Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya.

History of mediæval Hindu India (being a history of India from 600 to 1200 A.D.) .. (Volume 1) online

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which were more completely Indian and which lie between
Nepal and Kashmir in a note. For this history inscriptions
and coins are available as also legendery accounts preserved
in Nepal and elsewhere.


The present state of Nepal is about 500 miles long and
about 100 miles broad and lies to the north of India. It
extends from Kumaon on the west to Sikkim on the east.
It is bounded on the south by the Sandstone Range of
tills which are a continuation so to speak of the Siwalik
range in the Panjab at the southern base of the Himalaya
mountains. On the north of Nepal is the chief snowy
range of the Himalayas and most of its highest peaks e. g.
Mt. Everest, Dhavalagiri and Kanchanaganga are on the
northern borders of Nepal beyond which extends Tibet.
Three principal rivers rise thence and pass through this
state viz. the Rapti in the western part, the Gandaka in
the central and the Koshi or Kausiki in the eastern, the
latter two being also called Sapta Gandaka and Sapta
Kausiki in Nepal as seven streams unite to form them
within the bounds of this state like the Sapta Ganga in


Garhwal. The country is of course mostly mountainous, but
there are several open valleys which are fertile and culti-
vated though they are generally limited in extent.

The most noted and extensive of these valleys is the
valley of Nepal properly so called. It is surrounded by
mountains like the valley of Kashmir and is about 20
miles in length and 10 miles in breadth. A small river
( lesser than the Vitasta of Kashmir ) runs through this
valley and unites with another river in the centre of it.
These two riverss are named Bagmati and Vishnumati and
uniting they get out of the valley through a gorge in the
southern hills into the plains of India. The valley is
about 4700 ft. above the sea level and consequently enjoys
a very fine climate which is not very cold. The soil is
fertile and the chief crop is of courso rice as in Kashmir.
Vegetables and all sorts of fruit are grown in this and
the adjorning valleys. It. is, therefore, ver?/ thickly popu-
lated and there are several towns in it the chief being
Kathmandu or Kantipur which is situated en the con-
fluence of the Bagmati and Vishnumati and Lalitapatana
and Bhatgaon (Bhaktagrama).

The original inhabitants of Nepal are called Newars
and belong as already stated to the Mongolian race. They
are of short stature, but strong and muscular. They are
flat faced and yellow. They do the agriculture as also the
trade of the country and are thus true Vaisyas according
to the Bhagavadgita. They are characterised like many
Mongolian peoples by lax marital relations. A Newar girl
when quite a child is married to a Bel fruit which then is
thrown into a river. The girl is therefore never in want of
a man when she is grown up, but can give him up it she is
dissatisfied with him by simply placing two betel-nuts
under his bed and walking out cf his house. The
story in the Mahabharata is, therefore," not quite strange
wherein it is stated that Pandu when in the Himalayas
said to his wife " Formerly women were unrestrained."
In fact lax marital relations characterise most Mongolian
Himalayan peoples and the ideas of Gandharvas


and Apsarasas have developed out of them in the
Hindu Puranas.

The Indo-Atyans go to the other extreme in this
matter ; at least they have done so in Nepal. Among the
higher castes in Nepal the Aryans or mixed Aryans punish
adultery most severely. Tae guilty wife is imprisoned for
life, while the injured husband has the right to cut down
the guilty man in public ; the latter, however, is
allowed to run away if he can. No widows are allowed to
remarry ; while those who elect to burn themselves on
the funeral pyre of their deceased husbands are compelled
to do so, if by chance they lose heart and wish to turn
back from the burning pile. Such extremely high notions
of a wife's duty in one caste and such lax views of it
in another placed side by side in the same country
afford an interesting example of the power of ideas
on human customs-

The Indo-Aryans have immigrated into Nepal within
historical times. The latest invasion was that of the
Gurkhas who claim descent from the Sisodias of Chitore
whence after its fall before AUauddin some Rajputs
migrated into a valley to the west of Nepal. There they
appear to have mixed with the Himalayan people of
the Mongolian race and formed the present Gurkha
(or Gorkha) people. Their Aryan characteristics, however,
are still apparent. Dr. Wright who has written a detailed
history of Nepal from native chronicles says at page 25 in
describing the Gurkhas " The Gorkhas or Gorkhalis for-
merly occupied the district round the town of Gorkha
which is about 40 miles west of Kathamandu. They are
said to be of Rajput descent and to have been driven ouc
of Rajputana on the occasion of a Mahomedan invasion.
They first settled near Palpa having passed through the
Kumaon hills and gradually extended their dominion to
Gorkha. The Gorkhas are in general fine looking men.
Some of the higher castes such as are found in regiments
are tall and slim in figure and muscular and enduring
■and have high features like the natives of Hindustan.


However owing to intermarriage they have become much
mixed. They are essentially a military race. They are
temperate and hardy and make good soldiers. They are
by no means industrious and take but a small share in
the agricultural or mechanical labours of the country-
The Newars are in general a shorter set of men than
the Gorkhas and their features are more of the Mongolian
type." ( page 26 ) -^ The Gorkhas are also fairer in com-
plexion than the Newars who have more yellowish features".
Complexion, hereditary military tendencies and strict
adherence to Hindu religion, therefore, unmistakably
substantiate the tradition among the Gurkhas that they are
descended from Sisodia Ra:iputs.

Speaking of the religion of the people, the Newars and
other older people of Nepal are mostly Buddhists, though
a large minority of the Newars are also Hindus. The
higher castes especially the Brahmins and Khatris inclu-
ding the Gurkhas are orthodox Hindus and devout wor-
shippers of Siva. Indeed the great temple of Pasupati is
from ancient times the chief temple of the land and is
also famous throughout India. Siva's consort Durga and
son Ganapati are also favourite deities and have many
temples erected to them by devout kingly worshippers.
And the wonder is that even the Buddhists are worshippers
• of Devi. Indeed the Mahayana or Tibet Buddhism which is
prevalent here is so full of idolatry and superstition and
has borrowed so much from Hindu ideas that the Buddhits
of Nepal do not scruple to sacrifice cocks, goats, and
buffaloes to the terrible Durga ; for this Buddhism has
also invented its own goddesses the Taras who are five in
number and who are the wives of five Buddhas (!!!) and
have five sons. The Buddhists in Nepal like the Hindus
are also flesh-eaters. Of course cows are sacred to both
and to kill or maim a cow is as heinous a crime as to kill
or maim a human being.

* A contrary statement appears in the Imperial Gazetteer under Nepal; which is
i)robably inaccurate and is perhaps a wrong quotation of the words of Dr, Wright.


Thus we see that in the physical aspects of the-
country and the characteristics of the people Nepal much
resembles Kashmir, except in the fact already noticed viz.
that while Kashmir has always been famous for the
learning of its Pandits who have in historical and modern
times too, migrated into other provinces and made their
mark, Nepali Brahmins are not known for learning.
Indeed Brahmins from outside have usually been indented
for in Nepal and we know that the worshippers of Pasupati
are Brahmins from the south (both Deccan and Madras).
There are also Brahmins from Kanauj and Tirhut or
Mithila which are contiguous to Nepal. These Brahmins
very probably in modern days have written out the chro-
nicles of Nepal from ancient Vamsavalis which as in
Kashmir give a history of the valley from the most
ancient times commencing with even Satyayuga down to
the conquest of the country by the Gurkhas under Prithvi-
Narayana in 1768 A. D. This legendery history has been
given in summary by Dr. Wright in his book entitled
History of Nepal, This account on the face of it is
legendary and jumbles facts and fancies in an undistin-
guishable mass. The chronology too is hopelessly at fault
owing to what is imaginery and later theory. Some
inscriptions, however, enable us in conjunction with this
history to give some interesting detailed facts of Nepal
history from about 600 A. D. to 800 A, D. the period we are
concerned with in this volume. Before proceeding to detail
it we must give a short summary of the preceding history.

Whether Siva worship is older in Nepal or Buddha
worship cannot be determined. But Pasupati and Buddha
equally claim the reverence of the people from ancient
times. Asoka certainly was once sovereign of this land
and visited it. He is said to have given his daughter in
marriage to a local king. Nagas, Yakshas, Kakshasas
and Durgas are common to both rleigions. And Nepal is
considered a Mahapitha" because it contains the four most
sacred shrines of the world viz, Svayambhu Chaitya,
Gujesvari Pitha, Sivalinga Pasupati and Karlie Smasan"


(Wright H. of K- p. 91). There is a tradition current in
Nepal that Vikramajit also came to and ruled in Nepal
and laid down laws. The Bhairavas of Siva may perhaps
be attributed to his influence and were introduced along
with other attendants of vSiva. There is a jumble of dates
here which may be neglected, for a Vikramajit is also
mentioned further on. But Vikrama certainly introduced
the Samvat era in Nepal and, it is said, paid off all debts-
There is indeed a curious tradition all over India that the
founder of an era must pay off all debts existing in the
country, and thus make all men happy. There is not the
least doubt that the Vikrama era has been in use in Nepal
since a very long time. And here we come in contact
with inscriptions which have been read and translated by
two such learned antiquarians as Bhagvanlal Indraji and
Buhler. These are all given together in Indian Antiqua-
ry Vol. IX, and we quote them from that journal.

The first four inscriptions are in clear Gupta
characters"an4 are dated Samvat 386, 413, 435 and 535.
What Samvat this is we shall see further on. The next
important inscription given is that of Sivadeva of the
Lichhavi family without date and mentions Mahasamanta
Amsuvarman. The sixth inscription is dated Samvat 34
and belongs to Amsuvarman himself describing him as
a servant of Mahadeva and of Bappa and styling him as
Mahasamata. These two are in changed Gupta characters.
A third dated S. 39 belongs to the same king. Besides
other inscriptions there is next one in S. 49 by Jishnu-
gupta who was Yuvaraja to Vishnugupta in which Maha-
rajadhiraja Amsuvarman is mentioned. Next comes a
grant of Sivadeva for the maintenance of a Siva temple
Sivesvara founded by him dated S. 119 and two others of
this same Sivadeva in S. 143 and 145 in which a Yuvaraja
Vij£iyadeva is mentioned. Lastly we have a most
important inscription by Jayadeva in S. 153 which gives a
legendery predigree to the Lichhavi kings connecting them,
with the solar line, Lichhavi being said to be a descendant
of Dasaratha after 8 intervening kings. In this line were


l)orn Sankaradeva, Dhiirniadj6va, Manadeva, Mulildeva and
Vasantpdeva, then afl«r 13 kings came Udayadeva whose
son was the famous Sivadeva who married Vatsadevi
dai^hter of the Maiikhari king Bhogavarman and grand-
daughter of the king of Magadha Adityasena. Their son
was Jayadeva who married Rajyadevi daughter of
Harshadeva king of Assam who had conquered Gauda,
Udra, Kalinga and other countries. He records this
inscription commemorating the plaeing of a silver lotus
above Pasupati and in this inscription are certain verses
composed by the king himself.

These inscriptions and the eras noted in them are dis-
cussed by the well-known antiquarian Pandit Bhagavanlal
Indraji in Ind. Ant. Vol. XIII p. 411 along with the tradi-
tional dynastic lists preserved in Nepal also given by him
and by Dr. Wright who in his history noticed above
summarises one such Vamsavali given him by a Buddhist
monk. These Vamsavalis are all legendery but contain
-very many real facts buried under imaginary stories. Now
Pandit Bhagavanlal rightly observes that Amsuvarman in
these inscriptions is the same Amsuvarman who is spoken
of by Hiuen Tsang as ruling in Nepal about his time. He
appears to have been a Thakuri or Rajput and originally
a Samanta or feudatory of the Lichhavi king of Nepal
named Sivadeva ; but gradually to have assumed real sov-
ereignty himself. Now his first inscription is dated
Samvat 34. This Samvat is clearly, therefore, the Harsha
era. The Vamsavali history as given by Dr. Wright at
Chap. Ill p. 133 says that the first king of the new dynasty
was Amsuvarman. Just before this at p. 131 it is stated
i|jat Vikramajit a powerful monarch of Hindustan founded
a new era and came to Nepal to introduce his era here.
Now this is a second mentien of the coming of Vikramajit
and Pandit Bhagvanlal is correct in holding that 4his
refers to the conquesl) of Nepal by Harsha and the intro-
duction of his era, the legend confounding him with
ohe Vikrama of 57 B.C. The change in the era in the
inscription's also indicates the same thing. This inscription


-with th« garbled story ©f . the Vamsavalis and Hiuen
Tsang's aceount combine to prove that Harsha conquered
Nepal and introduced his era there most probably in
the days of Sivadeva Licchavi. This conquest may be
looked upon as attested to even by Bana when he says in
the Harsha Charita ^'?T: |^T: f%wf^' ^:

Our history is concerned with tfee conquest of Harsha
and with later events. But as we have said before, it
would be interesting to note here the historical facts before
this event which can be gathered from inscription's. Now
the Vsirpsavalis mention certain kings before Harsha who
are also mentioned in inscriptions and these are 1 Vrisha-
deva 2 Sankaradeva 3 Dharmadeva 4 Manadeva, 5 Mahi-
deva and Vasantadeva. They are not only mentioned in
- Jayadeva's inscription ( no. 15 ) of Harsha S. 153 i..'e. A. D.
759 but they have left their own inscriptions as stated
before dated S. 386, 435 and 535. The question here is
what Samvat is this. They certainly precede Jayadeva of
759 A. D. by many generations i. e. several centuries.
Now it is impossible to take the Gupta era here, for the
years would be, adding 320, 706, 755, and 855 A. D. Saka
era of 78 A. D. and Vlkrama era of 57 B. C. are both
admissable. But Pandit Bhagavanlal has rightly
held that the vikrama era alone is applicable
considering the number of generations that
intervened between Jayadeva of 759 A. D. and Manadeva
of the first inscription. We find from inscription no. 15
that Jayadeva was preceded by the famous 1 Sivadeva
son-in-law of the powerful Maukhari, 2 Narendradeva.
then 13 unnamed kings then 17th Udayadeva, 18th Vasan-
tadeva, 19th Msthideva and 20th Manadeva
Bon of Dharmadeva amd Rajyadevi as mentioned
in inscription No. 1 of S. 386. These 19 kings if assigned
about 437 years at 23 year's average for each generation
as usual will take Manadeva to A.D. 322 (759-437). If S. 386
be treated as Vikrama Samvat we get A.D. 326 which
is near Manadeva's date above obtained. But if we take
Samvat 386 as given in the Saka era it gives us A. D. 464,


Under this view there will be between Manadeva and^
Jayadeva 759-464 = 295 years which for 19 or even 18
generations of kings in the interval gives 15 or 16 years
only for each generation. One is, therefore, convinced
that Pandit Bhagvanlal is correct in taking the Vikrama
Samvat for the early inscriptions in Nepal; though this
contradicts the view of many antiquarians, as the Pandit
himself has observed, that the Vikrama Samvat was
concocted about the beginning of the 5th century A.D. Thia
is the great importance and value of these inscriptions
as they umistaknably give us a date in Vikrama Samva*^
so old as 386 or A. D. 329 i. e. preceding the fifth century.

We will now turn to our period. The first thing to be
noticed is that Harsha seems very definitely to have con-
quered Nepal and introduced his era there. This was in
the days of a Licchavi king named Sivadeva and must have
happened very soon after Ilarsha's accesion, sometime-
about 610 A. D. The king being thus weakened his Saman-
ta Amsuvarman, a powerful prince, easily became ascen-
dent, but not so ascendent as to throw away Marsha's erar
or to throw away his own title as Samanta. Hence his two
inscriptions use the Harsha era and still retain the title
Samanta though he virtually remained the master as
ckief minister or commander. This sort of double lordship
lasted probably for some generations. Pandit Bhagvanlal
mentions a parallel in the latest history of Nepal itself
viz. of the family of the prime minister Jang Bahadur. But
there are more such parallels in Indian history and we
may quote the Peshwas themselves on our side who for
four generations were both ministers and masters while
the Satara chiefs for generations were ostensibly kings and
yet powerless. Hiuen Tsang states that " the kings in
Nepal were Kshatriyas and believed in Buddha. Amsu-
varman a recent king had written a treatise on Etymology".
This description shows that Amsuvarman was then dead
but not necessarily when Hiuen Tsang visited Sravasti. It
is probable he never went to Nepal personally but collected
information which was noted later and at that time Amsu-


-varman was dead. Inscription no. 7 is by Amsuvarma him-
self and is dated Samvat 39 which being in Harsha's era
gives A. D. 645. He must have been alive then and it can
not be explained how Sir Vincent Smith gives 641 A. D. as
the date of his death (E. H. 3rd Ed. p. 366). But Amsu-
varman must have died before Harsha very probably and
he was not the man who gave assistance to the 'Chinese
envoy who was maltreated by the ruler of Tirhut as stated
in the history of Kanauj. For it appears that Amsuvarman
at least in his later days was a staunch Hindu and
a worshipper of Siva as may be surmised from the
following epithet applied to him in this very inscription
viz. RT% R% ^i^'-h^ll^l4f^ijiiMc|VHl'T^dl'H^^M-^^T -Wn^^rU^IIrl'+.K'JI-
TT^Tr'a^TRf^PiFf trrr:. This wording not only corroborates
Hiuen Tsang's report about Amsuvarman's learning but
shows that he had seen the fallacy of the wrong philosophy
'( of course Buddhism ). The course cf history in Nepal,
therefore, at this time was the same as elsewhere.
The kings upto Amsuvarman were sometimes Buddhists,
sometimes Vaishnavites. The first Vishnudeva whose name
we have in inscription No. 1 is described in Ins. No. 15 of
Jayadeva as ^TrRTRR^^lWf i. e. favourer of the teaching of
Buddha. The Buddhist religion probably led to the enervation
of the kinsly line and Amsuvarman appears to have become
supreme, being a professor of the sturdier religion of Siva.
■It is pertinent to note that this Amsuvarman and his
successors call themselves in the beginning of their in-
scriptions q^T%*f5R:«fi'7T^5^^n i. e.. favoured by the feet of
Lord Pasupati while the first four inscriptions do not
contain this epithet. The Lord Pasupati was certainly
there before Amsuvarman. For Hiuen Tsang describing
the people of Nepal says, " The people are rude and
deceitful and ugly in appearance; but skilled mechanics
(a true description of the Mongolian peoples/. Tney believed
both the false and true religions, Buddhist monasteries and
,Deva temples touching each other" We may, therefore,
be sure that Pasupati was already there but the kings
were usually Buddhists and sometimes Vaishnavites.
Whatever be the reason, Amsuvarman established


Bimseif a;; paramount Samanta and was a worshipper
of Pasupati. The other epithet ^f^qr^T^'^JfreT occurs in all
inscriptions both in Amsuvarman's as in the previous ones
dated in Vikrama Samvat. It seems that Bappa was the
name or an epithet of the founder of the royal family of
Licchavis, which was mentioned with reverence by all,
like that of Sivaji Chhatrapati mentioned both by. the
Peshwas and the Sat-ara kings. Another similarity to tbe
later pswallel may be found in the fact that while the
Licchavi kings issue their edicts from Managriha, Amsu-
varmanand his successors issue them from Kailasakuta
These palaces must be located in different towns like
Poona and Satara and the titular king ruled in OLe city
while the real sovereign held his court in another.

Amsuvarman probably died in 646 A. D. His son
Vibhuvarraan (S. 45 or A. D. 651) also filled the same posi-
tion. The king Sivadeva must have afforded assistance to
the Chinese envoy at this time against the governor of Tirhut
Inscription No. 8 (Ind. Ant. Vol. IX) of S. 49 or A. D. 655
mentions a king Jishnugupta and his heir apparent Vishnu
gupta. The change of name-ending from Varman to Gupta
indicates, probably that these were other than descendants
of Amsuvarman. But the latter is mentioned in this
record with great respect and styled as maharajadhiraja.
This indicates that they must have been his successors
and relations and they also issued orders from Kailasa-
kuta. This inscription mentions one Dhruvadeva as
king and he must have succeeded Sivadeva.

We now con. 3 to Sivadeva the second a famous king,
the father of Jayadeva- He has left three inscriptions. In
the first dated S. 119 = A. D. 725 he grants a land for the
due worship of Sivesvara temple founded by himself to
a Pasupatacharyu. In the next dated 143 S. = 749 A. D.
he assigns lands for the maintenance of Sivadeva Vihara
ror Buddhists. This is characteristic of Nepal kings who


like their subjects were worshippers of Hindu deities and
Buddhistic gods. Even Hiuen Tsang as above quoted has
noted that Buddhist monasteries and Deva temples were
close together. In the third inscription H. S. dated 145 or
751 A.D. the Dutaka or messenger is Yuvaraja Vijayadeva
who may be Jayadeva the next king himself as Pandit
Bfeagvanlal says or his elder brother predeceased. In this
inscription we come across a new sloka not yet found in
inscriptions charging future rulers against the resumption
of the gift, a sloka which may be quoted here for the in-
formation of the curious reader.: " ?f?qT ^[^ " (who says
is not stated ) :

^1^ ^:t^ %^t wr^wk't[^ Sf^m ^T^^'iJTT f^f% ^ #5: 1!

This Sivadeva married a daughter of a Maukhari king
and a grand-daughter of Adityasena, the Gupta king of
Magadha. This shows that the Nepal Lichhavi dynasty
was related to the ruling Kshatriya families in India.
His son Jayadeva came to the throne between 145 and 153
H. S. in the latter of which year his long interesting in-
scription is dated. The first portion of it gives the pedi-
gree of the Lichhavis and assigns them to the solar line.
With regard to this claim we will add a separate note.
But the Lichhavis were then in the eighth century A. D.
certainly treated as solar line Kshatriyas ; and this king
himself married a daughter of Harshadeva king of Assam,
Who ruled after Jayadeva we do not know. But the
Vamsavalis of Nepal give the chronology of early Nepal
kings in such a different manner that it is not possible to
give a connected line without the corroboration of in-
scriptions. It is, therefore, not possible to say when this
line of Lichhavi kings ended. A new Rajput dynasty was
certainly founded in the 9th century and with that two
new towns viz. Kirtipura and Bhaktapura or Bhatgaon as
it is now called were founded and also a new era called the


Nepali era dating from Oct. 879 A. D. (Saka SOI) was
founded by this new dynasty. When this new dynasty
came to power is also not certain ; but certain it is that
it is not the first king of this line who founded the era.
Dr. Wright mentions in the history of the preceding
dynasty towards the end that a Brahmin who was considered
an incarnation of Sankaracharya came to visit the country
to see how the rules and customs established by Sankara-
charya were observed. This fact we will discuss at length
in oui* next volume to which it pertains. We may
generally state that the Lichhavi line of kings came to

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