Sanskrit poetry in Hindu inscriptions
Dr. BC Chabra provides several examples of exemplary Sanskrit poetry in Hindu inscriptions. I shall provide a few of these as illustrations:
shrI chandraguptasya mahendra kalpaH kumAraguptastanayaH samagrAM |
rarakSha sAdhvIm iva dharmapatnIM vIryAgrahastair upaguhya bhUmiM ||
श्री चन्द्रगुप्तस्य महेन्द्र कल्पः कुमारगुप्तस्तनयः समग्राम् |
ररक्ष साध्वीम् इव धर्मपत्नीं वीर्याग्रहस्तैर् उपगुह्य भूमिं ||
The verse is in the triShTubh meter with 44 syllables 4*11.
“kumAragupta the son of the illustrious chandragupta, endowed like the great indra, protected the land even as his wedded wife embraced in his valiant hands.”
upaguhya – embracing (could also mean hiding/covering/spanning)
kurvantu kIrtana shatAni raNA~NgaNeShu mathnantu vairinikaraM dhanam utsR^ijantu |
kAlAntare tad akhilaM prabalAndhakAra nR^ityopamaM kavijanair anibadhyamAnam ||
कुर्वन्तु कीर्तन शतानि रणाङ्गणेषु मथ्नन्तु वैरिनिकरं धनम् उत्सृजन्तु ।
कालान्तरे तद् अखिलं प्रबलान्धकार नृत्योपमं कविजनैर् अनिबध्यमानम् ॥
They may perform hundreds of famous acts, on the battle-fields they may churn the enemy masses, they may donate wealth,
but with the passage of time all these deeds will be like a dance performed in overpowering darkness;
unless they are limitlessly praised by the poet-folks.
This is from the Koni (near Khutaghat Dam, Ratanpur, Chhattisgarh) stone inscription from circa 1148-49 CE during the reign of king pR^ithivideva of the ratnapura kalachuri clan. The author kAshala was the quintessence of the erudite kShatriya before the horror years of Indian history. He declares himself as being a warrior, poet, veterinary physician of elephants and philosopher. Ironically nothing is known of him but for this inscription- in a sense he was a poet immortalizing himself.
The meter here is an unusual meter of classical Sanskrit called the vasantatilaka meter, which is typified by 14+14+14+14 syllabic pattern in the verse.
raNA~ngaNeShu=on the battle fields; mathnantu= to churn [imperative 3rd person plural]; vairi-nikaraM=enemy masses. This is a common usage sanskrit accounts of battle, and is also encountered in tamil. It is good example of how a pan-Indian phraseology that spread to local languages in the classical period.
dhanam utsR^ijantu: This phrase may have a double-meaning on purpose- 1) meaning those who become famous by donating wealth or 2) those who become famous by renouncing their wealth. utsR^ijati may be interpreted as renouncing wealth.