Post No.7919

Date uploaded in London – 3 May 2020   

Contact –

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.


Please read the first part posted yesterday and then read the following:

Great Sanskrit scholars like Bhandarkars and Goldstucker place Panini in the 8th century BCE. His words about coins and currencies place him well before Kautilya, author of Artha sastra.

When one looks at Asthtadyayi as a grammar book and Artha sastra as an economics book , it becomes obvious that Panini lived before him. Panini mentioned coins which are not known to Kautilya. So hundreds of years must have elapsed between the two authors.


Panini mentioned gold coin ‘Niska’ in three sutras

5-1-20 .It used with purchase, pana/money and masha/measure

5-1-30 purchasing for 2 and 3 nishkams

5-2-119 about a person possessing 100 or 1000 niskas. Upanishads , Mahabarata and later jataka stories also talk about 100 Niskas.

Great Sanskrit scholar Dr D R Bhandarkar adds,

“20,000 paadas offered by king Janaka to a  most learned in Brahmana in the assembly of philosophers were gold coins related to Niskas”.

Panini also mentioned ‘paad’ coin in sutra 5-1-34

‘Pana – paada- maasha -satadyat’


Suvarna Coin

In sutra 6-2-55 Panini  hinted at ‘Suvarna’ coin.

In sutra 4-3-153 gold coins are referred to according to commentators.

During Kushana period we came across gold coins with lord Shiva and the king. They were called Kedara and Denarius. Panini mentioned Kedara in 5-2-120

Dinar is used in all Muslim countries even today.



5-1-27 says Satamaana- vimsatika – sahasra – vasanad- an

From Vedic index, it is understood that Satamana weighed 100 rattis.



Panini refers to a range of prices and taxes in ‘sanaas’

5-1-35, 5-1-36,7-3-17, 6-2-24, 7-3-10

Mahabharata mentioned a silver saana coin – one eight of a satamana — in Aranyaka parva/vana parva.

 It is calculated as 12 and a half rattis or 22-5 grams.


Karsha pana

This word gave us two English words and Tamil words

Karsha = cash= kaasu in Tamil.

Pana = money = Panam in tamil .

Vanika /business man = Phoenicians = Vedic Paanis who were money minded .

Like Napoleon scholded the Britsih a country of businessmen’, Rig Vedic poets also criticised Phoenicians (Panis in RV)

Panini refers to karsha pana . it is punch marked silver coins. Numerous hoards have been found throughout India. They are dated from sixth century BCE .

Sutras 5-1-48; 5-1-34; 5-1-49; 5-1-21, 5-1-27, 5-1-29.

Arthasastra and Jataka stories have numerous references.

Jatakas use it as kahapana; Arthasatra uses it as karshapana and pana.

Word ‘pana’ is used hundreds of times by Kautilya .

It is amazing to see this 2700 year old word is used in Tamil even today; but not in Sangam tamil literature.

Kasu is also not used as coins in Sangam literature. May be later used in the sense of coins and currencies.

Amazing thing about currencies is they are used in units of 1/1 pana , ½  ardha, bhaga, ¼ paada , 1/8 dvi-masha, 1/16ardha masha, 1/32 ardha masha kakani, ardha kakani .

This 2, 4, 8, 16 annas (one rupee) were used till we introduced decimal coinage (100 paise- one rupee)



Prati is used for karsha pana according to Katyayana and Sabha parva of Mahabharata and Nasik cave inscriptions



Sutra 5-1-34

It was both a silver and copper coin. Manu mentioned it 8-135. Silver masha was 1/16th part of karsha pana weight 2 rattis= 3.6 grams

Actual specimens of raupya maasha are discovered in Takshasila


Copper coins

Panini refers to  adhyardha masha in sutra 5-1-34.

I.e. One and a half masha . This is a copper coin.


Kakani , ardha kakani

Panini does not mention these but Katyayana mentioned them. This may show the time elapsed between Panini and Katyayana

It came into use in post Paninian period. Jatakas mentioned it.

Gold washers in Indus/Sindhu river recovered lot of minute Kakani coins weighing 1-518, 1-132, 1-577, 1-22 grams.



A silver punch marked coin of 20 mashas is Vimsatika.

Actual specimens of vimsatikas are in Lucknow museum

Panini sutra 5-1-32

Trimsatikas are also mentioned by Panini in 5-1-24

Actual specimens are available in silver and copper.



‘Rupa’ means punch marked symbols , later identified with rupee/ rupya coinage.

A large number of symbols  are found stamped on ancient Karsha pana coins. They have been called punch marked coins and the Greek historian Quintius Curtius  rightly called them ‘signati argenti’

B Durga prasad illustrated about 564 such symbols from a large number of well preserved coins in 1934 according to V S Agrawala .

Panini mentioned rupa in 5-2-120

Ruupaad aahata prasamsayor -yap

Since he used it in singular, we know one symbol was punched at one time.

Rupa itself meant a coin in Mahasupina jataka.

Officers who examined coins and maintained standard are mentioned as Ruupadarsaka and Rupatarka are mentioned by Kautilya and Patanjali respectively.

The information on coinage helps us to fix the chronology authors like Panini, Katyayana and Kautilya. More research is required in this area.


tags- Hindus, coins, invention, part-2, Panini, Niska, Satamana, Karshapana.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: