Oriental Institute RAS, Moscow.
Small fragment of the future book, will be prepared with the funding of RUSSIAN FOND OF HUMANITIES (http://www.rfhu.ru/), Pr. No. 04-01-00111a
The Rise of the Licchavi kingdom in Nepal from the evidences of “Gopalarajavamshavali” and inscriptions.
Alongside with a significant complex of inscriptions (more than 200 texts distinguished
by a high degree of information), the researcher has a source of other type, the chronicle
of XIV century Gopalarajavamshavali, which, as its publishers consider, became a basis for
the subsequent tradition of historiography in Nepal, of some later "vamshavali"
and "thyasapu", specific texts of XVII-XVIII centuries of similar type where
different records about various events were fixed.
However, taking into account that in a lot of the principal moments, from opinion of researchers, including in “the list of Licchavi kings”, evidences of the chronicle and inscriptions do not coincide, in a historiography was developed quite unequivocal attitude to the text of Gopalarajavamshavali, as to the unsystematic mechanistic compilation abounding with mistakes. Such unequivocal choice for the benefit of inscriptions not at all always looks objective from our point of view. Many researchers proceed from representation about literal reliability of epigraphy data. It looks doubtfully already initially. Even quite unequivocal information of inscriptions, on our deep belief cannot be correctly understood and used without research.
One of the most important period of existence of Licchavi kingdom in a valley of Katmandu was, certainly, the time of the rule of Manadeva, by which name the most ancient center - palace of Licchavi's, Managriha called, to which name connects 23 inscription, including the well-known panegyric on the stele near Changu Narayan temple, until recently considered as the most ancient inscription in Nepal. In this text the ancestors of king Manadeva - his father Dharmadeva, grandfather Shankaradeva and great-grandfather Vishvadeva are designated. The genealogy of early Licchavi in the similar order is reflected in a later Licchavi inscription of one of the last king, Jayadeva II, in the poem of Budhakirti, which is devoted to Shankara eulogy and the description of the sacrifice of the silver lotus in Pashupatinath. However, in the Gopalarajavamshavali the order of reigning kings varies - Vishvadeva (Vrishadeva) is named as father of Manadeva, and kings Shankaradeva and Dharmadeva as his descendants. This contradiction became one of the major arguments for the characteristic of the chronicle, as abounding mistakes.
The question about the sequence of the rule of the first Licchavis in the general context of our knowledge of an early history of Nepal is completely not formal, and, taking into account the additional information of the chronicle rather important for reconstruction of an early history of Nepal.
Vishvadeva (Vrishadeva), according to the chronicle has constructed Buddhist vihara which identify with well-known modern complex Svayambhunath, the channel and has consecrated in Pashupatinath the sign of Shiva, the big trident - trishula. He is characterized as quite virtuous king, famous by traditionally “good affairs” and not making anything unusual. However inscription of Jayadeva II, adds to his characteristic essential and unusual for epigraphical genealogy detail “he accepted the doctrine of Sugata (Buddha)”. It is not less unusual also, that we find this addition in the text strongly pronounced shivaite donation, which significant part is devoted to Shankara eulogy, at the characteristic of one of ancestors of shivaite king. It is represented quite probable, that this evidence, by its singularity in epigraphy reflects the real fact.
Licchavi king could to accept the Buddhism during the certain period of his rule. Licchavis as the chronicle and other inscriptions testify, supported the Buddhism. Even more unusual information about the death of this king is added from the chronicle. It fixes that Vrishadeva, Manadeva's father was killed by hands of his own son who has decapitated the father near the channel. Manadeva, as here it is spoken, has made this monstrous act absolutely unacceptable both for Brahmanist and for the Buddhist in whom obviously followed to the local ritual unknown for us in a contrary to his desire. Singularity of such data allows us also with a significant share of confidence to judge about reliability of the information of the chronicle.
Certainly, it is not enough information in sources about this period, but we have the right to make one assumption - both in epigraphy and in the chronicle the person and the end of the rule of Vrishadeva draws special attention by the eccentricity. Quite real vital drama reflected in the chronicle and previous to time when Manadeva became the king and began his conquests, allows to regard more cautiously to the information about Licchavis in the Changu Narayan panegyric, as well as some other contradictions between epigraphical data and chronicle. In the given concrete case the unequivocal choice of researchers for the benefit of an inscription is not represented unconditional - the confidence to inscription which consider the kings Shankaradeva and Dharmadeva as predecessors of Manadeva (and, accordingly, the opinion about a mistake of Gopalarajavamshavali composers). As against the late prosaic chronicle having obviously more ancient sources, the Changu Narayan panegyric - poetic composition in a “kavya” style, within the framework of which more expected processing, original “interpretation” of a real history for creation of a complete image of the basic hero of a poem is considerably more probable. Events previous to ascend the throne by Manadeva as they are resulted in the chronicle were obviously unacceptable for vishnuite panegyric. The main hero (the text is obviously devoted to Manadeva), the great conqueror and the king following to ideals of Vedic rulers becoming the king after he has killed his father who, besides, during any period of the rule has accepted the Buddhism - obviously would look doubtful for descendants. Therefore, as it is represented for me, between Vrishadeva and Manadeva in the panegyric could "appear" other two kings, Shankaradeva and Dharmadeva, more "high-grade" on merit ancestors of the basic hero. As confirmation of an opportunity of such reconsideration the recent finding of an inscription in Pashupatinath courtyard, dated by five years before the Changu Narayana panegyric in which the name Vrishadeva is mentioned can be considered.
Dramatic events previous to rule of Manadeva as they are stated in the chronicle, are represented as more authentic basis, including pathos - emotional - for a subject of the panegyric, cut on the stele near the temple of Changu Narayan. Its subject and structure does not leave doubt, that the basic hero of a text is Manadeva - virtuous king and the king - conqueror. To him, and not to his mother Rajyavati has been devoted the most part of a poem (10 verses from 19). With the death of Manadeva father the subject of the panegyric only is fastened. Taking into account, that in the previous phrase is clearly spoken, that his mother Rajyavati was engaged in self-sacrifice already being in separation from the husband till time of his death, there is not absolutely clear that heat of emotions which obviously is present at her reference to the son when she, at news about death of the husband has returned to capital: Having come back, by an interrupting voice, with tears, for a long time and panting, with love, to the son she has told: "Your father has gone on the sky ! Alas, the son, now, without your father died, that for useless my life! Be engaged in a kingdom, my son! I go now by the way of my husband. How to me in the fetters consisting of the hopes, extending on achievement (unique) pleasure, in the position of an expecting meeting, similar to the magical dream, to live without husband? I go (behind him)”. Certainly, speaking so, she followed the norms of traditional and universal ethics, norms of relations between spouses. But nevertheless, not her "crying" on the died husband here looks the major and not the explanation of her desire to follow him in the other world. Rajyavati, having come back from places where she carried out ascetic feats should not only execute the duty, having made the funeral ceremonies but also to bless the son on occupation of a throne (Be engaged in a kingdom, my son!). Actually it did not happen.
And the reason of Manadeva refusal at once to occupy a fatherly throne was not at all that he aspired to dissuade mother from her high aspiration to leave a life after her husband. Does not look exhaustive, therefore, the first Manadeva's answer calling mother to refuse her desire to follow after her husband in the other world: “What there is my (life) with (terrestrial) pleasures (without you)? How (me to live) with pleasures of alive essences in separation from you about? I shall, first of all, lose vital forces after you will go from here on the sky!" - so (he has told, and), thus, proceeding by words from his mouth, similar to a lotus, mixed with tears, (as) fetters, (she was) strong connected as a bird got in a toils (and) therefore not capable to depart. More significant is the answer of Manadeva for mother placed after the information about the fulfilment of funeral ceremonies by both of them: “No, o mother, by execution of the pure great ascetic feats I cannot to reach the fulfilment of the duty to the father. However, due to the achieved knowledge of the weapon, (having declined) faithfully before his stops, I go (on the enemies)" - so the king (who has received) then the sanction given by mother with extreme pleasure (has told). The poem leaves behind brackets the reason - why Manadeva for the execution of his filial duty to died father “great ascetic feats” or “great gains” are needed, why "faultless on behaviour" Manadeva interpret his filial "duty" not as following to a way of life of his father, submitted in the panegyric as the devotee, but in a war, in following to a kshatriya's ideal of "conqueror", eulogizing his father as kshatriya, instead of as the devotee, contradicting with the pathos of the first part of the panegyric.
It is doubtless, that glorification of the feats and gains of Manadeva is looks as the major task and the central part of a poem. What exactly has compelled for Manadeva to go to a campaign has pushed him to begin the gains, having left his mother on care of a kingdom - we can only assume. And it quite could be events connected with the death of his father as they are described in the chronicle. It is necessary to note also that the chronicle fixes leaving the kingdom by Manadeva after the death of his father, fulfilment of ascetic feats by him in Gum-vihara. Probably, both the chronicle and the panegyric from Changu Narayan have kept till our time quite real events of that time only with different reflection, interpretation of these events.
The central part of a poem from the Changu Narayan, its plot - also allow to assume in events previous to occupation of the throne by Manadeva the reflection of the real events. Having refused to occupy a throne after death of his father, including, as it is possible, by the reason that he caused himself his death, Manadeva, according to the panegyric, has undertaken some military campaigns. Those few data on it which have received reflection in an inscription, which is beautiful and magnificently described according to literary tradition, also look quite authentic. Taking into account information of the chronicle that the primordial territories of Kiratas, owning earlier by the Katmandu valley were much to the east - in the area of the rivers Arun and Tama-kosh, and also that the chronicle speaks about a victory of predecessors of Manadeva in a war with Kiratas, not speaking anything about the Licchavis conquest of the Katmandu valley, more correct looks our assumption, that the center of the Licchavis kingdom prior to the beginning of Manadeva conquests was in the east part of a Katmandu valley, and Licchavis state has appeared in Nepal in result of gradually conquest of territories on a watercourse of the Sun-kosh belonging earlier to Kiratas. Therefore, there is quite explained a direction of the first campaign of Manadeva - on the east, i.e. on Kiratas. And at his movement on the east, (his) perfidious dependent neighbours from east countries have declined in humility the wreaths decorating their heads, following, obedient to his orders. Having provided dependence of east neighbours, Manadeva has gone in the other direction. King, having approved (it), therefrom is farther on the West, fearless, as the violent lion, stirring up the mane, bringing prosperity, has gone. Here also, it was necessary for him to conquer again other kings, dependent earlier from Licchavis. Lines of a poem allow to guess this. And then having heard about traitorous behaviour of the neighbour, swinging a head, (his) fine hand, similar to a trunk of the elephant slowly having touched he has told haughty - “If not goes (yourself) as invitee, you will go obedient to me, subordinated by force”. Probably, in the West he had been undertook new conquests also, including in a Nepalese part of a valley of the river Gandak, in the area of Gorkha. But detailed description of a ferry through the Gandhak river in a poem hardly should be considered literally, interpreting it, as the information about the campaign of Manadeva in a valley of Ganges (where Gandhak becomes considerably larger stream). This description is corresponded to a genre of the text for which similar exaggerations are quite natural. Therefore it is hardly reasonable to search a “Malla fortress” in Koshala, in an area of Gorakhpur, designing fantastic "war" between Guptas and Licchavis. Such reconstruction of historical events allows us to look more correctly on the early history of Licchavis in Nepal, to explain a number of peculiarities of Manadeva inscriptions and area of their findplaces.
The time of gradual resettlement of Licchavis, received special popularity in connection with the Buddha name from India to Nepal is not fixed in sources. Usual dating of this resettlement - III-IV AD, taking into account obvious presence of Licchavis in the IV century in India, as ally and neighbour of Gupta state. The founder of the Gupta state, Chandragupta I has concluded with them the matrimonial alliance, having let out in this case a coin, and son of Kumaradevi Licchavi was the famous Gupta king Samudragupta. Most early date of Licchavis in Nepal inscriptions - 459 AD.
Recent finding in the Katmandu valley of an inscription dated by 285 AD with the name Jayadeva which many count as Jayavarman from the list of Licchavi kings in the chronicle and in the genealogy in inscription of Jayadeva II, has not added clearness to a problem of the dating of resettlement Licchavis in Nepal. Supporters of the early dating have not received real confirmation of this fact. Even if the mentioned king was from Licchavis family, this is not certificating the date of the final conquest by them of the Katmandu valley. The most serious argument against - that the following inscription of Licchavis is dated 459 AD, 175 years later. And the amounts of inscriptions, 23, having appeared from this year, all are connected with Manadeva is indicative - more than connected with anyone modern to him kings in India. The contents of Manadeva inscriptions testifies that he followed in their drawing up with corresponding tradition, the norms, connected with the Indian tradition. And it is impossible to explain chronological break between an inscription of 285 AD and other inscriptions of Licchavis by the absence of findings. It is created the impression that the inscriptions of Manadeva predecessors should search in other places, outside of a Katmandu valley.
The analysis of the contents of Manadeva inscriptions allows us to speak also about a number of their differences from inscriptions of the subsequent Licchavis. The most of them is only fix a construction of various temples, sculptures and lingams, only two - fix the material grants of the king. Though private inscriptions of Manadeva time (for example, the large grant of sarthavaha Ratnasangha) testify to a high level of development of social relations in the Katmandu valley, among Manadeva inscriptions are not presented the "grants" and "orders" in the form of "stone charters", which are characteristic already for his direct successors, created according to known Indian tradition of "copper-plate grants". It allows assuming, that Manadeva, most likely, simply did not possess still opportunities or the rights to such grants.
The area of findings of Manadeva inscriptions is remarkable also. The basic amount of inscriptions is concentrated around the Katmandu - in the area of Svajambhunath, Lazimpat-Harigaon, and also - in Deopatan, around the famous shivaite complex Pashupatinath. Only two inscriptions are found in the east, near the temple of Changu-Narayan (one of which - private), two - in the north, near Buddhanilkantha and one in the east, outside of the valley, in Palanchok. Till our time has not reached any inscription of Manadeva outside of the territory beyond the rivers Vishnumati and Bagmati up to their merge, including in a southern and western part Kathmandu valley (area Kirtipur-Thankot for example), where many "grants" of the subsequent Licchavis are discovered. The impression is created, that these territories in Manadeva time simply were not full supervised by Licchavis.
The mentioned facts demand an explanation. One of which can be the assumption, that the area of modern Katmandu becomes the center of Licchavi's state only in the time of Manadeva. It is supported, by the way, also by the data from the chronicle on sequence of Licchavi resettlement - the text fixes only their victory over Kiratas, ruled, under information of "Gopalarajavamshavali" in the east Nepal, in the area between the rivers Arun and Tama-kosh.
Looks not casual, also, that the first inscription of Manadeva, the largest poetic monument of his time is found in the temple of Changu-Narayan, the famous vishnuite temple in the east of a valley, instead of in the Katmandu (it is possible to note a number of interesting situational parallels from Indian epigraphy - panegyrics of Samudragupta, Kakusthavarman Kadamba, Pulakeshin II Chalukya in Allahabad, Talagunda, Aihole). And though in Manadeva time the center of the state of Licchavis finally transferred to Katmandu area, the significant part of a valley has been subordinated by Licchavis only in his time of rule. Besides, in the initial years of his rule, the center of the Licchavis kingdom, probably, was situated in the area of the temple of Changu-Narayan, may be, near Sankhu nearby to which, by the way, is kept till now Gum-vihara, where Manadeva as the chronicle testifies, having gone to wander after murder of his father, undertake the ascetic feats.