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- cross-wise upon it; of these, the eighteen upper ones are in six rows, three of a row, and each in a separate compartment, while the centre figure is much more elevated than its fellows: they represent male and female divinities, twenty inches high; among them I recognized
'Hauum5.n. Another image has a fish’s tail, and represents, I think, i the Mfichh Avatar or first incarnation of VISHNU, who is recorded to have appeared in the form of a fish to SATYAVRUTA, to warn him of the great flood. Several other figures are playing on stringed instruments, and the three lower ones are merely busts, with hands elapsed over the breast. The lowest compartment embraces three images, of whom SIVA occupies the middle place, and is provided with a venerable flowing heard; he stands thirty inches high, and on each side of him are females, twenty-six inches high: one has been destroyed, but the other is playing on a stringed instrument, and her ears are strung with a pair of enormbus circular rings. Over this compartment are two groups'of dwarf figures, six inches high, in a sedentary posture, and the whole sculpture bears evident marks of having been mutilated by a barbarian hand.
No quarries were discovered, to indicate that the stones were disernbowelled from the hills; but quantities of chips were seen in places: and once I came upon pillars and altars in an unfinished state, shaped from blocks of granite, on the surface of the earth; and there -seems no question that all the material employed on the fabrics was similarly procured from the masses of rock that cover the hills in great abundance. Once or twice only I fell in with well-burnt bricks ; they were smooth and thin, of rather a large size, but not badly shaped. Great part of these extensive ruins are buried or have sunk into the earth, and they cover altogether four or five acres of land. I have been thus particular in noticing them, because there are not, so far as I know, any architectural remains in Assam, that can challenge a
comparison with them for durability of material and magnitude 0}
design ; and it is certain, from the prodigious number of ruinous and deserted temples, all of which appear to have been dedicated to SIVA, being within the circuit of a few miles of Pota (I discovered twelve or fifteen in as many days on the hills and highlands at their feet), that this spot must have been the capital of a sovereign Prince, or _a principal seat of the Hindu religion, and enjoyed a large share of prosperity at some remote period*.
* The records of Assam,which I consulted, mention,thatCnv Crnme Pun’, the seventeenth govereign of the Ahorn dynasty, in a directdescent from CHU KA PEA’, , .|;he conqueror and founder of the kingdom, being stung with remorse for the
II.-—Remarks on an Inscription in the Ranjti and Tibetan (U'chhe’rz) Characters, taken from a Temple on the Confines of the Valley of Nepdl. By B. H. HODGSON, Esq. Resident.
On the main road from the valley of Nepal to Tibet, by the Eastern or Kiiti Pass of the Hem:-ichal, and about two miles beyond the ridge of hills environing the valley, there stands a diminutive stone chaitya,
supported, as usual, by a wide, graduated. basement.
Upon the outer surface of the retaining walls of this basement are inscribed a variety of texts from the Bauddha Scriptures, and amongst others, the celebrated Shad-Akshari Mantra, Om Mani Padme Ham. This is an invocation of Panivii PXNI, the 4th Dhyani Bodhisatwa,and praesens Divus of the Theistic school of Buddhists—with an accessary mention of their triad, under that symbolic, literal form which is common to them and to the Brahmanists*. It is not, however, my present purpose to dwell upon the real and full import of these words; but to exhibit the inscription itself, as an interesting specimen of the practical conjunction of those two varieties of the Devanfigari letters which
may be said to belong respectively and appropriately to the Saugatas of Nepal and of Tibet. Not that both forms have not been long familiar to the Tibetans, but that they still consider, and call, that one foreign and Indian which the Nipélese Bauddha Scriptures exhibit as the ordinary ecriture; and which, though allowed by the Nipalese to be Indian, and though most certainly deduceable from the Devanégari standard, is not now, nor has been for ages, extant
any part of India.
cold-blooded executions which be caused to be done upon many innocent persons, erected a temple to Manaswan (SIVA), and first established Hinduism as the religion of the realm. According to one author, Cnu CHENG Pun’ ascended the throne in the year of Sakédityé 1524 (A. D. 1602), while another author places bthe occurrence fourteen years later. He died A. S. 1563, (A. D. lb4l.) '
I think Dr. Bncnanan must have been wrongly informed, when he asserts the conversion of the royal family to the new faith was effected in the reign of Gannnnaa Swen, who he calls the fourteenthprince of thefamily ; while I make him out to be the twenty-ninth in succession to Cut: KA Pun’ ; he was however the first Ahom sovereign who took the Hindu title, which may have led the Dr. to credit the information communicated to him. i
The proper name of the king GAnA’nuAn. Swen was Can PAT PEA’, and he reigned from A. S. 1603 to 1617, (A. D. 1681 to 1695.) In A. D. 1692-3, he dispossessed all the Bhukuts of their possessions, and compelled them to reside together in Kémrup, in Upper Assam; and in the year following, be cast all the images of the votaries of Vrsurw into the Bruhmaputra.
* Viz. the triliteral syllable Om, composed of the letters A, U, and M, typifiing, with the Brahmanists, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesé.-—but with the Buddhists,
Buddha, Dharmzi, and Sanga.
It is peculiarly Nipzilese; and all the old Sanscrit works of the Bauddhas of Nepal are written in this character, or, in the cognate style denominated Bhujin M1'1l5.—which latter, however, I do but incidentally name. I wish here to draw attention to the fact that that form of writing or system of letters called Lantza in Tibet, and there considered foreign and Indian, though no where extant in the plains of India, is the common vehicle of the Sanscrit language amongst the Bauddhas of Nepdl proper, by whom it is denominated Ranja, and written thus, in Devanagari ten; Ranjd therefore, and not according to a barbarian metamorphosis Lantza, it should be called by us ; and, by way of further and clearer distinction, the Nipfilese variety of Devanagari. Obviously deduceable as this form is, from the Indian standard, and still enshrined as it is in numerous Sanscrit works, it is an interesting circumstance to observe it, in practical collocation with the ordinary Tibetan form—likewise, undoubtedly Indian, but far less easily traceable to its source in‘ the Devanagari alphabet, and devoted to the expression of a language radically diferent from Sanscrit. Nor when it is considered that Ranjfi is the common extant vehicle of those original Sanscrit works of which the Tibetan books are translations, will the interest of an inscription, traced on one slab in both characters, be denied to be considerable. Singular indications, indeed, are these of that gradual process of transplantation, whereby a large portion of Indian literature was naturalized beyond the Himalaya, as well as of the gradual eradication of that literature from the soil of its birth, where, for four centuries probably, the very memory of it has passed away*! Those who are engaged at present in decyphering ancient inscriptions would do well, I conceive, to essay the tracing, through Ranja and Bhujin M1115/r, of the transmutation of Devanagari into the Tibetan alphabet. In conclusion, I may observe, that this habit of promulgating the mantras of their faith, by inscriptions patent on the face of religious edifices, is peculiar to the Tibetan Buddhists} those of Nepal considering it ahigh crime thus to subject them to vulgar, and perchance uninitiated utterance.
The Tibetan sentiment and practice are, in this respect, both the more orthodox and the more rational. But in another important respect, the Nipalese followers of Buddha are far more rational at least, if far less orthodox, than their neighbours : for they have utterly rejected that absurd and mischievous adherence to religious mendicancy and
monachism which still distinguishes the Tibetansi.
* The very names of the numerous Sanscrit Bauddha works recently discovered in Nepal were totally unknown to the Pandits of the plains, who received the announcement of the discovery with absolute disbelief.
1' All the four systems of letters are given in the 16th vol. of the As. Researches.‘
I The curious may like to know that Tibetan Buddhism is distinguished from' I need hardly add, after what has been just stated, that the circumstance of the inscriptions being mantras proves the temple or clzaitya, adverted to, to be the work of Tibetans, though existing on the very confines of Nepal proper—-a fact indeed which, on the spot, wants no such confirmation. It is notorious ; and is referrible to times when Tibetan influence was predominant on this side of the Himalaya. The great temple of Khlisa chit, standing in the midst of the valley of Nepal, is still exclusively appropriated by the Trans-Himalayans.
NotP.—So much has been published on the subject of the mystical mantra above alluded to, that it is unnecessary to do more than direct the attention of the reader to the learned dissertation by Gnonor in the Alpha. betum Tibetanum, page 500, &c. and to a more recent elucidation of the same subject in KLA i>ao'rn’s F ragmens Bouddhiques in the J ourn. Asiatique, Mars, 1831, p. 27.—The mantra is quite unknown to the Buddhists of Ceylon and the Eastern Peninsula, and it forms a peculiar feature of the Tibetan Buddhism, shewing its adoption of much of the Brahmanical mystic philosophy. A wooden block, cut in Tibet for printing the very passage in the two characters, and from its appearance of some antiquity, is deposited in the museum of the Asiatic Society.—En.
Note.—M. Knarnorn, in his memoir in the Nouveau Journal Asiatique, where he has brought so much of the erudition of Eastern and Central Asia to bear upon this Buddhist formulary, attaches himself to two versionsprincipally, as preferable to all that he finds elsewhere among Tibetans, Mongolians, and Chinese. The former is, “ Oh precieux Lotus ! Amen,” on the supposition of $1 1-rfirrqgr 3' being the true reading ; but if it be read, as he
justly prefers, G}; qfiq-qfi 3', “ Oh ! le joyau est dans le Lotus. Amen.”
There is no objection to the former translation, that of “ Om mam'.pad. ma hzim :” for the two nouns cannot be read as separate vocatives, “ Oh jewel! Oh Lotus !" (as M. CSOMA nn Koaos informs us it is understood in Tibet,) without reading mané 111?; instead of qf‘u1'_
The latter translation of “ Om mam‘ padmé him” is not equally admissible : for it would require indispensably by grammatical rule, either the in. sertion of a Visarga after mam’, or the substitution of a long i for the short one, so distinctly marked in the inscription; i. e. the nominative I-TFTT! or 31311 instead of the crude form 1=rfJ1'- The junction of the two nounsinone compound is therefore as necessary in the reading of the locative case, as in that of the vocative ; and this makes it necessary to translate it thus: “ AUM (i. e. the mystic triform divinity) is in the jewel-like Lotus. Amen.” The legends cited by M. KLAPR()TH respecting Bunnns apply as well to this version of the formulary as to his. I hope that Mr. Honosou may hereafter favour us with the import of thee words, as explained in the yet unexplored treasures of Sanscrit Buddhist literature in N epél." W. H. M.
Nipalese, solely by the two features above pointed out—unless we must add ,, qualified subjection on the part of the Saugatiis of Nepal to caste, from which the Tibetans are free ; but which in Nepal is a merely popular usage, stript of the sanc_ tion of religion, and altogether a very ditferentthing from caste, properly so called_