lubint at WLU.EDU
Wed Feb 23 04:27:15 UTC 2011
A fascinating topic. Java seems have made more of a specialty of curses in inscriptions than South Asia. But here is what comes to mind. Many inscriptions recording an act of benefaction end in blessings upon those who respect and protect the benefaction, and curses on those who violate it. An example I pluck from the beginning of my 2007 article, "Punishment and Expiation..." is a Prakrit grant, the relevant part of which reads:
[7r44] ... jo sakakāle upari-
[7r45] likhitamajātāye a?uva??hāveti tasa
[7r46] vo sammo ti yo casi vigghe va??eja
[7v47] sa ca khu pancamahāpātakasa?jutto narādhamo
[7v48] hota ti
"Blessings to him among you who in his time makes [people] follow the
above-written rule. But he who acts contrary to it shall be the lowest
of men, tainted with the five mortal sins."
My note on this gives the source and mentions a similar formula in Kannada:
G. Bühler, "A Prâkrit Grant of the Pallava King Sivaskandavarman," EI 1:
2-10. My translation is adapted from BÜHLER's. Similarly, the Kannada portion of an
inscription of K???adevarāya of Vijayanagara warns that "those who injure this meritorious
gift (dharma) shall incur the great sin of slaughter of a cow or brahmin, or the
like (gohaty[ā]brahmahatyādimahāpātaga?a)": EI 1: 366, line 39.
My impression, perhaps premature, is that such imprecations are usually in Sanskrit rather than the vernacular in bilingual grants. Even in the "Kannada" text just mentioned, the imprecation is actually a Sanskrit compound with a Kannada ending.
Sircar collected many such stanzas (often more vivid) attributed to Vyāsa or Manu in inscriptions:
Sircar, D.C. (1965), Indian Epigraphy, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, appendix II: 170-201.
These stanzas occur very frequently in the Orissa inscriptions, for instance, collected in the Rajaguru volumes.
I will chime in again if I notice any truly vernacular examples in my files.
Professor, Department of Religion
Lecturer in Law and Religion, School of Law
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Washington and Lee University
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American Philosophical Society sabbatical fellow, 2010-2011
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