Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Appendix III :Explanation of the Passage "Paistapuraka-Mahendragiri-kautturaka-svamidatta"
Concept Publishing Company Delhi, 1978
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Appendix III :Explanation of the Passage "Paistapuraka-Mahendragiri-kautturaka-svamidatta"
This expression occurs in L. 19 of the Allahabad Pillar Inscription of Samudragupta. The compound expression has been analysed in different ways by various scholars.
Fleet splits it up as :
Paistapuraka-Mahendragiri-Kautturaka-Svamidatta 1 and translates it as Mahendra of Pistapura, Svamidatta of Kottura on the hill. 2
The first inclination of Fleet 3 is to analyse the expression thus: 'Paistapuraka-Mahendragiri-Kautturaka-Svamidatta' and to translate it as 'Mahendragiri of Pistapura, and Svamidatta of Kottura', but he does not stick to it finding difficulty in accepting giri or gir as suitable termination for a king's name, thinking it only to be used as a religious title. 4
G. Ramdas 5 takes the whole phrase to be one and translates it as 'Svamidatta, who had his seat at Pistapura and at Kottura near Mahendragiri'. This means that Svamidatta was the king of both the places. Ramdas supports it by the fact that in inscriptions we often find the king of Pistapura to have been the king of Kalinga also in which Kottura is situated. He also does not accept the name Mahendragiri as of a king, it being unsupported by history or inscriptions. Bhau Daji 6 gives another rendering 'Svamidatta of Pistapura, Mahendragiri, and Kottura'. But the suggestions of Bhau Daji and G. Ramdas are untenable, because in that case the reading in the text, would have been 'Mahendragirika' in place of Mahendragiri.
As regards the objection that the termination giri or gir is used only for Gosavis and not for kings, even in ancient India we find people bearing such names as Himadri, Hemadri and
Sesadri 7 as well as the name Simhagiri, 8 all based on terms signifying mountain.
As rightly pointed out by Bhandarkar, 9 in dividing the text, the following two considerations are to be kept in view :
(i) None of the king's name is coupled with more than one locality.
(ii) The name of every locality is marked with vradhi at the beginning and with, the suffix 'ka' at the end.
Thus the only correct division of the text can be : Paistapuraka Mahendragiri Kautturaka Svamidatta'. 10 i. e. Mahendragiri of Pistapura and Svamidatta of Kottura.
1. Fleet , (Dx) 1 , p. 7.
2. Ibid., p. 13.
3. Ibid., p. 7, f.n. 2.
5. JJ. I., p. 680.
6. QJ. vol. IX, p. CXCVIII.
7. IJ. vol. II, pp. 761-62.
8. GJ. vol. II, p.105, No. 77; and p. 371, No. 134.
9. D.R. Bhandarkar, "Mahendragiri, ruler of Pistapura", IJ. Vol. II, pp. 761-62.
10. Ibid, see Bhandarkar's remarks : "The vrddhi in Kautturaka clearly shows that the word giri preceding it is to be connected with Mahendra. Again, if giri had really formed part of the name of the country whose ruler Svamidatta was, we shall have had Gairikotturaka instead of giri-kautturka. Secondly, it is not necessary to take giri here as a denominational suffix similar to that of gin or gir of Gosavis, as Fleet has done. It is best to understand the whole of Mahendragiri as one name and as the proper name of the ruler of Pistapura. If the names of the sacred rivers have been adopted as individual names among Hindu females, the names of the sacred mountains have similarly been adopted among Hindu males";
Cf. D.B. Diskalkar, Iz. vol. 1, part II, pp. 35-36; who also very strongly supports Bhandarkar.