Page images

V.——Re.s-toration and Translation of some Inscriptions at the Caves of Carla’, by the Rev. J. Srsvnmsorm


[In a letter to the Secretary, read at the Meeting of the 5th Nov.]

I have the pleasure to send you a copy of some of the inscriptions engraved on the excavated temple at Keirli, near Pumi (Poonah), along with an alphabet for decyphering them, and a translation.

It is now about a year since I first began to search, among the learned natives of this place, for a key to these inscriptions ; but I was provokingly sent by the Marathzis to the Kénarese, and by them again to the Tamulians, and so on, without any result in an endless succession. I then made a collection of all the alphabets used on this side of India, and made the attempt, through means of them, to decypher the inscriptions; but still with no encouraging success. While engaged in these attempts, happily the March No. of your Journal was sent me by a friend, and through the aid it afforded me, in furnishing me with the alphabet of Inscription No. 2, on the Allahabad Pillar, with some little assistance from the sources above mentioned, I have been able to decypher some of our inscriptions; and hope that if you have not found the key to the character of Inscription N o. 1, my alphabet may carry you several steps towards its attainment, and so repay the debt I owe for the assistance derived from your Journal.

Indeed I think the first 13 letters on the Allahabad stone, repeat. ed again in lines 5th and 8th, and several times on the Delhi pillar, may, without much difiiculty, be read as containing an address, probably to the Sun, in pure Sanskrita, as follows: %‘Il‘f fq"-Tl f‘I'1 €fiWT§§€ which perhaps may be translated as follows :—-“ In the two ways (of wisdom and works P) with all speed do I approach the resplendent receptacle of the ever-moving luminous radiance.” I do not however enter farther upon the decyphering of the inscriptions, found on the banks of the Ganges. Many important duties prevent me from allotting much time to studies of this nature, and the time I can spare for such a purpose, will be better spent in endeavouring to illucidate the history of the Dakhan (Deccan), from the numerous inscriptions in this, and the other ancient character, which are to be found up and down the country; assured, that the learned in Calcutta will soon reveal to us whatever mysteries the Allahabad and Delhi pillars conceal.

The inscriptions marked (A) (B) and (E), are in a letter of a different cast, and of about twice the size, of the others ; and I almost fancy them somewhat more modern than the construction of the cave: but the others, from the position they occupy, the apparently more ancient cast of the letter, and the damage they have sustained from time, are evidently coeval with the excavation of the temple. The other inscriptions on the temple, which I have not sent you, are all more or less imperfect, and are retained at present for farther investigation ; as is also an inscription found in an adjoining cave written in the same character as No. 2, of the Allahabad pillar. The inscription A is all contained in one line of about 12 feet long, and the height of each of the letters is about_five inches.

I give you no description of the temple itself, as I am informed that a particular description of it, will soon be published in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. It seems only necessary to say, that the images inside are all of the Buddhist class, while on the outside, the Buddhist and Brahmanical are intermixed with one another.

From the inscriptions already decyphered, the following facts may, I think, be gathered.

lst. That the temple in question was excavated sixteen and a half centuries ago. The inscription (E), which contains the date, seems coeval with the sculptured images, and though in several places a little defaced, that part of it which contains the numeral figures, and a few letters both before and after, are happily in a state of perfect preservation. In order that no doubt might rest on this important point, I kept the inscriptions by me for two months, after decyphering them, and at last made a journey in the midst of the rains to the place, in order to ascertain whether or not my friend Lieutenant JACOB had copied them with perfect accuracy, before mentioning publicly the discovery I had made. The result of that examination was quite satisfactory, and left a full conviction on my mind, that there would be no doubt about the numeral figures. As to the era being any other than that of SHXLIVXHXNA, though that is not quite clear from the inscription taken singly, the mention of one of his successors by the unambiguous title, of “ Ruler of the Shakas," in an adjacent inscription, of the same cast of letter, carries this point also beyond all reasonable doubt.

2nd. It seems evident that SaA'1.1vA'HA'NA’s empire in the Dakhan, continued in great splendour, in the persons of his successors, for at least a hundred years after the commencement of his era, as is plain from their executing works of so much labour and expence.

3rd. It would appear, that the Buddhist was the religion at that time most favoured by the ruling party, though the Brzihmans, probably from their extensive influence among the lower orders, were thought of sufficient consideration, to have some of their images admitted into the society of the deified sages.

4th. That the Shakas did not come in numbers sufficient to supplant the language or literature of the Brahmans, whose learned language, the Sanskrita, they adopted to carry the memory of their deeds down to posterity.

5th. That since a character much simpler, and less artificial than the Deva Nzigari, was in use for writing the Sanskrita language over all the western parts of India, it, and not the Deva Nzigari, was, most probably, the character in which the Vedas, and most ancient compositions of the Hindus, were first committed to writing; and should those writings ever be carefully studied, and need conjectural criticism, this ancient character will also require to be studied.

6th. That the Arabic numeral cyphers had been introduced into India at the period above mentioned. The figure for one, and the two zeros in inscription E, are formed very nearly as they are formed in the Dakhan at the present day, and are united by a kind of hyphen as is still customary.

7th. That great caution must be exercised in admitting local traditions, in regard to such distant times. The universal tradition among the inhabitants of the Dakhan is, that all these caves were formed by the sons of PA'NDU, when in banishment, wandering about the country; and I was at first inclined to believe, that when the Pzindavas came to power, they might so perpetuate the memory of the places of their former retreat ; but the temple at Karli belongs to a much later era, as we have seen, and probably the same is the case with those also at Verfil, (Ellora,) some of which greatly resemble it. The truth is, that it would be too much for modern Bréhmans to allow, that those who rejected the divine authority of the Vedas, could perform works, which the orthodox Hindus of modern times cannot equal, even though it should be at the expence of making the Pzindavas encouragers of atheism.

I make no remarks on the proper names of kings, in the inscriptions, as I do not know that we have any lists of the descendants of SnA'L1VA’HANA, that can be depended on. In proper names where the letters are not perfectly distinct, doubt must remain, from the absence of all aid from the construction and context.

That your eiforts for the promotion of science may be still more and more instrumental in clearing away the mists with which the Hindus have enveloped the history of their nation, and become the means of arousing many of them also to the zealous pursuit of true knowledge, is the ardent wish of Your obedient servant,

Poona, 17th Sept. 1834. J. Srnvnnsou. [The inscriptions will be found in the following page.]

Facsimile of some of the Insoriptionsfound on the ezcavated Temple
near Carlf, with the same in modern Deva Ndgarf.

(A) Inscription on the cornice in the northern recess of the vestibule.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Translation of the above Inscriptions. (A) To the Triad. LARODHANA, lord of J ambudwipa (India), the obtainer of vic

(B) Blessings attend thee. Purify thyself.

(C) GARGA, the ruler of the Shakas, lord of the world-born*

earth, though fleet as the wind-equalling arrow,

moves on deliberately, paralysing the senses of every one who does not fall down before him. The ruler of the Shakas, who is faithful to his word, has a body of guards to proclaim destruction and penalties;

but where destruction is not merited, he carries oil’ the highest kind of renown in preserving.

* See Matsya Puréna.

(D) Where the man-slaughtering demon Old-Age, of immense power, and muttering hoarsely, might, formerly, frantic, roam amid the horrid world-destroying devils, there, during the currency of the year of the prosperous cherisher of the world, (SHA'LIVA’HANA) 100*, this mountaimtopping, hell-opposing, divine hermitage [was constructed], that the assembly of the illustrious immortals, and every noble and pious personage, might there take up their abode.

(E) Blessings attend thee. 0 Devotee, of an auspicious spiritual mind, having an unimpeded utterance, wl1o art purified, and sound in all thy members; thou

who art journeying towards our Supreme Lord, thou art now approaching the door.—Blessings attend thee.

[Mr. STEVENSON has, since the type for the above was cut, favored me with a. lithographic copy of the same inscriptions, which difiers in one or two :ti-ifiing forms from the above. The transcript in Nzigari has been corrected by the lithographic version.—J. P.]


VI.—Remarks on M. Remusafs Review of Buddhism. By B, H_ HODGSON, Esq. Resident at the Court qfNe'pa'l, &c.

I resume my notice of REMUsA'r’s speculations on Buddhism in the Journal des Savans.

He observes, “ On ne seroit pas surpris de voir que, dans ce systeme, la formationi et la destruction des mondes s0ient presentés comme les resultats d’une revolution perpetuelle et spontanée, sans fin et sans interruption ;" and afterwards remarks, “ 11 y a dans le fond méme des idées Bouddhiques une objection contre Yeternité du monde que les theologians de cette religion ne semblent pas avoir prévue. Si tous les étres rentroient dans le repos réel et definitif a l’instant que les phénomenes cesseroient et disparoitroient dans le sein de Pexistence absolu, on concoit un terme ou tous les étres seroient devenus Buddha, et ou le monde auroit cessé d’exister.”

This Buddha, it is said, is “ Yintelligence infinie, la cause souveraine, dont la nature est un etfet.”

Now, if there be such a supreme immaterial cause of all things, what is the meaning of alleging that worlds and beings are spontaneously evolved and revolved P and, if these spontaneous operations of nature be expressly allowed to be incessant and endless, what becomes of the apprehension that they should ever fail or cease ? ‘

As to the real and definitive repose, and the absolute existence, spoken of, they are as certainly and customarily predicated of Diva natura by the Swabh5.vil<as, as of God or Adi Buddha, by the Aiswérikas ; to which two sects respectively the two opposite opinions confounded by REMUSAT exclusively belong.

~ A. D. 176.

1‘ The question of formation is a very diiferent one from that of continuance. Yet Rnmusnr would seem to have confounded the two. See the passage beginning “ Mais ce qui merite d’etre rem-arqué.”

« PreviousContinue »