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0051 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 51 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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that the main tribal names recorded in this region by Alexander's historians show a phonetic change which is a characteristic feature in this language group and one attested from a period as early as Alexander's campaign. Both the names Aspasioi and Assakenoi undoubtedly correspond to the Sanskrit As`raka, a name mentioned by Varahamihira among tribal designations of the Indian North-West.12 This conversion .fm > sm > sp > ss > s is typical, and can be already traced in the language of A§oka's Gandhara inscriptions, which Sir George Grierson has proved to have been greatly affected by the influence of what he calls the ' Modern Paisaci languages '.'3


No distinct references to Udyana can be traced in the extant records of that long and fascinating period in the history of the Indian North-West border during which the Kabul Valley with the adjacent territories passed from Alexander's immediate heirs successively under the domination of the great Mauryan empire, the Greek kings from Bactria, and the short-lived dynasties of ' Scythian ' or Parthian origin to become finally the main seat of the powerful kingdom established by the Kusana branch of the Great Yiieh-chih or Indo-Scythians. There is reason to believe that much of the ' Graeco-Buddhist ' art remains which the Buddhist ruins of the Swat Valley, like those of Gandhara, have preserved in abundance, dates back to the early centuries of our era when Buddhism was especially flourishing in these parts under Kusana rule. But among the archaeological ' finds ' so far recorded there is nothing to throw light on the special conditions prevailing in Udyana at that period.

It is towards the close of the period of Kusana domination that we first receive information about Udyana from one of those Chinese Buddhist pilgrims who are the safest guides for the ancient topography of the Indian North-west. It is furnished by the narrative of Fa-hsien who reached Wu-ch`ang about A.D. 403, from the side of the Pamirs. The route which Fa-hsien and his Chinese fellow pilgrims followed presents points of interest, and it is therefore fortunate that by M. Chavannes' convincing identification of Caiela-cla`a with Kashgar all question of his starting-place has been solved) ' From this [Chieh-ch`a] the travellers went westwards towards North India, and after being on the way for a month, they succeeded in getting across and through the range of the Onion mountains. The snow rests on them both winter and summer.' 2 After referring to the dangers encountered here by travellers from ' venomous dragons, which, when provoked, spit forth poisonous winds, and cause showers of snow and storms of sand and gravel ',a Fa-hsien tells us: 'The people of the country call the range by the name of the "Snow Mountains". When the travellers had got through them, they were in North India, and immediately on entering its borders, found themselves in a small kingdom called T`o-leih (T`o-li), where also there were many monks, all students of the Hina-yana.'

Udyana under IndoScythian rule.

Fa-hsien's visit to Udyana.

12 For a synopsis of the classical forms of this name and their derivation, see Marquart, Geschichte von Eran, ii. p. 247, note.

13 See his paper on Linguistic relationship of lire Shahbasgarhi inscription, J..R.A.S., 1904, p. 725 ; especially p. 729 for sin > sp > s. Cf. also his remarks in Z.D.M.G., 1912, p. 77 : 'This change of sm, through sv or sb, to sp, and thence to ss, s, does not occur in any other Indian language, and is typical of " Modern Pisâca'"—It may be noted in passing that this phonetic change helps to explain still better Ptolemy's name Kaspeira (pronounced Kaspira)

for KaSnvir ; see Stein, Rig, jal. ii. p. 352.

' See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. 54, note 3 ; Stein, Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 28, 48.

2 See Legge, Fd-hien, p. 24.

Cf. Hsiian-tsang's similar description of the climate encountered in the ' Valley of Po-mi-lo ' (the Pamirs) with its `great lake of the dragons', Julien, Mémoires de Hiouenthsang, ii. pp. 207 sq.; Watters, Yuan Chwang, ii. p. 282. For the storm-producing powers of ' dragons' or Nâgas, cf. e. g., Julien, Mémoires, i. pp. 47 sqq., 133 sq. ; my notes on

i. 179, 239.