[INDOLOGY] Where is Coyaṇḍaka?

Charlyn Edwards edwardscharlyn at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 10:34:38 UTC 2024

Dear Indology list members,

This email requests your help to identify a place called Coyaṇḍaka.

This name appears in a verse of the “Nālandā Inscription of
Vipulaśrīmitra,” an undated Sanskrit inscription, perhaps 12th century,
commemorating the donation of a *vihārikā *at Nālandā by a Buddhist from
Somapura Mahāvihāra.  Coyaṇḍaka is said to be the site of a *pitāmahasya
vihārikā* where renovations have been donated. There is a possibility this
place is outside India or only may be literary.  Of course the spelling of
the name would have changed.  It is possible this place names occurs in
Pali or other Prakrit sources.

See below for the verse which mentions Coyaṇḍaka and further information.

If you help me identify this place you will be rewarded by a grateful
footnote in my first ever long article, on this inscription, in the
upcoming publication by Harrossowitz of a book of essays on *vihāra*.  None
of the editors or authors writing about this inscription have identified
it.  I have been searching for 6 years for Coyaṇḍaka and even my esteemed
professors have not found this place.

I have benefitted from many discussions and announcements on this list.

In gratitude,
Charlyn Edwards
(a doctoral student at Hamburg)

coyaṇḍake yaś ca pitāmahasya

vīhārikāyāṃ navakarmma citram

harṣābhidhāne ca pure jinasya

dīpaṅkarasya pratimāṃ vyadhatta.

I have found two inscriptions with the word *pitāmaha*.

The "Kosam Inscription of the Reign of Maharaja Vaisravana” commemorates
the donation to a *purvasiddhāyatana* or a shrine dedicated to a *siddha*.
This inscription from the vicinity of Kauśāmbī is mixed Prakrit and
Sanskrit and has been dated by Majumdar to the fourth century by
palaeography alone. The donor is called a *śrāvaka* who gave a *chhattram*,
stone parasol, for the top of the *pūrvvasiddhāyatana* or the temple
of the *bhagavato
pitāmahasya saṃmyaksaṃbuddhasya.*

Another inscription with the word *pitāmaha* is one of the few inscriptions
firmly dated to the reign of the Kuṣana emperor Kaṇiṣka (second century).
It was found at Mathurā on a sculpted pedestal (the image missing) where
the inscription included the phrase,* bhagavato pitāmahasya
saṃmyasaṃbuddhasya. *The editor Sahni expressed his surprise at finding the
word *pitāmaha* in the place of *arhat* in this Sanskrit version of the
Pali homage, *namo tassa bhagavato arhato sammāsambuddhassa,* which is so
frequently found at the beginning of Pali canonical texts.

An inscription published by Bhandarkar seems to indicate the practice, not
necessarily Buddhist, of *āyantana* or shrines dedicated to deceased
progenitors which often housed images of the deceased. This inscription for
a* gurvāyatana, *also at Mathurā, commemorated the donation of images by a
living guru (with the title *arya*) in honour of a lineage with four
deceased gurus who are referred to as *pūrrvā* and *bhagavat.*  Bhandarkar
argued that this early Gupta inscription is "practically identical with
those of Kushāna records" and estimated a date of 380 CE.   Elsewhere,
Mishra mentioned textual evidence, from Kauṇḍinya's commentary on the
*Pāśupatasūtras*, that a place where a devotee to Śiva undertook *vrata*,
"austerities," was described as an *āyantana* and considered sacred.

These renovations were citra which could mean colourfully painted or
manifold but in any case wondrous.


Charlyn Edwards

Doktorandin, Asien-Afrika-Institut

Universität Hamburg

Email:  edwardscharlyn at gmail.com
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