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Orissa Review * July - 2009

God Narayana in the Inscription

Bharati Pal

Lord Vishnu or Narayana, the Supreme God has 2. Purana-Purushasya Narayanasya

been worshipped in various forms, from time to Salutation to god Narayana who is the
time with different modes of doctrines and rituals. Supreme God among the gods and the Primordial
The literary and epigraphic sources throw Male. This inscription found in a stone slab dated
considerable light on the revival of Narayana cult. in the 9th regnal year of Vasishtiputra Vasusena.
The earliest epigraphic evidence regarding The inscription records the construction of a
the worship of Lord Narayana is found from the wooden image of Ashtabhujasvamin. There is no
Ghosundi St one doubt t his
Inscription of Ashtabhujasvamin is
Maharaja Sarvatta of no other than god
1st Century B.C. Narayana. The eight
Ghosundi is a village in armed images seems
the Chitt orgarh to be the earliest
district of Rajasthan. conception of
The inscription record Narayana as found in
the erection of the Bruhat Samhita of
enclosing wall around Varaha Mihira.
the stone object of In Orissa, the
worship called earliest epigraphic
Narayana Vatika for evidence on
the divinities Sankarshan and Vasudeva by one Narayana is traced from the Ningondi copper plate
Sarvatta who was a devotee of Bhagavat and grants3 of Prabhanjana Varman of Mathara
had performed an Asvamedha Sacrifice.1 dynasty. It records that the king's grandfather
The next important inscription is found from Sankara Varman as who meditates on the feet of
Nagarjuni Konda in the Krishna district of Andhra Lord Narayana (Bhagavat-Svami-Narayana-
Pradesh, which is 3rd century A.D. 2 The Pad-anudhyatoh). Again the Andhavaram Plates4
inscription written as - of Anantasakti Varman refers to him as a devout
worshipper of the lotus feet of the god Narayana
1. Namo Bhagavatodeva Paramadevasya whose chest is embraced by Kamalanilaya.

Orissa Review * July - 2009

The Narasimhapali grants5 of Hastivarman The Narayana Deva temple inscription of

describes that god Narayana, who lies in the Srikakulum district of Andhra Pradesh records
seven hymns of Vedas and who is the sole lord the gift of 50 cows by one Peddalura Gokana
of seven worlds. All these epithets of Narayana Nayaka on the day of Uttarayana Samkranti, in
are mentioned in the Raghuvamsa by the Mahakavi order to burn the lamp before the god
Kalidasa. Narayanadeva in the month of Dhanu. This grant
The Plate records the grant of a piece of was recorded in the 7th regnal year of
land for defraying the expenses of the worship of Devendravarman.8
god Narayana and repairing of his temple. The References :
granted land is regarded as a devagrahara, a free 1. Epigraphica Indica-Vol XVI-P-25 ff.
hold created not for the benefit of an individual
2. Epi. Indica-Vol XXXII-P202 ff.
person, but for the regular worship of god
Narayana and the repair of his temple. The 3. Epi. Indica-Vol XXX-P112-ff
inscription has recorded that a village was granted 4. Epi. Indica-Vol XXVIII P-176-179.
for Vali and Charu of god Narayana. 5. Epi. Indica-Vol-XXIII-P62 ff.
The Juruda grant of Nettabhanja 6
6. Epi. Indica-Vol-XXIV-P15 ff.
commences with an invocation to god Narayana, 7. Epi. Indica.
who is stated to be the family deity (Kula-devata)
8. Invocatery from inscription edited by S.N.
of the Bhanja kings. Rajguru.
Besides these one important stone
inscription on god Narayana is found from Khalari
near Raipur, Chattisgarh. It is a Prasati composed
by Mishra Damodara. It records the foundation
of a temple of Narayana by the shoe maker
(Mochi) Devapala, son of Sivadasa and grand
son of Jashu, at the town of Khalavatika, the Bharati Pal is working as Asst. curator (Epigraphy) at
modern Khalari.7 Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneswar-751014.