Page:Asoka - the Buddhist Emperor of India.djvu/224

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222
AOSKA

'By His Sacred and Gracious Majesty the King when he had been consecrated twenty years, having come in person and reverence having been done—inasmuch as "Here was born Buddha, the sage of the Sâkyas"—a stone bearing a horse was caused to be made and a stone pillar was erected.

Inasmuch as "Here the Holy One was born," the village of Lurḿmini was released from religious cesses and required to pay [only] one-eighth as land revenue.'

Comment

This curious record, discovered in 1896 and perfectly preserved, has been the subject of much discussion. Several of the important words are not known to occur elsewhere. The purpose of the inscription is to record Asoka's visit to the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, and also the favours which he was pleased to bestow on the village of Lurinnini. In the revised translation I l1ave retained the construction of the text at some sacrifice of elegance. I follow Charpentier in taking mahîyite as a locative absolute, 'reverence having been done' and in holding that the puzzling 'vigaḍabhîchâ must signify 'bearing a horse,' or something to that effect. The pillar is known to have been once surmounted by the effigy of a horse. That animal was regarded in northern India as the guardian of the west, and in Ceylon as the guardian of the south. Similarly, the lion watched over the north in both countries; the elephant over the south in northern India, and over the east in Ceylon; while the bull or ox was guardian of the east in northern India, and of the west in Ceylon. All the four creatures appear on Asoka columns. (V. A. Smith, Z. D. M. G., 1911, p. 238. For Dr. Charpentier's views see Ind. Ant, xliii (1914). pp. 17-20.)

Bali, as shown by the Arthaśâtra, meant specially, but not exclusively, religious cesses. Bhâga meant ‘land-revenue' of modern official language, mill in Persian, the crown's share of the produce. Thus, in Arthaśâstra, Bk. ii, chap. 12 (transl., p. 9), shaḍbhâga means ‘one-sixth of the produce paid as land-