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that the temple on the plaque is actually the older of the two? We should remember that it is inscribed in Kharoshthi, a script the Mauryas used, that it was recovered at Asoka's capital and that it shows a column of generally Maurayan charac ter before the shrine, and that while certainly an early plaque no lower limit for assignment has yet been fixed. The fact that Hiuen Tsang speaks of this older building as having been a little chaitya can hardly be decisive against this possibility, inasmuch as he certainly had no personal knowledge of it; the actual railing which we see (of Sungan date) suggests the opposite, and on purely a priori grounds it is improbable that Asoka would have built either a small or an insignificant shrine at what has always been the holiest of Buddhist sites. There seems therefore a clear possibility that the temple on the plaque is actually Asoka's own. Such resemblance as is now discernible between it and the modern temple will in this case be explainable by "Amara" having copied the general style of the original when he rebuilt it (a very natural thing to do), whereas the minor differences will also be accounted for. This seems therefore quite a possible alternative.

A more probable one to my mind is that the plaque depicts the actual structure which the pilgrim saw, but in an older form than when the pilgrim saw it. Mr. Smith accepts tentatively my guess as to the dating of the plaque in the second century and yet, while noting that Hiuen Tsang's visit fell in the seventh century, seems to assume that throughout this lengthy period of time, the temple of the Brahman must have remained always in its pristine form. This is by no means necessarily so. Whether my date for the plaque be exact or not, the presence of Kharoshthi on it and its occurrence in the neighbourhood of Kushan coins, makes its relegation to the Kushan period not unreasonable, and there is certainly, so far as I see now, no positive evidence to put it later. If we say tentatively third century, we are hardly likely to be erring greatly in the upward direction; it may be older, though, than first appears. But allowing Mr. Smith one added century and taking the third as

our upward limit in this case this leaves four hundred years between the pilgrim's visit and our plaque. Is it warrantable to assume, as Mr. Smith apparently does, that no alteration or development, could possibly have taken place in such an interval? I should suppose such a contention difficult. I am, as I write these lines, sitting in an ancient palace, erected even less than this full period of time ago, and the utter and pathetic ruin which has overwhelmed the major part of it brings forcibly to mind the meaning of four centuries in India. Had such a temple as our plaque depicts been erected at Bodh-Gaya in the third or any previous century (and we do not know at all when the present temple really was constructed originally), with a stupa upon its summit, and a fivefold hti, we may feel reasonably confident that long before Hiuen Tsang arrived, so exposed a portion of the whole as this would have fallen into disrepair and quite conceivably have been replaced, with his amalaka. I do not see that any serious weight attaches, then, to this discrepancy. There is surely no proof at all that the amalaka was part of the original design.

An even stronger consideration of the same sort makes me doubt still more the decisiveness of the further feature in Hiuen Tsang's description upon which Mr. Smith lays so much stress, namely, the three reputed halls upon the east side of the shrine. What the pilgrim tells us calls to mind the temple complex familiar to us in Orissa now, where we have the main tower or sikhara and its porch (the jagamohan) and then in some cases further halls in front of both; in all, a series of four units in some instances, just as our pilgrim states. Mr. Smith admits that the halls were distinct from the temple proper. Is not this admission dangerous for his argument? Subsidiary halls like this, especially when detached, are by no means necessarily contemporary with the monument. Indeed, I have the impression that they are even normally additions to it, and that in perhaps the majority of instances these disconnected halls are gradual accretions, added on from time to time. This is particularly true in the case of famous and important temples, where worship is performed over many centuries, and it is therefore especially conceivable for such

a temple as Bodh-Gaya in particular. Such would have been the usual development, for it was a settled custom to enlarge such shrines, just as it was to extend old stupas by enveloping them. There is thus every possibility that these additional halls were no part of the original design, that they had not been erected when our plaque was made, but had been added at some point or points in the long interval of centuries between our document and Hiuen Tsang. To this second of his four objections, therefore, I personally attach but little weight.

As for his third, I almost demur to having the occurrence of the plaque at Pataliputra instead of at Bodh-Gaya itself counted as an argument against me. Such plaques are in their very nature meant to travel, if I am right in thinking them to be souvenirs of pilgrimage, and a neighbouring city like the capital is thus the most natural place in the world for such an object to be found. Was not the evidence of the Basarh seals, which show the name "Vaisāli" in their epigraphs, discounted by some scholars for the very reason that they had been found right at Basarh itself? On this analogy I should suppose myself at liberty to look upon the findspot of our plaque as favourable to my argument, if anything. It certainly has, to my mind, no evidential value on the other side.

For these reasons, therefore, I must crave permission to abide by my former judgment, and should do so quite unmoved were it not for Mr. Smith's fourth objection, regarding the posture of the hands, which strikes me as by far the most legitimate of all. The Bhumisparsa mudra is certainly what we should expect for Bodh-Gaya on the analogy of later art, and it is clear from what Mr. Smith has quoted from the pilgrim that the image there did show this mudra in the seventh century. There are, however, so many possible or conceivable explanations for the difference here that I should hesitate to look upon this detail as absolutely decisive, where no other positive evidence exists. For instance, if the plaque is so early as I think, it is conceivable that the image dates from a period before these mudras were fixed, for they are not absolutely determinate in our oldest work. There is

always the possibility of inaccurate or careless work on the part of the engraver, in a country where mistakes occur in the spelling of even royal names in epigraphs, and there is a remote possibility that the photograph misleads (for, being now on tour, I am as dependent on it as is Mr. Smith himself). I do not doubt the correctness of his interpretation, though, and am considering the matter on the assumption that he is right. Even so, where reasonable explanations of this one discrepancy can be found, I should deprecate treating this detail as in itself conclusive. That it raises a certain degree of doubt, I willingly admit, and therefore I say that, on the whole, I agree with Mr. Smith that the temple cannot be identified with perfect certainty. But I do not share the full measure of his doubt by any means, and still consider that in probability, the temple on the plaque is actually the temple which we know in modern form at Bodh-Gaya. If ever the inscription can be read, the matter may be settled once for all.

By the Hon'ble Mr. C. H. Bompas, B.A., I.C.S., formerly Deputy Commissioner of Singhbhum.

Your journal affords me an opportunity of putting on record a small fact which may be of permanent interest. It is known that among the Hos of the Kolhan the father after the birth of a child is isolated and is unclean in exactly the same way as the mother is. I once asked a Ho why this was so, he answered, "Because the life has gone out of the man;" the Bengali word "Jiban" was used.

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This gives a clue to what seems to me a probable explanation of the custom of couvade which is found in so many parts of the world. For so widespread a custom we explanation founded on the very nature of things. the fact of paternity is recognized, it is not unnatural to consider the father as contributing the invisible spirit to the body which has grown in the mother's womb. If the birth of the child's body is a time of danger to the mother, the birth of the child's spirit may be equally dangerous to the paternal spirit. This is rather a different explanation from that which treats the custom as, in origin, an acknowledgment of paternity, though such an acknowledgment would actually be involved.

Once the custom originates it may in certain localities 1eceive artificial developments in consequence of more artificial reasons being found for maintaining the custom, such as the diversion of evil influences from the mother.

The answer in this case was more illuminating than that which I received from a Ho when I asked why the race was

It may be noticed that it is the Ho father who cuts the umbilical cord of his new-born child, and he is the only male person who may enter the lying-inroom during the eight days of ceremonial impurity (bisi). He has also to cook for his wife during that period.-Editor.

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