Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Dec 30, 2021 5:57 am

VI.--”Interpretation” Highlights, from "VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith."
by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c.
1837

Image
[George Turnour] Thanks for the lift!
[James Prinsep] Think nothing of it!
[Pandit Kamalakanta] Whatever you say, Babu!
[Lauriya Nandangarh Pillar] Aye!
[Feroz Shah Pillar] Aye!
[Lauriya Areraj Pillar] Aye!
[Allahabad Pillar] Aye!
"When legends are consulted, Pillars Will Agree", by Tara and Charles Carreon


James Prinsep is a legend, a man whose linguistic achievements were unprecedented, because he assayed to do what no one had ever done before -- ignore all the impediments to decoding the numerous stone carvings of unknown scripts that had frustrated others. Those impediments were that no one knew who had written which carvings, when they had written them, in what alphabet they had written, and what language they had used (since ancient Indian scripts encode a variety of languages using a single phonetic system). His efforts were unusually strenuous, if entirely wrong-headed in a number of ways, and continued for years, until they were crowned with a "success" he would not allow to elude him. Today, his "interpretations," which he later claimed were "translations," are celebrated as miraculous, precisely because no one can repeat them. As the picture above illustrates, Prinsep carried the fantasies of George Turnour's Dipavamsa from the pages of Ceylonese dynastic fiction across a tightrope of daring assumptions, claiming to draw from the tumbled stones of India, proof that it had once been ruled by Ashoka, whose name until then had been among the most minor kings of India’s Puranic dynastic history. The evidence of Prinsep’s own writing shows how he and Turnour determined the meanings to be applied to pillar inscriptions, and that Turnour was the dominant partner in the interpretive project, being more than willing to impute Buddhist hagiographic language to the epigraphs. Although Turnour’s “identification” of Devanampriya Priyadarsi as Ashoka took Prinsep by surprise, because Turnour had previously published the Mahavamsa, that identified Devanampriya Priyadarsi as a Ceylonese ruler, Prinsep quickly adapted, and ceded the point to Turnour in the pages of his own Asiatic Journal.

With the assistance of compliant Brahminical "scholars" who knew no better than Prinsep himself the language they were claiming to decipher, and the bizarre imputation of Indian historical significance to the Ceylonese Dipavamsa (and ignoring Turnour’s contrary statements in the Mahavamsa that both Turnour and Prinsep had previously embraced), the pair hijacked Indian history for Ashoka and his imaginary father, "Chandragupta Maurya." So that these imaginary rulers would not be without material achievements, they transferred to them the achievements of Alexander's Diadochi, who ruled the mountain kingdoms of Swat and Gandhara that now are occupied by Northwestern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Being the works of the Diadochi, who integrated both Persian and Greek linguistic abilities within their domain, the alleged "Ashokan" rock pillars and edicts are scribed in Kharosthi (an Aramaic-derivative that reads right to left), or an unknown script that has been dubbed "Brahmi" (a script that reads left to right, and has a likely Greek origin). Unaware of the nature of these scripts, Prinsep (who had no personal linguistic ability) directed his men to compare them all with Sanskrit and Pali (assuming a Buddhist origin). Further, even if the script, be it Brahmi or Kharoshthi, was decoded by Prinsep, these were only alphabets, and he had no dictionary, nor did he know which language these scripts had been used to encode. He did not know where words ended and began. And he claimed the amazing ability to know just when it was okay to change one symbol to another, changing word lengths, spellings and meanings just as needed to solve his Buddhist crossword puzzle.

Prinsep, in his energetic, creative ignorance, crammed all epigraphic evidence into the Procrustean mold of the Dipavamsa's Ashokan fantasy, extracting the image of a "Buddhist ruler" from numerous fragments that he conveniently combined into a single message which he later claimed, without evidence, appears in the same form on all pillars -- an insupportable conjecture that the entire world of Indic studies appears to have swallowed whole. Prinsep further ignored the already-established fact that all of the coins in this region were minted by the Diadochi, and all of the archaeological finds in this area conclusively establish a continuity of Persian rule followed by Greek rule, followed by Sakan rule, followed by Kushan rule, leaving no room for mythical Mauryan rule during the disputed period of 350 BC through 185 BC.

Whatever might be said of Prinsep, he was not shy about his claimed achievements. The method he used to "interpret" the pillar inscriptions was a one-off achievement that he declared successful only because he met his own preconceived goals of proving that Ashoka was responsible for the carvings on various of the pillars. He did not develop a methodology that anyone has applied to decipher epigraphs elsewhere. Because his conclusions were so convenient to the political demands of the moment, when the British East India Company was eagerly defining the future of India by defining its past, they have never been scrutinized. And thus the absurd hubris inherent in the title above-quoted, that the pillar inscriptions themselves "agree" with his conclusions, has never been remarked upon. Until now.


"Interpretation" Highlights:

The difficulties with which I have had to contend… the orthography is sadly vitiated [the spelling is spoiled]… the language differs essentially from every existing written idiom… a degree of license is therefore requisite in selecting the Sanskrit equivalent of each word, upon which to base the interpretation — a license dangerous in the use unless restrained within wholesome rules; for a skilful pandit will easily find a word to answer any purpose if allowed to insert a letter or alter a vowel ad libitum…. some substitutions authorized by analogy to the Pali… have for their adoption the only excuse, that nothing better offers…

[F]rom the incompleteness of the lines on the right hand the context cannot thoroughly be explained… We might translate the whole of the first line [x] … and other insulated words can be recognized but without coherence…. The general object of Devanampiya's series of edicts is, according to my reading, to proclaim his renunciation of his former faith, and his adoption of the Buddhist persuasion… He addresses to his disciples, or devotees, (for so I have been obliged to translate rajaka, as the Sanskrit [x], though I would have preferred rajaka, ministers, had the first a been long … the chief drift of the writing seems directed to enhance the merits of the author…

It is a curious fact that… the name of the author of that religion is nowhere distinctly or directly introduced as Buddha, Gotama, Shakya muni, &c…. the expression Sukatam kachhati, which I have supposed to be intended for sugatam gachhati, may be thought to contain one of Buddha's names as Sugato… but the error in spelling makes the reading doubtful… In another place I have rendered a final expression …'shall give praise to Agni' — a deity we are hardly at liberty to pronounce connected with the Buddhist worship…

It is only by the general tenor of the dogmas inculcated, that we can pronounce it to relate to the Buddhist religion…. The sacred name constantly employed…. is Dhamma (or dharma), 'virtue;'… Buddhism was at that time only sectarianism; a dissent from a vast proportion of the existing sophistry and metaphysics of the Brahmanical schools, without an absolute relinquishment of belief in their gods, or of conformity in their usages, and with adherence still to the milder qualities of the religion… The very term Devanampiya, 'beloved of the gods,' shews the retention of the Hindu pantheon generally… The word [dhamma] is here evidently used in its simple sense of "the law, virtue, or religion"… though … there is no worship offered to it, no godhead claimed for it….

The word dhamma is in the document before us generally coupled with another word, vadhi… The most obvious interpretation of the word vadhi is found in the Sanskrit vriddhi, increase… 'the increase of virtue,' 'the expansion of the law,' in allusion to the rapid proselytism which it sought and obtained…. Against this interpretation, if it be urged that the dental dh is in other cases used for the Sanskrit dh, as in the word dharmma itself; in vadha, murder; bandha, bound, &c., such objection may be met by [x]… It is hardly possible to imagine that two expressions so strikingly similar in orthography as dhammavadhi and dhammavatti or vadai, yet of such opposite meaning, should be applied to the same thing. One must be wrong, and I should have had no question which to prefer…

I requested my pandit Kamalakanta to look into … this expression 'wheel of the law'… the actual employment of the term dharma vriddhi was wanting… the pandit met with many instances of the word vriddhi occurring in connection with bodhi, which as applied to the Buddhist faith was nearly synonymous with dharma… the growth of knowledge, or metaphorically the growth of the bodhi or sacred fig tree…. Daya is written taya: idavala, ajavala, and samaguni, samagini: in fact the whole volume is so full of errors of transcription that it was with difficulty Kamalakanta could manage to restore the correct reading…. This passage is corrupt and consequently obscure, but it teaches plainly that dharmavriddhi of our inscription may always be understood, like bodhivridhi, in the general acceptation of 'the Buddhist religion.' Proselytism, turning the wheel, or publishing the doctrines, whichever is preferred, was evidently a main object of the Buddhist system, and it is pointed at continually in the pillar inscription….

[ B]rahmans, the arch-opponents of the faith, are also named, under the disguise of the corrupt spelling babhana… I have said that the founder of the faith is not named. Neither is the ordinary title of the priesthood, bhikhu or bhichhu, to be found…

The words mahamata, (written sometimes mata) and dhamma mahamata, seem used for priests, 'the wise men, the very learned in religion.'… The same epithet is found in conjunction with bhikhu in the interesting passage quoted by Mr. Turnour… But it is possible that this expression has been misunderstood by the pandit… Mr. Hodgson's epitome, above alluded to, gives us another mode of interpretation perhaps more consonant with the spirit of the system… the great mother of Buddha — the universal mother, omniscience, illusion, maya, &c. — and as such may be more correctly supposed to pervade than mahamata the priests…

[T]here is no allusion to the vihara by name, nor to the chaitya, or temple: no hint of images of Buddha's person, nor of relics preserved in costly monuments. The spreading fig tree and the great dhatris, perhaps in memory of those under which his doctrines were delivered, are the only objects to be held sacred…

The edict prohibiting the killing of particular animals is perhaps one of the most curious of the whole…. Many of the names in the list are now unknown, and are perhaps irrecoverable, being the vernacular rather than the classical appellations…. I have pointed out such endeavours as have been made by the pandits to identify them… Others of the names in the enumeration of birds not to be eaten will remind the reader of the injunctions of Moses to the Jews on the same subject. The list in the 11th chapter of Leviticus comprises 'the eagle, the ossifrage, the ospray, the vulture and kite: every raven after his kind, the owl, night hawk, cuckoo and hawk; the little owl, cormorant and great owl: the swan, pelican, and gier-eagle; the stork, heron, lapwing and bat… The verse immediately following the catalogue of birds, "All fowls that creep upon all four shall be an abomination unto you," presents a curious coincidence with the expression of our tablet… which comes after … the tame dove….

But the edict by no means seems to interdict the use of animal food… It restricts the prohibition to particular days of fast… The sheep, goat, and pig seem to have been the staple of animal food at the period… but merit is ascribed to the abstaining from animal food altogether…. Ratna Paula tells me no similar rules are to be found in the Pali works of Ceylon, nor are the particular days set apart for fasting or upavasun in the inscription, exactly in accordance with modern Buddhistic practice… All the days inserted are, however, of great weight in the Hindu calendar of festivals… the two lunar days mentioned in the south tablet, tishya (or pushya) and punarvasu, though now disregarded, are known from the Lalitu Vistara to have been strictly attended to by the early priests… proving that the luni-solar system of the brahmans was the same as we see it now, three centuries before our era, and not the modern invention Bentley and some others have pretended….

(If I have read the passage aright) opposition was contemplated as conversion should proceed… royal benevolence was exercised in a way to conciliate the Nanapasandas, the Gentiles of every persuasion, by the planting of trees along the roadsides, by the digging of wells, by the establishment of bazars and serais, at convenient distances. Where are they all? On what road are we now to search for these venerable relics… [that] would enable us to confirm the assumed date of our monuments? The lat of Feroz is the only one which alludes to this circumstance, and we know not whence that was taken to be set up in its present situation by the emperor Feroz in the 14th century… This cannot be determined without a careful re-examination of the ruinous building surrounding the pillar… The chambers described by Captain Hoare as a menagerie and aviary may have been so adapted from their original purpose as cells for the monastic priesthood… The difficulties and probably cost of its transport, which, judging from the inability of the present Government to afford the expense even of setting the Allahabad pillar upright on its pedestal, must have fallen heavily on the coffers of the Ceylon monarch!...

The Allahabad version is cut off after the 3 first letters of the 19th line… The Mathia and Radhia lats contain it entire, adding only iti at the conclusion, and after Sache Sochaye in the 12th line…. The second part of the Allahabad inscription begins to be legible at the 12th letter of the 14th line. The whole is to be found on the Radhia pillar… The termination at Mathia differs in having inserted after the 3rd letter of the 20th line the words [x]… The word Ajakanani at the end of the 7th line seems accidently to have been omitted in the Feroz lat. It is supplied from the Radhia and Mathia pillars. The Allahabad version is erased from the 3rd letter of the 6th line…. The Mathia and Radhia inscriptions terminate with the tenth line. The remainder of this inscription and the following running round the Column are peculiar to the Delhi monument….

Translation of the Inscription of the North compartment….

The whole of the northern tablet, although composed of words individually easy of translation, presents more difficulties in a way of a satisfactory interpretation than any of the others. This first sentence particularly was unintelligible to Ratna Paula, who for Dusampati would have substituted Dasabala, 'the tea (elephant) powered,' a name of Buddha. The pandit's reading seems more to the purpose… The sense of this passage, although at first sight obvious enough, recedes as the construction is grammatically examined. I originally supposed that Annata was meant for Ananta, the anuswara being placed by accident on the left, and had adopted the nearest literal approach to the text in Sanskrit for the translation… but in this it was necessary to omit two long vowels, in parikhaya and sususaya to place them in the third case. By making them of the fifth case, (in Sanskrit the nyabalope panchami), and by reading Anyata, every letter can be exactly preserved with the sense given in the present translation… the most doubtful words are usritena and chaksho; the latter Ratna Paula would break into cha-kho, 'and certainly' (kho for khalu); the former may be replaced by 'by perseverance,' but this is hardly an improvement. It is also a question whether Dhamma kama is to be applied in a good sense as 'intense desire of virtue,' or in a bad, as 'dominion of the sensual passions.'… This sentence is equally simple in appearance, though ambiguous in meaning from the same cause; kamata is however here applied in the good sense with dharma…. Either 'having obtained devout meditation,' or, which is nearer the text [x], from 'abstinence from passion,' the participle termination twa from the prefixing of pra, becomes yap, or is changed to [x]… mahamata, supremely wise, may be made nearer to the text, where the third a is long, by reading mahamatra, being the holiest act of brahmanical reverence, accompanied by the closing of every corporeal orifice… This passage is somewhat obscure, but it is tolerably made out by attention to the cases of the pronouns and the four times repeated Dharma in the third case… but the aspirated d and the separation of ya would favor the reading, 'this is the true path, or rule,' &c. In either case there are errors in the genders of the pronouns…. Apasinavai… alluding either to the words [x], or the non-omission of deeds just mentioned, or to what follows…. But I prefer the more simple acts, in the neuter like the preceding kiyam: the Sanskrit kriya is however feminine…. [x] may also be read, of the same signification, purity from passion or vice. Chakhuradan is explained in Wilson's Dictionary as 'the ceremony of anointing the eyes of the image at the time of consecration', but it is also allegorically used for any instruction, or opening of the eyes derived from a spiritual teacher…. A very easy sentence; the construction is as that of the Latin ablative absolute, 'many kindnesses being done of me, towards the poor,' &c…. This is also equally clear: aprana may here allude to vegetable life, or to that which doth not draw breath; benevolence to inanimate things. For [x] also grain, food, may be intended. A better sense for apana may be obtained by reading pleasing and conciliatory demeanour…. If ye and se are here preferred, the verbs must be plural, otherwise ya and sa are required. In this, the only method of reading the text, there is a corrupt substitution of k for g twice: but other instances of the same substitution occur elsewhere…. In the translation I have supposed iyam to be ayam, in the neuter, and have taken dekhati, as allied to the vernacular dekhna, which in Sanskrit changes in this tense to drishyate or, is seen…. this is called Asinava, a word of unknown meaning. The pandits would read adinava, transgressions, but the word is repeated more than once with the same spelling, and must therefore be retained…. An obscure passage, chakho (written chukho) being neuter does not agree with esa m., overruling this as an error, we may make dekhiya, is precisely the modern Hindi subjunctive, 'may or shall it see.'… The ti does not exist on the Feroz lat though it is retained on the others. Asinava gamini is the former unknown term, which seems here to mean the nine asa or petty offences…. Some of these agree with the nine kinds of subordinate crimes enumerated in Sanscrit works, which are as follows: ignorance, deceit, envy, inebriety, lust, hypocrisy, hate, covetousness, and avarice….

Translation of the West inscription….

Had the a been long the preferable reading would have been rajaka, assemblies of princes or rulers, quasi courtiers or rulers…. [x] is the pandit’s reading, making rajaka in the vocative, 'oh devotees who are come in many souls, in hundreds of thousands of people', but in this reading janasi, which is found alike in all the texts, must be placed in the 7th case plural, … (Pali janasi ayata), 'having come into this knowledge', is, I think, preferable, and is accordingly adopted…. If the i be long, the word would signify, 'without fear, fearless.'… 'circumambulations must be practised', or 'pious acts,' will be closer to the original. To the termination evu the other lats add ti in this and the following instances. The former agrees with the vernacular hove, 'let be,' the latter with the Sanskrit 'is to be.'… 'shall they become prosperous or unfortunate,' according to the pandit; but a nearer approach to the construction of the text may be formed, 'shall know good or bad fortune.'… It is best to regard [x] as a compound of dharma and ayatam, length, endurance, — or (from ayat), 'the coming.' The word viyo is unknown to either the Sanskrit or the Pali scholar, they suppose it to be a term of applause attached to 'they shall say,' as in the modern Hindvi tumko bhala kahengi, they shall say 'well' to you, they shall applaud you. To praise, may be the root of the expression. It also something resembles the Io of the Greeks, which however like eheu, is used as an expression of lamentation, and this meaning accords also with the word viyo in Clough's Singhalese Dictionary. — Viyo, viyov, viyoga, 'lamentation, separation, absence.' Viyo-dhamma is translated 'perishable things' by Mr. Turnour in a passage from the Pitakattayan… perhaps the 'some little' given of the inhabitants of the village, and preserved shall be on account of worship,' (or they shall give trifling presents to make puja?)… This passage is rather obscure in its application to the preceding; the pandit reads 'the devotees also speak,' but the letter p is uncertain, and I would prefer, ‘shall receive, and having proceeded my devotees shall obtain the sacred offering of chandan’; [x] being read by the pandit as sandal-wood, an unctuous preparation of which is applied to the forehead in pujas, but the aspirated ch makes this interpretation dubious: chhandani are solitary private (occupations) or desires…. An unknown letter in the word chayanti or chapanti leaves this sentence in the same uncertainty. Adopting the former we have, 'by which my devotees (may) accumulate for the purpose of the worship, to pay the expenses of the worship from the accumulated nazars and offerings.'… A new subject here commences, 'moreover let my people frequent the great myrobalan trees (which also the Hindus prize very highly and desire to die under) in the night.' Thus reads the pandit, but the last word is [x], not yatu; and it may be an adverb implying, 'occasionally', or prohibiting altogether. Viyataye may also mean 'for the learned,' viyata in Pali being a scholar, in which case I should understand [x] as the name of some third tree (like the nyctanthes tristis or the white water-lily which opens its petals (or smiles at night) so as to connect the dhatri with the asvattha, or holy fig-tree, thus, 'the dhatri, nisijati and asvatha shall be for the learned.'… The same expression here recurs: 'my people accumulates (or plants?) the auspicious, or the great myrobalan'; perhaps 'caresses' is to be preferred in both places…. A new enjoinder, [x] or, following the Bakra and Mathia texts, may mean, 'the pleasure of drink (vinous liquor) is to be eschewed,’ but for this sense the words should be inverted, as [x]. The exact translation as it stands is, 'pleasure, as wine must be abandoned,' a common native turn of expression, — 'do this (as soon) take poison.'… A curiously introduced parenthesis, 'much to be desired is such glory!’... something is wanting to make the next word intelligible, avaite, &c., as if 'but they shall not be put to death by me.'… 'of men deserving of imprisonment or execution, pilgrimage (is) the punishment (awarded)?' This, the only interpretation consonant with the scrupulous care of life among the Buddhists, is supported by the genitive case of munisanam, yet a closer adherence to the letter of the text may be found in 'the adjudged punishment.' If by [x] pilgrimage be intended, 'banishment,' there is no such disproportion being the punishment awarded as might be at first supposed. It is in the eyes of natives the heaviest infliction…. The general meaning of this sentence can easily be gathered, but its construction is in some parts doubtful, the words [x] follow the same idiom as above, the three days of (or for) the highway robbers or murderers; my, generally placed before the verb or participle (as me kate passim) inclines me to read yote as [x] or [x], though usually written vute … Dine natikavakani is transcribed by the pandit 'among the poor people, blasphemies, or atheistical words,' but this does not connect with the next word ni ripayihanti, where we recognize the 3rd plural of the future tense of root to hurt or injure with the prohibitive ‘not’ prefixed. Perhaps it should be understood 'neither among the poor or the rich shall any whatever (criminals) be tortured (or maimed).' … Here are two other propositions coupled together; tanam I think should be beating, and destroying; jivitayetaram might thus be cruelty to living things. But I adopt this correction only because I see not how otherwise sense can be made…. [x] must be the vernacular corruption of 'they shall pay a fine, or give an alms.'… A doubtful passage for which I venture thus: 'It is my desire thus that the cherishing of these workers of opposition shall be for the (benefit) of the worship,' meaning that the fines shall be brought to credit in the vihara treasury?... The wind-up is almost pure Sanskrit …

Translation of the Inscription on the Southern compartment….

The words iyam dhamma lipi likhapita are here to be understood; otherwise the abstaining from animal food, and the preservation of animal life prescribed below must be limited to the year specified, and must be regarded as an edict of penance obligatory on the prince himself for that particular period…. In Sanskrit this sentence will run [x]. The Radhia and Mathia versions have avadhyani, the y being subjoined… the last is not to be found in dictionaries, but I render it 'owl,' on the authority of Kamalakant, who says rightly that this bird may alone challenge the title of bull-faced!… The nearest Sanskrit ornithological synonyme to gera a is the giddh or vulture, which I have accordingly adopted…. Amba kapilika is unknown as a bird. The name may be compounded of the Sanskrit words mother, and a tree bearing seed like pepper (pothos officinalis), perhaps therefore some spotted bird may have received the epithet…. The next two names are equally unknown, but the former may represent the dandi kak, or raven of Bengal, and the latter in this case may be safely interpreted the common crow, 'the thing of no value,' as the word imports… The next word vedaveyake may be easily Sanskritized as ‘disbelieving the Vedas,’ but such a bird is unknown at the present day…. The ganga puputaka seems to designate a bird which arrived in the valley of the Ganges at the time of the swelling of its waters, or in the rains; as such it may be the 'adjutant,' a bird rarely seen up the country but at that season…. The sankujamava, and the two names following it in the enumeration, are no longer known. The epithet karhatasayake might be applied to the chikor, quasi, sleeping with its head on one side, a habit ascribed in fable to this bird according to the pandit, or it might be rendered the Numidian crane. The panasasesimala may derive its name from feeding on the panasa or jak fruit…. I feel strongly inclined to translate these three in a general way as the perchers, the waders, or web-footed, and those that assort in pairs. The first epithet might also apply to the common fowls in the sense of capon. The mention of the wild and tame pigeon immediately after the above list obliges us to regard all included between the known names at the commencement, and these winding up the list, as birds, or nearly allied to the feathered race; otherwise panasasesimare might easily be broken into a monkey and the gangetic porpoise; and in the same way rekapade might be aptly translated ‘frog;’ sandak, sadaka, or salaka, the porcupine…. The sense requires that a new paragraph should begin with this word although from the final e of the preceding list they might seem all to be classed together in the locative case. As a noun of number, savechatupade may remain singular; in Sanskrit the sentence would run [x]; ye should equally govern a plural verb in the text, where perhaps the anuswara is omitted accidentally in eti and chakhadiyati…. This paragraph as translated in the text would run in Sanskrit with very slight modification [x]. But the expression is awkward from the repetition, (particularly in the original) of the participle kakate with its gerund kataviye. Another very plausible reading occurs to the pandit, making asanmasike vadhi kakate represent the three holy months of the Buddhist as of the brahmanical year, in the months of Aswina, Bhadra, and Karkata (or Kartik), to which these prohibitions would particularly apply; but there are two strong objections to this reading, 1st, that the order of the months is inverted, Kartik, the first in order being found last in the enumeration; and 2nd, the gerund kataviye would be left without specification of the act prohibited. Neither of these is however an insuperable objection, as the act had been just before set forth, and the months may be placed in the order of their sanctity…. This passage varies little from the Sanskrit [x], from the root ‘to hurt, or injure.’ I was led to this root from the impossibility of placing the letter [x] of the inscription in any other place in our alphabet than as [x]. In the Girnar inscription the ordinary r is rendered by [x], which is not to be found in the lats of Delhi, Allahabad, &c., where r is always expressed by l, or a curved form of r, nearly similar in figure. Adding the vowel mark i, we have precisely [x] to express the short sharp ri, in which the burring sound of the r is not convertible so easily into the more liquid sound of l. The aspirated letter ph must necessarily be represented by simple p; at least the corresponding aspirate has not yet been met with on the stone…. The Sanskrit version of this passage hardly differs from the Magadhi, [x]. The termination differs only from the circumstance of the Sanskrit masculine or feminine being replaced by the neuter in the vernacular, as in the Pali language. The contrast, "whether useless, or whether for amusement," does not sound to us so striking as 'whether for use or for amusement,' might have done; but the meaning of the injunction is that even the uselessness of the object shall not be an excuse for depriving it of life…. Jivenajive might admit of three interpretations: 'alive or not alive', jiva najive, i.e., either living or dead, but this is at [x], Sanskrit not to be nurtured. Again [x] is one name for a pheasant, or chakor. But the most obvious and most accordant interpretation is 'that which liveth by life,' to wit a carnivorous animal, which a strict Buddhist could not countenance with consistency…. We now come to the specification of those days wherein peculiar observance of the foregoing rules is enjoined. [X] seems to embrace the whole year, 'in the three four-monthly periods, or seasons;' the expression tisayam punnamasiyam might admit of translation as 'the third full moon,' but a closer agreement with the Sanskrit is adopted in the text by making the [x], which in fact on the stone is separated from the rest, an expletive, quasi 'the evening of the full moon' generally, and this agrees with the Hindu practice; see Sir William Jones' note on the calendar (As. Res. III. 263) where a syamapuja is noted for the 15th or full moon of Aswina (Kartika), a day set apart for bathing and libations to Yama, the judge of departed spirits. It will be remarked that the numbers tinni, chawudasam, pannadasam, are almost as near to the modern Hindi words tin, chauda, pandara, as to the genuine Pali, tini (neuter), chuddasa and pannarasa, three, 14th and 15th. The patipad, Sanskrit [x], is the first day after the full; the Hindus keep particularly the pratipat of the month Kartika (dyuta pratipat) when games of chance are allowed. Dhavaye I have translated 'current', Sanskrit [x], although this word has rather the signification of 'running' in an active sense…. The anuposatham, or rather uposatha, is a religious observance peculiar to the Buddhists; a fast, hardly expresses enough; it requires an abstinence from the five forbidden acts to the laity, or the 8 and 10 obligatory on the upasikas, disciples, and Samaneras, (priests.) 1, destroying life; 2, stealing; 3, fornication; 4, falsehood; 5, intoxication; 6, eating at unpermitted times; 7, dancing, singing and music; 8, exalted seats; 9, the use of flowers and perfumes; 10, the touch of the precious metals. The affix machhe, is equivalent to the Sanskrit [x], or the Pali majjhe, 'midst,' for in our alphabet the jh is always found replaced by chh; had it been separated in the text from anuposatham, it might have been construed with the ensuing words, 'fish unkilled are not to be exposed for sale’ (during the days specified). As it stands, however, avadhya must refer either to 'things unkilled,' or the things whose slaughter is above interdicted must not be sold. The Buddhist scriptures count among the uposatha divasani, or fast days, the panchami, atthami, chatuddasi and pannaras,i or full moon of every month. The first of these is not alluded to in our text, and the pratipat is perhaps included in the 15th day which begins with the evening of the full and reaches into the day after…. The interdiction is here extended to snakes and alligators, the most noxious and destructive reptiles; at least nagavansi, and kevatabhogasi, Sanskrit [x], 'the generation of nagas, and the feeders on fish,' admit of no better explanation…. athamipakhaye, Sanskrit [x], means the eighth day of each paksha or half-month, but perhaps it alludes particularly to the goshthashtami of Kartika, when according to the Bhima parakrama, 'cows are to be fed, caressed and attended in their pastures; and the Hindus are to walk round them with ceremony, keeping them always to the right-hand’… As punavasune, is one of the nakshatras or lunar asterisms, (the 7th,) the preceding word tisaye must be similarly understood as the asterism Pausha. For the reverence paid to this lunar day see the preliminary remarks. Otherwise, it might be rendered trinsye (tithi) on the 30th or full moon, as pannadasa the 15th is employed for the amavasi, or new moon; but against this reading it may be urged that the vowel i should be long (as in the Hindi tisain), and again the enumeration of the days in the luni-solar calendar is never carried beyond the 15th, for as the lunar month contains only 28-1/2 solar days, there would be great trouble in adopting the second period of 15 tithis, or lunar days, to them continuously without an adjustment on the day of change…. Sans. [x], 'cattle shall not be looked at,' or regarded with a view to employment. Were the word simply no-rakhitaviye it would imply that they were not to be 'kept' for labour on such days…. 'On the tishya and punarvasu days of the nakshatric system' must here be understood; as the term 'of every four months,’ and every four half-months would otherwise be unintelligible. The division of the Zodiac into 28 asterisms, each representing one day's travel of the moon in her course, is the most ancient system known, and peculiar to the Hindus. From the motion of the earth it will follow that the moon will be in the same stellar mansions on different days of her proper month at different times of the year, hence the impossibility of fixing their date otherwise than is here done. Although the nakshatras days do not seem now to be particularly observed, yet they are constantly alluded to in the narration of the first acts of the priests. See observations on this head in the preface. We find the word rakhane now introduced, so that it was purposely reserved for application to the beasts of burthen in the climax of the prohibitory law, 'horses and oxen shall not be tied up in the stall on these days!' The termination in e in this and the former instances is curious. It is the 7th case used like the Latin ablative absolute, even with the gerund…. 'Moreover by me having reigned for twenty-seven years, at this present time, five and twenty liberations from imprisonment (are) made.' The verb 'are' or 'shall be' being understood. It is perhaps ambiguous whether 'in this interval' applies to the duration of the 27th year, or to the time previously transpired, yavat signifying both 'until, up to,' and 'as long as, when.'…

Translation of the Inscription on the Eastern compartment….

The omission of the demonstrative pronoun iyam, this, which in the other tablets is united to dhammalipi, requires a different turn to the sentence, such as I have ventured to adopt in the translation: ‘In the 12th year of his reign the raja had published an edict, which he now in the 27th considered in the light of a sin.’ His conversion to Buddhism then must have been effected in the interval, and we may thus venture a correction of 20 years in the date assigned to Piatissa's succession in Mr. Turnour's table, where he is made to come to the throne on the very year set down for the deputation of Mahinda and the priests from Asoka's court to convert the Ceylon court…. I have placed the stop here because the following word, setam, seemed to divide the sentence, 'an edict was promulgated in the 12th year for the good of my subjects, so this having destroyed, or cancelled, I’… Apahata (is) abandoned: viz. the former dhammalipi setam (neuter) is perhaps used for sa-iyam (feminine) so, that; or supplying the word [x] it may run in the neuter [x] and continuing (Pali tam-tam) [x] this (being) as it were a sin according to dharma vardhi (my new religion, so), the expression being connected by tatpurusha samasa…. The text has petavakhati, which may be either read hitavakhati, S. [x], ‘a description for the benefit’, or hetu vakhati, S. [x], ‘description for the sake,' to wit of mankind. Pati vekhami (vakhami), S. [x], ‘I now formally renounce,’ — the affix prati gives the sense of recantation from a former opinion… Sanskrit, [x], ‘among lords, companions, and lieges.’ The last word may also be read, ‘among the sincere or faithful (adherents)’…. Hemeva, for imanva or imaneva, Sanskrit, [x], nikaya, an assembly, may signify the congregations at each of the principal viharas or monasteries…. The construction of this passage is not quite grammatical: echa must he read evamcha; then in Sanskrit [x], 'this (is) for the following after (or obedience) of the soul (myself) as connected with my faith or desire of salvation;' the word upagamane in what is called the nimitta saptami case. I have given what appears the obvious sense. The inscriptions at Allahabad, Mathia and Bakra all end with this sentence, and there is an evident recommencement in the Feroz tablets as if the remainder had been superadded at a later period…. I am by no means confident that the precise sense has been apprehended in the following curious paragraph. The word katham, ‘how’, implies a question asked, to which the answer is accordingly found immediately following, and a second question is proposed with the same preliminary ‘thus spake the raja,’ and solved in like manner, each term rising in logical force so as to produce a climax, that by conversion of the poor the rich would be worked upon, and by their example even kings' sons would be converted, thus shewing the necessity and advantage of continual preaching. For atikata, my pandit reads atikranta, making the whole line; [x]? ataran 3rd. per. pl. 1st. pret. from [x], ‘went to heaven,’ 'as ancient princes went to heaven under these expectations (departed in the faith), how shall religion increase among men through the same hopes?'… The first syllable of this word should perhaps be read no, nochajanne, though differently formed from the usual vowel o; nor will the meaning in such case be obvious. By adopting the pandit's modification, nichajanne, 'vile born,' we have a contrast with the sujanne, ‘well born’ of the next sentence: thus [x]; but though the tha of the word vadhitha belongs only to the second person plural and requires the noun to be placed in the objective case, 'you increase religion,' I incline to read it as a corruption of the future tense vadhisati, or the potential vadheyat…. The letter h in esa mahurtta (an hour, 15th of the day or night) being rather doubtful, I at first took it for a p and translated, 'as my sons and relations'. But it was remarked that only for the anuswara, thrice repeated, the word antikantan would be precisely the same as atikata, above rendered by atikranta. The same meaning would be obtained again by making putha the Sanskrit [x], ‘pure, virtuous’, 'my virtuous ancestors;' but on the whole muhurtha is to be preferred as being nearest to the original…. The verb is here written vadheyati, the ti being perhaps the intensitive or expletive [x] or [x] added to the vadheya of the preceding sentence…. 'what (may not be effected) towards the convincing and converting of the upper classes?' The word anupatipajaya however, from former analogy, will be better rendered by the Sanskrit anupratipadye, which will then require [x] to agree with sujane…. This sentence is unintelligible from the imperfection of two of the letters. The pandit would read [x], but this appears overstrained and without meaning. The last two words ‘dharm shall increase’ point out a meaning, that as (religion and conversion?) go on, virtue itself shall be increased. Adya may perhaps be read Aja…. 'at this time I have ordered sermons to be preached (or to my sons? or virtuous sermons), and I have established religious ordinances.'… 'so that among men there shall be conformity and obedience.' It may be read, 'which the people having heard (shall obey),’ and I have preferred this latter reading because it gives a nominative to the verb…. The anomalous letter of the penultimate word seems to be a compound of gni and anuswara, which would make the reading agnim namisati 'and shall give praise unto Agni,' but no reason can be assigned for employing such a Mithraic name for the deity in a Buddhist document. A facsimile alone from the pillar can solve this difficulty, for we have here no other text to collate with the Feroz lat inscription. It is probably the same word which is illegible in the 19th line. The only other name beginning with a which can well be substituted is Aja, a name of Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva, or in general terms, 'God.' Perhaps Aja, 'illusion personified as Sakti—(Maya),’ may have more of a Buddhistic acceptation….

Inscription round the shaft of Feroz's Pillar. Translation of Inscription round the column….

The only word suitable here is opposition; Ratna Paula would read wisdom. There is no such word as [x] with a cerebral dh. The more proselytism succeeded, the greater opposition it would necessarily meet…. Savapitini should doubtless be savapitani, 'caused to be heard.'… Anusathini (subauditur valhyani), ‘ordinances’, would be the more correct expression, ‘ordered, commanded’…. Yataya papi bahune anasin ayata. The first three letters are inserted in dots on the transcript in the society's possession; it is consequently doubtful how to restore the passage; a nominative plural masculine is required to agree with ayata and govern vadisanti, thus [x]. The meaning of paliye or paliyo is very doubtful: it resembles or contrasts with the viyo of a former part of the inscription. The pandit would have 'on all sides', viz. that they should become missionaries after their own conversion…. Perhaps, 'they shall employ others in speaking' (or preaching)…. The word vadatha being in the second person plural, the rajaka beginning the sentence must be in the vocative, 'oh disciples.' But even this requires a correction from vadatha to vadatha. Ayata and anapita are equivalent to the Sanskrit [x] and [x], ‘having come and being admitted by me,’ — or [x], ‘to them is commanded’, which is best because it leads to the imperative conjunction vadatha…. 'religious establishments are made,' or perhaps pillars, made neuter according to the idiom of the Pali dialect?... the very learned in religion are made, i.e. wise priests appointed. The succeeding word is erased, and it is unnecessary to fill it up, as the sense is complete without. From the last line of the inscription, where thambani occurs, the missing letter may perhaps be read dh, dhara…. Abavadikya of the small or printed text is in the large facsimile ambavabhikya, which leads us to the otherwise hazardous reading of 'mangoe trees;' the word ropapita (applied just before to the planting of trees) confirms this satisfactory substitution…. Several letters are here lost, but it is easy to supply them conjecturally having the two first syllables, nisi and the participle kalapita, ‘and houses to put up for the night in are caused to be built;’ apanani are taverns or places for drinking. Space for one letter follows [x], probably tata tata, Sanskrit [x], ‘here and there’…. literally, 'for the entertainment of beast and man.' The five following letters are missing, which may be supplied by [x], or some similar word…. This neat sentence will run thus in Sanskrit, altering one or two vowels only, [x]. In this the only alteration made are yatha for ya; and rajibhi from rajihi (natural to the Pali dialect,) the third case of raji, ‘a line or descent.’ The application of nama indefinitely is quite idiomatical. The ta may be inserted after hi, but it will read without, 'this people as they take pleasure under my dynasty on account of the various profit and well-being by means of entertainment in my town (or country), (tatha must be here understood) so let them take cognizance of (or partake in) this the fame (or laudable effect) of my religion.' Purihi rajihi may also be understood as in ‘town and country,’ in the translation…. The large facsimile corrects the vowels, te for ta, vidhesu for vidhasu, &c. of the printed transcript; mata is the same in both, but in other places we find mata. The passage may run [x]; the word 'among unbelievers' cannot well be admitted here; 'with kindnesses and favors' may be the word intended, which though feminine in Sanskrit is here used in the neuter. For vayapata, R. P. would read, ‘obtaining age, or growing old’; in the latter case the sense will be that the 'wise unto salvation' growing old in the manifold riches of my condescension and in the favors of the ascetics and the laity growing old — they in the sanghat (sanghatasi for sangha te) or places of assembly made by me — shall attain old age? But mahamata will be much more intelligible if rendered ‘tenets or doctrines’, in lieu of ‘teachers.’ (See preliminary remarks.) Should sanghat be a right reading, it gives us the aspirated g, which is exactly the form that would be deduced from the more modern alphabets; but if an h, the sense will be the same. From the subsequent repetition of the proposition ime vyapata hahanti, with so many nouns of person in the locative case, it seems preferable to take arthesu and pasandesu in the same sense, which may be done by reading the former either as, ‘among the afflicted or frightened, or the rich.’ The verb variously written papanti, hohanti, hahanti, &c. may be [x] rather than [x]; in the yanluk tense, 'shall be occasionally.' [X] here also and further on has the meaning of 'on account of.'… We have here undoubtedly the vernacular word for brahman babhanesu for among brahmans (those without trade), and laity (those following occupations)… The pandit would read, 'do ye enter in or go amongst' (or stedfastly pursue their object), meaning the mahamatas among the people; but this is inconsistent with the te te which require, 'among these several parties respectively, these my several wise men and holy men shall find their way.' The double expression throughout is peculiar, as is the addition after the verb of 'and among all other classes of the Gentiles.' … Here the word [x] is substituted for [x], meaning 'the finished practitioners in religious ceremonial'; for Kamakha read kamaka, or kamatha, [x]; but if mahamata be made 'doctrines', kamaka must be rendered ceremonial…. Devinam S. [x], 'among the whole of my queens', in contradistinction to ni (?) rodhanasi, which may mean 'concubines’… 'with the utmost respect and reverence,' there is evidently a letter wanting after a, which is supplied by a d… The pandit here also enables me to supply a hiatus of several letters: ‘patita (yantu) let them (the priests) thus discreetly or respectfully make their efforts (at conversion)’, — yatanam, exertion pratita, respectful. ...... hida cheva disasu, 'in heart and abroad, within and without;' the application is dubious. I prefer [x] 'with the eyes,' cha dalakanam. The pandit suggests [x] from wife (whence may be formed [x] possessively) of inferior wives, women, but I find 'a son' in Wilson's dictionary, and necessarily prefer a word exactly agreeing with the text…. 'of other queens and princes;' danavisagesu is here put in the plural, which makes it doubtful whether the former should not also be so…. These two words in the 4th case must be connected with the preceding sentence, for the purpose of religious abstraction, apadanam, 'restraining the organs of sense,' has however the second a long. [X] (fem.) is a nazar or present, a calamity; 'for the due ascertainment of dharma,' for a regular religious instruction?... Iyam, feminine, agreeing with pratipatti, the worthier of the two as in Latin…. Of these three coupled qualities the two first are known from the north tablet. The third in the large facsimile reads mandave sadhame, which may be rendered 'among the squalid-clothed, the outcasts (lokasa) of the world.' But though agreeing letter for letter, the sense is unsatisfactory, and I have preferred a translation on the supposition that the derivation of the words is from madhava, sweet, bland, and sadhu, honest. Sadhu is also a term of salutation used to those who have attained arahat-hood…. 'rendering service to father and mother, and the same to spiritual guides;' the next word vaya mahalakanam, is interpreted by R. P. as, 'the very aged'; there is no corresponding Sanskrit word; [x] may be the bald-headed, from forehead. A great man is called barra kapal, from a notion that a man's destiny is written on his forehead; thus, in the Naishadha, when the swan bringing a message from Damoyanti is caught by Nala raja, it laments: "Why, oh Creator! with thy lotus hand, who makest the tender and the cold wife, hast you written on my forehead the burning letter which says, thou shalt be separated from thy mate?"… Duwehi for two-fold, viz.: first 'ia form', the second, niritiya for nrite, dancing according to the pandit; but I would prefer dwihi akarehi (in the Pali 3rd case plural), 'by two signs or tokens;' viz. by voluntary practice of its observances, and secondly 'by freedom from violence, security against persecution.' The Sanskrit would be [x] in the dual…. The half effaced word cannot well be explained; the second is 'let it be reverenced', or 'let reverence be,' probably the word is repeated here as before…. The final sentence I did not quite understand when writing my first notice, having supposed silathabhani to represent the Sanskrit silasthapana. After careful reconsideration with the pandit, we recognize the Pali as rather the exact equivalent for silastambha, a stone pillar (made neuter); the sentence may therefore thus be transcribed [x]. The translation is given in the text, Adhara, a receptacle, a stone intended to contain a record. The words silathabhani and siladhalakani, however, being in the plural and neuter, require kataviyani, also neuter, which may be effected by altering the next word ena to ani; ena being superfluous though admissible as a duplication of esa…. shall proclaim it on all sides (?)… address on all sides (or address comfortably?)… and (resting-places?) for the night… Let the priests deeply versed in the faith (or let my doctrines?) penetrate… I have observed the ordinances myself as the apple of my eye (?)…

**************************

James Prinsep's references to George Turnour in “Interpretation” article:

1. I have said that the founder of the faith is not named. Neither is the ordinary title of the priesthood, bhikhu or bhichhu to be found, though the word is so frequently met with among the Bhilsa danams. The words mahamata, (written sometimes mata) and dhamma mahamata seem used for priests 'the wise men, the very learned in religion.' — The same epithet is found in conjunction with bhikhu in the interesting passage quoted by Mr. Turnour in the preceding article on the Pitakattayan, (see page 506.)

2. But I must now close these desultory remarks, in the hope of hereafter rendering them more worthy of the object by future study and research; and proceed to lay before the Society, first a correct version of the inscription in its own character, and then in Roman letters which I have preferred to Nagari, because the Pali language has been already made familiar to that type by MM. Bournouf and Lassen, as well as by Mr. Turnour's great edition of the Mahavansa, now just issued from the press.

3. 7 / viyo vadisanti 9. [It is best to regard [x] as a compound of dharma and ayatam, length, endurance, — or (from ayat), 'the coming.' The word viyo is unknown to either the Sanskrit or the Pali scholar, they suppose it to be a term of applause attached to [x] 'they shall say,' as in the modern Hindvi tumko bhala kahengi, they shall say 'well' to you, they shall applaud you. [x] to praise, may be the root of the expression. It also something resembles the Io of the Greeks, which however like eheu is used as an expression of lamentation; and this meaning accords also with the word viyo in Clough's Singhalese Dictionary. — Viyo, viyov, viyoga, 'lamentation, separation, absence.' Viyo-dhamma is translated 'perishable things' by Mr. Turnour, in a passage from the Pitakattayan. See p. 523.]

4. 2 / vasa abhisitename, dhammalipi likhapita 1 [The omission of the demonstrative pronoun iyam, this, which in the other tablets is united to dhammalipi, requires a different turn to the sentence, such as I have ventured to adopt in the translation: In the 12th year of his reign the raja had published an edict, which he now in the 27th considered in the light of a sin. His conversion to Buddhism then must have been effected in the interval, and we may thus venture a correction of 20 years in the date assigned to Piatissa's succession in Mr. Turnour's table, where he is made to come to the throne on the very year set down for the deputation of Mahinda and the priests from Asoka's court to convert the Ceylon court.]
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"Editor" James Prinsep's notes to "Further notes on the inscriptions on the columns at Delhi, Allahabad, Betiah, &c.
by the Hon'ble George Turnour, Esq. of the Ceylon Civil Service*
The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, Jul-Dec
1837



[James Prinsep: We consider it a duty to insert this paper, just received, in the same volume with our version of the inscription, adding a note or two in defence of the latter where we consider it still capable of holding its ground against such superior odds!]

George Turnour: The thorough investigation of this subject is of such paramount importance and deep interest, and as (if I have rightly read the concluding sentence of "the fifth inscription round the shaft of Feroz's pillar," which appears for the first time in the July journal,) we have yet five more similar columns to discover in India, I venture to suggest that you should publish my translation also, together with the text in the ancient character, transposed literatim from my romanized version.

[James Prinsep: (Re 10 pillars) We know of five, therefore three remain — the Bhittri may be a fragment of one; that at Bakrabad, and one near Ghazeepore are without inscriptions.

(Re publishing Turnour’s translation of Feroz’s pillar) To this we must demur: we have examined the greater part from perfect facsimiles, and cannot therefore consent to publish a version which we know to deviate materially from the original text.]


George Turnour: The substantive "patipadaye," however, which you convert into a verb, does not, I am confident, in the Pali language, admit of the rendering "I acknowledge and confess" in the sense of renunciation.

[James Prinsep: The objection to consider patipadaye as a verb does not seem very consistent with the three examples given, all of which are verbs — patipajjamati (the double jj of which represents the Sanskrit dy not d) S. pratipadyama iti or in atmani pada amahe; — and twice, patipajjitubanti (S. Pratipadyatavyam iti). Pada is certainly the root of all; which with the prefix pati (S. prati) takes the neuter sense of 'to follow after (or observe);' while by lengthening the a, pada, it has the active or causal sense of to make observance, to declare, ('padyate, he goes, padayati or padayate, he makes to go,) the only alteration I bespoke was palate to palatam, to agree with dosam — but as the anuswara is very doubtful in the Allahabad copy, I incline to read (Sanskritice hidayatapalatah dosahpatipadaye, 'I declare (what was) the sin cherished in my heart' — with a view of course to renunciation. The substitution of u for o has many examples: — but I never pretended that the reading of this passage was satisfactory.]

George Turnour: The following example is also taken from the Parinibbanan sutan in the Dighanikayo, containing the discourses of Buddho delivered while reclining on his deathbed, under the sal trees at Kusinara. The interrogator Anando was his first cousin, and favorite disciple. “Kathan Mayan, Bhante, Matugame patipajjamati*?”

[James Prinsep: By permutation d becomes jj, (rather dy.]

George Turnour: It is evident, therefore, that the substantive "patipadaye" signifies "observance and adherence" and cannot be admitted to bear any signification which implies "renunciation." It is almost immaterial whether the next word be the adjective "annata" or the adjective "ananta" — I prefer the latter. But "agaya," cannot possibly be the substantive "aghan" "sin," in the accusative case plural.

[James Prinsep: My critic has here been misled by my looseness of translation— had he followed my Sanskrit, he would have seen that aghaya was never intended as an accusative plural of agham: I must parse and construe the whole, premising that the texts differ in regard to the final a of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th words, which in some copies of the Delhi inscription are long, while on the Allahabad facsimile they are all short. In the former case (the one I previously adopted) the reading is (Sanskritice.)

adj. fem. s. 5.
Anyata-aghaya
subs. fem. s. 5.
dharmakamataya,
sub. nt. s. 4
aghaya,
sub. fem. s. 5.
parikshaya,
ditto
aghaya
ditto,
susrusaya
3rd case
aghena
sub. s. 3
bhayena,
sub. s. 3
aghena utsahena,
pro. 1
esa —
sub. s. 1
chakshuh,
pro. 6
mama
verb pot. s. 3.
anustheyat

"from the all-else-sinful religion-desire, from examination to sin, from desire to listen to sin (sc. to hear it preached of) by sin-fear, by sin-enormity, — thus may the eye of me be confirmed."

In this translation I have preserved every case as in the Sanskrit, and I think it will be found that the same meaning is expressed in my first translation.

If the short a be preferred, the 5th case, kamataya and parikshaya, both feminine substantives must be changed to the 3rd, Sans. kamatayai and parikshayai (in Pali, kamataya and parikhaya) — and the sense will be only changed to "by the all-else-sinful desire of religion, — by the scrutiny into the nature of sin, &c. That kamata (not kama) is the feminine noun employed (formed like devata from deva) is certain: because the nominative case is afterwards introduced 'dharma-preksha, dharma kamata cha, &c. Mr. Turnour converts these into plural personal nouns, "the observers of dharma, the delighters in dharma" — but such an interpretation is both inconsistent with the singular verb (varddhisati), and with the expression suve suve (svayam svayam) 'each of itself '— I therefore see no reason to give up any part of my interpretation of the opening sentence of the inscription.]


George Turnour: The absence of the aspirate would not be a serious objection, but "aghan*" is a neuter noun of the 12th declension. The accusative plural would be "agani or age" and not "agaya," which I read "agaya" the dative singular.

[James Prinsep: Aghan is said to be sometimes masculine, agho which makes aghe in the accusative plural.]

George Turnour: It would be unreasonable to multiply quotations which I could readily do, for pronouncing that Piyadaso, Piyadasino or Piyadasi, according as metrical exigencies required the appellation to be written, was the name of Dhanmasoko before he usurped the Indian empire; and it is of this monarch that the amplest details are found in Pali annals.

[James Prinsep: Piyadassino is the genitive case of Piyadasi]

George Turnour: The five short insulated lines at the foot of the Allahabad pillar, having reference to this second empress, is, by its position in the column, a signal evidence of the authenticity, and mutual corroboration of these inscriptions and the Pali annals. As Dhanmasoko married her in the 34th year of his reign, she could not have been noticed in the body of the inscriptions which were recorded on the 27th. I fear we do not yet possess a correct transcript of these five lines*.

[James Prinsep: See page 966 which had not reached the author when the above was written.

The five short lines in the old character that follow the Dharmalipi at a short distance below (see Capt. Burt's lithograph) were the next object of my inspection, I have represented what remains of them faithfully in fig. 1, of PI. LVI. which will be seen to differ considerably from Lieut. Burt's copy of the same. The reading is now complete and satisfactory in lines 1, 2, and 5. The 3rd and 4th lines are slightly effaced on the right hand. We can also now construe them intelligibly, though in truth the subject seems of a trivial nature to be so gravely set forth.
Devanampiyasa vachanena savata mahamata
Vataviya: Eheta dutiyaye deviye rane
Ambavadika va alameva danam: Ehevapati. . .
Kichhiganiya titiye deviye senani sava. . .
Dutiyaye deviyeti ti valamatu karuvakiye

'By the mandate of Devanampiya, at all times the great truth (Mahamata* [See page 574. In Sanskrit [x] (or perhaps rather [x] by his desiring, wishing) [x] (fit or proper to be said,) meaning perhaps that this object had been provided for by pecuniary endowment.]) is appointed to be spoken. These also, (namely) mango-trees and other things are the gift of the second princess (his) queen. [[x].] And these for. . . of Kichhigani the third princess, the general (daughter's . . . ?) Of the second lady thus let the act redound with triple force [[x], corresponding as nearly as the construction of the two languages will allow.].

Unable to complete the sentence regarding the third queen, it is impossible to guess why the second was to enjoy so engrossing a share of the credit of their joint munificence, unless she did the whole in the name and on the behalf of them all! — It will be interesting to inquire whether by any good chance the name of queen Kichhigani is to be found in the preserved records of Asoka's reign, which are so circumstantial in many particulars. It is evident the Buddhist monarch enjoyed a plurality of wives after his conversion, and that they shared in his religious zeal.

As for the interlineation, it may be dismissed with a very few words. Instead of being a paraphrase or translation of the ancient text as from its situation had been conjectured, it is merely a series of unconnected scribblings of various dates, cut in most likely by the attendants on the pillar as a pretext for exacting a few rupees from visitors,—and while it was in a recumbent position. In the specimen of a line or two in plate LVI. the date Samvat 1413 is seen along with the names of Gopala putra, Dhanara Singh and others undecipherable. In plate LV. also may be seen a Bengali name with Nagari date 1464 and a bottle-looking symbol; and another below [x] Samvat 1661 Dhamaraja. These may be taken as samples of the rest which it would be quite waste of time to examine.

It is a singular fact that the periods at which the pillar has been overthrown can be thus determined with nearly as much certainty from this desultory writing, as can the epochs of its being re-erected from the more formal inscriptions recording the latter event. Thus, that it was overthrown, sometime after its first erection as a Silasthambha or religious monument by order of the great Asoka in the third century before Christ, is proved by the longitudinal or random insertion of several names (of visitors ?) in a character intermediate between No. 1. and No. 2. in which the m, b, &c. retain the old form, as in the Gujerat grants dated in the third century of the Samvat. Of these I have selected all I can find on the pillar:—they are easily read as far as they go. Thus No. 7, under the old inscription in Plate LVI. is [x] narasa. It was read as Baku tate in the former copy. No. 8 is nearly effaced: No. 9 may be Malavadi ro lithakandar (?) prathama dharah. The first depositor of something ? No. 10, is a name of little repute: [x] ganikakasya, 'of the patron of harlots.' No. 11 is clearly [x] Narayana. No. 12,[x] Chandra Bhat. No. 13 appears to be halachha seramal. And No. 14 is not legible though decidedly in the same type.

Now it would have been exceedingly inconvenient if not impossible to have cut the name, No. 10, up and down at right angles to the other writing while the pillar was erect, to say nothing of the place being out of reach, unless a scaffold were erected on purpose, which would hardly be the case since the object of an ambitious visitor would be defeated by placing his name out of sight and in an unreadable position.

This epoch seems to have been prolific of such brief records: it had become the fashion apparently to use seals and mottos; for almost all (certainly all the most perfect) yet discovered have legends in this very character. One in possession of Mr. B. Elliott of Patna, has the legend lithographed as fig. 15, which may be read [x] Sri Lokanavasya, quasi 'the boatman of the world.' General Ventura has also brought down with him some beautiful specimens of seals of the same age, which I shall take an early opportunity of engraving and describing.

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Selections From the Allahabad Column

But to return from this digression. The pillar was re-erected as 'Samudra gupta's arm' in the fourth or fifth century, and there it probably remained until overthrown again by the idol-breaking zeal of the Musalmans: for we find no writings on it of the Pala or Sarnath type, (i.e. the tenth century), but a quantity appear with plain legible dates from the Samvat year 1420, (A.D. 1363) down to 1660, odd: and it is remarkable that these occupy one side of the shaft, or that which was uppermost when the pillar was in a prostrate position. There it lay, then, until the death of the Emperor Akber; immediately after which it was once more set up to commemorate the accession (and the genealogical descent) of his son Jehangir.

A few detached and ill executed Nagari names, with Samvat dates of 1800, odd, shew that even since it was laid on the ground again by general Garstin, the passion for recording visits of piety or curiosity has been at work, and will only end with the approaching re-establishment of the pillar in its perpendicular pride under the auspices of the British government.

-- VII. Note on the Facsimiles of the various Inscriptions on the ancient column at Allahabad, retaken by Captain Edward Smith, Engineers, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837.]


George Turnour: I have not had time to examine the fifth inscription round the Delhi column carefully, and I apprehend that the transcript is not altogether perfect yet. The last line and half of this inscription, I should be disposed to read thus:
"Dewananpiya delivered this (injunction). Thereafter eight stone columns have been erected in different quarters like the inscriptions on Dhanmo established at Wesali. By this means this (inscription) will be perpetuated forever."

If this reading be correct*, as I have said before, we have still five more of these columns to discover in India.

[James Prinsep: This reading involves so many alterations of the text that I must demur to it
, especially as on re-examination I find it possible to improve my own reading so as to render it (in my own opinion at least) quite unobjectionable. The correction I allude to is in the reading of atha, which from the greater experience I have now gained of the equivalents of particular letters, I am inclined to read as the Sanskrit verb astat (Pial atha). — The whole sentence Sanskritized will be found to differ in nothing from the Pali — except in that stambha is masculine in the former and neuter in the latter: — and that the verb kataviya is required to agree with it. Iyam dharmalipi ata astat, sila-stambha (ni)va siladharika(ni)va tatah kartaviya (ni), ena (or yena) esha chirasthiti syat. "In order that this religious edict may stand (remain), stone pillars and stone slabs (or receptacles) shall be accordingly prepared;— by which the same may endure unto remote ages." Atha might certainly be read as ashto eight, but the construction of the sentence is thereby much impaired, and further it is unlikely that any definite number should be fixed upon, without a parallel specification of the places where they should be erected.]

George Turnour: The Inscription fronting West….
9. rodhanani paticharisanti; tepi chakkena wiyowadisanti ye na me rajjaka


[James Prinsep: The letter chh is read as r throughout; and the letter u as ru.]

George Turnour: 20. wadhati: wiwidhadanmacharane; sayame danasan wibhagoti."

[James Prinsep: By comparing this version with that published in July [VI.—Interpretation of the most ancient of the inscriptions on the pillar called the lat of Feroz Shah, near Delhi, and of the Allahabad, Radhia [Lauriya-Araraj (Radiah)] and Mattiah [Lauriya-Nandangarh (Mathia)] pillar, or lat, inscriptions which agree therewith, by James Prinsep, Sec. As. Soc. &c., The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. VI, Part II, July to December, 1837], it will be seen to what extent the license of altering letters has been exercised. The author has however since relinquished the change of the Raja's name, in consequence of his happy discovery of Piyadasi's identity.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:54 am

Is Sanskrit really the best language for computer programming?
by techzoworld
April 24, 2018
https://techzoworld.wordpress.com/2018/ ... ogramming/

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I spend a lot of time on the internet searching for interesting things to learn. The search isn’t specific and neither is the inflow of information. I take what I get. Sadly some of it is utter nonsense. I happened upon a few articles recently that suggest Sanskrit, the ancient nigh dead Indian language, is good for computer programming and that NASA uses it to program artificial intelligence. A peek at the headlines triggered my bullshit alarm -– we should all have one -– but, in those moments of curiosity, I perused their contents. They were so very devoid of rationality, I had to search for a fun little activity to take my mind off it. Betteridge’s law of headlines did the trick. Betteridge’s law: If the headline to an article is a question, the answer is always no.

What it’s all about

There was a paper by Rick Briggs, a NASA researcher, published in the spring issue of Artificial Intelligence magazine in 1985 (Volume 6 Number 1), entitled ‘Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence’. It can be found here on AAAI’s website. Noteworthy: ‘Rick Briggs’ at best is a pseudonym. There are absolutely no other works in related fields attributed to this name. Another less likely plausible inference is that Rick Briggs just doesn’t exist -– there are no publicly available records of him ever having worked for RIACS, NASA. That, however, in no way impacts the merit of his arguments.

It begins with Briggs describing the then current state of events surrounding artificial intelligence. It had been quite an undertaking to design unambiguous representations of natural languages for the purpose of computer processing. Natural languages -– the way humans communicate with each other -– had not been easy to parse and transform into information that a machine could understand. Even if they could overcome that barrier, there was the issue of ambiguity -– statements could mean different unrelated things, depending on the context. A human who spoke the language wouldn’t find it hard to understand what was actually meant, but computers would. It led to the belief that there might not be a way to effectively exchange information with machines without the help of an artificial language.

Briggs, in his paper, challenged that belief by drawing attention to the fact that there has existed at least one natural language which could, in theory, be used as an artificial language. It had a logical structure that mapped on to certain knowledge representation schemes perfectly. That language, of course, was Sanskrit.


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The contents

The paper provides a whole lot of compelling arguments that show it is indeed possible for a natural language to work as an artificial one. That’s it. It does not at all claim that Sanskrit has to be that language. Sure, it uses Sanskrit as a case study, but that’s all there is to it. A quick read of the 8 page piece should make that clear.

If you’ve haven’t time for that, or are unable to comprehend the piece (likelier, but we’ll pretend it’s the former), here’s a gist of the points he tried to make. I’ve used my natural intelligence to summarise it. It’s not chronological but exhaustive.

1. A perfect natural language must have these characteristics.
• A statement should be easy to break down into a semantic net or an array of semantic data. (He referred to the array as series of triplets.)
• It should be easy to compile a natural language statement from the data array. It should be human readable and comprehensible.
• The statements coming out should be about the same as the ones going in. It shouldn’t sound weird, nor should it lose or gain information.
• Deviations if any should be minimum.

2. Sanskrit, as it turns out, does all of that. It has an extremely logical structure. It’s grammar rules allow a kind of precision unmatched by other languages. It has a near unchanging syntax.

3. The computer readable data representation of a Sanskrit statement can be obtained by simply placing the individual words of the sentence in an array. This is aided by the fact that word order simply makes no difference in Sanskrit.

4. That very sentence can be reconstructed by putting together the contents of the array.

5. The language is extremely concise. It has perhaps the highest information to word count ratio. There are no redundancies.

Brilliant stuff, isn’t it? The following is an excerpt from the last paragraph of Briggs’ work.

It is interesting to speculate as to why the Indians found it worthwhile to pursue studies into unambiguous coding of natural language into semantic elements. It is tempting to think of them as computer scientists without the hardware, but a possible explanation is that a search for clear, unambiguous understanding is inherent in the human being.


Make a note. The conclusion of the paper was that humans are capable of using an extremely precise unambiguous language. That should save you some back and forth when we debunk baseless claims.

A few truths

Sanskrit is a brilliant language. I’m not kidding and neither am I being sarcastic. It really is the most precise language in existence, with Latin being a close second. However, it isn’t a perfect language and it isn’t natural either.

Sanskrit’s efficiency

Sanskrit makes use of declensions in nearly every part of speech. This means the ends of words, every single one of them, change depending on the part of speech they’re supposed to be. Even proper nouns aren’t exempt. The ends of people’s names change in a sentence depending on whether they’re the subject or the object. This is a bit of a problem for people whose names don’t end in a vowel as there is no provision for that in Sanskrit.

The rules of inflections are precise. Just by knowing the ends of a word, one could know its role in a sentence. This makes word order a non issue. A three word sentence could be written six different ways and a four word sentence in twenty four. None of the permutations would alter their meaning.

Because of the use of declensions, a lot of information is packed in fewer words. This makes transmission of information extremely efficient in speech. Sanskrit is not the only language that can do this though. Latin, an equally dead language, also allowed word order independent sentences in a similar way. Latin too had quite a complicated set of grammar rules. It, like Sanskrit, isn’t spoken very much because humans naturally tend to deviate toward simplicity.


Storage issues

Despite the arguably best verbal efficiency, there are a few issues with the language in actual knowledge representation. Sanskrit has a glyph based script rather than the alphabet based script as with Latin and its derivatives.

Latin alphabets take one byte of space each. Sanskrit written in the current character set for the Devanagari script is however not an efficient way of storing information. Here’s a list of why that is.


• Vowels or consonant glyphs with the inherent vowel takes up 2 bytes of space each.
• The combination of a consonant glyph and a different vowel takes 4 bytes.
• A consonant with a suppressed vowel is 4 bytes.
• A double consonant glyph is 6 bytes.
• A double consonant glyph combined with a vowel is 8 bytes.

Latin script, on the other hand, is consistent. You spend exactly the same number of bytes in conveying a message as the number of letters it contains. My name, ‘Denver’, takes up 6 characters, 6 keystrokes and 6 bytes in the Latin script. The crude and borderline terrible Devanagari transliteration, ‘डेन्वर्’, takes 3 glyphs (in some renditions, it might look like four -– in that case, the two in the middle are a single glyph), 7 careful keystrokes and 14 bytes.

If the character set were redone to start with Devanagari characters rather than the Latin ones, they could reduce space consumption to about a half. Unfortunately, that would mean I’ll be spending a byte more to write my name in the wrong script and still have it screw up the pronunciation. Sanskrit is phonemically precise in that the pronunciation of words don’t deviate. It does not have a universal phonology. A native speaker of a Sanskrit derived language will find it hard to sound in other languages.


Sanskrit’s naturalness

The fact is that Sanskrit, unlike other languages, hasn’t had a natural evolution. Nearly everything about Sanskrit, as is known today, was codified sometime around the year 500 BCE by one person, Panini, who was bent on making it as precise and concise as was humanly possible. Sanskrit didn’t simply happen to have the required characteristics of an artificial language by coincidence. It’s there by design. It is indeed the work of a primitive computer scientist without the hardware. This is not to say Panini intended for his language to be used with machines. At best, his work caught the eye of a pattern seeking human in need of an answer to a difficult, perhaps unsolvable problem -– it was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Sanskrit of today, the one reportedly spoken by a few tens of thousands, is about the same as that codified two and a half millennia ago. The language doesn’t evolve, it can’t evolve. Unlike natural languages, speakers of Sanskrit cannot be classified as proficient or eloquent as its precision does not allow gradations. You either speak the language or you don’t; there is no grey. Even artificial languages do not suffer that restriction.

Sanskrit was never widely spoken. During the past two and a half millennia, Sanskrit scholarship was an exclusive club. None other than the Brahmins were allowed to use it. That all literary works in Sanskrit was made accessible only to the Brahmins, spelt its doom. The thing about languages is that, like living organisms, languages too evolve by natural selection.

Natural languages thrive by fitting the need of the era. The flexible of the lot flourish organically forcing the less prominent ones to wither away. Sanskrit’s resistance to change was the reason of its demise. This is essentially why every attempt to revive the language will fail, no exceptions.


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


The actual point

The paper does not at all contain any claim, mention or indication that Sanskrit can be used as a programming language. In fact, the one and only instance of the word ‘program’ was in an example sentence meant to illustrate semantic nets. (The subject was a programmer.) Every single use of the word ‘code’ or variations thereof have been used to describe sentence construction rules or grammatical syntax. Notice that in my systematic summarisation of Briggs’ piece, the word ‘program’ doesn’t appear once.

The question Briggs tried to answer was whether it was possible for one to create a perfect language for knowledge representation. If a computer scientist were to codify a new language humans could use just as well as a machine, what would the end result look like? He then shows how Sanskrit manages to fulfil all of those requirements
. To him, it was astonishing to find that someone who lived a long while ago could accomplish such a feat of brilliance; the entire piece is a recurring acknowledgement of that fact.

Even after all of that, he never once suggested that Sanskrit should be used for knowledge representation. He insisted however that if anyone attempted to create such a language, they would do well to follow a similar pattern of processes as Panini did with Sanskrit.

Not entirely right

Briggs did get a few things wrong in his piece. I wouldn’t say he meant to mislead; his work shows his genuine appreciation for Sanskrit. There are, however, a few fallacies he seemed to have overlooked.

A precise language, by definition, wouldn’t allow the many stylistic devices that make natural languages worth using. A language like that wouldn’t allow metaphors, innuendos, synecdoches, litotes, hyperboles, puns and personification -– they’re all inherently ambiguous. Sanskrit however is capable of all of those, its literature being a glaring proof of it. Without exactly those seven, the totality of Sanskrit works would see their volume reduced to about a quarter. On the other hand, owing to word order independence, devices like hypallages, anastrophes, hyperbatons and general inversions are baked into every statement made in the language; they thus don’t really stand out.

The degree of precision that Sanskrit affords its speakers prevents verbosity i.e. purposefully lengthening prose for effect. Attempts at verbosity leads to a redundant prose. Translating to Sanskrit from any other language would thus lead to loss of data. This data isn’t particularly useful in the context of the prose, but having it allows one to deduce information about the author -– things like their personality and state of mind while writing. A language that attains precision does so at the expense of creativity. This clearly doesn’t happen with Sanskrit considering the abundance of Sanskrit works.

Here’s the thing though. People who praise Sanskrit for its precision are the same people who suggest that works in the language need interpretation by scholars. They’re the same people who bend their scriptures to make them appear to reference newly discovered scientific facts. They say Sanskrit doesn’t need disambiguation [the act or process of distinguishing between similar things, meanings, names, etc., in order to make the meaning or interpretation more clear] while failing at translating all of the “ancient knowledge” trapped in their literature.


So what happened?

All of what we’ve discussed until now comes from a single paper in a magazine issue published a little under 30 years ago. Every single hoax about Sanskrit as programming language can be traced back to it. From the hundreds of internet articles parroting the supposed “findings” of the NASA researcher, through the thousands of derivative works attempting to explain the efficacy of Sanskrit as a computer language in their own ways, to Indian politicians claiming that knowing Sanskrit is an obligatory prerequisite for computer literacy, all of that, everything goes back to that one paper. If I wasn’t already clear (or you skipped the above sections), the paper suggests nothing of the sort.

Of course, that doesn’t in and of itself mean anything. It is possible that the paper just gets quoted a lot for having kickstarted all of that research into Sanskrit. The logical next question is, is there any research at all? So, I dedicated about two hours of my info-binging time to look up research related to Sanskrit. Almost all of the publicly accessible real academic research on the language is about its literature, its cultural impact and decoding its complex grammatical rules –- yes, that’s still a work in progress apparently. Every research that relates to both, the language and computation, are conducted under dedicated Sanskrit research academies based in India. I’m not saying research done in India is any less worthy than elsewhere. However, there is none to back the claims about Sanskrit gaining a foothold in modern computing.

So, how’s artificial intelligence been doing all those years since 1985? Well, good… pretty good actually. For instance, the most popular search engine, Google, does extremely well in guessing what it is you mean when you enter your search terms –- that is indeed an example of AI if you’re wondering. Facebook’s graph search is a semantic search engine meant to answer natural language queries pertaining to interactions on the social network. Bing’s contextual search is capable of answering your follow up queries almost as if it were a conversation. Shazam and SoundHound can tell you what song is playing around you. Genius -– a feature of Apple’s iTunes can create a playlist of songs similar to the selected one and is known to get better at predicting what a user might like. Oh Siri! How could I forget about that? Siri, Google’s voice search and Microsoft’s Cortana -– they’re AI too you know.

Besides, give it some hard thought for a moment. Let’s assume Briggs did suggest that Sanskrit must be used as an artificial language. It raises a few questions. Foremost, what exactly will that accomplish? Sure, a native Sanskrit speaker will not be disappointed when a computer understands everything they say. Would anyone on this planet be willing to learn Sanskrit just to clearly communicate their ideas to a machine? Of course not. If a fifth of the world or even a fiftieth spoke the language, it would make some sense. A fiftieth is still ten thousand times larger than the self-reported Sanskrit speaking population. See, when nearly all programs are written in English, there is little incentive for programmers to pursue exotic languages. Again, this does not mean a Sanskrit parser can never be created. It can, but the efforts will have to come from those who actually care about it. (In a Venn diagram that would be the intersection of the sets ‘people who have learnt or will learn Sanskrit’ and ‘people who have learnt or will learn programming and not just for an IT job’.)

Let’s look at that a bit differently. Sanskrit is the second official language in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It had a population of a little over 10 million as in the 2011 census. The number of people who declared Sanskrit as their native language in the 2001 census was a bit over 14 thousand. Assuming by some miracle that number doubled in ten years and every native speaker of the language moved to Uttarakhand, it’s still a huge undertaking to make special provisions for what seems to be fewer than 0.3% of the state’s people. Yes, that can be explained by misplaced pride, extreme nationalism and a hint of idiocy. That’s some inconsistent minority appeasement, especially considering Garhwali and Kumaoni, two of the state’s most spoken languages after Hindi, do not get the same treatment despite each of them having over a hundred times more speakers than those of Sanskrit.

Another important question: Why not focus our efforts on writing AI that understands normal humans speech rather than structured speech? Yes, that will make coding a natural language parser much more difficult, but that’s a problem to solve, not to ignore. Suggesting the use of Sanskrit as an AI language is like spelling the letters in ‘nirvana’, in a spelling bee, instead of ‘liberation’ because the latter is harder. Teaching the world that language to simplify the work of developers of natural language parsers -– that would be reinventing the wheel.

Great! I’ve spent a lot of energy arguing against Sanskrit for natural language processing. How are AI researchers planning to solve that problem? Have they moved in a different direction or was all of this “Sanskrit bashing” a pointless exercise? I’m so glad you asked and yes, they have. Instead of dissecting every statement into its constituent words, natural language parsers use a statistics intensive approach to guess their actual meaning. Inputs are compared with massive databases of previously parsed information. Based on the context, the interpretation engine would determine the one that was most probably meant. This means words don’t necessarily need to each be separately analysed. The system will also have a parallel rating component that would evaluate whether it output the right thing. Over a large enough duration, by collecting and consolidating the information gained from a lot of users, the system would get better at understanding natural languages.

I would argue that English is in fact the best language to test the scope of natural language parsing simply because the evolution of English isn’t regulated by an academy like many others. It’s free to change and vary depending on the culture that speaks it. English linguists are almost exclusively descriptivists -– they don’t police one’s speech as long as everyone understands what they’ve meant. It constantly borrows words from other languages for their own use. When new non-existent words become mainstream, they embrace rather than despise. It thrives by adaptation. An AI system that adapts itself to the evolving language rather than requiring people to speak with precision -– that’s intelligence.

Here’s the best part. The approach taken by current implementations of AI ensures that natural language parsing isn’t limited to human-machine interactions [in] the English language. With some minor tweaks, the same algorithms can be adapted to every other language. This will eventually make it completely unnecessary to learn English to use an AI implementation. Ooh! Sanskrit just got out of the question altogether.
You’re still free to learn it, but if you’re doing it to save your future robot a few computation cycles, you probably need to steer clear of them as natural intelligence seems to elude you. You might have to urge software engineers, fluent in your favourite language, to contribute to the tweaking.

The hoaxes

Now that we’ve got our facts straight, let’s begin the much awaited hoax debunking. It’s going to be a bit tougher than usual; most of the Sanskrit bullshit found online are rearrangements of the same content. It’s the content that will be decimated here.

The eerily familiar intro

The extraordinary thing about Sanskrit is that it offers direct accessibility to anyone to that elevated plane where the two — mathematics and music, brain and heart, analytical and intuitive, scientific and spiritual — become one.




THE FALSIFICATION

• Adaptation: It might seem a bit off topic, but take a moment to appreciate what just happened here. Those of you with even the most rudimentary capacity for critical thinking have adapted themselves to be able to intuitively call bullshit on an article from its very first sentence. The analytical and the intuitive have unified and Sanskrit didn’t play any role in it.
This is clearly woo. Music, while being a subjective experience, is already entirely mathematical. One surely cannot be expected to believe Sanskrit would improve upon that.
• The brain and the heart always work together. You can’t have one working without the other. Of course, if you’re someone who believes thoughts and feelings originate in the heart, you probably need to be united with a biology textbook.
• Spirituality is subjective. The spirituality of one is different from the the spirituality of everyone else, regardless of the degree of similarity of their thoughts. It cannot be defined, hence science doesn’t deal with it. Again, Sanskrit cannot do anything to change that fact.

Extreme bullshitting

In 1985, NASA scientist Rick Briggs had invited 1,000 Sanskrit scholars from India for working at NASA. But scholars refused to allow the language to be put to foreign use.


THE FALSIFICATION

• There is absolutely no evidence to back the claim that Rick Briggs had consulted Sanskrit experts. It’s a fabrication. Widening the search parameters, none seem interested in the idea of Sanskrit for AI at all.
• Crazy arrogant Indians: It’s all fiction, but let’s reiterate the narrative. A thousand Indians would’ve got to work at NASA. All they had to do was explain Sanskrit grammar to those at NASA and thus contribute to the advancement of AI. They didn’t need to satisfy any other prerequisite as is necessary for anyone who aspires to work at NASA. Their only job was to explain their fantastic language. Every single one of them declines the offer because they did not want the language to be put to foreign use.
• You idiot! You got to work at NASA for an otherwise utterly useless skill and you declined. One bullet point isn’t enough to ridicule you. [!!!]


Americans know Sanskrit

After the refusal of the Indian Sanskrit scholars to help them acquire command over the language, US has urged its young generation to learn Sanskrit.


After the refusal of Indian experts to offer any help in understanding the scientific concept of the language, American kids were imparted Sanskrit lessons since their childhood.


THE FALSIFICATION

The funny thing is while the two sentences mean the exact same thing, you’ll find them both in some renditions of the hoax. That’s super redundant. Maybe they need Sanskrit after all. [!!!]
• Sanskrit isn’t scientific. It’s a convention. Calling it a scientific language, whatever that means, is akin to calling the SI system of measurement scientific.
Idiotic narrative: Sanskrit experts refuse to help the US. The US decides to teach Sanskrit to its children. Won’t they need Sanskrit experts for that too? The US ain’t India; they don’t just create experts out of thin air like they do in India. They need credibility. [!!!]
• American kids aren’t imparted the lessons. However, they are allowed to learn Sanskrit for credit by whatever means they can.

More lies

Very soon the traditional Indian language Sanskrit will be a part of the space, with the United States of America (USA) mulling to use it as computer language at NASA.


According to Rick Briggs, Sanskrit is such a language in which a message can be sent by the computer in the least number of words.


THE FALSIFICATION

• Not a computer language: There is no such thing happening at NASA.
• No such claim is made. It’s true, might I add in a very narrow range of circumstances, but nowhere in Briggs’ piece does he mention this property of the language.
Least word count? Yes, but Sanskrit words are often cascades of shorter words. It isn’t unique to Sanskrit. The German language can do that too. Extremely long words can be created in Sanskrit just by lining them up one after another and omitting the spaces in between. That doesn’t in and of itself provide any real benefit.
Computers don’t care about word count. A long word is going to take up more storage space or transmission time than a shorter word. Character count is the only thing that matters.

• Not really concise: Sanskrit nuts relish in its ability to create new words using Sanskrit’s own prescribed framework instead of borrowing words from other languages. However, since those new words are always going to be cascades of smaller words, I fail to see how any computer would benefit from using Sanskrit.
Actually, computers do not even need to communicate with each other in natural languages. They only need do so when interacting with people. They talk among themselves pretty well, transmitting predefined codes to one another. In fact, I can literally instruct a computer to note that a variable equals an entire Sanskrit sentence and make them transmit that back and forth instead of the Sanskrit directly. No AI scientist is stupid enough to suggest Sanskrit would reduce an already minimal transmission load.

Clear hogwash

The NASA website also confirms its Mission Sanskrit and describes it as the best language for computers. The website clearly mentions that NASA has spent a large sum of time and money on the project during the last two decades.


THE FALSIFICATION

Search engines exist. Did they honestly think one wouldn’t do a simple search for ‘Mission Sanskrit’ in a new tab before sharing a nonsense piece of news like that? Oh, right, Indians! Spoke too soon!
• But seriously, here’s a list of all the things I did looking for this mysterious mission.
A general search. Yields thousands upon thousands of blog posts and Hindu propagandist website articles claiming that Mission Sanskrit is a real thing. Nothing at all from NASA.
• A site specific search on Google. (site:nasa.gov mission sanskrit) Returns results truly from NASA’s website. The results are either about their undertaken missions in general or missions with Sanskrit names. The first page is filled with results like ‘ABC means XYZ in [ancient] Sanskrit’.
• NASA’s own search, provided by Bing. There was no Mission Sanskrit. I learnt a lot though. Did you know there is a crater on the moon named after Kalidasa, a Sanskrit writer? There were 25 results to that search. I checked every single one of them and none point to a Mission Sanskrit.
I visited every single NASA mission page in search for Mission Sanskrit, just to be thorough. They have a handy index of all their missions.
• I made an enquiry via email to NASA about the whole thing. They sent me back a generic reply, but it said that the best source of information on anything that NASA was up to could be found on, well, NASA’s website. A more specific research could be done using their library site. So, I searched on their headquarters library and still nothing.
• I concluded that Mission Sanskrit is a hoax.
• NASA isn’t working on Sanskrit. Never has, never will.


Barking mad

The scientists believe that Sanskrit is also helpful in speech therapy besides helping in mathematics and science. It also improves concentration. The alphabets used in the language are scientific and their correct pronunciation improves the tone of speech. It encourages imagination and improves memory retention also.


THE FALSIFICATION

• Complementary bullshit: There’s not much bullshit that can be created out of thin air in this topic of discussion. Hence, they’ve brought forth a different but related bullshit to satisfy your bullshit needs of the day.
• The speech therapy part has some merit to it. There are papers in medical journals, of course by Indians, that suggest Sanskrit is useful for speech therapy. But that’s only limited to native speakers of languages that strictly follow the phonological structure of Sanskrit. It’s utterly useless to people speaking Latin derived languages or any other language for that matter. Sanskrit is limited to 8 vowels, 2 diphthongs and 33 consonant sounds. If you can do those well, you can do Sanskrit. You cannot master sounds outside its purview with Sanskrit speech therapy as they do not map on to every sound made in other languages.
Mathematics and science?! Nope. Absolutely false, yet presented as if it were an accepted fact. The only “evidence” provided for it, is a claim made by a Hindu propagandist Facebook page who add that Sanskrit was a compulsory language in a London based school -– untrue, they have a choice. They also claim that the school teaches Sanskrit to simplify mathematics and science while the school itself only ever acknowledges the speech therapy thing. A look at the videos from the school show they aren’t really even pronouncing the Sanskrit correctly as would be clear to any Indian the moment they watch it.
• Fabrications: The improvements in concentration, the tone of speech, imagination and memory retention are not supported by scientific studies. People will still believe it. That’s more to do with the stupidity of the average human than the efficacy of Sanskrit.


Tall claim

A report in Forbes magazine in 1987 said that Sanskrit is the most precise language and hence suitable language for computer software.


THE FALSIFICATION

There exists no such report. Forbes does not seem like a publication that sustain archives of its decades old releases. There is no way to verify it using the official source. No one has ever published a scan of the page that says anything like that. We have nothing but assertions. The simplest explanation: Forbes never claimed anything about Sanskrit as a language for computer software.
• Forbes is a business magazine. Even if they did publish a report like that, what makes it valid? Was it a science writer who wrote the piece? Regardless, it’s a Forbes article. Why does it even make it to the discussion?
A search for the article only reveals how powerful the internet is. Despite not having an original source and being likely false, searching for Forbes articles on Sanskrit returns over two hundred thousand results not one of which comes from Forbes’ website.

Generations of bullshit

A report by NASA scientists says the creation of 6th and 7th generation super computers is based on Sanskrit language. This will probably lead to revolutionize language all over the world for learning Sanskrit.


America is going to creating a 6th and 7th generation super computers based on the Sanskrit language for the use of super computers to their maximum extent. Project deadline is 2025 (6th generation) 2034 (7th generation) after this there will be a language revolution all over the world to learn Sanskrit.


THE FALSIFICATION

• You’re probably getting tired of reading that all of it is false over and over, but it’s true. I mean, the fact that it’s false is true. Just to be clear, Sanskrit will play no role in 6th and 7th generation supercomputers.
• 6th and 7th generation computing haven’t been defined. The 5th generation computers are those with artificial intelligence. We are currently using a combination of the 4th and 5th generation systems -– 4th for all your precise computations and 5th for the occasional AI application. Generations after that are not even in question as the problem of artificial intelligence hasn’t been adequately solved yet. In fact, there is no telling until perhaps the 2040s, which is when the technological singularity is predicted to occur.
• Computing generations know no deadlines. There are no strict descriptions of the generations either. It’s just made up on the fly. There is no consortium that decides the specifications of a computing generation before there is a need of one. That’s how computing has always been -– we see restructuring of clutter far more often than properly planned and executed conventions.

Ahh, the pain!

The idea of using a natural language for computer programming is to make it easier for people to talk to computers in their native tongue and spare them the pain of learning a computer friendly language like assembly/C/Java.


The level of competence of the hoax creators is baffling. If they could only understand how stupid they were, they’d be surprised how they managed to get patriots to share their piece far and wide.
• No, that’s not the idea of natural languages for computer programming. In fact, natural languages are out of the question altogether because a system like that will have to have prior encoded knowledge of the whole language rather than that assigned in compile time. A system without moving members would be dumbfounded trying to enact the statement, ‘Move 5 metres north’. There would be a lot of subroutines that the language would theoretically allow but be wasted for want of functionality.
• Learn Sanskrit to talk better with computers is essentially what they’re trying to say. Isn’t that a stupid proposition, especially since the whole premise of this discussion is flawed? I mean are they honestly expecting people to learn a new language just so they could communicate with their computers better?
Maybe they are. I can’t even tell the difference between the real and the ridiculous anymore.
• For the last time, there has been no research that suggests Sanskrit would do well as a programming language.

Conclusion

Let me make one thing absolutely clear. I do not hate Sanskrit. I am a descriptivist and I can vouch for those who say there exist features of Sanskrit that cannot be matched or have no parallels in other languages, including those derived from it. But, it’s not a perfect language. It’s not a complete language. It’s certainly not the mother of all languages. It’s not divine.

Sanskrit’s grammar comes close to certain knowledge representation schemes used in computers but it’s a language to learn from, not a language to use. It also has nothing to do with computer programming. NASA hasn’t had nor will have anything to do with the Sanskrit, except perhaps naming a few of their missions with words from the language.

In my somewhat arrogant but educated opinion, Sanskrit as a spoken language is worse than useless today. It’s extremely difficult to learn as is, and it’s not spoken widely. As I’ve said before, every attempt at enforcing Sanskrit education will fail for the same reason it has always failed -– it’s not a natural language.


And that’s it. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed in this article. Be sure to share it with your friends and your enemies (especially your enemies). If there are any factual errors in this piece, let me know that too. Are there articles popping up in your social feeds lately that are in need of some quality debunking? Throw them my way.

Think!

***************************

Clarify NASA's stance on Sanskrit.
by Denver Dias
change.org
https://www.change.org/p/nasa-nasa-clea ... n-sanskrit

"Sanskrit is a scientific language."

"Sanskrit is the best language for computer programming."

"NASA to use Sanskrit as a programming language."

"NASA to echo Sanskrit in space."

"The NASA website also confirms it's Mission Sanskrit..."

Those are article titles and snippets often listed when one looks up "Sanskrit" on their favourite search engine. They're flooded with websites that posit without any scope of plausible deniability that NASA is very involved in Sanskrit studies. They make claims that the US actively urges their young to learn Sanskrit and that American kids were imparted Sanskrit lessons after "Sanskrit experts refused to offer help in the scientific concept of the language" apparently.

Of all the claims, the most baffling one is that NASA had been working on a project called "Mission Sanskrit" because the people at NASA are supposedly of the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for computer programming. This is something that could be fact checked in under a minute and found to be false but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Sure, the internet is filled with hoaxes and I think most people will agree with me in that the best way to catch a hoax is to be tricked into believing in them once or twice and learning to see the pattern in what eventually becomes a series of obvious falsehoods. However, in this particular case, for most people who were conned into believing in the prowess of this ancient nigh dead language, this is not just a matter of discovering they were wrong about it. People have a strong sense of belongingness with Sanskrit and they will uncritically assimilate anything good that is said about the language. This is not helped by the fact that it appears to them that an organisation, known for its great strides in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics, seems to support those claims.

This would not have been a serious problem if the hoax remained confined in the minds of the believers, who would all individually, in their own private moments of curiosity, come to find out the truth about it sooner or later. But these lies have repeated so many times, that people can no longer realistically come to nip it in the bud. It has turned into a feedback loop with the source being a figurative echo chamber of websites that simply affirm without linking to their sources of that supposed information.

This has got so severe, we have politicians claiming that Sanskrit is necessary for computer literacy, NASA plans on using Sanskrit for their computers, and that the US and UK teach their children Sanskrit. We often hear about Sanskrit learning being made a mandatory subject for some bizarre reason.

A more recent bout of utter idiocy comes in the form of Smriti Irani requesting IITs - the most sought after institutes for engineering in India - to teach Sanskrit because of some misguided notion that it might help uncover scientific discoveries documented in Sanskrit literature.

There, of course, have been articles by rational thinkers, here and there, who have attempted to right this wrong by showing that the claims about Sanskrit just don't hold up to scrutiny. They often get dismissed by the believers with many of them accusing the writers of racism, anti-nationalism, jealousy and hatred of Sanskrit and India. They could repeatedly mention that there is no evidence NASA has ever pursued anything with regard to Sanskrit, with no tangible effect other than seeing their articles shared among the reasonable ones in the crowd. There is only one way I see out of this mess and that is for NASA to make a statement about this matter and put it to rest once and for all.

I know NASA has a lot on its plate and it isn't the best use of their time to take a break from innovating in order to clarify that the outrageous claims made about them are hoaxes. I, however, do not want people believing that this organisation is pursuing obvious dead ends. I believe it is the brightest of the bright that get to work there and at this point I cannot stand propaganda being pushed in their name. NASA has the final say in whether or not the claims about them are true and I think they should make the real truth about them known.

NASA, please make a statement about your stance on Sanskrit and whether or not it is or has been actively pursued by your organisation.

Petition closed.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Jan 03, 2022 7:56 am

Pidgin [Sanscrit as Orientalist Pidgin]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 1/3/22

A pidgin[1][2][3] /ˈpɪdʒɪn/, or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several languages. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups). Linguists do not typically consider pidgins as full or complete languages.

Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language.[4][5]

A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or body language from a multitude of languages as well as onomatopoeia. As the lexicon of any pidgin will be limited to core vocabulary, words with only a specific meaning in the lexifier language may acquire a completely new (or additional) meaning in the pidgin.

Pidgins have historically been considered a form of patois, unsophisticated simplified versions of their lexifiers, and as such usually have low prestige with respect to other languages.[6] However, not all simplified or "unsophisticated" forms of a language are pidgins. Each pidgin has its own norms of usage which must be learned for proficiency in the pidgin.[7]

A pidgin differs from a creole, which is the first language of a speech community of native speakers that at one point arose from a pidgin. Unlike pidgins, creoles have fully developed vocabulary and patterned grammar. Most linguists believe that a creole develops through a process of nativization of a pidgin when children of acquired pidgin-speakers learn and use it as their native language.

Etymology

Pidgin derives from a Chinese pronunciation[8] of the English word business, and all attestations from the first half of the nineteenth century given in the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary mean "business; an action, occupation, or affair" (the earliest being from 1807). The term pidgin English ("business English"), first attested in 1855, shows the term in transition to referring to language, and by the 1860s the term pidgin alone could refer to Pidgin English. The term was coming to be used in the more general linguistic sense represented by this article by the 1870s.[9][10]

A popular false etymology for pidgin is English pigeon, a bird sometimes used for carrying brief written messages, especially in times prior to modern telecommunications.[9][11]

Terminology

The word pidgin, formerly also spelled pigion,[10] used to refer originally to Chinese Pidgin English, but was later generalized to refer to any pidgin.[12] Pidgin may also be used as the specific name for local pidgins or creoles, in places where they are spoken. For example, the name of the creole language Tok Pisin derives from the English words talk pidgin. Its speakers usually refer to it simply as "pidgin" when speaking English.[13][14] Likewise, Hawaiian Creole English is commonly referred to by its speakers as "Pidgin".

The term jargon has also been used to refer to pidgins, and is found in the names of some pidgins, such as Chinook Jargon. In this context, linguists today use jargon to denote a particularly rudimentary type of pidgin;[15] however, this usage is rather rare, and the term jargon most often refers to the words particular to a given profession.

Pidgins may start out as or become trade languages, such as Tok Pisin. Trade languages can eventually evolve into fully developed languages in their own right such as Swahili, distinct from the languages they were originally influenced by. Trade languages and pidgins can also influence an established language's vernacular, especially amongst people who are directly involved in a trade where that pidgin is commonly used, which can alternatively result in a regional dialect being developed.

Common traits

Pidgins are usually less morphologically complex but more syntactically rigid than other languages, and usually have fewer morphosyntactic irregularities than other languages.

Characteristics shared by most pidgins:

• Typologically most closely resemble isolating languages
• Uncomplicated clausal structure (e.g., no embedded clauses, etc.)
• Reduction or elimination of syllable codas
• Reduction of consonant clusters or breaking them with epenthesis
• Elimination of aspiration or sound changes
• Monophthongization is common, employment of as few basic vowels as possible, such as [a, e, i, o, u]
• Lack of morphophonemic variation
• Lack of tones, such as those found in Niger-Congo, Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan language families and in various families of the indigenous languages of the Americas
• Lack of grammatical tense; use of separate words to indicate tense, usually preceding the verb
• Lack of conjugation, declension or agreement
• Lack of grammatical gender or number, commonly supplanted by reduplication to represent plurals and superlatives, and other parts of speech that represent the concept being increased and clear indication of the gender or animated objects.
• Lack of clear parts of speech or word categorization; common use and derivation of new vocabulary through conversion, e.g. nominalization, verbification, adjectivization etc.

Development

The initial development of a pidgin usually requires:

• prolonged, regular contact between the different language communities
• a need to communicate between them
• an absence of (or absence of widespread proficiency in) a widespread, accessible interlanguage

Keith Whinnom (in Hymes (1971)) suggests that pidgins need three languages to form, with one (the superstrate) being clearly dominant over the others.

Linguists sometimes posit that pidgins can become creole languages when a generation of children learn a pidgin as their first language,[16] a process that regularizes speaker-dependent variation in grammar. Creoles can then replace the existing mix of languages to become the native language of a community (such as the Chavacano language in the Philippines, Krio in Sierra Leone, and Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea). However, not all pidgins become creole languages; a pidgin may die out before this phase would occur (e.g. the Mediterranean Lingua Franca).

Other scholars, such as Salikoko Mufwene, argue that pidgins and creoles arise independently under different circumstances, and that a pidgin need not always precede a creole nor a creole evolve from a pidgin. Pidgins, according to Mufwene, emerged among trade colonies among "users who preserved their native vernaculars for their day-to-day interactions". Creoles, meanwhile, developed in settlement colonies in which speakers of a European language, often indentured servants whose language would be far from the standard in the first place, interacted extensively with non-European slaves, absorbing certain words and features from the slaves' non-European native languages, resulting in a heavily basilectalized version of the original language. These servants and slaves would come to use the creole as an everyday vernacular, rather than merely in situations in which contact with a speaker of the superstrate was necessary.[17]

Examples

The following pidgins have Wikipedia articles or sections in articles. Many of these languages are commonly referred to by their speakers as "Pidgin".

• List of English-based pidgins
• Algonquian–Basque pidgin
• Arafundi-Enga Pidgin
• Bamboo English
• Barikanchi Pidgin
• Basque–Icelandic pidgin
• Bimbashi Arabic
• Bislama (creolized)
• Borgarmålet
• Bozal Spanish
• Broken Oghibbeway
• Broken Slavey and Loucheux Jargon
• Camtho
• Cameroonian Pidgin English (creolized)
• Cocoliche
• Chinook Jargon
• Duvle-Wano Pidgin
• Eskimo Trade Jargon
• Ewondo Populaire
• Fanagalo (Pidgin Zulu)
• Français Tirailleur
• Haflong Hindi
• International Sign
• Inuktitut-English Pidgin
• Kiautschou Pidgin German
• KiKAR (Swahili pidgin)
• Kwoma-Manambu Pidgin
• Kyakhta Russian–Chinese Pidgin
• Kyowa-go and Xieheyu
• Labrador Inuit Pidgin French
• Madras Bashai
• Maridi Arabic
• Maritime Polynesian Pidgin
• Mediterranean Lingua Franca (Sabir)
• Mekeo pidgins
• Mobilian Jargon
• Namibian Black German
• Ndyuka-Tiriyó Pidgin
• Nefamese
• Nigerian Pidgin (creolized)
• Nootka Jargon
• Pidgin Delaware
• Pidgin Hawaiian
• Pidgin Iha
• Pidgin Ngarluma
• Pidgin Onin
• Pidgin Wolof
• Pijin (creolized)
• Roquetas Pidgin Spanish
• Russenorsk
• Settler Swahili
• Taimyr Pidgin Russian
• Tây Bồi Pidgin French
• Tinglish
• Te Parau Tinito
• Tok Pisin (creolized)
• Turku
• West Greenlandic Pidgin
• Yokohama Pidgin Japanese

See also

• Bilingual pun
• Camfranglais (Cameroon)
• Creole language
• Hiri Motu
• Konglish
• Lingua franca
• Macaronic language
• Mixed language
• Spanglish

Notes

1. Muysken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (2008). "The study of pidgin and creole languages" (PDF). In Arends, Jacques; Muijsken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (eds.). Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction. John Benjamins. pp. 3–14.
2. Özüorçun, Fatma (2014). "Language varieties: Pidgins and creoles" (PDF).
3. Bickerton, Derek (1976). "Pidgin and creole studies". Annual Review of Anthropology. 5: 169–93. doi:10.1146/annurev.an.05.100176.001125. JSTOR 2949309.
4. See Todd (1990:3)
5. See Thomason & Kaufman (1988:169)
6. Bakker (1994:27)
7. Bakker (1994:26)
8. "Pinyin: pí qīn yǔ" Chinese English Pinyin Dictionary, Yabla, https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-engli ... 6%E8%AF%AD
9. Jump up to:a b "pidgin, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, January 2018, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/143533. Accessed 23 January 2018.
10. Jump up to:a b Online Etymology Dictionary
11. Crystal, David (1997), "Pidgin", The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (2nd ed.), Cambridge University Press
12. Bakker (1994:25)
13. Smith, Geoff P. Growing Up with Tok Pisin: Contact, creolization, and change in Papua New Guinea's national language. London: Battlebridge. 2002. p. 4.
14. Thus the published court reports of Papua New Guinea refer to Tok Pisin as "Pidgin": see for example Schubert v The State [1979] PNGLR 66.
15. Bakker (1994:25–26)
16. For example: Campbell, John Howland; Schopf, J. William, eds. (1994). Creative Evolution. Life Science Series. Contributor: University of California, Los Angeles. IGPP Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life. Jones & Bartlett Learning. p. 81. ISBN 9780867209617. Retrieved 2014-04-20. [...] the children of pidgin-speaking parents face a big problem, because pidgins are so rudimentary and inexpressive, poorly capable of expressing the nuances of a full range of human emotions and life situations. The first generation of such children spontaneously develops a pidgin into a more complex language termed a creole. [...] [T]he evolution of a pidgin into a creole is unconscious and spontaneous.
17. "Salikoko Mufwene: "Pidgin and Creole Languages"". Humanities.uchicago.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2010-04-24.

References

• Bakker, Peter (1994), "Pidgins", in Arends, Jacques; Muijsken, Pieter; Smith, Norval (eds.), Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction, John Benjamins, pp. 26–39
• Hymes, Dell (1971), Pidginization and Creolization of Languages, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-07833-4
• McWhorter, John (2002), The Power of Babel: The Natural History of Language, Random House Group, ISBN 0-06-052085-X
• Sebba, Mark (1997), Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles, MacMillan, ISBN 0-333-63024-6
• Thomason, Sarah G.; Kaufman, Terrence (1988), Language contact, creolization, and genetic linguistics, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-07893-4
• Todd, Loreto (1990), Pidgins and Creoles, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-05311-0
Further reading[edit]
• Holm, John (2000), An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles, Cambridge University Press

External links

• Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures (APiCS)
• Language Varieties Web Site
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Jan 04, 2022 4:28 am

Part 1 of 4

XVIII. On the Chronology of the Hindus
by Captain Francis Wilford
Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241
1799


52. Sandrocottus. It was Sir William Jones, the Founder and President of the Society instituted in Bengal for inquiry into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Sciences and Literature of Asia, who died on 27th April 1794, that suggested for the first time an identification to the notice of scholars. In his 'Tenth Anniversary Discourse' delivered by him on 28th February 1793 on "Asiatic History, Civil and Natural," referred to the so-called discovery by him of the identity of Candragupta, the Founder of the Maurya Dynasty of the Kings Magadha, with Sandrocottus of the Greek writers of Alexander's adventures, thus:

"The Jurisprudence of the Hindus and Arabs being the field, which I have chosen for my peculiar toil, you cannot expect, that I should greatly enlarge your collection of historical knowledge, but I may be able to offer you some occasional tribute, and I cannot help mentioning a discovery which accident threw in my way, though my proofs must be reserved for an essay, which I have destined for the fourth volume of your Transactions. To fix the situation of that Palibothra, (for there may have been several of the name) which was visited and described by Megasthenes, had always appeared a very difficult problem, for, though it could not have been Prayaga where no ancient metropolis ever stood, nor Canyacubja which has no epithet at all resembling the word used by the Greeks, nor Gaur, otherwise called Lacshmanavati, which all know to be a town comparatively modern, yet we could not confidently decide that it was Pataliputra, though names and most circumstances nearly correspond, because that renowned capital extended from the confluence of the Sone and the Ganges to the site of Patna, while Palibothra stood at the junction of the Ganges and Erranaboas, which the accurate M. D'Anville had pronounced to be "Yamuna", but this only difficulty was removed when I found in a Classical Sanskrit book near two thousand years old, that Hiranyabahu or golden-armed, which the Greeks changed to Erranaboas, or the river with a lovely murmur, was in fact another name for the Sona itself, though Megasthenes from ignorance or inattention, has named them separately.1 [Asiatic Researches, IV. 10-11.] This discovery led to another of greater moment, for Chandragupta, who, from a military adventurer, became like Sandrocottus, the sovereign of Upper Hindustan, actually fixed the seat of his empire at Pataliputra, where he received ambassadors from foreign princes, and was no other than that very Sandrocottus who concluded a treaty with Seleucus Nicator, so that we have solved another problem to which we before alluded, and may in round numbers consider the twelve and three hundredth years before Christ as two certain epochs between Rama who conquered Silan a few centuries after the flood, and Vicramaditya who died at Ujjayini fifty-seven years before the beginning of our era."


53. The passage regarding Candragupta's date is found in Justinius, Epitoma Pompet Trogi, xv 4 and Mr. McCrindle translated it as follows:2 [Mendelsohn's edition (Leipzig, 1879), I. 426.]

"[Seleucus] carried on many wars in the East after the division of the Macedonian kingdom between himself and the other successor of Alexander, first seizing Babylonia, and then reducing the Bactrians, his power being increased by the first success. Thereafter he passed into India, which had, since Alexander's death, killed his prefects, thinking that the yoke of slavery had been shaken off from its neck. The author of its freedom had been Sandrocottus, but when victory was gained he had changed the name of freedom to that of bondage. For, after he had ascended the throne, he himself oppressed with servitude the very people which he had rescued from foreign dominion. Though of humble birth, he was impelled by innate majesty to assume royal power. When king Nandrus,1 [McCrindle's translation, 114.] whom he had offended by his boldness, ordered him to be killed, he had resorted to speedy flight. Sandrocottus, having thus gained the crown, held India at the time when Seleucus was laying the foundations of his future greatness. Seleucus came to an agreement with him, and, after settling affairs in the East, engaged in the war against Antigonus."


The same transactions are referred to by Appianus:

"[Seleucus] crossed the Indus and waged war on Androcottus king of the Indians who dwelt about it, until he made friends and entered into relations of marriage with him."


According to Strabo, Seleucus ceded to Chandragupta a tract of land to the west of the Indus and received in exchange five hundred elephants.2 [V. A. Smith, Early History of India, 3rd ed., p 150 f, Krom, Hermes 44, 154 ff.]

The inference drawn is this: Seleucus I Nikator of Syria (BC 312- 280), "arrived in Cappadocia in the autumn of 302 [the year preceding the battle of Ipsos]. The march from India to there must have required at least two summers. Consequently, the peace with Chandragupta has to be placed about the summer of 304, or at the latest in the next winter."3 [Beloch's Gricch, Gesch, 8, 1, 146, n 3.] We know from various sources that Megasthenes became the ambassador of Seleucus at Chandragupta's court.4 [Schwanbeck, Megasthenes Indica (Bonn. 1876), p 19, C. Muller Fragmenta Historcorum Graecorum, vol 11 (Paris 1848), p. 898, McCrindle, IA, VI, 115.]

It follows from these statements that Chandragupta ascended the throne between Alexander's death (BC 323) and the treaty with Seleucus (BC 304)."

54. Earlier in the same discourse Sir William had mentioned his authorities for the statement that Candragupta became sovereign of upper Hindusthan, with his Capital at Pataliputra. "A most beautiful poem," said he "by Somadeva, comprising a long chain of instructive and agreeable stories, begins with the famed revolution at Pataliputra by the murder of king Nanda with his eight sons, and the usurpation of Chandragupta, and the same revolution is the subject of a tragedy in Sanskrit entitled 'The Coronation of Chandra.'"1 [Ibid 6.] Thus he claimed to have identified Palibothra with Pataliputra and Sandrokottus with Candragupta, and to have determined 300 BC "in round numbers" as a certain epoch between two others which he called the conquest of Silan by Rama: "1200 BC," and the death of Vikramaditya at Ujjain in 57 BC.

In the Discourse referred to, Sir William barely stated his discovery, adding "that his proofs must be reserved" for a subsequent essay, but he died before that essay could appear.


55. The theme was taken immediately by Col. [Captain Francis] Wilford in Volume V of the Asiatic Researches. Wilford entered into a long and fanciful disquisition on Palibothra, and rejected Sir William's identification of it with Pataliputra, but he accepted the identification of Sandrocottus with Candragupta in the following words: —"Sir William Jones from a poem written by Somadeva and a tragedy called the Coronation of Chandra or Chandragupta discovered that he really was the Indian king mentioned by the historians of Alexander under the name of Sandrocottus. These poems I have not been able to procure, but I have found another dramatic piece entitled Mudra-Rachasa,1 [This spelling shows that Wilford saw not the Sanskrit drama but some vernacular visions of it.] which is divided into two parts, the first may be called the Coronation of Chandra."2 [Asiatic Researches, V, 262. Wilford wrongly names the author of the drama as Amanta (or Ananta).]

[Horace Hayman] Wilson further amended the incorrect authorities relied on by Sir William Jones, and said in his Preface to Mudra-Rakshasa3 [Theatre of the Hindus, Vol. II.] that by Sir William's "a beautiful poem by Somadeva" was "doubtless meant the large collection of tales by Somabhatta the Vrihat-katha."4 [Wilson again is not quite correct in his Bibiography. Somadeva's large collection of tales is entitled Kathasarit sagara and is an adaptation into Sanskrit verse of an original work in the Paisaci language called Brihat, Katha, composed by one Gunadhya.]

56. Max Muller then elaborated the discovery of this identity in his Ancient Sanskrit Literature. To him this identity was a settled incontrovertible fact. On the path of further research, he examined the chronology of the Buddhists according to the Northern or the Chinese and the Southern or the Ceylonese traditions, and summed this up:

"Everything in Indian Chronology depends upon the date of Chandragupta. Chandragupta was the grand-father of Asoka, and the contemporary of Selukus Nikator. Now, according to the Chinese chronology, Asoka would have lived, to waive the minor differences, 850 or 750 BC, according to Ceylonese Chronology, 315 B.C. Either of these dates is impossible because it does not agree with the chronology of Greece."


'Everything in Indian Chronology depends upon the date of Chandragupta' is the declaration. How is that date to be fixed? The Puranic accounts were of course beneath notice. The Buddhist chronologies were conflicting, and must be ignored. The Greek synchronism comes to his rescue: "There is but one means by which the history of India can be connected with that of Greece, and its chronology must be reduced to its proper limits," that is, by the clue afforded by "the name of Sandrocottus or Sandrocyptus, the Sanskrit Chandragupta."

From classical writers — Justin, Arrian, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Quintus Curtius, and Plutarch — a formidable array, all of whom however borrowed their account from practically the same sources — he puts together the various statements concerning Sandrocottus, and tries to show that they all tally with the statements made by Indian writers about the Maurya king Candragupta. "The resemblance of this name," says he, "with the name of Sandrocottus or Sandrocyptus was first, I believe, pointed out by Sir William Jones. [Captain Francis] Wilford, [Horace Hayman] Wilson, and Professor [Christian] Lassen have afterwards added further evidence in confirmation of Sir W. Jones's conjecture, and although other scholars, and particularly M. Troyer in his edition of the Rajatarangini, have raised objections, we shall see that the evidence in favour of the identity of Chandragupta and Sandrocottus or Sandrocyptus is such as to admit of no reasonable doubt." Max Muller only repeats that the Greek accounts of Sandrocottus and the Indian accounts of Chandragupta agree in the main, both speaking of a usurper who either was base-born himself or else overthrew a base-born predecessor, and that this essential agreement would hold whether the various names used by Greek writers — Xandrames, Andramas, Aggraman, Sandrocottus and Sandrocyptus — should be made to refer to two kings, the overthrown and the overthrower, or all to one, namely the overthrower himself, though personally he is inclined to the view that the first three variations refer to the overthrown, and the last two to the overthrower. He explains away the difficulty in identifying the sites of Palibothra and Pataliputra geographically by "a change in the bed of the river Sone." He passes over the apparent differences in detail between the Greek statements on the one hand and the Hindu and Buddhist versions on the other quite summarily, declaring that Buddhist fables were invented to exalt, and the Brahmanic fables to lower Chandragupta's descent! Lastly with respect to chronology the Brahmanic is altogether ignored, and the Buddhist is "reduced to its proper limits," that is, pulled down to fit in with Greek chronology.


-- History of Classical Sanskrit Literature, by Kavyavinoda, Sahityaratnakara M. Krishnamachariar, M.A., M.I., Ph.D., Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London (Of the Madras Judicial Service), Assisted by His Son M. Srinivasachariar, B.A., B.L., Advocate, Madras, 1937

It may not here be out of place to offer a few observations on the identification of Chandragupta and Sandrocottus. It is the only point on which we can rest with anything like confidence in the history of the Hindus, and is therefore of vital importance in all our attempts to reduce the reigns of their kings to a rational and consistent chronology. It is well worthy, therefore, of careful examination; and it is the more deserving of scrutiny, as it has been discredited by rather hasty verification and very erroneous details.

Sir William Jones first discovered the resemblance of the names, and concluded Chandragupta to be one with Sandrocottus (As. Res. vol. iv. p. 11). He was, however, imperfectly acquainted with his authorities, as he cites "a beautiful poem” by Somadeva, and a tragedy called the coronation of Chandra, for the history of this prince. By the first is no doubt intended the large collection of tales by Somabhatta, the Vrihat-Katha, in which the story of Nanda's murder occurs: the second is, in all probability, the play that follows, and which begins after Chandragupta’s elevation to the throne. In the fifth volume of the Researches the subject was resumed by the late Colonel Wilford, and the story of Chandragupta is there told at considerable length, and with some accessions which can scarcely be considered authentic. He states also that the Mudra-Rakshasa consists of two parts, of which one may be called the coronation of Chandragupta, and the second his reconciliation with Rakshasa, the minister of his father. The latter is accurately enough described, but it may be doubted whether the former exists.

Colonel Wilford was right also in observing that the story is briefly related in the Vishnu-Purana and Bhagavata, and in the Vrihat-Katha; but when he adds, that it is told also in a lexicon called the Kamandaki he has been led into error. The Kamandaki is a work on Niti, or Polity, and does not contain the story of Nanda and Chandragupta. The author merely alludes to it in an honorific verse, which he addresses to Chanakya as the founder of political science, the Machiavel of India.

The birth of Nanda and of Chandragupta, and the circumstances of Nanda’s death, as given in Colonel Wilford’s account, are not alluded to in the play, the Mudra-Rakshasa, from which the whole is professedly taken, but they agree generally with the Vrihat-Katha and with popular versions of the story. From some of these, perhaps, the king of Vikatpalli, Chandra-Dasa, may have been derived, but he looks very like an amplification of Justin's account of the youthful adventures of Sandrocottus. The proceedings of Chandragupta and Chanakya upon Nanda's death correspond tolerably well with what we learn from the drama, but the manner in which the catastrophe is brought about (p. 268), is strangely misrepresented. The account was no doubt compiled for the translator by his pandit, and it is, therefore, but indifferent authority.

It does not appear that Colonel Wilford had investigated the drama himself, even when he published his second account of the story of Chandragupta (As. Res. vol. ix. p. 93), for he continues to quote the Mudra-Rakshasa for various matters which it does not contain. Of these, the adventures of the king of Vikatpalli, and the employment of the Greek troops, are alone of any consequence, as they would mislead us into a supposition, that a much greater resemblance exists between the Grecian and Hindu histories than is actually the case.

Discarding, therefore, these accounts, and laying aside the marvellous part of the story, I shall endeavour, from the Vishnu and Bhagavata-Puranas, from a popular version of the narrative as it runs in the south of India, from the Vrihat-Katha, [For the gratification of those who may wish to see the story as it occurs in these original sources, translations are subjoined; and it is rather important to add, that in no other Purana has the story been found, although most of the principal works of this class have been carefully examined.] and from the play, to give what appear to be the genuine circumstances of Chandragupta's elevation to the throne of Palibothra.


-- Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus, Translated from Original Sanskrit in Two Volumes, by Horace Hayman Wilson, Volume II, 1871


The accompanying genealogical table is faithfully extracted from the Vishnu purana, the Bhagavat, and other puranas, without the least alteration whatever. I have collected numerous MSS. and with the assistance of some learned Pundits of Benares, who are fully satisfied of the authenticity of this table, I exhibit it as the only genuine chronological record of Indian history that has hitherto come to my knowledge. It gives the utmost extent of the chronology of the Hindus; and as a certain number of years only can be allowed to a generation, it overthrows at once their monstrous system, which I have rejected as absolutely repugnant to the course of nature, and human reason.

Indeed their systems of geography, chronology, and history, are all equally monstrous and absurd.
The circumference of the earth is said to be 500,000,000 yojanas, or 2,456,000,000 British miles: the mountains are asserted to be 100 yojanas, or 491 British miles high. Hence the mountains to the south of Benares are said, in the puranas, to have kept the holy city in total darkness, till Matra-deva, growing angry at their insolence, they humbled themselves to the ground, and their highest peak now is not more than 500 feet high. In Europe similar notions once prevailed; for we are told that the Cimmerians were kept in continual darkness by the interposition of immensely high mountains. In the Calica purana, it is said that the mountains have sunk considerably, so that the highest is not above one yojana, or five miles high.

When the Puranas speak of the kings of ancient times, they are equally extravagant. According to them, King Yudhishthir reigned seven and twenty thousand years; king Nanda, of whom I shall speak more fully hereafter, is said to have possessed in his treasury above 1,584,000,000 pounds sterling, in gold coin alone: the value of the silver and copper coin, and jewels, exceeded all calculation; and his army consisted of 100,000,000 men. These accounts, geographical, chronological, and historical, as absurd and inconsistent with reason, must be rejected. This monstrous system seems to derive its origin from the ancient period of 12,000 natural years, which was admitted by the Persians, the Etruscans, and, I believe, also by the Celtic tribes; for we read of a learned nation in Spain, which boasted of having written histories of above six thousand years.

The hindus still make use of a period of 12,000 divine years, after which a periodical renovation of the world takes place. It is difficult to fix the time when the Hindus, forsaking the paths of historical truth, launched into the mazes of extravagance and fable. Megasthenes, who had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra Gupta [No, Sandrocottus], and of course had an opportunity of conversing with the best informed persons in India, is silent as to this monstrous system of the Hindus: on the contrary, it appears, from what he says, that in his time they did not carry back their antiquities much beyond six thousand, or even five thousand years, as we read in some MSS. He adds also, according to Clemens of Alexandria, that the Hindus and the Jews were the only people, who had a true idea of the creation of the world, and the beginning of things.

Fragm. XLII.

Clem. Alex. Strom. I. p. 305 D (ed. Colon. 1688).


That the Jewish race is by far the oldest of all these, and that their philosophy, which has been committed to writing, preceded the philosophy of the Greeks, Philo the Pythagorean shows by many arguments, as does also Aristoboulos the Peripatetic, and many others whose names I need not waste time in enumerating. Megasthenes, the author of a work on India, who lived with Seleukos Nikator, writes most clearly on this point, and his words are these: — "All that has been said regarding nature by the ancients is asserted also by philosophers out of Greece, on the one part in India by the Brachmanes, and on the other in Syria by the people called the Jews."

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A., Principal of the Government College, Patna, Member of the General Council of the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the University of Calcutta, With Introduction, Notes and Map of Ancient India, Reprinted (with additions) from the "Indian Antiquary," 1876-77, 1877


There was then an obvious affinity between the chronological system of the Jews and the Hindus. We are well acquainted with the pretensions of the Egyptians and Chaldeans to antiquity. This they never attempted to conceal. It is natural to suppose, that the Hindus were equally vain: they are so now; and there is hardly a Hindu who is not persuaded of, and who will not reason upon, the supposed antiquity of his nation. Megasthenes, who was acquainted with the antiquities of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Jews, whilst in India, made inquiries into the history of the Hindus, and their antiquity: and it is natural to suppose that they would boast of it as well as the Egyptians or Chaldeans, and as much then as they do now. Surely they did not invent fables to conceal them from the multitude, for whom, on the contrary, these fables were framed.

At all events, long before the ninth century the chronological system of the Hindus was as complete, or rather, perfectly the same as it is now; for Albumazar, who was contemporary with the famous Almamun, and lived at his court at Balac or Balkh, had made the Hindu antiquities his particular study. He was also a famous astronomer and astrologer, and had made enquiries respecting the conjunctions of the planets, the time of the creation of the world, and its duration, for astrological purposes; and he says, that the Hindus reckoned from the Flood to the Hejira [Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622.] 720,634,442,715 days, or 3725 years.* [See Bailly's Astron. Anc. p. 30. and Mr. Davis's Essay in the second volume of the Asiatick Researches, p. 274.]

Here is a mistake, which probably originates with the transcriber or translator, but it may be easily rectified. The first number, though somewhat corrupted, is obviously meant for the number of days from the creation to the Hejira; and the 3725 years are reckoned from the beginning of the Cali-yug to the Hejira. It was then the opinion of Albumazar, about the middle of the ninth century, that the aera of the Cali-yug coincided with that of the Flood. He had, perhaps, data which no longer exist, as well as Abul-Fazil in the time of Akbar. Indeed, I am sometimes tempted to believe, from some particular passages in the Puranas, which are related in the true historical style, that the Hindus have destroyed, or at least designedly consigned to oblivion, all genuine records, as militating against their favourite system. In this manner the Romans destroyed the books of Numa, and consigned to oblivion the historical books of the Etrurians, and I suspect also those of the Turdktani in Spain.

Albumazar, also spelled Albumasar, orAbū Maʿshar, (born Aug. 10, 787, Balkh, Khorāsān [now in Afghanistan]—died March 9, 886, al-Wāsit, Iraq), leading astrologer of the Muslim world, who is known primarily for his theory that the world, created when the seven planets were in conjunction in the first degree of Aries, will come to an end at a like conjunction in the last degree of Pisces.

Albumazar’s reputation as an astrologer was immense, both among his contemporaries and in later times. He was the archetype of the knavish astrologer in the play Lo astrologo (1606) by the Italian philosopher and scientist Giambattista della Porta. This play was the basis for Albumazar by Thomas Tomkis [No, John Tomkis], which was revived by the English poet John Dryden in 1668. Albumazar’s principal works include Kitāb al-Madkhal al-Kabīr ʿalā ʿilm aḥkām al-nujūm (“Great Introduction to the Science of Astrology”), Kitāb al-qirānāt (“Book of Conjunctions”), and Kitāb taḥāwīl sinī al-ʿālam (“Book of Revolutions of the World-Years”).

-- Albumazar, by Britannica


ALBUMAZAR.

Alb. Come, brave mercurials, sublim'd in cheating;
My dear companions, fellow-soldiers
I' th' watchful exercise of thievery:
Shame not at your so large profession,
No more than I at deep astrology;
For in the days of old, Good morrow, thief,
As welcome was received, as now your worship.
The Spartans held it lawful, and the Arabians;
So grew Arabia felix, Sparta valiant...

Your patron, Mercury, in his mysterious character
Holds all the marks of the other wanderers,
And with his subtle influence works in all,
Filling their stories full of robberies.
Most trades and callings must participate
Of yours, though smoothly gilt with th' honest title
Of merchant, lawyer, or such like—the learned
Only excepted, and he's therefore poor.

Har. And yet he steals, one author from another.
This poet is that poet's plagiary.
And he a third's, till they end all in Homer.

Alb. And Homer filch'd all from an Egyptian priestess,
The world's a theatre of theft. Great rivers
Rob smaller brooks, and them the ocean;
And in this world of ours, this microcosm,
Guts from the stomach steal, and what they spare,
The meseraics filch, and lay't i' the liver:
Where, lest it should be found, turn'd to red nectar,
'Tis by a thousand thievish veins convey'd,
And hid in flesh, nerves, bones, muscles, and sinews:
In tendons, skin, and hair; so that, the property
Thus alter'd, the theft can never be discover'd.
Now all these pilf'ries, couch'd and compos'd in order,
Frame thee and me. Man's a quick mass of thievery.

Ron. Most philosophical Albumazar!

Har. I thought these parts had lent and borrowed mutual.

Alb. Say, they do so: 'tis done with full intention
Ne'er to restore, and that's flat robbery.
Therefore go on: follow your virtuous laws,
Your cardinal virtue, great necessity;
Wait on her close with all occasions;
Be watchful, have as many eyes as heaven,
And ears as harvest: be resolv'd and impudent:
Believe none, trust none; for in this city
(As in a fought field, crows and carcases)
No dwellers are but cheaters and cheatees.


Ron. If all the houses in the town were prisons,
The chambers cages, all the settles stocks,
The broad-gates, gallowses, and the whole people
Justices, juries, constables, keepers, and hangmen,
I'd practise, spite of all; and leave behind me
A fruitful seminary of our profession,
And call them by the name of Albumazarians...

Alb. Why, bravely spoken:
Fitting such generous spirits! I'll make way
To your great virtue with a deep resemblance
Of high astrology. Harpax and Ronca,
List to our project: I have new-lodg'd a prey
Hard by, that (taken) is, so fat and rich,
'Twill make us leave off trading, and fall to purchase...

'Tis a rich gentleman, as old as foolish;
The poor remnant of whose brain, that age had left him,
The doting love of a young girl hath dried:
And, which concerns us most, he gives firm credit
To necromancy and astrology...

Pandolfo is the man...

Then Furbo sings this song.
Bear up thy learned brow, Albumazar;
Live long, of all the world admir'd,
For art profound and skill retir'd,
To cheating by the height of star:
Hence, gipsies, hence; hence, rogues of baser strain,
That hazard life for little gain:
Stand off and, wonder, gape and gaze afar
At the rare skill of great Albumazar...

Ron. Sir, you must know my master's heavenly brain,
Pregnant with mysteries of metaphysics,
Grows to an embryo of rare contemplation
Which, at full time brought forth, excels by far
The armed fruit of Vulcan's midwif'ry,
That leap'd from Jupiter's mighty cranium...

With a wind-instrument my master made,
In five days you may breathe ten languages,
As perfect as the devil or himself...

The great Albumazar, by wondrous art,
In imitation of this perspicil,
Hath fram'd an instrument that magnifies
Objects of hearing, as this doth of seeing;
That you may know each whisper from Prester John
Against the wind, as fresh as 'twere delivered
Through a trunk or Gloucester's list'ning wall...

Ron. Sir, this is called an autocousticon.

Pan. Autocousticon!
Why, 'tis a pair of ass's ears, and large ones.

Ron. True; for in such a form the great Albumazar
Hath fram'd it purposely, as fitt'st receivers
Of sounds, as spectacles like eyes for sight....

Cri. What 'strologer?

Pan. The learned man I told thee,
The high Almanac of Germany; an Indian
Far beyond Trebisond and Tripoli,
Close by the world's end: a rare conjuror
And great astrologer. His name, pray, sir?

Ron. Albumazarro Meteoroscopico.

Cri. A name of force to hang him without trial.

Pan. As he excels in science, so in title.
He tells of lost plate, horses, and stray'd cattle
Directly, as he had stol'n them all himself.

Cri. Or he or some of his confederates....

Alb. Ronca, the bunch of planets new found out,
Hanging at the end of my best perspicil,
Send them to Galileo at Padua:
Let him bestow them where he please. But the stars,
Lately discover'd 'twixt the horns of Aries,
Are as a present for Pandolfo's marriage,
And hence styl'd Sidera Pandolfaea....

My almanac, made for the meridian
And height of Japan, give't th' East India Company;

There may they smell the price of cloves and pepper,
Monkeys and china dishes, five years ensuing.
And know the success of the voyage of Magores;
For, in the volume of the firmament,
We children of the stars read things to come,
As clearly as poor mortals stories pass'd
In Speed or Holinshed. The perpetual motion
With a true 'larum in't, to run twelve hours
'Fore Mahomet's return, deliver it safe
To a Turkey factor: bid him with care present it
From me to the house of Ottoman...

Pan. Why stare you?
Are you not well?

Alb. I wander 'twixt the poles
And heavenly hinges, 'mongst excentricals,
Centres, concentrics, circles, and epicycles,
To hunt out an aspect fit for your business....

Now, then, declining from Theourgia,
Artenosaria Pharmacia rejecting
Necro-puro-geo-hydro-cheiro-coscinomancy,
With other vain and superstitious sciences,
We'll anchor at the art prestigiatory,
That represents one figure for another,
With smooth deceit abusing th' eyes of mortals....

And, since the moon's the only planet changing,
For from the Neomenia in seven days
To the Dicotima, in seven more to the Panselinum,
And in as much from Plenilunium
Thorough Dicotima to Neomenia,
'Tis she must help us in this operation...

Why, here's a noble prize, worth vent'ring for.
Is not this braver than sneak all night in danger,
Picking of locks, or hooking clothes at windows?
Here's plate, and gold, and cloth, and meat, and wine,
All rich and eas'ly got....

Trin. Give me a looking-glass
To read your skill in these new lineaments.

Alb. I'd rather give you poison; for a glass,
By secret power of cross reflections
And optic virtue, spoils the wond'rous work
Of transformation; and in a moment turns you,
Spite of my skill, to Trincalo as before.
We read that Apuleius was by a rose
Chang'd from an ass to man
: so by a mirror
You'll lose this noble lustre, and turn ass.
I humbly take my leave; but still remember
T' avoid the devil and a looking-glass.
Newborn Antonio, I kiss your hands....

How? not a single share of this great prize,
That have deserv'd the whole? was't not my plot
And pains, and you mere instruments and porters?
Shall I have nothing?

Ron. No, not a silver spoon.

Fur. Nor cover of a trencher-salt.

Har. Nor table-napkin.

Alb. Friends, we have kept an honest truth and faith
Long time amongst us: break not the sacred league,
By raising civil theft: turn not your fury
'Gainst your own bowels. Rob your careful master!
Are you not asham'd?

Ron. 'Tis our profession,
As yours astrology. "And in the days of old,
Good morrow, thief, as welcome was receiv'd,
As now Your worship." 'Tis your own instruction.

Fur. "The Spartans held it lawful, and th' Arabians,
So grew Arabia happy, Sparta valiant."

Har. "The world's a theatre of theft: great rivers
Rob smaller brooks; and them the ocean."

Alb. Have not I wean'd you up from petty larceny,
Dangerous and poor, and nurs'd you to full strength
Of safe and gainful theft? by rules of art
And principles of cheating made you as free
From taking as you went invisible;
And do ye thus requite me? this the reward
For all my watchful care?

Ron. We are your scholars,
Made by your help and our own aptness able
To instruct others. 'Tis the trade we live by.
You that are servant to divine astrology,
Do something worth her livery: cast figures,
Make almanacs for all meridians.

Fur. Sell perspicils and instruments of hearing:
Turn clowns to gentlemen; buzzards to falcons,
'ur-dogs to greyhounds; kitchen-maids to ladies.

Har. Discover more new stars and unknown planets:
Vent them by dozens, style them by the names
Of men that buy such ware. Take lawful courses,
Rather than beg.

Alb. Not keep your honest promise?

Ron. "Believe none, credit none: for in this city
No dwellers are but cheaters and cheatees."

Alb. You promis'd me the greatest share.

Ron. Our promise!
If honest men by obligations
And instruments of law are hardly constrain'd
T' observe their word, can we, that make profession
Of lawless courses, do't?

Alb. Amongst ourselves!
Falcons, that tyrannise o'er weaker fowl,
Hold peace with their own feathers.

Har. But when they counter
Upon one quarry, break that league, as we do.

Alb. At least restore the ten pound in gold I lent you.

Ron. "'Twas lent in an ill second, worser third,
And luckless fourth:" 'tis lost, Albumazar.

Fur. Saturn was in ascension, Mercury
Was then combust, when you delivered it.
'Twill never be restor'd.

Ron. "Hali, Abenezra,
Hiarcha, Brachman, Budda Babylonicus,"
And all the Chaldees and the Cabalists,
Affirm that sad aspect threats loss of debts.

Har. Frame by your azimuth Almicantarath,
An engine like a mace, whose quality
Of strange retractive virtue may recall
Desperate debts, and with that undo serjeants.

Alb. Was ever man thus baited by's own whelps?
Give me a slender portion, for a stock
To begin trade again.

Ron. 'Tis an ill course,
And full of fears. This treasure hath enrich'd us,
And given us means to purchase and live quiet
Of th' fruit of dangers past. When I us'd robbing,
All blocks before me look'd like constables,
And posts appear'd in shape of gallowses;
Therefore, good tutor, take your pupil's counsel:
'Tis better beg than steal; live in poor clothes
Than hang in satin.

Alb. Villains, I'll be reveng'd,
And reveal all the business to a justice!

Ron. Do, if thou long'st to see thy own anatomy.

Alb. This treachery persuades me to turn honest.

Fur. Search your nativity; see if the Fortunates
And Luminaries be in a good aspect,
And thank us for thy life. Had we done well,
We had cut thy throat ere this.

Alb. Albumazar,
Trust not these rogues: hence, and revenge.


-- Albumazar, by John Tomkis


The Puranas are certainly a modern compilation from valuable materials, which I am afraid no longer exist: an astronomical observation of the heliacal rising of Canopus, mentioned in two of the Puranas, puts this beyond doubt. It is declared there, that certain religious rites are to be performed on the 27th of Bhadra, when Canopus, disengaged from the rays of the sun, becomes visible. It rises now on the 18th of the same months. The 18th and 27th of Bhadra answer this year to the 29th of August and 7th of September. I had not leisure enough to consult the two Puranas above mentioned on this subject. But as violent disputes have obtained among the learned Pandits, some insisting that these religious rites ought to be performed on the 27th of Bhadra, as directed in the Puranas, whilst others insist, it should be at the time of the udaya, or appearance of Canopus; a great deal of paper has been wasted on this subject, and from what has been written upon it, I have extracted the above observations. As I am not much used to astronomical calculations, I leave to others better qualified than I am to ascertain from these data the time in which the Puranas were written.

Newly discovered Puranas manuscripts from the medieval centuries has attracted scholarly attention and the conclusion that the Puranic literature has gone through slow redaction and text corruption over time, as well as sudden deletion of numerous chapters and its replacement with new content to an extent that the currently circulating Puranas are entirely different from those that existed before 11th century, or 16th century.

For example, a newly discovered palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana in Nepal has been dated to be from 810 CE, but is entirely different from versions of Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia since the colonial era. Further discoveries of four more manuscripts, each different, suggest that document has gone through major redactions twice, first likely before the 12th century, and the second very large change sometime in the 15th-16th century for unknown reasons. The different versions of manuscripts of Skanda Purana suggest that "minor" redactions, interpolations and corruption of the ideas in the text over time.

Rocher states that the date of the composition of each Purana remains a contested issue. Dimmitt and van Buitenen state that each of the Puranas manuscripts is encyclopedic in style, and it is difficult to ascertain when, where, why and by whom these were written.

Many of the extant manuscripts were written on palm leaf or copied during the British India colonial era, some in the 19th century. The scholarship on various Puranas, has suffered from frequent forgeries, states Ludo Rocher, where liberties in the transmission of Puranas were normal and those who copied older manuscripts replaced words or added new content to fit the theory that the colonial scholars were keen on publishing.

-- Puranas, by Wikipedia

We learn from Manetho [Manethon], that the Egyptian chronology enumerated fourteen dynasties, the particulars of which he omitted as unworthy of notice.

Similarities with Berossos

Most of the ancient witnesses group Manetho together with Berossos, and treat the pair as similar in intent, and it is not a coincidence that those who preserved the bulk of their writing are largely the same (Josephus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Syncellus). Certainly, both wrote about the same time, and both adopted the historiographical approach of the Greek historians Herodotus and Hesiod, who preceded them. While the subjects of their history are different, the form is similar, using chronological royal genealogies as the structure for the narratives. Both extend their histories far into the mythic past, to give the deities rule over the earliest ancestral histories.

Syncellus goes so far as to insinuate that the two copied each other:
If one carefully examines the underlying chronological lists of events, one will have full confidence that the design of both is false, as both Berossos and Manetho, as I have said before, want to glorify each his own nation, Berossos the Chaldean, Manetho the Egyptian. One can only stand in amazement that they were not ashamed to place the beginning of their incredible story in each in one and the same year.

While this does seem an incredible coincidence, the reliability of the report is unclear. The reasoning for presuming they started their histories in the same year involved some considerable contortions. Berossos dated the period before the Flood to 120 saroi (3,600 year periods), giving an estimate of 432,000 years before the Flood. This was unacceptable to later Christian commentators, so it was presumed he meant solar days. 432,000 divided by 365 days gives a rough figure of 1,183½ years before the Flood. For Manetho, even more numeric contortions ensued. With no flood mentioned, they presumed that Manetho's first era describing the deities represented the ante-diluvian age. Secondly, they took the spurious Book of Sothis for a chronological count. Six dynasties of deities totalled 11,985 years, while the nine dynasties with demigods came to 858 years. Again, this was too long for the Biblical account, so two different units of conversion were used. The 11,985 years were considered to be months of 29½ days each (a conversion used in antiquity, for example by Diodorus Siculus), which comes out to 969 years. The latter period, however, was divided into seasons, or quarters of a year, and reduces to 214½ years (another conversion attested to by Diodorus). The sum of these comes out to 1,183½ years, equal to that of Berossos.
[L]ong before the ninth century the chronological system of the Hindus was as complete, or rather, perfectly the same as it is now; for Albumazar, who was contemporary with the famous Almamun, and lived at his court at Balac or Balkh, had made the Hindu antiquities his particular study. He was also a famous astronomer and astrologer, and had made enquiries respecting the conjunctions of the planets, the time of the creation of the world, and its duration, for astrological purposes; and he says, that the Hindus reckoned from the Flood to the Hejira [Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622.] 720,634,442,715 days, or 3725 years.

Here is a mistake, which probably originates with the transcriber or translator, but it may be easily rectified. The first number, though somewhat corrupted, is obviously meant for the number of days from the creation to the Hejira; and the 3725 years are reckoned from the beginning of the Cali-yug to the Hejira. It was then the opinion of Albumazar, about the middle of the ninth century, that the aera of the Cali-yug coincided with that of the Flood. He had, perhaps, data which no longer exist...


Each period consists of 12,000 years, which the Hindus call divine. The Persians are not unacquainted with these renovations of the world, and periods of 12,000 years; for the bird Simurgh is introduced, telling Caherman that she had lived to see the earth seven times filled with creatures, and seven times a perfect void, (it should be six times a perfect void, for we are in the seventh period,) and that she had already seen twelve great periods of 7000 years. This is obviously wrong; it should be seven great periods of 12,000 years.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799

Syncellus rejected both Manetho's and Berossos' incredible time-spans, as well as the efforts of other commentators to harmonise their numbers with the Bible. Ironically as we see, he also blamed them for the synchronicity concocted by later writers.

-- Manetho, by Wikipedia

In his system of chronology, accordingly, we have a series of rulers, Hebrew, Hindu, Chaldean, Persian, Chinese, and Egyptian, who reigned before the flood; in other words, the antediluvian patriarchs, in the two lines of descent from Seth and Cain, are represented as the first sovereigns of those several divisions of the east: and in this way, it will be granted that he contrives to dispose of the fourteen dynasties of ancient kings, mentioned in the Old Chronicle, by Manethon and by Berosus, which have so grievously perplexed all modern settlers of dates. From Syncellus downwards, all the compilers of chronological tables have been thrown out of their reckoning by the length of Manethon's catalogue; and we believe they have all adopted the same methods for combating the difficulties thereby presented, namely, either to reject the first fourteen dynasties, or reigns, as altogether fabulous, or, admitting them to have some ground in historical fact, to set them down as contemporary governments. Now, as Noah was the eighth from Adam, it is very plausibly inferred in the work before us, that there were six chiefs or rulers in each of the two lines of Adam's sons, making between them, including our first parent and Noah, the very fourteen reigns in question (for reign and dynasty here are admitted to be synonymous), and thereby giving an intelligible import to the otherwise unmeaning list of aboriginal kings found in the most ancient records. There may perhaps be a little imagination in the matter; but it is astonishing how successfully the author contrives to make the Hindu, Chaldean, Chinese, and Egyptian annals coincide, in their earliest details of names and sovereignties: and it is still more remarkable that both the Hindu and Chaldean historians mention in regard to the eighth king in their list, that he with his family was miraculously saved from the general destruction of the deluge by means of a ship or ark.

-- ART. V. [Book Review of:] A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus; in a Series of Letters, in which an Attempt is made to facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindustan, by proving that the protracted Numbers of all Oriental Nations, when reduced, agree with the Dates given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible. 2 vols. 8vo. Rivingtons. 1820. [by Anonymous, 1820], by F. and C. Rivington (Firm), The British Critic, Volumes 13-14, Editors: 1793-1813, Robert Nares, William Beloe; 1814-1825, T.F. Middleton, W.R. Lyall, and others. 1820, originally published 1792
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 4

In the same manner the Hindu chronology presents us with a series of fourteen Dynasties, equally repugnant to nature and reason; six of these are elapsed, we are in the seventh, which began with the Flood, and seven more we are taught to expect. These fourteen Dynasties are hardly ever noticed by the Hindus in their legendary tales, or historical poems. The rulers of these Dynasties are called MENUS [Manus]: and from them their respective Dynasty, antara, or period, is called a Manwantara. Every Dynasty ends with a total destruction of the human race, except the Menu or ruler of the next period, who makes his escape in a boat, with the seven Rishis. The same events take place; the same persons, though sometimes under different names, re-appear.

Thus the history of one Dynasty serves for all the rest. In reality, history, according to the Hindus themselves, begins with the Flood, or the seventh Menu.

BOOK THE FOURTH.

1 WE have reached this earth's place of sacrificing, the place wherein all Deities delighted. Crossing by Rik, by Sâman, and by Yajus, may we rejoice in food and growth of riches. Gracious to me be these Celestial Waters! Protect me, Plant. O Knife, forbear to harm him.

2 The Mother Floods shall make us bright and shining, cleansers of holy oil, with oil shall cleanse us. For, Goddesses, they bear off all defilement. I rise up from them purified and brightened. The form of Consecration and of Fervour art thou. I put thee on, the kind and blissful, maintaining an agreeable appearance.

BOOK THE EIGHTH.

24 The waters, face of Agni, have I entered, O Waters’ Child, repelling evil spirits. Offer the fuel in each home, O Agni. Let thy tongue dart —All-hail!—to meet the butter.
25 Thy heart is in the flood, within the waters. With thee let plants and waters be commingled, That, Lord of Sacrifice, we may adore thee with singing praise and telling forth our homage. All-hail!
26 This, O celestial Waters, is your offspring. Support him dearly loved and gently nurtured.
28 Let, still unborn, the ten-month calf move with the following after-birth. Even as the-wind is moving, as the gathered flood of ocean moves, So may this ten-month calf come forth together with the after-birth.
42 Smell thou the vat. Let Soma drops pass into thee, O Mighty One. Return again with store of sap. Pour for us wealth in thousands thou with full broad streams and floods of milk. Let riches come again to me.

BOOK THE TENTH.

3 Swift at your work are ye, givers of kingship. Do ye— All-hail!—bestow on me the kingdom. Swift at your work are ye, givers of kingship. Do ye on So-and-So bestow the kingdom. Endowed with strength are ye, givers of kingship, etc. O’erflowing floods are ye, etc. The Waters’ Lord art thou, giver of kingship. Do thou, etc. The Waters’ Child art thou, etc.

BOOK THE TWELFTH.

14 The Hamsa homed in light, the Vasu in mid-air, the Priest beside the altar, Guest within the house, Dweller in noblest place, mid men, in truth, in sky, born of flood, kine, truth, mountain, he is holy Law. The Great.
36 Agni, thy home is in the floods: into the plants thou forcest way, And as their child art born anew.

37 Thou art the offspring of the plants, thou art the offspring of the trees: The offspring thou of all that is, thou, Agni, art the Waters’ Child,
9 O Agni, to the flood of heaven thou mountest, thou tallest hither Gods, the thought-inspirers. The waters, those beyond the light of Sûrya, and those that are beneath it here, approach thee.
50 May the Purîshya Agnis in accord with those that spring from floods, May they, benevolent, accept the sacrifice, full, wholesome draughts.


BOOK THE SIXTEENTH.

64 Homage to Rudras, those whose home is sky, whose arrows floods of rain. To them ten eastward, southward ten, ten to the south, ten to the north, ten to the region uppermost! To them be homage! May they spare and guard us. Within their jaws we lay the man who hates us and whom we abhor.

BOOK THE SEVENTEENTH.

6 Descend upon the earth, the reed, the rivers: thou art the gall, O Agni, of the waters. With them come hither, female Frog, and render this sacrifice of ours bright-hued, successful.
7 This is the place where waters meet; here is the gathering of the flood. Let thy shaft burn others than us: be thou cleanser, propitious unto us.
87 Drink in the middle of the flood, O Agni, this breast stored full of sap, teeming with water. Welcome this fountain redolent of sweetness. O Courser, enter those thy watery dwelling.
99 The universe depends upon thy power and might within the sea, within the heart, within all life. May we attain that sweetly-flavoured wave of thine, brought, at this gathering, o’er the surface of the floods.

BOOK THE EIGHTEENTH.

55 Attached thou standest at the head of all the world. Thy heart is in the sea, thy life is in the floods. Give water: cleave the reservoir. Help us with rain sent from the sky, Parjanya, firmament, or earth.

BOOK THE NINETEENTH.

74 The Hamsa throned in light drank up by metre Soma from the floods. By Law, etc.
94 Sarasvatî, as Consort of the Asvins, bears in her womb the nobly fashioned Infant. King Varuna with waters’ wealthy essence begetting Indra in the floods for glory.

BOOK THE TWENTIETH.

18 Waters, Inviolable ones, etc. Said to be repeated from VI. 22. O ever-moving Cleansing Bath, etc. Repeated from III. 48.
19 Thy heart is in the flood, etc. Repeated from VIII. 25. To us let Waters, etc. Repeated from VI. 22.
20 As one unfastened from a stake, or cleansed by bathing after toil, As butter which the sieve hath purged, let water clean me from my sin.
85 Sarasvatî, the mighty flood, she with her light illuminates, she brightens every pious thought.


BOOK THE TWENTY-SECOND.

25 Hail to waters! Hail to floods! Hail to water! Hail to standing waters! Hail to flowing waters! Hail to trickling waters! Hail to well waters! Hail to spring waters! Hail to the foaming sea! Hail to the ocean! Hail to the deep!

BOOK THE TWENTY-THIRD.

7 When, swift as wind, the Horse has reached the form that Indra loves, the flood, Again, O singer, by this path bring thou our Courser hitherward.
48 Brahma is lustre like the Sea. Heaven is a flood to match the Sea. Indra is vaster than the Earth. Beyond all measure is the Cow.
63 The Strong, the Self-existent One, the First, within the mighty flood, Laid down the timely embryo from which Prajâpati was born.

BOOK THE TWENTY-SEVENTH

26 What time the mighty waters came containing the universal germ, producing Agni, Thence sprang the Gods’ one spirit into being. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
26 Who in his might surveyed the floods enclosing productive force and generating Worship, He who is God mid Gods, and none beside him—What God shall we adore with our oblation?

BOOK THE TWENTY-NINTH.

52 Lord of the Wood, be firm and strong in body: be, bearing us, a brave victorious hero. Show forth thy strength, compact with straps of leather, and let thy rider win all spoils of battle.
53 Its mighty strength was borrowed from the heaven and earth its conquering force was brought from sovrans of the wood. Honour with holy gifts the Car like Indra's bolt, the Car bound round with straps, the vigour of the floods.

BOOK THE THIRTY-THIRD.

59 When Saramâ had found the mountain's fissure, that vast and ancient place she plundered thoroughly. In the floods’ van she led them forth, light-footed: she who well knew came first unto their lowing.

BOOK THE THIRTY-FIFTH.

9 Prosper for thee the regions and the waters, and let the seas for thee be most propitious. Auspicious unto thee be Air. Prosper all Quarters well for thee!
10 On flows the stony flood: hold fast each other, keep yourselves up, my friends, and pass the river. Here let us leave the powers that brought no profit, and cross the flood to Powers that are auspicious.

BOOK THE THIRTY-EIGHTH.

7 Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the sea. Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the flood. Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the unconquerable. Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the irresistible. Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the protection-seeker. Thee with Svâhâ to Vâta the non-destructive.

-- The Texts of the White Yajurveda, translated With a Popular Commentary by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899

Each period consists of 12,000 years, which the Hindus call divine. The Persians are not unacquainted with these renovations of the world, and periods of 12,000 years; for the bird Simurgh is introduced, telling Caherman that she had lived to see the earth seven times filled with creatures, and seven times a perfect void, (it should be six times a perfect void, for we are in the seventh period,) and that she had already seen twelve great periods of 7000 years. This is obviously wrong; it should be seven great periods of 12,000 years.

The antediluvian history, being considered by the Hindus in different points of view, is related in various ways, having little connection with each other.[???!!!] We are told first that Brahma created ten Bramadicas or children of Brahma, who were to be the progenitors of the moveable and immoveable parts of the creation, by which they understand animals and vegetables. Their names are Manichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Critu, Dacsha, Vasishtha, Burigu, and Narada. These sprang immediately from Brahma, and produced the Gods, the Daityas, good and bad genii, animals, and plants of all sorts. The Puranics are not agreed as to the number of Brahmadicas. In the Bhagavat it is declared that they were ten; but in other puranas they reckon nine; whilst in the Scanda-purana it is declared that there were only seven Brahmadicas, whose names are Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Crita, and Vosishta; nor are there wanting authorities to reduce them to three, namely, the three sons of Swayambhuva, who was Brahma himself in a human shape.

It is declared, that the seven MENUS, who have made their appearance, sprang from the Brahmadicas: their names are, Swayambhuva, Swarochisha, Uttama, Tamasa, Raivata, Chacshusha, and Satyavrata or Noah.

The seven Rishis sprang immediately from Brahma, and their names are, Casyapa, Atri, Vosishta, Visvametra, Gautama, Jamadagni, and Bharadwaja. These holy penitents, by their salutary counsels, and the example of their austerities, discover the path of rectitude and virtue to mankind. It is remarked of Atri, that he was both a Brahmadica and a Rishi; and, perhaps, the seven Menus, the seven Brahmadicas, with the seven Rishis, are the same, and make only seven individual persons. The seven Brahmadicas were prajapatis or lords of the prajas or creatures. From them mankind were born, and they are probably the same with the seven Menus, who, when far advanced in years, withdrew from the world, and became Rishis or holy penitents, as, according to the Puranas, was the general practice of mankind in former ages. These seven grand ancestors of the human race were first Brahmadicas or children of Brahma, and created for the purpose of replenishing the earth with inhabitants; having fulfilled their mission they became sovereigns of the universe, or Menus; and in their old age they withdrew to solitary places to prepare for death, and become Rishis. Swayambhuva, or the son of the self-existing, was the first Menu, and the father of mankind: his consort's name was Satarupa. In the second Veda [Yajur Veda], the Supreme Being is introduced thus speaking: "From me Brahma was born: he is above all; he is pitama, or the father of all men; he is Aja and Swayambhu, or self-existing."

"0" references to "From me Brahma"; "11" references to "Brahma"

BOOK THE THIRTEENTH

3 Eastward at first was Brahma generated. Vena o’erspread the bright Ones from the summit, Disclosed his deepest nearest revelations, womb of existent and of non-existent.

BOOK THE EIGHTEENTH.

29 May life succeed through sacrifice. May life-breath thrive by sacrifice. May the eye thrive by sacrifice. May the ear thrive by sacrifice. May the voice thrive by sacrifice. May the mind thrive by sacrifice. May the self thrive by sacrifice. May Brahma thrive by sacrifice. May light succeed by sacrifice. May heaven succeed by sacrifice. May the hymn thrive by sacrifice. May sacrifice thrive by sacrifice; And laud and sacrificial text, and verse of praise and Sâma chant, The Brihat and Rathantara.

76 Home-hider Agni, Indra, and Brahma, and bright Brihaspati— May the All Gods, one-minded, guard our sacrifice in happy place.

BOOK THE NINETEENTH.

31 So far the type of sacrifice was formed by Brahma, and the Gods. All this he gains, when juice is shed, in the Santrâmanî sacrifice.

75 Prajâpati by Brahma drank the essence from the foaming food, the princely power, milk, Soma juice. By Law, etc.

BOOK THE TWENTY-FIRST.

16 The Doors divine, the mighty Regions, Brahma, God Brihaspati, The metre Pankti, here a bull in his fourth year, give power and life.

BOOK THE TWENTY-THIRD.

14 The car is fitted with the rein, the steed is fitted with the rein. Fitted in waters, water-born, is Brahmâ following Soma's lead.

48 Brahma is lustre like the Sea. Heaven is a flood to match the Sea.

BOOK THE THIRTY-SECOND.

1 AGNI is That; the Sun is That; Vâyu and Chandramâs are That. The Bright is That; Brahma is That, those Waters, that Prajâpati.

BOOK THE THIRTY-SIXTH.

17 Sky alleviation, Air alleviation, Earth alleviation, Plants alleviation, Trees alleviation, All-Gods alleviation, Brahma alleviation, Universe alleviation, just Alleviation alleviation—may that alleviation come to me!

BOOK THE FORTIETH.

17 The Real's face is hidden by a vessel formed of golden light. The Spirit yonder in the Sun, the Spirit dwelling there am I. OM! Heaven! Brahma!

-- The Texts of the White Yajurveda, translated With a Popular Commentary by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899

From him proceeded Swayambhuva, who is the first Menu: they call him Adima (or the first, or Protogonus:) he is the first of men, and Paramapurusha, or the first male.

"0" references to "Swayabhuva"; "0" references to Menu; "2" references to Manu.

BOOK THE ELEVENTH.

66 Intention, Agni. Motive, Hail! Mind, Wisdom, Agni, Motive, Hail! Thought, Knowledge, Agni, Motive, Hail! Rule of Speech, Agni, Motive, Hail! To Manu Lord of creatures, Hail! To Agni dear to all men, Hail!

BOOK THE THIRTY-SEVENTH.

12 Unconquerable, eastward, in Agni's overlordship, give me life. Rich in sons, southward, in Indra's overlordship give me offspring. Fair-seated, westward, in God. Savitar's overlordship, give me sight. Range of hearing, northward, in Dhâtar's overlordship, give me increase of wealth. Arrangement, upward, in Brihaspati's overlordship, give me energy. From all destructive spirits guard us. Thou art Manu's mare.

-- The Texts of the White Yajurveda, translated With a Popular Commentary by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899


His help-meet Pricriti is called also Satarupa: she is Adima (2) [Adima is the feminine gender from Adima or Adimas.] or the first: she is Visva-jenni, or the mother of the world: she is Iva, or like I, the female energy of nature, or she is a form of, or descended from I: she is Para or the greatest: both are like, Maha-deva and his Sacti (the female energy of nature) whose names are also Isa and Isi.

Swayambhuva is Brahma in a human shape, or the first Brahma: for Brahma is man individually, and also collectively, mankind; hence Brahma is said to be born and to die every day, as there are men springing to life, and dying ever day. Collectively he dies every hundred years, this being the utmost limits of life in the Cali-yug, according to the Puranas: at the end of the world, Brahma or mankind is said to die also, at the end of a hundred divine years. Swayambhuva, in the present calpa, is Vishnu in the character of Brahma-rupi Javardana, or the Vishnu with the countenance of Brahma. To understand this it is necessary to premise, that it has been revealed to the Hindus, that, from the beginning to the end of things, when the whole creation will be annihilated and absorbed into the Supreme Being, there will be five great calpas, or periods. We are now in the middle of the fourth calpa, fifty years of Brahma being elapsed; and of the remainder the first calpa is begun. These five great calpas include 500 years of Brahma, at the end of which nothing will remain but the self-existing.

BOOK THE SECOND.

20 O Agni of unweakened strength, far-reaching, protect me from the lightning-flash, protect me from bondage. from defect in sacrificing, from food injurious to health protect
me. Make thou the food that feeds us free from poison in the home good to sit in. Svâhâ! Vât! Hail to the Lord of close embracements, Agni! Hail to Sarasvatî enriched with glory!
21 Veda art thou, whereby, O godlike Veda, thou hast become for Deities their Veda: thereby mayst thou become for me a Veda. O Deities, ye knowers of the Pathway, walk on the pathway having known the Pathway. God, Lord of Spirit, hail! bestow upon the Wind this sacrifice.
22 Blest be the Grass with sacred food and butter. Let Indra be united with the Âdityas, the Vasus, Maruts, and the Visvedevas. Let Svâhâ-offerings rise to heavenly ether.
23 Who liberates thee from the yoke? He frees thee. For whom? For him he looses thee. For plenty. Thou art the Râkshasas’ allotted portion.
24 We have combined with lustre, vigour, bodies; we have united with the blessèd spirit. May Tvashtar, bounteous giver, grant us riches, and clear each fault and blemish from the body.
25 By Jagatî metre in the sky strode Vishnu. Therefrom excluded is the man who hates us and whom we detest. By Trishtup metre in the air strode Vishnu. Therefrom, etc. By Gâyatrî upon the earth strode Vishnu. Therefrom, etc. From this food From this resting-place excluded. We have reached heaven. We have combined with lustre.
26 Thou, noblest ray of light, art Self-existent. Giver art thou of splendour. Give me splendour. I move along the path that Sûrya travels.

BOOK THE FIFTH

6 O Agni, Guardian of the Vow, O Guardian of the Vow, in thee Whatever form there is of thine, may that same form be here on me: and thee be every form of mine. O Lord of Vows, let our vows be united. May Dîkshâ's Lord allow my Consecration, may holy Fervour's Lord approve my Fervour.
7 May every stalk of thine wax full and strengthen for Indra Ekadhanavid, God Soma! May Indra grow in strength for thee: for Indra mayest thou grow strong. Increase us friends with strength and mental vigour. May all prosperity be thine, God Soma. May I attain the
solemn Soma-pressing. May longed-for wealth come forth for strength and fortune. Let there be truth for those whose speech is truthful. To Heaven and Earth be adoration offered.
8 That noblest body which is thine, O Agni, laid in the lowest deep, encased in iron, hath chased the awful word, the word of terror. Svâhâ! That noblest . . . . . . encased in silver, etc. Svâhâ. That noblest . . . . with gold around it, etc. Svâhâ! ...
24 Self-ruler art thou, conquering foes. Ruler for ever art thou, killing enemies. Men's ruler art thou, slaying fiends. All ruler, killing foes, art thou.

BOOK THE SEVENTH.

1 FLOW for Vâchaspati, cleansed by hands from the two off-shoots of the Bull. Flow pure, a Deity thyself, for Deities whose share thou art.
2 Sweeten the freshening draughts we drink. Soma, whatever name thou hast, Unconquerable, giving life, To that thy Soma, Soma! Hail!
3 Self-made art thou from all the Powers that are in heaven and on the earth. May the Mind win thee, thee, All-hail! for Sûrya, O thou nobly-born. Thee for the Deities who sip light-atoms. Truly fulfilled, O Plant divine, be that for which I pray to thee. With ruin falling from above may So-and-So be smitten, crash! Thee for out-breathing, thee for breath diffused!
4 Taken upon a base art thou. Hold in, Rich Lord! be Soma's guard. Be thou protector of our wealth: win strengthening food by sacrifice.
5 The heaven and spacious earth I lay within thee, I lay within thee middle air's wide region. Accordant with the Gods lower and higher, Rich Lord, rejoice thee in the Antaryâma. O Self-made art thou . . . . . light-atoms (verse 3 repeated). Thee for the upward breath.
7 O Vâyu, drinker of the pure, be near us: a thousand teams are thine, All-bounteous Giver. To thee the rapture-giving juice is offered, whose first draught, God, thou takest as thy portion.

BOOK THE TENTH.

4 With sun-bright skins are ye, givers, etc. Brilliant as Suns are ye, etc. Bringers of joy are ye, etc. Dwellers in cloud are ye, etc. Desirable are ye, etc. Most powerful are ye, etc. Endowed with might are ye, etc. Man-nourishing are ye, etc. All-nourishing are ye, etc. Self-ruling Waters are ye, giving kingship. On So-and-So do ye bestow the kingdom. Together with the sweet let sweet ones mingle, obtaining for the Kshatriya mighty power. Rest in your place inviolate and potent, bestowing on the Kshatriya mighty power.

BOOK THE THIRTEENTH

24 The Far-Refulgent held the light. The Self-Refulgent held the light. Thee, luminous, may Prajâpati settle upon the back of Earth. Give, to all breathing, all the light, to out-breath, to diffusive breath. Thy Sovran [Sovereign] Lord is Agni. With that Deity, as with Angiras, lie firmly settled in thy place.

BOOK THE SEVENTEENTH.

13 Worshipful Gods of Gods who merit worship, those who sit down beside their yearly portion, Let them who eat not sacrificial presents drink in this rite
of honey and of butter.
14 Those Gods who have attained to Godhead over Gods, they who have led the way in this our holy work, Without whose aid no body whatsoever moves, not on heaven's heights are they, nor on the face of earth.
15 Giver of breath, of out-breath, breath diffusive, giver of lustre, giving room and freedom, Let thy shot missiles burn others than us: be thou cleanser, propitious unto us.
16 May Agni with his sharpened blaze cast down each fierce devouring fiend. May Agni win us wealth by war.
17 He who sate down as Hotar priest, the Rishi, our Father offering, up all things existent. He, seeking with his wish a great possession, came among men on earth as archetypal.
18 What was the place whereon he took his station? What was it that upheld him? What the manner, Whence Visvakarman, seeing all, producing the earth, with mighty power disclosed the heavens?
19 He who hath eyes on all sides round about him, a mouth on all sides, arms and feet on all sides, He the sole God, producing earth and heaven, weldeth them with his arms as wings together.
20 What was the tree, what wood in sooth produced it, from which they fashioned out the earth and heaven? Ye thoughtful men, inquire within your spirit whereon he stood when he established all things.

21 Thine highest, lowest sacrificial natures, and these thy midmost here, O Visvakarman, Teach thou thy friends at sacrifice, O Blessèd, and come thyself, exalted, to our worship.
22 Bring those, thyself exalted with oblation, O Visvakarman, Earth and Heaven to worship. Let enemies around us live in folly: here let us have a rich and liberal patron.
23, 24. = VIII. 45, 46.
25 The Father of the eye, the Wise in spirit, created both these worlds submerged in fatness. Then when the eastern ends were firmly fastened, the heavens and the earth were far extended.
26 Mighty in mind and power is Visvakarman, Maker, Disposer, and most lofty Presence. Their offerings joy in rich juice where they value One, only One beyond the Seven Rishis.
27 Father who made us, he who, as Disposer, knoweth all races and all things existing, Even he alone, the Deities’ name-giver,—him other beings seek for information....

58 Savitar, golden-hued, hath lifted eastward, bright with the sunbeams, his eternal lustre, He at whose furtherance wise Pûshan marches surveying all existence like a herdsman.
59 He sits, the measurer, in the midst of heaven, filling the two world-halves and air's mid-region. He looks upon the rich far-spreading pastures between the eastern and the western limit.
60 Steer, Sea, Red Bird with strong wings, he hath entered the dwelling-place of the Primeval Father. A gay-hued Stone set in the midst of heaven, he hath gone forth and guards the air's two limits....

71 O Agni, thousand-eyed and hundred-headed, thy breaths are hundred, thy through-breaths a thousand. Thou art the Lord of thousandfold possessions. To thee; for strength, may we present oblation....
85 Self-Powerful, Voracious-One, Kin-to-the-Sun, The House-holder, Play-Lover, Mighty, Conqueror. Fierce, Terrible, The Resonant, The Roaring. Victorious, Assailant, and Dispeller, All-Hail!


BOOK THE NINETEENTH.

60 For those who, burnt with fire or not cremated, joy in their portion in the midst of heaven, May the Self-Ruler form the world of spirits and this their body as his pleasure wills it.

BOOK THE TWENTIETH.

6 My tongue be bliss, my voice be might, my mind be wrath, my rage self-lord! Joys be my fingers, and delight my members, conquering strength my friend!

BOOK THE TWENTY-THIRD.

63 The Strong, the Self-existent One, the First, within the mighty flood, Laid down the timely embryo from which Prajâpati was born.

BOOK THE TWENTY-SEVENTH

33 Come thou with one, and ten, O Self-Existent! with two unto the sacrifice, and twenty. Three are the teams and thirty which convey thee. O Vâyu, in this place unyoke thy coursers.

BOOK THE FORTIETH. [???!!!]

1 ENVELOPED by the Lord must be This All—each thing that moves on earth. With that renounced enjoy thyself. Covet no wealth of any man.
2 One, only doing Karma here, should wish to live a hundred years. No way is there for thee but this. So Karma cleaveth not to man.
3 Aye, to the Asuras belong those worlds enwrapt in blinding gloom. To them, when life on earth is done, depart the men who kill the Self.
4 Motionless, one, swifter than Mind—the Devas failed to o’ertake it speeding on before them. It, standing still, outstrips the others running. Herein Both Mâtarisvan stablish Action.
5 It moveth; it is motionless. It is far distant; it is near. It is within This All; and it surrounds This All externally.
6 The man who in his Self beholds all creatures and all things that be, And in all beings sees his Self, thence doubts no longer, ponders not.
7 When, in the man who clearly knows, Self hath become all things that are, What wilderment, what grief is there in him who sees the One alone?
8 He hath attained unto the Bright, Bodiless, Woundless, Sinewless, the Pure which evil hath not pierced. Far-sighted, wise, encompassing, the self-existent hath prescribed aims, as propriety demands, unto the everlasting Years.


-- The Texts of the White Yajurveda, translated With a Popular Commentary by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1899


Every calpa, except the first, is preceded by a renovation of the world, and a general flood; whilst the flood that precedes every Manwantara is in great measure, a partial one, some few high peaks and some privileged places, as Benares, being excepted; the peaks remaining above the waters, and Benares and other privileged places being surrounded by the waters as with a circular wall.

These five calpas have five deities, who rule by turns, and from whom the calpas are denominated. These five deities are, Devi, Surya or the Sun, Ganesa, Vishnu, and Iswara. Brahma has no peculiar calpa: he is intimate to every one of them. Every deity, in his own period, is Calsva-rupi or Chronus. We are now under the reign of the fourth Chronus. The Western mythologists mention several ruling deities of that name. Calsva-rupi signifies he who has the countenance of Cala, Chronus, or Time. This is now the calpa of Vishnu, who, to create, thought on Brahma, and became Brahma-rupi-Janardana. He preserves and fosters the whole creation in his own character; and will ultimately destroy it through Iswara or Rudra. The calpa of Vishnu is called also the Pudma or Lotos period. It is declared in the puranas that all animals and plants are the Ling or Phallus of the Calsva-rupi deity; and that at the end of his own calpa he is deprived of his Ling by his successor, who attracts the whole creation to himself, to swallow it up or devour it, according to the Western mythologists; and at the end of his calpa he disgorges the whole creation. Such is the origin of Chronus devouring his own offspring; of Jupiter disgorging it through a potion administered to him by Metis; and of Chronus castrating his own father. According to this, Swayambhuva is conjointly and individually, Brahma, Vishnu, and Isa or Maha-deva. To Swayambhuva were born three daughters, Acuti, Deva-sruti, and Visruti or Prasuti. Brahma created three great Rajapatis, to be their husbands; Cardama, Dacsha, (the same who was also a Brahmadica and Ruchi. Cardama is acknowledged to be a form of Siva, or Siva himself: and Dacsha to be Brahma; hence he is often called Dacsha Brahma; and we may reasonably conclude that the benevolent Ruchi was equally a form of Vishnu. It is said in the vedas, as I am assured by learned pundits, that these three gods sprang in a mortal shape from the body of Adima; that Dacsha Brahma issued mystically from his navel, Vishnu from his left, and Siva from his right side. It is declared in the puranas, that Iswara cut off one of the heads of Brahma, who being immortal was only maimed. The same mystical rancour was manifest when they assumed a mortal shape, as appears from the following relation: The pious Dacsha desiring to perform sacrifice, invited gods and men to assist at it, but did not ask Siva on account of his bad conduct and licentious life. The wife of Siva, who was the daughter of Dacsha, could not brook this neglect, and determined to go: her husband expostulated with her, but to no purpose. When she arrived, her father took no notice of her, which enraged her so much, that after having spoiled the sacrifice, she jumped into the sacred fire, and expired in the flames. Siva hearing of her misfortune, went to Dacsha; and, reproaching him for his unnatural conduct towards his own daughter, cut off his head. Dacsha had no male offspring, but many daughters, whose alliance was eagerly fought for by the most distinguished characters. It is asserted in the puranas that from Cardama, Dacsha, and Ruchi, the earth was filled with inhabitants: yet in the same we are told, that Brahma, being disappointed, found it necessary to give two sons to Adima, from whom, at last, the earth was filled with inhabitants. These two sons were Privavrata and Uttanapada, who appear to be the same with Cardama and Ruchi. Here the antediluvian history assumes a different shape; and the puranics, abandoning their idle tales, of the seven Menus and renovations of the world, between the time of Swayambhuva, and the flood of Satyavrata, presents us with something more consistent with reason and historical truth; but which at once overthrows their extravagant fabrick. Peiyavrata was the first born of Adima; and the particulars recorded of his progeny have no small affinity with the generations exhibited by Sanchoniatho, as will appear from the following comparative Table:  

I. Adima, and Adima or Iva . / I. Protogonus, synonimous with Adim: Aion or Aeon from Iva or Ivam, in the second case.

II. Priyavrata. He married Barhismati, the daughter of Visvacarma, the chief engineer of the Gods. / II. Genus, Genea.

III. Agnidhra and his seven brothers, whose names signify fire and flame. By one wife he had three sons: they became Menus; and were named, Uttama, Tamasa, and Raivata. By another wife, Agnidhra had nine sons, who gave their names to the mountainous tracts of Nabhi. / III. Phos, Phur, Phlon; that is, light, fire, and flame.

IV. Cimpurusha, Harivarsha, Ilavarta, Ramanaca, Curu, Bhadrasva, Cetumala, and Hiranmaya. / IV. They began sons of vast bulk, whose names were given to the mountains on which they seized, viz. Cassius, Libanus, Anti-Libanus, Brathys.

V. Rishabaha, son of Nabahi. / V. Memrumus, Hypsuranius, and Usous.

VI. Bharata, who gave his name to the country of Bharata-varsha. / VI. Agreaes, Haliaeus.

VII. Sumarti, Dhumra-Cetu, whose name signifies a fiery meteor. / VII. Chrysaor.

VIII. Devajita, 9, Pratihara, 10. Pratihata, said by some to be brothers. the names of the two last imply beating, hammering, &c. / VIII. Technites, Geinus, Autochton.

IX. Aja and Bhumana. Then follows a list of sixteen names, supposed by some to be so many generations in a direct line; by others, this is denied: but as nothing is recorded of them, they are omitted. / IX. Agrowerus, or Adgrotes. Aja in Sanscrit, is synonimous nearly with Autochton, and Bhumana answers to Agrowerus and Agrotes.


The posterity of Adima or Adim (for the letter A in this name has exactly the sound of the French e in the word j'aime) through Uttanapada, is as follows:

I. Adim and Iva. Iva sounds exactly like Eve, pronounced as a dissyllable E-ve.

II. Uttanapada. He had two wives, Suruchi and Suruti: by the first he had Uttama, and by the second Dhruva. Uttanapada was exceedingly fond of Suruchi, which gave rise to the following circumstances. Whilst he was caressing Uttama his son Dhruva went to him and was repulsed. Dhruva burst into tears, and complained to his mother, who advised him to withdraw into the deserts. He followed her advice, and retired into a forest on the banks of the Jumna, where he gave himself up to the contemplation of the Supreme Being, and the performance of religious austerities. After many years the Supreme Being appeared to him, and commanded him to put an end to his austerities and return to his father, who had relented. He went accordingly  to his father, who received him with joy, and resigned the kingdom to him. Dhruva, like Enoch in Scripture is commended for his extraordinary piety, and the salutary precepts he gave to mankind. He did not taste death, but was translated to heaven, where he shines in the polar star. Here Enoch and Enos are confounded together. Uttama, whose education had been neglected, gave himself up to pleasure and dissipation. Whilst hunting he happened to quarrel with the Cuveras, and was killed in the fray. Dhruva, at the head of a numerous army, took the field to revenge the death of his brother: many had fallen on both sides, when Swayambhuva or Adim interposed, and a lasting peace was concluded between the contending parties.  

III. Dhruva. He had by his first wife two sons, Vatsara and Calmavatsara; by Ila he had a son called Utcala, and a daughter.

IV. Vatsara, by his wife Swacatai had six sons, the eldest of whom was called Pushparna.

V. Pushparna had by his wife Dosha three sons, and by Nadwala, Chacshusha, who became a Menu.

VI. Chachusha had twelve sons, the eldest of whom was called Ulmaca.

VII. Ulmaca had six sons, the eldest of whom was Anga.

VIII. Anga had an only son called Vena.

IX. Vena, being an impious and tyrannical prince, was cursed by the Brahmens; in consequence of which curse he died without leaving issue. To remedy this evil they opened his left arm, and with a stick churned the humours till they at last produced a son, who proved as wicked as his father, and was of course set aside: then opening the right arm, they churned till they produced a beautiful boy, who proved to be a form of Vishnu under the name of Prithu.

X. Prithu. Gods and men came to make obeisance to him, and celebrate his appearance on earth. He married a form of the goddess Lacshmi. In his time, the earth having refused to give her wonted supplies to mankind, Prithu began to beat and wound her. The earth, assuming the shape of a cow, went to the high grounds of Meru, and there laid her complaint before the supreme court, who rejected it; as she acknowledged, that she had refused the common necessaries of life, not only to mankind in general, but to Prithu himself, whose wife she was in a human shape. Prithu and Ins descendants were allowed to beat and wound her in case of noncompliance with the decree of the supreme court. The earth submitted reluctantly, and since that time mankind are continually beating and wounding her, with ploughs, harrows, hoes, and other instruments of husbandry. We are told also, in more plain language, that Prithu cut down whole forests, levelled the earth, planted orchards, and sowed fields with all sorts of useful seeds. From her husband Prithu, the earth was denominated Prithwi.

Prithu was a religious prince, fond of agriculture, and became a husbandman; which is to be understood by his quarrel with the earth. This induces me to think, that he is the same with Satyavrata, or Noah, whose mortal father is not mentioned in the puranas, at least my Pundits have not been able to find it. His heavenly father was the Sun; and Satyavrata is declared also to be an incarnation of Vishnu. Here I must observe, that at night, and in the west, the Sun is Vishnu: he is Brahma in the east, and in the morning; from noon to evening he is Siva.

XI. Prithu had five children, Vijitasva, who became sovereign over his four brothers, and had the middle part of the kingdom to his own share; Huryacsha ruled over Prachi, or the east, and built the town of Rajgriha, now Rajmehal; Dhumracesha, who ruled in the south, as Vrica did in the west, and Dravinasa in the north.


In 1145, Otto von Freising also heard of "a certain John, king and priest, who lived in the extreme east beyond Armenia and Persia." He reportedly was of the race of the very Magi who had come to worship the infant Christ at Bethlehem (p. 174)....

The lands described by Eldad, Prester John, Mandeville, and Holwell share some characteristics that invite exploration. The first concerns the fact that all are associated with "India" and the vicinity of earthly paradise. In the Genesis account (2.8 ff.) God, immediately after having formed Adam from the dust of the ground, "planted a garden eastward of Eden" and put Adam there. He equipped this garden with trees "pleasant to the sight, and good for food," as well as the tree of life at the center of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil....

The location of the "garden in Eden" (gan b'Eden), from which Adam was eventually expelled, is specified in Genesis 2.8 as miqedem, which has both a spatial ("away to the East") and a temporal ("from before the beginning") connotation. Accordingly, the translators of the Septuagint, the Vedus Latina, and the English Authorized Version rendered it by words denoting "eastward" (Gr. kata anatolas, Lat. in oriente), while the Vulgate prefers "a principio" and thus the temporal connotation (Scafi 2006:35). But the association of the earthly paradise and enigmatic land of Havilah with the Orient, and in particular with India, was boosted by Flavius Josephus and a number of Church fathers who identified it with the Ganges valley (p. 35) where, nota bene, Holwell located his paradisiacal Bisnapore....

Christopher COLUMBUS (1451-1506), a man who was very familiar with maps and had once made a living of their trade, also thought that he approached the earthly paradise on his third voyage. While he cruised near the estuary of the Orinoco in Venezuela, he firmly believed he had finally reached the mouth of a paradise river....

Since Columbus knew that the earth is round and that he was far away from Africa and Mesopotamia, he apparently thought that he was in the "Indies" and noted the unanimity of "St Isidor, Bede, Strabo, the Master of Scholastic History [Petrus Comestor], St Ambrose and Scotus and all learned theologians" that "the earthly Paradise is in the East" (p. 221). Columbus clearly imagined himself near the Ganges and the Indian Paradise.

-- Holwell's Religion of Paradise, Excerpt from The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

Greek scholars often mentioned that Sandrocottus was the king of the country called as Prasii (Prachi or Prachya). Pracha or Prachi means eastern country. During the Nanda and Mauryan era, Magadha kings were ruling almost entire India. Mauryan Empire was never referred in Indian sources as only Prachya desa or eastern country. Prachya desa was generally referred to Gupta Empire because Northern Saka Ksatrapas and Western Saka Ksatrapas were well established in North and West India. Megasthenes mentioned that Sandrocottus is the greatest king of the Indians and Poros is still greater than Sandrocottus which means a kingdom in the North-western region is still independent and enjoying at least equal status with the kingdom of Sandrocottus.

-- Who was Sandrocottus: Samudragupta or Chandragupta Maurya? The Chronology of Ancient India, Victim of Concoctions and Distortions, by Vedveer Arya

XII. Visitaswa had by one of his wives three sons, called Pavaca, Pavamana, and Suchi, all names of fire. He became Antardhana at pleasure, that is to say, he appeared and disappeared whenever he chose; and he withdrew his soul from his body at pleasure. He was born again of his own wife, and of himself, under the name of Havirdhana. Havirdhana married Havirdhani, by whom he had six children, known by the general appellation of Prachina-barhi.

XIII. Varishada, the eldest of them, married Satadruti the daughter of Ocaeanus, and had by her two sons called the Prachetas.

XIV. The famous Dacsha before mentioned, was born again one of them. His brothers, bidding adieu to the world, withdrew to forests in distant countries towards the west, where they beheld the translation of Dhruva into heaven. And here ends the line of Uttanapada, which I now exhibit at one view, with some variations.

I. Swayambhuva or Adim.

II. Uttanapada, who was probably the same with Ruchi.

III. Dhruva, eminent for his piety.

IV. Vatsara.

V. Pushparna, called also Ripunjaya.

VI. Chacshusha, Menu.

VII. Ulmaca or Uru.

VIII. Anga.

IX. Venu.

X. Prithu, supposed to be Noah.

XI. Vigitasva.  

XII. Havirdhana. / Swayambhuva dies.

XIII. Varishada.

XIV. The ten Prachetas. Dhruva is translated into heaven.


By supposing Prithu to be Noah, and Dhruva to be Enos, this account agrees remarkably well with the computation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Enos lived 433 years after the birth of Noah, and, of course, the great-grand-children of the latter could be witnesses of the translation of Dhruva into heaven. Swayambhuva or Adam lived 223 years after the birth of Noah, according to the computation of the Samaritan Pentateuch [The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah, is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, written in the Samaritan script and used as sacred scripture by the Samaritans. Some six thousand differences exist between the Samaritan and the Masoretic Text.]; and it is said of Prithu, that the earth having assumed the shape of a cow, he made use of this grand ancestor Swayambhuva as a calf to milk her. Perhaps the old fire took delight in superintending the fields and orchards, and attending the dairies of his beloved Prithu.

The only material difficulty in supposing Prithu to be the same with Noah, respects his offspring to the fourth generation before the flood. But, when we consider that Noah was 500 years old when Japheth and his two sons were born, it is hardly credible that he should have had no children till that advanced age. The puranics insist, that Satyavrata had many before the Flood, but that they perished with the rest of mankind, and that Sharma or Shama, Charma, and Jyapati, were born after the Flood: but they appear to have no other proof of this, than that they are not mentioned among those who escaped with Noah in the ark. I shall now give a table of the seven Menus compared with the two lines descended from Adim and Iva.  

Image

Swayambhuva or Adima.

I. Menu.

2. Priyavrata. / 2. Uttanapada.

3. Agnidhra, supposed the same with Swarochisa. / 3. Dhruva.

II. Menu. / Uttama.

4. Nabhi. / 4. Vatsara

III. Menu / Tamasa

5. Risshabha / 5. Pushparna.

6. Bharata / 6. Cshacshusha.

7. Sumati. / 7. Ulmaca

IV. Menu / Raivata

V. Menu / Cshacshusha

8. Devajita / 8. Anga.

9. Aja / 9. Vena.

VI. Menu / Noah's Flood

Satyavrata / 10. Prithu.

VII. Menu
 
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 3 of 4

This table completely overthrows the system of the Menwantaras, previous to the Flood; for it is declared in the puranas, that at the end of every Menwantara, the whole human race is destroyed, except one Menu, who makes his escape in a boat with the seven Rishis. But, according to the present table, Swayambhuva went through every Menwantaras and died in the sixth; Dhruva also saw five Menwantaras and died on the sixth. Uttama, Tamaaa, and Raivata, being brothers, lived during the course of several Menwantaras, and when Uttama made his escape in a boat, besides the seven Rishis, he must have taken with him his two brothers, with Dhruva and Swayambhuva. Of these Menus little more is recorded in the puranas, than that they had a numerous offspring; that certain Deautas made their appearance; and that they discomfited the giants. The mortal father of Swarochisa is not known. His divine father was Agni; hence, he is supposed by some to be the same with Agnidhra.

The Brahmans profess, and the unenlightened Hindus believe, that the world was created to last 4,320,000 years, as follows.
1 Age or Critajugan = 1,728,000
2 Age or Tritajugan = 1,296,000
3 Age or Dwaparajugan = 864,000
4 Age or Calijugan = 432,000
Making an aggregate of 4,320,000 years.

Now, it seems, instead of years, we are to regard this large sum as expressing only Matires, or twinklings of the eye; 600 of which go to an English minute: and the above four ages, added together, amount to what is called a Sadrijugan or Divine age. We may also mention here that two Sadrijugans make a day and night of Brahma; whose months and years are in the same proportion, as follows:
8,640,000 = 1 Day and night
259,200,000 = 1 Month
3,110,400,000 = 1 Year
311,040,000,000 = 100 years, the life of Brahma.

From these numbers, adds the author, a cypher is formed in which all antediluvian records are kept. The reader must for the present suppress any little curiosity he may feel as to where the “antediluvian records" themselves are kept, or how they fell under the cognizance of the author.

By inspecting the last set of numerals but one, it will be seen that the Calijagan age amounts to 432,000 years, which answers to the number of matires in 12 hours; and as the sum total of the four ages is just ten times as much, or 4,320,000, it follows that the duration of the world may be symbolically represented by ten times twelve hours, or five whole days. Again, as the years of the gods are to those of man in the proportion of 360 to 1, by dividing 4,320,000 by 360, we have 12,000 — an amount equal to a day and night of Brahma: “for,” observes our author, “of the 4,320,000 days, or 12,000 years, Brahma sleeps one half.”...

In truth, the whole cypher is derived from astronomical facts, concealed with much childish affectation of refinement from the vulgar eye: and in proof of this, we may remark that the number 216,000, which says our author, “may be considered as the basis of all their calculations," is nothing more mystical than the 60 hours of the day (for several eastern nations are known to have adopted this division) reduced into minutes and seconds, viz. 60 60 60 = 216,000. It will be observed, too, that the numbers denoting the extent of the four ages are products of this sum, by the multipliers 8, 6, 4, 2, respectively. But a still stronger proof of astronomical origin may be drawn from the distinction stated between the years of gods and those of men. "The sun," says a Hindu authority quoted by this author, “causes the distribution of day and night, both human and divine: night being intended for the repose of various beings and day for their exertion. A month of mortals is a day and night of the pitris, or patriarchs inhabiting the moon; and the division of a month being into equal halves, the half beginning with the full moon, is their day for action; and that beginning with the new moon, is their night for slumber. A year of mortals is a day and night of the gods, or regents of the universe, situated round the north pole; and again their division is this; their day is the northern, and their night the southern course of the sun."

Our author, however, spurns from him all astronomical aid, and trusting entirely to his cypher, which indeed he uses like a servant of all work, he exclaims “the enigma is solved." The human ages are represented in matires and the divine one in days....

But, after all, he is compelled to have recourse to a fiction representing a physical fact, in order to explain the Menwantaras and creations which the Hindus acknowledge to be without number. According to the writers of Hindustan, 71 divine ages make a Menwantara: but a divine age, or 4,320,000 matires are only equal to five days, and five days multiplied by 71, amount to 355 days, or the old Savan year of the Hindus. What, then, is a Menwantara? It is the antura or duration, of a Menu; but says our author, “it is, and ever was, symbolical of one year, or the renewal of creation at the return of the vernal equinox." He has not, however, attempted to explain the language employed in the very work from which he quotes, relative to a true Menwantara. “The divine years, (vide Institutes of Menu, ch. 1.) in the four human ages just enumerated, being added together, their sum, or 12,000, is called the age of the gods. And by reckoning a thousand such divine ages, a day of Brahma may be known; his night has also an equal duration. Again, the before-mentioned age of the gods, or twelve thousand of their years, being multiplied by 71, constitutes what is here named a Menwantara, or the time, Antara, of a Menu. There are numberless Menwantaras; creations also and destructions of worlds innumerable; the Being supremely exalted, performs all this with as much ease as if in sport: again and again, for the sake of conferring happiness."

Now, we are informed by the author of these volumes that the four ages when added, give the duration of the world; in matires, 432,0000, and in years of the gods, 12,000. What then can be meant by saying that 12,000 x 71, or a Menwantara imports nothing more than one solar year? Seventy one times the duration of the world (including Brahma's nap of 6,000 years) is employed merely to express the renewal of creation at the return of the vernal equinox!
What, again, is to be thought of a key which applies only to a part of the cypher to be explained by it? The fourth, or cali age for example, is five times as long as the other three put together, and yet it bears to the first the proportion of only one to four. In short, according to the cypher, the fourth age should be only the one fourth of the duration of the world, whereas it is estimated at more than five-sixths. But the duration of the world may be taken at any amount; and here it signifies one thousand years, and six thousand years, and twelve thousand years, and really may signify anything the author pleases.

We are aware that the number of matires in five whole days is equal to 12,000 multiplied by 360, that is, to 4,320,000; and that five days multiplied by 71, amount to 355, the number of days in a Saban year, as it is called by the Hindus. But what of this? How should five days be called an age of the gods, when we are told that a real age of the gods, comprehends the whole duration of the world, or 12,000 years? Are we to understand that five days, and the duration of the world, are convertible terms? If so, on what ground are they to be regarded as commensurable? Nothing is offered to throw light on this part of the subject — the basis on which the whole of the supposed cypher and its miraculous key will be found to rest.

Again, a day of Brahma is equal to a thousand Sudrijugans, or a thousand times the duration of the world; his day and his night being just twice as much. But we are told that the world is to last one day of Brahma, or a thousand Sudrijugans, or 4,320,000 symbolical years x to 1000; whilst we are also told that the duration of the world is limited to 4,320,000, or one Sadrijugan. “The Brahmans profess, (p. 11.) and the unenlightened Hindus believe that the world was created to last 4,320,000 years."

The numbers now given, amazed Sir William Jones, as they have amazed every other antiquary, and he found no way of accounting for such hyperbolical notation, but that of referring it to an astronomical riddle. “The aggregate of the four first ages," says he, "constitutes the extravagant sum of four millions, three hundred and twenty thousand; which aggregate multiplied by seventy-one is the period in which every Mena is believed to preside over the world. Such a period one might conceive, would have satisfied Archytas, the measurer of the sea and earth, and the numberer of the sands, or Archimedes who invented a notation that was capable of expressing the number of them: but the comprehensive mind of an Indian chronologer has no limits, and the reigns of fourteen Menus are only a single day of Brahma: fifty of which days have already elapsed, according to the Hindus, since the creation. All this puerility may be an astronomical riddle, alluding to the apparent revolutions of the fixed stars, of which the Brahmans make a mystery, but so technical an arrangement excludes the idea of serious history.”

We have already hinted that our author himself, notwithstanding his aversion to astronomical riddles, finds it necessary to make use of the assistance thereby afforded, in order to extricate the language of history, from the perplexities of his imaginary cypher. The 'divine age,' accordingly is not confined to five days of twenty-four hours; it has, says he, a more recondite meaning, and when it is used as an historic date, it always denotes one year. For, he adds, a divine age is considered as the duration of time (erroneously rendered the duration of the world) at the expiration of which nature becomes regenerate at the vernal equinox. In this sense, he continues, the prophet Daniel denotes 360 days by “a time;" and as seventy-one divine ages form a Menwantara, so does a Menwantara denote, when applied to dates, seventy one years. In a word, the cypher of the author like the chronology of the Hindus may be varied at pleasure; and amidst the wanderings of an oriental imagination, where are we to find a key to give us access to the facts of real history, or to open the adyta of philosophical and religious opinion?

-- ART. V. [Book Review of:] A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus; in a Series of Letters, in which an Attempt is made to facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindustan, by proving that the protracted Numbers of all Oriental Nations, when reduced, agree with the Dates given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible. 2 vols. 8vo. Rivingtons. 1820. [by Anonymous, 1820], by F. and C. Rivington (Firm), The British Critic, Volumes 13-14, Editors: 1793-1813, Robert Nares, William Beloe; 1814-1825, T.F. Middleton, W.R. Lyall, and others. 1820, originally published 1792


During the reign of the fourth Menu, occurred the famous war between the elephants and the crocodiles, which, in the puranas, is asserted to have happened in the sacred isles in the west. What was the origin of it we are not told; but whenever the elephants went to a lake, either to drink or to bathe, the crocodiles laying in wait, dragged them into the water and devoured them. The Gujindra or Nagnath, the lord of the elephants, was once attacked by the chief of the grahas or crocodiles on the bank of a lake, in one of the sacred isles called Suvarneya; a dreadful conflict took place, and the Nagnath was almost overpowered, when he called on Heri or Vishnu, who rescued him, and put an end to the war. What could give rise to such an extravagant tale I cannot determine, but some obvious traces of it still remain in the sacred isles in the west, for almost every lake in Wales has a strange story attached to it, of battles fought there between an ox and a beaver, both of an uncommon size. At night the lowing of the ox and the rattling of the chain, with which the Yehain-bannavog or great ox endeavours to pull out of the water the aranc or beaver, are often heard. It is well known that elephants were called oxen in the west, and the ancient Romans had no other name for them. It may be objected, that if there had been elephants in the sacred isles, the inhabitants would have had names for them; but the Cymri are certainly a very modern tribe, relatively to the times we are speaking of; and probably there were no elephants or crocodiles when they settled there; but, hearing of a strange story of battles between a large land animal and an amphibious one, they concluded that these two animals could be no other than the ox and beaver, the largest of the kind they were acquainted with, nag,nahha sthan, or the place of the nagnath, or lord of the elephantine race, is well known to the antiquaries of Juvernia.

During the sixth dynasty came to pass the famous churning of the ocean, which is positively declared in the purana to have happened in the sea of milk, or more properly, as it is often called also the White Sea, which surrounds the sacred isles in the west, and is thus denominated according to the Treloca-derpan[???], because it washes the shores of the white island, the principal of the sacred isles. The white island in Sanscrit, sweta-dwip or chira-dwip, is as famous in the east as it is in the west. It may seem strange, that islands so remote should be known to the puranas; but the truth is, that the vedas were not originally made known to mankind in India. The Brahmens themselves acknowledge that they are not natives of India, but that they descended into the plains of Hindustan through the pass of Heridwar.

The old continent is well described in the puranas, but more particularly the countries in which the vedas were made public; and in which the doctrine they contain flourished for a long time. Accordingly the sacred isles in the west, the countries bordering on the Nile, and, last of all, India, are better and more minutely described than any other country. Atri called Edris, and Idris, in the countries to the west of India, carried the vedas from the abode of the gods on the summit of Meru, first, to the sacred isles; thence to the banks of the Nile; and, lastly, to the borders of India. The place of his abode, whilst in the sacred isles, became afterwards a famous place of worship under the name of Atristhan the place or seat of Atri or Idris. It is often mentioned in the puranas, and described to be on a high mountain, not far from the sea shore.

I shall pass over the four ages, as they do not appear to answer any purpose, either astronomical or historical. They are called by the same names that were used by the Greek mythologists; except the fourth, which is called by the Hindus, the earthen age. I shall only remark, that Menu in his Institutes says, that in the first or golden age* [Institutes of Menu, p. 11, men, free from disease, lived four hundred years; but in the second, and the succeeding ages, their lives were lessened gradually by one quarter; that in the cali-yug, or present age, men live only one hundred years. This may serve to fix the period and duration of the first ages; for it is obvious, that the whole passage refers to natural years.

I shall now conclude this account of antediluvian history by observing, that the first descendants of Swayambhuva are represented in the puranas, as living in the mountains to the north of India toward the sources of the Ganges, and downwards as far as Serinagara and Haridwar. But the rulers of mankind lived on the summit of Meru towards the north; where they appear to have established the seat of justice, as puranas make frequent mention of the oppressed repairing thither for redress. India, at that time, seems to have been perfectly insulated; and we know, that from the mouth of the Indus to Dehli, and thence to the mouth of the Ganges, the country is perfectly level, without even a single hillock; but this subject is foreign to my present purpose, and may be resumed hereafter. The generations after the Flood, exhibited in the accompanying table, begin with the famous Atri, and end with Chandra-Gupta, who was contemporary with Alexander the Great. Buddha, the grandson of Atri married Ila, daughter of Satyavrata or Noah, who was born to him in his old age.

Atri for the purpose of making the vedas known to mankind, had three sons; or, as it is declared in the puranas, the Trimurti, or Hindu Triad, was incarnated in his house. The eldest called Soma, or the moon in a human shape, was a portion or form of Brahma. To him the sacred isles in the west were allotted. He is still alive though invisible, and is acknowledged as the chief of the sacerdotal tribe to this day.

The second, a portion of Vishnu, was called Datta or Dale and Dattatreya. The countries bordering on the Nile fell to his share. He is the Toth of the Egyptians.

The third was a cholerick faint called Durvasas. He was a portion of Mahadeva, but had no fixed place assigned to him; and he is generally rambling over the world, doing more mischief than good; however, we find him very often performing Tapasya in the mountains of Armenia. A dreadful conflagration happened once in that country, which spreading all over Cusha-dwipa destroyed all the animals and vegetables. Arama, the son of a son of Satyavrata (and consequently the Aram of Scripture) who was hunting through these mountains, was involved with his party in the general conflagration; a punishment inflicted, it is supposed, for his having inadvertently wounded the foot of Durvasas with an arrow. The death of Arama happened three hundred years after the Flood, according to the puranas*
[Essay on Egypt, in the Asiat Res. vol. III, p. 38.], as noticed in a former essay on Egypt.

Chandra-Gupta, or he who was saved by the interposition of Lunus or the Moon, is called also Chandra in a poem quoted by Sir William Jones. The Greeks call him Sandracuptos, Sandracottos, and Androcottos. Sandrocottos is generally used by the historians of Alexander; and Sandracuptos is found in the works of Athenaeas. Sir William Jones, from a poem written by Somadeva, and a tragedy called the coronation of Chandra or Chandra-Gupta* [Asiatick Researches, vol. IV. p. 6. 11.], discovered that he really was the Indian king mentioned by the historians of Alexander, under the name of Sandracottos. These two poems I have not been able to procure; but, I have found another dramatic piece, intitled Mudra-Racshasa, or the seal of Racshasa, which is divided into two parts: the first may be called the coronation of Chandra-Gupta, and the second the reconciliation of Chandra-Gupta with Mantri-Racshasa, the prime minister of his father.

The history of Chandra-Gupta is related, though in few words, in the Vishnu-purana, the Bhagawat, and two other books, one of which is called Brahatcatha, and the other is a lexicon called Camandaca: the two lati are supposed to be about six or seven hundred years old.

In the Vishnu-purana we read,
"unto Nanda shall be born nine sons; Cotilya, his minister shall destroy them, and place Chandra-Gupta on the throne.”

In the Bhagawat we read, “from the womb of Sudri, Nanda shall be born. His eldest son will be called Sumalya, and he shall have eight sons more; these, a Brahmen (called Cotilya, Vatsayana, and Chanacya in the commentary) shall destroy, after them a Maurya shall reign in the Cali-yug. This Brahmen will place Chandra-Gupta on the throne.” In the Brahatcatha it is said, that this revolution was effected in seven days, and the nine children of Nanda put to death. In the Camandaca, Chanacyas is called Vishnu-Gupta. The following is an abstract of the history of Chandra-Gupta from the Mudra-Racshasa:

Nanda, king of Prachi, was the son of Maha Nandi, by a female slave of the Sudra tribe; hence Nanda was called a Sudra. He was a good king, just and equitable, and paid due respect to the Brahmens: he was avaricious, but he respected his subjects. He was originally king of Magadha, now called South-Bahar, which had been in the possession of his ancestors since the days of Crishna; by the strength of his arm he subdued all the kings of the country, and like another Parasu-Rama destroyed the remnants of the Cshettris. He had two wives, Ratnavati and Mura. By the first he had nine sons, called the Sumalyadicas, rom the eldest, whose name was Sumalya (though in the dramas, he is called Sarvarthasiddhi); by Mura he had Chandra-Gupta, and many others, who were known by the general appellation of Mauryas, because they were born of Mura.

Nanda, when far advanced in years, was taken ill suddenly, and to all appearance died. He soon revived, to the great joy of his subjects: but his senses appeared to be greatly deranged, for he no longer spoke or acted as before. While some ascribed the monarch’s imbecility to the effects of a certain poison, which is known to impair the faculties at least, when it proves too weak to destroy the life of those to whom it is administered, Mantri-Racshasa, his prime minister was firmly persuaded, according to a notion very prevalent among the Hindus, that upon his master’s death, some magician had entered into the lifeless corpse which was now re-animated and actuated by his presence. He, therefore, secretly ordered, that strict search might be made for the magician’s own body; for, as according to the tenets of their superstition, tins would necessarily be rendered invisible, and continue so, as long as its spirit informed another body; so he naturally concluded the magician had enjoined one of his faithful followers to watch it, until the dissolution of the spell should end the trance. In consequence of these orders, two men being discovered keeping watch over a corpse on the banks of the Ganges, he ordered them to be seized and thrown into the river, and caused the body to be burnt immediately. It proved to belong to Chandra-das, a king of a small domain in the western part of India beyond the Vindhyan hills, the capital whereof is called Vicat-palli. This prince having been obliged to save himself by flight, from the Yavanas or Greeks, who had dispossessed him of his kingdom, had assumed, with the garb of a penitent, the name of Suvidha. Mantri-Racshasa having thus punished the magician for his presumption, lest the country.

When Nanda recovered from his illness he became a tyrant, or, rather, having entrusted Sacatara, his prime minister, with the reins of government, the latter ruled with absolute sway. As the old king was one day hunting with his minister, towards the hills to the south of the town, he complained of his being thirsty, and quitting his attendants, repaired with Sacatara to a beautiful reservoir, under a large spreading tree, near a cave in the hills, called Patalcandira, or the passage leading to the infernal regions; there Sacatara flung the old man into the reservoir and threw a large stone upon him. In the evening he returned to the imperial city, bringing back the king’s horse, and reported, that his master had quitted his attendants and rode into the forest; what was become of him he knew not, but he had found his horse grazing under a tree. Some days after Sacatara, with Vacranara, one of the secretaries of state, placed Ugradhanwa, one of the younger sons of Nanda, on the throne.

The young king being dissatisfied with Sacatara's account of his father’s disappearance, set about farther enquiries during the minister’s absence, but these proving as little satisfactory, he assembled the principal persons of his court, and threatened them all with death, if, in three days, they failed to bring him certain intelligence what was become of his father. This menace succeeded, for, on the fourth day, they reported that, Sacatara had murdered the old king, and that his remains were concealed under a stone in the reservoir near Patalcandra; Ugradhanwa immediately sent people with camels, who returned in the evening, with the body and the stone that had covered it. Sacatara confessed the murder, and was thereupon condemned to be shut up with his family in a narrow room, the door of which was walled up, and a small opening only lest for the conveyance of their scanty allowance. They all died in a short time, except the youngest son Vicatara, whom the young king ordered to be released, and took into his service. But Vicatara meditated revenge; and the king having directed him to call some Brahman to assist at the sraddha he was going to perform, in honour of his ancestor, Vicatara, brought an ill-natured priest, of a most savage appearance, in the expectation that the king might be tempted, from disgust at so offensive an object, to offer some affront to the Brahmen, who, in revenge, would denounce a curse against him. The plan succeeded to his wish: the king ordered the priest to be turned out, and the latter laid a dreadful imprecation upon him, swearing at the same time, that he would never tie up his shica or lock of hair, till he had effected his ruin. The enraged priest then ran out of the palace exclaiming, whoever wishes to be king let him follow me. Chandra-Gupta immediately arose, with eight of his friends, and went after him. They crossed the Ganges, with all possible dispatch, and visited the king of Nepal, called Parvateswara, or the lord of the mountains, who received them kindly. They entreated him to assist them with troops and money, Chandra-Gupta promising, at the same time, to give him the half of the empire of Prachi, in case they should be successful. Parvateswara answered, that he could not bring into the field a sufficient force to effect the conquest of so powerful an empire; but, as he was on good terms with the Yavans or Greeks, the Saaas or Indo-Scythians, the people of Camboja or Gayni, the Ciratas or inhabitants of the mountains to the eastward of Nepal, he could depend on their assistance. Ugradhanwa enraged at the behaviour of Chandra-Gupta, ordered all his brothers to be put to death.


The matter, however, is related differently in other books, which state, that Nanda, seeing himself far advanced in years, directed that, after his decease, his kingdom should be equally divided between the Sumalyadicas, and that a decent allowance should he given to the Mauryas or children of Mura, but the Sumalyadicas being jealous of the Mauryas, put them all to death, except Chandra-Gupta, who, being saved through the protection of Lunus, out of gratitude assumed the name of Chandra-Gupta, or saved by the moon; but to resume the narrative.

Parvateswara took the field with a formidable army, accompanied by his brother Virochana and his own son Malaya-Cetu. The confederates soon came in sight of the capital of the king of Prachi, who put himself at the head of his forces, and went out to meet them. A battle was fought, wherein Ugradhanwa was defeated, after a dreadful carnage, in which he himself lost his life. The city was immediately surrounded, and Sawartha-Siddhi, the governor, seeing it impossible to hold out against so powerful an enemy, fled to the Vindhyan mountains, and became an anchoret. Racshasa went over to Parvateswara*. [Racshasa on hearing of the death of Sacatara returned, and became prime minister of Ugradhanwa.] Chandra-Gupta, being firmly established on the throne, destroyed the Sumalyadicas. and dismissed the allies, after having liberally rewarded them for their assistance; but he kept the Yavans or Greeks, and refused to give the half of the kingdom of Prachi to Parvateswara, who, being unable to enforce his claim, returned to his own country meditating vengeance. By the advice of Racshasa he sent a person to destroy Chandra-Gupta; but Vishnu-Gupta, suspecting the design, not only rendered it abortive, but turned it back upon the author, by gaining over the assassin to his interest, whom he engaged to murder Parvateswara, which the villain accordingly effected. Racshasa urged Mataya-Cetu to revenge his father’s death, but though pleased with the suggestion, he declined the enterprise, representing to his councellor, that Chandra-Gupta had a large body of Yavans or Greeks in his pay, had fortified his capital, and placed a numerous garrison in it, with guards of elephants at all the gates; and finally, by the defection of their allies, who were either overawed by his power, or conciliated by his favour, had so firmly established his authority, that no attempt could be made against him with any prospect of success.

In the mean time Vishnu-Gupta, being conscious that Chandra-Gupta could never be safe so long as he had to contend with a man of Racshasa's abilities, formed a plan to reconcile them, and this he effected in the following manner: there was in the capital a respectable merchant or banker, called Chandana-Das, an intimate friend of Racshasa. Vishnu-Gupta advised Chandra-Gupta to confine him with his whole family: sometime after he visited the unfortunate prisoner, and told him that the only way to save himself and family from imminent destruction, was to effect a reconciliation between the king and Racshasa, and that, if he would follow his advice, he would point out to him the means of doing it. Chandana-Das assented, though, from the known inveteracy of Racshasa against Chandra-Gupta, he had little hope of success. Accordingly, he and Vishnu-Gupta betook themselves privately to a place in the northern hills, where Racshasa had a country seat, to which he used to retire from the bustle of business. There they erected a large pile of wood, and gave out that they intended to burn themselves. Racshasa was astonished when he heard of his friends' resolution, and used every endeavour to dissuade them from it; but Chandana-Das told him, he was determined to perish in the flames with Vishnu-Gupta, unless he would consent to be reconciled to Chandra-Gupta. In the meantime the prince arrived with a retinue of five hundred men; when, ordering them to remain behind, he advanced alone towards Racshasa, to whom he bowed respectfully and made an offer of delivering up his sword. Racshasa remained a long time inexorable, but at last, overcome by the joint entreaties of Vishnu-Gupta Chandana-Das, he suffered himself to be appeased, and was reconciled to the king, who made him his prime minister. Vishnu-Gupta, happily succeeded in bringing about this reconciliation, withdrew to resume his former occupations; and Chandra-Gupta reigned afterwards many years, with justice and equity, and adored by his subjects.


Justinus (XV. 4) says of Seleukos Nikator,... Thereafter he passed into India, which had, since Alexander's death, killed its governors, thinking thereby to shake off from its neck the yoke of slavery. Sandrokottos had made it free: but when victory was gained he changed the name of freedom to that of bondage, for he himself oppressed with servitude the very people which he had rescued from foreign dominion.

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A., Principal of the Government College, Patna, Member of the General Council of the University of Edinburgh, Fellow of the University of Calcutta, With Introduction, Notes and Map of Ancient India, Reprinted (with additions) from the "Indian Antiquary," 1876-77


By Prachi (in Sanscrit) or the east, is understood all the country from Allahabad to the easternmost limits of India; it is called also purva, an appellation of the same import, and puroh in the spoken dialects. This last has been distorted into purop and prurop by European travellers of the last century. From prachi is obviously derived the name of Prasii, which the Greeks gave to the inhabitants of this country. It is divided into two parts: the first comprehends all the country from Allahabad to Raj-mehal and the western branch of the Ganges; the second includes Bengal, the greatest part of which is known in Sanscrit under the name of Gancaru-desa, or country of Gancara, from which the Greeks made Gangaridas or Gangaridai, in the first case. Gancara is still the name of a small district near the summit of the Delta.

Perhaps from these two countries called Purva is derived the appellation of Parvaim in Scripture, which appears with a dual form. According to Arrian's Periplus, Bengal was famous for its highly refined gold, called Keltin in the Periplus, and Canden or Calden to this day. It is called Kurden in the Ayeen Ackbery* [In Sanscrit it is called Masbura[?]].

The capital city of Prachi proper, or the western part of it, is declared to be Raj-griha, or the royal mansion. According to the puranas it was built by a son of king Prithu, called Haryacsha. It was taken afterwards by Bala-Rama, the brother of Crishna, who rebuilt it, and assigned it as a residence for one of his sons, who are called in general Balipnutras, or the children of Bala. From this circumstance it was called Balipura, or the town of the son of Bala; but in the spoken dialects it was called Bali-putra, because a putra, or son of Bali, resided in it. From Bali-putra the Greeks made Palipatra and Pali-bothra, and the inhabitants of the country, of which it was the capital, they denominated Palibothri, though this appellation more properly belongs to another tribe of Hindus, of whom I gave some account in a former essay on Egypt.

Diodotus Siculus, speaking of Palibothra, says, that
it had been built by the Indian Hercules, who, according to Megasthenes, as quoted by Arrian, was worshipped by the Suraseni. Their chief cities were Methora and Clisobora; the first is now called Mutra (*), the other Mugu-nagur by the Musulmans, and Calisa-pura by the Hindus. The whole country about Mutra is called Surasena to this day by learned Brahmens.

The Indian Hercules, according to Cicero, was called Belus. He is the same with Bala, the brother of Crishna, and both are conjointly worshipped at Mutra; indeed, they are considered as one Avatara, or incarnation of Vishnu. Bala is represented as a stout man with a club in his hand. He is called also Bala-Roma. To decline the word Bala you must begin with Balas, which I conceive to be an obsolete form, preserved only for the purpose of declension, and etymological derivation. The first a in Bala is pronounced like the first a in America, in the eastern parts of India: but in the western parts, and in Benares, it is pronounced exactly like the French e in the pronouns je, me, le, &c., thus the difference between Balas and Belas is not very great. As Bala sprung from Vishnu, or Heri, he is certainly Heri-cula, Heri-culas, and Hercules. Diodorus Siculus says, that the posterity of Hercules reigned for many centuries in Pali-bothra, but that they did nothing worthy of being recorded; and, indeed, their names are not even mentioned in the puranas.

In the Ganga-mahatmya [Ganga Mahatmya, Skanda Purana], in which all places of worship, and others of note, on the banks of the Ganges, are mentioned, the present town of Raj-mehal is positively declared to be the ancient city of Raj-griha of the puranas, the capital of Prachi, which afterwards was called Bali-putra.
Haraprasad Shastri and Cecil Bendall, in about 1898, discovered an old palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana in a Kathmandu library in Nepal, written in Gupta script.[13][14][15]
In 1898/99 Haraprasad Shastri and Bendall discovered, in the Durbar Library in Kathmandu, a manuscript of the Skanda in Gupta script.459 [Haraprasad Shastri 1905: lii, description at 141-146 (no. 229); cf. id 1928a: lxxiv, clxxiii ("the subjects treated are all for the glorification of Siva, especially, his wars with Andhaka and Tripura"), 538.] On paleographic grounds they decided that it was written before A.D. 659. Since there is no mention of khandas [sections] in the colophons, it had to be the original Skanda, showing that, notwithstanding the modern appearance of the purana, there has indeed at one time been one cohesive Skanda. The hypothesis460 [Haraprasad Shastri (Report on the Search of Sanskrit Manuscripts 1895 to 1900, Calcutta: ASB, 1901, p. 4) quotes this judgment as Babu Nagendra Natha Vasu's.] that the old manuscript corresponds to the Ambikakhanda461 [Eggeling 1899: 1321-1323, nos. 3623, 3624.] proved to be false.

-- The Puranas, Vol. II, by Ludo Rocher

The Skanda Purana

In Chapter Three we saw that in those Puranas that refer to Kailas there was no consistent account of the site, or even close association of it with such fundamental modern understandings of the mountain being the residence of Siva. But one Purana does clearly stand out in this regard, the Skanda Purana, and it is this text to which most modern references to the Kailas-Manasarovar region refer. In its earliest form it dates to the 7th or 8th centuries, with the oldest surviving version, a Nepali palm-leaf manuscript, dated to 810 CE. The importance of the Skanda Purana to our enquiry is that it acquired an 'open' status, not only were later versions very different, but from the 12th century onwards many new texts were attributed as khandas ('sections') of the Skanda Purana.6 [Adriansen, Bakker & Isaacson (1994: 326): also see Adriansen, etc. (1998)]

In its earliest form, this Purana was closely associated with the Pasupata sect and primarily concerned with the activities of Siva and Durga. Its geographical focus was on the area between Garwhal and Kuruksetra, and centred on Kasi (Varanasi), which it promotes as the most sacred place on earth. The text was probably composed there, "or in a (Pasupata) centre that had close contacts with this city."7 [Bisschop (2006: 18, 75, 177)]

-- Kailas Histories, Renunciate Traditions and the Construction of Himalayan Sacred Geography, by Alex McKay, 2015

They dated the manuscript to 8th century CE, on paleographic grounds.

-- Skanda Purana, by Wikipedia

Raj-griha, and Raj-mehal in Persian, signify the same thing. It is also called by the natives Raj-mandalam, and by Ptolemy Palibothra-mandalon for Bali-putra-mandalam: the first signifies the royal mansion, and the second the mansion of the Bala-putras. In a more extensive sense mandalam signifies the circle, or country belonging to the Bali-putras. In this sense we say Coro-mandel, for Cholo or rather Jala-mandal.

Here I must observe, the present Raj-mehal is not precisely on the spot where the ancient Raj-griha, or Bali-putra, stood, owing to the strange devastation of the Ganges in that part of the country for several centuries past. These devastations are attested by universal tradition, as well as by historical records, and the concurring testimony of Ralph, Fitch, Tavernier, and other European travellers of the last century. When I was at Raj-mehul in January last, I was desirous of making particular enquiries on the spot, but I could only meet with a few Brahmens, and those very ignorant; all they could tell me was, that in former ages Raj-mehal, or Raj-mandal, was an immense city, that it extended as far as the eastern limits of Boglipoore towards Tirriagully, but that the Ganges, which formerly ran a great way towards the N. E. and East, had swallowed it up; and that the present Raj-mehal, formerly a suburb of the ancient city, was all that remained of that famous place. For farther particulars they referred me to learned pandits who unfortunately lived in the interior parts of the country.

In the Mudra-racshasa, it is declared, that
the city in which Chandra-Gupta resided, was to the north of the hills, and, from some particular circumstances that will be noticed hereafter, it appears that they could not be above five or fix miles distant from it. Megasthenes informs us also, that this famous city was situated near the confluence of the Erannoboas with the Ganges. The Erannoboas has been supposed to be the Sone, which has the epithet of Hiran-ya-baha, or gold-wasting, given to it in some poems. The Sone, however, is mentioned as a distinct river from the Erannoboas, both by Pliny and Arrian, on the authority of Megasthenes: and the word Hiran-ya-baha, from which the Greeks made Erannoboas, is not a proper name, but an appellative (as the Greek Chrysorhous), applicable, and is applied, to any river that rolls down particles of gold with its sands. Most rivers in India as well as in Europe, and more particularly the Ganges, with all the rivers that come down from the northern hills, are famous in ancient history for their golden sands. The Cossoanus of Arrian, or Cossoagus of Pliny, is not the river Coosy, but the Cossano Cattan, called also Cossay, Cossar, and Cassay, which runs through the province of Midnapoor, and joins the remains of the western branch of the Ganges below Nanga-Cussen.

The Erannoboas, now the Coosy, has greatly altered its course for several centuries past. It now joins the Ganges, about five and twenty miles above the place where it united with that river in the days of Megasthenes; but the old bed, with a small stream, is still visible, and is called to this day Puranah-bahah, the old Coosy, or the old channel. It is well delineated in Major Rennell's Atlas, and it joins an arm of the Ganges, formerly the bed of that river, near a place called Nabob-gunge. From Nabob-gunge the Ganges formerly took an extensive sweep to the eastward, towards Hyatpoor, and the old banks of the river are still visible in that direction. From these facts, supported by a close inspection of the country, I am of opinion, Baliputra was situated near the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges, and on the spot where the villages of Mynyaree and Bissuntpoor-gola now stand; the Ganges proceeding at that time in an easterly direction from Nabob-gunge, and to the north of these villages. The fortified part of Palibothra, according to Megasthenes, extended about ten miles in length, while the breadth was only two. But the suburbs, which extended along the banks of the Ganges, were, I doubt not, ten or fifteen miles in length. Thus Dehli, whilst in a flourishing state, extended above thirty miles along the banks of the Jumna, but, except about the centre of the town, consisted properly of only a single street, parallel to the river.

Rennell's Atlas one of the earliest atlases of Bengal and its adjoining areas. To facilitate commercial navigation, the East India Company's surveyor and engineer James Rennell was assigned to conduct a survey of the Bengal river system and prepare their maps. From 1763 to 1773, Rennell compiled a set of maps of Bengal for the British Government. His Bengal Atlas, published in 1779, was a work of the highest importance from commercial, military and administrative points of view. To all users -- academic, administrative and navigational -- Rennell's Atlas was the dependable guide until professional maps were made available in mid 19th century.

Overlays of the Rennell's map with the modern one give an interesting picture of the diversified nature of the river courses of this region. It shows considerable differences between the courses of the present-day rivers and those of Rennell's time. The Ganges and the Jamuna had different courses in the Bengal delta of that time. It is demonstrated that the brahmaputra was running along a course now occupied by the old brahmaputra. The Tista, which was flowing directly south and branched into many streams, all of which then fell into the Ganges, is now joined with the northern part of the Jamuna. The Karatoya, in Rennell's time, was flowing past Bogra and discharged itself into the Brahmaputra. But now, it follows the channel of the Bangali more directly, and meets the Brahmaputra upstream. In Rennell's map the junction of the Meghna and the Ganges was shown at south Lakshmipur but today it is near Chandpur.

In 1956, JP Morgan and WG McIntire carried out extensive work on the Quaternary Geology of the Bengal basin and showed that the diversified nature of the river courses was directly associated with the recent differential upliftment and subsidence of the area. The Tista changed its course in the flood of 1787 and consequent upon the earthquake of the same time, this change could have been accompanied by renewed uplift and tilting of the Barind tract. The diversion of the Brahmaputra occurred due to the compensatory uplift of the Barind and the madhupur tract, and that compensatory uplift had occurred due to the sinking of the zone between those tracts. Some believe this change occurred between 1720 and 1830. After development of the present course of the Jamuna, the Gorai attained its present course, so that the water of the Ganges could easily discharge into the bay of Bengal. The changing of the course of the Ganges and its tributaries and distributaries is related to the development and evolution of the Bengal delta.

-- Rennell’s Atlas, by Sifatul Quader Chowdhury and Monirul Hoque, Banglapedia, June 18, 2021

The ancient geographers, as Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny, have described the situation of Palibothra in such a manner that it is hardly possible to mistake it.

Strabo* [B. XV. p. 719.], who cites Artemidorus, says, that the Ganges on its entering the plains of India, runs in a south direction as far as a town called Ganges, (Ganga-puri,) now Allahabad, and from thence, with an easterly course as far as Palibothra, thence to the sea (according to the Chrestomathia from Strabo) in a southerly direction. No other place but that which we have assigned for the site of Bali-putra, answers to this description of Artemidorus.

Pliny, from Megasthenes, who, according to Strabo, had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra-Gupta, says, that
Palibothra was 425 Roman miles from the confluence of the Jumna with the Ganges. Here it is necessary to premise, that Megasthenes says the highways in India were measured, and that at the end of a certain Indian measure (which is not named, but is said to be equal to ten stadia,) there was a cippus or fort of column created. No Indian measure answers to this but the Brahmeni, or astronomical coss, of four to a yojana. This is the Hindu statute coss, and equal to 1,227 British miles. It is used to this day by astronomers, and by the inhabitants of the Panjab, hence it is very often called the Panjabi-coss: thus the distance from Lahor to Multan is reckoned, to this day to be 145 Panjabi, or 90 common coss.

In order to ascertain the number of Brahmeni coss reckoned formerly between Allahabad and Palibothra, multiply the 425 Roman miles by eight (for Pliny reckoned so many stadia to a mile) and divide the whole by ten (the number of stadia to a coss according to Megasthenes) and we shall have 340 Brahmeni coss, or 417.18 British miles; and this will bring us to within two miles of the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges.

Strabo informs us also that they generally reckoned 6000 stadia from Palibothra to the mouth of the Ganges; and from what he says, it is plain, that
these 6000 stadia are to be understood of such as were used at sea, whereof about 1100 make a degree. Thus 6000 of these stadia give 382 British miles. According to Pliny they reckoned more accurately 6380 stadia or 406 British miles, which is really the distance by water between the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges, and Injellee at the mouth of the Ganges. Ptolemy has been equally accurate in assigning the situation of Palibothra relatively to the towns on the banks of the Ganges, which he mentions above and below it. Let us begin from the confluence of the Tuso, now the Tonse, with the Ganges.

Tuso, now the Tonse, (See Major Rennel's course of the Ganges.)

Cindiai, now Conteeah.

Sagala (in Sanscrit Suchela, but in the vulgar dialects Sokheila) now Vindya Vatni near Mirzapoor.

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Sagala


Sanbalaca, in Sanscrit Sammalaca. It is now called Sumbulpoor, and is situated in an island opposite to Patna. It is called Sabelpoor in Major Rennel's Map of the course of the Ganges, but the true name is Sambulpoor. It derived its celebrity, as well as its name, from games (for so the word Sammallaca imports) performed there every year in honour of certain heroes of antiquity. During the celebration of these games, Sammallaca was frequented by a prodigious concourse of merchants, and all sorts of people, inasmuch that it was considered as the greatest fair in the country, This place is mentioned in the Hari-cshetra Maha-tmya, which contains a description of the principal places of worship in North Bahar.

Boroeca, now Borounca, opposite to Bar and Rajowly, near Mowah on the Byar, about three miles from the Ganges, which formerly ran close by it. It was the place of residence of the kings of the Bhur tribe, once very powerful in this country.

Sigala, Mongier. In Ptolemy's time it was situated at the junction of the river Fulgo with the Ganges, which he derives from the mountains of Uxentus, as that word probably is, from Echac-des, or country of Echac, or, as it written in the maps Etchauk: there are five or six places of this name in the mountains of Ramgur. The river Fulgo is the Cacuthis of Arrian, so called from its running through the country of Cicata. According to the same author, the Andomatis or Dummoody had its source in the same mountains.

The Ganges formerly ran almost in a direct line from Borounka to Monghier, the Fulgo uniting with it near this place; but since the river taking a southerly course, has made great encroachments upon the northern boundary of Monghier, which stretched out a considerable distance in that direction to a hill of a conical shape, which the stream has totally washed away. This fact is ascertained on the evidence of several Hindu sacred books, particularly of the Gangamahatmya; for, at the time this was written, one half of the hill still remained. Sigala appears to be corrupted from the Sanscrit Sirhala, a plough. At the birth of Chrishna a sheet of fire like the garments of the gods, appeared above the place called Vindhyavasni, near Mirzapoor. This appearance is called Suchela, or, in the vulgar dialects, Sukhela or Sukhaila, from which the Greeks made Sagala. This fiery meteor forced its way through the earth, and re-appeared near Monghier, tearing and furrowing up the ground like a plough, or sirhala. The place where it re-appeared is near Monghier, and there is a cave formed by lightning sacred to Devi.

Palibothra. Near the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges.

Astha-Gura, now Jetta-gurry, or Jetta-coory, in the inland parts of the country and at the entrance of a famous pass through the Raj-mehal hills.

Corygazus, near Palibothra, and below it, is derived from the Sanscrit Gauri- Gosehi, or the wilderness of Gauri, a form of Devi. The famous town of Gaur derives its name from it. It is called by Nonnus in his Dionysiacs Gagus for Goseha, or the Goscha by excellence. He says it was surrounded with a net-work, and that it was a journey of two days in circumference. This fort of inclosure is still practised in the eastern parts of India, to prevent cattle from straying, or being molested by tigers and other ferocious animals. The kings of Persia surround their Haram, when encamped, with a net-work; and formerly, the Persians, when besieging a town, used to form a line of contravallation with nets. The northern part only, towards Cotwally, was inhabited at that early period.

Tondota. Tanda-haut (haut is a market). This name, in different MSS. of Ptolemy, is variously written, for we read also, Condota and Sondota: and unfortunately, these three readings are true Hindu names of places, for we have Sandu-haut, and Cunda-haut. However, Tanda-haut, or in Sanscrit, Tanda-haut appears to be Tanda, formerly a market place, called also Tanrah, Tarrah, Tardah, and Tanda. It is situated near the southern extremity of the high grounds of Gaur, on the banks of the old bed of the Ganges.

Tamalites. Samal-haut. No longer a Hat, but simply Samal-poore. Tamal-hat is not a Hindu name, and, I suppose here, a mistake of the transcriber. It is between Downapoor and Sooty. (See Rennell's map.) The Ganges ran formerly close to these three places; and Mr. Bernier, in his way from Benares to Cossimbazar, landed at Downapoor.

Elydna is probably Laudannah.

Cartinaga, the capital of the Cocconagae, or rather Cottonaga, is called now Cuttunga, it is near Soory; the Portuguese, last century, called it Cartunga and Catrunga.

Cartisina now Carjuna, or Cajwana, is near Beudwau. I shall just observe here, that the three last mentioned towns are erroneously placed, in Mercator's map, on the banks of the Ganges. Ptolemy says no such thing.

The next place on the banks of the Ganges is Orcophonta. Hararpunt or Haryurpunt in the vulgar dialects; in Sanscrit it is Hararparna from Hara and Arpana, which implies a piece of ground consecrated to Hara or Maha-deva. The word Arpana is always pronounced in the spoken dialects, Arpunt; thus they say, Crishnarpunt. It is now Rangamatty. Here was formerly a place of worship, dedicated to Maha-deva or Hara, with an extensive tract of ground appropriated to the worship of the God; but the Ganges having destroyed the place of worship, and the holy ground having been resumed during the invasions of the Musulmans, it is entirely neglected. It still exists, however, as a place of worship, only the image of the Phallus is removed to a greater distance from the river.

Aga-nagara, literally the Nagara, or town of Aga. It is still a famous place of worship in the dwipa (island or peninsula) of Aga, called, from that circumstance, Aga-dwip: the true name is Agar-dwip. A few miles above Aga-nagara, was the city called Catadupe by Arrian from Cativa-dwip, a place famous in the puranas. It is now called Catwa.

Ganges-regia, now Satgauw, near Hoogly.
It is a famous place of worship, and was formerly the residence of the kings of the country, and said to have been a city of an immense size, so as to have swallowed up one hundred villages, as the name imports: however, though they write its name Satgauw, I believe it should be Satgauw, or the seven villages, because there were so many censurated to the Seven Rishis, and each of them had one appropriated to his own use.

Palura, now Palorah, or Pollerah, four or five miles to the west of Ootbarya below Budge-budge. A branch of the Ganges ran formerly to the west of it, and after passing by Naga-basan, or Nagam-bapan, fell into the sea towards Ingellee. From Nagam-basan the western branch of the Ganges was denominated Cambuson Ostium by the Greeks. This place is now ridiculously called Nanga-bassan, or the naked abode; whereas its true name is Naga-basan, or the abode of snakes, with which the country abounds.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:36 am

Part 4 of 4

Sir William Jones says,

the only difficulty in deciding the situation of Palibothra to be the same as Patali-putra, to which the names and most circumstances nearly correspond, arose from hence, that the latter place extended from the confluence of the Sone and the Ganges to the site of Patna, whereas Palibothra stood at the junction of the Ganges and the Erannoboas; but this difficulty has been removed, by finding in a classical Sanscrit book, near two thousand years old, that Hiranyabahhee, or golden armed, which the Greeks changed into Erannoboas, or the river with a lovely murmur, was, in in fact, another name for the Sona itself, though Megasthenes, from ignorance or inattention, has named them separately.” Vide Asiatic Researches, vol. IV. p. 11.


But this explanation will not be found sufficient to solve the difficulty, if Hiranyabaha be, as I conceive it is not, the proper name of a river; but an appellative, from an accident common to many rivers.

Patali-putra was certainly the capital, and the residence of the kings of Magadha or south Behar. In the Mudra Racshasa, of which I have related the argument, the capital city of Chandra-Gupta is called Cusumapoor throughout the piece, except in one passage, where it seems to be confounded with Patali-putra, as if they were different names for the same place. In the passage alluded to, Racshasa asks one of his messengers, “If he had been at Cusumapoor?” the man replies, “Yes, I have been at Patali-putra.” But Sumapon, or Phulwaree, to call it by its modern name, was, as the word imports, a pleasure or flower garden, belonging to the kings of Patna, and situate, indeed, about ten miles W.S.W, from that city, but, certainly, never surrounded with fortifications, which Annanta, the author of the Mudra Racshasa says, the abode of Chandra-Gupta was. It may be offered in excuse, for such blunders as these, that the authors of this, and the other poems and plays I have mentioned, written on the subject of Chandra-Gupta, which are certainly modern productions, were foreigners; inhabitants, if not natives, of the Deccan; at least Annanta was, for he declares that he lived on the banks of the Godaveri.

But though the foregoing considerations must place the authority of these writers far below the ancients, whom I have cited for the purpose of determining the situation of Palibothra; yet, if we consider the scene of action, in connexion with the incidents of the story, in the Mudra Racshasa, it will afford us clear evidence, that the city of Chandra-Gupta could not have stood on the site of Patna; and, a pretty strong presumption also, that its real situation was where I have placed it, that is to say, at no great distance from where Raje-mehal now stands. For, first, the city was in the neighbourhood of some hills which lay to the southward of it. Their situation is expressly mentioned; and for their contiguity, it may be inferred, though the precise distance be not set down from hence, that king Nanda's going out to hunt, his retiring to the reservoir, among the hills near Patalcandara, to quench his thirst, his murder there, and the subsequent return of the assassin to the city with his master's horse, are all occurrences related, as having happened on the same day. The messengers also who were sent by the young king after the discovery of the murder to fetch the body, executed their commission and returned to the city the same day. These events are natural and probable, if the city of Chandra-gupta was on the site of Raje-mehal, or in the neighbourhood of that place, but are utterly incredible, if applied to the situation of Patna, from which the hills recede at least thirty miles in any direction.

Again, Patalcandara in Sanscrit, signifies the crater of a volcano; and in fact, the hills that form the glen, in which is situated the place now called Mootijarna, or the pearl dropping spring, agreeing perfectly in the circumstances of distance and direction from Raje-mehal with the reservoir of Patalcandara, as described in the poem, have very much the appearance of a crater of an old volcano. I cannot say I have ever been on the very spot, but I have observed in the neighbourhood, substances that bore undoubted marks of their being volcanic productions; no such appearances are to be seen at Patna, nor any trace of there having ever been a volcano there, or near it. Mr. Davis has given a curious description of Mootijarna, illustrated with elegant drawings. He informs us there is a tradition, that the reservoir was built by Sultan Suja: perhaps he only repaired it.

The confusion Ananta and the other authors above alluded to, have made in the names of Patali-putra and Bali-putra, appears to me not difficult to be accounted for. While the sovereignty of the kings of Maghadha, or south Bahar, was exercised within the limits of their hereditary dominions, the seat of their government was Patali-putra, or Patya: but Janasandha, one of the ancestors of Chandra-Gupta, having subdued the whole of Prachi, as we read in the puranas, fixed his residence at Bali-putra, and there he suffered a most cruel death from Crishna and Bala Rama, who caused him to be split asunder. Bala restored the son, Sahadeva, to his hereditary dominions; and from that time the kings of Maghadha, for twenty-four generations, reigned peaceably at Patna, until Nanda ascended the throne, who, proving an active and enterprising prince, subdued the whole of Prachi; and having thus recovered the conquests, that had been wrested from his ancestor, probably re-established the seat of empire at Bali-putra; the historians of Alexander positively assert, that he did.[???]

Thus while the kings of Palibothra, as Diodorus tells us, sunk into oblivion, through their sloth and inactivity, (a reproach which seems warranted by the utter absence observed of the posterity of Bala Rama in the puranas, not even their names being mentioned;) the princes of Patali-putra, by a contrary conduct, acquired a reputation that spread over all India: it was, therefore, natural for foreign authors, (for such, at lead, Ananta was,) especially in competitions of the dramatic kind, where the effect is oftentimes best produced by a neglect of historical precision, of two titles, to which their hero had an equal right to distinguish him by the most illustrious. The author of Sacontala has committed as great a mistake, in making Hastinapoor the residence of Dushmanta, which was not then in existence, having been built by Hasti,
the fifth in descent from Dushmanta; before his time there was, indeed, a place of worship on the same spot, but no town. The same author has fallen into another error, in assigning a situation of this city not far from the river Malini, (he should rather have said the rivulet that takes its name from a village now called Malyani, to the westward of Lahore: it is joined by a new channel to the Ravy;) but this is a mistake; Hastinapoor lies on the banks of the old channel of the Ganges. The descendants of Peru resided at Sangala, whose extensive ruins are to be seen about fifty miles to the westward of Lahore, in a part of the country uninhabited. I will take occasion to observe here, that Arrian has confounded Sangala with Salgada, or Salgana, or the mistake has been made by his copyists. Frontinus and Polyaenus have preserved the true name of this place, now called Calanore; and close to it is a deserted village, to this day called Salgheda; its situation answers exactly to the description given of it by Alexander's historians. The kings of Sangala are known in the Persian history by the name of Schangal, one of them assisted Asrasiab against the famous Caicosru; but to return from this digression to Patali-putra.

Greek scholars often mentioned that Sandrocottus was the king of the country called as Prasii (Prachi or Prachya). Pracha or Prachi means eastern country. During the Nanda and Mauryan era, Magadha kings were ruling almost entire India. Mauryan Empire was never referred in Indian sources as only Prachya desa or eastern country. Prachya desa was generally referred to Gupta Empire because Northern Saka Ksatrapas and Western Saka Ksatrapas were well established in North and West India. Megasthenes mentioned that Sandrocottus is the greatest king of the Indians and Poros is still greater than Sandrocottus which means a kingdom in the North-western region is still independent and enjoying at least equal status with the kingdom of Sandrocottus.

-- Who was Sandrocottus: Samudragupta or Chandragupta Maurya?, The Chronology of Ancient India, Victim of Concoctions and Distortions, by Vedveer Arya]


The true name of this famous place is, Patali-pura, which means the town of Patali, a form of Deri worshipped there. It was the residence of an adopted son of the goddess Patali, hence called Patali-putra, or the son of Patali. Patali-putra and Bali-putra are absolutely inadmissable, as Sanscrit names of towns and places; they are used in that sense, only in the spoken dialects; and this, of itself, is a proof, that the poems in question are modern productions. Patali-pura, or the town of Patali, was called simply Patali, or corruptly Pattiali, on the invasion of the Musulmans: it is mentioned under that name in Mr. Dow's translation of Ferishta's history.

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Location of Sirhind in between Delhi and Lahore

Delu is said to have been a prince of uncommon bravery and generosity; benevolent towards men, and devoted to the service of God. The most remarkable transaction of his reign is the building of the city of Delhi, which derives its name from its founder, Delu. In the fortieth year of his reign, Phoor, a prince of his own family, who was governor of Cumaoon, rebelled against the Emperor, and marched to Kinoge, the capital. Delu was defeated, taken, and confined in the impregnable fort of Rhotas.

Phoor immediately mounted the throne of India, reduced Bengal, extended his power from sea to sea, and restored the empire to its pristine dignity. He died after a long reign, and left the kingdom to his son, who was also called Phoor, and was the same with the famous Porus, who fought against Alexander.

The second Phoor, taking advantage of the disturbances in Persia, occasioned by the Greek invasion of that empire under Alexander, neglected to remit the customary tribute, which drew upon him the arms of that conqueror.
The approach of Alexander did not intimidate Phoor. He, with a numerous army, met him at Sirhind, about one hundred and sixty miles to the north-west of Delhi, and in a furious battle, say the Indian historians, lost many thousands of his subjects, the victory, and his life. The most powerful prince of the Decan, who paid an unwilling homage to Phoor, or Porus, hearing of that monarch's overthrow, submitted himself to Alexander, and sent him rich presents by his son. Soon after, upon a mutiny arising in the Macedonian army, Alexander returned by the way of Persia.

Sinsarchund, the same whom the Greeks call Sandrocottus, assumed the imperial dignity after the death of Phoor, and in a short time regulated the discomposed concerns of the empire. He neglected not, in the mean time, to remit the customary tribute to the Grecian captains, who possessed Persia under, and after the death of, Alexander.
Sinsarchund, and his son after him, possessed the empire of India seventy years. When the grandson of Sinsarchund acceded to the throne, a prince named Jona, who is said to have been a grand-nephew of Phoor, though that circumstance is not well attested, aspiring to the throne, rose in arms against the reigning prince, and deposed him.

***

In the 665th year of the Higera, Balin sent an army down between the Ganges and Jumna, to suppress some insurrections in those parts, with orders to punish the offenders without mercy. The Emperor soon after marched in person towards Kattal, Pattiali, and Bhogepoor, whose inhabitants had begun to stop all intercourse with Bengal, by the way of Jionpoor and Benaris. He put some thousands of them to death, establishing justice and public security in those parts. He ordered forts to be built, which he garrisoned with Pattans, to crush any future disturbance, and then returned towards Delhi. Soon after his arrival, he received intelligence of an insurrection in Budaoon and Kuttur, whither he hastened with five thousand chosen horse, and ordered a general massacre among the unfortunate insurgents, and some thousands of every age and sex fell by the sword.

-- The History of Hindostan, In Three Volumes, Volume I, by Alexander Dow, Esq., Lieutenant-Colonel in the Company's Service, 1812


It is, I believe, the Patali of Pliny. From a passage in this author compared with others from Ptolemy, Marcianus, Heracleota, and Arrian in his Periplus, we learn that the merchants, who carried on the trade from the Gangetic Gulph, or Bay of Bengal, to Perimula, or Malacca, and to Bengal, took their departure from some place of rendezvous in the neighbourhood of Point Godavery, near the mouth of the Ganga Godavery. The ships used in this navigation, of a larger construction than common, were called by the Greek and Arabian sailors, colandrophonta, or in the Hindustani dialect, coilan-di-pota, coilan boats or ships; for pota in Sanscrit, signifies a boat or a ship; and di or da, in the western parts of India, is either an adjective form, or the mark of the genitive case. Pliny has preserved to us the track of the merchants who traded to Bengal from Point Godavery.  

They went to Cape Colinga, now Palmira; thence to Dandagula, now Tentu-gully, almost opposite to Fultati* [This is the only place in this essay not to be found in Rennell's Atlas.]; thence to Tropina, or Triveni and Trebeni, called Tripina by the Portuguese, in the last century; and, lastly, to Patale, called Patali, Patiali as late as the twelfth century, and now Patna. Pliny who mistook this Patale for another town of the same name, situate at the summit of the Delta of the Indus, where a form of Devi, under the appellation of Patali is equally worshipped to this day, candidly acknowledges, that he could by no means reconcile the various accounts he had seen about Patale, and the other places mentioned before.  

The account transmitted to us of Chandra-Gupta [No, Sandrocottus!], by the historians of Alexander, agrees remarkably well with the abstract I have given in this paper of the Mudra Racshasa. By Athenaeus, he is called Sandracoptos, by the others Sandracottos, and sometimes Androcottos. He was also called Chandra simply; and, accordingly, Diodorus Siculus calls him Xandrames from Chandra, or Chandram in the accusative case; for in the western parts of India, the spoken dialects from the Sanscrit do always affect that case. According to Plutarch, in his life of Alexander, Chandra-Gupta had been in that prince’s camp, and had been heard to say afterwards, that Alexander would have found no difficulty in the conquest of Prachi, or the country of the Prasians had he attempted it, as the king was despised, and hated too, on account of his cruelty.

In the Mudra Racshasa it is said, that king Nanda, after a severe fit of illness, fell into a state of imbecility, which betrayed itself in his discourse and actions; and that his wicked minister, Sacatara, ruled with despotic sway in his name. Diodorus Siculas and Curtius relate, that Chandram was of a low tribe, his father being a barber. That he, and his father Nanda too, were of a low tribe, is declared in the Vishnu purana and in the Bhagavat Chandram, as well as his brothers, was called Maurya from his mother Mura; and as that word* [See the Jutiviveca, where it is said, the offspring of a barber, begot by stealth, of a female of the Sudra tribe, is called Maurya: the offspring of a barber and a slave woman is called Maurya.] in Sanscrit signifies a barber, it furnished occasion to his enemies to asperse him as the spurious offspring of one. The Greek historians say, the king of the Prasu was assassinated by his wife’s paramour, the mother of Chandra; and that the murderer got possession of the sovereign authority, under the specious title of regent and guardian to his mother’s children, but with a view to destroy them. The puranas and other Hindu books, agree in the same facts, except as to the amours of Sacatara with Mura, the mother of Chandra-Gupta, on which head they are silent. Diodorus and Curtius are mistaken in saying, that Chandram reigned over the Prasu, at the time of Alexander's invasion: he was contemporary with Sileucus Nicator.
Diodorus and Curtius are mistaken in saying, that Chandram reigned over the Prasu, at the time of Alexander's invasion: [as a king] he was contemporary with Sileucus Nicator.

I have inserted the words in brackets under a persuasion that Major Wilford intended to convey the idea supplied, and that only. He had already stated, after Plutarch, that Chandra-Gupta was in Alexander's camp, and therefore is not to be construed as here denying that he was contemporary with Alexander as a subject of Nanda. From the death of Alexander to the first transactions between Seleucus and Sandracottos, there intervened about twenty years.

-- On the Site of Palibothra: To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal(by Lieutenant-Colonel William Francklin, 1815?) (See Vol. v, p. 439)

I suspect Chandra-Gupta kept his faith with the Greeks or Yavans no better than he had done with his ally, the king of Nepal; and this may be the motive for Seleucus crossing the Indus at the head of a numerous army; but finding Sandro-coptos prepared, he thought it expedient to conclude a treaty with him, by which he yielded up the conquest he had made; and, to cement the alliance,
gave him one of his daughters in marriage[???]
* [Strabo, B. 45, p. 721.].
The geographical position of the tribes is as follows: along the Indus are the Paropamisadae, above whom lies the Paropamisus mountain: then, towards the south, the Arachoti: then next, towards the south, the Gedroseni, with the other tribes that occupy the seaboard; and the Indus lies, latitudinally, alongside all these places; and of these places, in part, some that lie along the Indus are held by Indians, although they formerly belonged to the Persians. Alexander [III 'the Great' of Macedon] took these away from the Arians and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus, upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange five hundred elephants. — Strabo 15.2.9

-- Seleucus I Nicator, by Wikipedia

Chandra-Gupta [No, Sandrocottus!] appears to have agreed on his part to furnish Seleucus annually with fifty elephants[???]; for we read of Antiochus the Great going to India, to renew the alliance with king Sophagasemus, and of his receiving fifty elephants from him. Sophagasemus, I conceive, to be a corruption of Shivaca-Sena, the grandson of Chandra-Gupta. In the puranas this grandson is called Asecavard-dhana or full of mercy, a word of nearly the same import as Aseca-sena or Shivaca-sena; the latter signifying he whose armies are merciful do not ravage and plunder the country.

The son of Chandra-Gupta [No, Sandrokottos!] is called Allitrochates [No, Bindusara!] and Amitrocates by the Greek historian.
"Strabo (p. 70) says, 'Generally speaking, the men who have hitherto written on the affairs of India were a set of liars, — Deimachos holds the first place in the list, Megasthenes comes next; while Onesikritos and Nearchos, with others of the same class, manage to stammer out a few words (of truth). Of this we became the more convinced whilst writing the history of Alexander. No faith whatever can be placed in Deimachos and Megasthenes. They coined the fables concerning men with ears large enough to sleep in, men without any mouths, without noses, with only one eye, with spider legs, and with fingers bent backward. They renewed Homer's fables concerning the battles of the cranes and pygmies, and asserted the latter to be three spans high. They told of ants digging for gold, and Pans with wedge-shaped heads, of serpents swallowing down oxen and stags, horns and all, — meantime, as Eratosthenes has observed, accusing each other of falsehood. Both of these men were sent as ambassadors to Palimbothra, — Megasthenes to Sandrokottos, Deimachos to Amitrochados his son, — and such are the notes of their residence abroad, which I know not why, they thought fit to leave.

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A.

... called by Strabo Allitrochades, and by Athenaios (xiv. 67), Amitrochates, [The passage states that Amitrochates, the king of the Indians, wrote to Antiochos asking that king to buy and send him sweet wine, dried figs, and a sophist; and that Antioches replied: We shall send you the figs and the wine, but in Greece the laws forbid a sophist to be sold. Athenaios quotes Hegesander as his authority.]

-- The Invasion of India by Alexander the Great as described by Arrian Q. Curtius Diodorus Plutarch and Justin: Being Translations of Such Portions of the Works of These and Other Classical Authors as Describe Alexander's Campaigns in Afghanistan the Panjab Sindh Gedrosia and Karmania With An Introduction Containing a Life of Alexander Copious Notes Illustrations Maps and Indices, by J.W. McCrindle M.A., Late Principal of the Government College Patna and Fellow of the Calcutta University Member of the General Council of the University of Edinburgh

In the course of determining the exact date of Buddha's death, Dr. Fleet [JRAS., 1909, p. 24.] has adopted as the Sanskrit equivalent of Amitrochates or Amitrochades, the Greek version of the name or title by which they knew Candragupta's [Sandrocottus's !!!] son, Amitrakhada, rather than the conventional Amitraghata, [For the variants of the name, cf. Vincent Smith, Early History of India, 2, p. 138; the identification with Amitraghata was made by Lassen. See also Franke, Pali und Sanskrit, p. 71.] on the ground that this word has not yet been established as a personal name by any Indian or Ceylonese books or inscriptions, while Amitrakhada is found as an epithet of Indra.

-- "Amitrochates," Excerpt from Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp. 423-426, April 1909

The name "Bindusara", with slight variations, is attested by the Buddhist texts such as Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa ("Bindusaro"); the Jain texts such as Parishishta-Parvan; as well as the Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana ("Vindusara"). Other Puranas give different names for Chandragupta's successor; these appear to be clerical errors. For example, the various recensions of Bhagavata Purana mention him as Varisara or Varikara. The different versions of Vayu Purana call him Bhadrasara or Nandasara.

The Mahabhashya...
The Mahābhāṣya, "great commentary"), attributed to Patañjali, is a commentary on selected rules of Sanskrit grammar from Pāṇini's treatise, the Aṣṭādhyāyī, as well as Kātyāyana's Vārttika-sūtra, an elaboration of Pāṇini's grammar....The dating of Patanjali and his Mahabhasya is established by...evidence...from the Maurya Empire period, the historical events mentioned in the examples he used to explain his ideas.

-- Patanjali, by Wikipedia

names Chandragupta's successor as Amitra-ghata (Sanskrit for "slayer of enemies"). The Greek writers Strabo and Athenaeus call him Allitrochades and Amitrochates respectively; these names are probably derived from the Sanskrit title. In addition, Bindusara was given the title Devanampriya ("The Beloved of the Gods"), which was also applied to his successor Ashoka. The Jain work Rajavali-Katha states that his birth name was Simhasena.

-- Bindusara, by Wikipedia

Strabo refers to Deimachus being sent by Antiochus I as his ambassador to Amitrochates the son of Sandrocottus. Pliny speaks of another envoy who was sent by the king of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (185-247 B.C.). [Hist. Nat., Book IV, c. 17, (21).]

-- Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, by Romila Thapar

Seleucus sent an ambassador to him; and after his death the same good intelligence was maintained by Antiochus the son or the grandson of Seleucus. This son of Chandra-Gupta is called Varisara in the puranas; according to Parasara, his name was Dasaratha; but neither the one nor the other bear any affinity to Amitrocates: this name appears, however, to be derived from the Sanscrit Mitra-Gupta, which signifies saved by Mitra or the Sun, and therefore probably was only a surname.
Sanskrit is not attested in any inscriptions or manuscripts until the Common Era or at most a few decades before it.66 [Bronkhorst (2011: 46, 50), who cites Salomon (1998:86) on the existence of four inscriptions ascribed by some, including Salomon, to the first century BC; otherwise the earliest inscriptions in Sanskrit are from Mathura in the first and second centuries AD (Salomon 1998: 87).]

-- Appendix C: On The Early Indian Inscriptions, Excerpt from Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter With Early Buddhism in Central Asia, by Christopher I. Beckwith

It may be objected to the foregoing account, the improbability of a Hindu marrying the daughter of a Yavana, or, indeed, of any foreigner. On this difficulty I consulted the Pundits of Benares, and they all gave me the same answer; namely, that in the time of Chandra-Gupta the Yavanas were much respected, and were even considered as a sort of Hindus though they afterwards brought upon themselves the hatred of that nation by their cruelty, avarice, rapacity, and treachery in every transaction while they ruled over the western parts of India; but that at any rate the objection did not apply to the case, as Chandra-Gupta himself was a Sudra, that is to say, of the lowest class.[!!!] In the Vishnu-Purana, and in the Bhagawat, it is recorded, that eight Grecian kings reigned over part of India. They are better known to us by the title of the Grecian kings of Bactriana. Arrian in his Periplus, enumerating the exports from Europe to India, sets down as one article beautiful virgins, who were generally sent to the market of Baroche. The Hindus acknowledged that, formerly, they were not so strict as they are at this day; and this appears from their books to have been the case. Strabo does not positively say that Chandra-Gupta married a daughter of Seleucus, but that Seleucus cemented the alliance he had made with him by connubial affinity, from which expression it might equally be inferred that Seleucus married a daughter of Chandra-Gupta[!!!]; but this is not so likely as the other[!!!]; and it is probable the daughter of Seleucus was an illegitimate child, born in Persia after Alexander's conquest of that country.[???!!!]

Before I conclude, it is incumbent on me to account for the extraordinary difference between the line of the Surya Varsas or children of the sun, from Ichswacu to Dasaratha-Rama, as exhibited in the second volume of the Asiatick Researches, from the Vishnu-purana and the Bhagawat, and that set down in the Table I have given with this Essay. The line of the Surya Varsas, from the Bhagawat being absolutely irreconcileable with the ancestry of Arjuna and Chrishna, I had at first rejected it, but, after a long search, I found it in the Ramayen, such as I have represented it in the table, where it perfectly agrees with the other genealogies.[???] Dasaratha-Rama was contemporary with Parasu-Rama, who was, however the eldest; and as the Ramayen is the history of Dasaratha-Rama, we may reasonably suppose, his ancestry was carefully set down and not wantonly abridged.
According to R.P. Tripathi, professor of ancient history at Allahabad University, "History requires concrete evidence in the form of coins, inscriptions, etc. to prove the existence of a character. Even if we take into account places mentioned in the Ramayana like Chitrakoot, Ayodhya, which still exist, the fact is that Ramayana is not a historical text."...

"In Ramayana's case, there is no evidence to prove that it is anything else except a myth. There is also no evidence -- either historical or archaeological -- which proves that Ram ever existed or that he ruled Ayodhya" claims S. Settar [former chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research.


-- For Historians, Ram Remains a Myth, by Atul Sethi, Times of India, 9/14/07

Dasharatha was the king of Kosala kingdom and the descendent of Ikshavaku Dynasty and father of the Lord Rama. His capital was Ayodhya. Dasharatha was the son of Aja and Indumati. He had three main throne queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra, and from these unions were born Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. He is mentioned [in the] Ramayana and Vishnu Purana.

King Dasharatha was an incarnation of Svayambhuva Manu, the son of the Hindu creator god, Brahma.

Dasharatha was the son of King Aja of Kosala and Indumati of Vidarbha. His birth name was Nemi, but he acquired the name Dasharatha as his chariot could move in all ten directions, fly, as well as come down to earth, and he could fight with ease in all of these directions.

-- Dasharatha, by Wikipedia

I shall now conclude this Essay with the following remarks:
Parashara was a maharshi and the author of many ancient Indian texts. He is accredited as the author of the first Purana, the Vishnu Purana, before his son Vyasa wrote it in its present form. He was the grandson of Vasishtha, the son of Śakti Maharṣi....

When Parashara's father, Sakti Maharishi died after being devoured by the king Kalmashapada
[In Hindu mythology, Kalmashapada, also known as Saudasa, Mitrasaha, Amitrasaha and Kalmashanghri (Kalmasanghri), was a king of the Ikshvaku dynasty (the Solar dynasty), who was cursed to be a rakshasa (demon) by the sage Vashishtha. He is described as an ancestor of Rama, the avatar of the god Vishnu and the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Many texts narrate how Kalmashapada was cursed to die if he had intercourse with his queen, so he obtained a son from Vashishtha by niyoga, an ancient tradition whereby a husband can nominate another man to impregnate his wife.] along with Vashistha's other sons, Vashistha resorted to ending his life by suicide. Hence he jumped from Mount Meru but landed on soft cotton, he entered a forest fire only to remain unharmed, then he jumped into the ocean who saved him by casting him ashore. Then he jumped in the overflowing river Vipasa, which also left him ashore. Then he jumped into the river Haimavat, which fled in several directions from his fear and was named Satadru. Then when he returned to his asylum, he saw his daughter-in-law pregnant. When a son was born he acted as his father and hence forgot completely about destroying his life. Hence, the child was named Parashara which meant enlivener of the dead.

According to the Vedas, Brahma created Vasishtha, who, with his wife Arundhati, had a son named Śakti Mahariṣhi who sired Parashara. With Satyavati, Parashara is father of Vyasa. Vyāsa sired Dhritarashtra and Pandu through his deceased step brother's wives, Ambika and Ambalika and Vidura through a hand-maiden of Ambika and Ambalika. Vyāsa also sired Shuka through his wife, Jābāli's daughter Pinjalā. Thus Parashara was the biological great-grandfather of both the warring parties of the Mahābhārata, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Parashara is used as a gotra [lineage] for the ancestors and their offsprings thereon.

-- Parashara, by Wikipedia

I. It has been asserted in the second volume of the Asiatick Researches, that Parasara lived about 1180 years before Christ[???], in consequence of an observation of the places of the colures [either of two great circles intersecting at right angles at the celestial poles and passing through the ecliptic at either the equinoxes or the solstices.].

We come now to the commentary, which contains information of the greatest importance. By former Sastras are meant, says Battotpala [Utpala], the books of Parasara and of other Munis; and he then cites from the Parasari Sanhita the following passage, which is in modulated prose, and in a style much resembling that of the Vedas:
"The season of Sisira is from the first of Dhanishtha to the middle of Revati; that of Vasanta from the middle of Revati to the end of Rohini; that of Grishma from the beginning of Mrigasiras to the middle of Aslesha; that of Versha from the middle of Aslesha to the end of Hasta; that of Sanad from the first of Chitra to the middle of Jyeshtha; that of Hemanta from the middle of Jyeshtha to the end of Sravana."

This account of the six Indian seasons, each of which is co-extensive with two signs, or four lunar stations and a half, places the solstitial points, as Varaha has asserted, in the first degree of Dhanishtha, and the middle, or 6°40', of Aslesha, while the equinoctial points were in the tenth degree of Bharani and 3°20' of Visacha; but in the time of Varaha, the solstitial colure passed through the 10th degree of Punarvasu and 3°20' of Uttarashara, while the equinoctial colure cut the Hindu ecliptic in the first of Aswini and 6°40' of Chitra, or the Yoga and only star of that mansion, which, by the way, is indubitably the Spike of the Virgin, from the known longitude of which all other points in the Indian Zodiac may be computed. It cannot escape notice, that Parasara does not use in this passage the phrase at present, which occurs in the text of Varaha; so that the places of the colures might have been ascertained before his time, and a considerable change might have happened in their true position without any change in the phrases by which the seasons were distinguished; as our popular language in astronomy remains unaltered, though the Zodiacal asterisms are now removed a whole sign from the places where they have left their names. It is manifest, nevertheless, that Parasara must have written within twelve centuries before the beginning of our era, and that single fact, as we shall presently show, leads to very momentous consequences in regard to the system of Indian history and literature.

-- XXVII. A Supplement to the Essay on Indian Chronology, by the President (Sir William Jones), Asiatic Researches, Volume 2, 1788

But Mr. Davis having considered this subject with the minutest attention, authorizes me to say, that this observation must have been made 1391 years before the Christian aera. This is also confirmed by a passage from the Parasara Sanhita in which it is declared, that the Udaya or heliacal rising of campus, (when at the distance of thirteen degrees from the sun, according to the Hindu astronomers,) happened in the time of Parasara, on the 10th of Cartica; the difference now amounts to twenty-three days. Having communicated this passage to Mr. Davis, he informed me, that it coincided with the observation of the places of the colures in the time of Parasara.

Another synchronism still more interesting, is that of the flood of Deucalion which, according to the best chronologers, happened 1390 years before Christ.[!!!] Deucalion is derived from Deo-Calyun or Deo Caljun: the true Sanscrit name is Deva-Cala-Yavana. The word Cala-Yavana is always pronounced in conversation, and in the vulgar dialects Ca-lyun or Calijun: literally, it signifies the devouring Yavana. He is represented in the puranas, as a most powerful prince, who lived in the western parts of India
, and generally resided in the country of Camboja, now Gazni, the ancient name of which, is Safin or Safna. It is true, they never bestow upon him the title of Deva; on the contrary, they call him an incarnate demon: because he presumed to oppose Crishna; and was very near defeating his ambitious projects; indeed Crishna was nearly overcome and subdued, after seventeen bloody battles; and, according to the express words of the puranas, he was forced to have recourse to treachery; by which means Calyun was totally defeated in the eighteenth engagement. That his followers and descendants should bestow on him the title of Deva, or Deo, is very probable; and the numerous tribes of Hindus, who, to this day, call Chrishna, an impious wretch, a merciless tyrant, an implacable and most rancorous enemy. In short, these Hindus, who consider Crishna as an incarnate demon, now expiating his crimes in the fiery dungeons of the lowest hell, consider Calyun in a very different light, and, certainly, would have no objection to his being called Deo-Calyun. Be it as it may, Deucalion was considered as a Deva or Deity in the west, and had altars erected to his honour.

The Greek mythologists are not agreed about him, nor the country, in which the flood, that goes by his name, happened
: some make him a Syrian; others say, that his flood happened in the countries, either round mount Etna, or mount Athos; the common opinion is, that it happened in the country adjacent to Parnasus; whilst others seem to intimate, that he was a native of India, when they assert that he was the son of Prometheus, who lived near Cabul, and whose cave was visited by Alexander, and his Macedonians. It is called in the puranas Garnda-sihan, or the place of the Eagle, and is situated near the place called Shibi, in Major Rennell's map of the western parts of India; indeed, Pramathasi[???] is better known in Sudia by the appellation of Sheba* [Bamian (in Sanscrit Vamiyan) and Shibr lay to the N.S. of Cabul.]. Deo-Calyun, who lived at Gazni, was obliged on the arrival of Chrishna, to fly to the adjacent mountains, according to the puranas; and the name of these mountains was formerly Parnasa, from which the Greeks made Parnasus; they are situated between Gazni and Peshower. Crishna, after the defeat of Calyun, desolated his country with fire and sword. This is called in Sanscrit Pralaya; and may be effected by water, fire, famine, pestilence, and war: but in the vulgar dialects, the word Pralaya, signifies only a flood or inundation. The legends relating to Deo-Calyun, Prometheus and his cave, will appear in the next dissertation I shall have the honour to lay before the Society.

In Greek mythology, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus...

The flood in the time of Deucalion was caused by the anger of Zeus, ignited by the hubris of Lycaon and his sons, descendants of Pelasgus. According to this story, Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who, appalled by this offering, decided to put an end to the Bronze Age by unleashing a deluge. During this deluge, the rivers ran in torrents and the sea flooded the coastal plain, engulfing the foothills with spray, and washing everything clean. Deucalion, with the aid of his father Prometheus, was saved from this deluge by building a chest. Like the biblical Noah and the Mesopotamian counterpart Utnapishtim, he uses this device to survive the deluge with his wife, Pyrrha.

The fullest accounts are provided in Ovid's Metamorphoses (late 1 BCE to early 1 CE) and in the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus. Deucalion, who reigned over the region of Phthia, had been forewarned of the flood by his father, Prometheus. Deucalion was to build a chest and provision it carefully (no animals are rescued in this version of the flood myth), so that when the waters receded after nine days, he and his wife Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus, were the one surviving pair of humans. Their chest touched solid ground on Mount Parnassus or Mount Etna in Sicily, or Mount Athos in Chalkidiki, or Mount Othrys in Thessaly.

-- Deucalion, by Wikipedia

II. Megasthenes was a native of Persia, and enjoyed the confidence of Sibyrtius* [Arrian, B. 5., p. 203.], governor of Arachosia, (now the country of Candahar and Gazni,) on the part of Seleucus. Sibyrtius sent him frequently on the embassies to Sandrocuptos. When Seleucus invaded India, Megasthenes enjoyed also the confidence of that monarch, who sent him, in the character of ambassador, to the court of the king of Prachi. We may safely conclude, that Megasthenes was a man of no ordinary abilities, and as he spent the greatest part of his life in India, either at Candahar or in the more interior parts of it; and, as from his public character, he must have been daily conversing with the most distinguished persons in India, I conceive, that if the Hindus, of that day, had laid claim to so high an antiquity, as those of the present, he certainly would have been acquainted with their pretensions, as well as with those of the Egyptians and Chaldaeans; but, on the contrary, he was astonished to find a singular conformity between the Hebrews and them in the notions about the beginning of things, that is to say, of ancient history.[???]
"All that has been said regarding nature by the ancients is asserted also by philosophers out of Greece, on the one part in India by the Brachmanes, and on the other in Syria by the people called the Jews."

-- Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian; Being a Translation of the Fragments of the Indika of Megasthenes Collected by Dr. Schwanbeck, and of the First Part of the Indika of Arrian, by J.W. McCrindle, M.A., 1877

At the same time, I believe, that the Hindus, at that early period, and, perhaps, long before, had contrived various astronomical periods and cycles, though they had not then thought of framing a civil history, adapted to them. Astrology may have led them to suppose so important and momentous an event as the creation must have been connected with particular conjunctions of the heavenly bodies; nor have the learned in Europe been entirely free from such notions.
Again, in the context of the war, it is natural for writers, especially of epics, to describe portents as happening to presage evil. The Samhitas devote chapters to describe these portents. The Ketucara, on the appearance of comets, is full of portents, as also separate chapters devoted to portents like rare or unnatural, impossible or terrible phenomena. These have been included in the work.11 [See, e.g., Udyoga, 143; Bhisma, 2, 3; Karna, 94, 100; S'alya, 11, 27; Mausala, 2.] But most investigators have not interpreted these portions properly, for which a detailed study of the chapters on Ketucara and Utpatas in the Brhatsamhita of Varahamihira would be advantageous. For example, the mention of the new moon together with solar eclipse occurring on Trayodasi, the sun and the moon being eclipsed on the same day (the same month), and that on Trayodasi, Mercury moving across the sky, (i.e., north-south), the dark patch on the moon being inverted, the lunar eclipse at Karttika full moon, the solar eclipse at Karttika new moon, and again the solar eclipse at the time of the mace-fight, are all intended by the writer to be impossible things occurring. The mention of the red moon indistinguishable from the red sky (digdaha), eagles falling on the flag, appearances of comets of different colours and in groups are all portents. Ignorance of the fact that the ‘grahas’ of different colours mentioned in Bhismaparva, chapter 3, are not planets but comets, has added to the confusion, because these scholars do not realise that, in the Samhitas, the word ‘graha’ means primarily comets, (vide the chapter on Ketucara in the Brhatsamhita).

It would be clear from the above, that all the skill shown in distorting the meanings of words and trying to show when these impossible or rare phenomena and contradictory planetary combinations would actually occur, has been wasted. Excepting the time of the year when the war might have happened, there is nothing in the Mahabharata to fix the year definitely. We do not have adequate data to fix either the happenings or when the work, even part by part, was written.

-- Determination of the Date of the Mahabharata: The Possibility Thereof, [Reprinted from Vishveshvaramand Indological Journal, Vol. XIV (1976) pp. 48-56.], Excerpt, from Collected Papers on Jyotisha, by T.S. Kuppanna Sastry

Having once laid down this position, they did not know where to stop; but the whole was conducted in a most clumsy manner, and their new chronology abounds with the most gross absurdities; of this, they themselves are conscious, for, though willing to give me general ideas of their chronology, they absolutely forsook me, when they perceived my drift in a stricter investigation of the subject.

The loss of Megathenes' works is much to be lamented. From the few scattered fragments, preserved by the ancients, we learn that the history of the Hindus did not go back above 5042 years. The MSS. differ; in some we read 6042 years; in others 5042 and three months, to the invasion of India by Alexander. Megasthenes certainly made very particular enquiries, since he noticed even the months. Which is the true reading, I cannot pretend to determine; however, I [am] inclined [to] believe, it is 5042, because it agrees best with the number of years assigned by Albumazar, as cited by Mr. Bailly, from the creation to the flood. This famous astronomer, whom I mentioned before, had derived his ideas about the time of the creation and of the flood, from the learned Hindus he had consulted; and He assigns 2226 years, between what the Hindus call the last renovation of the world, and the flood. This account from Megasthenes and Albumazar, agrees remarkably well with the computation of the Septuagint [The Greek Old Testament is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books.]. I have adopted that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, as more conformable to such particulars as I have found in the puranas; I must confess, however, that some particular circumstances, if admitted, seem to agree best with the computations of the Septuagint: besides, it is very probable, that the Hindus, as well as ourselves, had various computations of the times we are speaking of.

Megasthenes informs us also, that the Hindus had a list of kings, from Dionysius to Sandrocuptos, to the number of 153. Perhaps, this is not to be understood of successions in a direct line; if so, it agrees well enough with the present list of the descendants of Nausha, or Deo-Naush.

This is what they call the genealogies simply, or the great genealogy, and which they consider as the basis of their history. They reckon these successions in this manner: from Nausha to Crishna, and collaterally from Naush to Paricshita; and afterwards from Jarasandha, who was contemporary with Crishna. Accordingly the number of kings amounts to more than 153; but, as I wanted to give the full extent of the Hindu chronology, I have introduced eight or nine kings, which, in the opinion of several learned men, should be omitted, particularly six, among the ancestry of Crishna.

Megasthenes, according to Pliny and Arrian, seems to say, that 5042 years are to be reckoned between Dionysius, or Deo-Nausha, and Alexander, and that 153 kings reigned during that period; but, I believe, it is a mistake of Pliny and Arrian; for 153 reigns, or even generations, could never give so many years.

Megasthenes reckons also fifteen generations between and Dionysius and Hercules, by whom we are to understand, Chrisna and his brother Bala-Rama. To render this intelligible, we must consider Naush in two different points of view: Naush was at first a mere mortal, but on mount Meru he became a Deva or God, hence called Deva-Naush or Deo-Naush, in the vulgar dialects. This happened about fifteen generations before Crishna. It appears that like the spiritual rulers of Tartary and Tibet (which countries include the holy mountains of Meru). Deo-Naush did not, properly speaking, die, but his soul shifted its habitation, and got into a new body whenever the old one was worn out, either through age or sickness. The names of three of the successors of Nausha have been preserved by Arrian; they are Spartembas, Budyas, and Cradevas. The first seems derived from the Sanscrit Prachinvau, generally pronounced Prachinbau, from which the Greeks made Spartembau in the accusative case; the two others are undoubted Sanscrit, though much distorted, but I suspect them to be titles, rather than proper names.

III. This would be a proper place to mention the posterity of Noah or Satyavrata, under the names of Sharma or Shana (for both are used,) Charma and Jyapti. They are mentioned in five or six puranas, but no farther particulars concerning them are related, besides which is found in a former essay on Egypt. In the list of the thousand names of Vishnu, a sort of Litany, which Brahmens are obliged to repeat on certain days, Vishnu is called Sharma, because, according to the learned, Sharma or Shama, was an incarnation if that deity. In a list of the thousand names of Siva, as extracted from the Padma-purana, the 371st name is Shama-Jaya, which is in the fourth case, answering to our dative, the word praise being understood: Praise to Sharmaja, or to him who was incarnated in the house of Sharma.

The 998th name is Sharma-putradaya, in the fourth case also, praise to him who gave offspring to Sharma. My learned friends here inform me, that it is declared in some of the puranas, that Sharma, having no children, applied to Siva, and made Tapasya, to his honour. Iswara was so pleased, that he granted his request and condescended to be incarnated in the womb of Sharma's wife, and was born a son of Sharma, under the name of Baleswara, or Iswara the infant. Baleswara, or simply Iswara, we mentioned in a former essay on Semiramis; and he is obviously the Assur of Scripture.

In another list of the thousand names of Siva (for there are five or six of them extracted from so many puranas) we read
, as one of his names, Balesa Isa or Iswara the infant. In the same list Siva is said to be Varahi-Palaca, or he who fostered and cherished Varahi, the consort of Vishnu, who was incarnated in the character of Sharma. From the above passages the learned here believe that Siva, in a human shape, was legally appointed to raise seed to Sharma during an illness thought incurable. In this sense Japhet certainly dwelt in the tents of Shem. My chief pandit has repeatedly, and most positively, assured me, that the posterity of Sharma to the tenth or twelfth generation, is mentioned in some of the puranas. His search after it has hitherto proved fruitless, but it is true, that we have been able to procure only a few sections of some of the more scarce and valuable puranas. The field is immense, and the powers of a single individual too limited.

V. The ancient statues of the gods having been destroyed by the Mussulmans, except a few which were concealed during the various persecutions of these unmerciful zealots, others have been erected occasionally, but they are generally represented in a modern dress. The statue of Bala-Rama at Mutra has very little resemblance to the Theban Hercules, and, of course, does not answer exactly to the description of Megasthenes[??????]. There is, however, a very ancient statue of Bala-Rama at a place called Baladeva, or Baldeo in the vulgar dialects, which answers minutely to his description. It was visited some years ago by the late Lieutenant Stewart, and I shall describe it in his own words: "Bala-Rama or Bala-deva is represented there with a ploughshare in his left hand with which he hooked his enemies, and in his right hand a thick cudgel, with which he cleft their sculls; his shoulders are covered with the skin of a tyger. The village of Baldeo is thirteen miles E. by S. from Muttra.”

Here I shall observe, that the ploughshare is always represented very small [and] sometimes omitted; and that it looks exactly like a harpoon, with a strong hook, or a gaff, as it is usually called by fishermen[???]. My pandits inform me also, that Bala-Rama is sometimes represented with his shoulders covered with the skin of a lion.
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ART. V. [Book Review of:] A Key to the Chronology of the Hindus; in a Series of Letters, in which an Attempt is made to facilitate the Progress of Christianity in Hindustan, by proving that the protracted Numbers of all Oriental Nations, when reduced, agree with the Dates given in the Hebrew Text of the Bible. 2 vols. 8vo. Rivingtons. 1820. [by Anonymous (Alexander Hamilton), 1820]
by F. and C. Rivington (Firm)
The British Critic, Volumes 13-14
London: Printed for F. and C. Rivington, no. 62, St. Paul's Church-yard, to whom all communications respecting the review are to be directed, London: Printed for J. Mawman 1793-1826.
Editors: 1793-1813, Robert Nares, William Beloe; 1814-1825, T.F. Middleton, W.R. Lyall, and others.
1820, originally published 1792

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While the Ezour Vedam was being discussed by Voltaire and others, the Vedas sent by Calmette languished unread in the Bibliotheque Imperiale. They were even excluded from the catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts prepared by Alexander Hamilton and Louis-Mathieu Langlès in 1807, again because they were mostly not in Devanagari script...

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

The records given by the Jesuit Fathers helped in the redaction of the general catalogue for the manuscripts kept in the Royal Library. This project was a strong wish of the Abbey Jean-Paul Bignon who wanted to follow the need of describing the collections at a time when the Scientists of the ‘Europe des Lumières’ were describing and organizing the species. In 1739 was published the first volume of the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae dedicated to the oriental collections. It is a master piece in the field of library science. Etienne Fourmont had translated the brief records given by the Jesuits Fathers into Latin and gave some other bibliographical elements such as the material, paper or palm-leaves. Fourmont adopted the classification system given by Father Pons. In trying to make a concordance between the Jesuit lists and the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae, it appears that the larger part of the catalogue, namely the ‘Books on Theology’ which contains 111 numbers on the 287 of the ‘Indian Codices’ described, gathers mostly all the manuscripts from South India, even the topics is far from ‘Thelogy’, as if the lack of classification had a direct impact on the cataloguing process. Despite these hesitations, very understandable due to the early date of publication, the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae is very solid....

In 1807, Alexander Hamilton (1762-1824), after being enrolled in the East India Company, was obliged to stay in France after the break of the Traité d’Amiens which ensured the peace between France and England. He spent his time in describing the Sanskrit collection of the Imperial Library with the help of Langlès.11 The paradox is that the catalogue of Hamilton described less manuscripts than the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae published seventy years before. The reason is that Hamilton described only the Sanskrit manuscripts in Devanagari and Bengali scripts. He did not treat the manuscripts from South India, in Tamil, Grantha, or Telugu scripts.

Hamilton had time to see all the manuscripts that he wanted to describe, but he gave a detailed description only for the texts he was interested in, like Purana or poetry. We can read this information after the manuscript number 23: “For the others manuscripts, we did not adopt any classification”. He also gave up the fundamental notion of material support. It is impossible to know in reading this catalogue if the manuscripts are written on paper or on palm-leaves while we had this information in the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae. This catalogue is often seen as the first printed catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts. It is indeed the first catalogue which is entirely dedicated to the Sanskrit manuscripts but we have seen how the Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae, which is the very first printed catalogue for Indian manuscripts, is stronger from the point of view of the library science....

In November 1833, François Guizot (1787-1874), one of the most influential Minister of Education of the century, asked librarians to give a catalogue of the manuscripts of all kinds that were in their care. It is in this climax that worked Claude Fauriel and Auguste Loiseleur-Deslonchamps. They gave bibliographical details for the manuscripts left aside by Alexander Hamilton or freshly arrived in the library. A particular attention was given to describe the manuscript and the text that it contains. Incipit and explicit are sometimes given in original script or in transcriptions, the material used is mentioned (paper or palm leaves), the date in samvat era, the name of the author, the subject, and some bibliographical information are also given when it was possible.


-- For a History of the Catalogues of Indian Manuscripts in Paris, by Jérôme Petit

WHATEVER doubts we may have, as to the actual tendency of this book, we can have none, as to the goodness of the motives which led the author to write it. As he has kept his name from the public [He is Alexander Hamilton], we can speak of him with the greater freedom; and have therefore no hesitation in describing him, as one of those well-meaning persons, who are accustomed to view things only in one light; and who, when they enter upon a benevolent project, do not hold themselves accountable for any contingent evil, which may happen to arise, however naturally, from the line of policy which they have adopted. To the pure, no doubt, all things are pure; and such readers, accordingly, as shall take up this work with the sole view of being instructed and edified, will find a great variety of topics, on which they may be profitably employed; but it must be admitted, notwithstanding, that it presents no small matter for profane wit, and abundance of scope for severe criticism.

In the first place, the publication has been most hastily got up; or at all events, it bears every mark of hurry and inattention. It is so full of errors, that it is impossible to read three pages, without referring to the table of errata; which, although it acknowledges between two and three hundred mistakes, does not afford a key to one half of the puzzles arising from sheer inaccuracy. In the department of numerical calculation, again, the blunders are equally frequent and perplexing. We have thousands and millions in place of tens and hundreds; and in many parts where the author has occasion to use algebraical notation, we have the sign of multiplication for that of addition. In short, we are not without some suspicion, that our worthy friends in St. Paul's Church Yard have sent us a copy of imperfections, in order to exercise our patience and prove our perspicacity.

But there are many inaccuracies of another kind, which cannot be charged upon either printer or publisher; and of these, some savour of ignorance, whilst others bear strong marks of indistinct conception of the subjects, to which they relate. For example, the author's notions on astronomy are so extremely vague, that he confounds the superior planets with the primary; and he even ventures to assure us, that the precession of the equinoctial points may be fully explained, by a reference to the change which took place, in the commencement of the year, at the period the Jews emigrated from the land of Egypt. He seems not to be aware, that the principle on which this discrepancy between the sun's real and nominal place, in the zodiacal signs, proceeds, and even the rate at which the variation advances, have been perfectly ascertained by modern astronomers. Nor do his sense and learning appear to any better advantage, when he follows certain rabbinical fancies, as to the day on which the world was created. He holds out, however, for the twenty first of October, in opposition to the Jews, who fix on the tenth, as what may be called Commencement Day; but, then, as the moon came to the full on the fourth day thereafter, or on the twenty fifth of the month, she may be supposed to have become visible, which she would have done, had she been in existence on the ninth of the said month; and hence the ground of the hypothesis maintained by the Rabbis, who are known to have begun their years with the first appearance of the new moon, in the month Nisan. But our author will not yield himself to this Jewish argument: for it is said in the first chapter of Genesis "that God made two great lights;” and as the moon cannot be called a great light except when she is full, or nearly so, he very reasonably concludes, that this luminary was created when in about her fourteenth day. As to the sun, again, although he, with the moon and stars, is classed among the works of the fourth day, it is maintained in the book now before us, that he was made on the evening of the third day, after sun-set, and placed in the firmament too, at the same time, although he did not appear, nor give light, till the proper time of rising next day. The author's own words are as follows: “Consequently, although the sun was placed in the firmament after the supposititious sun-set of the third day, or what we call the evening of the third day, it did not appear for the first time until about the twelfth hour of the ancient fourth day;" that is, we presume, at about six in the morning, the usual time for the sun to rise when in the plane of the equator.

The readers will not expect much wisdom or learning in a book, which contains such puerilities on such a sacred subject. Without giving countenance to this inference which, we honestly maintain, would not be altogether accordant with truth, we must acknowledge that the author's “Key,” even admitting the cypher on which it is constructed to be legitimately derived from Hindu authority, does not appear to us by any means well calculated for guiding the student through those endless labyrinths of Oriental chronology, which have all along proved so extremely perplexing to the most acute of our Anglo-Indian antiquaries. But in order that the principles upon which this important solution is attempted may be seen in the most favourable light, we now proceed to unfold them in nearly the words of the author. We begin with one of his tables of time.

2 Matires = 1 Chiperon
10 Chiperons = 1 Chinon
12 Chinons = 1 Venidique, or 1 Indian minute
60 Venidiques = 1 Naigue
7-1/2 Naigues = 1 Saman
8 Samans = 1 Day
15 Days = 1 Parouvan
2 Parouvans = 1 Month
12 Months = 1 Year
100 Years = the life of man.


We may exhibit, in passing, the effect of this minute subdivision as applied to our own denominations of time.

1 Hour = 36,000 Matires
12 Hours = 432,000
1 Day = 864,000
1 Month (30 days) = 25,920,000
1 Year (360 days) = 311,040,000


The above table is founded, says our author, on the different divisions of time, as recorded in the Institutes of Menu. Upon becoming acquainted with these, it will, he assures us, clearly appear, that those numbers which have, of late years, been injudiciously pronounced astronomical cycles, or periods, are nothing more than the different powers of numbers multiplied into each other. The Brahmans profess, and the unenlightened Hindus believe, that the world was created to last 4,320,000 years, as follows.

1 Age or Critajugan = 1,728,000
2 Age or Tritajugan = 1,296,000
3 Age or Dwaparajugan = 864,000
4 Age or Calijugan = 432,000
Making an aggregate of 4,320,000 years.


Now, it seems, instead of years, we are to regard this large sum as expressing only Matires, or twinklings of the eye; 600 of which go to an English minute: and the above four ages, added together, amount to what is called a Sadrijugan or Divine age. We may also mention here that two Sadrijugans make a day and night of Brahma; whose months and years are in the same proportion, as follows:

8,640,000 = 1 Day and night
259,200,000 = 1 Month
3,110,400,000 = 1 Year
311,040,000,000 = 100 years, the life of Brahma.


From these numbers, adds the author, a cypher is formed in which all antediluvian records are kept. The reader must for the present suppress any little curiosity he may feel as to where the “antediluvian records" themselves are kept, or how they fell under the cognizance of the author.

By inspecting the last set of numerals but one, it will be seen that the Calijagan age amounts to 432,000 years, which answers to the number of matires in 12 hours; and as the sum total of the four ages is just ten times as much, or 4,320,000, it follows that the duration of the world may be symbolically represented by ten times twelve hours, or five whole days. Again, as the years of the gods are to those of man in the proportion of 360 to 1, by dividing 4,320,000 by 360, we have 12,000 — an amount equal to a day and night of Brahma: “for,” observes our author, “of the 4,320,000 days, or 12,000 years, Brahma sleeps one half.”

There is, however, a manifest confusion in this part of the book; for we have in one place the Sadrijagan as equivalent to a day of Brahma, and two Sadrijugans, of course as comprising his day and night; whilst, in other places, a day of the same Divinity is made to embrace a thousand Sadrijugans, and a day and night two thousand of these periods, or 4,320,000 years x 2000. Assuming the larger number the author comes to one of his conclusions as follows: "as 432,000 matires denote one day of 12 hours, so must 4,320,000 denote ten days of 12 hours or five days of 24 hours. And as a thousand Sadrijugans are a day of Brahma, so does that day contain five thousand days of 24 hours. St. Peter says, 'beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. This is the Maha, or great day of Brahma, his usual day being a period, or a thousand years, and his night of the same duration."

In truth, the whole cypher is derived from astronomical facts, concealed with much childish affectation of refinement from the vulgar eye: and in proof of this, we may remark that the number 216,000, which says our author, “may be considered as the basis of all their calculations," is nothing more mystical than the 60 hours of the day (for several eastern nations are known to have adopted this division) reduced into minutes and seconds, viz. 60 60 60 = 216,000. It will be observed, too, that the numbers denoting the extent of the four ages are products of this sum, by the multipliers 8, 6, 4, 2, respectively. But a still stronger proof of astronomical origin may be drawn from the distinction stated between the years of gods and those of men. "The sun," says a Hindu authority quoted by this author, “causes the distribution of day and night, both human and divine: night being intended for the repose of various beings and day for their exertion. A month of mortals is a day and night of the pitris, or patriarchs inhabiting the moon; and the division of a month being into equal halves, the half beginning with the full moon, is their day for action; and that beginning with the new moon, is their night for slumber. A year of mortals is a day and night of the gods, or regents of the universe, situated round the north pole; and again their division is this; their day is the northern, and their night the southern course of the sun."

Our author, however, spurns from him all astronomical aid, and trusting entirely to his cypher, which indeed he uses like a servant of all work, he exclaims “the enigma is solved." The human ages are represented in matires and the divine one in days.
For

1,728,000 [divided by] 4,800 = 360
1,296,000 [divided by] 3,600 = 360
864,000 [divided by] 2,400 = 360
432,000 [divided by] 1,200 = 360


But, after all, he is compelled to have recourse to a fiction representing a physical fact, in order to explain the Menwantaras and creations which the Hindus acknowledge to be without number. According to the writers of Hindustan, 71 divine ages make a Menwantara: but a divine age, or 4,320,000 matires are only equal to five days, and five days multiplied by 71, amount to 355 days, or the old Savan year of the Hindus. What, then, is a Menwantara? It is the antura or duration, of a Menu; but says our author, “it is, and ever was, symbolical of one year, or the renewal of creation at the return of the vernal equinox." He has not, however, attempted to explain the language employed in the very work from which he quotes, relative to a true Menwantara. “The divine years, (vide Institutes of Menu, ch. 1.) in the four human ages just enumerated, being added together, their sum, or 12,000, is called the age of the gods. And by reckoning a thousand such divine ages, a day of Brahma may be known; his night has also an equal duration. Again, the before-mentioned age of the gods, or twelve thousand of their years, being multiplied by 71, constitutes what is here named a Menwantara, or the time, Antara, of a Menu. There are numberless Menwantaras; creations also and destructions of worlds innumerable; the Being supremely exalted, performs all this with as much ease as if in sport: again and again, for the sake of conferring happiness."

Now, we are informed by the author of these volumes that the four ages when added, give the duration of the world; in matires, 432,0000, and in years of the gods, 12,000. What then can be meant by saying that 12,000 x 71, or a Menwantara imports nothing more than one solar year? Seventy one times the duration of the world (including Brahma's nap of 6,000 years) is employed merely to express the renewal of creation at the return of the vernal equinox! What, again, is to be thought of a key which applies only to a part of the cypher to be explained by it? The fourth, or cali age for example, is five times as long as the other three put together, and yet it bears to the first the proportion of only one to four. In short, according to the cypher, the fourth age should be only the one fourth of the duration of the world, whereas it is estimated at more than five-sixths. But the duration of the world may be taken at any amount; and here it signifies one thousand years, and six thousand years, and twelve thousand years, and really may signify anything the author pleases.

We are aware that the number of matires in five whole days is equal to 12,000 multiplied by 360, that is, to 4,320,000; and that five days multiplied by 71, amount to 355, the number of days in a Saban year, as it is called by the Hindus. But what of this? How should five days be called an age of the gods, when we are told that a real age of the gods, comprehends the whole duration of the world, or 12,000 years? Are we to understand that five days, and the duration of the world, are convertible terms? If so, on what ground are they to be regarded as commensurable? Nothing is offered to throw light on this part of the subject — the basis on which the whole of the supposed cypher and its miraculous key will be found to rest.

Again, a day of Brahma is equal to a thousand Sudrijugans, or a thousand times the duration of the world; his day and his night being just twice as much. But we are told that the world is to last one day of Brahma, or a thousand Sudrijugans, or 4,320,000 symbolical years x to 1000; whilst we are also told that the duration of the world is limited to 4,320,000, or one Sadrijugan. “The Brahmans profess, (p. 11.) and the unenlightened Hindus believe that the world was created to last 4,320,000 years."

The numbers now given, amazed Sir William Jones, as they have amazed every other antiquary, and he found no way of accounting for such hyperbolical notation, but that of referring it to an astronomical riddle. “The aggregate of the four first ages," says he, "constitutes the extravagant sum of four millions, three hundred and twenty thousand; which aggregate multiplied by seventy-one is the period in which every Mena is believed to preside over the world. Such a period one might conceive, would have satisfied Archytas, the measurer of the sea and earth, and the numberer of the sands, or Archimedes who invented a notation that was capable of expressing the number of them: but the comprehensive mind of an Indian chronologer has no limits, and the reigns of fourteen Menus are only a single day of Brahma: fifty of which days have already elapsed, according to the Hindus, since the creation. All this puerility may be an astronomical riddle, alluding to the apparent revolutions of the fixed stars, of which the Brahmans make a mystery, but so technical an arrangement excludes the idea of serious history.”

We have already hinted that our author himself, notwithstanding his aversion to astronomical riddles, finds it necessary to make use of the assistance thereby afforded, in order to extricate the language of history, from the perplexities of his imaginary cypher. The 'divine age,' accordingly is not confined to five days of twenty-four hours; it has, says he, a more recondite meaning, and when it is used as an historic date, it always denotes one year. For, he adds, a divine age is considered as the duration of time (erroneously rendered the duration of the world) at the expiration of which nature becomes regenerate at the vernal equinox. In this sense, he continues, the prophet Daniel denotes 360 days by “a time;" and as seventy-one divine ages form a Menwantara, so does a Menwantara denote, when applied to dates, seventy one years. In a word, the cypher of the author like the chronology of the Hindus may be varied at pleasure; and amidst the wanderings of an oriental imagination, where are we to find a key to give us access to the facts of real history, or to open the adyta of philosophical and religious opinion?

It must be admitted, however, that all oriental nations, as well as the Hindus, have been in the use of employing the inferior denominations of time, weight, and measure, in preference to the higher, as practised by Europeans: and it is very probable that many numerical statements, which appear to us extremely monstrous and absurd, would be found quite consistent with the truth of things, could we reduce them to an expression acknowledged by our different standards. For example, when it is said that mount Mera is twenty thousand miles high, we conclude at once that miles have been taken for feet, or some similar denomination. Again, when we are informed that the Hindus estimate the circumference of the world at 500,000,000 yougans, or 245,000,000 British miles, that one of their kings reigned 27,000 years; and that king Nanda possessed in his treasury above 1,584,000,000 pounds sterling in gold, we can have no hesitation in concluding that the system of eastern notation has been grossly misunderstood.
The Hindu table of weight is constructed on the following data.

“The very small mote which may be discerned in a sun-beam passing through a lattice is the least visible quantity, and men call it Trasarenu.

“Eight of these Trasarenus are supposed equal in weight to one minute poppy seed; three of these seeds are equal to one black mustard seed; and three of these last, to a white mustard seed.

“Six white mustard seeds are equal to a middle-sized barley corn; three barley-corns to one Ructica, or seed of the Gunja: five Ructicas of gold are one Masha, and sixteen such Mashas are one Suverna. Four Suvernas make a Pala; ten Palas a Dharana.”


With respect to the wealth of Nanda, the author very justly remarks, that “there can be no more reason for taking this account literally than there is for supposing the riches of the king of Jerusalem to be intended to be so taken.” For instance, we are told in the book of Chronicles that David drew from his treasury, in gold only, as an oblation to the temple, the sum of £648,000,000, being one half of the riches in his coffers. The whole amount of his treasure in gold must therefore have been £1,296,000,000, a sum nearly double the national debt of Great Britain, when estimated in pounds sterling. We may be sure there is some error in this calculation. The author of the first book of Chronicles, no doubt, assures us that the offering amounted to an hundred and eight thousand talents: and taking the talent at 125 lbs. and the pound of gold at 4£, the product will amount to the enormous sum of six hundred and forty eight millions of our money. The wonder, however, ceases when we learn that the talent did not probably exceed nine pounds of pure gold, the greater proportion being collected as revenue, and even as an article of merchandize, in the impure condition of ore or metallic dust. Upon the whole, and considering the bias of the present generation, we agree with the author before us, when he suggests that “we cannot be too cautious in giving credence to those authors, who, not venturing to ridicule the text of Scripture, select from the Hindu records those passages which approximate the nearest thereto, for the purpose of either placing them in a ridiculous point of view, or pronouncing them monstrous absurdities. Those who like Volney openly attack religion, are less dangerous than those who obliquely point the envenomed dart, and wound it under the cloak of sanctity." We wish the author himself had shewn somewhat more tenderness to the feelings of his readers on this very head; for some of his remarks on Scripture are far from being decorous.

The accompanying genealogical table is faithfully extracted from the Vishnu purana, the Bhagavat, and other puranas, without the least alteration whatever. I have collected numerous MSS. and with the assistance of some learned Pundits of Benares, who are fully satisfied of the authenticity of this table, I exhibit it as the only genuine chronological record of Indian history that has hitherto come to my knowledge. It gives the utmost extent of the chronology of the Hindus; and as a certain number of years only can be allowed to a generation, it overthrows at once their monstrous system, which I have rejected as absolutely repugnant to the course of nature, and human reason.

Indeed their systems of geography, chronology, and history, are all equally monstrous and absurd. The circumference of the earth is said to be 500,000,000 yojanas, or 2,456,000,000 British miles: the mountains are asserted to be 100 yojanas, or 491 British miles high. Hence the mountains to the south of Benares are said, in the puranas, to have kept the holy city in total darkness, till Matra-deva, growing angry at their insolence, they humbled themselves to the ground, and their highest peak now is not more than 500 feet high. In Europe similar notions once prevailed; for we are told that the Cimmerians were kept in continual darkness by the interposition of immensely high mountains. In the Calica purana, it is said that the mountains have sunk considerably, so that the highest is not above one yojana, or five miles high.

When the Puranas speak of the kings of ancient times, they are equally extravagant. According to them, King Yudhishthir reigned seven and twenty thousand years; king Nanda, of whom I shall speak more fully hereafter, is said to have possessed in his treasury above 1,584,000,000 pounds sterling, in gold coin alone: the value of the silver and copper coin, and jewels, exceeded all calculation; and his army consisted of 100,000,000 men. These accounts, geographical, chronological, and historical, as absurd and inconsistent with reason, must be rejected. This monstrous system seems to derive its origin from the ancient period of 12,000 natural years, which was admitted by the Persians, the Etruscans, and, I believe, also by the Celtic tribes; for we read of a learned nation in Spain, which boasted of having written histories of above six thousand years.

The hindus still make use of a period of 12,000 divine years, after which a periodical renovation of the world takes place. It is difficult to fix the time when the Hindus, forsaking the paths of historical truth, launched into the mazes of extravagance and fable. Megasthenes, who had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra Gupta [No, Sandrocottus], and of course had an opportunity of conversing with the best informed persons in India, is silent as to this monstrous system of the Hindus: on the contrary, it appears, from what he says, that in his time they did not carry back their antiquities much beyond six thousand, or even five thousand years, as we read in some MSS.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799


We repeat once more, in relation to the subject under consideration, that it is extremely probable the oriental nations of antiquity used the lower denominations, into which, time and quantity were subdivided -- as days for years, feet for miles, and ounces for pounds; much in the same way as the prophets used a week for a period of seven years, and generally one expression as symbolical of the thing meant by another not expressed. In short, there appears to have been a cypher in use amongst ancient writers in the east; but as that cypher was not the same at all times and in all places, it must be extremely difficult, at this remote period, to invent a key answering to the hidden meaning of so many different authors and ages.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

With regard to the principal object of the book, which is to prove that the chronology of the Hebrews, Hindus, and Chaldeans, is at bottom the same, and coincides strictly as to the main facts of the earliest antiquity, we are most ready to bear testimony to an uncommon degree of research on the part of the author, as well as to the exercise of very plausible and ingenious argumentation. In making out that the Hindu Avataras, or Menus, were the antediluvian patriarchs, he perhaps ascribes too much authority to the Vedas, which he says, and takes for granted, are more ancient than the Pentateuch.
Though Matsya does not appear in older scriptures, the seeds of the legend may be traced to the oldest Hindu scripture, the Rigveda. Manu (lit. "man"), the first man and progenitor of humanity, appears in the Rigveda. Manu is said to have performed the first sacrifice by kindling the sacrificial fire (Agni) with seven priests; Manu's sacrifice becomes the archetypal sacrifice.

Narayan Aiyangar suggests that the ship from the Matsya legend alludes to the ship of Sacrifice referred in the Rigveda and the Aitareya Brahmana. In this context, the fish denotes Agni -- God as well as sacrifice flames. The legend thus signifies how man (Manu) can sail the sea of sins and troubles with the ship of sacrifice and the fish-Agni as his guide.
Aiyangar explains that, in relation to the RigVeda, 'Sacrifice is metaphorically called [a] Ship and as Manu means man, the thinker, [so] the story seems to be a parable of the Ship of Sacrifice being the means for man's crossing the seas of his duritas, [meaning his] sins, and troubles'. SB 13.4.3.12 also mentions King Matsya Sammada, whose 'people are the water-dwellers... both fish and fishermen... it is these he instructs; - 'the Itihasa is the Veda'.'

-- Shatapatha Brahmana, by Wikipedia

In a prayer to kushta plant in the Atharvaveda, a golden ship is said to rest at a Himalayan peak, where the herb grows.
In the third heaven above us stands the Asvattha tree, the seat of Gods.
There the Gods gained the Kushtha plant, embodiment of endless life.
There moved through heaven a golden ship, a ship with cordage wrought of gold.
There Gods obtained the Kushtha plant, the flower of immortality.
Thou art the infant of the plants, the infant of the Snowy Hills:
The germ of every thing that is: free this my friend from his disease.

-- The Hymns of the Atharvaveda, translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith

Maurice Bloomfield suggests that this may be an allusion to Manu's ship.
Hymns of the Atharva-Veda, Together With Extracts From the Ritual Books and the Commentaries, Translated by Maurice Bloomfield. UNESCO Collection of Representative Works -- Indian Series. This book has been accepted in the Indian Translation Series of the UNESCO collection of the Representative Works, jointly sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Government of India

The tale of Matsya appears in chapter 12.187 of the Book 3, the Vana Parva, in the epic Mahabharata.
Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented:... "Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach based on the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India.

-- Mahabharata, by Wikipedia

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon

The legend begins with Manu (specifically Vaivasvata Manu, the present Manu. Manu is envisioned as a title, rather than an individual) performing religious rituals on the banks of the Cherivi River in the Badri forest....

-- Matsya, by Wikipedia

Nay, he goes farther than this, and states as his opinion that "as the five books of Moses in their present form appear to have been compiled many centuries later than the Vedas, it is a probable conjecture that, when the compiler of the former met with difficulties, he had recourse both to the Hindu and Chaldean records which Moses had brought with him out of Egypt. If the Hebrew and Hindu accounts differ in trivial matters, that of the latter is amply confirmed (as to Noah he means) by Christ and his apostles.”[!!!]

The Avataras are nine in number, including Adam, six of whom became Menus, that is, were invested with sovereign power in the following order.

Hebrew / Sanscrit

Adam / Swayambhava
1 Seth / 1 Swariocheshe
2 Enos / 2 Auttama
3 Cainan / 3 Tamosa
4 Mabalaleel / 4 Raivata
5 Jased / 5 'Chur,' shusha, or beaming with glory
6 Methusalah / 6 Vaivaswata, or child of the sun.


“If,” says the author, “we may believe Eusebius, Berosus allotted that number of kings between Morus or Adam, and the deluge in the race of Cain. And we know that the Hebrews suppose the same number in the race of Seth. For Enoch and Lamech dying before their respective fathers, could not have succeeded to the sovereignty of the world in succession, and Mathuselah having lived until within a few days of the deluge, Noah consequently did not commence his reign in the old world.”

The four Buddhas, or mouths of God, were Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Moses, named respectively in the Sanscrit, Swayambhava, the Divine Buddha, Vaivaswata, and Chrishna. It would be tiresome to detail the arguments employed by the author to make out the identity of the several individuals here named; and it would be worse than tiresome to repeat the high encomiums bestowed upon Enoch, who is described as the “incarnate God.” In many parts of the book, indeed, sacred subjects are handled with little delicacy and still less discrimination.

Dhruva, like Enoch in Scripture is commended for his extraordinary piety, and the salutary precepts he gave to mankind. He did not taste death, but was translated to heaven, where he shines in the polar star. Here Enoch and Enos are confounded together.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799


It happens as a matter of course, when carried back to the first ages of society, that we should be invited to trace the genealogies of the descendants of the sun and moon[!!!]; and in this work accordingly, as in all similar performances, we have long catalogues of such princes, both in the solar and lunar dynasties. Seth is the founder of the former, Cain of the latter; and the sovereigns sprung from these two patriarchs are understood to have divided between them, and maintained by war and treaty, the rule of the whole inhabited world, until the period of the general deluge. But it is a weariness of the flesh and spirit to follow the line of their descent, or even to peruse the narrative of their monstrous exploits. Hard Sanscrit names and their most supernatural doings have a powerful effect in precluding all desire to be intimate with them; for most assuredly if, as Newton says, “ancient mythology be nothing more than historic truth in a poetic dress,” we are lamentably deficient in the art of extracting from Hindu legends the smallest particles either of truth, or of the elements of poetry.

Throughout his work this author opposes himself to all other European chronologists and historians, with regard to the commencement of nations and the succession of dynasties: for whilst they satisfy themselves with tracing back the beginnings of society and the origin of families to the immediate descendants of Noah, he insists upon taking up the thread of history at the moment of creation.

The hindus still make use of a period of 12,000 divine years, after which a periodical renovation of the world takes place. It is difficult to fix the time when the Hindus, forsaking the paths of historical truth, launched into the mazes of extravagance and fable. Megasthenes, who had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra Gupta [No, Sandrocottus], and of course had an opportunity of conversing with the best informed persons in India, is silent as to this monstrous system of the Hindus: on the contrary, it appears, from what he says, that in his time they did not carry back their antiquities much beyond six thousand, or even five thousand years, as we read in some MSS. He adds also, according to Clemens of Alexandria, that the Hindus and the Jews were the only people, who had a true idea of the creation of the world, and the beginning of things...

At all events, long before the ninth century the chronological system of the Hindus was as complete, or rather, perfectly the same as it is now; for Albumazar, who was contemporary with the famous Almamun, and lived at his court at Balac or Balkh, had made the Hindu antiquities his particular study. He was also a famous astronomer and astrologer, and had made enquiries respecting the conjunctions of the planets, the time of the creation of the world, and its duration, for astrological purposes; and he says, that the Hindus reckoned from the Flood to the Hejira [Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in AD 622.] 720,634,442,715 days, or 3725 years.

Here is a mistake, which probably originates with the transcriber or translator, but it may be easily rectified. The first number, though somewhat corrupted, is obviously meant for the number of days from the creation to the Hejira; and the 3725 years are reckoned from the beginning of the Cali-yug to the Hejira. It was then the opinion of Albumazar, about the middle of the ninth century, that the aera of the Cali-yug coincided with that of the Flood. He had, perhaps, data which no longer exist...

Swayambhuva is Brahma in a human shape, or the first Brahma: for Brahma is man individually, and also collectively, mankind; hence Brahma is said to be born and to die every day, as there are men springing to life, and dying ever day. Collectively he dies every hundred years, this being the utmost limits of life in the Cali-yug, according to the Puranas: at the end of the world, Brahma or mankind is said to die also, at the end of a hundred divine years. Swayambhuva, in the present calpa, is Vishnu in the character of Brahma-rupi Javardana, or the Vishnu with the countenance of Brahma. To understand this it is necessary to premise, that it has been revealed to the Hindus, that, from the beginning to the end of things, when the whole creation will be annihilated and absorbed into the Supreme Being, there will be five great calpas, or periods. We are now in the middle of the fourth calpa, fifty years of Brahma being elapsed; and of the remainder the first calpa is begun. These five great calpas include 500 years of Brahma, at the end of which nothing will remain but the self-existing....

We are now under the reign of the fourth Chronus. The Western mythologists mention several ruling deities of that name. Calsva-rupi signifies he who has the countenance of Cala, Chronus, or Time. This is now the calpa of Vishnu, who, to create, thought on Brahma, and became Brahma-rupi-Janardana. He preserves and fosters the whole creation in his own character; and will ultimately destroy it through Iswara or Rudra. The calpa of Vishnu is called also the Pudma or Lotos period. It is declared in the puranas that all animals and plants are the Ling or Phallus of the Calsva-rupi deity; and that at the end of his own calpa he is deprived of his Ling by his successor, who attracts the whole creation to himself, to swallow it up or devour it, according to the Western mythologists; and at the end of his calpa he disgorges the whole creation. Such is the origin of Chronus devouring his own offspring; of Jupiter disgorging it through a potion administered to him by Metis; and of Chronus castrating his own father.

-- On the Chronology of the Hindus, by Captain Francis Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Vol. V, P. 241, 1799

In his system of chronology, accordingly, we have a series of rulers, Hebrew, Hindu, Chaldean, Persian, Chinese, and Egyptian, who reigned before the flood; in other words, the antediluvian patriarchs, in the two lines of descent from Seth and Cain, are represented as the first sovereigns of those several divisions of the east: and in this way, it will be granted that he contrives to dispose of the fourteen dynasties of ancient kings, mentioned in the Old Chronicle, by Manethon and by Berosus, which have so grievously perplexed all modern settlers of dates. From Syncellus downwards, all the compilers of chronological tables have been thrown out of their reckoning by the length of Manethon's catalogue; and we believe they have all adopted the same methods for combating the difficulties thereby presented, namely, either to reject the first fourteen dynasties, or reigns, as altogether fabulous, or, admitting them to have some ground in historical fact, to set them down as contemporary governments. Now, as Noah was the eighth from Adam, it is very plausibly inferred in the work before us, that there were six chiefs or rulers in each of the two lines of Adam's sons, making between them, including our first parent and Noah, the very fourteen reigns in question (for reign and dynasty here are admitted to be synonymous), and thereby giving an intelligible import to the otherwise unmeaning list of aboriginal kings found in the most ancient records. There may perhaps be a little imagination in the matter; but it is astonishing how successfully the author contrives to make the Hindu, Chaldean, Chinese, and Egyptian annals coincide, in their earliest details of names and sovereignties: and it is still more remarkable that both the Hindu and Chaldean historians mention in regard to the eighth king in their list, that he with his family was miraculously saved from the general destruction of the deluge by means of a ship or ark.

“The Chaldeans record that the eighth ruler of the world, named Sisuthrus, was saved in an ark from the general deluge, which occurred A.M. 1656; allotting for the reigns of the six princes who ruled between Alorus and Sisuthrus, 760 years of 360 days."

"The Hebrews inform us that the eighth person, a preacher of righteousnesss, was saved in the ark from a deluge which destroyed the rest of mankind, A.M. 1656: and they allot for the reign of the six princes that ruled between Adam and Noah, 725 years of 365-1/4 days."

"The Chinese, who, like the Egyptians, omit any particular account of the ark, record that Yaw, the eighth ruler of the world in succession, commenced his reign one year after the great deluge. Complet, who supposes this reign to have commenced A.M. 1650, places it in the fortieth year of a cycle. But the classical Chinese authors place it in the Cali year 757, or A.M. 1657, the forty-seventh year of a cycle. The cycle is not very material; since all Chinese authors agree that in the preceding year of the same cycle, there was a deluge which inundated the whole earth.”

"The Hindus inform us that the eighth prince, named Satyavatar, was saved in an ark, by the especial favour of the Deity, from a general deluge, which was ordained for the destruction of the world, in consequence of their impiety, and which commenced when seven prophetic days were ended, answering to 1680 years of 360 days. That when the waters abated, he was appointed by the Saviour of the world (the favour of Heri) the eighth Menu, and named from his patronymic Vaivaswata, or child of the sun. It admits not of doubt that the Hebrew Noah, the Chaldean Sisuthrus, the Chinese Yaw, and the Hindu Satyavatar, who assumed the name of Vaivaswat after the flood, were the same persons described by different names. And since each nation professes that his reign commenced one year after the great deluge, it follows that the seven preceding kings who reigned in succession, forming thirteen dynasties, reigns, or Menwantaras, were antediluvian."


We cannot indeed refrain from acknowledging, that any hypothesis of ancient chronology, which makes room for the whole of the dynasties contained in Manethon and the Old Chronicle, has a strong claim upon our consideration and forbearance. Bryant confesses that before an author could enter upon any comparison of ancient records, it appeared absolutely necessary to clear the way, by lopping off the first fourteen dynasties of Manethon. Sir John Marsham adopts the notion, already suggested, that these fourteen princes reigned all at once; and Dr. Pritchard, with considerable ingenuity, endeavours to prove that this portion of Manethon's catalogue, is nothing more than an imperfect copy of a more recent document. This insinuation, however, appears to us perfectly groundless; and, besides, it comes with rather a bad grace from the Doctor, whose greatest merit as chronologist, arises from the success, which has attended his endeavours to establish the accuracy of Manethon's tables in every other particular.

Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt) in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the kings of ancient Egypt...

no sources for the dates of his life and death remain... Although the historicity of Manetho of Sebennytus was taken for granted by Josephus and later authors, the question as to whether he existed remains problematic....

Manetho is described as a native Egyptian and Egyptian would have been his mother tongue. Although the topics he supposedly wrote about dealt with Egyptian matters, he is said to have written exclusively in the Greek language for a Greek-speaking audience. Other literary works attributed to him include Against Herodotus, The Sacred Book, On Antiquity and Religion, On Festivals, On the Preparation of Kyphi, and the Digest of Physics. The treatise Book of Sothis has also been attributed to Manetho. It is important to note that not one of these works are attested during the Ptolemaic period when Manetho of Sebennytus is said to have lived. In fact, they are not mentioned in any source prior to the first century AD... The gap is even larger for the other works attributed to Manetho such as The Sacred Book that is mentioned for the very first time by Eusebius in the fourth century AD.

If Manetho of Sebennytus was a historical figure he was probably a priest of the sun-god Ra at Heliopolis (according to George Syncellus, he was the chief priest). He was considered by Plutarch to be an authority on the cult of Serapis (a derivation of Osiris and Apis)...

Despite the reliance of Egyptologists on him for their reconstructions of the Egyptian dynasties, the problem with a close study of Manetho is that not only was Aegyptiaca not preserved as a whole, but it also became involved in a rivalry among advocates of Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek histories in the form of supporting polemics. During this period, disputes raged concerning the oldest civilizations, and so Manetho's account was probably excerpted during this time for use in this argument with significant alterations. Material similar to Manetho's has been found in Lysimachus of Alexandria, a brother of Philo, and it has been suggested that this was inserted into Manetho....

The earliest surviving attestation to Manetho is that of Contra Apionem ("Against Apion") by Flavius Josephus, nearly four centuries after Aegyptiaca was composed. Even here, it is clear that Josephus did not have the originals, and constructed a polemic against Manetho without them....

Contemporaneously or perhaps after Josephus wrote, an epitome of Manetho's work must have been circulated. This would have involved preserving the outlines of his dynasties and a few details deemed significant. For the first ruler of the first dynasty, Menes, we learn that "he was snatched and killed by a hippopotamus". The extent to which the epitome preserved Manetho's original writing is unclear ... Nevertheless, the epitome was preserved by Sextus Julius Africanus [200 A.D.] and Eusebius of Caesarea [314 A.D.].... Eusebius in turn was preserved by Jerome in his Latin translation, an Armenian translation, and by George Syncellus... Africanus, Syncellus, and the Latin and Armenian translations of Eusebius are what remains of the epitome of Manetho....

Josephus records him admitting to using "nameless oral tradition" (1.105) and "myths and legends" (1.229) for his account, and there is no reason to doubt this, as admissions of this type were common among historians of that era....

Egyptian Men or Meni (Son of Ra and king-list names) becomes Menes (officially, this is Pharaoh I.1 Narmer—"I" represents Dynasty I, and "1" means the first king of that dynasty), while Menkauhor/Menkahor (Throne and king-list names, the Horus names is Menkhau and the Son of Ra name is "Kaiu Horkaiu[...]") is transcribed as Menkheres (V.7 Menkauhor)....

Syncellus similarly recognised [Aegyptiaca's] importance when recording Eusebius and Africanus, and even provided a separate witness from the Book of Sothis. Unfortunately, this material is likely to have been a forgery or hoax of unknown date. Every king in Sothis after Menes is irreconcilable with the versions of Africanus and Eusebius....

Today, his division of dynasties is used universally, and this has permeated the study of nearly all royal genealogies by the conceptualization of succession in terms of dynasties or houses.

-- Manetho, by Wikipedia

But how were the records of the Old World preserved, so as to be accessible in postdiluvian times to Manethon, or the author of the Old Chronicle?

Berosus, the historian of Chaldea, informs us, that “they were buried by order of the Deity, in a temple belonging to the city of the Sun at Sipora, and recovered after the waters had subsided." The Hindus, on the other hand, if our author is to be trusted, assure us, that they were taken into the ark, under the denomination of the seven Maha Shees, or great saints
; which Sir William Jones, it seems, has rendered "seven holy companions, instead of great saints." But granting all that our chronologist assumes, we cannot perceive how the “Maha Shees, or seven precepts, which issued from the Almighty, and which he commanded to be taken into the ark, as a light to the postdiluvian world,” are to be identified with a mere list of the thirteen kings, who issued from the loins of Adam, through his sons Cain and Seth.[!!!] Considering, too, the great longevity of the antediluvians, their proximity to one another, and the relationship of a common speech, there can be no difficulty in accounting in the most natural manner possible, for the preservation of the few facts communicated to us, regarding the old world, particularly the number and the succession of the patriarchs. The discussion therefore, which our author chuses to enter into, on this point, is puerile in the extreme. No man in his senses could allow himself to believe that the seven saints, or lights, or Maha Shees, were Noah's wife, his three sons and their wives, and that the shining of their faces was sufficiently resplendent to supply the place of torches and candles during his long voyage in the ark. Bryant never meant that Noah's companions served any such domestic purpose as is here assigned to them: he merely fell into the mistake of supposing, that the seven lights, specified in the ancient document, were literally and properly candles or torches.

We ought not to conclude this hasty sketch of a hastily written and very confused book, without adverting more particularly to the motives which have induced the author to give it publicity. Of these the principal one appears to arise from his conviction, that if we granted more to the Hindus in the way of religion, they would receive more from us: somewhat on the same grounds that the advocates for an unlimited freedom of trade, are found to advocate their cause. If, for example, proceeding on the principles avowed in the work before us, we were to admit that "the cosmogony of every nation was drawn from the same source," and also that their four Buddhas were the persons we reverence under the names of Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Moses, we may, in our turn, expect them to acknowledge the divine authority of our sacred books. The author tells us, that he has frequently read with the Brahman the scriptures of the Old and New Testament: and that they are extremely anxious to be informed on all matters relative to the cosmogony and theology of Europeans,

“The truth of the Old Testament they readily admitted, and considered Christ as a prophet; yet, adhering to the belief that no incarnation of the Deity would appear in the Cali age, until that period when the Divine Spirit should appear as Calsi to judge the world; they readily admitted that we had traditions of the same events: and that we worshipped the same God under a different name. The Prophecies of Isaiah they read with great interest, but were convinced that they alluded to the coming of Calsi, or the last Avatar. Nevertheless, but for local circumstances, many of the Brahmans, I am convinced, had become proselytes. How detrimental to Christianity, how repugnant to reason, is that system which ascribes to oriental vanity all that is not perfectly clear to the limited comprehensions of a few individuals.

"Hitherto their great luminary Buddha, the son of Máyá, whom one sect worships as an incarnation of the Deity, from his having been exempt from death, hath been represented by Europeans as an impostor; and much pains have been taken to establish his identity with Foe, a Chinese atheist, who, in his dying moments, denied the existence of pure spirit. The time is arrived when the natives of India shall learn from the orthodox ministers of our church, (by identifying their Buddha with Enoch) that every christian considers him as a type of that blessed Spirit, to whose religion they are desirous of converting them. It must be obvious to every unprejudiced mind, that the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts will be furthered, in proportion to the tolerance with which it is recommended; and that we should always endeavour to convince others, that while we contend for the purity of our own religion, considering it a peculiar (peculiar do you say?) revelation from God, we by no means deny the divine origin of theirs. In lieu then of condemning the religion, and ridiculing the prophets of the Hindus, if we would convert them to christianity, we should compare their religion, and their prophets with our own. How gratifying to a Brahman must it be to read in our Scriptures that Buddha, the son of Devaw, under the Hebrew appellation of Moses, recorded that their divine Buddha, under the name of Enoch, 'walked with God,' and was translated to heaven in the 88th year of the Cali age. That Solomon, the wisest of men, attributed the shortness of the prophet's duration on earth, to his piety, recording that he pleased God, and was beloved by him, so that living amongst sinners he was translated, lest wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul: 'that the son of Sirac quoted their prophet as an example of repentance to all men;' for, upon earth was no man created like Enoch, who was taken from the earth.' These passages, as confirmed by the apostles of Christ, if properly explained, cannot fail of producing in so tolerant a race as the Hindus, impressions favourable to our religion. -- What is so likely to impress the Brahmans with favourable sentiments of our religion, as a knowledge that their prophet, the seventh from Swayambhuva (the first created) was quoted as an example of piety and faith by the Apostles of the Church of which they are invited to become members!" Pref. P. xii.


Every body knows that serious obstacles have been raised to the progress of christianity, by the ignorant and officious zeal of European missionaries, both popish and protestant, who have too frequently attempted to recommend one religion, which they had not properly studied, by calumniating another which they did not understand. But our author's plan is equally faulty, and would be equally inefficient; for, it proceeds upon the supposition, that both the religions are divine; deriving their origin from the same names and authority; and, in fact, differing in hardly any other respect, than that the language employed to describe the events and observances upon which they are respectively founded, has been differently interpreted and partially misunderstood. Reformation is the only term which a christian, holding the views of our author, could consistently use when addressing the Brahminical order; and these last might perhaps retort upon him as the Jews did on Dr. Priestley, and remind him that, by going over to them, a union would be much more easily effected, than by any movement on their part, who had much greater obstacles to overcome. We therefore beg leave to recommend to our anonymous friend, a due consideration of the following anecdote, which we borrow from himself.

“Some years ago, on a young Brahman having been converted to Christianity by a Danish Missionary, his father exclaimed, Alas! he was ignorant of his own religion:' and thus mildly admonished him: 'My son, thou art yet too young to be acquainted with the mysteries of our sacred religion. Thou shouldest have applied for information to the learned sacerdotal Brahmans, who would have enlightened thy mind, and by removing thy doubts, prevented thy dereliction of the holy religion of thy forefathers.'"
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