This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
There are various pieces of evidence of a somewhat indefinite character which would lead to the inference that there were a large number of settlements of the Tamils in this region and that the southern culture had spread so far out as the Eastern Archipelago itself. This is made clear in the voyage of Fa-hien on his return journey from Ceylon to China. He set sail from Ceylon and was caught in a storm, and after a difficult and dangerous voyage arrived at Javadvipa (the Tamil Savakam) where he found " various forms of error and Brahmanism, flourishing"; while he found, much to his regret, that the Buddhists in the locality were not worth speaking of. This character of the Indian emigrants in the Eastern Archipelago is in a way put beyond a doubt altogether by the so-called Yupa inscriptions of a king Mulavarman found in East Borneo (edited formerly by Dr. Kern) and of which an excellent new edition is given us by Br. J. Ph. Vogel. These inscriptions are four in number and refer to a colony of Brahmans who celebrated a yaga in the true orthodox Vedic style giving at the end of the ceremony various gifts including even the kalpavrkshadana.1
1 Schoff's Periplus, p. 46, Sec. 60.
These are put on the yupa stambhas (sacrificial posts) by the Brahmans who officiated in the sacrifice. Unfortunately the inscriptions are not dated, but they are of the "Pallava-Grantha" character which Dr. Burnell called . "Vengi-alphabet," a misnomer which is now no more accepted. Here are the words of the learned doctor who gives us the revised version : "among the epigraphical records of southern India we cannot point to any specimen which exhibits exactly the same style of writing as is found in the earliest inscriptions of the Archipelago. But among the southern alphabets, it is undoubtedly the archaic type of the ancient grantha character (to retain Buhler's terminology) used by the early Pallava rulers of the Coromandel coast, which appears to be most closely related to the character of the Koetei epigraphs." Arguing on paleographical grounds alone and admitting the defective state of our knowledge of the palaeography of this particular period Dr. Vogel would ascribe this inscription to the middle of the 4th century A.D. This indicates that in that early period there were colonies of
1 The expression sdhalparrkshadanam (gift of a gold wish-giving tree of the same form, leaves and all, as in nature) in the inscription is badly rendered.
Brahmans apparently from South India so far east as East Borneo celebrating a sacrifice there and handing clown the fact of such celebration by putting up inscriptions on the very sacrificial posts in the unmistakably south Indian characters of the fourth century of the Christian era. The question would arise whether these colonies maintained any connection with India which could be regarded as of a political character and whether such colonisation would warrant any assumption of a greater India are questions - answers to which Ave cannot attempt yet with the material available for this period.