Ok, fair question. Indulge me in this long answer.
You're focusing on my point about the curious nature of seemingly 'unnecessary' level of precision, given the assumption that it was done without any tech advantage that might make it easy to do. And your point is that if a culture has demonstrated other tedious and inefficient means to executing a project, then its not a stretch to consider that its POSSIBLE therefore, that they could have undertaken an exceedingly challenging project who's primary goal isn't necessarily the end result, but more likely more about the humbling process of overcoming the hardship of achieving that difficult goal in the hardest means possible. Like a sort of expression of martyrdom in suffering. Its a very inspiring thing for people to see that degree of selflessness.
Its definitely a good point, in that across many cultures, there are countless examples of humanity demonstrating its humility and willingness to sacrifice to prove a worthiness of life through suffering. One version of that is the activity of mountaineering. If it was just about the goal of getting to the top, there are many ways that don't involve risking your life, but the journey is where man truly learns to appreciate life.
But there's one distinction I have to make there. When you make a piece of art or a monument to something, (which has to be a big part of why they made those caves, because you can't practically use a space you can't even have a conversation in because of the crazy reverberation and feedback echos), its intention is to affect people through the inspiration it will have on them by their comprehension of what it is. When you look at a Tibetan Sand Mandala, you can see what has gone into that art. You can see that it was made from individual specs of coloured sand, and from that recognition, you gain the intended inspiration. That is after all, the main goal of its creation, to inspire, because art is not for personal consumption, (its a form of communication which implies a dialogue). The one individual experiences the humbling effect of suffering through its creation, but its value is more in its ability to communicate that experience by eliciting an inspiring reaction from the many.
So if you want to inspire and elicit that reaction from a monument to 'suffering' say as an affirmation of the value of life through suffering and humility, then you do it as an outward visible monument like a giant sculpture with the best chances for that inspiration to happen. If you're going to try to make something out of the hardest rock, and do it in a way that will take orders of magnitude more time and careful slow progress, because your goal is a highly unlikely level of precision, then that thing you're making is not going to be the mere interior of a cave in my opinion.
This is how that particular applied logic fails the Occam's Razor for me with the Barabar caves. The interior of those caves limits the ease of who will see it, the impact from the achievement of that level of precision, (as the main expression of the 'suffering'), would likely be missed by most ancient people who would see it, so as an exercise of absolute cruel suffering and tedium in making it, it wouldn't even transmit the impact of that experience effectively, which is its sole purpose. So in that sense, the only value making those caves would have been for the handful of men who underwent that hardship in making it, which is a comically tiny subset of the number of people something like a 'monument to the value of life through suffering' should have been aimed to inspire.
On the balance, and along side the many other sites who's very existence implicate that confounding reaction, I still side with advanced civ explanation to allow for its existence being because it was easy for them to achieve, as opposed to the possibility of the achievement of a poorly conceived monument to the perfection of precision .
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02-Mar-20 20:28 by Open mind.