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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Indian Analyst


North Indian Inscriptions






  In comparison with the later donative inscriptions, the wording of the Bhārhut inscriptions is simple. In its shortest and very common form the inscription mentions only the name of the donor, put in the genitive, followed by the word dānaṁ “gift ”. [1] In about forty cases the object of the donation is specified as thabho (thaṁbho), [2] thabhā, [3] suchi, [4] bodhichaka (A 106), ṭanachakamapari [repo] (A 127). Usually the word dānaṁ comes after the object of gift, but the reverse order of words is found in not less than twelve cases. [5] In one inscription (A 50) the word dānaṁ is obviously to be understood, but the writer did not think it necessary to inscribe it. [6] Whereas in most cases particulars regarding the native place, profession etc. of the donors are given before the word dānaṁ, in four inscriptions we find a word or two added after it, referring to the native place (A 39) or the personal relationship (A 46, A 90) of the donor. In A 76 the female donor is characterised as a nun (bhichhunī) after the word dānaṁ. Normally the donations are made by individuals obviously for their own spiritual welfare. In one case (A 108), however, it is specially mentioned that the gift was made for the benefit of the parents of the donor (mātāpituna aṭhāyā). In A 5, the donation does not come from an individual donor but from the community of the town Karahakaṭa. It was probably collected by subscription. Similarly in A 16 the gift is attributed to a group of donors from Purikā. [7] Normally it is to be presupposed that only the cost of the objects given was borne by the various donors ; but in one case (A 112), if the interpretation given below is correct, the inscription would mean that the donor himself had carved the relief besides paying the cost of the stone. In A 1, special reference is made to the stone-work (carving) added to the toraṇa as decoration.


   The donors mentioned in the 136 Bhārhut inscriptions of our group A [8] include both the men and women who lead the worldly life and those that have renounced it. Thus on the one hand we have about 58 gifts from laymen [9] and about 36 from laywomen, [10] whereas

[1] In about eight cases the anusvāra is omitted. Once, in A 96, the word is used in the masculine form dāno which, according to Lüders, is probably a clerical error (as well as dān[ā] A 49a ).
[2] A 6, A 7, A 8, A 39, A 40, A 46, A 50, A 54, A 58, A 61, A 65, A 66, A 68, A 71, A 73, A 80, A 87a, A 94, A 98. In A 34 it is mentioned that the pillar donated is the first one (paṭhamathabho).
[3] A 25, A 27, A 29, A 123, A 124.
[4] A 23, A 56, A 72, A 87, A 89, A 96, A 101, A 104, A 105, A 109, A 111, A 118, A 119.
[5] Cf. dānaṁ or dāna thabho A 6, A 58, A 61, A 94; dānaṁ thabhā A 25, A 27, A 29, A 123; dānaṁ or dāna suchi A 109, A 118, A 119 ; dana ṭanachakamapari[repo] A 127.
[6] The word dānaṁ is missing also in A 3, A 9, A 11, A 35, A 43, A 44. But these inscriptions seem to be incomplete.
[7] In Sāñchī, gifts have been made by villages, or by particular sects or guilds having their residence in Vediśā or Ujenī (Ujjayinī).
[8] Four newly recovered inscriptions (A 49a, A 54a, A 54b, A 87a) have to be added.
[9] A 1 – A 3, A 6, A 7, A 13, A 21 – A 23, A 25, A 26, A 30, A 31, A 36, A 40, A 47, A 50, A 54a, A 54b, A 55, A 81 – A 113, A 129(?), A 130(?), A 132, A 133(?).
[10] A 4, A 9, A 10, A 14, A 15, A 18, A 19, A 20, A 27, A 28, A 32-A 35, A 45, A 46, A 48, A 49, A 49a, A 53, A 114 – A 128, A 134(?).

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