Epigraphic curses

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri May 14 03:00:03 UTC 1999

Coincidentally, I have been interested in these curses found in inscriptions
which reveal a lot about what the society considered matters of self-respect,
sin, etc. I planned to write on them sometime and had gathered interesting

In a message dated 5/13/99 7:38:51 AM Central Daylight Time, mrabe at ARTIC.EDU

> Can anyone suggest a reference in Epigraphia Indica or some such
>  publication for the curse, said to be fairly widespread in its currency, to
>  the effect that one who harms the  benefaction will incur sin equal to that
>  of one who kills a milk-giving cow on the bankes of the Ganges?

The common form of such a curse is "kagkaiyiTaik kumariyiTaik kurAl pacu
kon2RAn2 ceyta/kon2Ra pAvam koLvAn2". Variations are possible also.

>  I have reason to believe this refrain concludes a previously unpublished
>  inscription that I am having trouble deciphering on a sculpture from
>  Nagapattinam that belongs to the Art Institute of Chicago.  Based on a
>  preliminary eye-copy ESI officers, Mysore, have recognized that portion of
>  the text and said that it may date from the Vijayanagar period.

I hope they say that due to orthography and not the contents of the curse.
Cursing is much older. This particular type of curse occurs in many
inscriptions. One example is an  inscription A.R. No. 538 of 1902 or SII.
vol. 8, no. 128 belonging to tiripuvan2ac cakkaravarttikaL maturaiyum Izamum
pANTiyan2 muTittalaiyum koNTaruLiya kulOttugkacOza tEvar's 27th regnal year.
The grant was issued by one kavuNiyar perumAn2 who was obviously a brahmin of
kauNDinya gotra. Apparently, the same person in another inscription curses a
person misappropriates a grant as "one who takes/carries water pot for the
Jains". Interestingly, the word for pot used here is "kUNTikai"

>But where
>  does one begin going through the thousands of other South Indian
>  inscriptions looking for a match in sentiment and orthography?  Thus if
>  anyone can recall seeing this particular curse cited anywhere, it will be
>  an enormous help in preparing a more accurate transcription to take back to
>  Mysore for a second attempt at having it fully translated.

Hope this helps.

S. Palaniappan

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