Bhrikuti

Introduction to Bhrikuti

Bhrikuti’s parentage is not clear. Some say she is the daughter of Amshuverma while others argue that she was the daughter of Shivadeva.

When she was 16 years old, according to Tangbritanta Songstsen Gampo was so captivated and mesmerized by her beauty that he asked a messenger to marry her.

He also sent a highly valuable hat to the King. The King is said to have accepted the proposal and sent Bhrikuti with three Valuable Idols from Syambunath itself. They were Akshyobajra, Maitreya, and Tara.

Songstsen Gampo also married the daughter of Chinese Emperor Tai-Song, forcefully. So, the Two Queens then started to promote Buddhism throughout the Chinese Continent. They started building Buddhist monasteries and translated original Buddhist texts.

For her contribution, she was named “The Green Star”. In Chinese, she was named Khri-Chung and Thichung Lachi or Bribstun as well. Sylvain Levi wrote for the first time about Bhrikuti’s History. He said that Amshuverma married her to Songtsen Gampo. As Tibetan Imperialism began to rise, Nepal could have been conquered and thus a diplomatic technique was used by Amshuverma.

However, after the marriage, Nepal fell more into Tibetan hands and was completely controlled by Tibet. Amshuverma started the new Sambat for this very reason according to Levi.

Texts on Bhrikuti

Tang Britanta which is a Tibetan text about Tang Dynasty is the prime source on the History of Bhrikuti. This is the same source that mentioned the political Asylum of Udayadeva and Narendradeva.  

Kirkpatrick, Gillespie, and others, on the other hand, make no mention of her. Sylvain Levi highlighted the Tale of Bhrikuti in his book “Nepal” for the first time.

Later, it was accepted by Baburam Acharya, H.C. Raya, Balchandra Sharma, etc., and the believers grew until it was accepted that Bhrikuti was born in Nepal and was made a National Hero.

Date and Timeline regarding Bhrikuti

Amshuverma ruled from 605-621 C.E. and died. According to Sylvain Levi, Bhrikuti was married to Songtsen Gampo in 639 C.E. and after two years, he married the Chinese Princess.

When she married Songstsen Gampo, she was 16 years old acc to him. So, 639-16=623 C.E. Hence, Bhrikuti must have been born in 623 C.E. when Anshuverma was dead for two years and biologically it is not possible.

However, Gyanmani Nepal believes she was Shivadeva’s daughter who was older than Amshuverma, thus this isn’t possible as well.

Tang Britanta mentions the name of the King that married Bhrikuti to Songtsen Gampo to be GO CHA. Sylvain Levi identifies Go Cha as being Udayavarman or Udayadeva. He actually went for Political Asylum in Tibet.

So, it must be that he saw Udayadeva’s daughter and married her. But wait, Gampo had sent envoys with valuable hats and crowns to Nepal. Logically, he wouldn’t need to do anything as Udayadeva was in Tibet.

So, the story of sending large envoys by Gampo to Udayadeva isn’t possible.

Origin of Bhrikuti

By John Hill at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31834848

According to Tang Britanta itself, Both Songtsen Gampo, Bhrikuti, and The Chinese Princess were born out of Miracles.

Chuthuktu Nidulera Utekshi from the frozen Nation of Tibet sent 4 lights or shining stars after it was found that the beings in the world would evolve and develop. One was sent to Nepal where Devhava and his palace were brightened.

The Nepalese Queen also became pregnant that day. So, from three among four stars, Songtsen Gampo, Chinese Princess, and Bribtsun were born.

This is what is written in TangBritanta according to Sylvein Levis’s book, Nepal: The History of the Hindu Kingdom Volume II.

Overall Analysis of Bhrikuti

Looking at the evidence, concrete facts, presumptions, and expectations of various authors and original texts. The existence of Bhrikuti is hard to accept. The reasons are as follows:

Conclusion

Thus, we do not see Bhrikuti mentioned anywhere in Nepalese History and Inscriptions. We see her mentioned in a mythological Dynasty Text written to glorify the Kings themselves. We see Bhrikuti only in the texts without any historical Proof.

Hence, it must be concluded that she was a myth, an imagination, and a legend with the Historical Evidence available to this Date.

References

  • Regmi, D. R. (1983). Inscriptions of Ancient Nepal. India: Abhinav Publications.
  • Regmi, D. R. (1960). Ancient Nepal. India: Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay.
  • Shaha, R. (2001). Ancient and Medieval Nepal. India: Manohar.
  • Levi Sylvain: Le Nepal, Etuda Historique d’um royaume Izindou, 3 volumes, Paris, 1905
  • Vajracharya, Dhanavajra “Lichhavikalka Abhilekh” CNAS, 1973
  • Regmi, Jagadish Chandra. “Lichhavi Itihas” CNAS, 2053 B.S.
  • Shakya, Min Bahadur. “The Life and Contribution of the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti Devi to Tibetan History”. Book Faith India, 1997

Citation

Pokhrel, A. (2023). Bhrikuti – Itihasaa. Encyclopedia of Nepali History. https://itihasaa.com/lichhavi-figures/bhrikuti/