SLAB INSCRIPTION OF MAHADAḶI MAHANA.
(A.S.I.
NO 489)

BY - professor, SENARATH PARANAVITHANA.
(EPIGRAPHIA ZEYLANICA, V0L-III. , PAGE 216.)


This slab has been broken into four fragments, one of which is missing. The other three are lying on the pavement of the kirivehera. When intact, the slab measured 5ft. by 2ft.
2in. and the inscription in 13 lines covered an area of 3ft. 4in by 2ft.2in. The letters vary in size from 1½ to 3 inches. The stone is considerably weathered; but the writing is tolerably clear, and all the letters on the preserved fragments can be made out with certainty. The slab seems to have been damaged recently, for an eye-copy of the inscription made by Mr. J.W. Robertson contains the letters on the missing fragment. But comparison of the letters on the preserved fragments with the corresponding ones of this eye-copy convinces us that it is inadvisable to attempt a restoration of the missing portions of the record with this help.

The script resembles that of the Tissamahārāma slab (A.I.C. NO.67) now in the Colombo Museum. Another inscription in the same type of script and belonging to about the same period is found at Monarāgala in the Uva province. The present record contains some symbols which are more developed in from than the corresponding ones of the Tissamahārāma slab. compare, for instance, r a and r na of this inscription with r and r of that slab. Therefore, our epigraph seems to be somewhat later in date than the Tissamahārāma slab which belongs to the reign of Mahānāman (circa 468-490 A.D.).

The following points are noteworthy as regards the grammar of the document. In saratara for Skt. Śridhara, p. siridhara, the dha has been changed to ta and the vowel i in the first two syllables changed to a, doubtless under the influence of the vowels in the following syllables. Intervocalic ta has been changed to ya in ceya for p. cetiya ; in the preceding record this word occurs in the form of ceta. In rajemi , the first person singular suffix mi has been added to a noun. This feature is also noticed in the Tissamahārāma inscription mentio
ned above. The elision of a whole syllable at the end of the word and the shortening of the preceding long vowel are noticed in Mahana for Mahānāga.

This inscription is not dated. The donor is Mahadeḷi Mahana raja (King Mahādāṭhika Mahānāga.) son of sarataraya (Siridhara Ayya). A king of Ceylon named Mahādāṭhika Mahānāga is mentioned in the chronicles[1] ; but he lived in the first century A.D. and his father was not named Siridhara. Mahādāṭhika Mahānāga of our inscription must, therefore, have been a local ruler of Rohana who assumed the title raja. Perhaps he flourished in that unsettled period which followed the death of Mahānāman and was ended by the accession of Dhātusena, when the northern part of the island was under Tamil domination and provincial governors of the south and opportunity to proclaim themselves independent. It may also be interesting to note that Tirῑtara,[2] the name of one of the five Tamil chieftains with whom Dhātusena had to fight, is the Tamil forin from of the Sanskrit name Śridhara of which the name of Mahadeḷi Mahana’s father is also a corruption.

As the epigraph is fragmentary, we cannot say exactly what its contents were ; but from such parts as have been preserved, it seems that its purport was to register a grant of land made for defraying the expenses connected with the ritual at the Mańgala Mahācetiya at Kājaragāma which doubtless is the modern Kirivehera.


TEXT.

1. Siddham Saratarayaha

2. puta Mahadaiḷ-maha-

3. -na- rajemi Kajaragama ra-

4. -ji-maha-vaherahi Ma-

5. -gala-maha-ceya .. .. ..

6. jina-paṭisa .. .. .. .. ..

7. ama-padana koṭu .. .. .. .. ..

8. tela-mula koṭu ca .. .. .. .. ..

9. hapi-vaṭeha ca .. .. .. .. ..

10. payutu karanaka .. .. .. .. ..

11. -tugami aṭadaha[sa] .. .. .. ..

12. -hakasalayite .. .. .. .. ..

13. vaṭitani ama .. .. .. .. ..


TRANSLATION.

Hail ! I,King Mahadeḷi Mahana, son of prince[3] Saratara .. .. .. .. .. .. at the grate auspicious cetiya in the royal monastery of Kajaragama .. .. .. .. .. .. for the repair of dilapidated buildings .. .. .. .. .. .. for the offerings of sacred food .. .. .. .. .. .. for defraying the expenses of oil .. .. .. .. .. .. for lamps of clarified butter .. .. .. .. .. .. so that (it may be used for) .. .. .. .. .. .. eight thousand .. .. .. in .. .. ṭugama .. .. .. .. from what has accrued .. .. .. sacred food .. .. ..


REMARKS.

[Line 6] jinapaisa .. .. Most probably this has to be completed as jinapaṭisatarana koṭu a phrase occurring frequently in inscriptions from the second to fifth centuries. For its explanation, see E.Z. vol. I,p.71.

[Line 7] Ama-padana has been taken as equivalent to P. amata-padāna. Amata means ‘ambrosia’, the food of celestial beings. In the Tamil inscriptions of south India, the food offered to the deity in temples is called amudu (Skt. amrta, ‘ambrosia’ ); and it is probable that the same usage prevailed in the Buddhist shrines of Ceylon. The word muḷu, used in Sinhalese literature to describe food offered in temples, and also for the victuals served to the king, can etymologically be identical with amrta

[Line 8]. Tela-mula koṭu. P. tela-mūlam katvā Mod sin. tel mila koṭa.

Compare the phrase tela ca huta ca mula koṭu in the ‘ jetavanārama ’ inscription of kaniṭṭaha Tissa (E.Z. vol. I,p.257).

[Line 9]. Hapi-vaṭeha. Hapi is equivalent to P. sappi ‘clarified butter’ . Vaṭe is the same as P. vatti and Skt. vartti , Mod sin. väṭa ‘Lamp’.

[Line 10]. payutu. P. payutta; Skt. prayukta.

[Line 11]. .. .. ṭugami. The name of the village which was the object of the present grant may, perhaps, be restored as jeṭugami. If so it may be identical with Deṭagamuwa, a village about a mile to the south of Kataragama.

[Line 12]. This cannot be understood owing to its fragmentary nature.

[Line 12]. Vaṭitani ,The instrumental singular of vaṭita equivalent to Skt. varttita.


[1] Mahāvaṃsa, ch. xxxiv, vv. 38 ff.

[2] Ibid.,ch. xxxviii, v. 32.

[3] Aya = Skt. āryya, see above,p.82.