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l.—Rest0rati0n of the Inscription, Na. 2, on the Allahabad Column. By
THE March number of the Journal of the Asiatic Society contained the result of the Pandit MADHU R1r0’s collation of the Allahabad Inscription, No. 2, with others in a similar character-together with Captain Tnormfs English version and valuable'remarks. The learned Pandit's transcript exhibits such letters only of the pillar in Devanagari as were capable of tolerably certain identification with those found on monuments already deciphered, leaving frequent and often considerable intervals for the remaining letters: and the version, as was indeed unavoidable from such a text, presented still wider intervals. The translation of many of the clauses thus insulated was necessarily of a conjectural kind: and except in the valuable discovery of lines 25 and 26, where the Prince’s genealogy occurred, contained nothing like a connected sentence.
A cursory inspection of the transcript and the version convinced me that, where so much was done, more might be certainly attained. To those acquainted with the art of deciphering unknown arbitrary cha~ racters in any known language, it is needless to remark that the clear possession of a key to two or three common letters, necessarily draws after it the discovery of all the rest : and that where the further progress of
previous assumption. No such error was suspected here, (except in some comparatively inconsiderable instances, which may be seen by any one that will take the trouble of comparing the two transcripts together ;)
and therefore nothing could impede the progress to deciphering the in— scription as far as it remained—provided only the language in which
it ‘was written were sufiiciently known to us. Now that this language Was the welbknown classical Sanscrit-—the
language of MENu’s Institutes, the Purainas, the Kzivyas, &c. admits of no reasonable doubt. The supposition of its being any older Sanscrit, resembling that of the Vedas, to the understanding of which a bhdshya or gloss is all but indispensable, is rendered extremelyimprobable bytheapparent date of the monuments on which inscriptions of the same character appear. The style of the Gya Inscription, so satisfactorily deciphered by Sir CHARLES WILKINS in the 1st volume of the Asiatic Researches, and the metre in which it is composed, the Sardu’la-vikrfdita, (which, like all other lyrical measures of that kind occurring in the Hindu drama and elsewhere, belongs to aperiod in the history of the language long posterior to that of the great sacred epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, by which the present classical Sanscrit was fixed,) would alone be sufficient to remove such a supposition.
With this conviction, I determined to subject the Allahabad Inscription to a close critical examination; discarding in the first instance all reference to other interpretations of the inscription itself, and proceeding only upon the indubitably deciphered letters of the above mentioned Gya Inscription, or rather of that portion of it, of which Lieutenant BURT has now given us a far better fac simile than what is contained in the Society's first volume. Applying this to his excellent copy of the Allahabad Pillar, though at first the limits of discovery appeared no wider, and indeed much narrower, than in what has already been present. ed to the Society, yetby carrying on the results of what was thus ascertained, wherever any glimpses of decided meaning appeared, to the investigation of characters before unknown, and testing the conjectures thus made by other places—the usual result of such inquiries displayed itself. What was at first mere assumption turned to probability, and then to certainty : and such places as the juxta-position of the names of known countries in line 19, but above all, the short clause in line 27 on which the rest of the inscription hangs—(ravi-bhuv6 Inilzur ag/am ugghritas stambhas, “ of this Sun-born king THIS LOFTY PILLAR is the arm”)—occurring as they did to me not as the basis of conjecture, but as the unexpected results of inferences from other probable assumptions,—~removed all possibility of doubt. And notwithstanding the turgid character of the composition, and the enormous length of the epithets affixed to this " child of the Sun,” consisting often of more than 25 words, and filling the whole 1ine—the meaning is sufficiently connected and definite in this, which is the greatest part of the inscription, to remove all doubt
of the accuracy with which Devanagari letters are assigned to the several characters*. In one only of the regal proper names, that of the king's grandfather GHATI./)TKACHA, does my reading differ from Captain Tnovna’sz and it is observable that this is also the name of a son of the Pandava hero Bnimn SENA, brother of YUDHISTHIRA and ARJUNA in the Mahabharata, and might perhaps have given rise to the popular appellation of this pillar in Hindustan, “ the Staff of BHlMA SEN.”
The test arising from definite and continuous meaning applies of course only to those parts where the inscription is itself complete, and clear of all considerable interruption, viz. all from the 14th to the 29th lines inclusive, (for the 30th is separate from the rest, and appears broken off like the earlier lines,) perhaps also the 2nd and 3rd, which, though short, seem to me to be very nearly complete. But even in the other lines,-the words and the compounds are intelligible: and if we except the 1st, and the end of the 6th, lines (the first containing but nine insulated letters, and the last breaking off in the midst of a compound, leaving the preceding words in that compound uncertain as to their bearing)—-the separate clauses may be pretty well traced, though their import in the sentence is lost. In all these, lacunae of various lengths occur in the pillar, which I have scrupulously filled up with precisely the same number of letters as are designated by Lieutenant BURT for the several intervals. It is not by any means intended to ascribe to these addedt letters of my own, (except when the interval is very small, as in line 24,) the same degree of accuracy which I should be disposed to claim for all, with one or two exceptions only, of the transcribed letters: for the most part they merely indicate the probable (and in some cases of very marked meaning, as in line 28, the certain) equinolents of the letters that formerly occupied the same spaces. Where lacunae occur at the end of a line, I had no such consideration to guide me : here, as in lines 18 and 26, it was merely my object to close the imperfect compound by as few letters as would serve the purpose of expressing the evident meaning. In the earlier lines, the idea of completing the sentence by such means was out of the question.
* In one instance I was assisted to the meaning of an ill-defined letter resembling a ‘I1 in the accurate fac-simile,—-by the partial specimen of the inscriptions on the pillar given in the 7th Volume of the As. Res. (Plate xiv.)——which though very inferior in accuracy to Lieutenant BUM"s, yet having been taken at a time when the pillar had not been so much defaced as at present, may be conceived to convey some characters more perfectly. The character was there at distinctly, and as this happily made sense of what was before unintelligible, its accuracy could not be questioned.
1' These letters are distinguished in the transcript by a much smaller character. L L 2 '
In these conjectural supplements, as well as for ascertaining the true transcript of letters in doubtful cases, the discovery of a lyric measure like that of the Gya Inscription, in which the succession of long and ‘short syllables is determined by invariable rule, would have been a most valuable assistance. But not merely is such measure as this undiscoverable in the greater part of the inscription—but every rhythm whatever (including the freer measures of the Arya genus, or the loose Anustup of VALMIKI) is equally absent from it—as an examination of all the complete lines from the 14th downward will evidently show*. Some of the incomplete lines have indeed a deceitful resemblance to metre—the 4th line to the Sdrdzila-vikridita, (the measure of the Gya Inscription,) and the 12th to a yet longer lyric measure of twenty-one sylla
bles, called Srag-dhard : but in each of these cases the perfect application
of the prosodiacal rule is forbidden!" by some one or more syllables in the line, whose reading cannot be mistaken. The only genuine appearance of metre that the closest examination could detect is in the 8th and 9th lines, which are proved by the undeviatingregularity of all the syllables, as far as they can be traced on the pillar, to form together a stanza of the measure called Manddkrdntd, (the same in which Cxunxsx’s beautiful poem, the CloudMessenger, is composed,) one of very frequent occurrence in the lyric poetry of the Hindus. In this measure, each of the four pddas or versicles which compose the stanza consists of two Spondees, a Proceleusmatic, and three Bacchii, having the caasura after the tenth syllable; thus :
_.__.__-\,,,\,,,,,_.|_._,,_._\,._..__ Accordingly, in the additions necessary for these two lines, I have taken care not only to preserve the measure, but to expand them so as to complete the hemistich in each case. But this slight and solitary advance beyond the usual necessary addition of letters is made more to indicate the prosody of the preceding syllables, and to mark precisely the certain length of the line in these places, than with any pretence of supplying the very words that are efl"aced. The real termination of these lines, as of the fourth and others, if found, would clear up the obscurity that now necessarily attaches to all the early part of the inscription, and on which it would be now vain to offer any conjecture.
* The apparent rhyme observed by Lieut. Boar, is merely the genitive termination asya at the end of each huge compound epithet, agreeing with “ the Sun
born King” above-mentioned. 1- The name It-(wyam applied by the author himself in line 28 to his inscription,
will apply to unmetrical poetry, as well as to that which has the advantage of prosody.