Sansk Lat Hind

inscription, pillar, gupta, stone, feet, king, pillars, allahabad, date and ad

Page: 1 2 3

The pillar is a single shaft of pale pinkish sand stone, being of the usual height of all Asoka's pillars, 42 feet 7 inches, of which the upper portion, 35 feet in length, has received a very high polish, while the remainder is left quite rough. It seems that all the pillars of that monarch were made to his particular order of a certain specified length. The weight is rather more than 27 tons. The numerous pillars of Asoka, all of one size, but of a variety of stones, arising from the respective rocks from which they were quarried, exhibit an unequal workman ship which may help to throw some light on the state of sculptural art amongst the ancient Hindus in different parts of India. There are two principal inscriptions on Feroz Shah's pillar, besides several minor records of pilgrims and travellers from the first centuries of the Christian era down to the present time. The oldest in scriptions for which the pillar was originally erected, comprise the well-known edicts of Asoka, which were promulgated in the middle of the third century B.C. in the ancient Pali. The alphabetical characters, which are of the oldest form that has yet been found in India, are most clearly and beautifully cut, and there are only a few letters of the whole record lost by the peeling off of the surface of the stone. The inscription ends with a short sentence, in which king Asoka directs the setting up these monoliths in different parts of Indiar follows : ' Let this religious edict be engraved n stone pillars (Sila sthamba) and stone tablets (Sila phalaka), that it may endure for ever.' The record consists of four distinct inscriptions on the four sides of the column facing the cardinal poino, and of one long inscription immediately below, which goes completely round the pillar. The last ten lines of the eastern face, as well as the whole of the continuous inscription round the shaft, are peculiar to the Dehli pillar. The second inscription is that which records the victories of the Chauhan prince, Visala Deva (Beesildeo), whose power extended from Himadri to Vyndhia.' This record of the fame of the Chauhan consists of two separate portions, the shorter one being placed immediately above Asoka's edicts, and the longer one immediately below them. But, as both are dated in the same year, viz. S.1220, or A.D. 1163, and refer to the same prince, they may be con sidered as forming only one inscription.

The inscription is in a more recent character below, and is in Sanskrit, to the effect that raja Vigrah or Visala Deva had in A.D. 1169? caused this pillar to be inscribed afresh, to declare that the said raja, who reigned over the Sikambari, had subdued all the regions between the Himavat and Vindhya.

This monolith, like the kindred pillar at Alla habad, was in the first instance exclusively devoted to the exhibition of a counterpart text of the edicts of Asoka, but succeeding generations have taken advantage of the ready prepared monument to supplement a record of their own prowess. Of the two stone pillars at Dehli, one was moved down, as has been said, from near Khizerabad, at the foot of the Himalaya ; the other was taken from Mirat.

Iron Pillar at Dehli.—In the centre of the mosque, says Colonel Yule, there is to be seen an enormous metal pillar. The height of the pillar above ground is 22 feet, and its greatest diameter a little more than 16 inches. The pillar was

considered by James Prinsep to date from the third or fourth century. The inscription on it has no date, but is scarcely earlier than A.D. 800. Many letters agree with the Kanouj Nagari, but the general aspect is more modern. It concludes with an invocation to Vishnu. It mentions also prince Dhava, a usurper, at Hastinapur. The inscription is punched upon the pillar, and the only thing remarkable in it is the mention of the Bactrians, called Vahlika, being still in Sind. From the compound letters used, the inscription must be long after the fifth century.

Nigumbode.—A column is alluded to by Chand, as telling the fame of the Chauhan, and he says it was placed at Nignmbode, a place of pilgrimage on the Jumna, a few miles below Dehli. It has disappeared.

Benares.—One of Asoka's edict columns is erected at Benares. It is of stone, with many carvings and inscriptions. All Asoka's columns appear to be of the same height, 42 feet 7 inches, inclusive of the part underground. The one at Benares and the other at Allahabad measure exactly the same altitude. The columns were erected only in large, populous, and opulent cities.

Ghazipur.--A Buddhist pillar at Ghazipur has an inscription on it in Sanskrit, not pure nor easily intelligible. This inscription, like one of Allahabad, is intruded on a Buddhist column, and is subse quent to it, as it carries on the Gupta family from Samudra to the boy Mahendra. Chandragupta 2d and Kumara Gupta followed the Vishnu wor ship, but Skanda Gupta attached himself to the opposite doctrines, now so prevalent, of the mysterious and sanguinary Tantra. Skanda Gupta was dispossessed of his kingdom, for a time, by a treacherous minister. This was the case when the Chinese traveller Iliwen Thsang reached Behar, in the seventh century, and he may refer to the event mentioned in the inscription : but he calls the king by a name construed to be Siladitya, and no king of this name reigned in Behar, nor nearer than in Gujerat. The Gupta, probably, succeeded the Buddhist kings of Behar. The absence of the insertion of the Tantra in the Allahabad inscription, and their insertion here, would seem to indicate the period of the origin of this worship. The character used is the same as Allahabad No. 2, or Kanonj Nagari, with numer ous misspellings. The date is subsequent to Allahabad No. 2; and, Dr. Mill says, not earlier than Charlemagne in Europe, A.D. 800, if the Gupta be those of the Parana. Moreover, the mention of the sectarial worship of the Bhagavata and Tantra makes the date comparatively modern ; Indra, Yama, Krishna, Siva, Sita, the Tantra, Devaki, the mother of Krishna, Rudra, are mentioned, and loads of forest timber are col lected for the completion of sacrifices for Indra, Varuna, and Yama only, and not for Siva or Vishnu. The kings or princes mentioned are the great king, Gupta ; his son, do., Ghatot Kacha ; do., King of kings, Chandra,gupta ; do., King of kings, Samudra Gupta ; do., Chandragupta 2d ; do., Kumara Gupta ; do., Skanda Gupta, a minor ; Maliendra Gupta ? Mr. Carleylle found unfinished monoliths of sandstone on hills in Rupbas in the Bharatpur State ; one of them 33} feet, another 22f feet.

Page: 1 2 3