Nigali Sagar

Nigali Sagar, also called Nigliva,[1] is an archaeological site in Nepal containing the remains of a pillar of Ashoka. The pillar is called the Nigali Sagar pillar, or also the Nighihawa pillar, or Nigliva pillar, or Araurakot Asoka Pillar. The site is located about 20 kilometers northwest of Lumbini and 7 kilometers northeast of Taulihawa, Nepal.[2] Another famous inscription discovered nearby in a similar context is the Lumbini pillar inscription.

Nigali Sagar pillar of Ashoka
Nigali Sagar pillar full view.jpg
The Nigali Sagar pillar, one of the pillars of Ashoka.
MaterialPolished sandstone
SizeHeight: Width:
Period/culture3rd century BCE
Discovered27°35′41.7″N 83°05′44.9″E / 27.594917°N 83.095806°E / 27.594917; 83.095806Coordinates: 27°35′41.7″N 83°05′44.9″E / 27.594917°N 83.095806°E / 27.594917; 83.095806
PlaceNigalihawa, Nepal.
Present locationNigalihawa, Nepal.
Nigali Sagar is located in South Asia
Nigali Sagar
Nigali Sagar
Nigali Sagar is located in Nepal
Nigali Sagar
Nigali Sagar

DiscoveryEdit

The pillar was initially discovered by a Nepalese officer on a hunting expedition.[3][4] The pillar and its inscriptions (there are several inscriptions on it, from Brahmi to Medieval) were researched in March 1895 by Alois Anton Führer.[1] Führer published his discovery in the Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey Circle, North-West Province, for the year ending on June 30, 1895.[1] The fact that the inscription was discovered by Alois Anton Führer, who is also known to have forged Brahmi inscriptions on ancient stone artefacts, casts a doubt on the authenticity of this inscription.[5]

Nigali Sagar pillar with inscription
Nigali Sagar pillar stump with exposed inscription, and separated top portion.[6]

The pillar was not erected in-situ, as no foundation has been discovered under it. It is thought that it was moved about 8 to 13 miles, from an uncertain location.[7]

Besides his description of the pillar, Führer made a detailed description of the remains of a monumental "Konagamana stupa" near the Nigali Sagar pillar,[8] which was later discovered to be an imaginative construct.[9] Furher wrote that "On all sides around this interesting monument are ruined monasteries, fallen columns, and broken sculptures", when actually nothing can be found around the pillar.[10] In the following years, inspections of the site showed that there were no such archaeological remains, and that, in respect to Fuhrer's description "every word of it is false".[11] It was finally understood in 1901 that Führer had copied almost word-for-word this description from a report by Alexander Cunningham about the stupas in Sanchi.[12]

Kanakamuni BuddhaEdit

 
"Budha-sa Konākamana-sa" (𑀩𑀼𑀥𑀲 𑀓𑁄𑀦𑀸𑀓𑀫𑀦𑀲, "Of the Kanakamuni Buddha") inscription in the Brahmi Script, at Nigali Sagar, 250 BCE

It is said that in this place the Kanakamuni Buddha, one of the Buddhas of the past, was born.[13] The Asoka inscription engraved on the pillar in Brahmi script and Pali language attests the fact that Emperor Asoka enlarged the Kanakamuni Buddha's stupa, worshiped it and erected a stone pillar for Kanakamuni Buddha on the occasion of the twentieth year of his coronation.

Added to the doubts on the authenticity of the inscription, the very mention of a "divinized Buddha having been several time reborn" and preceded by other Buddhas such as the Kanakamuni Buddha, inscribed on a pillar in a historical period as early as the 3rd century BCE, is considered by some authors as quite doubtfull and problematic.[14] Such complex religious constructions are generally considered as belonging to later stages of the development of Buddhism.[14]

The Nigali Sagar EdictEdit

The inscription, made when Emperor Asoka visited the site in 249 BCE and erected the pillar, reads:


Nigali Sagar Edict
Translation
(English)
Transliteration
(original Brahmi script)
Inscription
(Prakrit in the Brahmi script)

“His Majesty King Priyadarsin in the 14th year of his reign enlarged for the second time the stupa of the Buddha Kanakamuni and in the 20th year of his reign, having come in person, paid reverence and set up a stone pillar”.[15][16]

𑀤𑁂𑀯𑀸𑀦𑀁𑀧𑀺𑀬𑁂𑀦 𑀧𑀺𑀬𑀤𑀲𑀺𑀦 𑀮𑀸𑀚𑀺𑀦 𑀘𑁄𑀤𑀲𑀯𑀲𑀸 𑀪𑀺𑀲𑀺𑀢𑁂𑀦
Devānam piyena piyadasina lajina chodasavasā [bhisite]na
𑀩𑀼𑀥𑀲 𑀓𑁄𑀦𑀸𑀓𑀫𑀦𑀲 𑀣𑀼𑀩𑁂𑀤𑀼𑀢𑀺𑀬𑀁 𑀯𑀠𑀺𑀢𑁂
Budhasa Konākamanasa thube-dutyam vaḍhite
𑀯𑀺𑀲𑀢𑀺𑀯 𑀲𑀸𑀪𑀺𑀲𑀺𑀢𑁂𑀦𑀘 𑀅𑀢𑀦 𑀅𑀕𑀸𑀘 𑀫𑀳𑀻𑀬𑀺𑀢𑁂
[Visativa] sābhisitena ca atana-agāca mahīyite
𑀲𑀺𑀮𑀣𑀩𑁂𑀘 𑀉𑀲𑀧𑀧𑀺𑀢𑁂
[silathabe ca usa] papite[17][18]

 
Rubbing of the inscription.


Because of this dedication by Ashoka, the Nigali Sagar pillar has the earliest known record ever of the word "Stupa" (here the Pali word Thube).[19]

There is also a second inscription, "Om mani padme hum" and "Sri Ripu Malla Chiram Jayatu 1234" made by King Ripu Malla in the year 1234 (Saka Era, corresponding to 1312 CE).

Accounts of the pillarEdit

The Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hien and Hiuen-Tsang describe the Kanakamuni Stupa and the Asoka Pillar in their travel accounts. Hiuen Tsang speaks of a lion capital atop the pillar, now lost.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Smith, Vincent A. (1897). "The Birthplace of Gautama Buddha". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 616–617. ISSN 0035-869X. JSTOR 25207888.
  2. ^ Lumbini development trust report
  3. ^ "In 1893 a Nepalese officer on a hunting expedition found an Asokan pillar near Nigliva, at Nigali Sagar." Falk, Harry. The discovery of Lumbinī. p. 9.
  4. ^ Waddell, L. A.; Wylie, H.; Konstam, E. M. (1897). "The Discovery of the Birthplace of the Buddha". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 645–646. JSTOR 25207894.
  5. ^ Thomas, Edward J. (2002). History of Buddhist Thought. Courier Corporation. p. 155, note 1. ISBN 978-0-486-42104-9.
  6. ^ Führer, Alois Anton (1897). Monograph on Buddha Sakyamuni's birth-place in the Nepalese tarai /. Allahabad : Govt. Press, N.W.P. and Oudh.
  7. ^ Mukherji, P. C.; Smith, Vincent Arthur (1901). A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Tarai, Nepal the region of Kapilavastu;. Calcutta, Office of the superintendent of government printing, India.
  8. ^ Führer, Alois Anton (1897). Monograph on Buddha Sakyamuni's birth-place in the Nepalese tarai /. Allahabad : Govt. Press, N.W.P. and Oudh. p. 22.
  9. ^ Thomas, Edward Joseph (2000). The Life of Buddha as Legend and History. Courier Corporation. ISBN 978-0-486-41132-3.
  10. ^ ""On all sides around this interesting monument are ruined monasteries, fallen columns, and broken sculptures." This elaborate description was not supported by a single drawing, plan, or photograph. Every word of it is false." in Rijal, Babu Krishna; Mukherji, Poorno Chander (1996). 100 Years of Archaeological Research in Lumbini, Kapilavastu & Devadaha. S.K. International Publishing House. p. 58.
  11. ^ Mukherji, P. C.; Smith, Vincent Arthur (1901). A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Tarai, Nepal the region of Kapilavastu;. Calcutta, Office of the superintendent of government printing, India. p. 4.
  12. ^ Falk, Harry. The discovery of Lumbinī. p. 11.
  13. ^ Political Violence in Ancient India by Upinder Singh p.46
  14. ^ a b Beckwith, Christopher I. (2017). Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. Princeton University Press. pp. 233–235. ISBN 978-0-691-17632-1.
  15. ^ Basanta Bidari - 2004 Kapilavastu: the world of Siddhartha - Page 87
  16. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka. New Edition by E. Hultzsch (in Sanskrit). 1925. p. 165.
  17. ^ Basanta Bidari - 2004 Kapilavastu: the world of Siddhartha - Page 87
  18. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka. New Edition by E. Hultzsch (in Sanskrit). 1925. p. 165.
  19. ^ Amaravati: The Art of an early Buddhist Monument in context. p.23

See alsoEdit

Edicts of Ashoka
(Ruled 269–232 BCE)
Regnal years
of Ashoka
Type of Edict
(and location of the inscriptions)
Geographical location
Year 8 End of the Kalinga war and conversion to the "Dharma"
Year 10[1] Minor Rock Edicts Related events:
Visit to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya
Construction of the Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya
Predication throughout India.
Dissenssions in the Sangha
Third Buddhist Council
In Indian language: Sohgaura inscription
Erection of the Pillars of Ashoka
Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription
(in Greek and Aramaic, Kandahar)
Minor Rock Edicts in Aramaic:
Laghman Inscription, Taxila inscription
Year 11 and later Minor Rock Edicts (n°1, n°2 and n°3)
(Panguraria, Maski, Palkigundu and Gavimath, Bahapur/Srinivaspuri, Bairat, Ahraura, Gujarra, Sasaram, Rajula Mandagiri, Yerragudi, Udegolam, Nittur, Brahmagiri, Siddapur, Jatinga-Rameshwara)
Year 12 and later[1] Barabar Caves inscriptions Major Rock Edicts
Minor Pillar Edicts Major Rock Edicts in Greek: Edicts n°12-13 (Kandahar)

Major Rock Edicts in Indian language:
Edicts No.1 ~ No.14
(in Kharoshthi script: Shahbazgarhi, Mansehra Edicts
(in Brahmi script: Kalsi, Girnar, Sopara, Sannati, Yerragudi, Delhi Edicts)
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edicts 1&2:
(Dhauli, Jaugada)
Schism Edict, Queen's Edict
(Sarnath Sanchi Allahabad)
Lumbini inscription, Nigali Sagar inscription
Year 26, 27
and later[1]
Major Pillar Edicts
In Indian language:
Major Pillar Edicts No.1 ~ No.7
(Allahabad pillar Delhi pillar Topra Kalan Rampurva Lauria Nandangarh Lauriya-Araraj Amaravati)

Derived inscriptions in Aramaic, on rock:
Kandahar, Edict No.7[2][3] and Pul-i-Darunteh, Edict No.5 or No.7[4]

  1. ^ a b c Yailenko,Les maximes delphiques d'Aï Khanoum et la formation de la doctrine du dhamma d'Asoka, 1990, p. 243.
  2. ^ Inscriptions of Asoka de D.C. Sircar p. 30
  3. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39
  4. ^ Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39