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Aṣṭabhujasvāmin: A Reinterpretation of the Ābhīra Inscription from Nagarjunakonda

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

The Nagarjunakonda stone inscription dated in the reign of the Ābhīra king Vasuṣeṇa presents many problems of interpretation, solutions for some of which are proposed in this article. For example, it has been understood by previous editors as referring to the joint establishment of an image of Aṣṭabhujasvāmin by a group of kings, but in reality it refers to the establishment by a single person, apparently an official of Vasuṣeṇa. The mention of the other kings actually refers to the well-attested custom of seizing sacred images from rivals. The deity Aṣṭabhujasvāmin, whose affiliation was previously contested, is shown on comparative grounds to be a form of Viṣṇu.

Affiliations: 1: University of Washington


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