Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Conclusion I

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Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Tej Ram Sharma

Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978

The full text of this chapter has been converted into Wiki format by Laxman Burdak

Conclusion I

We may review our discussion before we conclude as follows :

Names of the Gupta kings

Among the names of the Gupta kings 'Gupta' is an example of an abbreviated name. Ghatotkaca, Ghatotkacagupta, Puru- gupta and Vainyagupta are the Epic names. Budhagupta is a naksatra-nama (name based on constellation). Bhanugupta is a name based on the Sun god.

Govindagupta, Narasimhagupta and Vishnugupta are Vaisnavite names. Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, Chandragupta II, Kumaragupta I, Skandagupta, Kumaragupta II and Kumaragupta III are Saivite names. The names of Skandagupta and Kumaragupta exhibit the popularity of the war-god Skanda or Karttikeya.18

The names Chandragupta and Kumargupta were repeated in the Gupta family which is against the Mahabhasya rule19 that the first part of the name can be borrowed from one of the three male ancestors but the second part of the name should be different. It may be said that the repetition of the second part could not be avoided due to the tendency of the Guptas to add to their names the termination 'Gupta' which had almost become their family name.

Names of the Gupta queens

Among the names of the Gupta Queens Kumaradevi, Anantadevi, Candradevi, Srivatsadevi and Mitradevi were after gods. In Dattadevi, the name-ending termination 'datta' forms the first part of the name. The name Dhruvadevi or Dhruvasvamini was based on Dhruva (polar star). This was against Smrti injunctions. Manu says that a brahmana should not marry a maiden who bears the name of a constellation, tree or river, of a low caste, of a mountain, of a bird, snake

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 107

or slave, or of anything terrifying.20 The names of women derived from the names of the naksatras are forbidden by the Dharmasutras.21

Devi meaning goddess is the common termination in all the names except Dhruvasvamini which ends in Svamini meaning 'mistress'.

It is interesting to note that Kamarupa king Pusyavarman's son Samudravarman was named after the Gupta king Samudragupta. Moreover, Samudravarman's queen took the same name as that of the queen of Samudragupta, i.e. Dattadevi.22 Barua considers Samudravarman to be the contemporary of Candragupta II, Vikramaditya and the celebrated poet Kalidasa.23

We also take into account the other feminine names which are as follows :

(i) Damasvamini

(ii) Devaki

(iii) Harisvamini

(iv) Padmavati

(v) Rami

(vi) Sabhati

(vii) Samadhya

In feminine names we notice the terminations svamini and vati. We find that the feminine names in our inscriptions generally end in 'ī'.

Now we classify the names according to the deities they represent. Some names were used by more than one person and somehow seem to have been popular. As they appear in more than one inscription and for different individuals we have listed them separately.

Saivite Names

1. Acyutabhadra

2. Sivakunda

3. Ratibhadra

4. Bhavanatha

5. Kumarabhava

6. Bhavaraksita

7. Rudrabhava

8. HimaSarmman

9. Sarvvadasa

10. Aparasiva

11. Bhavadatta

12. Vasusiva

13. Guhavisnu

14. Jyesthadama

15. Kumaravisnu

16. Kumaradeva

108 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

17. Sarvvavisnu

18. Svamicandra

19. Somavisnu

20. Sivanandin

21. Bhava

22. Somapala

23. Boyila

24. Stambhesvardasa

25. Guha

26. Ganapati

27. Samkara

28. Ganapatinaga

29. Damarudra

30. Candravarmman

31. ISvaracandra

32. Rudradatta

33. Kumarabhuti

34. Rudradeva

35. Kumarayasas

36. Ugrasena

37. Mahasena

38. Acyutanandin

39. Sthanudatta

40. Bhima

41. Mahasenadatta

42. Bhimavarman

43. Sivasarmman

44. Ciratadatta

45 Abhayamitra

46. Sikharasvamin

47. Bhadra

48. Candragupta

49. Bhattibhava

50. Sarvvanaga

51. Bhattisoma

52-53. Candragupta (I),(II) and (III)

54. Guhanandin

55. Samudragupta

56. Kusika

57. Rudrasoma

58-60. Kumaragupta (I), and (III)

61. Skandagupta

62. Somila

63. Udi(ta)caryya

64. Upamita

65. Kumaradevi

66. Sambapala

67. Anantadevi

68. Skandapala

69. Candradevi

70. Prabhucandra

71. Surasmicandra

72. Rudradasa

73. Sasinandin

74. Sthanunandin

Vaisnavite Names

1. Jayadatta

2. Hari-Sresthin

3. Krsnadatta

4. Sridatta

5. Harideva

6. Srideva

7. Bhima

8. Krsnamitra

9. Krsnadasa

10. Srinatha

11. Gopadatta

12. Harisarmman

13. Haridasa

14. Jayasvamin

15. Visnudatta

16. Guhavisnu

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 109

17. Dhrtivisnu

18. Jayavisnu

19. Harisimha

20. Kirttivisnu

21. Gopala

22. Kumaravisnu

23. Sribhadra

24. Sarvvavisnu

25. Visnubhadra

26. Somavisnu

27. ...visnu

28. Yasovisnu

29. Gopasvamin

30. Harisena

31. Sribhadra

32. Acyutanandin

33 Acyuta

34. Dhanyavisnu

35. Gopala

36. Harivisnu

37. Guha

38. Indravisnu

39. Hari

40. Matrvisnu

41. Nabhaka

42. Varunavisnu

43. Visva

44. Visnudasa

45. Nandadama

46. Visnugopa

47. Sribhadra

48. Goparaja

49. Visvavarmman

50. Kurma(a)ravyabhajta

51. Visnupalitabhatta

52. Acyuta

53. Gopadevasvamin

54. Madhava

55. Jayabhattisvamin

56. Harisena

57. Devavisnu

58. Gopasvamin

59. Haritrata

60. Harisena

61. Devaki

62. Cakrapalita

63. Harisvamini

64. Jayadatta

65. Padmavati

66. Acyutadasa

67. Govindagupta

68. Visnugupta

69. Anantadevi

70. Srivatsadevi

71. Narasimhagupta

Names based on Skanda or Karttikeya

1. Kumarabhava

2. Guhavisnu

3. Kumaravisnu

4. Kumaravisnu

5. Kumarabhuti

6. Kumarayasas

7. Mahasena

8. Mahasenadatta

9. Guhanandin

110 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

10. Skandapala

11. Kumaradeva

12.- 14. Kumaragupta (I), (II) and (III)

15. Skandagupta

Names based on Ganapati

1. Ganapati

2. Ganapatinaga

Names based on Moon

1. Himasarmman

2. Somavisnu

3. Somila

In order to determine the prevalence of Saivite names we may keep out of our consideration, names which are not directly based on Siva but are based on auxiliary deities. Names based on god Moon are Bhattisoma, Isvaracandra, Prabhucandra, Sasinandin, Svamicandra, Somapala, Candravarmman, Candragupta (I) and (II), queen Candradevi and Surasmicandra.

Names based on Lord Krsna

1 . Krsnadatta

2. Harideva

3. Krsnamitra

4. Harisarmman

5. Gopala

6. Hari

7. Nandadama

8. Gopadevasvamin

9. Haritrata

10. Krsna

11. Devaki

12. Harisvamini

13. Hari-sresthin

14. Krsnadasa

15. Gopadatta

16. Haridasa

17. Harisimha

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 111

18. Gopala

19. Gopasvamin

20. Harisena

21. Harivisnu

22. Visnugopa

23. Goparaja

24. Harisena

25. Gopasvamin

26. Harisena

27 Govindagupta

Though Krsna is an incarnation of Vishnu24 , for determining the currency of names based on Visnu directly, we will not count names based on Krsna.

Names based on Rama

Lord Rama is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Visnu. Rama occurring in our inscriptions seems to have been Rama Raghava. The names based on Rama are given below :

1. Laksmanasarmman

2. Ramasvamin

3. Raghava

4. Rami

5. Laksmana

6. Ramadasa

7. Rama

8. Ramaka

9. Ramasarmman

Other minor deities of the period which emerge out from an analysis of the proper names are as follows :

Names based on Naga

112 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Names based on Indra

1. Puramdara

2. Jayanandin

3. Mahendragiri

4. Devaraja

5. Indravisnu

Names based on Sun

1. Bhaskara

2. Adityabandhu

3. Divakaranandin

4. Arkkadasa

5. Ravila

6. Prabhakara

7. Devabhattaraka

8. Bhanugupta

9. Mitradevi

The only name based on Goddess Durga is 'Durgadatta' The two names based on Matr cult (seven Matrkas) follow :

1. Matrdasa

2. Matrvisnu

There is only one name based on god Varuna (Sea-god), which is Varunavisnu.

The names based on Nara form of God are Narayanadasa Naradeva and Nara-Nandin.

We find that both the Saivite and Vaisnavite names are almost equal in number. If we delete the names of allied deities we get about 51 Saivite names and 44 Vaisnavite names. Thus Saivite names seem to be more popular. An indication of the leaning of the Gupta kings towards Vaisnavism is clear from the Garuda emblem of the Guptas.25 The gupta monarchs also used the title 'Paramabhagavata' i.e.; the devout devotee of Visnu, in their imperial records. Majority of the names of Guptas show a preference for Saivism. We know from the

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 113

Mathura Pillar Inscription of the year 61 (No. 41) about the Lakulisa sect of the Pasupatas which was very popular at Mathura. Kusika one of the four main disciples of its founder Lakulisa who is regarded as the last incarnation of Siva finds mention in this record. Parasara, Upamita, Kapila and Udita were the Pasupata teachers, who flourished in the Gupta period. We know of the prevalence of the worship of goddess Durga and Siva's two sons, Karttikeya and Ganesa. There are two names based on Cupid (god of love) which are Ratibhadra and Maravisa. The popularity of Naga worship in the Gupta period known from other sources is confirmed by an analysis of the names. Other categories of names are Buddhist and Jaina names which also indicate popularity of Hindu sects to some extent. They are as follows :

Buddhist and Jaina names

1 . Abhayamitra

2. Guhanandin

3. Gosarmman

4. Jitasena

5. Dat(tt)ilacarya

6. Parsva

7. Buddhamitra

8. Bhattibhava

9. Bhattisoma

10. Bhadra

11. Madra

12. Rudrasoma

13. Sarhkara

14. Santideva

15. Sanasiddha

16. Somila

17. Buddha

18. Samghiladeva

19. Samghila

A large number of names discussed by us reveal an inclination towards Saivism. Buhler had already proved from the date of the Sanchi Stupa Inscriptions that the worship of Visnu and Siva is older than Buddhism and Jainism. It can be guessed that the donors mentioned in the records or their ancestors adhered to these creeds before their conversion and that they

114 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

received their names in accordance with the established customs of their families.26

Epic and Puranic names

We also find some Epic and Puranic names which show the popularity of the Epics and the Puranas. The names are :

Naksatra names

Another considerable group of proper names is derived from the names of Naksatras. This shows that the rule in the Grhyasutras recommending the use of Naksatra names, was obeyed. These names are as follows :

1. Pusyamitra

2. Dhruvasarman

3. Dhruvadevi, Dhruvasvamini (against the rules in case of women)

4. Budhagupta

Madra and Khasaka are the two names which may be termed as tribal names, presumably pointing to the tribes to which they belonged.

Names based on colour

Names based on colour are (1) Kalaka, (2) Kapila, (3) Pingala and (4) Nilaraja.

Names based on animals

The names based on animals are:

1. Simhaha(da)tta,

2. Simhanandin,






8. Sandaka,

Names based on abstract qualities

The names based on abstract qualities are :

1. Bhadradeva












13. Dhruvabhuti,



We can also classify the names into two categories, Sanskrit and non-Sanskrit or Prakrit names. A few of the second group

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 115

may be enumerated here :

Prakrit names

1. Piccakunda

2. Prabhamitra

3. Kahkuti

4. Bonda

5. Vailinaka

6. Karppatika

7. Risidatta

8. Rami

9. Dudika

10. Lidhaka

The names of brahmanas occurring in our inscriptions sometimes end in a non-brahmanic cognomen such as Bhatta, Datta and Kunda, etc., which are available in the inscriptions of Bengal. Surnames like Datta, Dama, Pajita, Pala, Kunda (Kundu), Dasa, Naga and Nandin are now confined to Kayasthas of Bengal but not to brahmanas. Bhandarkar27 has pointed out that identical surnames are used by the Nagara-brahmanas. It cannot be said definitely whether the name-endings in daman occurring in the names of several Saka satraps portraying Iranian influence28 have any relationship with the name-ending 'dāman' found in our records.

Noticing brahmanic names with a large number of modern Bengali Kayastha cognomens in several early epigraphs discovered in Bengal, some scholars have suggested that there is a considerable brahmana element in the present day Kayastha community of Bengal. Originally the professions of Kayastha (scribe) and Vaidya (physician) were not restricted and could be followed by people of different Varnas including the brahmanas. So there is every probability that a number of brahmana families were mixed up with members of other Varnas in forming the present Kayastha and Vaidya communities of Bengal.29

Kayasthas frequently figure in our inscriptions usually as professional writers. The office of Kayastha (scribe) seems to have been instituted before the beginning of Gupta period. It seems likely that they had not developed into a caste during our period "This may account for the non-reference to them as a caste in the contemporary Smrtis".30 Majumdar31 says

116 Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

that the Gupta emperors were vaisyas but this is wrong, as we have shown that they were certainly non-vaisyas.

Professions were not determined rigidly according to caste. We find in our records that some brahmanas followed non-brahmanical professions. Likewise some [[kshatriyas followed non-ksatriya professions. We find in the Eran Stone Pillar Inscription of Budhagupta, of the year 165 (No. 18) that Matrvisnu, a brahmana, was a feudatory of the Guptas in Central India. Indravisnu, and Varunavisnu the great grand-father and grand-father respectively of the donor are described as pious brahmanas who were engaged in spiritual and religious pursuits. In the Inscription the heroic and victorious character of Matrvisnu is stated. From the Indore Copper Plate Inscription of Skandagupta of the year 146 (No. 16), we come to know that two kshatriyas Acalavarman and Bhrukunthasimha (भ्रुकुंठसिंह) were merchants of the town of Indrapura in U.P.


Note - References 1 to 17 appearing in this chapter are for previous chapter - Names of Women

1. Vg. part I, p. 351.

2. Amarakola, 2.9.73, p. 331.

3. Fz. p. 1284, see Svamin and Svamini.

4. Cf. Uy. 3/4 p. 146. A daughter is called 'Duhita' as she milks the cow.

5. No. 13. V. 6.

6. Hz. p. 323, note 2.

7. See Fz. p. 495, 2-3.

8. Ibid col. 3.

9. (Dx) 1 p. 261.

10. Fz. p. 585, col. 1

11. Ibid., p. 877, col. 1

12. Ibid., p. 878, col. 3.

13. Supra, See Devaki

14. S.K. Chatterji, Hg. Part, II, p. 695 :

"Rami(< Rama), s(y)ami (< Syama), Bami (Varna, Vami).

15. Fz. p. 1204, col. 2.

16. S.K. Chatterji, Hg. Part II, p. 695 : s(y)ami (< Syamd).

17. Fz. 1094, col. 2.

18. Cf. H,D. Sankalia, Pz. p. 107.

19. JJ. XIV, p. 242 (Mahabhasya, ed. by Kielhorn, Vol. I, p. 4).

20. Manu-smrti, III. 8-9.

21. Varaha-Grhya-sutra, III, 1-3 : JJ. XIV, p. 233 : Cf. Pargiter, M. pp. 134-6.

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions 117

22. K.L. Barua, Zz. p. 41 .

23. Ibid., p. 43.

24. Fz. p. 877, col. 2.

25. No. 1, L. 24.

26. Cf. GJ. II, p. 95, p. 366 if.

27. GJ. 19, p. 246.

28. Sudhakar Chattopadhyaya, Mg. pp. 13, 77-78.

29. JJ.19, pp. 17-18.

30. R.C. Majumdar, Pg. p . 345.

31. Ibid., p. 344.

Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions: End of Chapter Conclusion I