South Indian Inscriptions
INSCRIPTIONS OF THE ABHIRAS
No. 1; PLATE I
THIS inscription was first brought to notice by Messrs. Edward W. west and Arthur A. West in their article entitled ‘Nasik cave Inscriptions’ published in the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, VoI. VIII (1864), pp. 37 ff. They published a fairly correct eye-copy of the record and, though they gave no transcript of it, they noticed correctly the date which occurs in lines 2-3. The record was transcribed, with notes and an English translation by DR. R.G. Bhandarkar in his notices published in the Transactions of the International Congress of Orientalists, London, 1874, pp. 341 ff. It was next copied by Pandit Bhagvanlal Indraji. Though the Pandit did the work with his wonted skill, his facsimile published in the Archœological survey of Western India, VoI. IV, plate LIII, No. 12, is considerably worked up by hand. In 1883 Pandit Bhagvanlal published a transcript of the inscription together with a Sanskrit rendering and an English translation in the Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, VoI. XVI (Nasik District) pp. 579 ff. In the same year DR. Bühler also, working of Pandit Bhagvanlal’s facsimile, published a transcript and an English translation of the epigraph in the aforementioned volume of the Archœological survey of Western India. The inscription was finally edited with a purely mechanical facsimile by Prof. E. Senart in the Epigraphia Indica, VoI. VIII, pp. 88 ff. and Plate VII (15). Prof. Senart’s edition has remained the standard one to the present day. The record is edited here from the Plate accompanying Prof. Senart’s article as well as a fresh estampage supplied by the Superintendent, Arcæological Survey, Western Circle.
The epigraph is incised on the left wall of the court in Cave No. X on the so-called Pāndu-lēna hill, 5 miles south-west from Nasik, the head-quarters of the Nasik District in the Bombay state. It seems to have originally consisted of 15 lines, but only the first thirteen of them can now be read. Even in this part, the record has suffered considerably on the right-hand side by exposure to weathe, and three or four aksharas at the end of almost every line have now become almost illegible. IN several cases they can, however, be read from the traces left behind, or restored conjecturally. The average size of the letters is 1.2’’.
The characters belong to the Brāhmi alphabet of a slightly later age than in the
inscriptions of the Sātavāhanas. In some respects however as in the subscript tripartite
y, they show archaic forms; see Mādhariputrasya 1. I; -vāstavyasya, 1. 7, etc. Notice also p
in ganapaka-, 1. 4, which has a long vertical on the left. As Dr. Bühler has already
noticed,1 Some of the letters are cursive; see, e.g., the forms of t and n, derived from looped
types, in parvata-, 1. 7 and Īśvarasēnasya, 1. 2, as well as the form of jňa in rājňah, 1. I.
Some of the other peculiarities worthy of notice are as follows:––u in upāsikāyā, 1. 6, has a
horizontal stroke at the top; the rare ō occurs in ōdayamtrika-, 1. 10; the medical u in duhitrā,
1. 4, is formed by a curve open on the right, like the medial ri of later times. Kh has a
loop on the right; see sukh-ārtham 1.7; y is generally flat as in Kushāna records but the
1I.P., p. 43.