Mandasor Pillar Inscriptions of Yasodharman

Mandasor pillar inscription of Yashodharman.jpg
Yashodharman site, Mandsaur is located in India
The Mandasor Pillar Inscriptions of Yashodharman are a set of Sanskrit inscriptions from early 6th-century discovered at an archaeological site near Mandsaur (Mandasor) in northwestern Madhya Pradesh, India. These record the victory of Malawa king Yasodharman over the Hun king Mihirakula. According to Richard Salomon, these are notable for "their outstanding literary, calligraphic and historical value". The inscription adds to the evidence in Buddhist texts, such as the memoirs of the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (Hsuan Tsang) who calls Mihirakula as extremely cruel and barbaric, one who killed monks and destroyed monasteries in Gandhara. The Mandasor inscription praises Yasodharman, describes him as having rescued the earth from "rude and cruel kings of the Kali age, who delight in viciousness".

Fleet first published his translation of the inscription in 1888. The Fleet's translation of the inscription has been corrected by various scholars.

The inscriptions were found on a pair of pillars, at a site southeast of Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh in what was then a small village. The town is also referred to as Mandasor, Dasor or Dasapura in historic texts. The site contained not only the pillars but ruins of a Hindu temple and many desecrated panels and statues. They were discovered by John Fleet in 1884, and first published in 1886. It is currently at its original site, which is now housed within compounds of the Mandsaur's Yashodharman Archaeology Museum. The site was excavated by a team led by Garde in 1923, who found some of Fleet's presumptions incorrect. Garde found the foundations and ruins of a temple about 75 feet (23 m) from the pillar, likely a Shiva temple because several new inscriptions found opened with homage to Shiva and they mention a temple. He also found double human figures buried in soil below. It was of the type similar to other Gupta era site, that likely stood above the pair of pillars, before it was toppled at some point, at the site.

The major inscriptions exist on a pair of light red sandstone pillars. The base of the first column is rectangular. Above it is a square section, then a sixteen faced column shaft that rises vertically. Each face is about 8.5 feet (2.6 m) wide. The inscription is somewhat difficult to locate because of the hue of the stone and the antiquity of the inscription. It is 2.17 feet (0.66 m) above the base block. Near the primary pillar with inscription, Fleet found a number of ruins of panels and statues which were not a part of the pillar or inscription, but of a larger monument that went with it. Fleet noted that at the time of his 1884 visit there are "row of chisel marks all round the column here" and it was "deliberately broken by the insertion of wedges".

The inscription has survived in a form that can be traced with ink-impression technologies. It covers a space of about 3.25 feet (0.99 m) by 1.25 feet (0.38 m) area. These are in Sanskrit, Gupta script of later northern variety such as in the way the upagudha are inscribed. The text is in poetic verse form, and at the end is inscribed the name of scribe in prose.

The inscription states that Yasodharman's dominions covered the regions between Brahmaputra River (Assam) to the western ocean (Arabian Sea, Sindh) from the Himalayas (Kashmir) to the Mahendra mountains (either Odisha, or someplace in Western Ghats). It states that Mihirakula was defeated and did homage to Yasodharman. The inscriptions are not dated.

This page was last edited on 24 December 2017, at 01:15.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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