Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

3. Inschriften

3. Note on the Facsimiles of Inscriptions from Sanchi near Bhilsa, taken for the Society by Ed. Smith, Engineers, and on the Drawings of the Buddhist Monuments presented by Captain W. Murray / by James Prinsep (1837)

Herausgegeben von: Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Prinsep, James <1799 - 1840>: Note on the Facsimiles of Inscriptions from Sanchi near Bhilsa, taken for the Society by Ed. Smith, Engineers, and on the Drawings of the Buddhist Monuments presented by Captain W. Murray  (1837). -- (Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858 / Alois Payer ; 3. Inschriften, 3.). -- Fassung vom 2008-02-17. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen033.htm          

Erstmals publiziert: in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. -- 1837. -- Juni

Wieder abgedruckt in: A source-book of Indian archaeology / ed. by F. Raymond Allchin .... -- New Delhi : Manoharlal. -- Vol. 3: Humain remains, prehistoric roots of religious beliefs, first steps in historical archaeology: sculpture, architecture, coins and inscriptions. -- 2003. -- VIII, 291 S. -- S. 214 - 233. -- Hier nach diesem Nachdruck wiedergegeben.

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-02-17


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public Domain

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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Abb.: James Prinsep
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"James Prinsep (20 August 1799 - 22 April 1840) was an Anglo-Indian scholar and antiquary. In 1819 he was given an appointment in the Calcutta mint, where he ultimately became assay-master in 1832, succeeding H. H. Wilson, whom he likewise succeeded as secretary of the Asiatic Society.

During James Prinsep's years in the mint he reformed weights and measures, introduced a uniform coinage and devised a balance so delicate as to indicate the three-thousandth part of a grain. Prinsep was indeed a many-sided genius. He was an excellent architect as well. While at Banaras he completed the mint building according to his own plan and also built a church. He was on the committee for municipal improvements and improved the drainage system of the city by constructing a tunnel.

Apart from architectural work (chiefly at Benares), his leisure was devoted to Indian inscriptions and numismatics, and he is remembered as the first to decipher and translate the rock edicts of Asoka from Brahmi. Returning to England in 1838 in broken health, he died in London in 1840.

He succeeded to the Secretaryship of the Asiatic Society on H. H. Wilson's return to England and started his own journal in 1832: The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Prinsep at once appealed to all those officers who had 'opportunities of forming collections in the upper provinces' for more coins and inscriptions. He was endowed with the rare capacity of instilling some of his own enthusiasm and ardour into others. Prinsep's appeal was enormously successful. He was in no time flooded with coins and inscriptions - materials which changed the very trend of the Indian antiquarian researches.

Appropriately for the assay-master of the Calcutta mint, coins always remained Prinsep's first interest. He interpreted Bactrian and Kusana coins. Also all the indigenous Indian series, including the punch-marked ones — indeed the term was coined by Prinsep himself — the series of the autonomous republics, the Gupta series and so on. It was Prinsep who propounded the theory of the descent of the Gupta coins from the Kusana prototypes and this discussion also brought him to the question of the different stages in the technique of coin manufacture in India. He recognised the three stages represented by the punch-marked, the die-struck and the cast coins.

But the crowning achievement of all his labours over the decade was the decipherment of the Brahmi script and the consequent clearing up of many of the mysteries of ancient Indian history. Thus more than forty years after 1788, Sir William Jones's hope was realised when Prinsep was able to produce the key to unlock all the remaining secrets of the Brahmi script. However, it is only fair to remember that much of the Brahmi script had already been deciphered before the final achievement of Prinsep. Prinsep followed clues provided by others regarding the decipherment of Kharosthi and after some mistaken readings he was finally able, before his departure, to find the values of nineteen single letters and one compound of Kharosthi as well. It may also be mentioned that the idea of the Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum also goes back to the time of Prinsep and to his idea.

Prinsep literally worked himself to death. Desperately ill as he became, he had to leave unexpectedly in the midst of his labours and hence much of his work remained unfinished. As the new editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal commented: '... collectors in all parts of India were in the habit of submitting to his inspection whatever they lighted upon as unusual, and sought his reading and interpretation - but the study and exertions required were too severe for the climate of India, and the Editor's robust constitution sank at last under the incessant labour...' Yet before taking leave he had managed to set forth the main lines of Indian archaeological research for at least the next fifty years.

Prinsep's Ghat, an archway on the bank of the Hooghly River, was erected to his memory by the citizens of Calcutta. It is now the venue of the Prinsep Ghat Cultural Festival, a unique cultural event organised by INTACH in collaboration with corporate sponsors."

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Prinsep. -- Zugriff am 2008-02-17]

Vorbemerkung: Vieles im folgenden Text, besonders in den Übersetzungen, ist inzwischen als falsch erwiesen (Prinsep und sein Pandit kannten vor allem den buddhistischen Hintergrund und die buddhistische terminologie der Inschriften nicht!). Trotzdem ist dieser Aufsatz Prinseps ein großartiges Pionierwerk.

James Prinsep

Note on the Facsimiles of Inscriptions from Sanchi near Bhilsa, taken for the Society by Ed. Smith, Engineers, and on the Drawings of the Buddhist Monuments presented by Captain W. Murray

All that I expressed a hope to see accomplished, when publishing my former note1 on the Bauddha monument of Sanchi, has at length been done, and done in a most complete and satisfactory manner. We have before the Society a revision of the inscription with which we were but tantalized by Mr. Hodgson's native transcript:— a collection of the other scattered inscriptions alluded to by Captain Fell;—and pictorial illustrations of the monument itself and of its highly curious architectural details. Let us now take a hasty glance at the results, and see whether they have justified the earnestness of my appeal, and the punctuality, care and talent in responding to it displayed by Captains E. Smith and W. Murray.

1 JAS, vol. III, p. 488.

The chief inscription is restored by Captain Smith's facsimiles so perfectly that every word can be read except where the stone is actually cut away. It contains, as will be seen presently, and as M. Jacquet was able to guess with infinite trouble from the former transcript, an allusion to Maharaja Chandragupta, with the advantage wanting in other inscriptions of this great prince, of a legible date. Moreover, it contains the name of the current coin of the period, and leads to very curious conclusions in regard to the source of the money of India at that time. A second inscription somewhat similar to the first, which had escaped Mr. Hodgson, has been brought to light: and in addition to these a number of minor inscriptions in the ancient lat character.

These apparently trivial fragments of rude writing have led to even more important results than the others. They have instructed us in the alphabet and the language of those ancient pillars and rock-inscriptions which have been the wonder of the learned since the days of Sir William Jones, and I am already nearly prepared to render to the Society an account of the writing on Sultan Firoz's lat at Delhi, with no little satisfaction that, as I was the first to analyze those unknown symbols and show their accordance with the system of the Sanskrit alphabets in the application of the vowel-marks, and in other points, so I should be now rewarded with the completion of a discovery I then despaired of accomplishing for want of a competent knowledge of the Sanskrit language.1

1 JAS, vol. Ill, p. 117.

As to Captain Murray's beautiful drawings, I only regret that it is impossible to do them justice in Calcutta. I have merely attempted in the accompanying lithographic pls. XXVIII and XXIX to give a reduced sketch, showing the general outline of the building (of which a rough plan was published with my former note), and the peculiar form of the gateways, on one of which both the inscriptions were found. Of them Captain Murray writes: "The form of the gateways is, as far as I know, perfectly unique, and however it may outrage all the canons of architectural proportion, there is an according propriety in it perfectly in keeping with the severe simplicity of the boundary palisades and the massive grandeur of the lonely and mysterious mound; and its lightness is so combined with solidity and durability that it is with a mixture of awe, and reverence, and admiration you contemplate this unknown work of forgotten times."

A native drawing of one of the sculptured compartments of the gates was made public by Dr. Spilsbury. It represented the procession establishing the chaitya itself: A common subject on such monuments. Others exhibit the worship of the sacred tree of Buddha—But the specimen selected by Captain Murray from one of the fallen gateways is more interesting from the costume of the warriors, which is perfectly Grecian. The banners also floating in the wind are extremely curious from the symbol occupying the place of the eagle on them, which the reader will instantly recognize as one of the monograms on the Buddhist series of coins, particularly on the two supposed by Colonel Stacy to bear Greek inscriptions.2 "These banners," Captain Murray writes, "are common, and the warriors bearing shields are in other places attendant upon chariots and horses in triumphal or religious processions."

2 Ibid.

An architect will admire the combination of elephants in the capital of the northern gate. "The teeth have been extracted or have dropped out, but in all other parts of the building they seem to have been carved in the block. Another capital is formed of a group of Satyr's heads with long pointed ears and most ludicrous expressions of grief or merriment."

On a neighbouring hill are some very beautiful Jaina temples in a totally different style of architecture. Of these also Captain Murray has favoured the Society with a sketch, but it would be impossible to do it justice in lithography. It would be well worthy of the Asiatic Society to publish from time to time in England a volume of Hindu architectural remains from the materials in its possession. To this reference could be always made; and those who regarded only the works of art would find a volume to their taste, kept distinct (like the physical volume), from the graver subjects of the Society's Researches.

The following is Captain Smith's note accompanying the facsimiles of the Sanchi inscriptions, taken by him at the request of Mr. L. Wilkinson to whom I had written on the subject.

"All these inscriptions are found on the colonnade surrounding the building, and generally on the elliptical pieces connecting the square pillars. Though the inscriptions are numerous, I observed but three of any length, and of these two only from which I could hope to get off clear impressions; the third one was extremely obscure from the causes which render indistinct even those which I have copied. The cutting of most of the letters has originally been rough and irregular, and the surface of the stones appears from the first to have been but coarsely chiselled. Time has increased the irregularities of surface, and added to it an extremely hard moss, which overspreads the stones so completely as almost to conceal the letters from observation. I make this last remark, because I have little doubt that a search among the fallen columns would detect many inscriptions besides those which my hurried visit allowed of my perceiving.

"There is a striking difference, which I should mention, in the execution of the inscriptions and of the sculpture with which the gateways are covered. The sculpture has all been designed and wrought with the greatest regularity and with uniform divisions into compartments; but the inscriptions are coarsely cut, and are found scattered without reference to the general design upon any stone that the workman's fancy seems to have led him to. So marked indeed is the inferiority of style in the inscriptions, that it is difficult to believe that they are the work of the same hands which produced the sculpture; and from their situation it is clear that they never formed part of the design of the gates or colonnade on which they are found. They have, on the contrary, more the appearance of being the rude additions of a period later in date than the erection of the building, and of one degenerated in taste and execution. Such are the appearances, but they may still be deceptive, for the inscriptions of the Allahabad column are by no means of the careful cutting that might be expected on a pillar so regularly tapered and nicely polished. The preceding remarks regarding the execution of the Sanchi inscriptions admit, however, of an exception, in that of the more perfect inscription no. 1; but though in this instance the cutting is clear and well arranged, the inscription itself still seems an irregular addition to the sculpture of the gate."

List of the Inscriptions

"No. 1. Inscription from the front of the eastern gate. One copy on cloth two on paper.

At first this inscription appeared to me to be the same with that published in the 34th no. of the Journal of the Society, but I soon perceived that it was either altogether a different one, or that the engraved inscription had been copied from an incorrect impression.

No. 2. Inscription from the side of the eastern gate. One copy on cloth; two on paper. No. 3. A line introduced on the border between two of the compartments of sculpture on the eastern gate.

Nos.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,  23, 24, 25 are from different parts of the colonnade, on which they are disposed without any regularity. They go to no greater length than a line or two; some are only of a few letters." —Ed. Smith

Taking the facsimiles in the order in which they are numbered by Captain Smith himself, I will first describe the principal inscription, which I have carefully lithographed in p. XXV. It records a money contribution and a grant of land by an agent of the ruling sovereign Chandragupta, for the embellishment of the edifice (or perhaps for the erection of the ornamented gateway) and for the support of certain priests, and their descendants forever.

The value of a facsimile in preference to a copy made by the eye was never more conspicuous than in the present instance. Turning to the engraving of Mr. Hodgson's copy in vol. III, we find his artist has totally omitted all the left hand portion of the inscription which has been injured by the separation of a splinter in the stone! The initial letter of each line, is, however, distinctly visible on the stone beyond this flaw; and as not more than four or five letters in each line are thus destroyed, it is not very difficult to supply them, without endangering the sense. This has now been done by the Society's pandit; and the only place at which he hesitated was in filling up the amount of the donation in the seventh line, which may have been hundreds or thousands or upwards, but could hardly have been units, in a display of regal beneficence. The following is the text as restored by Rama Govinda, line for line from a transcript made by myself in the modern character. I have endeavoured to add a literal translation.

Transcript of Sanchi Inscription no. 1 in Modern Nagari


"To the all-respected Sramanas, the chief priests of the avasath ceremonial,1 who by deep meditation have subdued their passions, the champions (sword) of the virtues of their tribe:

The son of Amuka, the destroyer of his father's enemies,2 the punisher of the oppressors of a desolated country, the winner of the glorious flag of victory in many battles, daily by his good counsel gaining the esteem of the worthy persons of the court, and obtaining the gratification of every desire of his life through the favour of the great Emperor Chandragupta;—having made salutation to the eternal gods and goddesses, has given a piece of ground purchased at the legal rate; also five temples, and twenty-five (thousand?) dinars (half of which has been spent for the said purchase of the said ground), as an act of grace and benevolence of the great Emperor Chandragupta, generally known among his subjects as Devaraja (or Indra).
As long as the sun and moon (shall endure), so long shall these five ascetics enjoy the jewel-adorned edifice, lighted with many lamps. For endless ages after me and my descendants may the said ascetics enjoy the precious building and the lamps. Whose shall destroy the structure, his sin shall be as great, yea five times as great as that of the murderer of a Brahman.—In the Samvat (or year of his reign?) V* (in the month of)' Bhadrapada, the tenth (day)."

āvasath, a fire temple, or place where sacrificial fire is preserved (Wilson's Dictionary); 'also a particular religious observance.' The latter is preferable, as the fire-worship is unconnected with the Buddhist religion.

2 This epithet is doubtful: the pandit has supplied a letter ka to make it intelligible śarabhaṅgāmu(ka)rātiḥ

There are two or three points in this document, if I have rightly interpreted it, of high interest to the Indian antiquarian.

1st. It teaches us that the current coin of the period was entitled dinar, which we know to be at the present day the Persian name of a gold coin, although it is evidently derived from the Roman denarius, which was itself of silver; while the Persian dirhem (a silver coin) represents the drachma, or dram weight, of the Greeks. The word dīnara is otherwise derived in the Sanskrit dictionaries,1 and it is used in books for ornaments and seals of gold, but the weight allowed it of thirty-two ratis, or sixty-four grains, agrees so closely with the Roman and Greek unit of sixty grains, that its identity cannot be doubted, especially when we have before us the actual gold coins of Chandragupta (didrachmas) weighing from 120 to 130 grains, and indubitably copied from Greek originals in device as well as weight.

1 dīna a pauper and ṛ to go—what is given to the poor! Wilson's Dictionary.

2nd. We have a positive date to this inscription—but how shall we read it? The day of the month is plain, Bhadrapada dik in letters, the tenth (δεκα) of Bhadrapada (hod. Bhadoon). It is in a form somewhat different from ordinary inscription dates, which, if founded on the luni-solar division of the year, necessarily allude to the light or the dark half of the lunation, sudi or badi. Further, in them the term bhadra is generally employed for the name of the month, while Bhadrapada is usually applied to the nakshatra or lunar asterism: I cannot, however, insist on any inference hence, that this mode of reckoning was prevalent at the time of our inscription; because the final a should be long, and the word purva or uttara should have been affixed to distinguish which mansion of the name was intended but only that the shorter term bhadra had not come into use for the month. The year might be made the theme of still more prolific speculation. Taking the letter sa for Samvat, we have a circle inclosing a cross and three horizontal dashes to the right, . This might be plausibly construed into 1000 and 3; or 403;—or one chakra of the Jovian or Vrihaspati cycle of 60 years plus 3 years; and arguments might be adduced in support of all these theories, with exception perhaps of the last; for by the Tibetan account the Jovian cycle was not introduced into India earlier than the 9th century. But I rather prefer what appears to me a more simple interpretation, viz. that sa stand for Samvat, and for three quarters,—this being the practical mode of expressing quarters in Indian numeration. Samvat we find every day to be used in the oldest inscriptions for the year of reign,—and it is well-known that the Hindus do not reckon a year until it is passed. Supposing then that Chandragupta made this grant through his agent the son of Amuka, in the first year of his reign, say in the tenth month, there would be no other way of expressing the date in the Hindu system than by saying "¾ year (being elapsed)."1 I offer this conjecture with diffidence, and invite the attention of orientalists to the curious point, with full assurance that there is no uncertainty in the reading of the facsimile, at this place.

1 Captain Cunningham suggests 475, the ¾ being applicable rather to the century.

The second inscription, which Captain Smith states to be situated on the side of the same, or eastern, gate-post, has evidently been cut upon the stone after it was erected; as otherwise the precaution would have been taken of smoothening and polishing the surface for the better reception of the writing. It is, on the contrary, so slightly scratched that in the three facsimiles thus carefully taken, it is hardly possible in many places to distinguish between the letter marks and the natural roughnesses of the stone. The lithograph of it attempted in pl. XVI was most impartially taken before any attempt had been made to read it, and on comparing it with the transcript in modern Nagari, as subsequently modified and corrected, many instances will be perceived in which my eye has been induced to follow the wrong path among the network of scratches. Without the facsimiles themselves to pore over, it would have been impossible to have conquered the various difficulties presented by this rude inscription, and even with it the Society's pandit, Rama Govinda, deserves great praise for the plausible version he has enabled me to give of it: for I have recompared his modifications with the original, and find in almost every instance that they are borne out by the facsimile. It is unnecessary to re-lithograph the document, as all those who will take the trouble of comparing the two will see in what way my pen has deviated from the correct trace, and it will serve as a good test of the superiority of facsimiles to the best copies made under the sole guidance of the eye.

The following then is Rama Govinda's restoration of the text: like its precursor, it is in prose, and without any invocation: nor has it any deprecation against the hand that should annul the good act recorded; but this is explained by the trifling nature of the gift, which does not include any grant of land.

Second inscription at Sanchi, see pl. XXVI


"I hereby make known to all the assembled devotees offering up prayers for the father and mother of Hariswamini, the eminent disciple of the wife possessing the asan-siddh or seat of purity, in the great and holy vihara of Kakunada sphota (?), that for the prevention of begging in the public roads, an alms-house for the indigent, and also one dinar, day by day, for charitable distribution,1 and a lamp shining like a jewel in the middle of the enclosure, are caused to be provided.2

In the ratnagriha3 also are deposited three dinars. With the interest, of these three dinars in the ratnagriha or treasury of the four Buddhas4 day by day three lamps are to be lighted. For the shrines of the four Buddhas also is given a chakra5 of dinars, with the interest of which in the four shrines in like manner the lamps of the four Buddhas are to be kept lighted daily. And thus the beauty of all this (sculpture) durable as the sun and moon has been designed (or repaired) by Hariswamini, the disciple of the unchangeable sculpture-enshrined siddha bharyya (or emancipated wife).

"Samvat...?... Sravan ...?... Aditya."

1 Literally, to be given to beggars seated within the enclosure holding their hands out but not importuning passengers, as is to this day customary within the precincts of the most frequented temples.

2 The asan here intended is probably the wooden carved platform on which religious devotees reside in temples—using them at once as pulpits and as beds. The expression rudhasvacchasana sidddh-bharyyayah seems to imply a wife who had turned priestess, and who had died on her sacerdotal couch. siddhasan is a seat so pure that the devotee sitting in it can, at will, be transported anywhere thereon. Siddha bharyya may also be a name.

3 Jewel house, treasury, or perhaps the sanctum of the shrine.

4 There are four niches containing images of Buddha on the four sides of the dehgopa.

5 Chakra signifies a heap or quantity, but it would hardly thus be indefinitely used in such a place: it may then also denote 60. the number of the Vrihaspati chakra or cycle, or 12 for that of the Sun: it is impossible to decide between them.

All we learn from this inscription is, that a female devotee, Hariswamini the pupil of the defunct lady abbess, probably, of the convent to which she belonged, either designed or repaired some of the basso-relievos we so much admire in their fallen state;—and we may thus account for the chasteness and elegance of the sculpture, while we do homage to the superior taste and imagination of the fairer sex. The provision for applying the interest of the small sums deposited by the same lady in the treasury of the Buddhist shrine to particular purposes, seems to imply that the establishment mixed in secular matters, and probably acted the part of bank to the surrounding district; in fact, the priesthood then possessed all the knowledge, the power, and the activity of the country, and we have adduced probable evidence on other occasions of their exercising the privilege of fabricating coin.

The date at the foot of this inscription is even more unintelligible than that of no. 1 — not from obliteration, for the lines cut on the stone are here quite distinct, but from our ignorance of the numerals then employed—the two or three figures following the word Samvat bear no resemblance whatever either to the modern Hindi or to the Cashmerian numerals. The month also is very dubious, and the letters that follow it may also be numerals—it is barely possible to read them as aditya (the sun) which on the system explained in vol. IV, p. 1, may stand for 12—or it may denote the day, Sunday. We are thus once more foiled in detecting the precise date of a record which it would have been of the greatest service to fix: and we must remain satisfied with the assurance that it was posterior to the erection of the gate in the reign of Chandragupta.

And now for inscriptions 3 to 25 of Captain Smith's catalogue;—the detached fragments cut irregularly on the pillars or rail surrounding the edifice, in the hitherto undeciphered character. I have introduced the whole of them into pl. XXVII exactly as I find them in the facsimiles, except as to size, which in the original varies from one inch to two or three in the height of the letters. There is also great variety in the style of the engraving, and a regular progression in the form of the letters from the simple outline to the more embellished type of the second alphabet of Allahabad (see no. 16). A more rigid search would doubtless have multiplied Captain Smith's specimens, but this would have been labour thrown away; for however valuable these scraps may have been in unlocking the stores of knowledge contained in more important documents, they are individually of very trifling importance.

In laying open a discovery of this nature, some little explanation is generally expected of the means by which it has been attained. Like most other inventions, when once found it appears extremely simple; and, as in most others, accident, rather than study, has had the merit of solving the enigma which has so long baffled the learned.

While arranging and lithographing the numerous scraps of facsimiles, for pl. XXVII, I was struck at their all terminating with the same two letters, . Coupling this circumstance with their extreme brevity and insulated position, which proved that they could not be fragments of a continuous text, it immediately occurred that they must record either obituary notices, or more probably the offerings and presents of votaries, as is known to be the present custom in the Buddhist temples of Ava; where numerous dhwajas or flag-staffs, images, and small chaityas are crowded within the enclosure, surrounding the chief cupola, each bearing the name of the donor. The next point noted was the frequent occurrence of the letter already set down incontestably as s, before the final word—now this I had learnt from the Saurashtra coins, deciphered only a day or two before, to be one sign of the genitive case singular, being the ssa of the Pali, or sya of the Sanskrit. "Of so and so the gift," must then be the form of each brief sentence; and the vowel a and anuswara led to the speedy recognition of the word danam (gift) teaching me the very two letters, d and n, most different from known forms, and which had foiled me most in my former attempts. Since 1834 also my acquaintance with ancient alphabets had become so familiar that most of the remaining letters in the present examples could be named at once on re-inspection. In the course of a few minutes I thus became possessed of the whole alphabet, which I tested by applying it to the inscription on the Delhi column: but I will postpone my analysis of the alphabet until I have prepared a fount of type for it, when I may bring forward my attempted reading of the lat inscriptions; meanwhile, the following transcript in Roman letters of the Sanchi gifts will show the data on which I have built my scheme, and will supply examples of most of the letters.

No. 3. The first in numerical order, is not one of the most legible, the first two letters being indistinct. It seems to run thus:
Rarasa (or Karasa) naga piyasa, Achavade Sethisa danam; "The gift of Achvada Sethi, the beloved of Karasa naga."

No. 4 and no. 11 are identical:

Samanerasa Abeyakasa Sethinon danam; "The gift of Samanera and Abeyaka Seth."
Samanera is the title of a subordinate order of the Buddhist priesthood. Seth is evidently a family name; and the same is now of common occurrence among the Jains—witness Jagat Seth, the millionaire of Moorshedabad.

No. 5. Dhamagalikasa mata danam; "The gift of the mother of (?) Dharmagarika.'

In no. 6 the first letter is doubtful:

Gobavanagahapati nopati dhiyanusaya vesa mandataya danam; "The gift of the cowherd Agrapati, commonly called Nopati, to the highly ornamented {chaitya?}.''

No. 7 is also doubtful in the three first letters:

Subhageyamsa aginikeya danam; 'The gift of Sobhageya the fireman (or blacksmith).'

Here, we learn what is amply confirmed by other examples, that the double consonants of the Sanskrit orthography are replaced by separate consonants, each having the required vowel; e.g. agini for agni.

No. 8 is of a more complex character:

Siharakhitasa paravatiyasa rudovaya danam; 'The gift of Sri (or Sinha) Rakhita, the hillman, to Rudova?'

No. 9 partially agrees with no. 6:

Gobavana gahapati nopatidhiyasa danam; 'The gift of Agrapati and Nopati, the cowherds, so-called?'

No. 10 is of the simplest construction:

Vajajasa gamasa danam; 'The gift of Vajja, or probably Vrija Gama,' the population of a village in the province of Vrija, combining to make their offering.

No. 12. Nadigatasa danam bhichhuno.

Here the caste, bhichuno, the beggar (bhikshu) seems to have been added after the record, to distinguish the party, a ferryman, nadigata?
No. 13. Arahagataya danam; 'The gift of Arahagata:' this is also a well-known title of the Buddhist hierarchy, arhata, or arhanta; and admitted, as in the instance before us, female devotees as well as male.

No. 14 Chiratiya bhichuniya danam; 'The gift of Chirati, the poor woman.'

No. 15. Kadasa bhichuno danam; 'The gift of Kada, the poor man.'

No. 16 is in a different hand, more finished, and resembling the no. 2 of Allahabad: it has also a more studied elegance of expression: Isipalitasa-cha, Samanasa-cha danam; 'The gift both of Isipalit (the protected of God), and of Samana (the priest).'

No. 17 partakes rather of the form of an obituary notice:

Sethino mata kaniya; 'The Sethin's deceased daughter!'

No. 18 Kakenoye bhagavato pamane rathi;... 'in testimony of God'... (the rest unintelligible). For kakenoye see note on insc. no. 1.

No. 20. Araha dinasa bhikhuno pakharayakasa danam; 'The gift of the poor priest Pakharayaka?'

No. 22. Rudu barayarayasa pidarakhitasa danam.

The names here are nearly illegible from the rudeness of the sculpture. The first may be Rudrabharyya the wife of Rudra.

No. 23. Panthakasa bhichhuno ruganaratupa . .. Budhapalitasa bhichhuno danam; 'The gift of Panthak, the poor man ... and of Buddhapalit, the poor man.'

No. 25 is in very large characters:

Vajagato danam; "The gift of Vrijagan,' of which the genitive termination will, by the Pali rules, be made by changing an into ato.

No. 21 has been reserved for the last, because it contains a second inscription in modern character—the old writing is
Kekateyakasa dhama sivasa danam; 'The gift of Kekateyak Dharmasiva.'

Under this in the modern Devanagari,

Ra Sri Sao Devapranamati nityam.

'Ra (for Raja or Rao?) Sri Sao Deva forever makes reverential salutation.'

The same formula occurs on two other stones, and the form of the letters would indicate that it has been introduced at a late period by some rich traveller on his pilgrimage,—and, moreover, a merchant, by his epithet soa.

There is still one more short line in the old character, at the foot of the Sanskrit inscription no. 1, of some importance from its position, as it must evidently have been inserted after the latter, which Captain Smith assures us is the only formal well-executed inscription likely to have been coeval with the structure of the edifice, or at least of the stone gateway. The party who chose this conspicuous place for cutting his name, did so, doubtless, from an ostentation, for which he paid high! He rejoiced in the name of Datta Kalavada, the line reading, Datta Kalavadasa danam; which may perhaps be interpreted Dattakaravadasya danam, 'the gift of Dattakaravada' (the principal giver, of revenue?)

2. Application of the alphabet to the Buddhist group of coins

Having once become possessed of the master-key of this ancient alphabet, I naturally hastened to apply it to all the other doors of knowledge hitherto closed to our access. Foremost among these was the series of coins conjecturally, and, as it now turns out, correctly designated as the Buddhist series; and of these the beautiful coin discovered by Lieutenant A. Conolly at Canouj, attracted the earliest notice from the very perfect execution and preservation of the legend; (see pl. XXV, vol. III, p. 433). The reading of this coin was now evident at first sight, as Vippa devasa; which converted into its Sanskrit equivalent will be Vipra devasya, the coin of Vipradeva. On reference to the Chronological Tables, we find a Vipra in the Magadha line, the tenth in descent from Jarasandha, allotted to the eleventh century before the Christian era! Without laying claim to any such antiquity we may at least bespeak our Vipradeva a place in the Indu vansa line of Magadha, and a descent from the individual of the same name in the Pauranic lists.

Other coins depicted in former plates may, in a similar manner, be read by the new alphabet.

The small bronze coins of Behat (fig. 5, pl. XVIII, vol. III and fig. 16 of pl. XXXIV, vol. IV) have the distinct legend in the square form of the same alphabet. The application of the word maharajasa in the genitive, with no trace of a name, might almost incline us to suppose that the title itself was here used as a name, and that it designated the Mahraje, king of Awadh, of the Persian historians, who stands at the head of the third lunar dynasty of Indraprestha in the Rajavali!.

The only other coin of the group which contains the same title is the silver decayed Behat coin, seen more perfect in General Ventura's specimen (fig. 16 of pl. XXXIV, vol. IV) where may be read indistinctly Amapasatasa maharaja kunarasa.

On the bronze Behat coin (figs. 11,12, of pl. XVIII, vol. III and 3,6,9, of pl. XXXIV, vol. IV) though we have ten examples to compare, the context is not much improved by the acquisition of our new key: the letters are basa dhana kanaya dhaya (the second letter is more like bhu).

Col. Stacy's supposed Greek legends (figs. 2 and 3, of pl. XXV, vol. III) may be read (as I anticipated vol. III, p. 433) invertedly, Yagabijanaputa(sa?)

The larger copper coin, having a standing figure holding a trident (fig. 4, pl. XXV, vol. Ill) has very distinctly the name of ... Bhagavata cha (or sa). A raja of the name of Bhagavata appears in the Magadha list, about the year 80.

On some of the circular copper coins we have fragments of a legend Bhamada... . vatapasa, quasi Bhimadeva taparya—but the last word is the only one that can be confided in.

On a similar coin, of which Colonel Stacy has a dozen specimens (no. 47, pl. XXXV, vol. IV) the name of Ramadatasa 'of Ramadatta,' is bounded by the lizard emblem of Behat.

These are the only two in the precise form of the lat character—the other are more or less modified.

Another distinct group (that made known first by Mr. Spiers) from Allahabad, (pl. XXVI, figs. 12, 13, 14, 15, vol. III, p. 448) can be partially deciphered by the lat alphabet. Capt. Cunningham has a fine specimen with the letters Raja Dhana devasya—'of raja Dhanadeva,' a name not discoverable in the catalogues, though purely Sanskrit. On three more of the same family we find Navasa. On one it seems rather Narasa, both nava and nara being known names. On another Kunamasa; and on another, probably, Mahapati, the great lord.

The bull coins of this last group are connected in type, and style of legend, with the "cock and bull series"—on which we have lately read, Satya mitasa, Saya mitasa, and Bijaya mitasa; so that we have now a tolerably numerous descending series of coins to be classed together from the circumstance of their symbols, of their genitive termination, and their Pali dialect and character, as a Buddhist series, when we come again to review what has been done within the last few years in the numismatology of India.

But the most interesting and striking application of the alphabets to coins is certainly that, which has been already made (in anticipation, as it were, of my discovery) by Professor Lassen, of Bonn, to the very curious Bactrian coins of Agathocles.

The first announcement of Professor Lassen's reading of this legend was given in the Journal for 1836, p. 723. He had adopted it on the analogies of the Tibetan and Pali alphabets, both of which are connected with, or immediately derived from, the more ancient character of the lats. The word read by him, raja, on some specimens seems to be spelled yaja rather than laja, a corruption equally probable, and accordant with the Pali dialect in which the r is frequently changed into y, or omitted altogether. I am, however, inclined to adopt another reading, by supposing the Greek genitive case to have been rendered as literally as possible into the Pali character; thus Agathuklayej for Αγαθοκλεως; this has the advantage of leaving the letters on the other side of the device for the title of raja of which indeed the letter is legible.

I am the rather favourable to this view because on the corresponding coin of Pantaleon, we likewise find both the second vowel of the Greek represented by the Sanskrit semivowel, and the genitive case imitated—supplying the only letter wanting on Dr. Swiney's coin, the initial p, of which there are traces in Masson's drawing, the word Pantelewanta is by the help of our alphabet clearly made out—the anuswara, which should follow the being placed in the belly of the letter instead of outside; and the a being attached to the center instead of the top of the ( , where for the sake of uniformity I am obliged to place it in type.

The discovery of these two coins with Pali characters, is of inestimable importance in confirming the antiquity of the alphabet; as from the style of Agathocles' coins he must necessarily be placed among the earliest of the Bactrians, that is, at the very period embraced by the reign of Asoka, the Buddhist monarch of Magadha.

On the other hand, the legend throws light on the locality of Agathocles' rule, which instead of being, as assigned by M. Raoul de Rochette, in Haute Asie, must be brought down to the confines, at least, of India proper.

As however the opinions of this eminent classical antiquary are entitled to the highest consideration. I take this opportunity of making known to my readers the substance of his learned elucidation of this obscure portion of history given in a note on two silver coins of Agathocles, belonging to the cabinet of a rich amateur at Petersburg, published in the Journal des Savans, 1834, p. 335.

"In the imperfect accounts transmitted to us of the troubles occasioned to the Seleucidan kingdom from the invasion of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and of the loss of entire provinces after the reverses of Antiochus II. Theos, the foundation of the Arsacidan kingdom by the defection of the brothers Arsaces and Tiridates is an established point, fixed to the year 256 BC. But the details of this event, borrowed from Arrian's "Parthics," have not yet been determined with sufficient care, as to one important fact in the Bactrian history. From the extracts of various works preserved in Photius, the defection of the Parthians arose from an insult offered to the person of one of these brothers by the Macedonian chief placed by Antiochus II in charge of the regions of High Asia and named Pherecles. The two princess indignant at such an outrage are supposed to have revenged themselves with the blood of the satrap, and, supported by the people, to have succeeded in shaking off the Macedonian yoke."

This short notice from Photius has been corrupted by transcribers in the name of the chief Perecles, which modern critics have failed to correct by a passage in the Chronographia of Syncellus, who had equally under his eyes the original of Arrian and who declares expressly that "Arsaces and Tiridates, brothers, issue of the ancient king of Persia, Artaxerxes, exercised the authority of satraps in Bactria at the time when Agathocles the Macedonian was governor of Persia; the which Agathocles, having attempted to commit on the person of the young Tiridates the assault before alluded to, fell a victim to the vengeance of the brothers, whence resulted the defection of the country of the Parthians and the birth of the Arsacidan kingdom." Agathocles is called by Syncellus, Επαρχος της Περσικης while Photius calls him (under an erroneous name) Σατραπην αντης χωρας κατασταντα appointed by Antiochus Theos; so that no doubt whatever could exist as to their identity, although until the discovery of the coins, there was no third evidence whence the learned could decide between the two names. The presumption might have been in favour of Agathocles, because among the bodyguard of Alexander was found an Antylocus, son of Agathocles, who by the prevailing custom of his country would have named his son Agathocles, after his own father."

M. Raoul de Rochette proceeds to identify this eparch of Persia with Diodotus or Theodoras the founder of the Bactrian independency. Supposing him to have seized the opportunity of striking the blow during the confusion of Antiochus' war with Ptolemy, and while he was on deputation to the distant provinces of the Oxus,—that he was at first chary of placing his own head on his coin, contenting himself with a portrait of Bacchus,—and his panther on the reverse—But afterwards emboldened to adopt the full insignia of royalty. Thus according to our author a singular shift of authorities took place—Arsaces the satrap of Parthia quits that place and sets up for himself in Persia, in consequence of the aggression of Diodotus (or Agathocles) king of Bactria who had originally been eparch of Persia—both satraps becoming kings by this curious bouleversement. The non-discovery of Theodotus' medals is certainly in favour of M. Raoul de Rochette's argument, but the present fact of a Hindi legend on his coin militates strongly against his kingdom being thrown exclusively to the northward. By allowing it to include Parthia Proper, or Seistan, and the provinces of the Indus, this difficulty would be got rid of; but still there will remain the anomaly of these Indian legends being found only on Agathocles and Pantaleon's coins, while those of Menander, who is known to have possessed more of India Proper, have only the Pehlevi reverse. Agathocles' rule must have included a sect of Buddhists somewhere, for besides the letters we find their peculiar symbol present on many of the panther coins. At any rate, we have certainty of the existence of our alphabet in the third century before Christ, exactly as it exists on our Indian monuments, which is all that on the present occasion it is relevant to insist on.

3. Application of the alphabet to other inscriptions, particularly those of the lats of Upper India

Another convenient test by which the newly found alphabet can be proved was the Rev. Mr. Stevenson's facsimile of the Carli inscriptions published in the 3rd volume of the Journal, p. 428. I will take one of these (the most distinct), of which I have preserved the type-metal cut, and underline it according to the supposed value of each letter.

This is not a facsimile, therefore, I dare not assume that it is accurately rendered. I should myself incline to think that the final letter was an or n, producing the word so often found at Sanchi,—danam; making it "the gift with his own hand (hasta danam) of Atri mitraka, the son of the great Ravisagoti"

But I advance this reading with doubt, and merely to invite the attention of Mr. Stevenson himself to the revision of this and the other Carli inscriptions with which he was so obliging as to favour me, when we were as yet only on the threshold of the inquiry.

Again: It will be remembered that one of the inscriptions sent down in facsimile last year by Mr. Hathorne from Buddha-gaya,1 was in the lat character. It was found engraved on a pillar now forming the stancheon of an upper story in the convent, but was supposed formerly to have stood near the temple. On turning to my lithograph of it in pl. XXXIII, of vol. V, I perceive the concluding word danam exactly as the Sanchi. The whole line, though very roughly engraved, may be now easily read as Ayalekuddangaye danam, 'The gift of Ayaleku Danga.' If the ill-defined mark below the + be a ?, the reading may be Buddagaye danam, 'gift to Buddha-gaya.'

1 See pl. XXXIII, of vol. V, p. 658.

The foregoing are, after all, but trifling ordeals for the new alphabet, compared with the experimentum crucis of the Delhi lat inscription, which the antiquarian reader will not be satisfied until he sees performed in his presence. To this, then, I will now hasten, contenting myself with one or two sentences to demonstrate the perfect applicability of the system, and reserving for a future occasion the full interpretation of this strangely multiplied and important document, which it would be hardly fair to expect to read offhand, even though it were written with entire orthographical precision, which a slight inspection has proved by no means to be the case.

I cannot select a better example for our first scrutiny than the opening sentence of the inscription. This I showed in my former papers on the subject to be repeated over and over again in all the lat inscriptions of Upper India; and the recent accession of the Girnar inscription of Gujerat, transmitted by Mr. Wathen, and of the Aswastuma inscription of Cuttack executed with such fidelity by Lieutenant Kittoe, has proved that it belongs equally to them, although in other respects both these texts differ from those already known to us. Thus from the very numerous examples of this passage, we have an opportunity of observing all the variations it undergoes either from carelessness of the sculptor, from grammatical license, or from mistakes of the copyist. The most usual reading of the text, and the equivalent according to my alphabet, are as follows:

Here we perceive at once that the language is the same as was observed on the Bhilsa fragments,—not Sanskrit, but the vernacular modification of it, which has been so fortunately preserved for us in the Pali scriptures of Ceylon and Ava. Devanam piya (oftener piye)piyadasi laja, is precisely the Sanskrit, devānāṃ priya priyadarśi rājā , the lovely raja Devanampriya;' or, with equal propriety, 'the beloved of the gods king Piyadassi;' for either or both, may be the prince's name. Hevam aha (or rather evam aha for the h belongs to the word laja), I recognized at once as an old friend in the Pali version of the Buddhist couplet ye dharmma, &c. so thoroughly investigated in the Journal for March 1835: evam aha, 'thus spake.'

Many of the repetitions of this initial sentence abound in trifling errors, especially in the vowel marks, and in the letters of nearly similar form, as p and h. These, it is not worthwhile to notice, except as a caution against too implicitly following the text in other places, where such slight alterations will restore intelligibility. But Ratna Paula the Pali scholar, whom I immediately invited to assist me in reading the inscription, could critically take objections to other inaccuracies which were repeated in every instance of the pillar text. Thus the double s was wanting in dasi; the nominative laja should be written raja; hevam, evam; and aha, aha. Satisfied that these were but the licenses of a loose vernacular orthography, as particularly evinced by the interchange of the liquids l and r, I was little abashed in finding the same errors on the Bakra and Betiah lats, and even on the Cuttack cave inscription—and it was with a degree of surprise and joy proportionate to the absence of expectation, that on looking over the Girnar version, I found all three of the grammatical errors removed! The Girnar text is thus conceived:

Thus the anomalous use of the l, the value of the vowel e, and the identity of the language with the grammatical Pali, were explained and confirmed. Other variations equally useful were extracted—Thus in another part of the Girnar text the name was found in the instrumental case, Devanampiyena Piyadasina; 'by Devanam-piya, the beloved.' Sometimes the name is contracted as at the conclusion of the Delhi text, eta devanampiya aha (for etam), 'the foregoing spoke the raja.' In other places the name is Devanampiyadasi, without the second piya, and laja or raja is often omitted. But one of the most important variations occurs again in the Girnar text; Devanam piya piya dasi rajayasovakiti, where yasovakiti, for yasa uvacha iti,1 'lo this spake he', (or vakti, speaks) is substituted for the ordinary form, evam aha.

1 The Pali vak is the Sanskrit vākya, synonymous with vāc speech.

Collecting together the above evidence, I think it will be admitted that the initial sentence is satisfactorily determined2 and that it has every appearance of being the declaratory formula of some royal edict, or some profession of faith. The simplicity of the form reminds us of the common expression in our own Scriptures—"Thus spake the prophet;" or in the proclamation of the Persian monarch—"Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia." There is none of that redundant and fulsome hyperbole which we find in the Sanskrit grants and edicts of later days.

2 The Rev. Mr. Stevenson's reading was dvedhāraṃpiye piye dvaso bhārjamadva which he translated, "In the two ways
(of wisdom and of works?) with all speed do I approach the resplendent receptacle of the ever-moving luminous radiance."

I should have been inclined to expect from the extensive distribution of the document over districts, never, as far as we know, governed by a single Indian monarch, that it rather contained the doctrines of some great reformer, such as Shakya, to whom the epithets devanampriya priya-darsi might be applied. But not to mention the inapplicability of the title raja to such a person, the next sentence, which is also repeated several times, sets the matter of its royal authorship at rest. This sentence follows the opening just described, on the north, south, and west tablets of the Delhi pillar in the form following:

Saddavisati vasa-abhisitena me, which Rama Paula immediately read as satta visati vasse abhisittena me, 'in the twenty-seventh year of my reign.'

The anomalous form of the second letter perplexed me for some time, and it was only after collation with other readings of the same passage that I became persuaded of its being a double. Thus I found sometimes or sada, and once sata, but generally  the lower stroke seeming to imply duplication. That the d should be substituted for tt agreed with the observation by Messrs. Burnouf and Lassen of the frequent interchange of these letters in their analysis of a Pali manuscript, the Boromat, from Ceylon. I have also found in other parts of the inscription that the double dental t is as frequently rendered by the cerebral t (, as by ḍ .)

That we are not mistaken in the interpretation of this passage we have the most satisfactory proof in the commencement of the eastern tablet, which perhaps ought to rank first, as it speaks of an earlier date. The expression here is Duwadasa vasa abhisitena me; 'In the twelfth year of my reign.' It may be perhaps objected that duwadasa is a very corrupt mode of writing dwadasa, 'twelve:' the separation into two syllables of dwa, and the substitution of the cerebral d being too great a latitude to sanction unexplained. Here again, fortunately, other manuscripts come to our aid. In the Cuttack inscription just received from Lieutenant Kittoe, we find the dental d restored; and the undue collision of the two short a's grammatically corrected, thus:

duwadasa vasabhisitename,1

 1 The facsimile has abhisatename,—a mistake, probably, in copying.

leaving the first error still uncorrected; but this again disappears when we turn to the Girnar version, which seems generally to have been executed with greater orthographical propriety. It is there (38th line)—

This is on other accounts a most important variation, because it shows the value of the abbreviated pronoun me (mama) 'of me,' to have been correctly rendered. The pronoun would in the present instance be superfluous, because it is replaced by the name of the raja; which has also two remarkable deviations from the common spelling—daya for piya may be a fault in transcription, but it is also translatable. The substitution of thisa for dasi, a change not so easily explained, leads us to an inquiry who this potentate could have been, to spread his edicts thus over the continent of India?

In all the Hindu genealogical tables with which I am acquainted, no prince can be discovered possessing this very remarkable name. If there ever reigned such a monarch in India, his memory must have been swept away with every other record of the Buddhist dynasties we know to have ruled in India unrecorded by fame: but if any explanation can be afforded short of supposing such an entire obliteration, and if it can be supported, moreover, by collateral facts, we are bound to give it a preference rather than make darkness more obscure by multiplying imaginary existences.

Such explanation can be satisfactorily supplied from the annals of a neighbouring country, and this is the third occasion in which we have been indebted to them for the elucidation of obscure occurrences in India proper. In Mr. Tumour's Epitome of Ceylonese History, then, we are presented once, and once only, with the name of a king, Devenipeatissa, a nearly identical with ours as possible (especially the last reading of the name), and bearing, as Ratna Paula informs me, precisely the same derivation.

Devenipeatissa succeeded his father on the throne of Ceylon in the year of Buddha 236, or BC 307. One of his first acts is thus related by Mr. Turnour:

"He induced Dharmasoka, a sovereign of the many kingdoms into which Dambadiva (Jambudwipa, or India) was divided, and whose capital was Pattilipatta, (Patna) to depute his son Mihindu and his daughter Sangamitta, with several other principal priests, to Anuradhapura for the purpose of introducing the religion of Buddha. They arrived in the year 237, the first of this reign and eighteenth of that of Dharmasoka. They established Buddhism, propagating its doctrines orally. The bo-tree was brought and planted at Anuradhapura on the spot where the sacred trees of former Buddhas have stood. The right jaw-bone of Buddha was obtained from Sakraya himself, and a cup full of other relics from Dharmasoka. The king built the vihare and dagoba called Toohpaaraamaya, in which the jaw relic was deposited; sixty-eight rock temples with thirty-two priest's chambers on Mihintallai; the Maha vihare, the Issaramuni vihare, the Saita chaitya dagoba, and the Issa-ramaya dagoba and vihare; and formed the Issa veva tank. Anula, the principal queen, and many inferior wives of the king, assumed priesthood.1"

1 Turnour's Epitome of Ceylonese History, Ceylon Almanac, 1833.

The age of the great Asoka, the third or fourth in descent from Chandragupta, is one of the well-known epochs of the promulgation of the Buddhist faith. It was also the most flourishing period of the Ceylonese sovereignty then enriched by a commerce which has in subsequent ages gradually passed into other channels. The monuments and rock excavations attributed to the ancient sovereigns of Ceylon abound with inscriptions in a character not essentially differing from these four on the continent of India. We have thus a strong prima facie argument in favour of the hypothesis that Devanam-piyatissa, the royal convert, caused, in his zeal, the dogmas of his newly adopted faith to be promulgated far and wide at his expense. It is true that, according to the Mahavansi, the Buddhist doctrines were not reduced to writing (i.e. in books) in Ceylon until 217 years, 10 months and 10 days after its oral promulgation by Mihinda, Asoka's brother, in the year above fixed,—or "while Valagamabahu, the 21st sovereign of the Vijaya line, was still a disguised fugitive;" that is, about the year 90 BC; but this fact tells rather in favour of other modes being previously used to make known, and to record irrevocably the new rules of conduct; and we might easily cite a more ancient and venerabel example of thus fixing the law on tablets of stone. But I have not yet shown that such is the nature of our inscription—as yet, we are ignorant what happened in the twelfth and the twenty-seventh year of king Devanampiyadisa's recieving the holy unction, abhisheka. To ascertain this, we must continue our analysis one step further. On the south, east, and west sides of the Delhi column, as well as in the body of the text, the text left unfinished above is thus concluded: iyam dhamma lipi likhapita, which may be exactly translated, 'This dharma-lipi, or writing of the law, is caused to be written.' All doubt as to the nature of the document is thus removed, and we have the fullest confirmation of the theory just broached. The variations of the reading are few— ayam is more correctly put for iyam in the Girnar version (lipi being neuter in Pali, though feminine in Sanskrit):—and in the following sentence which winds up the Delhi inscription, we have dhammalibi twice used for dhammalipi, exactly the license allowed in Sanskrit, dharmmalibi and dharmmalipi being synonymous: these seemingly trivial variations are of great force in establishing the value of the letters interchanged:

Iya dhammalibi likhahapitati eta Devanampiya aha: 'Iyam dhammalibi ata atha silathabhaniva siladhakaniva tata kataviya ena esa chilathiti siya.' Which seems to imply, though the precise meaning is not yet well made out: "Having caused to be engraved this dharmalibi" Devanampiya thus declared: "This dharmalibi, in like manner as it is now fixed upon enduring rock, so may all continue forever in the performance of it." Silasthapan, if long, would mean the establishment of Buddha's doctrines. Chila thiti siya, is evidently the Sanskrit chiran sthiti siyat.

The contents of the dharmalipi itself I must reserve for further examination with the aid of those who are more competent to analyze the peculiarities of its phraseology. From the cursory view I have taken of it with Ratna Paula, I may in some measure meet the curiosity of the reader's inquiries, by stating that it treats of the fruits of virtue and vice—that it points out what animals are to be cherished and what are not proper for food—what days, of the lunar month, are to be esteemed holy, &c; with much about the increase of virtue, but no mention of the name of Buddha, Shakya, or Gautama— nor of any member of the Hindu Pantheon. It is, however, quite impossible to say as yet what are the contents of this genuine relic of antiquity,—perchance a much more genuine relic of the Indian reformer than any of the bones, teeth or hair of this sacred personage that have been preserved in golden caskets or buried under stone pyramids in various spots! But its chief recommendation is the philological value it possesses, of higher authority even than all the books of Nepal or Ceylon, in determining the knotty dispute as to the language in which the reformed religion of Shakya was preached and spread so effectually among the people. It is now evident that, as with the Kabirpanthis, the Dadupanthis, the Sikhs, the Ramsanehis, and all the sects who have appealed to the common sense of the people against the learning and priestcraft of the schools, the language of the appeal employed by the disciples of Shakya was the vernacular idiom of the day.

A few words, in conclusion regarding the alphabet, of which I have had a fount prepared while this article was setting up for press.

There is a primitive simplicity in the form of every letter, which stamps it at once as the original type whereon the more complicated structure of the Sanskrit has been founded. If carefully analyzed, each member of the alphabet will be found to contain the element of the corresponding member, not only of the Devanagari, but of the Canouj, the Pali, the Tibetan, the Hala Canara, and of all the derivatives from the Sanskrit stock.

But this not all: simplification may be carried much farther by due attention to the structure of the alphabet, as it existed even at this early stage, and the genius of its construction, ab initio, may in some measure be recognized and appreciated.

First, the aspirated letters appear to have been formed in most cases by doubling the simple characters

 sometimes put on the outside either right or left, but I cannot yet affirm that this mark may not merely denote a duplication of the letter rather than an aspiration—if indeed the terms were not originally equivalent; for we have just seen the doubling of the letter made to denote its aspiration.

The kh seems formed from the g rather than the k—the gh and jh are missing as in Tibetan, and appear to be supplied by g and chh respectively, bh is anomalous, or it has been formed from the d by adding a downward stroke.

Again; there is a remarkable analogy of form in the semivowels r, r, l, y, , which tends to prove their having been framed on a consistent principle—the first r hardly ever occurs in the Delhi inscription,but it is common in that from Girnar. The

As far as is yet known, there are only one and one s: the nasals and sibilants had not therefore been yet separated into classes; for the written Pali of 200 years later possesses at least the various n's, though it has but one s.

The four vowels, initials, have been discovered a, i, e, u. The second seems to be the skeleton of the third, as if denoting the smallest possible vocal sound. Of the medial vowels it is needless to speak, as their agreement in system with the old Nagari was long since pointed out. The two long vowels i and u, are produced by doubling the short symbols. The visarga is of doubtful occurrence, but the anuswara is constantly employed; and when before m, as in , dhamma, it is equivalent to the duplication employed in the more modem Pali writing. The following, then, is our alphabet, arranged in the ordinary manner.

We might perhaps on contemplation of these forms go yet farther into speculation on their origin. Thus the g may be supposed to be formed of the two strokes of the k, differently disposed: the j, of the two half curves of the ch superposed: the two d's2 are the same letter turned right and left respectively; and this principle, it may be remarked, is to be met with in other scions of the Indian alphabet.

in the old Ceylonese, the Canouji, and even the Tibetan alphabets;

Thus when we come to examine the matter critically, we are insensibly led to the reduction of the written characters to a comparatively small number of elements, as

Or perhaps, in lieu of this arrangement, it may be preferable to adopt one element as representative of each of the seven classes of letters. We shall thus come to the very position long ago advanced by Jambulus the traveller.

Jambulus was antecedent, says Dr. Vincent, to Diodorus; and Diodorus was contemporary with Augustus. He made, or pretended to have made, a voyage to Ceylon, and to have lived there seven years. Nine facts mentioned by him as characteristic of the people of that country, though doubted much in former days, have been confirmed by later experience: a tenth fact the learned author of the Periplus was obliged to leave for future inquiry,—namely, "whether the particulars of the alphabet of Ceylon may not have some allusion to truth: for he says, 'the characters are originally only seven, but by four varying forms or combinations they become twenty-eight.1

1 Vincent's Periplus of the Erythrean Sea.

It would be difficult to describe the conditions of the Indian alphabetical system more accurately than Jambulus has done in this short summary, which proves to be not only true in the general sense, of the classification of the letters, but exact as to the origin and formation of the symbols. As regards the discussion of the edict of Devanampiyatissa, the testimony of Jambulus is invaluable, because it proves that written characters,—our written characters, were then in use (notwithstanding the Buddhist books were not made up till two centuries later): and it establishes the credit of a much vituperated individual, who has been so lightly spoken of, that Wilford endeavours to identify him with Sindbad the sailor and other equally marvellous travellers!