Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Conclusion I
Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978
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We may review our discussion before we conclude as follows :
- 1 Names of the Gupta kings
- 2 Names of the Gupta queens
- 3 Saivite Names
- 4 Vaisnavite Names
- 5 Names based on Skanda or Karttikeya
- 6 Names based on Ganapati
- 7 Names based on Moon
- 8 Names based on Lord Krsna
- 9 Names based on Rama
- 10 Names based on Naga
- 11 Names based on Indra
- 12 Names based on Sun
- 13 Buddhist and Jaina names
- 14 Epic and Puranic names
- 15 Naksatra names
- 16 Names based on colour
- 17 Names based on animals
- 18 Names based on abstract qualities
- 19 Prakrit names
- 20 References
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
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 :
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.
52-53. Candragupta (I),(II) and (III)
58-60. Kumaragupta (I), and (III)
Names based on Skanda or Karttikeya
Names based on Ganapati
Names based on Moon
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
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
Other minor deities of the period which emerge out from an analysis of the proper names are as follows :
Names based on Naga
Names based on Indra
Names based on Sun
The only name based on Goddess Durga is 'Durgadatta' The two names based on Matr cult (seven Matrkas) follow :
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
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
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
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 :
1 . Ghatotkaca
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 :
3. Dhruvadevi, Dhruvasvamini (against the rules in case of women)
Names based on colour
Names based on animals
The names based on animals are:
Names based on abstract qualities
The names based on abstract qualities are :
We can also classify the names into two categories, Sanskrit and non-Sanskrit or Prakrit names. A few of the second group
may be enumerated here :
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
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.
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