Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Harsha issues this command to the Mahāsūmanias, Mahārājas, Danḥsādhusādhanikas, Paramātāras, Rājasthānīyas, Kumāramātyas, Uparikas, Vishayapatis, regular soldiers, servants and others assembled at the village of Somakundaka ,which belongs to the Kundadhani vishaya in the Sravasti bhukti, and to the resident people-
(L. 10.) Be it known to you ! Having ascertained that this village of Somakuṇḍaka was held by the brahmana Vāmarathya on the strength of a forged charter, I therefore have broken that charter and taken (the village) away from him, and, for the increase of the spiritual merit and and fame of my father, the Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Prabhakaravardhanadeva, of my mother, the Paramabhattarika Mahadevi, the .... Yashomatidevi and of my revered eldest brother, the Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja Rajyavardhanadeva have given in the .... of a donation (to brahmans), as an agrahāra, extending to its proper boundaries, with the udranga, together with all income that might be claimed by the king's family, exempt from all obligations, as a piece taken out of the district (to which it belongs), to follow the succession of sons and sons' sons, for as long as the moon, the sun and the earth endure, according to the maxim of bhūmichchhidra - to the Bhatta Vatasvamin, who is of the gotra, of Sāvarṇi and a student of the Chhandogas, and the Bhatta Sivadeyasvamin who is of the gotra of Vishnuvriddha and a fellow-student of the Bahvrichas. Knowing this, you should assent to this, and the resident people, being ready to obey my commands, should make over these two, the tulya-meya, the share of the produce, payments in money and income, as they may be due, and should render service to them. Moreover :
(L. 16.) Those who profess (to belong to) the noble line of our family and others should approve of this donation. Of fortune, unstable as lightning and a bubble of water, donations and the preservation of others' fame are the (real) fruit.
By deeds, thoughts and words one should do good to the living. This Harsha has declared to be the very best way of earning religious merit.
(L. 17.) The dūtaka in this matter is the Mahāparamātāra Mahāsāmanta, the illustrious Skandagupta. And by order of the great officer in charge of the office of records, the Samanta Maharaja Isvaragupta, (this was) engraved by Garjara.
The year 20 5 Mārgasīrsha-vadi 6.
Madhuban plate of Harsha : Sanskrit text
- १. ओम् । स्वस्ति महानौहस्त्यश्वजयस्कन्धावारात् कपित्थिकाया: महाराज:
- श्रीनरवर्धनस्तस्य पुत्रस्तत्पादानु-ध्यात: श्रीवज्रिणीदेव्यामुत्पन्न: परमादित्यभक्तो
- २. महाराजश्रीराज्यवर्धनस्तस्य पुत्रस्तत्पादानुध्यात: श्रीअप्सरोदेव्याम्-
- उत्पन्न: परमादित्यभक्तो महाराजश्रीमद-आदित्यवर्धनस्तस्य पुत्रस्तत्पादानुध्यात:
- ३. श्रीमहासेनगुप्तादेव्यामुत्पन्न्श्चतु: समुद्रातिक्रान्तकीर्ति: प्रतापनुरागो-
- पनतान्यराजा वर्णाश्रमव्यवस्थापनप्रवृत्तचक्र एकचक्ररथ इव प्रजानामार्तिहर:
- ४. परमादित्य भक्त: परमभट्टारक-महाराजाधिराजश्रीप्रभाकरवर्धनस्तस्य पुत्रस्तत्पादानुध्यात: सितयश:प्रतानविच्छुरितसकलभुवनमण्डल: परिगृहीत-
- ५. धनदवरुणेन्द्रप्रभृतिलोकपालतेजा: सत्पथोपार्जितानेकद्रविणभूमि-
- प्रदानसंप्रीणितार्थिहृदयो अतिशयितपूर्वराजचरितो देव्याममलयशोमत्यां
- ६. श्रीयशोमत्यामुत्पन्न: परमसौगत: सुगत इव परहितैकरत:
- परमभट्टारकमहाराजाधिराजश्रीराज्यवर्धन: राजानो युधि दुष्टवाजिन इव श्रीदेवगुप्ता-
- ७. दय: कृत्वा येन कशाप्रहारविमुखा: सर्वे समं संयता: [।*] उत्खाय
- द्विषतोविजित्य वसुधां कृत्वा प्रजानां प्रियं प्राणानुज्झितवानरातिभवने
- सत्यानुरोधेन य: [॥*] तस्यानुज-
- ८. स्तत्पादानुध्यात: परममाहेश्वरो महेश्वर इव सर्वसत्वानुकम्पी
- परमभट्टारकमहाराजाधिराजश्रीहर्ष: श्रावस्तीभुक्तौ कुण्डधानी-
- ९. समुपगतान् महासामन्त-महाराज-दौ:साधसाधनिक-प्रमातार-राजस्थनीय्-
- कुमारामात्योपरिक-विषयपति-भट-चाट-सेवकादीन् प्रतिवासिजनपदांश्च समा-
- १०. ज्ञापयति । अस्तु: व: संविदितम् । अयं सोम-कुण्डग्रामो ब्राह्मण-
- वामरध्येन कूटशासनेन भुक्तक इति विचार्य यतसतच्छासनं
- भङ्क्त्वा तस्मादाक्षिप्य च स्वसीमा-
- ११.पर्यन्त: सोद्रङ्ग: सर्वराजकुलाभाव्यप्रत्यायसमेत: सर्वपरिहृत-
- परिहारो विषयादुद्धृतपिण्ड पुत्रपौत्रानुगश्चन्द्रार्कक्षितिसमकालीनो
- १२. भूमिच्छिद्रन्यायेन मया पितु: परमभट्टारकमहाराजाधिराजश्री
- प्रभाकरवर्धनदेवस्यमातु: परमभट्टारिकामहादेवीराज्ञीश्रीयशोमतीदेव्या:
- १३.ज्येष्ठभ्रातृ परमभट्टारकमहाराजाधिराजश्रीराज्यवर्धनदेवपादानां च
- पुण्यशोभिवृद्धये सावर्णिसगोत्रिच्छन्दोगसब्रह्मचारिभट्टवात-स्वामि-
- १४. विष्णुवृद्धसगोत्रवहवृचसब्रह्मचारि- भट्टशिवदेवस्वामिभ्यां
- प्रतिग्रहधर्मणाग्रहारत्वेन प्रतिपादित: । विदित्वा भवद्भी: समनु मन्तव्य: प्रति-
- १५. वासिजनपदैरप्याज्ञाश्रवणविधैयैभूर्त्वा यथासमुचिततुल्यमेय-
- भागभोगकरहिरण्यादिप्रत्याया: अनयोरेवोपने सेवापस्थानं च करणीयमिति । अ-
- १६. पि च अस्मत्कुलक्रमुदारमुदाहरद्भिरन्यैश्च दानमिदम-
- भ्यनुमोदनीयम् । लक्ष्म्यास्तडित्सलिलबुदबुदचंचलाया: दानं
- फलं परयश:परिपालनं च ॥ कर्मणा
- १७. मनसा वाचा कर्तव्यम् प्राणिने हितम् । हर्षेणैतत्समाख्यातं धर्मा-
- र्जनमनुत्तमम् ।। दूतकोअत्र महाप्रमातार-महासामन्त-श्रीस्कन्दगुप्त: महाक्षपटलाधिकरणाधि-
- १८. कृतसामन्तमहाराज-ईश्वरगुप्त-समादेशाच्चोत्कीर्ण गर्जरेण
- संवत २० ५ मार्गशीर्षवदि ६ ।
- Sankisa - Sankisa is located about 47 km from Farrukhabad. It is believed to be the place where Buddha, along with Brahma and Devraj Indra descended after giving sermons to his mother in heaven. At the spot of descent stands a temple with a statue of Buddha. The place is also known for a temple dedicated to Bisari Devi and an excavated Ashokan elephant pillar. There is also colossal Shiva Linga here. A large fair is held at Sankisa in the month of Shraavana (July-August) every year.
- Kapitthika - Kaytha (कायथा) or Kayatha (कायथा)is an ancient historcal village in Tarana tahsil of Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh. Its ancient name was Kâpitthaka (कपित्थक). This village was the birth place and the place where Varahamihira (वराहमिहिर) (505 - 587) received enlightenment. (See - Kaytha)
- Kuṇḍadhānī & Somakundaka - Kuṇḍadhānī, from which the Kundadhani-vishaya received its name, and the village of Somakundaka have not been identified. We think they are related with Kundu Jats. There is need to further research the matter.
- Khap - Line 17 of the inscription tells us that this inscription was installed by the order of the great officer in charge of the office of records, the Samanta Maharaja Isvaragupta. Title used here is महाक्षप meant for the incharge of a Khap.
Genealogy of Harsha - After the fall of the Gupta Empire and the overthrow of the Huna power late in the 5th century, there was no great power left in the Northern India. A large number of small independent kingdoms emerged in this region. One of these was the Kingdom of Thaneshwar of the Srikantha Janpada. In its earliest states it comprised a substantial portion of the Sutlaj Yamuna Doab in the east Punjab. According to Bana, the author of Harsha Charita, the Kingdom of Thaneshwar was founded by Pushpabhuti, a great worshipper of Shiva. The line of rulers who ruled over this kingdom is, therefore known as Pushpabhuti Dynasty. The Madhuban Plate inscriptions give the names of the first three rulers of this dynasty as
They used the title only of Maharaja. Little is known about these three kings. It seems that they were feudatories either of the Guptas or the Hunas or of both of them at different times. They also remained under the Maukharis for some time. These three kings ruled during the period AD 510-580. The next ruler of this dynasty was Parbhakarvardhan who came to the throne in 580 AD.