Besnagar Inscription

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami harshanandaa

Inscription on stone pillars, walls and metal plates have always been a source of valuable material for reconstructing ancient or medieval Indian history. The Besnagar inscription belongs to a fairly early period (2nd century B.C.). It was discovered on a ‘garuḍadhvaja’[1] near Bhilsa in Madhya Pradesh.

Besnagar was the capital of the Śuñga dynasty which ruled during the period 187-75 B.C. The stone pillar has been dedicated to Vāsudeva (Kṛṣṇa) is also called ‘deva-deva’ or ‘God of gods’ by Heliodoros who was a Yavana or a Greek. This helps us to prove the historicity of Kṛṣṇa.

In the inscription on it, he calls himself as a ‘paramabhāgavata’[2]. He was the son of one Diya and a native of Takṣaśilā. He had been deputed as the ambassador by the Greek King Antialcidas to the Indian King Bhagabhadra Kāśīputra. Bhagabhadra Kāśīputra probably was the same as the fifth Suṅga King Bhadraka.

This inscription proves two things :

  • The Kṛṣṇa-Vāsudeva cult or the Bhāgavata religion had already become quite popular.
  • Even the Greeks of high descent had gladly accepted it.


  1. votive pillar with the sculpture of Garuda, the mythical bird-mount of Viṣṇu
  2. the best of the bhāgavatas or devotees of Viṣṇu
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore