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An inscription at the Karuṇāmaya Mandira in Bungamati commemorating a bhajana for Kṛṣṇa performed by Guru Kavi Prasāda Gautama (VS 2008)

ID: NHDP_0001_0001

Edited and translated by Simon Cubelic
Created: 2020-11-08; Last modified: 2021-02-23
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Published by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities: Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal, Heidelberg, Germany, 2020. The image(s) on which this edition is based on is/are published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY-SA 4.0) and the copyright lies with NHDP. All use of the digital facsimiles requires prior written permission by the copyright holder. See Terms of Use.
The accompanying edition, translation/synopsis and/or commentary are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License CCby-SA.


This stone stele at the Karuṇāmaya Mandira designated as a dharmastambha commemorates a one-week long performance of devotional songs for Kṛṣṇa at Bungamati in 1951 by Guru Kavi Prasāda Gautama. The fundamental duties for each of the four varṇas and āśramas along with general moral and religious norms are laid down on the basis of the Bhāgavatapurāṇa. The name of Krṣṇa is identified as the essence of Dharma and the importance of chanting it emphasized. It is promised that every year at the anniversary of the erection of the pillar a day of bhajanas for Kṛṣṇa will be performed.

Diplomatic edition


[A decorative carving depicting petals at the top]

[A relief of Viṣṇu with four arms holding a lotus-flower, conch-shell, wheel and mace in the centre]

[A carving of the sun to the left of the Viṣṇu image]

[A carving of a conch shell to the right of the Viṣṇu image]1श्रीहरिशरणम्­

10तप­इक्षा­      वनौकस:­|
15मकाम      क्रोधलोभता­|
16भूतप्रिय      हितेहा­च­
23      भवतां­भूतये­रामनाम­|
26      मा­




[A decorative carving depicting petals at the top]

[A relief of Viṣṇu with four arms holding a lotus-flower, conch-shell, wheel and mace in the centre]

[A carving of the sun to the left of the Viṣṇu image]

[A carving of a conch shell to the right of the Viṣṇu image]

Glorious Hari [is our] refuge.

Pillar of the Dharma (dharmastambha)

Victory to the name of Hari!

The Dharma for [each of the four] varṇas: A Brahmin should maintain his livelihood as a learned man of piety, [and] a Kṣatriya by protecting the earth; a Vaiśya should live by economic activity (vārttā)1 , [and] a Śūdra by serving the twice-born (dvija)2 .

The Dharma for [each of the four] stages of life (āśrama): The duty of a renouncer is tranquility and non-violence; of a forest-dweller, austerity and contemplation; of a householder, the protection of living beings and sacrifices; [and] of a twice-born [Vedic student,] service to his teacher.3

The Dharma for all [varṇas]: Non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, freedom from lust, anger and greed, and striving to be kind and of benefit to living beings; this is the Dharma for members of all varṇas.4

Once the mind is purified by the Dharma thus proclaimed, the name of Rāma becomes the seed of [one's] exclusive love for Hari, of Bhāgavatadharma and the entire Dharma. May the seed of the Dharma-tree, the name of Rāma, spring forth to your well-being.


Reminding [us] of these words, GuruKavi Prasādajī recited [the Bhāgavatapurāṇa] for seven days (saptāha) and sang devotional songs at Bungamati, and said: "Confess the sins you have committed! Perform fire sacrifices! Select every sesame seed and rice grain for the preparation of piṇḍas, and [every] seed that is to be strewn and planted, while [chanting] Rāma’s name! Do not consider gambling or entertainment. Show respect for the elderly, love for the young [and] observe the ekādaśīvrata. Let those who are about to die hear the name of Rāma."

Today in the Vikrama [era year] 2008, on the first day of the bright fortnight of Āṣāḍha, in the shadow of the parasol of the Venerable [King] Tribhuvana, he (i.e. Guru Kavi Prasāda) erected this dharmastambha. Songs in praise [of the god] were sung. In the future, too, will respectable persons of our lineage and of this village come together on this very day for an entire day and night starting at sunrise [to sing]: Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma, Rāma, Hare, Hare!


The present inscription was erected by Guru Kavi Prasāda Gautama (1903-1988), also called Rāmaguru. The founder of the Jānakījīvakuñja/Hare Rāma Kuñja in Deopatan in 1929 (Gögge 2007: 210-211), he significantly helped to popularise the public recitation of devotional songs (kīrtana and bhajana) in the worship of Kṛṣṇa and Rāma in Nepal. Pillars commemorating Kavi Prasāda's performances are also found at other religious sites, for example one in Sunaguṭhī in front of the Mahākāla Mandira6 from the same year as the Karuṇāmaya Mandira inscription, and another at the Bhīmasena Pāṭi in Chainpur from 1958 (Lewis and Shakya 1988, 62). That two of these inscriptions are dated 1951, the year of the demise of Rāṇā rule, seems to be no coincidence. Kavi Prasāda was persecuted under the Rāṇā regime, and the religious activities of his organisation were suppressed (Gögge 2007: 210). A photograph of Kavi Prasāda and his family dating from the period 1957-1965 is in the library collection of the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, Patan Dhoka, Lalitpur, Nepal.7


1. According to Bhāgavatapurāṇa (BhP) 10.24.21, vārttā covers the fields of agriculture, commerce, cattle rearing and usury. The references to BhP made in this file are based on the electronic text made available by the Göttingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages (GRETIL) (URL:; last accessed on 5 November 2020). []

2. This verse is taken from BhP 10.24.20. []

3. See BhP 11.18.42. []

4. See BhP 11.17.21 []

6. The inscription was documented under the ID SUN0200-002_I_20191104 by the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP). Digital images are available under;; []

7. A digital image of the photo can be accessed under the following URL:, last accessed on 5 November 2020. []