A ROYAL GRANT OF LAND IN CARNATA.
COMMUNICATED BY ALEXANDER MACLEOD, ESQ.
[Extracted from ARSB 3 (1799): 39-53.]
Prosperity attend you!
Adoration to Ganesha!
1. ADORED be the God Sambhu, on whom the city of the three worlds rested in the beginning as on its main pillar, and whose lofty head is adorned with a crescent, that kisses it, resembling the point of a waving Chamara!
The companion is taken from the image of an Indian prince,
fanned by an officer, who stands behind him, with the tail of a Chamara,
or wild cow, the hairs of which are exquisitely fine, and of a pale yellow tint.
SAMBHU is MAHADEVA.
2. May the tusk of that boar, whose form was assumed in sport by HERI, when the raised earth was his gorgeous umbrella with Hémadri (or the golden mountain) for the ornament of its top, be a staff to keep you secure.
VISHNU, in his third incarnation, is allegorically represented as a boar, the symbol of strength, supporting our globe on his tusk, which is here compared to the staff of a Ch'hatra, or Indian umbrella. The Ch'hatras of rich man have an ornament of gold on their summit, called a Calasa, to which the royal bard, who wrote the grant, compares the mountain Sumeru, or the North-pole.
3. May the luminous body of that God, who, though formed like an elephant, was born of PARVATI, and is revered even by HERI, propitiously dispel the gloom of misfortune!
The bodies of the Hindu gods are supposed to be an ethereal
substance resembling light; and GANESA, or the Divine Wisdom personified, is
represented with the head of an elephant: his mother was the daughter of the
mountain Himalaya. This couplet is in the style called yanaca, where some
of the words have different meanings, but are applicable, in all of them, to the
rest of the sentence: thus Agaja, or mountain-born, may signify the
goddess PARVATI, but it also means not a female elephant; and HERI, or VISHNU,
may be translated lion, of which elephants are the natural prey.
4. There is a luminary, which rose, like fresh butter, from the ocean of milk churned by the gods, and scattered the gloom from around it.
After the usual stanzas, called mangala, or
auspicious, we are presented with the pedigree of the donor, beginning with the
Moon, who, in the second incarnation of VISHNU, was produced from the sea of
milk. A comparison of the moon to butter must seem ridiculous to Europeans; but
they should consider, that every thing, which the cow produces, is held sacred
by the Hindus; and the simile is consistent with the allegory of a milky ocean
churned by the deities.
5. The offspring of that luminary was BUDHA, or the Wise, with reason so named from his unequalled acts of devotion and eminent virtues: the sun of BUDHA was PURURAVAS by the force of whose arm the lives of his foes were destroyed: his sun was AYUS; his, NAHUSHA, his, the hero YAYATI.
This pedigree is conformable to the Puranas. BUDHA was probably an old philosopher and legislator, highly revered, while he lived, and supposed after his death to preside over the planet Mercury; while his father (if that he not an astronomical fable) was conceited to be regent of the Moon: he gives his name, like the Woden of the north, to the fourth day of the week. The original epithet of the last king, named in this verse, is Vasunibha, or equal to a Vasu; but the jingle of syllables, what the Indian poet meant as a beauty, is avoided in the translation. A Vasu is one of the eight divinities who form a gana, or assemblage, of Gods; and there are nine of those ganas.
6. In his family was born DEVACI'JANI; and in his, TIMA, a sovereign celebrated among those of equal descent, like VRISHNI among the children of YODA.
If Tulavinda be the true reading in the second
hemistich, it must be the name of a kingdom: but we must beware of geographical
errors, lest the names of countries, which never existed, should find their way
into maps. YADU was another son of YAYATI; and CRISHNA descended from him
through VRISHNI, whence the Shepherd God is named Yadava:, and
7. From him sprang BHUCCAMAJANI, a ruler, who cherished the world; a gem on the head of kings, not spreading terror around, but gleaming with undiminished brightness.
8. He lived with delight; and DEVACINANDANA, the king who gave felicity to mankind, sprang from him, like the God of Love from the son of DEVACI.
CAMADEVA, or the God of Love, was born in one of his
incarnations as the son of CRISHNA, whose real parents were DEVACI and VASUDEVA:
in that birth CAMA took the name of PRADYUMNA, and was father of ANIRUDDHA,
whose adventures with USHA are the subject of a beautiful tale and a very
9. In many places, of which Rameswara was the first, renowned for various exertions of virtue, he distributed, as the law ordains, with a joyful heart again and again, a variety of gifts around the shrines of the deities; attaining such fame on earth, that the inhabitants of the three worlds expanded it in triumphant songs.
Rameswara near the southern extremity of the Indian continent, received its name and sanctity from [p.42] the seventh incarnation of VISHNU in the form of RAMA. This couplet written in a singular metre, with rhimes in the middle of each division
If snane be the correct reading, it means a sacred
bathing-place; and if shodasa be properly written at the end of the third
line, it may imply, that the royal donations were made to sixteen temples; or
that the principal donations were sixteen.
10. He shone forth conspicuously, having rapidly bound the Caveri, by raising a bridge over that receptacle of tumultuous waters; and having, by the strength of his arm, made JIVACRAHA captive in battle, he appointed that kingdom, of which the name begins with Sriranga, as the feudal territory of his prisoner, but subject to his own dominion paramount he was praised, even to the end of his career, by the three peopled worlds, who heard the whole extent of his fame.
JIVACRAHA seems to be the proper name of a prince, whose
dominions lay beyond the Caveri, the word means the Seizer of Life. Among
the many epithets of the god SIVA we find RANGA; and Sriranga patan,
or a city dedicated to him, is the capital of Maheswar, so called from
another name of the deity.
11. Having conquered the regions of Chera, Chola, and Panjya, subdued the king MADHURIVALLABHA, whose chief ornament was his loftiness of mind, taken VIRYODAGRA prisoner, vanquished the king GAJAPETI, or Lord of Elephants, and other sovereigns, he became universally celebrated from the northern banks of Ganga to Lanca (the equinoctial point) from the verge of the first or eastern, to that of the last, or western mountain, and placed his awful behest, like a chaplet of flowers, over the heads of the mightiest potentates.
Two Brahmens, who perused this couplet, proposed to
read Pandya, of which they had before heard, instead of Panjya, which
appears in the transcript. Had Madhurá been written Madhuri, there could
have been little doubt, that it meant one of the southern kingdoms; one of my Pandits thinks,
that it means Madura.
12. From that chief of lion-like men, by two queens TIPWAJI and NAGARA, as from DASARATHA by the divine CAUSALYA and SUMITRA.
13. Sprang two valiant, yet modest, heroes, like the two princes RAMA and LACSHMANA, named VIRANRISINHENDRA and CRISHNARAYA, both lords of the earth.
14. The famed VIRANRISINHENDRA, having taken his seat in Vijayanagar, on a throne blazing with gems, far surpassed in glory and policy the ancient kings NRIGA, NALA, NAHUSHA, and, consequently, all other monarchs on earth: from the southern bridge to Sumeru, the mountain beautifully extended on this globe, and from the eastern, to the farthest extremity of the western hills, he dwelled in the hearts of mankind, and governed his realms with mild sway.
All the kings, named in the three preceding stanzas, are
celebrated in the heroick poems of India; and Vijayanagar, or the City of
is very generally known. The epithet avanisutannah, which, if it be fifth case, agrees with
Sumeru, may agree, in the first case, with the hero, and
signify applauded by the son of the earth, that is by MANGALA, or the
planet MARS, who gives his name to the third day of the Indian and Gothick weeks. TRIVERDI SERVORU contends, that it means, praised
by the sons of the earth, or by all men born on it.
15. He offered mans presents in the Golden Court, in the temple of the three-eyed God, in the city of him, whom CALAHASTI owns as her lord, [p.44] on the mountain Vencata in Canchi, on the two mountains of Sri and Sona, in the great shrine of HERIHERA, at Sagarasangana, Sriranga, Cumbhaona, Niverti, and Mabilnandi, that place of pilgrimage, by which the gloom of sin is dispelled.
16. At Gocarna, at RAMA's bridge, and in numberless places famed in this world for their virtue, the waters of the sea were dried by the dust scattered from the hoofs of his galloping steeds, and the earth herself was oppressed and disturbed by the God, who grasps the thunderbolt, and who felt pain from the obstruction of the ocean, until multiplied force was restored to the world by the abundant streams of his immense liberality.
The holy places, enumerated in these two stanzas, are all
well known to the Pandits, except Niverti: the correctness of the reading
may, therefore, be suspected. Habala, which my Nagari writer pronounces to be
the name a river, and which one of my three Pandits knows to be a place of
pilgrimage, appears on the palm-leaf; but Sdgara is written above it. If two
distinct places are intended, we find sixteen in all, agreeably to the ninth
stanza. The first meridian of the Hindus passes through the city of Ujjayini,
of which we know the position; but, as Lanca therefore, falls to the west
which RAMA's bridge seems to mark as the kingdom of RAVAN, the
Indians believe that the island had formerly a much larger extent; and it has
been asserted, that appearances between Silan and the Maldives in some
degree justify that belief. Maldive is, most probably, a corruption of Malayadwipa, from the promontory of
Malaya on the Continent of India.
In the following verses, which I received from a venerable astronomer, Cancha, also appears in the first meridian, and Ujjayini seems distinct from Abanti, though some authors insist, that they are one and the same city.
"The places in the meridian line between the golden mount and Lanca, are Vatsya, Gulma, Canchi, Sannihitasara, Curushestra, Pajjainica, Abantu, Gargarat."
17. The gifts, which he spread around, were 1. A Brahmanda, or Mundane Egg; 2. A Circle of the Universe; 3. A vase representing the five elements; 4. A Cow formed of gems; 5. A figure of the Seven Seas; 6. Two Sprigs from the Tree of Ages; 7. A golden CAMADHENU, or celestial Cow; 8. A Terrestrial Sphere made of gold; 9. A Chariot and Horses of the precious metals; 10. A man's weight of Gold; 11. A thousand images of Cows; 12. A golden Horse; 13. An image of BRAHM; 14. A golden Car; 15. A Plough of Gold, complete in its five parts; 16. A Car drawn by Elephants of the same metal.
If all this be not a wild poetical exaggeration, and if such
presents were often made by the Hindu princes, the Moghols, who soon after
conquered most of the southern provinces, must have plundered the Hindu temples
of immense treasures.
18. He was eminently wise, and ruled with undiminished magnificence and, when he ascended, with the cordial acquiescence of INDRA, to a celestial mansion, leaving behind him the reputation of a king, who resembled in his great qualities, that ruler of the firmament.
19. Then the king CRISHNA with irresistible power, bore the round earth on his arm like a bracelet of gems.
This prince, the donor of the land, was probably the younger
brother of VIRANRISINHA, who died, it seems, without male issue.
20. The Gods had apprehensions, in the beginning of time, that the glory of so great a monarch would rapidly diffuse one vast blaze over the universe, and leave them without marks of distinction: thence it was that [p.46] PURARI assumed a third eye in his forehead; PEDMACSHA, four arms; ATAMBHU, four faces; that CALI held a cimeter in her hand; RAMA, a lotos flower; and VANI, a lyre.
The six names in the text are appellations of the Gods MAHADEVA, VISHNU, BRAHMA,
and the Goddesses DURGA, LACSHMI, SERESWATI, they signify, in order as they occur, the foe of
Pura or Tripura,
the Lotos-eyed, the Self-existing, Female Time, the Delightful, and Speech.
21. In the midst of his assembled foes, he darts a consuming fire kindled by his wrath. Oh! what said I? He dries up the series of seven oceans with the dust and land of the whole earth trampled on by the cavalry of his numerous armies, and presently forms a new range of seas, blazing which his measureless glory, by the unbounded streams of those noble gifts, among which the first were a Mundane Egg and a golden figure of Meru.
22. "May you long enjoy entire here below the felicity and wealth bestowed on you by me!" Thus blessing mankind, and well knowing the general obstacles to an ascent in the car of the sun towards the mansion of the gods, he distributed in all regions of the world those obelisks, which confer celebrity, and on which encomiastick verses are engraven by the Goddess of Abundance herself, that they might become the lathes of whips to quicken the bones of the mountains.
The extravagant imagery in this couplet is connected with the old Indian custom of raising pillars to perpetuate the memory of great events, and with the belief of the Hindu, that the souls of good men pass through the sun to their seat of happiness. Although the Columns of Victory, as they are called, were monuments of kingly pride or of courtly adulation, yet the poet insinuates, that the donor intended to facilitate a passage to heaven for those whom he had enriched on earth; and the mountains are animated, to become the horses of the sun's car, and to be lashed by the royal obelisks.
Other columns were erected, perhaps, as Gnomons, and others,
possibly, to represent the phallus of ISWARA; but those called Jayastambhas, or
Pillars of Victory, some of which remain to this day with metrical inscriptions.
are most frequently mentioned by the ancient poets of India.
23. He proceeded continually, as the law prescribes, for the attainment of greatness and prosperity, to all the terrestrial seats of the Gods and places of pilgrimage, the first of which were Canchi, Srisaila, mount Sona, Canacasabha, or the Golden Court, and Vencatadri; where he dispensed many offerings, as a man's weight of gold, and the like, together with all the smaller oblations, which are specified in the Agama.
The Agama is a mysterious book, or set of books, part of
which has been communicated to me a Sannyasi of Mathura; it is so named,
because it is believed to have come from the mouth of SIVA, as the Vedas
proceeded severally from the four mouths of BRAHMA. The same word means also the
24. When he is enraged, he becomes a rod to punish guilty sovereigns when he assumes the arm of SESHA, he was as the chief preserver of this globe; he smiles with a placid cheek, when just princes address him; but rages in battle, when he relieves oppressed nations who ask for his protection.
SESHA is the king of Serpents, the couch of VISHNU, and the symbol of Eternity. The measure of this rhimed couplet is dastylick, and each of its four divisions begins; and ends with a similar sound; as,
25. Justly is he styled Rajadhiraja, since he is the supreme ruler of rulers, offering a mild cheek to the princes of Muru, but filling other kings with terror.
The phrase Rajadhiraja occurs both in this and in the
preceding stanza. Raj means a king, not in Sanscrit, but in a popular idiom;
and the whole phrase may be a title in the vulgar dialect of Carnata. It is
here preceded by Muru, which we shall find again towards the end of the grant
and which may, or may not, be the name of a country. Not one of the three Pandits,
who were consulted on the meaning of the words Muru and Raganda, could throw any
light on them; except that Muru is a territory, of which the derivative is
26. He is a deliverer of those Hindu princes, who are like beneficent genii, but a destroyer of those who rage like fierce tigers: thence he receives due praises.
The word Hindu is applied likewise in a verse of Calidasa
to the original inhabitants of this country; but the Pandits insist, that it is not Sanscrit. Since the first letter of it appears to be radical, it cannot be derived
from Indu, or the moon; but, since a sibilant is often changed into an aspirate, it
has been thought a variation of Sindhu or Indu. To that etymology, however, we
may object, that the last consonant also must be changed, and that Sindhu
is the name of a river, not of a people.
27. He is revered by the kings of Anga, Benga, Calinga, and others, who exclaim, "Look on us, mighty potentate! Live, and conquer!"
Anga was the ancient kingdom of Carna, including the district
of Bhagalapura. To the east of Gaura, or the Land of Sugar, to which we give the name
of Bengal, lies Benga, properly so named. Calinga, a word known to the Great, is
the country watered by the Godaveri.
28. Exalted with praises by the wise, the king CRISHNARYA sits on a throne of gems in Vijayanagar, surpassing in the practice of moral virtue NRIGA. and other monarchs: from the centre of the eastern, to that of the western, mountain, and from Hemadri to the southern bridge, he shines with transcendent glory, dispensing riches and felicity through the world.
29. One thousand four hundred and forty-eight years of the Sacabda, or era established in memory of SALIVAHANA, being elapsed;
30. In the year Vyaya, in the month of Pushya, when the sun was
entering Macara, in the dark fortnight, on the day of BHRIGU, and on that
venerable tithi, the tenth of the moon.
31. Under the constellation Visacha, at a time productive of good fortune, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, near the temple of the God with three eyes.
The date of the grant follows the genealogy of the donor, and
precedes that of the donee; after which comes a description of the land granted,
and the religious tenure by which it was to be held. The Sacabda began in Y. C.
78, and the grant was made in Y. C. 1526, the very year in which BABUR took
possession of Debi.; or 26 years ago: for, by the almanack of Navadwipa, the
first of Vaisach 1712 Y. S. answers to 11th April 1790 Y. C. The cycle of
sixty is divided into sets of twenty years, each set being sacred to one of the
three divine attributes; and Vyaya is the 20th year of the cycle, or the last
in the part allotted to BRAHMA. Macar is the sign of Capricorn, and Pushya,
the 8th lunar mansion. BHRIGU was the father of SUCRA.
32. That temple, where priests, who have aimed at piety towards ISWARA as their only grandeur, and who shine only with the same of eminent holiness, fix their heart on the godhead alone;
33. Him, who is an ornament of AGASTYA's race, and whole peculiar studies are the Sacha's, or branches, of the Yajurvéda; whose father was distinguished on earth in this age of Cali, or contention, by the surname of RAYA.
34. Born in the family of TAMVA, SRI' AILLAPA BHATTA,
surnamed [p.50] Sanchyandyaca, or chief teacher of the
Sanchya philosophy (thus men openly declare his name, his race, and his
35. Him the king has appointed the dispenser of nectareous good even here below, to those pious students, and, in like manner, his sons and son's sons to an age without end.
AGASTYA was an ancient sage, now believed to preside over
the star Canopus.
36. The land called Srijavacunda by the inhabitants of the district of Chóla, that named Meyitcota in the principality of Chandragini; that known in Ambinari by the name of Malaca.
The couplets, containing a description of the land, are so
indifferently written, that the grammatical construction of them can hardly be
traced. The first letter of Meyitcota may belong to the preceding word; and an
entire hemistich seems in this place to be omitted.
It may here be remarked, that this whole grant is conformable to the rules of YACYAWALCYA, in whose work we find the following verses;
"Let a king, having given land, or assigned revenue, cause his gift to he written, for the information of good princes, who will succeed him, either on prepared cloth, or on a plate of copper, sealed above with his own signet; having described his ancestors and himself, the dimensions or quantity of the gift, with its metes and bounds, if it be land, and set his own hand to it, and specified the time, let him render his donation firm.
37. Land, situated to the east of Tirumpéru, Cojomaca, and
so forth, and the two villages Conaru and Cobila;
38. Placed to the south of Palaparusha and Hulli, and to the west of the town called Parundar;
39. To the north of Bérupu and Purapóca, including the town which is the name of Sivabbatlapura, or that of SIVA's adorers,
40. With another propitious name derived from the four sacred hearths (Chaturvtai) of the delightful Chola; together with the charming town of Govindapdri.
41. Where eleven Brahmens are to water one Amra tree, and to worship the God RUDRA by day and by night after the prescribed acts of devotion;
42. And the smaller town, called Chatiupded, ever abundant in grain, inhabited by men eminently learned, in the great Principality of Paravtru,
43. A place to be honoured by all, marked on all sides by four distinct boundaries; surrounded with rivulets formed by good genii, the pebbles of which are like gems carefully deposited.
44. Viewed with delight by the distant eye, fit to be enjoyed by deities, graced with trees exquisitely beautiful; having the advantage also of ponds, wells, and pools of water with raised banks
45. Frequented by officiating priests and attendants, with
subdued passions and benevolent hearts; by deities of different classes, and by
travellers, who know the Veda, and convene with copiousness.
46. All the land before mentioned has the great prince CRISHNADEVA, worthy of reverence from the wise, given with serene joy, having first diffused a stream of gold, silver, and gems.
47. Such was the decree of CRISHNARAVA, to whom belongs the whole earth celebrated by the royal bards; that bountiful king, who is the source of all the wealth possessed by the bards of Muru.
48. By the command of the great Raya CRISHNADEVA the president of his council proclaimed this donation to MEIRA, or ISWARA; and his command is here engraved on plates of copper.
49. The artist Sri VIRANACHARYA, the son of MALLANA, wrote on copper this grant of the great prince CRISHNADEVA.
50. As between a gift of land and the confirmation of it by the successors of the donor, the confirmation is meritorious than the gift: by the gift, a king attains a star in heaven; by the confirmation, a seat from which he never can fall.
51. The confirmation of a gift by another prince has twice the merit of a gift by himself; but the resumption of land granted by another makes even his own gift fruitless.
52. He who resumes land given either by himself or by
another, becomes a worm in ordure for successive births through a period of
sixty thousand years.
53. Land, granted for virtuous purposes, is in this world the only sister of kings; and consequently must not be enjoyed by them, nor taken by them in marriage.
54. "This is the universal bridge of virtue for princes, and must be repaired by you from time to time:" thus doth RAMACHANDRA exhort again and again the sovereigns of the earth, both those who now live, and those who are to reign hereafter.
THE GOD WITH THREE EYES!