The Date of Buddha's Death, as Determined By a Record of Asoka

by J.F. Fleet, I.C.S.(Retd.), Ph.D., C.I.E.
Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society
pages 1-26 [circa 1904]

                                p. 1

            There is a certain rock edict of Asoka, regarding

        the interpretation  and application of which no final

        result has as yet been arrived at. That this has been

        the case, is due  chiefly  to an unfortunate  initial

        mistake, which introduced  a supposed  word, taken to

        mean "two and a half," into the reading  of a passage

        of primary importance which mentions a certain period

        of years.  It was subsequently  fully admitted that a

        misreading  had been  made.  But  the effect  of that

        misreading  remained.  And, like similar mistakes  in

        other matters, the initial mistake  made here left an

        influence  which neither the scholar who made it, nor

        subsequent inquirers, could shake off.

            Within  the  limits  of space  available  in this

        Journal, it is not practicable to handle the edict as

        fully as could be wished. I hope, however, to be able

        to shew, with sufficient  clearness, what the purport

        of the record  really  is, and the extent to which we

        are indebted to previous inquiries for assistance  in

        arriving at its true meaning.

            For  some  of the  readers  of this  Journal, the

        chief interest of the matter will probably lie in its

        bearing on the question,

                                p. 2

        not yet settled, of the date of the death  of Buddha.

        But  it  involves   also  other  points   of  leading

        interest, in connection with Asoka.

            The edict in question has been found, in somewhat

        varying versions which illustrate  two redactions  of

        it,  in  Northern  India  at  Sahasram, Rupnath,  and

        Bairat, and  in Mysore  at Brahmagiri, Siddapura, and

        Jatinga-Ramesvara.  The  records  at the  last  three

        places include also a second edict, which has not yet

        been found in Northern India.  With that, however, we

        are not here concerned.  Of the edict  with which  we

        are    concerned,   the    Bairat,   Siddapura,   and

        Jatinga-Ramesvara  versions are so fragmentary  as to

        be of but  little  use.  Of the  remaining  versions,

        those  at  Rupnath   and  Brahmagiri   are  the  best

        preserved and the most complete. As will be seen, the

        Brahmagiri  record is of extreme  importance  in more

        respects  than  one, in addition  to  giving  us  the

        place, Suvarnagiri, which  I shall  identify  further

        on, where Asoka was in religious  retirement  when he

        issued  the edict;  and it is very fortunate  that we

        have the facsimiles  of it, and of the Siddapura  and

        Jatinga-Ramesvara   records,   published   with   Dr.

        Buhler's article in the Epigraphia Indica, vol.  iii,

        1894-95, pp.  134 to 142, which  were  made from  the

        excellent inked estampages supplied by Dr.  Hultzsch,

        the  Government  Epigraphist;  if  we had  not  those

        facsimiles, we  might  still  have  been  without  an

        accurate knowledge  of the contents of those records,

        and perhaps without a recognition  of the point which

        settles one of the important questions decided by the

        edict.  But the Sahasram  record, though considerably

        damaged, is of extreme  value  in connection  with at

        any rate one important passage. The matter is decided

        by  the  three   texts   at  Sahasram,  Rupnath,  and

        Brahmagiri. And it is necessary to consider only them on

        this occasion. In respect of the Bairat, Siddapura, and

        Jatinga-Ramesvara texts, it is here sufficient to say

        that they do not contain anything  militating, in any

        way, against  the results  established  by the  other

        three texts.

            It is to be premised  that the edict is a lecture

        on the

                                p. 3

        good  results  of  displaying  energy  in matters  of

        religion.  The whole  text of it is more  or less  of

        interest.  But it is sufficient  for present purposes

        to give two extracts from it.

            Before, however, going  any  further, it must  be

        stated  that, in  the  earliest  discussions  of  the

        contents  of this edict, doubts were expressed  as to

        whether it should be understood as a Buddhist or as a

        Jain  manifesto, and as to whether  it was issued  by

        Asoka or by some other king.  But it is not necessary

        to revert to those questions, except in so far as the

        varying  opinions, as to the sectarian  nature of the

        record, have  borne  upon some of the proposals  made

        regarding the interpretation  of certain words in it.

        It is quite  certain  that  the edict  was issued  by

        Asoka.  And, whatever may be the religion which Asoka

        professed originally, it is quite certain that he was

        converted  to  Buddhism, and  that  this  edict  is a

        Buddhist  proclamation.  This  is made  clear  by the

        so-called  Bhabra  edict,  which,  addressed  to  the

        Magadha  Samgha  or community  of Buddhist  monks and

        nuns of Magadha, speaks, in the most explicit  terms,

        of the respect  paid, and the goodwill  displayed, by

        "the king Piyadasi," that is Asoka  as He of Gracious

        Mien, to "the  Buddha, the  Faith  (Dharma), and  the

        Order (Samgha)."

            Nor   is   it   necessary   to   review   certain

        disquisitions  which  have been given  with a view to

        bringing   the   supposed   purport   of  the  edict,

        particularly  in  the  matter  of two  stages  in the

        religious  career  of Asoka, into  harmony  with  the

        assertions, or supposed  assertions, of the  Southern

        tradition  as represented  by the  Dipavamsa  and the

        Mahavamsa. Those disquisitions were wide of the mark;

        the tradition  and the record  having, in reality, no

        chronological details in common, except in respect of

        the number  of years  that elapsed  from the death of

        Buddha to the abhisheka or anointment of Asoka to the

        sovereignty.  And  Dr.  Buhler, at  a later  time, in

        cancelling  the  misreading  on which  he had  acted,

        practically  withdrew  (see IA, xxii, p.  300) at any

        rate  "one  half  of  the  historical  deductions,"--

        though  he somewhat  inconsiderately  did not specify

        exactly which

                                p. 4

        half, --  which he himself  had given at great length

        (IA, vi, pp. 151 to 154, and vii, pp.  148 to 160) in

        his original examinations of the Sahasram and Rupnath


            We are  concerned  with  only  the  readings  and

        interpretations  of certain words in two passages  in

        the edict.  And, in giving  the  texts  of those  two

        passages, I of course follow, as closely as possible,

        the latest published  readings of each version of the

        edict.  But I supplement  those readings  by anything

        which I myself can gather from those reproductions of

        the  originals  which  are  real  facsimiles, or  can

        suggest with confidence in any other way.

            It  will  be  convenient  to deal  first  with  a

        passage which stands in the Sahasram  record near the

        end, and in the other two records  at the end, of the


            Of this passage, we have the following texts.  In

        all  essential  details,  I  adhere  exactly  to  the

        decipherments of the individual syllables made by Dr.

        Buhler (IA, xxii, 1893, p. 303, and EI, iii, 1894-95,

        p. 138) and M.  Senart (IA, xx, pp. 155, 156, and JA,

        1892, i, p. 487). But I differ from those scholars in

        a detail of analysis in the Rupnath record, regarding

        which reference may be made to also page 13 below. We

        must not take sata-vivasa  as a compound.  It must be

        taken as two separate  words.  The word sata, = sata,

        the base, means 'hundreds, centuries;'  just like the

        nominative  plural  sata, = satani, of  the  Sahasram

        record.  And, in conformity  with a common method  of

        expression  in Hindu  dates, in translating  which we

        have  to supply  the word 'of' in order  to obtain  a

        grammatical  rendering, the two words  sata  and sata

        are  in apposition, not  with  only  the  word  duve,

        'two,' and the numerical symbol for 200, but with the

        words  and the  numerical  symbols  which  mean  256;

        though, of course, the intended  purport  is, not 256

        centuries, but  two centuries  and fifty-six.  years.

        The texts are:--

            Sahasram,  lines  6,7:--Iyam  [cha  savane  (read

        savane)] vivuthena duve sa-pamnalati  sata vivutha ti

        200 50 6.

            Rupnath, lines 5, 6:-  Vyuthena, savane  kate 200

        50 6 sata vivasa ta (or ti).

                                p. 5

            Brahmagiri,   line   8:  --Iyam    cha   sava[ne]

        sav[a]p[i]te vyuthena 200 50 6.

            In the words  iyam cha savane, savane, "and  this

        same  precept, "  of  the  Sahasram   and  Brahmagiri

        versions, and in the simple savane, "the precept"  or

        "(this  same)  precept, "  of  the  Rupnath  version,

        reference is made to an earlier passage in the edict,

        of which the general  tenor  is:--  "And to this same

        purpose  this  precept  has been inculcated: Let both

        the   lowly,  and  those   who  are   exalted,  exert

        themselves!;"(fn 1) because, as  the  preceding  context

        explains, even a lowly  man, who exerts  himself, may

        attain heaven, high though it is.

            The passage  with which are dealing  says, in the

        Rupnath   version  that  that  precept  was  made  or

        composed, and in the Brahmagiri  version  that it was

        caused   to   be   heard,   announced,  preached,  or

        inculcated,  by  someone  who  is  mentioned  in  the

        Rupnath  version  by  the  mord  vyutha, and  in  the

        Brahmagiri  version  by the word  vyutha.  In the

        sahasram  version, there  is a reference  of evidently

        the same  kind to the precept, and to the person, who

        is mentioned  therein  by the word  vivutha;  but the

        word meaning  'made;  composed,' or 'inculcated,' was

        omitted, and  has  to be understood.  And with  these

        statements  there  are connected, in the Rupnath  and

        Brahmagiri  versions  some numerical  symbols, and in

        the  Sahasram  version  both  numerical  symbols  and

        words, which mean 'two hundred and fifty-six.'(2)

            Of this passa,ae there  have been  two main lines

        of interpretation, each with its separate branches.

            Dr. Buhler, who first brought the contents of the

        edict  to  public  notice, in  1877, maintained, from

        first  to last, that the words and numerical  symbols

        are a date, and that the passage means that the edict

        was promulgated  when 256 complete years had elapsed,

        and in the course of the 257th


     fn 1. It  has  not  always  been  recognised  that  this

           precept is complete as given in translation above.

           But, that  that is distinctly  marked  by the word

           ti, =iti, which stands in four of the versions  in

           which the passage is extant, has been pointed  out

           by Dr. Buhler in EI, iii, p. 142, 8.

        2. We need  not trouble  ourselves  on this  occasion

           with the exact analysis  and disposal  of the word

           sa-pamnalati, `fifty-six.'

                                p. 6

        year, after the death of Buddha.  Originally (IA, vi,

        pp.  150, 159 b),while  deriving  the  vivasa  of the

        Rupnath  record  from  vivas, 'to  change  an  abode,

        depart  from;  to abide, dwell, live;  to pass, spend

        (time),' he connected  the  vivutha  of the  Sahasram

        record, and  the vyutha  of the Rupnath  record, with

        vivrit,  'to  turn  round,  revolve;  to  turn  away,

        depart; to go down, set (as the sun).' Subsequently

        (IA,  vii,  p.  145  b) ,  he  accepted  the  correct

        derivation, pointed  out  by Professor  Pischel  (see

        page  20 below), of  also  vivutha  and  vyutha  from

        vivas.  But he was still able to retain for vivuthena

        and vyuthena, and to adopt  for the  vyuthena  of the

        Brahmagiri  record, his original  rendering  "by  the

        Departed," in the figurative sense of "the Deceased,"

        as an appellation of Buddha.  In the Sahasram record,

        he  took  vivutha,  as  the  Pali  nominative  plural

        neuter,  equivalent  originally  to  vivrittani   but

        subsequently  to vyushitani, 'passed.' In the Rupnath

        record, he read  sata-vivasa  as a compound, and took

        it as an ablative  dependent  upon  the  number  256.

        Finding  in sata a substitute  for the Pali satthu, a

        corruption  of the Sanskrit  sastri, which does occur

        freely   as  an  appellation   of  Buddha   as   "the

        Teacher,"(fn 2) he took  sata-vivasa  as  equivalent  to

        satthu-vivasa, sastri-vivasat;  and he rendered it as

        meaning  "since  the  departure," in  the  figurative

        sense  of the  death, "of  the  Teacher," that  is of

        Buddha.   And  thus  he  arrived   at  the  following


            Sahasram: --   "And  this  sermon   (is)  by  the

        Departed. "Two hundred (years) exceeded by fifty-six,

        256, have "passed since" (IA, vi, 1877, p. 156 b).

            Rupnath:--  "This sermon has been preached by the

        "Departed.   256  (years   have  elapsed)  since  the

        departure of "the Teacher" (IA, vi, 1877, p. 157a).

            Brahmagiri:--  "And this sermon has been preached

        by "the Departed, 256 (years ago)" (EI, iii, 1894-95,



     fn 2. For  instance, in the  Suttanipata, verse  31, "be

           thou our Teacher, O great Sage!," verse 545, "thou

           art Buddha, thou art the Teacher"  (ed.  Fausboll,

           pp. 5, 98), and in the Dipavamsa, 1, 17, 35; 2, 20

           (ed.  Oldenberg,  pp.  14, 16,  22),  and  in  the

           Mahavamsa (Turnour, p. 3, line 12, p.  4, line 13,

           p.7, line 6).

                                p. 7

            In agreement  with Dr.  Buhler  there was, in the

        first place, General Sir Alexander Cunningham. He did

        not  attempt  any  independent   examination  of  the

        difficult  expressions  in  the  edict.  But  he  had

        detected  and  deciphered, before  anyone  else,  the

        numerical symbols in the Sahasram record (Inscrs.  of

        Asoka,  1877,  p.  2,  No.   8) .(fn 3)  and  he,  also,

        recognised  in them a date, reckoned from the nirvana

        of Buddha.

            In his  interpretation  and  application  of  the

        passage, Dr. Buhler had the full support of Professor

        Max  Muller, who in 1881  wrote:--  "After  carefully

        weighing  the "objections  raised by Mr.  Rhys Davids

        and   Professor   "Pischel   against   Dr.   Buhler's

        arguments, I cannot think "that they have shaken  Dr.

        Buhler's position. I fully "admit the difficulties in

        the phraseology of these inscriptions: but I ask, Who

        could  have  written  these  inscriptions, "  if  not

        Asoka? And how, if written  by Asoka, can  the  "date

        which they contain mean anything but 256 years "after

        Buddha's Nirvana?" (Sacred Books of the East,


     fn 3. I  would  like  to  suggest  to  certain  European

           scholars   that,  instead   of   citing   Sir   A.

           Cunningham's  volume on the records  of Asoka, and

           my own volume  on the  records  of the  Early  (or

           Imperial) Gupta  Kings  and  their  Successors, as

           "CII,  vol.  i,"  and  "CII, vol.  iii, "  meaning

           thereby   vols.   i,  and   iii,  of  the  "Corpus

           Inscriptionum Indicarum,"--  a method of referring

           to them which does not indicate much, if anything,

           of value,--  it would be more useful to cite them,

           by  distinctive  titles, as Inscriptions  of Asoka

           (or Asoka Inscriptions) and Gupta Inscriptions, or

           as Inscrs.  of Asoka (or Asoka  Inscrs.) and Gupta

           Inscrs.,  or,  if  an  absolute  abbreviation   is

           desired, as "C.AI," and "F.GI."  These  two  works

           are the first  and third  volumes, nominally, of a

           series  which  has never gone any further, and, it

           is feared, is not likely to do so. And it has been

           a matter  for regret  that they were ever numbered

           as volumes  of such  a series.  Even  the intended

           second  volume of that inchoate  series  has never

           appeared, though, it is believed, the  preparation

           of it had been undertaken  by someone  before  the

           time  when  the preparation  of the volume  on the

           Gupta Inscriptions devolved upon me as Epigraphist

           to the Government  of India, 1883 to 1886.  It was

           contemplated   that  that  second  volume  should

           contain  the "Inscriptions  of the Indo-Scythians,

           and of the Satraps of Surashtra"  (see Inscrs.  of

           Asoka, Preface, p.1). It was understood by me that

           all  the materials  for it, then  known, had  been

           collected;  and, in  fact, most  of  the  intended

           Plates seem to have been actually printed off (see

           JRAS,  1894, p.  175).  And  consequently,  having

           plenty  of  travelling  and  other  work  to do in

           connection  with  my  own  volume  when  I was  in

           Northern India, I did not lay myself out to obtain

           fresh  ink-impressions   and  estampages   of  the

           records of the other series, though I did secure a

           few such materials, in the cases  both of them and

           of the  Asoka  records, as opportunity  served.  I

           have  often, since  then, regretted  the omission;

           especially  because  a few  of the materials  then

           extant do not exist, except at the bottom of  the

           sea, in the  wreck  of the  P.  and  O.  steamship

           "Indus," on the north-east  coast  of Ceylon  (see


                                p. 8

        vol.  x, 1881, Dhammapada, Introd.  p. 41, and second

        edition, 1898, Introd. p. 49).

            And more recently he received the full support of

        Professor Kern, who in 1896 wrote:-- "We believe also

        "that   the   figures   256,   notwithstanding    all

        objections, are  "really  intended  as a date  of the

        Lord's  Parinirvana"  (Manual  of Indian Buddhism, p.


            And  he  received   also  partial   support  from

        Professor  Rhys Davids  (Academy, 14th July, 1877, p.

        37, and Ancient  Coins and Measures  of Ceylon, 1877,

        p.  57  ff.;  see  also  page  14  below),  and  from

        Professor  Pischel  (Academy,  11th  August, 1877, p.

        145; see also pages 18, 20, below), and from M. Boyer

        (JA, 1898, ii, p. 486; see also page 15 below).

            The other main line of interpretation starts from

        the point that the passage does not present  any word

        meaning `years;'  and for the most part it takes both

        the words vivutha  and vivasa as nominatives  plural,

        in apposition  with  the  number  256.  The  separate

        branches of this line of interpretation  have been as


            Professor  H.  Oldenberg, on the  possibility  of

        vivutha, vyutha, and vivasa, being  derived  from the

        root  vas,  'to  shine,  become  bright'   (class  6,

        uchchhati), with  the  prefix  vi, thought  that  the

        passage might perhaps  mean:--  "This is the teaching

        "of  him who  is there  illumined;  256  beings  have

        appeared  "in the world  illumined."  But he was more

        disposed  to take the second  part of the passage  as

        meaning "256 beings "have departed (into the realm of

        liberation, into  Nirvana)," and  as indicating  that

        that number of Buddhas  had, up to then, appeared  in

        the course of world-periods.  And so he rendered  the

        whole  passage  (somewhat  freely  in respect  of its

        second  part) as probably  meaning:--  "This teaching

        was  "preached  by the Departed;  the  number  of the

        Departed, "who have  taught  on earth, is 256" (ZDMG,

        xxxv, 1881, p. 475).(fn 4)


     fn 4. Being not acquainted with German, for my knowledge

           of the exact purport of this article  by Professor

           H.  Oldenberg, referred  to again  further  on  in

           connection  with the other  extract  with which we

           have to deal, I am indebted to Mr. Thomas, who has

           very kindly supplied me with a translation of it.

                                p. 9

            M.  Senart, by whom  this  line of interpretation

        has  been  most  prominently   represented,  and  who

        arrived at his conclusions independently of Professor

        Oldenberg,  took  a  somewhat  different  view.   His

        process (Inscrs. de Piya., ii, 1886, pp. 182-189, and

        IA, xx,, 1891, pp.  160-162) may be epitomised  thus.

        He took the verb vivas in its ordinary meaning of 'to

        be absent, to depart  from  one's  home  or country.'

        From that he deduced for vivutha, vyutha, and vyutha,

        the  meaning  of 'a messenger.'  With  the idea  thus

        obtained, he compared  the  missionaries  who  in the

        time of Asoka, according  to the Mahavamsa  (Turnour,

        p.   71,  Wijesinha,  p.   46,  and  see   Dipavamsa,

        Oldenberg, p.  159), the Thera Moggaliputta  sent out

        to various  countries  to propagate  the religion  of

        Buddha.  And  he  thus  arrived  at  the  meaning  of

        'messenger, missionary, as denoting  the persons  who

        were charged  by Asoka with the duty of putting  the

        edict in circulation  and spreading  it abroad.  Like

        Dr.  Buhler, he read  the sata-vivasa  of the Rupnath

        version  as a compound.  But, like Professor  Pischel

        and  Professor  Oldenberg, he took  the sata  of this

        compound, and  the sata  of the Sahasram  version  as

        representing respectively the base and the nominative

        plural  of sattva, in the sense of `a living being, a

        man.'  He took  the  vivasa  of  sata-vivasa  of  the

        Rupnath  version, and  the  vivutha  of the  Sahasram

        version,   not   as   ablatives   singular,  but   as

        nominatives   plural.   And   he  thus   arrived   at

        translations which may be rendered as follows:-

            Sahasram:-  "It  is by the missionary  that  this

        teaching  "  (is  spread  abroad).  Two  hundred  and

        fifty-six  men have "gone forth on missions" (Inscrs.

        de  Piya., ii, 1886,  p.  196, and  IA, xx,  1891, p.


            Rupnath:--"It is through  the missionary  that my

        "teaching  is spread  abroad.  There  have  been  256

        settings  " out of missionaries"  (Inscrs.  de Piya.,

        ii, 1886, p. 196, and IA, xx, 1891, p. 165).

            Brahmagiri:- "This teaching is promulgated by the

        `missionary. 256" (JA, 1892, i, p, 488).

            Mr.  Rice,  in  bringing  to  notice  the  Mysore

        records, sought

                                p. 10

        to  open   out  a  new  branch   of  this   line   of

        interpretation,  by  rendering  the  passage  in  the

        Brahmagiri record as meaning:-- "And this exhortation

        has been delivered  by "the vyutha  (or? society) 256

        times"  (Report  dated February, 1892, p.5).  If that

        were really  the meaning, we could only have wound up

        the inquiry  by commiserating  the individual, or the

        society, for having  had  to reiterate  so often  the

        same so short address.  But we need not refer to that

        proposal again. As has already been pointed out by M.

        Senart  (JA, 1892, i, p.  485), Mr.  Rice's rendering

        was  based  upon  nothing  but  the pure  mistake  of

        taking, as representing the Sanskrit suffix sas, such

        and such a number  of times,' the se of the words  se

        hevam, "even thus," which introduce  the second edict

        in the Mysore  records.  And the rendering  has  been

        judiciously  abandoned  by Mr.  Rice in handling  the

        record  again  on  a  recent  occasion, when  he  has

        presented  the  passage  as  meaning: --   "And  this

        exhortation  was delivered  "by  the  Vyutha  (or  the

        Departed)  256  (?  years  ago);"  to  which  he  has

        attached footnotes  to the effect that "the Departed"

        means Buddha, and, in respect of the number 256, that

        "no  one has succeeded  in discovering  exactly  what

        "these  figures  refer  to"  (Ep.  Carn.,  xi,  1903,

        translations P. 93).

            And, finally M.  Sylvain  Levi took up the matter

        from  another  point  of view in the JA, 1896, i, pp.

        460-474. In the first  place, he took  certain  words

        which  stand  at the end of the second  edict  of the

        Brahmagiri  record,  not  as  being  Padena  likhitam

        lipikarena, and as meaning, according to Dr. Buhler's

        rendering, "written by Pada the scribe," but as being

        padena likhitam  lipikarena, and as meaning  "written

        by the  scribe  in the  pada-fashion, separating  all

        "the words"  (loc.  cit., p.  466);  and he explained

        that the text sent out from  the chancellor's  office

        at Suvamnagiri  to that at Isila bore that indication

        in order to put the local writer on his guard against

        any fancy for pedantry.  He took the words vivuthena,

        vyuthena,  and  vyuthena  as  denoting   any  of  the

        couriers   or  messengers   by  whom  the  edict  was

        circulated  from place  to place (ibid., p.  469 f.).


                                p. 11

        the  reading  of  sata-vivasa  as a compound, he took

        sata  as  representing  the  Sanskrit  smrita, in the

        sense of `enunciated, mentioned,' and interpreted the

        ablative vivasa, and the corresponding vivutha of the

        Sahasram   version,  as  denoting   the  despatch  or

        missive, the edict itself, with which  the messengers

        were entrusted, and rendered  the phrases  as meaning

        "according to the aforesaid missive" (ibid., p. 472).

        And, noting a habit which both the Buddhists  and the

        Jains  had, of guaranteeing  the  integrity  of their

        texts by recording the number of syllables (aksharas)

        which they contained (ibid., p.  472 f.), and finding

        an approximation  to the number 256 in certain  parts

        of each version of the edict, he explained the number

        256  as  indicating, not  a  date,  but  "simply  the

        official   notation   of  the   number   of  aksharas

        "contained  in the  edict, in the form  which  it had

        received   "in  the  royal  chancellor's   office  of

        Pataliputra" (ibid, p. 474).

            In  respect  of  my own  interpretation  of  this

        passage  I have  to say, in the first  place, that  I

        unhesitatingly    endorse    the   view,   originally

        propounded  by Dr.  Buhler, that the number  256 is a


            It is true that the passage does not include  any

        word for `years.' And it would probably  be difficult

        to find many such instances, in which an omitted word

        for  'years'  is not replaced  by some  word  meaning

        'time,' in the epigraphic records of India; though M.

        Boyer  has  apparently   found  two  such  instances,

        referable  according to the present understanding  to

        the first century B.C., in the epigraphic  records of

        Ceylon (JA, 1898, ii, pp. 466, 467).  But the passage

        does at any rate not present anything  which excludes

        the understanding  that a date is meant.  The vivutha

        of the Sahasram record, and the vivasa of the Rupnath

        record, may be taken as ablatives singular, masculine

        or neuter, dependent  upon the number  256, quite  as

        well as nominatives  plural, masculine  or neuter, in

        apposition with that number; while, in the Brahmagiri

        record   there  is  no  word  at  all,  to  give  any

        indication as to how the number 256 is to be applied.

        And this  latter  fact  is particularly  instructive.


                                p. 12

        though  an omission  of  a word  meaning  `years'  is

        easily intelligible and can be matched, and though it

        is quite easy to comprehend how a simple statement of

        figures  could  be at once recognised  as a date even

        without  any word to indicate  the starting-point  of

        the  reckoning, it  is at  least  very  difficult  to

        understand, if `persons' of some kind or another were

        intended, how the text could  come to be left in such

        a form as to give  not the slightest  clue  as to the

        nature  of  those  persons, or to  understand, if any

        such detail was intended as the marking of the number

        of `syllables,' why there is no similar  entry at the

        end of also the second  edict in the Mysore  records,

        especially  as it is there that there stand the words

        which,  according  to  one  view,  record  a  special

        feature  in the verbal  construction  of the original


            It is probably  to Buddhist  and Jain literature,

        rather  than to any epigraphic  records, that me must

        turn for similar instances  of an omission  of a word

        meaning `years.'  And, while it is not worth while to

        spend  time over a special  search  for such cases,--

        inasmuch  as the record  has to be dealt  with on its

        own merits, and irrespective  of the question whether

        exact analogies  can be found or not,--  I will quote

        one instance  from Buddhist  literature, quite to the

        point, which came under my observation  accidentally,

        in casually looking into the contents of a work which

        I had seen described  as being of importance  for the

        ecclesiastical   history  of  Ceylon.   The  work  in

        question is the Sasanavamsa  or Sasanavamsappadipika,

        composed  by a Burmese  scholar  named Pannasami  who

        finished it not very long ago;  to be exact, in 1861.

        Pannasami has recorded the date of the completion  of

        his work, in the common Burmese  era commencing  A.D.

        638, in the following  verse  (ed.  Mrs.  Bode, 1897,

        text p. 170):-- Dvi-sate cha sahasse cha tevis-adhike

        gate(fn 5) punnayam Migasirassa nittham gata va sabbaso.

        And    the    translation     is:   --     "    (This

        Sasanavamsappadipika) verily attained  completion  in

        all respects on the full-moon


     fn 5. The metre in faulty in this pada. Pali authors,

           however, seem to have  never  troubled  themselves

           about irregularities of metre.

                                p. 13

        day of (the  month) Migasira, when there  had gone by

        two hundred and a thousand and twenty-three."

            Here we have an unmistakable  instance, quite  to

        the  point, of omission  of  a word  for  'years'  or

        'time'  in a passage  recording  a date.(fn 6) To that I

        have only to add the following  remarks.  The natural

        appearance   of  the  passage   with  which   we  are

        concerned, is distinctly  that of a date.  Though the

        other interpretations which have been proposed by MM.

        Senart  and  Sylvain  Levi, have  been  supported  by

        substantial   arguments,  they  do  not  present  any

        meaning   that   can   be  recognised   as  following

        naturally, without straining. And they are distinctly

        wrong in taking  the sata of the Sahasram  record  as

        equivalent  to satta, sattani, the nominative plural,

        and the sata of the Rupnath version as equivalent  to

        satta,  the   base,  of   satta,   =sattva,   `being,

        existence;  a living  or sentient  being.'  The  word

        satta, =sattva, is one in respect  of which the people

        who  used  the language  or orthography  of the Asoka

        edicts, could not afford  to follow  the practice  of

        reducing double consonants to single ones, or, at any

        rate, to use generally the word so reduced;  because,

        unless   in  any  such  phrase  as  sava-sata-hitaye,

        sava-satanam hitaye, "for the welfare of all sentient

        beings," the result, sata, would  have been so liable

        to  be  confused  with  sata, =  sata, `hundred,' and

        sata,  =satta, =saptan, 'seven'  and  sata,  =  smrita,

        'remembered,  mentioned;  thoughtful.'  And,  as  has

        already been intimated  (page 4 above), both the sata

        of the Sahasram  record  and the sata  of the Rupnath

        record mean 'hundreds, centuries:' in conformity with

        a common  method  of expression  in  Hindu  dates, in

        translating  which we have to supply the word 'of' in

        order to obtain  a grammatical  rendering, they stand

        in apposition, not with  only  the word  duve, 'two,'

        and the numerical  symbol for 200, but with the words



     fn 6. I  may  now  add, in revising  the  proofs  of  my

           article, another  literary  instance  which, also,

           has come to my notice casually. It is a passage in

           a Jain pattavali, which places the destruction  of

           Valabhi  and  other  occurrences   such  and  such

           numbers    (of   years)   after   the   death   of

           Mahavira-Vardhamana by the words:--  sri-Virat 845

           Valabhi-bhangah 826 kvachit 886 brahmadvipikah 882

           chaitya- sthitih; see IA, xi, 1882, p. 252 b.

                                p. 14

        the numerical  symbols which mean 256;  but of course

        the intended  purport  is, not 256 centuries, but two

        centuries and fifty-six years.

            It is, in fact, an inevitable conclusion that the

        number 256 is a date.  And, following  Dr.  Buhler in

        the second  detail  also, I fully agree with him that

        that date was reckoned from the death of Buddha.  But

        I arrive at this result in a different way.

            Now, in the first place, the passage mentions the

        making  or  composing,  and  the  inculcation,  of  a

        religious  precept by, plainly, a religious  teacher,

        whom it specifies  by the words  vivutha, vyutha, and

        vyutha;  and it places  some event  in the career  of

        that teacher, indicated by the ablatives  vivutha and

        vivasa, 256 years before the actual time at which the

        edict was issued by Asoka.

            The allusion  can only be to one or other  of the

        two  great  ancient   Hindu   teachers,  Buddha   and

        Mahavira-Vardhamana.(fn 7) And,-- even setting aside the

        facts,     that,    if     tradition     is     true,

        Mahavira-Vardhamana  died at least  258 years  before

        the  abhisheka   or  anointment   of  Asoka   to  the

        sovereignty, and that this  edict  was certainly  not

        issued until long after the anointment of Asoka,-- it

        is certain, for a reason already mentioned  on page 3

        above, that, whatever may be the religion which Asoka

        originally  professed, it was to Buddhism that he was


            The words vivutha, vyutha, and vyutha, therefore,

        must denote  Buddha.  And the word  vivasa  must mark

        some   event,  used   as  the  starting-point   of  a

        chronological reckoning, in the career of Buddha.

            Now, Professor  Rhys Davids  propounded  the view

        that, if the edict  is really  a Buddhist  and not  a

        Jain proclamation,


     fn 7. The validity  of my general argument  would not be

           destroyed,  even  if  hereafter  there  should  be

           established something which, I believe, is held to

           have been demolished long ago; namely, that Buddha

           and Vardhamana  were  originally  one and the same

           person, and were differentiated  by the divergence

           of  rival  sects,  with  the  inevitable  oriental

           concomitant of the invention of separative details

           of the most circumstantial  kind, perhaps  before,

           perhaps only after, the time of Asoka. However, I

           do not make any assertion in that direction; I have

           not  studied   the  point.   I  only   hint  at  a

           possibility, which must not be altogether  ignored

           even now.

                                p. 15

        it is to be understood that the starting-point of the

        reckoning  of the 256 years  was, not  the  death  of

        Buddha, but his vivasa in the sense of his nekkhamma,

        abhinikkhamana,  or  abhinishkramana, --  "the  Great

        Renunciation,"--  when he left his home to become  an

        ascetic  (Academy, 14th July, 1877, p.  37, and ACMC,

        p.  58).  And this same view  has been adopted  by M.

        Boyer (JA, 1898, ii, p. 486).

            But Professor  Rhys Davids himself did not regard

        with any favour (ACMC, p. 60),-- and apparently quite

        rightly, --  the idea, entertained  by someone  else,

        that   the  Jains   had  an  era  dating   from   the

        abhinishkramana  of  Mahavira-  Vardhamana, an  event

        quite as important  to the Jains as the same event in

        the life of Buddha  could  be to the Buddhists.  And,

        even  irrespective  of  the  point  that  the  actual

        departure  from  home  would  be denoted  by the word

        vivasana more correctly  than by vivasa, whatever may

        be the case in the Buddhist literature  in general,--

        whatever  may  be the statements  which  can be found

        there, to surround the abhinishkramana of Buddha with

        so great a halo of romance as to justify our speaking

        of it as "the Great Renunciation,"-- there is nothing

        in the  Dipavamsa, or in  the  Mahavamsa, to indicate

        that the Poranatthakatha, the Atthakatha-Mahavamsa or

        Sihalatthakatha-Mahavamsa     of    the    Mahavihara

        monastery, the early  work on which  the Dipavamsa

        and partially  the Mahavamsa  were based  (Oldenberg,

        Dipavamsa, Introd.  p.  2 ff.),--  a  work  of  quite

        possibly  the time of Asoka himself  or nearly  so,--

        attached  any  importance  at all, as an epoch-making

        event,  to  the   abhinishkramana   of   Buddha.   In

        connection with the Mahavamsa, we must bear in mind

        a point, to which, it would appear, no attention  has

        as yet been paid, but which is of importance because,

        in consequence  of it, while  we  may  criticise  the

        Mahavamsa by the Dipavamsa, we must not criticise the

        Dipavamsa by the Mahavamsa.  Mahanaman, the author of

        the   earlier    portion,   really   known   as   the

        Padyapadanuvamsa    or   Padyapadoruvamsa,   of   the

        Mahavamsa, had  opportunities, in consequence  of the

        intervening  visit  of  Buddhaghosha  to Ceylon  from

        Magadha, and of his own

                                p. 16

        visit to Magadha  which is proved  by his inscription

        at  BodhGaya,(fn 8) of introducing  into  his  narrative

        additional items of


     fn 8. I refer to one or other of two records  edited  by

           me in Gupta  Inscriptions, 1888, No.  71, p.  274,

           and No.  72, p.  278 (see  also  IA, xv, 1886, pp.

           356, 359). The inscription No.  71 is dated in the

           year 269, in the month Chaitra;  it mentions, in a

           line  of  Buddhist  disciples  of Lanka  (Ceylon),

           Bhava,  Rahula,  Upasena  (I.),  Mahanaman  (I.) ,

           Upasena (II.), and Mahanaman  (II.), a resident of

           Amradvipa, and born in the island of Lanka; and it

           records  that, in the  specified  year, the second

           Mahanaman  founded a Buddhist  temple or monastery

           at  the  Bodhimanda  that  is  at  Bodh-Gaya.  The

           inscription  No.  72 is not dated;  it records the

           presentation  of a Buddhist  image by the Sthavira

           Mahanaman, a resident of Amradvipa.

              When  I  edited   these  records,  I  took  the

           Sthavira Mahanaman of the inscription No. 72 to be

           identical with the second Mahanaman of No.  71.  I

           interpreted the date in No.  71, the year 269, the

           month Chaitra, as a date of the Gupta era, falling

           in A.D. 588.  And I said in respect of No.  71:- "

           Its extreme  interest  "lies  in the fact that, as

           the Mahanaman, whose record  it is, can hardly  be

           any "Other than the well-known person of that name

           who  wrote  the more  ancient  "part  of the  Pali

           Mahavamsa  or History  of Ceylon, its  date  shews

           either   that   "the  details   of  the  Ceylonese

           chronology,  as  hitherto  accepted,  are  not  as

           reliable  "as they  have been  supposed  to be, or

           else   that  a  wrong   starting-point   has  been

           "selected  in working  out those  details;  and it

           furnishes   a  definite   point  from  "which  the

           chronology  may now be adjusted backwards"  (Gupta

           Inscrs., 1888, Introd. p. 16; see also id., texts,

           p. 275 f., and IA, xv, 1886, p.  357).

              What  I have  said  on the present  occasion, I

           have  said  with  a full  knowledge  of  what  Mr.

           Vincent Smith has written (IA, xxxi, 1902, p.  192

           ff.)  with   a  view   to   upsetting   both   the

           identification proposed by me and the remarks made

           by me in connection  with it, and also a different

           identification  proposed  by M.  Sylvain Levi with

           the result of interpreting  the date of the record

           as a date  of the Saka  era, falling  in A.D.  347

           (JA, 1900, i, pp. 401-411).

              M. Levi's proposal, in connection with the Saka

           era,  is  altogether  unsustainable.  And, for  my

           part, I have to withdraw an alternative suggestion

           made by me, that the date of the record might be a

           date  of the Kalachuri  or Chedi  era, falling  in

           A.D. 518 (Gupta Inscrs., Index, pp.  320, 324). My

           original explanation of the date, as a date of the

           Gupta  era, falling  in A.D.  588, is the  correct


              I endorse  Mr.  Smith's  conclusion  (IA, xxxi,

           1902, p. 193) that the undated inscription No. 72,

           of the  Sthavira  Mahanaman, is some  fifty  years

           earlier than the dated inscription No. 71.  And it

           is, no doubt, a record  of the first Mahanaman  of

           the inscription No. 71, whom Mr.  Smith has styled

           "the spiritual grandfather" (loc. cit., p. 193) of

           the second  Mahanaman  of that  record, the one to

           whom the date in the year 269 belongs.

              For  the  rest,  Mr.  Smith's  conclusions  are

           wrong.  They rest primarily upon a belief that the

           Ceylonese  chronology  is  substantially  accurate

           from B.C. 161 onwards (loc. cit., p.  195, line 17

           ff.).  That, however, is a quite erroneous belief,

           which  is  traceable   back  to  another   initial

           mistake,  or  rather   an  initial   unsustainable

           assertion, made by Mr.  George Tumour  (see, e.g.,

           JASB, vi, 1837, p.  721), and which  can be easily


              The suggestions which I put forward in 1886 and

           1888 in respect  of the Ceylonese  chronology, are

           quite  correct.  Tumour  selected, for working  it

           out, a wrong  starting-point, B.C.  543, which  is

           not   asserted   by,  or  supported   by  anything

           contained  in, either the Dipavamsa or the earlier

           part of the Mahavamsa, but was simply invented  in

           (as far as I can see my way clear  at present) the

           twelfth  or thirteenth  century  A.D.  And  we are

           gradually  obtaining  items  of  information  from

           various  sources, which  shew that the details  in

           the  Ceylonese  chronicles  are  not  accurate  in

           respect even of names, much less of dates.

              But it is possible  that  the author  Mahanaman

           should be identified  with the Sthavira  Mahanaman

           (roughly about A.D. 538) of the Bodh-Gaya undated

                                p. 17

        tradition and romance which were not available to the

        author  of the earlier  work, the Dipavamsa;  and  he

        unquestionably     availed     himself    of    those

        opportunities, in completing  the alleged history  of

        the period  before  Asoka, and in filling  in some of

        the asserted  details  of the life of Asoka  himself.

        And yet even the Mahavamsa merely says:-- "The Bodhi-

        satta was five years older than Bimbisara;  and, when

        he was twenty-nine  years of age, the Bodhisatta went

        forth"  (nikkhami) ;  namely  by  supplying  what  is

        understood,  "on  his  divine  mission"   (Mahavamsa,

        Turnour, p.  10, Wijesinha, p.  8), or, let us rather

        say, "to acquire  bodhi or sambodhi, true knowledge."

        While the Dipavamsa, 3, 47, does not even specify the

        age  of Buddha  when  he left  his  home, but  simply

        says:-- "He, Siddhattha, the leader of the world, son

        of  Suddhodana, having  begotten  Rahulabhadda,  went

        forth for (the purpose of acquiring  true) knowledge"

        (bodhaya abhinikkhami; Oldenberg, text, p. 29).

            There  is nothing  to suggest  that the Buddhists

        ever   recognised   a  reckoning   dating   from  the

        abhinishkramana  of Buddha, when he left his father's

        regal  home, and  went  forth  to acquire  that  true

        knowledge  which  was to qualify  him to be a teacher

        and the founder of a faith. Nor can I detect anything

        to indicate that an event in his life, which would be

        much more likely to have served as an epoch-making

        event, was ever  applied  as such;  namely, his first

        public  appearance  as a teacher, when, at the age of

        thirty-five  according to tradition, he expounded his

        religion to the king Bimbisara (Dipavamsa, 3, 57, 58;

        Mahavamsa, Turnour, p. 10, Wijesinha, p. 8).

            On  the  other   hand,  there   are  indisputable

        evidences, in many directions,-- in India itself, and

        in Ceylon, Tibet, China, Burma, and Siam, --that  there

        was a custom, from


              inscription No. 72, rather than with the second

           Mahanaman (A.D.  588) of the dated inscription No.

           71.  This, however, is a point which  will have to

           be thought  out  on some  other  occasion, when  I

           shall have more to say about the circumstances  in

           which  Mahanaman  wrote  the  Padyapadanuvamsa  or

           Padyapadoruvamsa, and about the mistake  of taking

           him to be a maternal  uncle of king Dhatusena  who

           is supposed to have reigned A.D. 459 to 477 or 463

           to 479.

                                p. 18

        an early time, of determining  chronology  by placing

        events  such  and such a number  of years  after  the

        death  of Buddha.  And, even prima facie, we need not

        hesitate  for a moment about accepting  that event as

        the starting-point  of the 256 years mentioned in the


            But, from  what  point  of  view, and  with  what

        meaning, does the edict  present  the words  vivutha,

        vyutha, and vyutha, to denote  the great  founder  of

        the Buddhist religion, instead of exhibiting his name

        Buddha itself, already well established, as we know

        from the so-called  Bhabra edict? And how did it come

        to present  the  ablatives  vivutha  of the  Sahasram

        record  and vivasa  of the Rupnath  record, to denote

        his death, instead of exhibiting  something answering

        to  the   familiar   nirvana   or  parinirvana,  well

        established  for at any rate not much later times, or

        some  participial  form answering  to the nibbuta  or

        parinibbuta of the Pali books?

            To the  understanding  that  the  words  vivutha,

        vyutha, and  vyutha  denote  Buddha, objections  have

        been  urged  on the basis  that these  words, and the

        word  vivasa,  are  not  to  be  found   in  Buddhist

        literature, but do occur  in Jain  literature.  Thus,

        Professor  Pischel  (Academy,  11th  August, 1877, p.

        145) agreed  with Dr.  Buhler  that the words vivutha

        and vyutha  (the form  vyutha  was not then known) --

        might be taken as meaning "the Departed" in the sense

        of "the Deceased," though Dr.  Buhler had arrived  at

        that  understanding  by  a false  etymology;  and  he

        apparently acquiesced in the view, -- at any rate, he

        did not oppose  it,--  that the number 256 is a date.

        But, on the other hand, he held that the record  is a

        Jain record, probably  issued by Sampadi-Samprati, an

        alleged grandson of Asoka according to the Jains.  He

        expressed the opinion that the word vivutha is a name

        of Mahavira- Vardhamana, And, in favour of that view,

        he hazarded  the conjecture  that some  such word  as

        vivasa  must occur in a certain  passage, in the Jain

        Kalpasutra,   which    mentions    the    death    of

        Mahavira-Vardhamana.  Professor Rhys Davids, however,

        was able to shew at once  (ACMC, p.  60) that no such

        word  occurs  there.  And, turning  to  the  text, as

        edited by Professor Jacobi, we find (ADMG, vii,

                                p. 19

        1878,  p.   67)  that  the  word  actually   used  is

        parinibbuda, equivalent  to the  parinibbuta  of  the

        Buddhist  Pali  writers,  So, again,  Professor  J.P.

        Minayeff, taking  the same view that  the edict  is a

        Jain  record, quoted  (Recherches  sur le Bouddhisme,

        Annales  du Musee Guimet, iv, 1894, p.  78, note 1) a

        verse, from  the Parisishtaparvan  of Hemachandra, as

        placing the death of the Jain teacher Jambu a certain

        number     of    years    after    the    death    of

        Mahavira-Vardhamana by the words sri - Vira - moksha-

        vivasat, which might be rendered "after the departure

        into liberation  of the holy Vira."  But, turning  to

        Professor  Jacobi's  edition  of the Parisishtaparvan

        (Bibliotheca Indica, 1891, p. 161, verse 61), we find

        that the actual  word  in the text is divasat, "after

        the day of the liberation of the holy Vira."

            Thus, two attempts  at any rate, to shew that the

        words with which we are concerned  are to be found in

        Jain  literature, have  failed.  And  even  if  other

        attempts in that direction should be successful, what

        would  they  establish? At  any  rate, not  that  the

        expressions  are not Buddhist  also, We should  think

        that, if any particular  words are exclusively  Jain,

        they would  be the names  Jina, 'the victorious  one,

        the  conqueror, the  vanquisher,' and  Mahavira, 'the

        great hero.'  Yet these  appellations  are constantly

        applied to Buddha in the older books.(l) And even the

        modern Buddhist author Pannasami  has freely used the

        expressions  Jinasasana and Jinachakka to denote "the

        doctrine of Buddha" and " the dispensation of Buddha"

        (Sasanavamsa, ed. Mrs. Bode, e.g., pp. 7, 16, 27, 28,


            As a matter  of fact, derivatives  from that verb

        vivas  with  which  we  are  concerned, do  occur  in

        Buddhist literature.  For the present, indeed, having

        no glossary  for reference  except that published  by

        Dr. Fausboll of the Suttanipata,


        1. For  instance,  Jina, in  the  Suttanipata, verses

           379, 697, 996  (ed.  Fausboll, pp.  67, 131, 182),

           and  in  the  Dipavamsa,  1, 30, 80;  4,  10  (ed.

           Oldenberg, pp.  15, 20, 31), and in the  Mahavamsa

           (Tumour, p. 2, Line 12, p.  3, line 6, p.  9, line

           13, "our  Vanquisher  was a son of the great  king

           Suddhodana  and  of Maya");  and  Mahavira, in the

           Suttanipata, verses 543, 562 (pp.  98 106), and in

           the Dipavamsa, 1, 49;  2, 52;  3, 58 (pp.  16, 24,

           30), and in the Mahavamsa (p. 2, line 3).

                                p. 20

        I can trace only the following  two instances, in one

        of  the  true  etymological  meanings  of  the  verb;

        namely, in the Suttanipata, verse 710, where  me have

        tato  ratya  vivasane   (ed.   Fausboll,  p.   132) ,

        translated  by the editor himself "then when night is

        passing  away"  (SBE,  x, Suttanipata, p.  127, verse

        32),  and  in  the  same  work  namassamano  vivasemi

        rattim, "worshipping I spend the night" (text p. 208,

        verse 1142, translation p. 201, verse 19). But we may

        fairly quote also the following instances of the use,

        in  the  same  work,  of  the  closely  similar  verb

        vipravas, 'to  set  out  on a journey, to go or dwell

        abroad, to  dwell  away;'  namely, vippavasasi, 'thou

        dost  stay  away,'  vippavasami, 'I  stay  away,' and

        avippavasa, 'a not staying  away'  (text  p.  207 f.,

        verses  1138,  1140, 1142,  translation  p.  200  f.,

        verses  15, 17, 19).  And, if  a  conjecture  may  be

        hazarded  on my own side, it is that we shall  obtain

        plenty of instances hereafter  of the use of the verb

        vivas  in  Buddhist  texts,.  and  some  of  them  in

        accordance  with  the exact  meaning  in which, as we

        shall  see, the  derivatives  presented  in the edict

        were used.

            Meanwhile,  what   are  the  exact   etymological

        meanings  of the  words  vivutha, vyutha, vyutha, and

        vivasa? And what special characteristic of Buddha was

        there, to  account  for  the  use  of such  terms  in

        connection with him?

            The form vyutha, with  the long  u and the dental

        th, is a variant of, no doubt, vyutha, with the short

        u and the lingual or cerebral th.  And, as such, it is

        to be accounted  for  by the  influences  which  have

        given  us such  forms  as, in the rock edict  No.  4,

        vadhite  (Kalsi, line  11) against  vadhite  (Girnar,

        line 7), and in rock edict  No.  1, pana (Kalsi, line

        3) against  prana (Girnar, line 9), and in rock edict

        No.  2, Tambapamni (Kalsi, line 4) against Tambapamni

        (Girnar,  line  2-3),  and, in  rock  edict  No.  13,

        apparently  diyadha  (Shahbazgarhi,  line  1) against

        diyadha (Kalsi, line 35).

            As regards  the other forms, vivutha  and vyutha,

        Professor   Pischel   has   convincingly    explained

        (Academy,  11th  August,  1877,  p.  145)  that  they

        represent  the Pali  forms  vivuttha  and vyuttha  of

        respectively vyushita and vyushta, the Sanskrit past

                                p. 21

        participles with ta of the root vas, `to dwell, etc.'

        (class  1,  vasati,  nivase),  with  the  separative,

        distributive, or privative  prefix  vi.  He has  also

        told  us  that   the  word   sata,  in  the  compound

        sata-vivasa  as was  then  the  understanding, cannot

        represent, as Dr.  Buhler  thought  it does, the Pali

        satthu and the Sanskrit sastri, 'a teacher.'  In this

        latter point, we quite accept his decision.  But, for

        reasons  already  stated  (page  13 above), we cannot

        follow him in his endorsement of Dr. Buhler's reading

        of  sata-vivasa  as a compound, even  though  coupled

        with  his own substitution  of "since  his  departure

        from  life,"  instead  of  Dr.  Buhler's  "since  the

        departure  of the Teacher."  Nor need we take, and in

        fact  we are restrained  from  taking, for  the words

        with which  we are concerned, any figurative  meaning

        in the direction of "deceased' and 'death,' for which

        no authority has been produced.

            Of that verb vivas which has just been indicated,

        the   actual   meanings,  as  given   in  Sir  Monier

        Monier-Williams'  Sanskrit  Dictionary, new  edition,

        1899, and  as fully  endorsed  by the St.  Petersburg

        Dictionary  and the quotations  given therein, are:--

        [1]  to  change  an  abode,  depart  from;  [2]  with

        brahmacharyam,  to  enter   upon  an  apprenticeship,

        become  a pupil;  [3]  to abide, dwell, live;  [4] to

        pass, spend (time).  It is sufficient to take for our

        purposes  the first of these  meanings, from which we

        have for vyushita  and vyushta  the sense of 'one who

        has departed from home.' And we are constrained, by a

        passage  in the Rupnath  record  itself, to take  the

        words   in  their   natural   meaning,  and  in  that

        particular one.

            In the Rupnath  record, the passage  which we are

        considering is immediately preceded by two sentences,

        of which one explains  the point.  The first of these

        two sentences  tells us that the purport of the edict

        had been  engraved  upon mountains  "both  in distant

        places and here,"' and directs


        1 The facsimiles distinctly shew:-- valata hadha cha.

           As will  be seen  immediately, there  are  several

           writer's mistakes in this part of the record. And

           we must correct the test into:-- palate hidha cha;

           in which  palata  is the local  form  of the  Pali

           parato,  =  the  Sanskrit  paratas, `farther,  far


                                p. 22

        that it should be engraved  on stone pillars wherever

        there   may  be  such  pillars.   And  it  is  to  be

        incidentally remarked that the first of these clauses

        is instructive.  The whole  of this  sentence, except

        for the words  palata  hidha  cha, stands, with  some

        slight  differences, in also  the  Sahasram  record,.

        after  the date;  and the sentence  which  we have to

        notice in the next paragraph, may have stood after it

        and have become  illegible, or may have been omitted.

        But  the Brahmagiri  record, as also  the  other  two

        Mysore  records  at Siddapura  and Jatinga-Ramesvara,

        does not present either of the two sentences.  And it

        is a plain inference  that those  three  places  were

        some of the "distant places," at which the edict had

        been published  and engraved  before the time when it

        was published and engraved at Sahasram and Rupnath.

            The  second  sentence  runs  thus: --  Etina  cha

        vayajanena     yavataka     tupaka    ahale    savara

        vivasetavi[ya]   ti.   There  are  several   palpable

        writer's  mistakes  here.  We must  correct  the text

        into:-- Etina cha viyamjanena yavatake tuphakam ahale

        samvara, vivasetaviye  ti.  And the  meaning  is then

        plain   enough: --"And   by  this  same   suggestion,

        intimation,  (it  is  directed  that)  to  whatsoever

        extent (there  may be) an employing, a deputation, of

        you,  (to  that  extent   you)  should   with  active

        exertion, energetically, depart  from home;"  namely,

        to travel abroad in order either to engrave the edict

        in  other  places  also,  or  in  a  general  way  to

        propagate the teaching of it.(fn 9)


     fn 9. M.  Senart  went  nearer  than Dr.  Buhler  to the

           meaning of this passage, But it is not possible to

           follow  him  in  reading   savata,  for  the  Pali

           sabbato, the Sanskrit  sarvatas, `from  all sides,

           in  every  direction,  everywhere.'  The  original

           distinctly has savara;  and Dr.  Buhler recognised

           that it indicated  samvara, though  he took it as,

           apparently, a  nominative, and  translated  it  by

           "(learning  to) subdue his senses." In samvara, we

           have the ablative, used  adverbially.  Sarvara  is

           given  in  Childers  Pali  Dictionary  as  meaning

           `closing, restraint.'  It is there explained  that

           `restraint' is of five kinds.  The fifth restraint

           is viriya-samvara, `the restraint  which enables a

           man to make an active  exertion.  And that  is the

           sense which I take.

           I have  taken  what  seems  to be here  the  plain

           purport  of ahala  from  the  meaning  `employing,

           use,' which is given  to ahara in Monier-Williams'

           Sanskrit  Dictionary   on  the  authority  of  the

           Katyayana-Srautasutra.  There is a particular  use

           of  the  word  ahara,--  not  yet  explained,  but

           perhaps to be explained in much the same [way.]

                                p. 23

            With that use of the verb vivas before us, in the

        same record, we are constrained  to take something at

        least  closely  approximating  to that  same  natural

        sense in our explanation of the derivatives  vivutha,

        vyutha, vyutha, and vivasa.  And we find  at once the

        meaning  that  we require, by a consideration  of the

        main characteristic of the life of Buddha.

            The leading  feature  of the life  of Buddha  was

        that, from  the time  of his leaving  his home, or at

        least  from the time when he had attained  that  true

        knowledge  for the purpose of acquiring which he left

        his home, he had no more  any settled  abode;  he was

        thenceforth always a traveller, a pilgrim, a wanderer

        upon the face of the earth.

            To this point attention has already been drawn by

        Dr. Fausboll, on p.  14 f. of his introduction to his

        translation  of  the  Suttanipata  (SBE, x, 1881  and

        1898), where  he has said:--  "What  then  is Buddha?

        First  he is a Visionary, "in the good  sense  of the

        word;  his knowledge  is intuitive, "`Seeing misery,'

        he  says,  'in  the  philosophical   views,  "without

        adopting  any  of  them, searching  for  truth, I saw

        "inward  peace.'.....  Secondly  he is an Ascetic, "a

        Muni, one that forsakes  the world  and wanders  from

        ,the  house  to the  houseless  state;  because  from

        house-life "arises defilement."

            Sometimes,  indeed,  Buddha   was   a   sojourner

        (viharati,  viharitva), as  in  the  Brahman  village

        Ekanala  at Dakkhinagiri  in the land  of Magadha, in

        the park of Anathapindika  in the Jetavana  woods  at

        Savatthi, and on the bank of the river Sundarika.  in

        the Kosala country  (Suttanipata, ed.  Fausboll, Pali

        Text Society, pp.  12, 17, 79), and for as long as it

        pleased  him  (yathabhirantam)  at  Ambalatthika,  at

        Kotigama,      and      in      Ambapali's      grove

        (Mahaparinibbanasutta, ed. Childers, JRAS, N.S., vii,

        pp. 57, 66, 72). And sometimes he dwelt


           way,  --in   between   the  mention   of  arambha,

           `exertions,' and  ingita, `commotions,' --  in the

           Suttanipata,  verses   747,  748,  and  the  prose

           preceding them. It does not seem appropriate, even

           if  practicable, to follow  Dr.  Buhler  (IA, vi,

           157, note) and M. Senart (Inscrs.  de Piya., ii,

           194,  and  IA, xx, 164, 16), in  finding  in  this

           passage  of the edict  a pun based  on a secondary

           allusion   to   boiled   rice,  a   viaticum,  and


                                p. 24

        (vasi) for  even  a whole  year  at  a  place, as  at

        Rajagaha  during the rainy season  and the winter and

        the summer (Vinayapitaka, ed. Oldenberg, i, p. 79).

            But the feature  of his life  was wandering  from

        place  to place.  In describing  his own origin, from

        among the people of Kosala  just beside Himavanta, he

        said  to king  Bimbisara: -  "They  are Adichchas  by

        clan, Sakiyas  by  birth;  from  that  family  I have

        wandered  out (pabbajito), not  longing  for  sensual

        pleasures"  (Suttanipata, p.  73, verse  423, and see

        translation, SBE, x, p.  68, verse  19).  And  to the

        tempter  Mara  he said:--  "Having  made  my  thought

        subject  to me, and my attention  firm, I shall  roam

        (vicharissam) from land  to land, training  disciples

        extensively  "  (id.,  p.  77,  verse  444,  and  see

        translation,  p.  70, verse  20).  And  so  we  find,

        sometimes   that,  in  the  regular   course  of  his

        wanderings  (anupubbena), he was  journeying  on  his

        journey (charikam charamano) to Uruvela, to Rajagaha,

        and to Baranasi (Vinayapitaka, ed.  Oldenberg, i, pp.

        24, 210, 289);  and sometimes  that, having sojourned

        for as long as it pleased  him, he set out afresh  on

        his  journey  (eharikam   pakkami)  from  Uruvela  to

        Gayasisa, and from  Gayasisa, to Rajagaha, and thence

        to Kapilavatthu (id., pp. 34, 35, 82).

            But better  than anywhere  else is the nature  of

        his life  exhibited, with  the motive  for it, in the

        beautiful   opening   verses   of  the  Pabbajjasutta

        subdivision   of  the   Mahavagga   section   of  the

        Suttanipata, of  which  I  reproduce  Dr.  Fausboll's

        translation  (SBE,  x,  1898,  Suttanipata,  p.  66),

        taking  only  the  liberty  of substituting  for  his

        "ascetic"  the word  "wandering," more  in accordance

        with the term pabbajja, = pravrajya, `a going  about,

        migration,  a  roaming,  wandering  about, '  of  the

        original text (ed. Fausboll, p. 71), and in agreement

        with  his own translation  of at any rate  the verse,

        quoted  above,  which  describes  the  extraction  of

        Buddha:-- "(1) I will praise a wandering life such as

        the clearly-seeing "(Buddha) led, such as he thinking

        (over it), approved of as " a wandering life.--  (2)

        `This house-life is pain, the seat of "impurity,' and

        'a  wandering   life   is  an  open-air   life, '  so

        "considering  he  embraced  a wandering  life.--  (3)


                                p. 25

        "a wandering  life, he avoided  with  his body sinful

        deeds, "and having (also) abandoned  sin in words, he

        cleansed  his  "life."  And  so  the  poem  goes  on,

        narrating  the meeting  of Buddha  and Bimbisara, the

        pilgrim and the king:-- "(4) Buddha went to Rajagaha;

        he entered Giribbaja of the Magadhss for alms, with a

        profusion   of  excellent   signs.--   (5)  Bimbisara

        standing in his palace saw him;" and so on.

            Buddha    was   essentially    a   pabbajita,   a

        paribbajaka, a wandering ascetic teacher.  And he was

        par excellence, in the  eyes  of the  Buddhists, "the

        Wanderer"  of his  own  time  and  of many  centuries

        thereafter.(fn 10) The existence  of a verse in the edict

        which we are considering, has already  been suggested

        by Mr.  Thomas  (see this Journal, 1903, p.  833).  I

        find in the record  another  touch  of poetry, in the

        selection  of the words  vivutha, vyutha, and vyutha,

        in  preference  to  any  commonplace  expression,  to

        denote  Buddha as "he who left his home and became  a

        Wanderer."  And in harmony  with that idea there  was

        used, to indicate  his  death, the  ablative  vivasa,

        "after  (his) wandering," in the sense of "after  the

        end of all the wanderings  of his life." The ablative

        vivutha  of the Sahasram  record might, of course, be

        interpreted as the ablative of the neuter verbal noun

        vivutha, with  the same  meaning  as vivasa.  But  it

        seems  more  proper  to  take  its  base, vivutha, in

        exactly  the same sense ill which it was used for the

        instrumental  vivuthena  in the same passage, so that

        its meaning  is "after the Wanderer," in the sense of

        "after  the death of the Wanderer."  With this use of

        the   appellation   we  may  compare,  in  epigraphic

        records, such expressions as those which specify such

        and such a number  of years elapsed  Vikramat, "after

        Vikrama" (e.g., Professor


     fn 10. I should  hare  liked  to  include  in  my  remarks

           something  of what Professor Rhys Davids has said,

           in his recently  published  Buddhist  India, about

           the  teaching  "Wanderers"  of  ancient  India, as

           contrasted  with  the  "Hermits  " who lived  in

           fixed abodes in the forests  occupying  themselves

           in meditation  and the performance  of sacrificial

           rites or in the practice of austerities, and about

           the high esteem in which the "Wanderers" were held

           by the people  at large, and the  part  that  they

           played in the development of Buddhism.  But it was

           only  after  my article  had gone to the printers,

           that I became  aware of his hook.  The recognition

           of Buddha as "the Wanderer" presented itself to me

           independently, some time ago, as a natural  result

           of my own inquiries.

                                p. 26

        Kielhorn's  List  of  the  Inscriptions  of  Northern

        India, EI, v, Appendix, p.  11, No.  73,  p.  29, No.

        202), and in literature such expressions  as Vikkamau

        kalammi, "in the time after Vikkama" (IA, xix, p, 36,

        No.  60),  and  such  and  such  a  number  of  years

        sri-Virat, "after  the holy  Vira"  (IA, xx, P.  345,

        line  8  ff.  from  the  bottom) .  And,  with  these

        explanations, I translate  thus  the texts  which  we

        have been considering:-

            Sahasram:-  "And this same precept (was composed)

        by the Wanderer;  (of) centuries, two  (hundred') and

        fifty-six  (years  have elapsed) since  the Wanderer;

        (or in figures)(fn 11) 200 (and) 50 (and) 6."

            Rupnath:-  "(This same) precept  was composed  by

        the  Wanderer;  (of) centuries, 200  (and) 50 (and) 6

        (years have elapsed) since (his) wanderings."

            Brahmagiri: --   "And   this  same  precept   was

        inculcated  by  the  Wanderer;  200  (and) 50 (and) 6

        (years have elapsed since then)."


       fn 11. --  For  the  insertion  of  these  words, compare  the

           familiar ankatopi of later records.


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