ancient indian history

Yavana Indragnidatta of Dattamitri

Nasik Cave Inscription No.-18 of Yavana Indragnidatta of Dattamitri.

Inscription number-154

Provenance: Nasik, Nasik District, Maharashtra..
Script: Brahmi of Second Century AD.
Language: Prakrit
References: Journal of Bombay Branch of the Royal Asatic Society-VII, pp.37 ff, Bhagwanlal Indraji, Mumbai Gazetteer XVI, pp. 544 ff., Buhler, Ach.
Survey of western India, pp. 180 ff. E Senart EP.Ind. VIII, pp-90-91.

1. सिधं
ओतराहस दाता मितियकस योणकस धर्मदेव पुतस इंद्राग्नि-दतस र्धमात्मना
2. इमं लेण पवते तिरण्हुम्हि खानितं अभतरं च चेति यपरो
पोढ़ियो च माता-पि
3. तरो उदिस धम ले णं कारितं सब-बुध-पु जाय चातु दिशस भिक्षुसंघस नियातितं स
4. ह पुतेन धर्म रखितेन
संस्कृत छाया
सिद्धम् । औत्तरापथस्य दात्ता मित्रीयकस्य यवन कस्य धर्मदेवपुत्रस्य इन्द्राग्निदत्तस्य । धर्मात्मना इदं लयनं पर्वते त्रिरश्मो खानितं, अभ्यन्तरं व लयनस्य चैत्यगृह’ प्रपदिका: यदा प्रहय: च । माता पितरौ उद्दिश्य इदं लयनं कारित सर्व -बुद्ध-पूजाये, चातुर्दिशस्य भिक्षु-संघस्य निर्यातितं सह पुत्रेण धमेरक्षितेन ।

English Translation of the inscription
Success ! This gift of Indragnidatta, the Yavana, a northerner from from Dattamitri. By the (aforementioned) devout person, this cave has been caused to be excavated in mount
Trirasmi and inside the cave a chaity-grih and a step well (or cisterns).
This Cave made for the sake. (in honour) of his mother and father has been, in order to honor all Buddha’s, bestowed on the universal Sangha of monks, together with his son Dharmarakshita.
(The term Yavana, here, is derived from the prakrit word Yona, which in turn is
derived from Persian Yauna)
1. The script resembles that of other Nasik Inscription of Nahapana (119-124 AD).
2. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind. VIII, Plate V, Number.18
(Opp. pp.82)
3. Senart: इंद्राग्निदतस

Senart refers to a varttika on Panini,
IV.7.104. which preserves the tradition of a word auttaraha, for which the
etymology from Uttara seems to indicate the meaning northern. But this reference being evidently wrong,
since no adhyaya of Panini has more than 4 Padas, I could not trace the varttika. Sanskrit ओोत्तराह (उत्तरे : हिन भव 🙂
means belonging to the next day. ओतराह here is evidently the Prakrit form of ओोत्तरापध
2. Identified by Buhler. “Arch. Survey West India” pp.38, with the city of Demetrias mentioned by Isidore of charex.
3. An oratory at the end of which a stupa is erected as the object or centre of Worship.

The Yavanas (Sanskrit) and Yonas (Pali) are frequently mentioned words in history of ancient India especially the inscriptions from so-called mythical age. They are also being referred in the Buddhist scriptures, texts, Manu Smruti, Dharmasastras, Puranas etc.
During Asoka’s time several Yonas were subjects of his dominion.

Many Yavanas probably came to the Western part of India consequent to Kshatrapa invasions during second century A.D. According to the inscriptional records, Yavana and Sakas artists had also been working at the ancient sites of western India.

But as far as this cave is concerned, it is likely that the donor Indragnidatta, a Yavanas from Demetrias, would have desired to have a chaitya-cum-vihara at Nasik.
The credit of introduction of this kind of architecture during first century western India, ie the combination of a stupa shrine with the vihara goes to Indraggnidatta, as this is empirical evidences in the form of combination of chaitya and vihara structures in Nasik. The beginning of the second century A.D. therefore marks an important phase in the development of rock-cut chaityas.
During this period, Kshtrapas were in dominant position in entire Western India. They had conquered some of the Satavahana territories and were slowly getting naturalized in their adopted land. . They had patronized Buddhism as is evident from these caves, though
Siva, Visnu, Ganesa, Sankarsana, Vasudeva, Dharma, Indra, the Sun and the Moon figure as
the popular Hindu deities during this period. Ancient temples dedicated to these deities existed, in ancient caves of western India.
This cave was a gift of one Indragnidatta, who hailed from Demeterias in Gandhara region.

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