Sarnath Buddhist Image Inscription

Written by Alok Mohan on May 31, 2022. Posted in Uncategorized

Sarnath Buddhist Image Inscription of tha time of kanishka 1 (78-102 AD-) year 3 ( AD. 81)
Provenance Sarnath, Near Varanasi, U.P.
Script Brahmi
Language Prakrit influeúnced by Sanskrit

References: J.Ph Vogel Ep.Ind, VIII,
pp. 123 ff. D.C. Sircar, Sel.Inss
pp 136-38
1. Chakram of Bihar is a piece of ground cleared and
levelled for the purpose of walking up and down for exercise and meditation. See Gaiger, Mahavamsa Tr, pp 45, note 4.
These three inscriptions are incised on a collosal standing Bodhisattva statue and on an octagonal stone shaft, which once carried an umbrella over the image.

1. महारजस्य कणिष्कस्य स ३ हे ३ दि २o(+) २
2. एताये पुर्वये भिक्षुस्यबुद्धिस्य तद्वयेवि
3. वारिस्य भिक्षुस्य वतस्य त्रैपिटकस्य
4. बोधिसत्वो छवयष्टि [च] प्रतिष्ठापितो
5. वाराणसिये भगवतो यंकमे सहा मात
6. पितिहि सहा उपद्धयायाचर्येहि सद्धयेविहारि
7. हि अते यासि केहि च तहा बुद्धमित्रेये त्रेपिटिक
8. ये सहा क्षत्रयेन वनस्यरेन खरपल्ला
9. नेन च सहा च चतुहि परिबाहि सर्व सत्वन
10. हित सुखात्र्य

No 2.

Carved on the front of the plain pedestal.

1. भिक्षुस्य वलस्य त्रेमिटकस्य बोधिसत्त्वो प्रतिष्ठापितो
2. महा क्षत्रपेन खर पल्लानेन सहा क्षत्रपेन वनष्परेन

No 3.

(Carved on the book of the image between the feet)

1. महारजस्य कणिष्क [स] य सं ३ हे ३ दि २o(+) २
2. एतवे पूर्वये भिक्षुस्य वलस्य त्रेपिट कस्य
3. बोधिसत्त्वो छत्र यष [ट] इ च प्रतिष्ठोपितो

संस्कृत छाया
No. 1.
महाराजस्य कणिष्कस्य राज्य संवत्सरे तृतीये हेमन्त मासे तृतीये पूर्णीमान्त मघि दिवसे द्वाविंश पुण्यवृधे: सार्द्ध विहारिण: सतीर्थस्य सहपाठिन: भिक्षो: वलस्य त्रैपिठस्य (त्रैपिटक-विद:) बोधिसत्त्व ( बोधिसत्त्वस्य प्रतिमा ) छत्र षष्टि [च] शिलामयौ
प्रतिष्ठापितौ वाराणस्यां भगवत: चड़न्क्रमे ( गन्धकूटी विहारा ज़िन्दे सहमाता पितृभ्यां सह उपध्यायाचार्यै सार्द्ध विहारिभि: खरपल्लानेन च सह च चतसूभि: परिषदिभ: सर्वसत्वानां हित सुजाधर्म

No 2
भिक्षो: वतस्य त्रैपिटकस्य -विद: बोधिसत्त्व:प्रतिष्ठापित:
महाक्षत्रपेण सहक्षत्रपेण वनस्वपरेण

No 3

महाराजस्य कणिष्कस्य सं वत्सरे तृतीये हेमन्त मासे तृतीये 3 दिवसे द्वाविंश 22 एतस्यां पूर्वायां तिघौ भिक्षो: वलस्य त्रैपिटकस्य बोधिसत्त्व छत्रषष्टि: च प्रतिष्ठापितौ !!

1. From the Ep-ind pp 176, Plate nos-iiia to iiid
2. This is one of the earliest dated records in which the name of Kanishka occurs. However it doesn’t ipeo facto confirm Kanishkas rule in varanasi as early as his 3rd regnal year. The donor Shikshu Bala, fellow of Pushyavriddhi and teacher of the nun Budhamitra, donated another umbrella at Sravasti in kanishkas regnal year that is lost. Another statue of Boddhistava was set up at Mathura in the reign of Huvishka in the year 33, by the nun Dhanavati, who claims to be the sisters daughter of Tripitaka Bhikshuni Buddhamitra, pupil of Trainitaka Bhikshu Shala. All the three are carved out of red sand stones from Agra. Vogel therefore conjectures with that Eriar Bala and his patrons, Kshatrapa Vanaspara and Mahakshatrapa Kharapallana, who may have been the actual financers of the projects, belonged to Mathura and Bala erected the image on the occassion of a pilgrimage to the sacred sites of Budhism.
3 Vogal उपद्वयाय़ाचेरेहि

1. Impressions like ऐतत्या पूर्वाया ऐतस्या दिवस -पूर्वाया
etc have been used in the sense, ‘On this affordable date’
2. is a general term used for open ground within the precincts of a vihara, not necessarily the place, where Lord Buddha walked, as particularly specified here
3. The Buddhist parishats or classes are A Bhikshus B Bhikshunia C Umasakas D Upasakas

English Translation

In the third year of Maharaja Kanishka, the 3rd (month) of winter the 22nd day.
On this date, (specified as) above, was this gift of Priar Bala, a master of the tripitaka, and a fellow of Priar Pushyavriddhi, (namely an image of) the Boddhistava and an umbrella with a post, erected at Varanasi, at the place where Lord used to walk, together with his parents, with his teachers and professors, his fellows and pupils and with nun Buddhamitra versed in the Tripitaka, together with the satarap Vanaspara and Kharapallana together with the four classes for the happiness and welfare of all creatures.
No 2
This gift of Priar Bala, a master of Tripitaka, namely an image of the Boddhisttava, has been erected by the great satrap Kharapallana together with satrap Vanaspara.
No 3
In the third year of Maharaja Kanishka, the third month of winter, the 22nd day this date specified as above has this gift of Priar Bala, a master of Tripitaka, (Namely an image of Bodhisattva and an umbrella with a post, been erected.

Alok Mohan

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