The Hindu Ruins in the Plain of Parambanan

by J. Groneman


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From the beginning of the first chapter: I. CHANDI KALASAN,

This ruin is the only one in Central Java the age of which has been ascertained with perfect exactness, from an inscription in nagari characters cut in a stone, which was found in the neighbourhood.

The inscription was deciphered and translated, both by the Dutch scholar Dr. J. Brandes and the Indian Dr. R. G. Bhandarkar.

This is no easy task, even for such scholars. Some Sanskrit characters have so much likeness among each other that it is difficult to tell one from the other, and if, as is the case with this inscription, which is about 1100 years old, they have become almost or quite illegible, a trustworthy deciphering is next to impossible.

This may account for the discrepancy of the two translations, which however, as the differences occur only in unimportant words or phrases, does not materially affect the clearness and the concordance of the two versions.

By reading and comparing the two versions repeatedly. I have found the sum and substance of the inscription to be the following:

"Homage to the blessed (or: reverend) and noble Tara."

"May she, the only deliverer of the world, who, seeing how men perish in the sea of life, which is full of incalculable misery, is sure to save them by the three means — grant you the wished-for essence (Bh., quintessence, v. Br.), the salvation of the world by the Lord of gods and men.

"The guru (teacher, gurus, Br.) of the Sailendra prince erected a magnificent Tara temple. At the command (or: the instance) of the guru, the grateful ... (?) made an image of the goddess and built the temple, together with a dwelling (vihara, monastery) for the monks (bhikshus) who know the great vehicle of discipline (Mahayana).

"By authorization of the king, the Tara temple and the monastery for the reverend monks, have been built by his counsellors, the pangkur, the tavan, and the tirip.

"The deserving guru of the Sailendra king built the temple in the prosperous reign of the king, the son of the Sailendra dynasty.

"The great king built the Tara temple in honour of the guru (to do homage to the guru), when 700 years of the Saka era were past."

"The territory of the village of Kalasa was bestowed on the congregation of priests (monks) in the presence of the pangkur, the tavan, and the tirip, and the village chiefs (as witnesses).”

"This great (incomparable) endowment was made by the king for the monks. It is to be perpetuated by the (later) kings of the Sailendra dynasty, for the benefit of the successive reverend congregations of monks, and be respected (maintained) by the wise pangkur, the good tavan, the wise tirip and others, and by ..... ("their virtuous wives", according to Br., but Bh. 's version runs) "the virtuous foot-soldiers".

"The king also begs of all following kings that this bridge (or: dam) of charity, which is (a benefit) for all nations, may be perpetuated for all times."….




















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The Hindu Ruins in the Plain of Parambanan
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