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travels prove interesting ; at any rate I feel that I am partly carrying out the wishes of my late amiable and learned patron, James Prinsep, who oft expressed a wish that I should ramble over the district of Behar and cater for him. To be thus able (even at this late period) to carry out the views of my benefactor, is in itself delightful, but I hope that I am at the same time partly meeting those of the Honorable the Court of Directors, and of the Royal as well as of the Parent Asiatic Society. I however labour under great disadvantages, viz. want of means and want of an establishment of good draftsmen and a good pundit. I have only one of the former and of the latter none. Accurate drawings 'occupy much time, and a single idol will require a whole day, a group will take more, for all those which are worth drawing have most elaborate ornamental details. A complete and interesting portfolio could be filled either at Gyah or Bodh Gyah ; to copy these again fairly, takes an equal if not longer time, indeed I have in a few days sketched more than can be reduced to order in as many weeks.
To enable me to do the subject of this paper justice, it would be requisite to visit the whole of the country included in ancient Behar or “Vihara,” for the name has undoubtedly been derived from the numerous “Viharas” or Monasteries of which the present town of Behar, was probably the principal, though Bodh Gyah was perhaps the most sacred of the whole on account of its being the site where Sakya's miracles are supposed to have been performed; the term of doubt I apply to the miracles only, for, that such a lawgiver as Sakya existed, I see no reason to question, the accounts of his life and death when sisted of their fabulous interpolations; are too circumstantial for us to take a different view, and of such the Ceylon books seems particularly free—in this respect the Budhist works are far better than the Bráhminical ; the best of these perhaps is the Mahabharut, which if likewise parted from its impurities, would prove a history of real and great events of however less remote date.
In page 517, Vol. VI. of the Journal Asiatic Society, in Turnour's examination of the Pali Budhistical annals, mention is made of a dispute about the repairs of the “eighteen great Viharas surrounding Raja-griha.” The question is, where were these said Monasteries, which, from their requiring repairs, may be supposed to have existed for a long period, even before the advent of Sakva himself,
shortly after whose death this took place? This is what I shall try to show.
Within a circle of 30 or 10 miles round Gyah, I have traced the following, of what I suppose to be the remains of Viharas, viz. Nagarjuni, Koorkihar, (Bodh Gyah,) Bukronr, (Gyah proper,) Murghat, Chillor, Booraha, and Gooncherit, Pawapuri, Burgaon or Koondilpoor, Behar, Raja-griha, Giryek, Patna, or as I find it called in an inscription, “Pataliputra,” Poonaha and Dharawut : here are seventeen, of these places I have visited eleven ; the great antiquity of five of them is unquestionable ; of those named which I have not seen, there are five, also doubtless; therefore we may assume that we know of ten out of the eighteen of Sakya's time.
Behar, or more properly speaking “Magda,” is acknowledged ever to have been the chief seat of the Buddhist religion, and of its heretical offshoots; the exact extent of this kingdom is unknown—and I fear must ever remain doubtful, though it would seem to have included (to the north) Benares, Allahabad and Ajudhia (or Oude) and to have extended to Ganjam, (Kalinga Desa) to the south, and Arracan to the southeast, at least the inscriptions, cave temples and the mention made in the Buddhist works would seem to warrant such a conclusion, though the former clearly point to the king of Magda having supreme power over all India from Caubul to Ceylon. Such must have been the case in Asoka's time and in that of Chundra Gupta. The 83,000 temples supposed to have been built by the first named were scattered all over India, and raised or repaired by command at one and the same time, upon the occasion of his conversion to the Buddhist faith. Of these perhaps the Tope of Manikyala, the caves of Bamiyan and of western India formed part; however I have here to treat of the “ Vihars around Raja-griha,” ten of which I have shown to have been traced with tolerable certainty.
I have given the names of seventeen sites : I will now describe those I have visited.
First of all Bodh Gyah. The extensive momd of brick, mud and hewn stones bear evidence of there having been perhaps more than one establishment, and that a great Chaitya or tope existed, the masonry of which was of brick and stone, the latter from the same quarry as all the pillars, bearing inscriptions in the ancient Pâli, and supposed to
be the work of Asoka, though I think there is reason to assign even a much earlier date to them. One of these formerly stood at Bukrower, the site of another city, and of a Vihara directly opposite to Bodh Gyah, likewise on the banks of the Lellajun, on the neck of land above the junction of the Mahana or “Mahanada,” between both rivers ; part of this pillar is set up in the town of Sahebgige (Gyah) and two fragments remain at the original spot; of a fourth fragment, containing the inscription, various stories are told, but suffice it to say it is missing.
Proceeding further down the river, we come to Gyah proper ; that this was originally a place of Buddhist and Jain worship, I believe there is little room for doubt, and that the worship of the Linga or Siva at this and all the Viharas, was practised for ages in conjunction with that of Budha, I think is equally clear from the innumerable Linga stones of every shape and variety found scattered about. I could wish that I had time to draw the whole variety, from the simple round stone to the richly sculptured four-headed kind called “the Chowmoorti,” and “ Chowmookhi” Mahadeva, though some would be wifit for our pages.
Still following the river, which is now called the Phulyoo, and at a distance of 15 miles, we reach Nagarjuni hills, the site perhaps of the chief Vihara or of several, for we read in Turnour that after the death of Sakya, the first great convocation was held before the Sutta punni (Sutgurba)? cave on the south of the hill, &c. which I think there is every reason to believe was the very spot now called Barabur as I have attempted to show in my notice on the caves. On the northwest end of these bills is Dharawut, and Chundowk tank, also the site of a Vihara.
Crossing the river and proceeding some 12 or 14 miles to the southeast, and after passing the range of barren rocks which extend from near Gyah to Giryek and Raja-griha, we come to a vast mound of bricks and rubbish, called Koorkihar, undoubtedly the site of a great monastery and large town, indicated by the potsherds and the many fine wells and tanks. Koorkihar is perhaps a corruption of "Korika,” and Vihara the ancient name, is said to have been Koondilpoor, but this honor is claimed also for Burgaon, the site of another large city and monastery, Chaityas, &c. to the north of the hills, distant 10 or 12 miles.
The outer enclosure appears to have been 180 paces square ; the wall (of bricks) was about three feet in thickness ; there must have been an
inner inclosure half the width and considerably less in length; the court yard thus formed appears to have been filled for ages with Chaityas or Budha temples of every dimension, from 10 inches to perhaps 10 or 50 feet, and to have been built one upon the other, the first being buried or terraced over to receive those of later date. There are great varieties both in form, size and materials, some of granite, others of basalt, potstone or chlorite, also of plain ground bricks.
There have been several rows of large images (and I should think of temples, covering them) of the Gyani Budhas, also of female figures; all have the creed “ Yé Dhurma hétu,” &c. engraved on them ; some of the sculptures are very beautiful and perfect, and of colossal size; the whole country is strewed with images and fragments : excavation and search in this mound would enable us to fill our own and other museums, and no doubt lead to some rational conclusion as to the progress of Buddhism up to its annihilation, for whilst digging out a miniature Chaitya I found the plynth of one with an inscription (No. 3 of my late notice of Inscriptions) which proves it to belong to one of the Pál Rajahs of Bengal who were known to be heretics. Buchanan and other travellers have noticed these innumerable small temples or models (figs. ) heaped under every fig-tree throughout the district, the like also occur (though belonging to the Jains), at Agrahat in Cuttack, but for what purpose they were intended no one had ventured to conjecture ; chance however, at this place, has discovered the secret. The inscription abovenamed as well as other brief sentences I have found, show them to have been funeral monuments,our learned fellow-member Mr. Hodgeson of Nepaul has kindly communicated much valuable information to me, which has served to confirm my views ; he mentions that in the valley of Nepaul these numerous small Chaityas, surrounding a larger, is by no means uncommon. If again we look to Rangoon, we find the same to exist, but I shall advert more particularly to this subject in a separate paper and give some illustrations.
Quitting Koorkihar to return towards Gyah, and after travelling three miles to the south-west, the hamlet of Poonaha is met with, situated between two rocky eminences, and having a large tank to the north ; to the south of the village is a handsome Budhist temple, the most perfect of any
I have met with ; indeed the only one save that of Bodh Gyah which is of comparatively modern date, it possessed the most striking
picture of the style, viz. a solid round tower with a niche to each of the cardinal points, formerly ornamented with figures of four of the five Budhas, fragments of which are strewed about, and there are likewise many others and much brick rubbish, denoting the existence of some large building in former times; on the rock to the west is a fine shaft of granite, in the north face of which is an empty niche ; there appears to be no inscription.
Taking Gyah again as a starting point and proceeding to the southwest four miles beyond Chirki, and on the right bank of the Morhur, we come to the site of a large city and citadel, &c. and no doubt of Budhist and Saiva monasteries, on the two hillocks or rocks by the river side, which are covered with bricks, this place is called Murhut.
After crossing the river bed and directly opposite, is a high mound called Chillor, on which is a mud fort; this mound is the site of an ancient city of great extent ; a quarter of a mile to the south are several mounds of earth and bricks; two are very conspicuous; one seems to have been a Dagope, the other has lately been opened for the bricks and several Budhist idols of beautiful workmanship found; one of Siva is of great beauty, large dimensions, and quite different from any other figures I have ever met with. I hope to give an illustration of this figure hereafter ; it took me many hours to draw. There are other mounds which it would be well worth while to open.
About two miles to the north is a small hill called “ Matka,” where there are the remains of a Chaitya ; it was from this spot, I am told, that the small image of Budha, I sent a drawing of last month, was brought.
Proceeding due west for four miles, we come to a place called “Booraha.” Here are several sites where there have been Chaityas, and a large Vihara, there is a natural curiosity which has no doubt been always a place of sanctity. There is a hollow spot beside a nullah where there are many powerful springs of apparently mineral waters, which come up vertically through the soil and discharge gas, the same as hot springs; the temperature of these is said to vary, much as well as the volume of water and gas discharged.
Two miles or less to the west of this place is a small cluster of hills called Manda, around which pottery and bricks are strewed for a great distance; this is the site of another large town.
There have been