History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:13 am

History of Hindostan; From the Earliest Account of Time, To the Death of Akbar; Translated From the Persian of Mahummud Casim Ferishta of Delhi: Together With a Dissertation Concerning the Religion and Philosophy of the Brahmins; With an Appendix, Containing the History of the Mogul Empire, From Its Decline in the Reign of Mahummud Shaw, to the Present Times
by Alexander Dow.
Volumes I & II
Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, in the Strand

Shan Allum the present Emperor of Hindostan.


• Dedication To the King
• Preface
• A Dissertation Concerning the Customs, Manners, Language, Religion, and Philosophy of The Hindoos.
PART I. The History of the Hindoos, Before the First Invasion of Hindostan, by the Mahomedans.
Section I. Of the fabulous accounts of the Hindoos concerning their origin. -- A specimen of their ancient history
Section II. Of the Origin of the Hindoos
Section III. Of the Reign of Krishen, the founder of the Dynasty of the Marages
Section IV. Of the Reign of Marage the son of Krishen, and of the Dynasties of the Marages and Keshrorages
Section V. Of the Reign of Firosera, and the dissolution of the Dynasty of Keshrorage
Section VI. Of the Reign of Soorage, and the Dynasty of that name
Section VII. Of Barage
Section VIII. Of the Reign of Keidar the Brahmin
Section IX. Of the Reign of Shinkol, and of his son and successor, Rhoat
Section X. Of the Reign of Merage
Section XI. Of the Reign of Kederage
Section XII. Of the Reign of Jeichund
Section XIII. Of the Reigns of Delu, and the two Foors
Section XIV. Of Callian Chund
Section XV. Of the Reign of Rhamdeo Rhator
Section XVI. Of the Reign of Partab Chund
Section XVII. Of Annindeo, Maldeo, and the dissolution of the empire
PART II. The History of the Empire of Ghizni
Section I. Of the first appearance of the star of Islamism, in Hindostan, together with the summary account of those Mahomedans, by whom the empire of Ghizni was formed
• Section II. The Reign of Nasir ul dien Subuctagi, the founder of the empire of Ghizni
• Section III. The Reign of Amir Ismaiel ben Nasir ul dien Subuctagi
Section IV. The History of the Reign of Amin ul Muluck, Emin ul Dowla, Sultan Mamood Giznavi, from his accession to the year 403
Section V. The History of the Reign of Sultan Mamood, from the year 403, to his death in the year 419
• Section V. The History of the Reign of Jellal ul Dowla Jemmal ul Muluck, Sultan Mahummud, ben Sultan Mamood Giznavi
Section VI. The Reign of Shahab ul Dowla Jemmal ul Muluck Sultan Musaood ben Sultan Mamood Giznavi
Section VII. The Reign of Abul Fatte, Chutub ul Muluck Shahab ul Dowla Amir Modood ben Musaood ben Mamood Giznavi
Section VIII. The Reign of Abu Jaffier Musaood ben Modood
Section IX. The Reign of Sultan Abul Hassen Ali ben Musaood
Section X. The Reign of Zein ul Muluck, Sultan Abdul Reshid
Section XI. The Reign of Jemmal ul Dowla Feroch Zaad ben Sultan Musaood Giznavi
• Section XII. The Reign of Zehir ul Dowla Sultan Ibrahim ben Musaood Ghiznavi
Section XIII. The Reign of Alla ul Dowla Musaood, ben Ibrahim ben Musaood Giznavi
Section XIV. The Reign of Sultan ul Dowla Arsilla Shaw ben Musaood
Section XV. The Reign of Moaz ul Dowla Byram Shaw ben Musaood
Section XVI. The Reign of Zehir ul Dowla Chusero Shaw ben Byram Shaw Ghiznavi
Section XVII. The Reign of Chusero Malleck, ben Chusero Shaw
• Section XVIII. Of the Dynasty of Ghor
Section XIX. The Reign of Shaw Chursihed Ahtiesham Sultan Moaz ul dien, known in Hindostan by the name of Shab ul dien Mahummud Ghori
Part III. The History of the Empire of Delhi, From the Accession of Cuttub to the Throne, To the Invasion of Timur
• Section I. The Reign of Sultan Cuttub ul dien Abiek
Section II. The Reign of Taje ul dien Eldoze
• Section III. The Reign of Sultan Aram Shaw ben Sultan Cuttub ul dien Abiek
Section IV. The Reign of Shumse ul dien Altumsh
Section V. The Reign of Ruckun ul dien Firose Shaw ben Sultan Shumse ul dien Altumsh
Section VI. The Reign of Malleke Doran Sultana Rizia
Section VII. The Reign of Sultan Moaz ul dien Byram Shaw ben Sultan Shumse ul dien Altumsh
Section VIII. The Reign of Sultan Alla ul dien Musaood Shaw, the son of Ruckun ul dien Firose Shaw
Section IX. The Reign of Sultan Nasir ul dien Mamood ben Sultan Shumse ul dien Altumsh
• Section X. The Reign of Sultan Yeas ul dien Balin
Section XI. The Reign of Sultan Moaz ul dien Kei Kubad, ben Bughera Chan, ben Sultan Yeas ul dien Balin
• Section XII. The Reign of Sultan Jellal ul dien Firose of Chillige
• Section XIII. The Reign of Alla ul dien, called Secunder Sani
• Section XIV. The Reign of Shab ul dien Omar ben Sultan Alla ul dien Chillige
Section XV. The Reign of Cuttub ul dien Mubarick Shaw Chillige
Section XVI. The Reign of Sultan Yeas ul dien Tuglick Shaw
• Section XVII. The Reign of Sultan Mahummud, the son of Yeas ul dien Tughlick Shaw
• Section XVIII. The Reign of Sultan Moazim Mohizzib Firose Shaw, the son of Sallar Rigib
Section XIX. The Reign of Yeas ul dien Tughlick Shaw, the son of Fatte Chan, and grandson of Sultan Firose Shaw
Section XX. The Reign of Abu Bicker Shaw, the son of Ziffer Chan, and grandson of Firose Shaw
Section XXI. The Reign of Nasir ul dunia ul dien Mahummud Shaw, the son of Firose Shaw
Section XXII. The Reign of Nasir ul dien Mamood Shaw, the son of Mahummud Shaw

History of Hindostan; From the Earliest Account of Time, To the Death of Akbar; Translated From the Persian of Mahummud Casim Ferishta of Delhi: Together With a Dissertation Concerning the Religion and Philosophy of the Brahmins; With an Appendix, Containing the History of the Mogul Empire, From Its Decline in the Reign of Mahummud Shaw, to the Present Times
by Alexander Dow.
Volume II.
Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, in the Strand

Mahommed Akbar Emperor of Hindostan; died A.D. 1604

Contents of the Second Volume.

Part IV. The History of Hindostan From the Invasion of Tamerlane, To the Final Conquest of That Country by Sultan Baber; Being a Period of 130 Years.

Section I. Of the progress of Amir Timur, or Tamerlane, in Hindostan
Section II. The conclusion of the reign of Mahmood Shaw
Section III. The reign of Dowlat Chan Lodi
Section IV. The reign of Chizer Chan Ben Soliman
Section V. The reign of Moaz ul dien Abul Fatte Sultan Mubarick Shaw
Section VI. The reign of Sultan Mahummud Shaw, ben Ferid Chan, ben Chizer Chan
Section VII. The reign of Sultan Alla ul dien Ben Mahummud Shaw
Section VIII. The reign of Sultan Beloli Lodi
Section IX. The reign of Sultan Secunder ben Sultan Beloli
Section X. The reign of Sultan Ibrahim ben Sultan Secunder
Section XI. The history of Zehir ul dien Mahummud Baber, before his invasion of Hindostan
Section XII. The history of Sultan Baber, from the year 924, to his decisive victory over Sultan Ibrahim Lodi
Part V. The History of the Life of Humaioon, the Son of Baber.
Section I. The reign of Humaioon, till his expulsion from Hindostan
Section II. The history of Shere Shaw, before his accession to the imperial throne
Section III. The history of Shere Shaw, the Afghan
Section IV. The history of Selim Shaw, the son of Shere Shaw
Section V. The reign of Mahummud Shaw Adili
Section VI. The reign of Sultan Ibrahim
Section VII. The reign of Secunder Shaw Soor, and the fall of the Patan empire
Section VIII. The transactions of Humaioon, from his arrival in Persia, to his return to Hindostan
Part VI. The Reign of Shaw Jumja Abul Muziffer Gellal ul Dien Mahummud Akbar Padshaw Ghazi.
Section I. The history of Akbar, from his accession, to the defeat of Himu
Section II. The reign of Akbar, from the death of Himu, to that of Byram Chan
Section III. The transactions of Akbar from the death of Byram Chan, to the total defeat of the rebellious Usbeck Omrahs
Section IV. The history of the reign of Akbar, from the year 975, to the total reduction of the kingdom of Guzerat, in 981
Section V. The history of the reign of Akbar, from the year 981, to the reduction of Cabul in 989
Section VI. The history of the reign of Akbar, from the year 989, to the rebellion of Cashmire, in the 1000th year of the Higer
Section VII. The history of the reign of Akbar, from the year 1000, to his death
Appendix. The History of the Mogul Empire, From its Decline in the Reign of Mahummud Shaw, to the Present Times.
Section I. General observations. -- The succession from Akbar to Mahummud Shaw. -- The growing imbecility of the empire. -- Governors of the provinces assume independance. -- Their intrigues at the court of Delhi. -- The invasion of Nadir Shaw
Section II. The conclusion of the reign of Mahummud Shaw
Section III. The history of the reign of Ahmed Shaw
Section IV. The history of the reign of Allumgire Sani
Section V. Transactions of the court of Delhi, from the death of Allumgire Sani, to the present times
Section VI. Of the present state of Hindostan
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:16 am



The History of India is laid, with great humility, at the foot of the throne. As no inconsiderable part of Hindostan is now in a manner comprehended within the circle of the British empire, there is a propriety in addressing the history of that country to the Sovereign.

The success of your Majesty's arms has laid open the East to the researches of the curious; and your gracious acceptance of this first, though small, specimen of the literature of Asia, will excite men of greater abilities than the present translator possesses, to study the annals of a people remarkable for their antiquity, civilization, and the singular character of their religion and manners.

In the History of Hindostan, now offered to your Majesty, the people of Great Britain may see a striking contrast of their own condition; and, whilst they feel for human nature suffering under despotism, exult, at the same time, in that happy liberty which they enjoy under the government of a Prince who delights in augmenting the security and felicity of his subjects.

That your Majesty may long remain a public blessing, and reign for a series of many years over this happy nation, is the sincere prayer of

Your Majesty's most dutiful, most humble, and most devoted, subject and servant,

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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:17 am


THE translator of the following history of the Mahommedan empire in Hindostan, having in a military capacity resided for some time in the kingdom of Bengal, dedicated the most of his leisure hours to the study of the oriental languages. The Persian tongue being the most polite and learned, as well as the most universally understood in Asia, engaged his principal attention.

The intimate connection which the British nation now have, with a part of Hindostan, renders the knowledge of the country languages of great importance to the servants of the public in that part of the world. The translator, who had extended his views in the way of his profession, thought it so capital a point for him, that he persevered for some years, in that dry and difficult study, and incurred a very considerable expence, in retaining masters, and in procuring manuscripts.

Though to qualify himself for action, and negotiation in India, was the primary object of the translator, yet in proportion as he advanced in his studies, other motives for his continuing them arose. He found, that however different the manner of the eastern writers may be from the correct taste of Europe, there are many things in their works worthy of the attention of literary men. Their poetry it is true is too turgid and florid, and the diction of their historians too diffuse and verbose. Yet in the first we meet with some passages truly elegant and sublime; and amidst the redundancy of the latter, there appears sometimes a nervousness of expression, and a manliness of sentiment, which might do honour to any historical genius in the west.

Locked up in the difficulties of the Persian tongue, the literature of Asia has been hitherto little known in Europe. From an ignorance so unpardonable in this investigating age, a very unfavourable idea has prevailed concerning the learning, as well as history, of the eastern nations. Full of prejudices so natural to an European, the translator entered upon the study of the oriental languages. Whatever aid a knowledge of them might give to his private views, he little hoped to be able to convert his studies to the amusement or instruction of the public. To translate some piece of history, was, by his teachers, recommended to him as a proper exercise in the Persian. The works of Mahummud Casim Ferishta of Delhi, who flourished in the reign of Jehangire, about the beginning of the seventeenth century, was put into his hands for that purpose. As he advanced, a greater field gradually opened before him. He found, with some degree of astonishment, the minute and authentic history of a great empire, the name of which had scarcely ever travelled to Europe.

To open a door to the literary treasures, which lay concealed in the obscurity of the Persian, the translator resolved to proceed in his version of Ferishta's history, and to give it to the public as a small specimen of what men of greater abilities may hereafter meet with in that language. But before he had fully accomplished this design, injuries in rank, and other motives, forced him to quit the company's service, and to return to England. Being, at his departure from India, possessed only of one volume of the original, he has been obliged to confine himself to it; and to leave the second volume, which contains the particular histories of the Decan, Bengal, Guzerat, and Cashmire, to a more favourable opportunity, or to the employment of some other hand. This circumstance has occasioned some chasms in that part of the history which is now given to the public; and many material transactions of those nations, of whom Ferishta in his second volume treats, are only slightly mentioned.

The reigns of the Mogul Emperors, from Akbar, with whom our author concludes his general history, have been written by different historians. But so voluminous are those works, that to attempt a translation, would be a laborious and very tedious task. Since the days of Ferishta, no writer that has come to our knowledge, has abridged the history of India, and therefore the translator had formed a design to compile from various authors that very essential part of the history of the Mogul empire, which is not comprehended in the following translation.

With a view to accomplish this undertaking, the translator, who had been honoured with the particular friendship of the present Mogul, applied in person to that Prince, for such books, and authentic records, as were necessary to compleat the History of Hindostan. The King approved very much of his design, and gave orders to his secretary to grant his request. But in the mean time the translator quitted the service, and retired to Calcutta. To revive however his Majesty's memory upon that subject, he wrote to him; and as the manner of writing to eastern Princes may afford matter of some curiosity to the public, we shall here give a literal translation of the letter.

"To the audience of the admitted into the presence of the treasury of liberality, and beneficence: To the sage director of the ways of truth, the Kibla [The point to which the Mahommedans turn their faces when they pray. ] of the world, and the asylum of the inhabitants of the universe, whose kingdom and renown last for ever, it is most humbly presented;

"That a servant, nourished by their [It is an invariable custom among the Eastern nations, to address crowned heads in the third person plural, while the writer himself always uses the third person in the singular number.] bounty, having, from their splendid presence, obtained leave of departure, hath now reached the city of Calcutta, where, retired from the noise of public affairs, he prays for their Majesty's welfare.

"Moved by a grateful remembrance of their royal favour, warmed by the fame, justice, and glorious exploits and conquests of the emperors of the paradisiacal regions of Hindostan; but more particularly excited by the renown of the imperial house of Timur [Timur, who in Europe is, by corruption, called Tamerlane, has always conferred upon him the title of Saib Kirren, or lord of the periods. Kirren, of which Kiran is the plural, signifies a period of thirty years. The long reign of Timur gave rise to his title. ], lord of ages! And also by a desire to gratify the curiosity of distant nations, with the great actions of a splendid dynasty of Kings, he has dared to aspire to translate the history of Hindostan, from the best and most authentic Persian authors, into the English language, now strong, learned and universal.

"From the first rising of the star of the faith, upon these paradisiacal plains, unto the end of the glorious reign of ARSH ASTANI MAHUMMUD AKBAR, King, the history of Empire has been already penned: but, from that period to the present time, materials have been wanting to their Majesty's servant: he therefore breathes in hope, that their sublime Majesty will signify their royal pleasure to the RAI RAIAN, chief secretary of the illustrious presence, to supply their servant with such books and authentic records, as are necessary to accomplish his great design. Thus shall the glory of their renown shine forth to European eyes, with that splendor, which, from the firmament of empire, hath hitherto enlightened the East."

The government of the presidency of Bengal, have of late, in some particulars, imbibed the political principles of the East; for all private correspondence with any of the country powers is strictly prohibited. The above letter was dispatched by the translator to a friend at Allahabad, the present residence of the Emperor, with a request to deliver it in person to that prince. But whether afraid of his superiors, or guilty of an unaccountable neglect, that gentleman returned to Calcutta without presenting the letter to the Mogul. The translator forwarded it a second time to Allahabad, but before an answer could be received from so great a distance, he was obliged, after having waited for the last ship in the season, to embark for Europe.

Though our author Mahummud Casim Ferishta has given the title of the History of Hindostan to his work, yet it is rather that of the Mahommedan empire in India, than a general account of the affairs of the Hindoos. What he says concerning India, prior to the first invasion of the Afgan Mussulmen, is very far from being satisfactory. He collected his accounts from Persian authors, being altogether unacquainted with the Shanscrita or learned language of the Brahmins, in which the internal history of India is comprehended. We must not therefore, with Ferishta, consider the Hindoos as destitute of genuine domestic annals, or that those voluminous records they possess are mere legends framed by the Brahmins.

The prejudices of the Mahommedans against the followers of the Brahmin religion, seldom permits them to speak with common candour of the Hindoos. It swayed very much with Ferishta when he affirmed, that there is no history among the Hindoos of better authority than the Mahabarit. That work is a poem and not a history: It was translated into Persian by the brother of the great Abul Fazil, rather as a performance of fancy, than as an authentic account of the ancient dynasties of the Kings of India. But that there are many hundred volumes in prose in the Shanscrita language, which treat of the ancient Indians, the translator can, from his own knowledge, aver, and he has great reason to believe, that the Hindoos carry their authentic history farther back into antiquity, than any other nation now existing.

The Mahommedans know nothing of the Hindoo learning: and had they even any knowledge of the history of the followers of Brimha, their prejudices in favour of the jewish fictions contained in the Koran, would make them reject accounts, which tend to subvert the system of their own faith. The Shanscrita records contain accounts of the affairs of the western Asia, very different from what any tribe of the Arabians have transmitted to posterity: and it is more than probable, that upon examination, the former will appear to bear the marks of more authenticity, and of greater antiquity than the latter.

But whether the Hindoos possess any true history of greater antiquity than other nations, must altogether rest upon the authority of the Brahmins, till we shall become better acquainted with their records. Their pretensions however are very high, and they confidently affirm, that the Jewish and Mahommedan religions are heresies, from what is contained in the Bedas. They give a very particular account of the origin of the Jewish religion in records of undoubted antiquity. Raja Tura, say they, who is placed in the first ages of the Cal Jug, had a son who apostatized from the Hindoo faith, for which he was banished by his father to the West. The apostate fixed his residence in a country called Mohgod, and propagated the Jewish religion, which the impostor Mahommed further corrupted. The Cal Jug commenced about 4885 years ago, and whether the whole story may not relate to Terah and his son Abraham, is a point which we will leave to others to determine.

There is one circumstance which goes far to prove that there is some connection between the Brahmin Bedas and the doctrines contained in the Old Testament. Ever since the promulgation of the religion of Mahommed, which is founded upon Moses and the Prophets, the Brahmins have totally rejected their fourth Beda called the Obatar Bah, as the schism of Mahommed, according to them, has been founded upon that book. However extraordinary this reason is for rejecting the fourth part of their religious records, it can scarcely be doubted, as it is in the mouth of every Brahmin.

Feizi, the brother of Abul Fazil the historian, was the only Mussulman we ever heard of, who understood the Shanscrita. The fraudulent means by which he acquired it, will be shewn in another place. He never translated any of the Indian histories, excepting the Mahabarit, which, at best, is but an historical poem, in which a great deal of fable is blended with a little truth. We, upon the whole, cannot much depend upon the accounts which the followers of Mahommed give of the religion and ancient history of the Hindoos: Their prejudice makes them misrepresent the former, and their ignorance in the Shanscrita language, has totally excluded them from any knowledge of the latter.

The history of Casim Ferishta being an abridgment of a variety of authors, who wrote distinct accounts of the different reigns of the Mahommedan Emperors of Hindostan, he, with a view to comprehend in a small compass, every material transaction, has crowded the events too much together, without interspersing them with those reflections which give spirit and elegance to works of this kind: This defect seems however to have proceeded more from a studied brevity, than from a narrowness of genius in Ferishta. Upon some occasions, especially in the characters of the princes, he shews a strength of judgment, and a nervousness and conciseness of expression which would do no dishonour to the best writers in the west. What is really remarkable in this writer is, that he seems as much divested of religious prejudices, as he is of political flattery or fear. He never passes a good action without conferring upon it its due reward of praise, nor a bad one, let the villainous actor be never so high, without stigmatizing it with infamy. In short, if he does not arrive at the character of a good writer, he certainly deserves that of a good man.

The brevity which we censure in Ferishta, is by no means a common fault in the writers of Asia. Redundant and verbose in their diction, they often regard more the cadence and turn of their sentences, than the propriety and elegance of their thoughts; leading frequently the reader into a labyrinth to which he can find no end. This is too much the manner of the learned Abul Fazil himself. He wrote the history of the reign of Akbar in two large volumes in folio. The intrigues of the court, and all the secret motives to action are investigated with the utmost exactness; but the diction is too diffuse, and the language too florid for the correct taste of Europe.

It ought here to be remarked, that all the oriental historians write, in what they call in Europe, poetical prose. This false taste only commenced about five centuries ago, when literature declined in Asia, with the power of the Caliphs. The translator has now in his possession, books written in the Persian before that period, the diction of which, is as concise and manly, as that which descended from Greece and Rome, to the writers of modern Europe. The learned and celebrated Abul Fazil, instead of correcting this vicious taste, encouraged it greatly by his florid manner, in his history of the reign of Akbar. But this great writer has, notwithstanding his circumlocutions, cloathed his expressions with such beauty and pomp of eloquence, that he seems to come down upon the astonished reader, like the Ganges in the rainy season.

The small progress which correctness and elegance of sentiment and diction has made in the East, did not proceed from a want of encouragement to literature. We shall find in the course of this history, that no princes in the world patronised men of letters with more generosity and respect, than the Mahommedan Emperors of Hindostan. A literary genius was not only the certain means to acquire a degree of wealth which must astonish Europeans, but an infallible road for rising to the first offices of the state. The character of the learned, was at the same time so sacred, that tyrants, who made a pastime of embruing their hands in the blood of their other subjects, not only abstained from offering violence to men of genius, but stood in fear of their pens. It is a proverb in the East, that the Monarchs of Asia were more afraid of the pen of Abul Fazil, than they were of the sword of Akbar; and, however amazing it may seem in absolute governments, it is certain that the historians of that division of the world, have wrote with more freedom concerning persons and things, than writers have ever dared to do in the West.

The translator, however, being sensible of the impropriety of poetical diction, in the grave narration of historical facts, has, in many places, clipped the wings of Ferishta's turgid expressions, and reduced his metaphors into common language, without however swerving in the least from the original meaning of the author.

A frequent repetition of proper names is unavoidable in a work of such brevity, and so much crouded with action. This will perhaps appear the most glaring defect in the work: but to use the pronouns too often, would have rendered the sense more perplexed, and the narration less elegant and distinct. The translator, in short, chose to give the faults of his author to the public as they stood, rather than by an attempt to amend them, to substitute perhaps some of his own in their place.

Our author with great propriety begins the history of the Patan empire in Hindostan, from the commencement of the kingdom of Ghizni. The Mahommedan government, which afterwards extended itself to Hindostan, rose originally from very small beginnings among the mountains which divide Persia from India. The Afgans or Patans, a warlike race of men, who had been subjects of the vast empire of Bochara, revolted under their governor Abistagi, in the fourth century of the Higera, and laid the foundation of the empire of Ghizni, known commonly in Europe, by the name of Gazna. Under a succession of warlike princes, this empire rose to a surprising magnitude. We find that in the reign of Musaood, in the beginning of the fifth century of the Higera, it extended from Ispahan to Bengal, and from the mouths of the Indus to the banks of the Jaxartes, which comprehends near half of the great continent of Asia.

Soon after the death of Musaood, the Charizmian empire arose on the confines of Persia and great Tartary. It extended itself over Tartary and the greatest part of the Persian provinces; the Kings of the Ghiznian Patans were obliged to relinquish their dominions in the north, and to transfer the seat of their empire to Lahore, and afterwards to Delhi.

When the great conqueror of Asia Zingis Chan, invaded and subverted the Charizmian empire under Mahummud Shaw, the Patan dominions were entirely confined within the limits of Hindostan. They possessed however power sufficient to repel the generals of that great man, though flushed with victory and the spoils of the East. The whole force of Zingis, it is true, was never bent against Hindostan, otherwise it is probable it would have shared the fate of the western Asia, which was almost depopulated by his sword.

The uncommon strength of the Patan empire in Hindostan at this period, may be easily accounted for: It was the policy of the adopted Turkish slaves of the family of Ghor, who then held the kingdom of Delhi, to keep standing armies of the mountain Afgans, under their respective chiefs, who were invariably created Omrahs of the empire. This hardy race, whatever domestic confusions and revolutions they might occasion in India, were, to use Ferishta's words, a wall of iron against foreign enemies.

Our author has not been careful to mark the extent of the Empire in every reign. We can only form a general idea of it, from the transactions which he records. The Empire we find sometimes reduced to a few districts round the capital, and at other times, extending itself from the bay of Bengal to Persia, and from the Carnatic to the great mountains of Sewalic. In short, the boundaries of the Patan imperial dominions, varied in proportion to the abilities of those princes who possessed the throne. When the monarchs discovered great parts, the governors of provinces shrunk back from their independance into their former submission; but when a weak Prince sat on the Musnud, his lieutenants started up into Kings around him.

The history now given to the public, presents us with a striking picture of the deplorable condition of a people subjected to arbitrary sway; and of the instability of empire itself, when it is founded neither upon laws, nor upon the opinions and attachments of mankind. Hindostan, in every age, was an ample field for private ambition, and for public tyranny. At one time we see a petty Omrah starting forth, and wading through an ocean of blood to the crown, or involving many thousands of indigent adventurers in the ruin which he draws upon his own head. At another time we meet with Kings, from a lust of power which defeats itself, destroying those subjects over whom they only wished to tyrannize.

In a government like that of India, public spirit is never seen, and loyalty is a thing unknown. The people permit themselves to be transferred from one tyrant to another, without murmuring; and individuals look with unconcern upon the miseries of others, if they are capable to screen themselves from the general misfortune. This, however, is a picture of Hindostan in bad times, and under the worst Kings. As arbitrary government can inflict the most sudden miseries, so, when in the hands of good men, it can administer the most expeditious relief to the subject. We accordingly find in this history, that the misfortunes of half an age of tyranny, are removed in a few years, under the mild administration of a virtuous prince.

Before proceeding to give an account, necessarily imperfect, of Tibetan diplomacy, I must explain what is the public opinion of the country as to patriotism. I am sorry to say that the attitude of the people in this respect by no means does them credit. So far as my limited observation goes, the Tibetans, who are sufficiently shrewd in attending to their own interest, are not so sensitive to matters of national importance. It seems as if they were destitute of the sense of patriotism, as the term is understood by ordinary people. Not that they are totally ignorant of the meaning of “fatherland,” but they are rather inclined to turn that meaning to their own advantage in preference to the interest of their country. Such seems, in short, the general idea of the politicians of to-day.

The Tibetans are more jealous with regard to their religion. A few of them, a very limited few it is true, seem to be prepared to defend and promote it at the expense of their private interest, though even in this respect the majority are so far unscrupulous as to abuse their religion for their own ends. In the eyes of the common people, religion is the most important product of the country, and they think therefore that they must preserve it at any cost. Their ignorance necessarily makes them fanatics and they believe that any one who works any injury to their religion deserves death. The Hierarchical Government makes a great deal of capital out of this fanatical tendency of the masses. The holy religion is its justification when it persecutes persons obnoxious to it, and when it has committed any wrong it seeks refuge under the same holy name. The Government too often works mischief in the name of religion, but the masses do not of course suspect any such thing—or even if they do now and then harbor a suspicion, they are deterred from giving vent to their sentiments, for to speak ill of the religion is a heinous crime in Tibet.

I have already stated how in general the Tibetan women are highly selfish and but poorly developed in the sense of public duty. One might naturally suppose that the children born of such mothers must be similarly deficient in this important point. I thought at first that the Tibetan men were less open to this charge than their wives and sisters, but I soon found this to be a mistake. I found the men not much better than the women, and equally absorbed in their selfish desires while totally neglecting the interests of the State. A foreign country knowing this weak point, and wishing to push its interests in the Forbidden Land, has only to form its diplomatic procedure accordingly. In other words, it has merely to captivate the hearts of the rulers of Tibet, for once the influential Cabinet Ministers of the Hierarchical Government are won over, the next step will be an easy matter. The greedy Ministers will be ready to listen to any insidious advice coming from outside, provided that the advice carries with it literally the proper weight of gold. They will not care a straw about the welfare of the State or the interest of the general public, if only they themselves are satisfied.

However, foreign diplomatists desiring to succeed in their policy of gaining influence over Tibet must not think that they have an easy task before them. Gold is most acceptable to all Tibetan statesmen, but at times gold alone may not carry the point. The fact is that Tibet has no diplomatic policy in any dignified sense of the word. Its foreign doings are determined by sentiment, which is necessarily destitute of any solid foundation, but is susceptible to change from a trivial cause. A foreign country which has given a large bribe to the principal statesmen of Tibet may find afterwards that its enormous disbursements on this account have been a mere waste of money, and that the recipients who were believed to have been secured with golden chains have broken loose from them, for some mere triviality. It is impossible to rely on the faith of the Tibetan statesmen, for they are entirely led by sentiment and never by rational conviction.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

It may not be improper in this place, to lay before the public, a short sketch of the constitution of Hindostan. The Emperor is absolute and sole arbiter in every thing, and is controlled by no law. The lives and properties of the greatest Omrahs are as much at his disposal, as those of the meanest subjects. The former however are often too powerful to be punished, while the latter are not only slaves to the King, but to the provincial governors. These governors, distinguished by the name of Nabobs, have in their respective jurisdictions, the power of life and death, and are, in every particular, invested with regal authority.

All the lands in India are considered as the property of the King, except some hereditary districts possessed by Hindoo Princes, for which, when the Empire was in its vigour, they paid annual tributes, but retained an absolute jurisdiction in their own hands. The King is the general heir of all his subjects; but when there are children to inherit, they are seldom deprived of their father's estate, without the fortune is enormous, and has been amassed in the oppressive government of a province. In a case of this kind, the children, or nearest relations, are allowed a certain proportion for their subsistance, at the discretion of the Casy or judge. The fortunes of merchants, tradesmen, and mechanics, are never confiscated by the crown, if any children or relations remain.

The King has the extraordinary power of nominating his successor by will. This part of royal prerogative is not peculiar to the monarchs of Hindostan. We find that our own nation, so remarkable for their political freedom, were, not above two centuries ago, made over like a private estate, and that with their own consent, by the will of a Prince, who neither deserved to be beloved nor admired. According to the opinion of the Indians, the right of succession is vested in the male heir, but the last will of the King very often supersedes this idea of justice. Notwithstanding this prejudice in favour of the first born, there is no distinction made between natural children and those born in lawful wedlock; for every child brought forth in the Haram, whether by wives or concubines, are equally legitimate.

The vizier is generally first minister of state. All edicts and public deeds must pass under his seal, after the royal signet is affixed to them. The Vizier's office consists of various departments, in every one of which all commissions, patents for honorary titles, and grants for Jagiers, are carefully registered. He superintends the royal exchequer, and, in that capacity, keeps accounts with the Dewans of the several provinces, in every thing which regards the finances.

A Vakiel Mutuluck is sometimes appointed by the King. The power of this officer is superior to that of the Vizier, for he not only has the superintendency of civil, but also of all military affairs. This last is never any part of the Vizier's office; the Amir ul Omrah, or Buxshi, being independent captain-general, and paymaster of the forces. It is not easy to explain to Europeans the full extent of authority conferred upon the Vakiel Mutuluck; he seems to be an officer to whom the King for a time delegates his whole power, reserving only for himself the imperial title, and ensigns of royalty.

The Emperor of Hindostan gives public audience twice a day from the throne. All petitioners, without distinction, are, after having gone through the usual ceremonies, admitted. They are permitted to present their written complaints to the Ariz Beg, or lord of the requests, who attends, in order to present them to the King. The King reads them all himself, and superscribes his pleasure in a few words, with his own hand. Should any thing in the petition appear doubtful, it is immediately referred to the Sidder ul Suddur, whose office answers to that of our chief justice, to be examined and determined according to law.

The Mahommedans of Hindostan have no written laws, but those contained in the Koran. There are certain usages founded upon reason, and immemorial custom, which are also committed to writing. By the latter some causes are determined, and there are officers appointed by the crown, under the name of Canongoes, who, for a certain fee, explain the written usages to the people. In every district or pergunnah, there is a cutchery, or court of justice established. These courts are extremely venal, and even the legal fees for determining a cause concerning property, is one fourth of the value of the matter in dispute. Their decisions were, however, very expeditious; and through fear of the displeasure of the King, who invariably punished with the utmost severity corrupt judges, the Casys were pretty equitable in their determinations.

In the declining state of the Empire, the provinces were submitted to the management of Nabobs, or military governors, who farmed the revenues at a certain sum, and reserved the overplus for their own use. Originally the Nabobs were only commanders of the forces, who receiving their orders from court, through the medium of the Dewan, a civil officer who collected all the revenues for the King, paid the just expences of the government of the province, and remitted the surplus to the exchequer. But the Nabobs having the military power in their hands, despised the authority of the Dewans, and purposely fomented divisions, factions, and insurrections, that they might be indulged with great standing armies, to make more money pass through their own hands, and to favour their schemes of independence.

The imbecility of the Empire daily increasing, the nominal authority vested in the Dewan, was not sufficient to contend with the real force in the hands of the Nabob. Continual altercations subsisted between these officers in the province, and frequent complaints were transmitted to court. Ministers who preferred present ease to the future interest of the empire, curtailed the power of the Dewan, and, from being in a manner the commander in chief of the province, he fell into the simple superintendency of the collections. He had, it is true, the power to prevent new imposts, and innovations in the law.

When the King took the field, the provincial Nabobs, with their troops, were obliged to repair to the imperial standard. Each Nabob erected his own standard, and formed a separate camp, subject only to his own orders. The Nabobs every morning attended at the royal pavilion, and received their orders from the Amir ul Omrah [The captain-general.], who received his immediately from the King himself. If we except the army of the great Sultan Baber, there are few traces of real discipline to be met with among those myriads, with whom the Emperors of Hindostan often took the field. The forces of Baber were formed on a very regular and masterly plan. The dispositions of his battles were excellent; and the surprizing victories he obtained with a handful of men, over immense armies, are sufficient to convince us, that military discipline has not always been unknown in Asia.

It may to an European, furnish matter of some surprize, how Eastern armies of two or three hundred thousand horse, and triple that number of soldiers and followers, could be supplied with provisions and forage upon their march, and in their standing camps. To account for this it is to be observed, that every provincial Nabob, upon his taking the field, appoints an officer called the Cutwal, whose business it is to superintend the Bazars or markets, which may belong to his camp. Every commander of a body of troops obtains at the same time, permission to hoist a slag for a Bazar, and to appoint a Cutwal of his own, under the direction of the Cutwal-general. These Cutwals grant licences to chapmen, sutlers, and corn dealers, who gladly pay a certain tax for permission to dispose of their various commodities, under the protection of the different flags.

The sutlers and dealers in corn, being provided with a sufficient number of camels and oxen, collect provisions from all the countries in their rear, and supply the wants of the camp. The pay of soldiers in Hindostan is very great, being from 60 to 200 rupees per month, to every single trooper. This enables them to give such high prices for provisions, that the countries round run all hazards for such a great prospect of gain. The fertility of Hindostan itself, is the great source of this ready and plentiful supply to the armies; for that country produces, in most parts two, and sometimes three crops of corn every year [The Indians sometimes feed their horses with a kind of vetch called Gram, which they boil. In want of that, they make a shift with the roots of grass, which they dig up and wash in water. This they reckon better than hay. They are by this means never in want for forage, in a country so remarkable for vegetation. The horses always belong to the riders, which renders them more assiduous to keep them in proper order, as their pay depends entirely on the goodness of their horses. But this is attended with a bad consequence. A soldier of fortune, who has nothing but his horse to depend upon, is often afraid to expose him, where he would perhaps risque his own life.].

It may perhaps be expected, that something concerning the language of the translation, should be said in this place. Employed from his youth in a profession very different from that of letters, the translator aspires not to the character of a fine writer. To express his author's meaning in a plain and unaffected diction, was all his design; and he expects the public will the more readily overlook any errors he may have committed, that he neither hopes for much literary reputation, nor wishes for any advantage from his work.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:18 am

Part 1 of 2

A Dissertation Concerning the Customs, Manners, Language, Religion, and Philosophy of The Hindoos.

THE learned of modern Europe have, with reason, complained that the writers of Greece and Rome did not extend their inquiries to the religion and philosophy of the Druids. Posterity will perhaps, in the same manner, find fault with the British for not investigating the learning and religious opinions which prevail in those countries in Asia, into which either their commerce or their arms have penetrated. The Brahmins of the East possessed in ancient times some reputation for knowledge, but we have never had the curiosity to examine whether there was any truth in the reports of antiquity upon that head.

Excuses, however, may be formed for our ignorance concerning the learning, religion, and philosophy, of the Brahmins. Literary inquiries are by no means a capital object to many of our adventurers in Asia. The few who have a turn for researches of that kind are discouraged by the very great difficulty in acquiring that language, in which the learning of the Hindoos is contained; or by that impenetrable veil of mystery with which the Brahmins industriously cover their religious tenets and philosophy.

These circumstances combining together, have opened an ample field for fiction. Modern travellers have accordingly indulged their talent for fable, upon the mysterious religion of Hindostan.
Whether the ridiculous tales they relate proceed from that common partiality which Europeans, as well as less enlightened nations, entertain for the religion and philosophy of their own country, or from a judgment formed upon some external ceremonies of the Hindoos, is very difficult to determine; but they have prejudiced Europe against the Brahmins: and by a very unfair account, have thrown disgrace upon a system of religion and philosophy which they did by no means investigate.

The author of this Dissertation must own, that he for a long time suffered himself to be carried down in this stream of popular prejudice. The present decline of literature in Hindostan served to confirm him in his belief of those legends which he read in Europe concerning the Brahmins. But conversing by accident one day with a noble and learned Brahmin, he was not a little surprised to find him perfectly acquainted with those opinions which, both in ancient and modern Europe, have employed the pens of the most celebrated moralists. This circumstance did not fail to excite his curiosity, and in the course of many subsequent conversations he found that philosophy and the sciences had, in former ages, made a very considerable progress in the East.

Having then no intention to quit India for some time, he resolved to acquire some knowledge in the Shanscrita language; the grand repository of the religion, philosophy, and history of the Hindoos. With this view, he prevailed upon his noble friend the Brahmin to procure for him a Pundit, from the university of Benaris, well versed in the Shanscrita, and master of all the knowledge of that learned body. But before he had made any considerable progress in his studies, an unexpected change of affairs in Bengal broke off all his literary schemes. He found that the time he had to remain in India would be too short to acquire the Shanscrita. He determined, therefore, through the medium of the Persian language, and through the vulgar tongue of the Hindoos, to inform himself as much as possible concerning the mythology and philosophy of the Brahmins. He, for this purpose, procured some of the principal SHASTERS, and his Pundit explained to him as many passages of those curious books as served to give him a general idea of the doctrine which they contain.

It is but justice to the Brahmins to confess that the author of this Dissertation is very sensible of his own inability to illustrate, with that fulness and perspicuity which it deserves, that symbolical religion which they are at so much pains to conceal from foreigners. He, however, can aver, that he has not misrepresented one single circumstance or tenet, though many may have escaped his observation.

The books which contain the religion and philosophy of the Hindoos are distinguished by the name of Bedas. They are four in number, and, like the sacred writings of other nations, are said to have been penned by the Divinity. Beda in the Shanscrita literally signifies SCIENCE: for these books not only treat of religious and moral duties, but of every branch of philosophical knowledge.

The Bedas are, by the Brahmins, held so sacred that they permit no other sect to read them; and such is the influence of superstition and priestcraft over the minds of the other Casts in India, that they would deem it an unpardonable sin to satisfy their curiosity in that respect, were it even within the compass of their power. The Brahmins themselves are bound by such strong ties of religion to confine those writings to their own tribe, that were any of them known to read them to others he would be immediately excommunicated. This punishment is worse than even death itself among the Hindoos. The offender is not only thrown down from the noblest order to the most polluted Cast, but his posterity are rendered for ever incapable of being received into his former dignity.

All these things considered, we are not to wonder that the doctrine of the Bedas is so little known in Europe. Even the literary part of the Mahommedans of Asia reckon it an abstruse and mysterious subject, and candidly confess that it is covered with a veil of darkness which they could never penetrate.
Some have indeed supposed, that the learned Feizi, brother to the celebrated Abul Fazil, chief secretary to the Emperor Akbar, had read the Bedas, and discovered the religious tenets contained in them to that renowned Prince. As the story of Feizi made a good deal of noise in the East, it may not be improper to give the particulars of it in this place.

Mahommed Akbar, being a Prince of elevated and extensive ideas, was totally divested of those prejudices for his own religion which men of inferior parts not only imbibe with their mother's milk, but retain throughout their lives. Though bred in all the strictness of the Mahommedan faith, his great soul, in his riper years, broke those chains of superstition and credulity with which his tutors had, in his early youth, fettered his mind. With a design to choose his own religion, or rather from curiosity, he made it his business to inquire minutely into all the systems of divinity which prevailed among mankind. The story of his being instructed in the Christian tenets, by a missionary from Portugal, is too well known in Europe to require a place in this Dissertation. As almost all religions admit of proselytes, Akbar had good success in his inquiries till he came to his own subjects the Hindoos. Contrary to the practice of all other religious sects, they admit of no converts, but they allow that every one may go to heaven his own way, though they perhaps suppose that theirs is the most expeditious method to obtain that important end. They choose rather to make a mystery of their religion, than impose it upon the world, like the Mahommedans, with the sword, or by means of the stake, after the manner of some pious Christians.

Not all the authority of Akbar could prevail with the Brahmins to reveal the principles of their faith. He was therefore obliged to have recourse to artifice to obtain the information which he so much desired. The Emperor, for this purpose, concerted a plan with his chief secretary, Abul Fazil, to impose Feizi, then a boy, upon the Brahmins, in the character of a poor orphan of their tribe. Feizi being instructed in his part, was privately sent to Benaris, the principal seat of learning among the Hindoos. In that city the fraud was practised on a learned Brahmin, who received the boy into his house, and educated him as his own son.

When Feizi, after ten years' study, had acquired the Shanscrita language, and all the knowledge of which the learned of Benaris were possessed, proper measures were taken by the Emperor to secure his safe return. Feizi, it seems, during his residence with his patron the Brahmin, was smitten with the beauty of his only daughter; and indeed the ladies of the Brahmin race are the handsomest in Hindostan. The old Brahmin saw the mutual passion of the young pair with pleasure, and as he loved Feizi for his uncommon abilities, he offered him his daughter in marriage. Feizi, perplexed between love and gratitude, at length discovered himself to the good old man, fell down at his feet, and grasping his knees, solicited with tears forgiveness for the great crime he had committed against his indulgent benefactor. The Brahmin, struck dumb with astonishment, uttered not one word of reproach. He drew a dagger, which he always carried on his girdle, and prepared to plunge it in his own breast. Feizi seized his hand, and conjured him, that if yet any atonement could be made for the injury he had done him, he himself would swear to deny him nothing. The Brahmin, bursting into tears, told him, that if Feizi should grant him two requests, he would forgive him, and consent to live. Feizi, without any hesitation, consented, and the Brahmin's requests were, that he should never translate the Bedas, nor repeat the creed of the Hindoos.

How far Feizi was bound by his oath not to reveal the doctrine of the Bedas to Akbar, is uncertain; but that neither he, nor any other person, ever translated those books is a truth beyond any dispute. It is, however, well known that the Emperor afterwards greatly favoured the Hindoo faith, and gave much offence to zealous Mahommedans, by practising some Indian customs which they thought savoured of idolatry. But the dispassionate part of mankind have always allowed that Akbar was equally divested of all the follies of both the religious superstitions which prevailed among his subjects.

To return from this digression. The Brahmins maintain, that the Bedas are the divine laws, which Brimha, at the creation of the world, delivered for the instruction of mankind. But they affirm, that their meaning was perverted in the first period of time by the ignorance and wickedness of some Princes, whom they represent as evil spirits who then haunted the earth. They call those evil genii Dewtas, and tell many strange allegorical legends concerning them; such as, that the Bedas being lost, were afterwards recovered by Bishen, in the form of a fish, who brought them up from the bottom of the ocean, into which they were thrown by a Deo, or Demon.

The first credible account we have of the Bedas is, that about the commencement of the period called the Cal Jug, of which era the present year 1769 is the 4887th, they were written, or rather collected, by a great philosopher and reputed prophet, called Beäss Muni, or Beäss the inspired. This learned man is otherwise called Krishen Basdeo, and is said to have lived in the reign of Judishter, in the city of Histanapore, upon the river Jumna, near the present city of Delhi.

The Brahmins do not give to Beäss Muni the merit of being the author of the Bedas. They however acknowledge that he reduced them into the present form, dividing them into four distinct books, after having collected the detached pieces of which they are composed, from every part of India. It is, upon the whole, probable, that they are not the work of one man, on account of their immense bulk.

The Mahommedans of Asia, as well as some of the learned of Europe, have mistaken Brimha, an allegorical person, for some philosopher of repute in India, whom they distinguish by the disfigured names of Bruma, Burma, and Bramha, whom they suppose to have been the writer of the religious books of the Hindoos. Ferishta, in the history now given to the public, affirms, that Brimha was of the race of Bang, and flourished in the reign of Krishen, first monarch of Hindostan. But the Brahmins deny that any such person ever existed, which we have reason to believe is the truth; as Brimha in the Shanscrita language allegorically signifies WISDOM, one of the principal attributes of the supreme divinity.

The four Bedas contain one hundred thousand ashlogues, or stanzas in verse, each of which consists of four lines. The first Beda is called Rug BEDA, which signifies the science of divination, concerning which it principally treats. It also contains astrology, astronomy, natural philosophy, and a very particular account of the creation of matter, and the formation of the world.

The second Beda is distinguished by the name of She-HAM. That word signifies piety or devotion, and this book accordingly treats of all religious and moral duties. It also contains many hymns in praise of the Supreme Being, as well as verses in honour of subaltern intelligences.

The third is the JUDGER BEDA, which, as the word implies, comprehends the whole science of religious rites and ceremonies; such as fasts, festivals, purifications, penances, pilgrimages, sacrifices, prayers, and offerings. They give the appellation of OBATAR BAĦ to the fourth Beda. OBATAR signifies in the Shanscrita, the being, or the essence, and Bah good; so that the Obatar Bah is literally, the knowledge of the good being; and accordingly this book comprehends the whole science of theology and metaphysical philosophy.

The language of the Obatar Bah Beda is now become obsolete; so that very few Brahmins pretend to read it with propriety. Whether this proceeds from its great antiquity, or from its being wrote in an uncommon dialect of the Shanscrita, is hard to determine. We are inclined to believe that in the first is the truth; for we can by no means, agree with a late ingenious writer, [Mr. Holwell: The author of the Dissertation finds himself obliged to differ almost in every particular concerning the religion of the Hindoos, from that gentleman.] who affirms, that the Obatar Bah was written in a period posterior [later]to the rest of the Bedas.

It has been already observed, that the Bedas are written in the Shanscrita tongue. Whether the Shanscrita was, in any period of antiquity, the vulgar language of Hindostan, or was invented by the Brahmins, to be a mysterious repository for their religion and philosophy, is difficult to determine. All other languages, it is true, were casually invented by mankind to express their ideas and wants; but the astonishing formation of the Shanscrita seems to be beyond the power of chance. In regularity of etymology and grammatical order, it far exceeds the Arabic. It, in short, bears evident marks that it has been fixed upon rational principles, by a body of learned men, who studied regularity, harmony, and a wonderful simplicity and energy of expression.

The argument of "brahmanical fantasy" has been used in other areas as well. Cf. Mill's statement on the Brahmins above. Also, in connection with the Dhatupatha, a list of some two thousand verbal roots of which more than half have not been met with in Sanskrit literature, it has been suggested that it was "concocted" by the Indian grammarians (Whitney 1884; reprinted in Staal 1992: 142). In fact, the Indian pandits have been accused of inventing the Sanskrit language (Dugald Stewart and Christoph Meiners, quoted in Rosane Rocher 1983: 78)

-- Chapter 4: Law Books in an Oral Culture: The Indian Dharmasastras, Excerpt from "Studies in Hindu Law and Dharmaśastra", by Ludo Rocher

A Specimen of the measure of the Bedas.

Rugh Beda

Joidippi nabatti hani
Parakian chirritti basa bodat chan
Assa mon jesso mitaeh muttah
Jodopu kela kidatti sheta.

Sheam Beda

Aiati jati punareti puna preati
Padang kourani bishenuti dunoli puckow
Udbeieniti succulani puddani juckow
Sari sati bolina bidatenati.

Judger Beda

Malla Maiah pugalla pindeh
Sukollo Sullch dingkilisi soddeh
Luhi putti chulani hing janibo
Upa bimilla subabo.

Obatar bah Beda

Jaboda gummateta norrindiran
Saissam baro gohaia mokinderan
Tabo debo crissi crindro dedico
Stridissa damo jagamo.

The Shanscrita Alphabet.


The first thirty four Letters are Consonants, and the last sixteen are used for Vowels, but never written as above except at the beginning of a proper Name or Paragraph: the manner of writing the common Vowels being different, as for Example.


Though the Shanscrita is amazingly copious, a very small grammar and vocabulary serve to illustrate the principles of the whole. In a treatise of a few pages, the roots and primitives are all comprehended, and so uniform are the rules for derivations and inflections, that the etymon of every word is, with facility, at once investigated. The pronunciation is the greatest difficulty that attends the acquirement of the language to perfection. This is so quick and forcible that a person, even before the years of puberty, must labour a long time before he can pronounce it with propriety; but when once the pronunciation is attained to perfection, it strikes the ear with amazing boldness and harmony. The alphabet of the Shanscrita consists of fifty letters, but one half of these convey combined sounds, so that its characters, in fact, do not exceed ours in number. Some small idea of the Shanscrita may be conveyed by the annexed plate, which contains the alphabet, and the measure of the four Bedas.

Before we shall proceed to the religion and philosophy of the Brahmins, it may not be improper to premise something concerning the most characteristical manners and customs of the Hindoos in general. The Hindoos are so called from Indoo or Hindoo, which, in the Shanscrita language, signifies the Moon; for from that luminary, and the sun, they deduce their fabulous origin. The author of the Dissertation has in his possession a long list of a dynasty of Kings, called Hindoo-buns, or Chunder-buns, both of which words mean, the Children of the Moon. He also has a catalogue of the Surage-buns, or the Children of the Sun, from whom many of the Princes of India pretend to derive their blood. Hindostan, the domestic appellation of India, is a composition of Hindoo, and Stan, a region; and the great river Indus takes its name from the people, and not the people from the river, as has been erroneously supposed in Europe.

The Hindoos have, from all antiquity, been divided into four great tribes, each of which comprehends a variety of inferior casts. These tribes do not intermarry, eat, drink, or in any manner associate with one another, except when they worship at the temple of Jagga-nat [Jagga-nat signifies Lord of the creation. This is one of the names of Bishen and the Obatar, or Being, who is said to preside over the present period. He is represented under the figure of a fat man, sitting cross-legged, with his arms hanging down by his side as if they had no strength. This last circumstance alludes to the imbecility of this age. His temple is in the greatest repute of any now in India.] in Orissa, where it is held a crime to make any distinction. The first, and most noble tribe are the Brahmins, who alone can officiate in the priesthood, like the Levites among the Jews. They are not, however, excluded from government, trade, or agriculture, though they are strictly prohibited from all menial offices by their laws. They derive their name from Brimha, who, they allegorically say, produced the Brahmins from his head, when he created the world.

The second in order is the Sittri tribe, who are sometimes distinguished by the name of Kittri or Koytri. They, according to their original institution, ought to be all military men; but they frequently follow other professions. Brimha is said to have produced the Kittri from his heart, as an emblem of that courage which warriors should possess.

The name of Beise or Bise is given to the third tribe. They are for the most part merchants, bankers, and bunias, or shop-keepers. These are figuratively said to have sprung from the belly, of Brimha; the word Beish signifying a provider or nourisher. The fourth tribe is that of Sudder. They ought to be menial servants, and they are incapable to raise themselves to any superior rank. They are said to have proceeded from the feet of Brimha, in allusion to their low degree. But indeed it is contrary to the inviolable laws of the Hindoos that any person should rise from an inferior cast into a higher tribe. If any therefore should be excommunicated from any of the four tribes, he and his posterity are for ever shut out from the society of every body in the nation, excepting that of the Harri cast, who are held in utter detestation by all the other tribes, and are employed only in the meanest and vilest offices. This circumstance renders excommunication so dreadful, that any Hindoo will suffer the torture and even death itself rather than deviate from one article of his faith. This severity prevented all intermixture of blood between the tribes, so that, in their appearance, they seem rather four different nations than members of the same community.

It is, as we have already observed, a principle peculiar to the Hindoo religion, not to admit of proselytes. Instead of being solicitous about gaining converts, they always make a mystery of their faith. Heaven, say they, is like a palace with many doors, and every one may enter in his own way. But this charitable disposition never encouraged other sects to settle among them, as they must have been excluded entirely from all the benefits of society.

When a child is born, some of the Brahmins are called. They pretend, from the horoscope of his nativity, to foretell his future fortune, by means of some astrological tables, of which they are possessed. When this ceremony is over, they burn incense, and make an offering according to the circumstances of the parent; and without ever consulting them, tie the zinar [A string which all the Hindoos wear, by way of charm or amulet.] round the infant's neck, and impose a name upon him, according to their own fancy.

Between the age of seven and ten, the children are, by their parents, given away in marriage. The young pair are brought together, in order to contract an intimacy with one another. But when they approach to the years of puberty, they carefully separate them, till the female produces signs of womanhood. She then is taken from her parents to cohabit with her husband: nor is she ever after permitted to visit them. It is not lawful among the Hindoos to marry nearer than the eighth degree of kindred. Polygamy is permitted, but seldom practised; for they very rationally think, that one wife is sufficient for one man.

The extraordinary custom of the women burning themselves with their deceased husbands, has, for the most part, fallen into desuetude in India; nor was it ever reckoned a religious duty, as has been very erroneously supposed in the West. This species of barbarity, like many others, rose originally from the foolish enthusiasm of feeble minds. In a text in the Bedas, conjugal affection and fidelity are thus figuratively inculcated: “The woman, in short, who dies with her husband, shall enjoy life eternal with him in heaven." From this source the Brahmins themselves deduce this ridiculous custom, which is a more rational solution of it than the story which prevails in Europe; that it was a political institution, made by one of the Emperors, to prevent wives from poisoning their husbands, a practice, in those days, common in Hindostan.

People of rank and those of the higher casts, burn their dead and throw some incense into the pile. Some throw the bodies of their friends into the Ganges, while others expose them on the highways, as a prey to vultures and wild beasts. There is one cast in the kingdom of Bengal, who barbarously expose their sick by the river's side to die there. They even sometimes choke them with mud, when they think them past hopes of recovery. They defend this inhuman custom by saying, that life is not an adequate recompence for the tortures of a lingering disease.

The Hindoos have a code of laws in the NEA SHASTER. Treason, incest, sacrilege, murder, adultery with the wife of a Brahmin, and theft, are capital crimes. Though the Brahmins were the authors of those laws, we do not find that they have exempted themselves from the punishment of death, when guilty of those crimes. This is one of those numerous fables which modern travellers imported from the East. It is however certain, that the influence of the Brahmins is so great, and their characters as priests so sacred, that they escape in cases where no mercy would be shown to the other tribes.

Petty offences are punished by temporary excommunications, pilgrimages, penances, and fines, according to the degree of the crime and the wealth of the guilty person. But as the Hindoos are now for the most part subject to the Mahommedans, they are governed by the laws of the Koran, or by the arbitrary will of the Prince.

The Senasseys are a sect of mendicant philosophers, commonly known by the name of Fakiers, which literally signifies poor people. These idle and pretended devotees assemble sometimes in armies of ten or twelve thousand, and, under a pretext of making pilgrimages to certain temples, lay whole countries under contribution. These saints wear no clothes, are generally very robust, and convert the wives of the less holy part of mankind to their own use, upon their religious progresses. They admit any man of parts into their number, and they take great care to instruct their disciples in every branch of knowledge, to make the order the more revered among the vulgar.

When this naked army of robust saints direct their march to any temple, the men of the provinces through which their road lies, very often fly before them, notwithstanding the sanctified character of the Fakiers. But the women are in general more resolute, and not only remain in their dwellings, but apply frequently for the prayers of those holy persons, which are found to be most effectual in cases of sterility. When a Fakier is at prayers with the lady of the house, he leaves either his slipper or his staff at the door, which, if seen by the husband, effectually prevents him from disturbing their devotion. But should he be so unfortunate as not to mind those signals, a sound drubbing is the inevitable consequence of his intrusion.

Though the Fakiers enforce, with their arms, that reverence which the people of Hindostan have naturally for their order, they inflict voluntary penances of very extraordinary kinds upon themselves to gain more respect. These fellows sometimes hold up one arm in a fixed position till it becomes stiff, and remains in that situation during the rest of their lives. Some clench their fists very hard, and keep them so till their nails grow into their palms and appear through the back of their hands. Others turn their faces over one shoulder, and keep them in that situation, till they fix for ever their heads looking backward. Many turn their eyes to the point of their nose till they have lost the power of looking in any other direction. These last pretend sometimes to see what they call the sacred fire, which vision, no doubt, proceeds from some disorder arising from the distortion of the optic nerves.

It often appears to Europeans in India, a matter of some ridicule to converse with those distorted and naked philosophers; though their knowledge and external appearance exhibit a very striking contrast. Some are really what they seem, enthusiasts; but others put on the character of sanctity as a cloke for their pleasures. But what actually makes them a public nuisance, and the aversion of poor husbands, is, that the women think they derive some holiness to them- selves from an intimacy with a Fakier.

Many other foolish customs, besides those we have mentioned, are peculiar to those religious mendicants. But enthusiastic penances are not confined to them alone. Some of the vulgar, on the fast of Opposs, suspend themselves on iron hooks, by the flesh of the shoulder-blade, to the end of a beam. This beam turns round with great velocity, upon a pivot, on the head of a high pole. The enthusiast not only seems insensible of pain, but very often blows a trumpet as he is whirled round above, and, at certain intervals, sings a song to the gaping multitude below; who very much admire his fortitude and devotion. This ridiculous custom is kept up to commemorate the sufferings of a martyr, who was in that manner tortured for his faith.

To dwell longer upon the characteristical customs and manners of the Hindoos, would extend this Dissertation too far. Some more particulars concerning that nation will naturally arise from an investigation of their religion and philosophy. This last was the capital design of this introductory discourse; and we hope to be able to throw a new, if not a complete light, on a subject hitherto little understood in the West. Some writers have very lately given to the world an unintelligible system of the Brahmin religion; and they affirm, that they derived their information from the Hindoos themselves. This may be the case, but they certainly conversed upon that subject only with the inferior tribes, or with the unlearned part of the Brahmins: and it would be as ridiculous to hope for a true state of the religion and philosophy of the Hindoos from the illiterate casts, as it would be in a Mahommedan in London, to rely upon the accounts of a parish beadle, concerning the most abstruse points of the Christian faith; or, to form his opinion of the principles of the Newtonian philosophy, from a conversation with an English carman.

The Hindoos are divided into two great religious sects: the followers of the doctrine of the BEDANG; and those who adhere to the principles of the NEADIRZIN. As the first are esteemed the most orthodox, as well as the most ancient, we shall begin to explain their opinions, by extracts literally translated from the original SHASTER, [Shaster literally signifies Knowledge; but it is commonly understood to mean a book which treats of divinity and the sciences. There are many Shasters among the Hindoos; so that those writers who affirmed that there was but one Shaster in India, which, like the Bible of the Christians, or Koran of the followers of Mahommed, contained the first principles of the Brahmin faith, have deceived themselves and the public.] which goes by the name of Bedang.

Bedang, the title of the Shaster, or commentary upon the Bedas, concerning which we are about to treat, is a word compounded of Beda, science, and Ang, body. The name of this Shaster, therefore, may be literally translated, the Body of science. This book has, in Europe, been erroneously called Vedam: and it is an exposition of the doctrine of the Bedas, by that great philosopher and prophet Beâss Muni, who, according to the Brahmins, flourished about four thousand years ago. The Bedang is said to have been revised some ages after Beäss Muni, by one Sirrider Swami, since which it has been reckoned sacred, and not subject to any further alterations. Almost all the Hindoos of the Decan, and those of the Malabar and Coromandel coasts, are of the sect of the Bedang.

This commentary opens with a dialogue between Brimha, [Brimha is the genitive case of Brimh, which is a primitive signifying God. He is called Brimha or Wisdom, the first attribute of the supreme divinity. The divine wisdom, under the name of Brimha, is figuratively represented with one head, having four faces, looking to the four quarters, alluding to his seeing all things. Upon the head of this figure is a crown, an emblem of power and dominion. He has four hands, implying, the omnipotence of divine wisdom. In the first hand he holds the four Bedas, as a symbol of knowledge; in the second, a sceptre, as a token of authority; and in the third, a ring, or complete circle, as an emblem of eternity. Brimha holds nothing in the fourth hand, which implies, that the WISDOM of God is always ready to lend his aid to his creatures. He is represented riding upon a goose, the emblem of simplicity among the Hindoos. The latter circumstance is intended to imply the simplicity of the operations of nature, which is but another name for the wisdom of the divinity. These explications of the insignia of Brimha, were given by the Brahmin, and are, by no means, conjectures of the author of this Dissertation. the Wisdom of the Divinity; and Narud [Narud literally signifies REASON, emphatically called the son of THE WISDOM OF GOD. He is said to be the first-born of the Munis, of whom hereafter.] or Reason, who is represented as the son of Brimh. [Brimh.] Narud desires to be instructed by his father, and for that purpose, puts the following questions to him.


O father! thou first of God, [The supreme divinity.] thou art said to have created the world; and thy son Narud, astonished at what he be- ! holds, is desirous to be instructed how all these things were made.


Be not deceived, my son! do not imagine that I was the creator of the world, independent of the divine movers, who is the great original essence, [Pirrim-Purrus; from Pir first, and PURRUS essence or being.] and creator of all things. Look, therefore, only upon me as the instrument of the great Will, [ISH-BUR; from Ish will, and Bur great: commonly pronounced ISHUR. This is one of the thousand names of God, which have so much perplexed the writers of Europe. In the answer of Brimha, mention is made of the first three great deities of the Hindoos; which three, however, they by no means worship as distinct beings from God, but only as his principal attributes. ] and a part of his being, whom he called forth to execute his eternal designs.


What shall we think of God?


Being immaterial, [Nid-akar.] he is above all conception; being invisible, [Oderissa.] he can have no form; [Sirba-Sirrup.] but, from what we behold in his works, we may conclude that he is eternal, [Nitteh.] omnipotent, [Ge-itch.] knowing all things, [Subbittera-dirsi.] and present every where. [Surba-Birsi. These are the very terms used in the Bedang, in the definition of God, which we have literally translated in the text. Whether we, who profess Christianity, and call the Hindoos by the detestable names of Pagans and Idolaters, have higher ideas of the supreme divinity, we shall leave to the unprejudiced reader to determine.]


How did God create the world?


Affection [Maiah, which signifies either affection or passion.] dwelt with God, from all eternity. It was of three different kinds, the creative, [Redjogoon, the creative quality.] the preserving, [Sittohgoon, the preserving quality.] and the destructive. [Timmugoon, the destructive quality.] This first is represented by Brimha, the second by Bishen, [The preserver; Providence is personified under the name of Bishen.] and the third by Shibah. [Shibah, the foe of good.] You, O Narud! are taught to worship all the three, in various shapes and likenesses, as the creator, [Naat.] the preserver, [Bishen.] and the destroyer. [Shibah. The Hindoos worship the destructive attribute of the divinity, under the name of Shibah; but they do not mean evil by Shibah, for they affirm, that there is no such thing but what proceeds from the free agency of man.] The affection of God then produced power, [Jotna.] and power at a proper conjunction of time [Kaal.] and fate, [Addaristo.] embraced goodness, [Pirkirti, from Pir good, and Kirti action. God's attribute of goodness, is worshipped as a Goddess, under the name of Pirkirti, and many other appellations, which comprehend all the virtues. It has been ridiculously supposed in Europe, that PURRUS and PIRKIRTI were the first man and woman, according to the system of the Hindoos; whereas by Purrus is meant God, or emphatically, the Being; and by Pirkirti, his attribute of goodness.] and produced matter. [Mohat. In other places of the Bedang, matter is distinguished by the name of Maha-tit, the great substance.] The three qualities then acting upon matter, produced the universe in the following manner. From the opposite actions of the creative and destructive quality in matter, self-motion [Ahankar. The word literally signifies self-action.] first arose. Self-motion was of three kinds; the first inclining to plasticity, [Rajas.] the second to discord, [Tamas.] and the third to rest. [Satig.] The discordant actions then produced the Akash, [A kind of celestial element. The Bedang in another place, speaks of akash as a pure impalpable element, through which the planets move. This element, says the philosopher, makes no resistance, and therefore the planets continue their motion, from the first impulse which they received from the hand of Brimha or God; nor will they stop, says he, till he shall seize them in the midst of their course.] which invisible element possessed the quality of conveying sound; it produced air, [Baiow.] a palpable element, fire, [Tege.] a visible element, water, [Joal.] a fluid element, and earth, [Prittavi.] a solid element.

The Akash dispersed itself abroad. Air formed the atmosphere; fire, collecting itself, blazed forth in the host of heaven; [Dewta; of which Surage the Sun is first in rank. ] water rose to the surface of the earth, being forced from beneath by the gravity of the latter element. Thus broke forth the world from the veil of darkness, in which it was formerly comprehended by God. Order rose over the universe. The seven heavens were formed, [The names of the seven heavens are, Bu, Buba, Surg, Moha, Junnoh, Tapu, and Sutteh. The seven worlds are, Ottal, Bittal, Suttal, Joal, Tallattal, Rissatal, and Pattal. The author of the Dissertation, by a negligence which he very much regrets, forgot to get the proper explanation of those names, or the uses to which the seven heavens were converted.] and the seven worlds were fixed in their places; there to remain till the great dissolution, [Mah-pirly.] when all things shall be absorbed [Mucht.] into God.

God seeing the earth in full bloom, and that vegetation [Birgalotta.] was strong from its seeds, called forth for the first time, Intellect, [Mun.] which he endued with various organs and shapes, to form a diversity of animals [Jount.] upon the earth. He endued the animals with five senses, feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, and hearing. [The five senses are, Suppursina, Chowkowna, Nasiga, Rissina, Kurnowa.] But to man he gave reflection [Manus.] to raise him above the beasts of the field.

The creatures were created male and female, [Nir and Madda signify male and female.] that they might propagate their species upon the earth. Every herb bore the seed of its kind, that the world might be clothed with verdure, and all animals provided with food.


What dost thou mean, O Father! by intellect?


It is a portion of the GREAT soul [Purmattima literally signifies the great soul.] of the universe, breathed into all creatures, to animate them for a certain time.


What becomes of it after death?


It animates other bodies, or returns like a drop into that unbounded ocean from which it first arose.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

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Part 2 of 2


Shall not then the souls of good men receive rewards? Nor the souls of the bad meet with punishment?


The souls of men are distinguished from those of other animals; for the first are endued with reason, [Upiman.] and with a consciousness of right and wrong. If therefore man shall adhere to the first, as far as his powers shall extend, his soul, when disengaged from the body by death, shall be absorbed into the divine essence, and shall never more re-animate flesh. But the souls of those who do evil, [Mund.] are not, at death, disengaged from all the elements. They are immediately clothed with a body of fire, air, and akash, in which they are, for a time, punished in hell. [Nirick. The Hindoos reckon above eighty kinds of hells, each proportioned to the degree of the wickedness of the persons punished there. The Brahmins have no idea that all the sins that a man can commit in the short period of his life, can deserve eternal punishment; nor that all the virtues he can exercise, can merit perpetual felicity in heaven.] After the season of their grief is over, they re-animate other bodies; but till they shall arrive at a state of purity, they can never be absorbed into God.


What is the nature of that absorbed state [Muchti.] which the souls of good men enjoy after death?


It is a participation of the divine nature, where all passions are utterly unknown, and where consciousness is lost in bliss. [It is somewhat surprising, that a state of unconsciousness, which in fact is the same with annihilation, should be esteemed by the Hindoos as the supreme good; yet so it is, that they always represent the absorbed state, as a situation of perfect insensibility, equally destitute of pleasure and of pain. But Brimha seems here to imply, that it is a kind of delirium of joy.]


Thou sayst, O Father! that unless the soul is perfectly pure, it cannot be absorbed into God: Now, as the actions of the generality of men are partly good, and partly bad, whither are their spirits sent immediately after death?


They must atone for their crimes in hell, where they must remain for a space proportioned to the degree of their iniquities; then they rise to heaven to be rewarded for a time for their virtues; and from thence they will return to the world, to reanimate other bodies.


What is time? [Kaal. It may not be improper, in this place, to say something concerning the Hindoo method of computing time. Their least subdivision of time is, the Nemish or twinkling of an eye. Three Nemish's make one Kaan, fifty Kaan one Ligger, ten Liggers one Dind, two Dinds one Gurry, equal to forty-five of our minutes; four Gurries one Pâr, eight Pârs one Dien or day, fifteen Diens one Packa, two Packas one Måsh, four Måshes one Ribbi, three Ribbis one Aioon or year, which only consists of 360 days, but when the odd days, hours, and minutes, wanting of a solar year, amount to one revolution of the moon, an additional month is made to that year to adjust the calendar. A year of 360 days, they reckon but one day to the Dewtas or host of heaven; and they say, that twelve thousand of those planetary years, make one revolution of the four Jugs or periods, into which they divide the ages of the world. The Sittoh Jug, or age of truth, contained, according to them, four thousand planetary years. The Treta Jug, or age of three, contained three thousand years. The Duapur Jug, or age of two, contained two thousand; and the Kallé Jug, or age of pollution, consists of only one thousand. To these they add two other periods, between the dissolution and renovation of the world, which they call Sundeh, and Sundass, each of a thousand planetary years; so that from one Maperly, or great dissolution of all things, to another, there are 3,720,000 of our years.]


Time existed from all eternity with God; but it can only be estimated since motion was produced, and only be conceived by the mind, from its own constant progress.


How long shall this world remain?


Until the four jugs shall have revolved. Then Rudder [The same with Shibah, the destroying quality of God.] with the ten spirits of dissolution shall roll a comet under the moon, that shall involve all things in fire, and reduce the world into ashes. God shall then exist alone, for matter will be totally annihilated. [Nisht.]

Here ends the first chapter of the Bedang. The second treats of Providence and free will; a subject so abstruse, that it was impossible to understand it, without a complete knowledge of the Shanscrita. The author of the Bedang, thinking perhaps, that the philosophical catechism which we have translated above, was too pure for narrow and superstitious minds, has inserted into his work, a strange allegorical account of the creation, for the purposes of vulgar theology. In this tale, the attributes of God, the human passions and faculties of the mind, are personified, and introduced upon the stage. As this allegory may afford matter of some curiosity to the public, we shall here translate it.

“BRIMHA existed from all eternity, in a form of infinite dimensions. When it pleased him to create the world, he said, Rise up, O Brimha. [The wisdom of God.] Immediately a spirit of the colour of flame issued from his navel, having four heads and four hands. Brimha gazing round, and seeing nothing but the immense image, out of which he had proceeded, he travelled a thousand years, to endeavour to comprehend its dimensions. But after all his toil, he found himself as much at a loss as before.

“Lost in amazement, Brimha gave over his journey. He fell prostrate and praised what he saw with his four mouths. The almighty, then, with a voice like ten thousand thunders, was pleased to say: Thou hast done well, O Brimha, for thou canst not comprehend me! -- Go and create the world! -- How can I create it? -- Ask of me, and power shall be given unto thee. -- O God, said Brimha, thou art almighty in power! --

“Brimha forthwith perceived the idea of things, as if floating before his eyes. He said, LET THEM BE, and all that he saw became real before him. Then fear struck the frame of Brimha, lest those things should be annihilated. O immortal Brihm! he cried, who shall preserve those things which I behold ? In the instant a spirit of a blue colour issued from Brimba's mouth, and said aloud, I WILL. Then shall thy name be Bishen, [The providence of God.] because thou hast undertaken to preserve all things.

“Brimha then commanded Bishen to go and create all animals, with vegetables for their subsistence, to possess that earth which he himself had made. Bishen forthwith created all manner of beasts, fish, fowl, insects, and reptiles. Trees and grass rose also beneath his hands, for Brimba had invested him with power. But man was still wanting to rule the whole: and Brimha commanded Bishen to form him. Bishen began the work, but the men he made were idiots with great bellies, for he could not inspire them with knowledge; so that in every thing but in shape, they resembled the beasts of the field. They had no passion but to satisfy their carnal appetites.

“Brimha, offended at the men, destroyed them, and produced four persons from his own breath, whom he called by four different names. The name of the first was Sinnoc, [Body.] of the second, Sinnunda, [Life.] of the third, Sonnatin, [Permanency.] and of the fourth, Sonninkunar. [Intellectual existence.] These four persons were ordered by Brimha, to rule over the creatures, and to possess for ever the world. But they refused to do any thing but to praise God, having nothing of the destructive quality [Timmugoon.] in in their composition.

“Brimha, for this contempt of his orders, became angry, and lo! a brown spirit started from between his eyes. He sat down before Brimha, and began to weep: then lifting up his eyes, he asked him, “Who am I, and where shall be the place of my abode? Thy name shall be Rudder, [The weeper; because he was produced in tears. One of the names of Shibah, the destructive attribute of the divinity.] said Brimha, and all nature shall be the place of thine abode. But rise up, O Rudder! and form man to govern the world.

“Rudder immediately obeyed the orders of Brimha. He began the work, but the men he made were fiercer than tigers, having nothing but the destructive quality in their compositions. They, however, soon destroyed one another, for anger was their only passion. Brimha, Bishen, and Rudder, then joined their different powers. They created ten men, whose names were, Narud, Dico, Bashista, Birga, Kirku, Pulla, Pulista, Ongira, Otteri and Murichi: [The significations of these ten names are, in order, these: Reason, Ingenuity, Emulation, Humility, Piety, Pride, Patience, Charity, Deceit, Mortality.] The general appellation of the whole, was the Munies. [The Inspired.] Brimha then produced Dirmo [ Fortune.] from his breast, Adirmo [Misfortune.] from his back, Loab [Appetite.] from his lip, and Kam [Love.] from his heart. This last being a beautiful female, Brimha looked upon her with amorous eyes. But the Munies told him, that she was his own daughter; upon which he shrunk back, and produced a blushing virgin called Ludja. [Shame.] Brimha thinking his body defiled by throwing his eyes upon Kâm, changed it, and produced ten women, one of which was given to each of the Munies.”

In this division of the Bedang Shaster, there is a long list of the Surage Buns, or children of the sun, who, it is said, ruled the world in the first periods. But as the whole is a mere dream of imagination, and scarcely the belief of the Hindoo children and women, we shall not trespass further on the patience of the public with these allegories. The Brahmins of former ages wrote many volumes of romances upon the lives and actions of those pretended kings, inculcating, after their manner, morality by fable. This was the grand fountain from which the religion of the vulgar in India was corrupted; if the vulgar of any country require any adventitious aid to corrupt their ideas upon so mysterious a subject.

Upon the whole, the opinions of the author of the Bedang, upon the subject of religion, are not unphilosophical. He maintains that the world was created out of nothing by God, and that it will be again annihilated. The unity, infinity, and omnipotence of the supreme divinity, are inculcated by him: for though he presents us with a long list of inferior beings, it is plain that they are merely allegorical; and neither he nor the sensible part of his followers believe their actual existence. The more ignorant Hindoos, it cannot be denied, think that these subaltern divinities do exist, in the same manner, that Christians believe in angels: but the unity of God was always a fundamental tenet of the uncorrupted faith of the more learned Brahmins.

The opinion of this philosopher, that the soul, after death, assumes a body of the purer elements, is not peculiar to the Brahmins. It descended from the Druids of Europe, to the Greeks, and was the same with the [x] of Homer. His idea of the manner of the transmigration of the human soul into various bodies, is peculiar to himself. As he holds it as a maxim that a portion of the GREAT SOUL, or God, animates every living thing; he thinks it no ways inconsistent, that the same portion that gave life to man, should afterwards pass into the body of any other animal. This transmigration does not, in his opinion, debase the quality of the soul: for when it extricates itself from the fetters of the flesh, it reassumes its original nature.

The followers of the BEDANG SHASTER do not allow that any physical evil exists. They maintain that God created all things perfectly good, but that man, being a free agent, may be guilty of moral evil: which, however, only respects himself and society, but is of no detriment to the general system of nature. God, say they, has no passion but benevolence; and being possessed of no wrath, he never punishes the wicked, but by the pain and affliction which are the natural consequences of evil actions. The more learned Brahmins therefore affirm, that the hell which is mentioned in the Bedang, was only intended as a mere bugbear to the vulgar, to enforce upon their minds the duties of morality: for that hell is no other than a consciousness of evil, and those bad consequences which invariably follow wicked deeds.

Before we shall proceed to the doctrine of the NEADIRSEN SHASTER, it may not be improper to give a translation of the first chapter of the Dirm SHASTER, which throws a clear light upon the religious tenets common to both the grand sects of the Hindoos. It is a dialogue between Brimha, or the wisdom of God; and Narud, or human reason.


[Brimha, as we have already observed, is the genitive of Brimh; as Wisdom is, by the Brahmins, reckoned the chief attribute of God.] O thou first of God! Who is the greatest of all Beings?


BRIMH; who is infinite and almighty.


Is he exempted from death?


He is: being eternal and incorporeal.


Who created the world?


God, by his power.


Who is the giver of bliss?


KRISHEN: and whosoever worshippeth him, shall enjoy heaven. [Krishen is derived from Krish giving, and Ana joy. It is one of the thousand names of God.]


What is his likeness?


He hath no likeness: but to stamp some idea of him upon the minds of men, who cannot believe in an immaterial being, he is represented under various symbolical forms.


What image shall we conceive of him?


If your imagination cannot rise to devotion without an image; suppose with yourself, that his eyes are like the Lotos, his complexion like a cloud, his clothing of the lightning of heaven, and that he hath four hands.


Why should we think of the almighty in this form?


His eyes may be compared to the Lotos, to shew that they are always open, like that flower which the greatest depth of water cannot surmount. His complexion being like that of a cloud, is an emblem of that darkness with which he veils himself from mortal eyes. His clothing is of lightning, to express that awful majesty which surrounds him: and his four hands are symbols of his strength and almighty power.


What things are proper to be offered unto him?


Those things which are clean, and offered with a grateful heart. But all things which by the law are reckoned impure, or have been defiled by the touch of a woman in her times; things which have been coveted by your own soul, seized by oppression, or obtained by deceit, or that have any natural blemish, are offerings unworthy of God.


We are commanded then to make offerings to God of such things as are pure and without blemish, by which it would appear that God eateth and drinketh, like mortal man, or if he doth not, for what purpose are our offerings?


God neither eats nor drinks like mortal men. But if you love not God, your offerings will be unworthy of him; for as all men covet the good things of this world, God requires a free offering of their substance, as the strongest testimony of their gratitude and inclinations towards him.


How is God to be worshipped?


With no selfish view; but for love of his beauties, gratitude for his favours, and for admiration of his greatness.


How can the human mind fix itself upon God, being that it is in its nature changeable, and perpetually running from one object to another?


True: the mind is stronger than an elephant, whom men have found means to subdue, though they have never been able entirely to subdue their own inclinations. But the ankush [Ankush is an iron instrument used for driving elephants.] of the mind is true wisdom, which sees into the vanity of all worldly things.


Where shall we find true wisdom?


In the society of good and wise men.


But the mind, in spite of restraint, covets riches, women, and all worldly pleasures. How are these appetites to be subdued?


If they cannot be overcome by reason, let them be mortified by penance. For this purpose it will be necessary to make a public and solemn vow, lest your resolution should be shaken by the pain which attends it.


We see that all men are mortal, what state is there after death?


The souls of such good men as retain a small degree of worldly inclinations, will enjoy Surg [Heaven.] for a time; but the souls of those who are holy, shall be absorbed into God, never more to reanimate flesh. The wicked shall be punished in Nirick [Hell.] for a certain space, and afterwards their souls are permitted to wander in search of new habitations of flesh.


Thou, O Father, dost mention God as one; yet we are told, that Râm, whom we are taught to call God, was born in the house of Jessarit: that Kishen, whom we call God, was born in the house of Basdeo, and many others in the same manner. In what light are we to take this mystery?


You are to look upon these as particular manifestations of the providence of God, for certain great ends; as in the case of the sixteen hundred women, called Gopi, when all the men of Sirendiep [The island of Ceylon.] were destroyed in war. The women prayed for husbands, and they had all their desires gratified in one night, and became with child. But you are not to suppose that God, who is in this case introduced as the actor, is liable to human passions or frailties, being, in him. self, pure and incorporeal. At the same time he may appear in a thousand places, by a thousand names, and in a thousand forms; yet continue the same unchangeable, in his divine nature. --

Without making any reflections upon this chapter of the Dirm SHASTER, it appears evident, that the religion of the Hindoos has hitherto been very much misrepresented in Europe. The followers of the NEADIRSEN SHASTER, differ greatly in their philosophy from the sect of the BEDANG, though both agree about the unity of the supreme being. To give some idea of the Neadirsen philosophy, we shall, in this place, give some extracts from that Shaster.

NEADIRSEN is a compound from NEA, signifying right, and Dirsen, to teach or explain; so that the word may be translated an exhibition of truth. Though it is not reckoned so ancient as the Bedang, yet it is said to have been written by a philosopher called Goutam, near four thousand years ago. The philosophy contained in this Shaster, is very abstruse and metaphysical; and therefore it is but justice to Goutam to confess, that the author of the Dissertation, nota withstanding the great pains he took to have proper definitions of the terms, is by no means certain, whether he has fully attained his end. In this state of uncertainty he chose to adhere to the literal meaning of words, rather than, by a free translation, to deviate perhaps from the sense of his author.

The generality of the Hindoos of Bengal, and all the northern provinces of Hindostan, esteem the NEADIRSEN a sacred Shaster; but those of the Decan, Coromandel, and Malabar, totally reject it. It consists of seven volumes. The first only came to the hands of the author of the Dissertation, and he has, since his arrival in England, deposited it in the British Museum. He can say nothing for certain concerning the contents of the subsequent volumes; only that they contain a complete system of the theology and philosophy of the Brahmins of the Neadirsen sect.

Goutam does not begin to reason a priori, like the writer of the Bedang. He considers the present state of nature, and the intellectual faculties, as far as they can be investigated by human reason; and from thence he draws all his conclusions. He reduces all things under six principal heads; substance, quality, motion, species, assimulation, and construction. [These are in the original Shanscrita, Dirba, Goon, Kirmo, Summania, Bishesh, Sammabae.] In substance, besides time, space, life, and spirit, he comprehends earth, water, fire, air, and akash. The four grosser elements, he says, come under the immediate comprehension of our bodily senses; and akash, time, space, soul, and spirit, come under mental perception.

He maintains, that all objects of perception are equally real, as we cannot comprehend the nature of a solid cubit, any more than the same extent of space. He affirms, that distance in point of time and space are equally incomprehensible; so that if we shall admit that space is a real existence, time must be so too: that the soul, or vital principle, is a subtile element, which pervades all things; for that intellect, which, according to experience in animals, cannot proceed from organization and vital motion only, must be a principle totally distinct from them.

“The author of the Bedang,” [A system of sceptical philosophy, to which many of the Brahmins adhere.] says Goutam, "finding the impossibility of forming an idea of substance, asserts that all nature is a mere delusion. But as imagination must be acted upon by some real existence, as we cannot conceive that it can act upon itself, we must conclude that there is something real, otherwise philosophy is at an end."

He then proceeds to explain what he means by his second principle, or Goon, which, says he, comprehends twenty-four things; form, taste, smell, touch, sound, number, quantity, gravity, solidity, fluidity, elasticity, conjunction, separation, priority, posteriority, divisibility, indivisibility, accident, perception, ease, pain, desire, aversion, and power [The twenty-four things are, in the Shanscrita, in order, these: Rup, Ris, Gund, Supursa, Shubardo, Sirica, Purriman, Gurritte, Dirbitte, Sinniha, Shanskan, Sangoog, Bibag, Pirrible, Particca, Apporticta, Addaristo, Bud, Suc, Duc, Itcha, Desh, Jotna.]. Kirmo or motion is, according to him, of two kinds, direct and crooked. Sammania, or species, which is his third principle, includes all animals and natural productions. Bishesh he defines to be a tendency in matter towards productions; and Sammabae, or the last principle, is the artificial construction or formation of things, as a statue from a block of marble, a house from stones, or cloth from cotton.

Under these six heads, as we have already observed, Goutam comprehends all things which fall under our comprehension; and after having reasoned about their nature and origin in a very philosophical manner, he concludes with asserting, that five things must of necessity be eternal. The first of these is Pirrum Attima, or the GREAT SOUL, who, says he, is immaterial, one, invisible, eternal, and indivisible, possessing omniscience, rest, will, and power [These properties of the divinity are the following in order: Nidakaar, Akitta, Odėrisa, Nitte, Apparticta, Budsirba, Sụck, Itcha, Jotna.].

The second eternal principle is the Jive Attima, or the vital soul, which he supposes is material, by giving it the following properties; number, quantity, motion, contraction, extension, divisibility, perception, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, accident, and power. His reasons for maintaining that the vital soul is different from the great soul, are very numerous, and it is upon this head that the followers of the Bedang and Neadirsen are principally divided. The first affirm that there is no soul in the universe but God, and the second strenuously hold that there is, as they cannot conceive that God can be subject to such affections and passions as they feel in their own minds; or that he can possibly have a propensity to evil. Evil, according to the author of the Neadirsen Shaster, proceeds entirely from Jive Attima, or the vital soul. It is a selfish craving principle, never to be satisfied; whereas God remains in eternal rest, without any desire but benevolence.

Goutam's third eternal principle is time or duration, which, says he, must of necessity have existed while any thing did exist; and is therefore infinite. The fourth principle is space or extension, without which nothing could have been; and as it comprehends all quantity, or rather is infinite, he maintains that it is indivisible and eternal. The fifth eternal principle is Akash, a subtile and pure element, which fills up the vacuum of space, and is compounded of purmans or quantities, infinitely small, indivisible, and perpetual. “God,” says he, “can neither make nor annihilate these atoms, on account of the love which he bears to them, and the necessity of their existence; but they are, in other respects, totally subservient to his pleasure.”

“God," says Goutam, “at a certain season, endued these atoms, as we may call them, with Bishesh or plasticity, by virtue of which they arranged themselves into four gross elements, fire, air, water, and earth. These atoms being, from the beginning, formed by God into the seeds of all productions, Jive Attima, or the vital soul, associated with them, so that animals and plants, of various kinds, were produced upon the face of the earth.”

"The same vital soul," continues Goutam, " which before associated with the Purman of an animal, may afterwards associate with the Purman of a man.” This transmigration is distinguished by three names, Mirt, Mirren, and Pirra-purra-purvesh, which last literally signifies the change of abode. The superiority of man, according to the philosophy of the Neadirsen, consists only in the finer organization of his parts, from which proceed reason, reflection, and memory, which the brutes only possess in an inferior degree, on account of their less refined organs.

Goutam supposes, with the author of the Bedang, that the soul after death, assumes a body of fire, air, and akash, unless in the carnal body it has been so purified by piety and virtue, that it retains no selfish inclinations. In that case it is absorbed into the GREAT SOUL OF NATURE, never more to reanimate flesh. Such, says the philosopher, shall be the reward of all those who worship God from pure love and admiration, without any selfish views. Those that shall worship God from motives of future happiness, shall be indulged with their desires in heaven for a certain time. But they must also expiate their crimes, by, suffering adequate punishments; and afterwards their souls will return to the earth, and wander about for new habitations. Upon their return to the earth they shall casually associate with the first organized Purman they shall meet. They shall not retain any consciousness of their former state, unless it is revealed to them by God. But those favoured persons are very few, and are distinguished by the name of Jates Summon [The acquainted with their former state.].

The author of the Neadirsen teaches, for the purposes of morality, that the sins of the parents will descend to their posterity; and that, on the other hand, the virtues of the children will mitigate the punishments of the parents in Nirick, and hasten their return to the earth. Of all sins he holds ingratitude [Mitterdro.] to be the greatest. “Souls guilty of that black crime,” says he, “will remain in hell while the sun remains in heaven, or to the general dissolution of all things.”

"Intellect,” says Goutam, “is formed by the combined action of the senses.” He reckons six senses: five external [Chakous, Shraban, Rasan, Granap, Tawass.], and one internal. The last he calls Manus, by which he seems to mean conscience. In the latter he comprehends reason, perception [Onnuman, reason. Upimen, perception.], and memory: and be concludes, that by their means only mankind may possibly acquire knowledge. He then proceeds to explain the manner by which these senses act.

“Sight,” says he, “arises from the Shanskar, or repulsive qualities of bodies, by which the particles of light which fall upon them are reflected back upon the eyes from all parts of their surfaces. Thus the object is painted in a perfect manner upon the organ of seeing, whither the soul repairs to receive the image.” He affirms, that unless the soul fixes its attention upon the figure in the eye, nothing can be perceived by the mind; for a man in a profound reverie, though his eyes are open to the light, perceives nothing. Colours, says Goutam, are particular feelings in the eye, which are proportioned to the quantity of light reflected from any solid body.

Goutam defines hearing in the same manner with the European philosophers, with this difference only, that he supposes, that the sound which affects the ear is conveyed through the purer element of akash, and not by the air; an error which is not very surprising in a speculative philosopher. Taste he defines to be a sensation of the tongue and palate, occasioned by the particular form of those particles which compose food. Smell, says he, proceeds from the effluvia which arise from bodies to the nostrils. The feeling which arises from touching, is occasioned by the contact of dense bodies with the skin, which, as well as the whole body, excepting the bones, the hair, and the nails, is the organ of that sense. There runs, says he, from all parts of the skin, very small nerves to a great nerve, which he distinguishes by the name of Medda. This nerve is composed of two different coats, the one sensitive and the other insensitive. It extends from the crown of the head down the right side of the vertebræ to the right foot [To save the credit of Goutam, in this place, it is necessary to observe, that anatomy is not at all known among the Hindoos, being strictly prohibited from touching a dead body by the severest ties of religion.]. When the body becomes languid, the soul, fatigued with action, retires within the insensible coat, which checks the operation of the senses, and occasions sound sleep. But should there remain in the soul a small inclination to action, it starts into the sensitive part of the nerve, and dreams immediately arise before it. These dreams, says he, invariably relate to something perceived before by the senses, though the mind may combine the ideas together at pleasure.

Manus, or conscience, is the internal feeling of the mind, when it is no way affected by external objects. Onnuman, or reason, says Goutam, is that faculty of the soul which enables us to conclude that things and circumstances exist, from an analogy to things which had before fallen under the conception of our bodily senses: for instance, when we see smoke, we conclude that it proceeds from a fire; when we see one end of a rope, we are persuaded that it must have another.

By reason, continues Goutam, men perceive the existence of God; which the Boad or Atheists deny, because his existence does not come within the comprehension of the senses. These atheists, says he, maintain that there is no God but the universe; that there is neither good nor evil in the world; that there is no such thing as a soul; that all animals exist by a mere mechanism of the organs, or by a fermentation of the elements; and that all natural productions are but the fortuitous concourse of things.

The philosopher refutes these atheistical opinions by a long train of arguments, such as have been often urged by European divines. Though superstition and custom may bias reason to different ends, in various countries, we find a surprising similarity in the arguments used by all nations against the BOAD, those common enemies of every system of religion.

“Another sect of the BOAD,” says Goutam, “are of opinion that all things were produced by chance [Addaristo.]." This doctrine he thus refutes. "Chance is so far from being the origin of all things, that it has but a momentary existence of its own; being alternately created and annihilated at periods infinitely small, as it depends entirely on the action of real essences. This action is not accidental, for it must inevitably proceed from some natural cause. Let the dice be rattled eternally in the box, they are determined in their motion, by certain invariable laws. What therefore we call chance is but an effect proceeding from causes which we do not perceive."

“Perception,” continues Goutam, "is that faculty by which we instantaneously know things without the help of reason. This is perceived by means of relation, or some distinguishing property in things, such as high and low, long and short, great and small, hard and soft, cold and hot, black and white.”

Memory, according to Goutam, is the elasticity of the mind, and is employed in three different ways: on things present as to time, but absent as to place; on things past, and on things to come. It would appear from the latter part of the distinction, that the philosopher comprehends imagination in memory. He then proceeds to define all the original properties of matter, and all the passions and faculties of the mind. He then descants on the nature of generation.

"Generation,” says he, “may be divided into two kinds; Jonidge, or generation by copulation; and adjonidge, generation without copulation. All animals are produced by the first, and all plants by the latter. The purman, or seed of things, was formed from the beginning with all its parts. When it happens to be deposited in a matrix suitable to its nature, a soul associates with it; and, by assimulating more matter, it gradually becomes a creature or plant; for plants, as well as animals, are possessed of a portion of the vital soul of the world.”

Goutam, in another place, treats diffusely of providence and free will. He divides the action of man under three heads: the will of God, the power of man, and casual or accidental events. In explaining the first, he maintains a particular providence; in the second, the freedom of will in man; and in the third, the common course of things, according to the general laws of nature. With respect to providence, though he cannot deny the possibility of its existence, without divesting God of his omnipotence, he supposes that the deity never exerts that power, but that he remains in eternal rest, taking no concern, neither in human affairs nor in the course of the operations of nature.

The author of the Neadirsen maintains that the world is subject to successive dissolutions and renovations at certain stated periods. He divides these dissolutions into the lesser and the greater. The lesser dissolution will happen at the end of a revolution of the Jugs. The world will be then consumed by fire, and the elements shall be jumbled together, and after a certain space of time they will again resume their former order. When a thousand of those smaller dissolutions shall have happened, a MAHPERLEY or great dissolution will take place. All the elements will then be reduced to their original purmans or atoms, in which state they shall long remain. God will then, from his mere goodness and pleasure, restore Bishesh or plasticity. A new creation will arise; and thus things have revolved in succession, from the beginning, and will continue to do so to eternity.

These repeated dissolutions and renovations have furnished an ample field for the inventions of the Brahmins. Many allegorical systems of creation are upon that account contained in the Shasters. It was for this reason that so many different accounts of the cosmogony of the Hindoos have been promulgated in Europe; some travellers adopting one system, and some another. Without deviating from the good manners due to those writers, we may venture to affirm that their tales upon this subject are extremely puerile, if not absurd. They took their accounts from any common Brahmin, with whom they chanced to meet, and never had the curiosity or industry to go to the fountain head.

In some of the renovations of the world, Brimha, or the wisdom of God, is represented in the form of an infant with his toe in his mouth, floating on a comala or water flower, or sometimes upon a leaf of that plant, upon the watery abyss. The Brahmins mean no more by this allegory, than that at that time the wisdom and designs of God will appear, as in their infant state. Brimha floating upon a leaf shows the instability of things at that period. The toe which he sucks in his mouth implies, that infinite wisdom subsists of itself; and the position of Brimha's body is an emblem of the endless circle of eternity.

We see Brimha sometimes creeping forth from a winding shell. This is an emblem of the untraceable way by which divine wisdom issues forth from the infinite ocean of God. He, at other times, blows up the world with a pipe, which implies, that the earth is but a bubble of vanity, which the breath of his mouth can destroy. Brimha, in one of the renovations, is represented in the form of a snake, one end of which is upon a tortoise which floats upon the vast abyss, and upon the other, he supports the world. The snake is the emblem of wisdom; the tortoise is a symbol of security, which figuratively signifies providence; and the vast abyss is the eternity and infinitude of God.

What has been already said has, it is hoped, thrown a new light on the opinions of the Hindoos upon the subject of religion and philosophical inquiry. We find that the Brahmins, contrary to the ideas formed of them in the West, in- variably believe in the unity, eternity, omniscience, and omnipotence of God: that the polytheism of which they have been accused, is no more than a symbolical worship of the divine attributes, which they divide into three principal classes. Under the name of Brimha, they worship the wisdom and creative power of God; under the appellation of Bishen, his providential and preserving quality; and under that of SHIBAH, that attribute which tends to reduce matter to its original principles.

This system of worship, say the Brahmins, arises from two opinions. The first is, that as God is immaterial, and consequently invisible, it is impossible to raise a proper idea of him by any image in the human mind. The second is, that it is necessary to strike the gross ideas of man with some emblems of God's attributes, otherwise, that all sense of religion will naturally vanish from the mind. They, for this purpose, have made symbolical representations of the three classes of the divine attributes; but they aver, that they do not believe them to be separate intelligences. BRIMH, or the supreme divinity, has a thousand names; but the Hindoos would think it the grossest impiety to represent him under any form. “The human mind,” say they, “may form some conception of his attributes separately, but who can grasp the whole within the circle of finite ideas?”

That in any age or country, human reason was ever so depraved as to worship the work of hands for the Creator of the universe, we believe to be an absolute deception, which arose from the vanity of the abettors of particular systems of religion. To attentive inquirers into the human mind, it will appear, that common sense, upon the affairs of religion, is pretty equally divided among all nations. Revelation and philosophy have, it is confessed, lopped off some of those superstitious excrescences and absurdities that naturally arise in weak minds upon a subject so mysterious: but it is much to be doubted, whether the want of those necessary purifiers of religion ever involved any nation in gross idolatry, as many ignorant zealots have pretended.

In India, as well as in many other countries, there are two religious sects: the one look up to the divinity through the medium of reason and philosophy; while the others receive, as an article of their belief, every holy legend and allegory which have been transmitted down from antiquity. From a fundamental article in the Hindoo faith, that God is the soul of the world, and is consequently diffused through all nature, the vulgar revere all the elements, and consequently every great natural object, as containing a portion of God; nor is the infinity of the supreme being, easily comprehended by weak minds, without falling into this error. This veneration for different objects, has, no doubt, given rise among the common Indians, to an idea of subaltern intelligences; but the learned Brahmins, with one voice, deny the existence of inferior divinities: and, indeed, all their religious books of any antiquity confirm that assertion.

[End of the Dissertation.]
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:36 am

A Catalogue of the Gods of the Hindoos.

To prevent future writers from confounding themselves and others, by mistaking synonymous names of the Gods of the Hindoos for different intelligences, we here present the public with a catalogue of them, as taken from an original book of the Brahmins. A list of proper names, especially in a foreign language, is so very dry of itself, that it is superfluous to advise such as are not particularly inquisitive upon this subject, to pass entirely over this list, as it can afford very little amusement.

BRIMH, or the supreme being, is distinguished by a thousand names in the Shanscrita, according to the Brahmins; but it is to be observed, that in that number they include the names of all those powers, properties, and attributes, which they conceive to be inherent in the divine nature, as well as the names of all those symbols and material essences under which God is worshipped. Those commonly used are, Ishbur, the great will; Bagubaan, the receptacle of goodness; Narrain, the giver of motion; Pirrimpurrous, the first essence; Niringen, the dispassionate; Nidakar, the immaterial.

BRIMHA, or God in his attribute of wisdom, is worshipped under the following names. Attimabah, the good spirit. Beda, science. Beddatta, the giver of knowledge. Bisheshrick, the flower of the creation. Surrajist, Purmisti, Pittamah, Hirinagirba, Lokessa, Saimbu, Chottranun, Datta, Objajoni, Birrinchi, Commalasein, Biddi.

BISHEN, or God in his providential quality, is worshipped under the following names. Krishana, the giver of joy; Bishana, the nourisher. Baycanta, Bitara-sirba, Dammu-dar, Bishi-kesh, Keseba, Mahdob, Subduh, Deitari, Pun-dericack, Gurrud-idaja, Pittamber, Otchuta, Saringi, Bis-sickson, Jannardan, Uppindera, Indrabab-raja, Suckerpani, Chullerbudge, Puttanab, Mudcripu, Basdebo, Tribickerma, Deibuckipindan, Suri, Sirriputti, Purrusittam, Bunnumali, Billidinsi, Kangsarratti, Oddu-kego, Bissimber, Koitabagit, Sirbassa, Lanchana.

SHIBAH, or as it is generally pronounced, SHIEB, and sometimes SHIEW, emblematically, the destructive power of God, is known by the names of Mahoissur, the great Demon; Mahdebo, the great spirit; Bamdebo, the frightful spirit; Mohilla, the destroyer; Khaal, time; Sumbu, Ish, Pushu-putti, Shuli, Surboh, Ishan, Shawkacarrah, Sandraseikar, Butchessa, Candapursu, Girissa, Merrurah, Mittinja, Kirtis bash, Pinnaki, Pirmatadippo, Ugur, Choppurdi, Scricant, Sitticant, Copalbrit, Birrupacka, Trilochuna, Kersanwreta, Sirbugah, Durjutti, Neloloito, Harra, Sarraharra, Trimbick, Tripurantacka, Gangadir, Undukorripu, Kirtudansi, Birsa-dija, Bumkesa, Babah, Bimeh, Stanu, Rudder, Umma-putti.

In the same manner as the power of God is figuratively said to have taken upon itself three masculine forms at the creation; so PIRKITTI, or the goodness of God, is said to have taken three feminine forms. The first of these was Drugah, or Virtue, who, say they, was married to Shibah, to intimate that good and evil are so blended together, that they could not have existed separately: for had there been no such thing as evil, in consequence there could be no good. She is worshipped in this character under the names of Bowani, courage; Maiah, love; Homibutti, Ishura, Shibae, Rudderani, Sirbani, Surba-mungula, Appurna, Par-butti, Kattaini Gouri, and a variety of other names.

As the consort of Bishen, she is worshipped under the names of Litchmi, which signifies fortune; Puddamah, Leich, Commala, Siri Horripria.

As the consort of Brimha, she is generally known by the names of Sursitti, which means the bestower of wisdom; Giandah, the giver of reason; Gire, Baak, Bani, Sardah, Brimhapira.

Besides the above six capital divisions of the divine attributes, they raise temples to GRANESH, or policy, whom they worship at the commencement of any design, by the names of Biggenrage, Binnauck, Deimatar, Gunnadebo, Eckdant, Herrumboo, Lumbodre, Gunjanund. This divinity is feigned to be the first-born son of Shibah, and is represented with the head of an elephant, with one tooth only.

KARTICK, or Fame, is also worshipped under various names as follows; Farruck-gite, Mahasin, Surjunmah, Sur-ranonno, Parbutti-nundun, Skunda, Sonnani, Agnibu, Guha, Bahulliha, Bishaka, Shuckibahin, Shanmattara, Shuckliddir, Cummar, Corimchidarna. He is said to be the second son of Sibab.

CAM-DEBO, the spirit of love, is also known by the names of Muddun, Mannumut, Maro, Purrudumun, Minckatin, Kundurp, Durpako, Annungah, Pansusur, Shwaro, Sum-berari, Munnusigah, Kusshumesha, Ommenidja, Passba- dinna, Kulliputti, Nackera-dija, Ratimoboo; he is said to be the first born of Bishen.

COBERE, or wealth, is known by the following names: Trumbuca-suca, Juckrage, Gudja-kessera, Monnusa-dirma, Dunnedo, Raja Raja, Donnadippa, Kinaresso, Borsserbunnu, Pollusta, Narru-bahin, Joikaika, Ellabilla, Srida Punejani- sherah. Nill Cobere, the son of wealth, is also represented in the emblems of luxury, but is seldom worshipped.

SOORAGE, or the Sun, is worshipped under the names of Inder, or the King of the Stars; Mohruttan, Mugubah, Biraja, Packsasen, Birdirsisba, Sonnasir, Purruhutta, Pur-rinder, Gistnow, Likkersubba, Sockor, Sukamunneh, Depas-putti, Suttrama, Gottrabit, Budgeri, Basub, Bitterha, Bas-tosputti, Suraputti, Ballaratti, Satchiputti, Jambubedi, Hor-riheia, Surat, Nomisinundun, Sonkrindana, Dussibina, Tur-rasat, Negabahina, Akindilla, Sorakah, Ribukah.

CHUNDER, or the Moon, is worshipped under the names of Hindoo, Himmanchu, Chundermah, Kumuda-bandibah, Biddu, Sudduns, Subransu, Ossadissa, Nishaputti, Objoja, Soom, Gullow, Merkanku, Kollandi, Dirjarage, Sesudirra, Nuhtitressa, Kepakina.

Besides all the above, they have divinities which they suppose to preside over the elements, rivers, mountains, &c. or rather worship all these as parts of the divinity, or on a supposition of his existence in all things.

AGUNNI, or the God of fire, hath thirty-five names; Birren, or the God of water, ten names; Baiow, or the God of of air, twenty-three names; all which are too tedious to mention.

The JUM are fourteen in number, and are supposed to be spirits who dispose of the souls of the dead.

The USSERA are beautiful women, who are feigned to reside in heaven, and to sing the praises of God.

The GUNDIRP are boys who have the same office.

The RAKISS are ghosts or spectres who walk about the earth.

The DEINTS or OISSURS are evil spirits or demons, who were expelled from heaven, and are now said to live under ground.

The DEOS or DEBOS are spirits whose bodies are supposed to be of the element of fire; they are sometimes represented beautiful as angels, and at other times in horrible forms; they are supposed to inhabit the air.

Such is the strange system of religion which priestcraft has imposed on the vulgar, ever ready in all climes and ages to take advantage of superstitious minds. There is one thing however to be said in favour of the Hindoo doctrine, that while it teaches the purest morals, it is systematically formed on philosophical opinions. Let us therefore no longer imagine half the world more ignorant than the stones which they seem to worship, but rest assured, that whatever the external ceremonies of religion may be, the self-fame infinite Being is the object of universal adoration.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:43 am

The History of Hindostan

Part I. The History of the Hindoos, Before the First Invasion of Hindostan by the Mahomedans.

Section I. Of the Fabulous Accounts of the Hindoos Concerning Their Origin. -- A Specimen of Their Ancient History.


THERE is no history among the Hindoos, of better authority than the Mahabarit [Mahabarit signifies, the great war. Our author has in this section given a specimen of the legends contained in that book.], which Shech Abul Fazil translated into Persian, in the reign of Akbar. It consists of about one hundred and twenty thousand periods [Ashlogues or Stanzas.] in the original Shanscrita, in a kind of long blank verse. We shall from this author select the particulars which relate to the history of the Hindoos.

The Hindoos divide the age of the world into four grand periods or jugs: the Sat Jug, the Treta Jug, the Duapur Jug, and the Cal Jug. They believe that when the Cal Jug is finished, the Sat Jug will commence again, and that thus time will revolve in eternal succession. The Sat Jug is said to have been a period of fourteen millions and four hundred thousand years, and it is represented as the age of felicity, in which there was nothing but truth, religion, happiness, peace, plenty, and independence; and that the life of man extended to one hundred thousand years.

The Treta Jug is said to contain one million and eighty thousand years, in which, it is said, that in the composition of mankind, there were three fourths truth, and one fourth falsehood, and that the age of man extended to ten thousand years. The Duapur Jug is said to contain seventy two thousand years, in which two parts of the composition of man were truth, and two parts falsehood, his age extending to one thousand years. The Cal Jug contains thirty six thousand years, in which period three fourths of the composition of man consisted of falshood, and only one fourth of truth, his age being one hundred years.

It is the opinion of the Hindoos, that God first created five elements; Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Akash, or a Celestial Element of which the heavens are made. He afterwards created a kind of being endued with perfect wisdom, whom he called Brimha, and commanded him to make the world. When Brimha had created mankind out of nothing, he divided them into four tribes; the Brahmin, the Kittri, the Bise, and the Sudur. The first tribe were to be priests, to direct man in the ways of God; the second rulers and possessors of the earth; the third labourers; and the fourth tradesmen and servants; which division is strictly maintained to this day.

Brimha, say they, wrote a book which he called the Beda, by the order of God, in which he affirms, that all things were originally God, and that all things shall be resolved into him again; that happiness consists in virtue, and that vice will be punished with misery. To regulate the ceremonies of religion, and to instruct men how to govern the world, he has in the Beda given a canon of laws, founded upon the principles of justice. But as the Bedas are covered with a veil of darkness by the Brahmins, we cannot say much more for certain concerning them. The Hindoos affirm, that Brimha lives for ever, or, as some say, one hundred years, in which each day is computed at four hundred revolutions of the Jugs. We shall here give a specimen of the early history of the Hindoos.

It is recorded in the Mahabarit, that about the middle of the third period, there was a Raja of the tribe of Kittiri, in the city of Histinapoor, whose name was Birt. He ruled the kingdom of Hindostan, and his issue after him in lineal descent for eight generations, in peace and tranquillity. The ninth in succession, whose name was Kour, we are told, founded the city of that name, which is now called Tannassar, and is about 70 crores from Delhi. He was the father of the tribe who are still called Kours.

In the thirteenth generation from Kour, Chitterbourge reigned, and was esteemed a great prince. He had two sons, one named Ditarashter, and the other Pind. But when Ditarashter grew up, he became blind, and therefore his father left the kingdom to his younger son, who had five children; Judishter, Brimsein, and Arjun, by one wife, and Nucul and Sedive, by another woman. But his elder brother Ditarashter had sons one hundred and one, by a variety of women, among whom one was named Jirjodin, being the eldest of his children by the first wife, and another was called Jutush, being his first born by a second spouse. In short, when Pind died, the inheritance descended by right to the heirs of his elder brother Ditarashter, so that Jirjodin became king.

But the children of Pind regarded Jirjodin as an enemy, and waited an opportunity to divest him of his authority. Ditarashter, fearing disturbances, advised his son to build a palace without the city for the sons of Pind, in which for some time they consented to reside. In the mean time Jirjodin had privately ordered the workmen who built this palace to fill up several vaults with combustibles, and hired an old woman to set fire to them, at a proper opportunity. But the plot being discovered accidentally by the sons of Pind, they themselves set fire to the mine, and burnt the old woman and her five sons in the flames, while they privately withdrew into the wilderness, where they remained for some time, the king imagining they had been destroyed in the fire.

The sons of Pind ventured at length into a certain city called Cumpula, where they wedded Diropti, the Raja's daughter, with whom they lived by turns, for the space of seventeen days. In a short time, however, it was noised abroad, that the sons of Pind were not dead, as was supposed, which reaching the ears of the king, he ordered enquiry to be made, and found that truth was in the report. Anxious to have them again in his power, he wrote to them affectionate letters, inviting them to Histinapoor, to share with him the inheritance of their forefathers. They were at length prevailed upon by his fair promises, returned to court, and were treated in every respect becoming their dignity. A part of the kingdom was allotted for their maintenance, for upon their arrival they became so much beloved by the people and nobility, that the king was afraid to lay violent hands upon them. Their popularity daily increasing, and their party being strengthened by many of the principal nobility, they at length openly insisted upon a division of the empire in their favour, which the king being in no condition to refuse, complied with without hesitation.

Some time after these transactions Judishter gave the feast of the period [Jug-Rajasou, somewhat similar to the secular games among the Romans.], the manner of which is said to be this: They lighted a prodigious fire, and threw into it every kind of spice, perfume, fruit, and grain. At this feast it was necessary that all the Rajas of the earth should be present. Judishter, in order to invite the Rajas, sent his four brothers to the four quarters of the world, that by the favour of God his design in a short time might be accomplished. His brothers, according to his desire, from Arab, from Agim, from Turkistan, from Habysh, and other countries, brought those princes to be present at this grand festival. Jirjodin, on observing the greatness of Judishter, burnt with envy at his fortune, and contrived this scheme to deprive his rival of his kingdoms and wealth.

It was the custom in those days to play at dice, and Jirjodin, having made a false set, challenged Judishter to play, which being accepted by him, he in a short time, in the presence of the princes, lost all his wealth and kingdoms. Jirjodin told him then, that he would give him one more chance to recover the whole, but that if he again should lose, he must retire, with all his brothers, for the space of twelve years into banishment, and if during that interval he was to be seen in his former dominions, he was to remain in banishment twelve years more. Judishter, hoping that fortune would not always be unkind, consented to these terms, but having lost as before, he was constrained by the princes, who were umpires, to relinquish his kingdoms to Jirjodin, and retire into banishment with his brethren from Inderput, his capital city, now known by the name of Delhi.

Twelve years they lay concealed in the wilderness, in such a manner that the tread of their feet was not heard; and when the time of their exile expired, they dispatched Kishen, the son of Basdeo, to demand the restoration of their kingdoms. Jirjodin, notwithstanding of his promise, made a jest of the embassy, and turned the ambassador with scorn from his presence. The sons of Pind finding that they could do nothing without force, began to collect their friends, of whom they had many; and in a short time they appeared in the field of Kirket, near the city of Tanassar, at the head of a mighty army, in the beginning of the Cal Jug. Jirjodin advancing with his army, after having drawn up his troops in array, encouraged the ranks of the valiant. The soldiers on both sides, according to the custom of battle, began to work, for death; the contest was renw'd, with dubious advantages, for the space of eighteen days, till at length, Jirjodin, with most of his friends, as the reward of his perfidy, drank the cup of fate in the field of war.

The Hindoos say, that in this war, Jirjodin commanded eleven cohin, and the sons of Pind seven: a cohin, according to their fabulous accounts, consisted of twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy elephants of war, an equal number of chariots, six thousand six hundred and ten horsemen, and one hundred and nine thousand three hundred and fifty foot. Of all this incredible number, they say that only twelve men survived on both sides, four on the part of Jirjodin, and eight on the part of Judishter; among the latter was the ambassador Kishen Basdeo, who is esteem'd a great prophet among the Hindoos. They say, that the astrologers gave advice to Raja Kuns, who ruled in the city of Muttra, that Kishen should one day take away his life; upon which he sought every opportunity to put Kishen to death: but Kishen, knowing the designs of his foe, retired to a place called Nind, where he lived with a shepherd eleven years. He ventured at length into the world, and collecting a body of men together, who were dissatisfied with the government of Kuns, he made war upon him and put him to death, setting up Ogursein, the father of Kuns, in the kingdom; and he himself lived afterwards thirty-two years, at the head of the administration at Muttra. Raja Jeradsing, from the country of Barounia, came at length with a great army, towards Muttra, to turn Kishen from his place. At the same time came from the east, Raja Callioon, and attacked him on the other side. Kishen, not able to oppose these two Rajas, fled towards Duarka, which is on the coast of the Salt Sea, and was there besieg'd for the space of eighteen years, where some say he died; but the superstitious aver that he is still alive, and therefore they pay him divine honors.

They relate that after the Mahabarit, which signifies the great war, Judishter having overcome Jirjodin, ruled the whole empire of Hindostan for thirty-six years, when being disgusted with the vanity and pomp of the world, he retired into a mountain, dividing his wealth and empire among his friends, and lived the life of religion and poverty the remainder of his days. The reign of Jirjodin and Judishter is said to be one hundred and twenty-five years. Such are the tales of the Hindoos concerning an age too dark and distant to be distinctly known.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:49 am

Section II. Of the Origin of the Hindoos [Though our author begins his accounts of Hindostan with the flood, yet like the annals of other nations, there is little to be depended upon in the history of that country, for some ages after that supposed period. This must rather be ascribed to the ignorance of the Mahommedans in the Shanscrita language, than to a real want of ancient monuments among the Hindoos themselves. In the first centuries of the Higerah, truth begins to beam forth with lustre in his accounts of India, and that with more precision and minuteness than any history we have of any European nation, in so early a period.].

AS the best and most authentic historians agree that Adam was the father of mankind, whose creation they place about five thousand years before the Higerah, the sensible part of mankind, who love the plainness of truth better than the extravagance of fable, have rejected the marvellous traditions of the Hindoos, concerning the transactions of a hundred thousand years, and are of opinion that they, like other nations, are the descendants of the sons of Noo, who peopled the world. The Hindoos pretend to know nothing of the flood; however, as this event is supported by the testimony of all other nations, there is little room to doubt of its truth, and we shall, therefore, proceed to trace the Hindoos from that great aera, according to the best authorities.

We are told that Noo had three sons, Sham, Eaphs and Ham. Sham, the eldest, had nine sons, Arshud, Arphashud, Bood, Khe, Simood, Aram, Kibt, Aad and Keitan. All the tribes of Arabs, Abraham and the prophets, were of the race of Arphashud, and his second son Keiomours, is said to be the first king of Agim [Media.], and his sons were six, Shamuc, Pharis, Iraac, Billou, Shaam and Mogaan. Shamuc inherited the kingdom after the death of his father, whereas the other sons dispersing themselves, laid the foundation of monarchies, which pass'd by their names.

Eaphs, according to the desire of his father, turned his face to the north-east, where he had many sons and daughters. The name of his first-born was Turc, from whence all the tribes of the Turks, Moguls, Usbecks, Chigettas, Turkumanians and Rumians [The European Turks are called Rumians, by the eastern nations, from their possessing the empire of the Romans in the lesser-Asia.]. The name of the second son was Chin, who laid the foundation of the mighty monarchy of China; and the third, whose name was Rus, is said to be the father of those nations, who extend themselves northward, even into the regions of darkness, in the countries of Muse, Ghiz and Eucolaat.

Ham, by the order of his illustrious father, turned his face to the south. He also had many children: the name of the first was Hind, the second Sind, the third Habysh [Habysh, according to the Mahommedans, was the progenitor of the Abyssinians.], the fourth Zinge, the fifth Barber, and the sixth Nobah; from these, all the kingdoms, distinguished by their names, took their rise. Hind, turning eastward, possessed himself of the paradisial regions of Hindostan, where he laid the foundation of his monarchy. His brother Sind, turning to the south-east, possessed himself of the fertile plains of the river [The Indus.], and founding the city of Tatta, ruled the kingdom of Moultan.

Hind had four sons, one of whom was named Purib, another Bang, a third Decan, and a fourth Nerwaal. They first inhabited the countries, known to this day by their names. To Decan, the son of Hind, was born three sons, among whom he divided his kingdom, Marhat, Conher and Tiling; and from them sprung these three great tribes in the Decan, Marhattas, Conherias and Telingas. Nerwaal had also three sons, Beroge, Cambage and Malrage, whose names descended to the countries over which they ruled. Bang also had many children, who lived to inherit the kingdom of Bengal. But Purib, the first-born of Hind, had forty-two sons, who in a short time multiply'd exceedingly; but among these, one of them whose name was Krishen, exalted himself above his brethren.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:51 am

Section III. Of the Reign of Krishen, the Founder of the Dynasty of the Marages.

LET it not be concealed that the first who placed his foot on the musnud of empire, in the region of Hindostan, was Krishen; but not that Krishen whom the Hindoos worship, but a man of wisdom, policy, and courage. He was, it is said, so fat a man, that finding no horse sufficiently strong for his weight, he first, prompted by necessity, found out the art of catching and taming elephants. In the reign of Krishen, it is also said, that there lived a certain person of the race of Bang, whose name was Brahma, wise and learned, whom Krishen made his vizier. This Brahma is said to be the father of many arts, of writing and of working in wood and iron. He was also the founder of the city of Oud, which became the capital of Krishen; and is said to have been the first regular imperial city of Hindostan. When Krishen had lived to the age of four hundred years [That is to say, Krishen, and such of his race as bore his name, reigned four hundred years over Hindostan. It is to be observed that our author does not, properly speaking, begin his history till the empire of Ghizni was founded by Subuctagi; his professed design being to record the transactions of the Mahommedans in Hindostan. What therefore the translator has distinguished under the title of the first part of this history is no more than a dissertation prefixed to the original, in which the domestic accounts of the Hindoos, concerning their ancient Kings, are briefly recapitulated.], he left the world to his first-born Marage, having, during his reign, peopled near two thousand towns and villages.
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Re: History of Hindostan (1768), by Alexander Dow

Postby admin » Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:59 am

Section IV. Of the Reign of Marage [Marage, signifies the great king.], the son of Krishen, and of the Dynasties of the Marages and Keshrorages.

WHEN Marage, by the consent of his brothers and of the people, had ascended the throne, in the art of government he soon rivall'd the same of his father, devoting his time to the just administration of his affairs. As the children of Brahma were skill'd in the arts of their father, he continued the most expert of them as his vizier, and appointed the rest his astrologers, physicians and priests, whence some derive the origin of the Brahmins, who to this day exercise those functions in Hindostan. Others of the nobility were appointed hereditary governors of provinces, from whom the second great sect of the Hindoos are supposed to derive their origin; while a third class were commanded to cultivate the ground, and a fourth to employ themselves in such arts as were necessary for the purposes of society. It was enacted, that this division of the subjects of Marage into four grand departments should subsist for ever: and thus was laid the foundation of the four great sects of Hindoos, Brahma, Kittri, Bise and Sudur.

The wise and the excellent Marage was a lover of learning. He invited philosophers from all parts, and founded the city of Bahar for their reception; appropriating the revenues of certain lands for their maintenance, and building several noble edifices and temples for the worship of the true God. Of the length of his reign, and the manner of his death, we have no particular accounts; neither are we inform'd of the lives and actions of his successors, who are said to have ruled over Hindostan, under the name and honours of their father, during the space of seven hundred years, in which time the country is said to have greatly encreas'd in riches, cultivation, and in the number of its people. A friendly correspondence was kept up between the imperial crowns of Hindostan and Iran [Persia.], till at length one of the princes of the blood of Hind, went in disgust to the presence of Feredoon, king of Iran. He laid his complaints before the king, who ordered Kirshib, the son of Attrid, with a numerous army, to recover his rights. When Kirshib reach'd the kingdom of Hindostan, a war was commenced, which continued, with various success, for the space of ten years. The country suffered exceedingly, till Marage was compell'd to give up a part of his dominions to the fugitive prince, of whose name we have no information, only that he was nephew to the then emperor. Marage thus procured peace, and sent presents by the hand of Kirshib, to the king of Iran.

It is said, that some time after, the governor of Shingeldiep [Ceylon.] and Carnatic, trusting in his strength, blew up the flames of rebellion, which was the occasion of a long and bloody war in the Decan, in which the eldest son of the king lost his life, being deserted in the fight by Showra, ruler of the Decan, who fled with his discomfited army to the king. Marage, on hearing this news, writhed himself like a snake with anger, and bit the finger of sorrow, because, before that time, none of the rulers of the islands of Atchin, or the coasts of Pegu or Malabar, had dared to dispute his commands.

He was, at the same time, threaten'd with an invasion from Iran; for Minuchere had advanced as far as Moultan, with a mighty army, intending to make an entire conquest of Hindostan. Marage sent Baal Chund, his general, against him, who, finding that peace would be more advantageous at that juncture, than war with this foreign enemy, prevailed on Minuchere, by large presents, to return to Iran. When Baal Chund had accomplished this pacification, he was ordered by the king, to march to the Carnatic, where he subdued the governor of Shingeldiep, and again established the authority of his master. Some authors relate, that Baal Chund was obliged to cede the whole territory of Punjaab to Minuchere, the general of Feredoon [Feredoon and Minuchere seem to have been names common to all the Kings of Persia in those ages.], before he would return to Iran: But others affirm, that the territory of Punjaab, during the reign of Feredoon, was in the possession of the king of Agim [Media.].

When Baal Chund returned from the war, Marage, in reward of his bravery, appointed him ruler of Malava. This general is said to have built the castles of Gualier and Biana, and to have first introduced music into Hindostan, from the Tilingas of the Decan, among whom it was invented.

The dynasty of the posterity of Marage lasted seven hundred years after the death of Krishen, when Keshrorage ascended the throne. This prince was also of the race of the Marages, and had fourteen brothers, whom on his accession he dispatch'd into different countries; while he himself taking the way of Calpic, went into the Decan, by the city of Gunduar, and directing his march towards Shingeldiep, reduced that country into obedience, and regulated its government. Soon after, the Zemindars of the Decan joining in confederacy, exalted the spear of enmity, and day by day gained strength, till at last they ventured to advance their standards against the king. Keshrorage, seeing the inequality of his force, began to treat about a peace, which he obtained, and began his retreat.

In the mean time, he sent presents to Minuchere, King of Iran, to demand assistance. Minuohere ordered Sham, the son of Nireman, with a great force, to his aid. Keshrorage met him at the town of Jillender, and received him with feasts and with joy. The confederate armies turned their standards towards the Decan, and the chiefs of the rebels began to be greatly affected with the terror of the troops of Iran. The regions of the Decan fell again into the hands of the King. When the country was settled in tranquillity, Keshrorage returned with his army to his capital of Oud, and from thence, accompanying Sham as far as Punjaab, dismiss'd him with presents to his prince Minuchere. Keshrorage returning home, spread the umbrella of justice over the head of his people, and gave them happiness, plenty and peace. His successors of the same name ruled Hindostan two hundred and twenty years, of whom we hear nothing remarkable, till Firose Ra ascended the throne of empire.
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