The inscription is engraved on a stele in the temple of Prah Ko in the Roluoh group in Siem Reap District. It is written in Sanskrit and contains 40 verses, the metres being Anushtubh (1-3,7-27,29-40), Upajati (6), and Sardulavikridita (4,5,28). After an invocation to Shiva (vv1-2) the inscription refers to king Indravarman who became king in 799 (877A.D) (v.3) and gives his genealogy(v.4). Then follows the eulogy of the king (vv.5-27) who installed three statues of Shiva and three of Devi in 801 Saka (879A.D) (v.28). Then follow the donations (vv.29-38) and the usual imprecations (39-40).
Other important points have been noted in the summary at the end.
Many verses of this inscription occur in the other places in this and the neighbouring temples, as indicated below.
1. Prah Ko Lintel inscription contains vv.1-7 and 27-29 in a different order and in two cases with slight modifications.
2. Bakong Door-Pillar inscription
3. Bayang Stele inscription conatins 1,3-6, 10, 22, and 27 with slight modifications in 3 verses. It has seven additional verses as will be noted later.
4. Bakong Stele inscription contains many common verses as will be noted below.
श्रीसिद्धि स्वस्ति जय नमः परमेस्वराय।
Obeisance to Parameswara; Victory to the Lord.
निष्कलाय स्वभावेन स्वेच्छया धृतमूर्तये॥
शिवाय परमेशाय नमोऽस्तु परमत्मने॥१॥
Obeisance to Siva, Parameswara, Paramatma, who is without parts by nature, but assumes forms on his volition.
येनैकेनाप्यनेकेषु तिष्ठता युगपत् पृथक्।
आत्मापि क्रियते नित्यं तस्मै शूलभृते नमः॥२॥
Obeisance to Siva, the holder of Trident, who, though only one, pervades many forms simultaneously with his Atman extending at all times.
श्रीन्द्रवर्मा त्रिवर्गेण वर्द्धयन् हर्षयन् प्रजाः॥३॥
Sri Indravarman, resident of Navarandhradri region, became the king of Kambuja and made the citizens happy by amplifying the three courses (Dharma, Artha and Kama).
राज्ञी राजपरम्परोदितवती श्रीरुद्रवर्मात्मजा
राजश्रीनृपतीन्द्रवर्मतनया जाता सती याऽभवत्।
पत्नी श्रीपृथिवीन्द्रवर्मनृपतेः क्षत्रान्वयाप्तोद्गतेः
तस्या भूमिपतिस्सुतो नृपनतो यश्श्रीन्द्रवर्माह्वयः॥४॥
The queen born in a family of succession of kings, the daughter of Rudravarman and daughter’s daughter of king Sri-Nrpatindravarma, became the wife of king Prthivindra varman, born of a kshatriya family, and had a son, named king Indravarman, respected by other kings.
प्रेङ्खद्खद्गनिपीडनप्रतिभयो दीर्घस्सुवृत्तो रणॆ
बाहुर्यस्य तथापि सुप्रशमनन्नेतुं सदाशक्यत
द्वाभ्यामेव पराङ्मुखेन शरणं प्राप्तेन जीवार्थिना॥५॥
The king instilled fear for long in his enemies by his swinging of the sword; he defeated the kings of regions in all directions of the earth, himself remaining unconquerable. His right hand always consoled anyone begging for his life and both his hands embraced him.
येनाभिषिक्तो विधिना महेन्द्रस्
Sri Indravarman, who possesses many virtues, was coronated as king as per regulations by the one who had coronated Mahendra in the heavens, created by Brahma. (Exact sense is not clear).
प्रथमं लब्धराज्यो यः प्रतिज्ञां कॄतवानिति।
इतः पञ्चदिनादूर्ध्वं प्रारप्स्ये खननादिकम्॥७॥
Having obtained the kingdom he made a promise “in five days, beginning from to-day I shall begin excavations etc”
श्रीमत्सिंहासनं श्रीन्द्रयानं श्रीन्द्रविमानकम्।
श्रीन्द्रप्रासादकं हैमं भेजे यस्स्वधिया कृतम्॥८॥
He possessed the glorious lion-throne, the (vehicle) Indrayana, Indravimanaka (aerial car) and Indrapraasaada, the palace, made in gold according to his own design(and of several storeys).
तथाप्रथयदुच्छ्रायशोभां यस्यापि विक्रमः।
यथा त्रिविक्रमस्यापि विक्रमेण न लङ्घितः॥९॥
The towering brilliance of his valour spread widely, such that even the valour of Lord Trivikrama could not overshadow it.
यशो यस्यातिविस्तीर्णमात्तरन्ध्रं भवेद्यदि।
त्रिलोकभवनत्वेन नूनं भवितुमर्हति॥१०॥
If his fame, which spread far and wide, had any holes, it is to be considered as openings in a mansion covering all three worlds.
द्वयं कथं नु संलक्ष्यमिति धात्रा यदाननम्।
विधाय भेदबुद्ध्यर्थं मृगाङ्को नूनमङ्कितः॥११॥
Brahma wished to make his face unique; he made it appear like moon, which has the blemish (appearing like deer), giving the appearance of two.
अध्यास्ते यस्य हृदयं नैव कामो निरन्तरम्।
His heart never entertained any desire, as if in fear of Siva, having crescent moon on his head, residing there (Siva burnt Manmatha and desire).
क्षीरोदसारमथनादाहरन्तं श्रियं हरिम्।
जहासेव प्रभूतश्रीर्यो भूभृन्मथनेन तु॥१३॥
By churning mountains, he amassed a lot of wealth, as if making fun of Hari, who took away Lakshmi obtained by churning the Ocean of Milk.
विशलत्वान्निवासस्य क्षमे वक्षसि सत्यपि।
लौल्यादिव ध्रुवं यस्य लक्ष्मीः सर्वाङ्गचारिणी॥१४॥
Though Lakshmi could reside in his wide chest, She moved about in all limbs of his body, because of her natural fickleness
गम्भीरत्वेन यस्यापि सदृशस्य महोदधेः।
ऊर्ध्वगं गुणरत्नं तु दोषफेनो न दृश्यते॥१५॥
He was moving forward and had gems of virtues like the ocean; though his majesty was similar to the ocean’s, the foam of defect was not seen in him.
ब्रह्माण्डादिव निर्गन्तुं शङ्के वर्त्माभिकाङ्क्षिणी।
तदनाप्तवतो यस्य कीर्तिर्भ्रमति सर्वतः॥१६॥
It is suspected that his fame is revolving in all directions in the Brahmanda, as if unable to find a way out of the Brahmanda.
यत्कृतेर्विद्रुतो विद्विड्वनेऽपि महिषीवृतः॥
श्रीफलेन सदाऽजीवत् परार्था हि सतां कॄतिः॥१७॥
His valour was such that the enemy was forced to hide in the forest surrounded by wild animals and forced to live on fruits. The poet, in the shloka puns the word Mahishi meaning queen and wild buffalo and Shriphala meaning affluence and fruit of Bilwa tree. He sarcastically describes that though he forced the enemy king to live in the forest he allowed the enemy king to be surrounded by his queen and live in affluence as The virtuous always live for others.
विनोदनवशाद्व्यक्तं लक्ष्म्या बृहदुरस्थया।
विक्रमे यस्य गोविन्दोऽरविन्दनयनेऽवसत्॥१८॥
It is clear that in order to entertain Lakshmi, who resided in the valorous king’s wide chest, Govinda lived in the lotus eyes of the king.
धाता व्यधाद्धरां न्वब्धौ सविधुं विबुधालयम्।
Brahma immersed the earth along with Chandra and Swarga in the ocean, as if in fear of getting enveloped in dust raised by the army of the king.
येन सौन्दर्यविजितो जातलज्ज इव ध्रुवम्।
लीनो मनसि लोकानामद्यापि मकरध्वजः॥२०॥
It is certain that defeated in handsomeness by the king and hence feeling ashamed, Manmatha hid himself in the minds of people even today.
यस्य याने गजेन्द्रादिभरभेदभयादिव।
धात्रा भोगीन्द्रपाशेन बबन्धे वसुधा ध्रुवम्॥२१॥
It is certain that due to fear of elephants like Gajendra being tied to his chariot, Brahma tied the earth with the rope of Sesha, the king of serpents.
दुस्तरे येन युद्धाब्धौ छिन्नदृप्तारिमस्तकैः।
स्वपक्षतारणायेव विदधे सेतुबन्धनम्॥२२॥
As it would be difficult to cross over the broken heads of haughty enemies in the battlefield, the king built the bridge for his own army to cross over.
न्यस्तं ज्ञानधनं यस्य मनःकोशे सरस्वती।
नित्यं रक्षितुकामेव मुखद्वारे स्थिताभवत्॥२३॥
Saraswati took permanent residence in his mouth as if to protect the wealth of Gnana, which she had deposited in his mental sheath.
यशोवतंसेन सदा रञ्जिता येन दिग्वधूः।
The female deities of the directions were pleased by the crown of the king’s fame; swayed by the strength of mantras, they gave him a hand themselves.
संरक्षति क्षितिं यत्र शौरैश्शौक्ल्यं भवेद्यदि।
इदं युगं कृतयुगं यथैवाभाति सर्वथा॥२५॥
If only this earth could be protected by heroic soldiers to preserve purity, this yuga would no doubt shine like Kritayuga.
दानं यस्यापि सर्वत्र विशेषेण गुणाधिके।
प्रायशस्तुङ्गशिखरे गिरौ वर्षति वासवः॥२६॥
When charity is offered widely, particularly to those excelling in virtue, Indra sends showers in mountains, generally on their peaks.
व्यधाद्धातेव निर्विण्णस्सृष्टौ बहुमहीभुजाम्।
श्रीन्द्रवर्मेति यं भूपमेकन्त्रैलोक्यतृप्तये॥२७॥
Brahma made Sri Indravarman as the sole ruler, to the discomfiture of many rulers, for the sake of comfort of the three worlds.
चन्द्रव्योमवसूपलक्षितशके माघस्य याम्ये दिने
सूर्यादौ प्रतिमास्स्वशिल्परचिता ईशस्य देव्याश्च ताः
तिस्रस्स्थापितवान् भवे वृषगते स श्रीन्द्रवर्मा समम्॥२८॥
In the year 801 in the month of Magha (plenatary positions are described here) Indravarman installed here three images of Isha and three of Devi – which are works of his own art.
तेन राजेन्द्रसिंहेन सम्राजा श्रीन्द्रवर्मणा।
तानि सर्वाणि दत्तानि देवतास्वासु भक्तितः॥२९॥
By that Indravarman, emperor, lion among kings, have been given, out of devotion, all these things to the gods.
शिबिका आतपत्राणि सौवर्णा राजता घटाः।
विचित्ररूपा बहवो हृद्या विरचितास्तथा॥३०॥
Palanquin, umbrellas, and many vessels of gold and silver of diverse forms and good design.
राजताः पृथुकुम्भाश्च राजतव्यजनानि च।
करङ्का हाटका रौप्यास्स्वर्णरूप्यसमुद्गकाः॥३१॥
Large silver jars, silver fans, cups of gold and silver, caskets of gold and silver.
भाजनानि च रौप्याणि यज्ञकोशाश्च राजताः।
सौवर्णकोशखड्गाश्च रत्नान्याभरणानि च॥३२॥
Silver vessels, silver sacrificial cups, swords with golden scabbard, jewels and ornaments.
हेमरूप्यपदादर्शा वालव्यजनकानि च।
गन्धद्रव्याणि सर्वाणि कर्पूरप्रभृतीनि च॥३३॥
Mirrors with gold and silver frame, white fly-whisks, camphor and other perfumes.
वस्त्राणि च विचित्राणि सर्वोपकरणानि च॥३४॥
Golden shield, laces decorated with silver, variegated clothes, and all accessories.
नर्त्तक्यश्शोभना बह्व्यो गायन्यो वादिकास्तथा।
Many beautiful dancing girls, girls versed in vocal and instrumental music, skilful on playing lyres and other (instruments), and well versed in pipes and tala (beating time).
पुरुषा रूपिणश्श्लाघ्या नर्तनादिविशारदाः।
Large number of handsome and well-dressed men, skilful in dancing and other (arts), with requisite clothes and ornaments.
नरनारीसहस्राणि बहूनि बहुवृत्तयः।
Thousands of men and women, abundant means of subsistence, many villages, with extensive meadows and parks.
गवां बहुसहस्राणि महिषाश्छागला अपि।
Many thousands of cows, buffaloes, goats, male and female elephants, and many horses.
ये लोभादाहरिष्यन्ति दत्तानि श्रीन्द्रवर्मणा।
ते यान्तु नरकं घोरं यावच्चन्द्रदिवाकरौ॥३९॥
Those who out of greed, steal the things given by Sri Indravarman, will live in the terrible hell as long as the sun and the moon (endure).
ये तु संवर्धयिष्यन्ति श्रद्धया परया युताः।
वसन्ति ते शिवपदे यावच्चन्द्रदिवाकरौ॥४०॥
On the other hand those who, out of supreme faith, will augment (the donations), will live in the abode of Shiva as long as the sun and the moon (endure).
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
1-2 Invocation to Shiva
3. He, Indra-varma,the lord of Kambuja, who became king in the year 799, increased the prosperity of his people by following the three rules of conduct (dharma, artha, kama).
4. The queen born in a family with a succession of kings, the daughter of Rudra-varman and daughter’s daughter of king Sri-nrpatindra-varma, became the wife of king Prthivindra varman, born of a kshatriya family, and had a son, named king Indra-varman, respected by other kings.
5.EULOGY of the king.
6. [refers to the coronation of Indra varman and Mahendra mountain,and probably also to the Devaraja cult, but the exact sense is not clear]
7. Having obtained the kingdom he made a promise “in five days, beginning from to-day ,i shall begin excavations etc”
8. He possessed the glorious lion-throne, the (vehicle) Indrayana,and (the palace) Indravimanaka, made in gold according to his own design(and of several storeys).
9-27 EULOGY of the king.
28. In the year 801 Indravarman installed here three images of Isha and three of Devi – which are works of his own art.
29. By that Indravarman, emperor, lion among kings, have been given, out of devotion, all these things to the god.
30. Palanquin, umbrellas, and many vessels of gold and silver of diverse forms and good design.
31. Large silver jars, silver fans, cups of gold and silver, caskets of gold and silver.
32. Silver vessels, silver sacrificial cups, swords with golden scabbard, jewels and ornaments.
33. Mirrors with gold and silver frame, fly-whisks, camphor and other perfumes.
34. Golden shield, laces decorated with silver, variegated clothes, and all accessories.
35. Many beautiful dancing girls, girls versed in vocal and instrumental music, skilful on playing lyres and other (instruments), and well versed in pipes and tala (beating time)
36. Large number of beautiful and well-dressed men, skilful in dancing and other (arts), with requisite clothes and ornaments.
37. Thousands of men and woman, abundant means of subsistence, many villages, with extensive meadows and parks.
38. Many thousands of cows, buffaloes, goats, male and female elephants, and many horses.
39. Those who out of greed, take the things given by Sri-indra-varma, will live in the terrible hell as long as the sun and the moon (endure)
40. But those who, out of unequalled devotion, will maintain (or increase ) (the donations), will live in the abode of Shiva as long as the sun and the moon (endure).