Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

This is a broad, catch-all category of works that fit best here and not elsewhere. If you haven't found it someplace else, you might want to look here.

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 [p. 94-100]), 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 accession of Chandragupta to the throne, and more particularly the famous expiation of Chanacya, after the massacre of the Sumalyas, is a famous era in the Chronology of the Hindus; and both may be easily ascertained from the Puranas, and also from the historians of Alexander. In the year 328 B.C. that conqueror defeated Porus; and as he advanced* [Diodor. Sic. lib. XVII. c. 91. Arrian also, &c.] the son of the brother of that prince, a petty king in the eastern parts of the Panjab, fled at his approach, and went to the king of the Gangaridae, who was at that time king Nanda of the Puranas. In the Mudra-rachasa, a dramatic poem, and by no means a rare book, notice is taken of this circumstance. There was, says the author, a petty king of Vicatpalli, beyond the Vindhyan mountains, called Chandra-dasa, who, having been deprived of his kingdom by the Yavanas, or Greeks, left his native country, and assuming the garb of a penitent, with the name of Suvidha, came to the metropolis of the emperor Nanda, who had been dangerously ill for some time. He seemingly recovered; but his mind and intellects were strangely affected. It was supposed that he was really dead, but that his body was re-animated by the soul of some enchanter, who had left his own body in the charge of a trusty friend. Search was made immediately, and they found the body of the unfortunate dethroned king, lying as if dead, and watched by two disciples, on the banks of the Ganges. They concluded that he was the enchanter, burned his body, and flung his two guardians into the Ganges. Perhaps the unfortunate man was sick, and in a state of lethargy, or otherwise intoxicated. Then the prince's minister assassinated the old king soon after, and placed one of his sons upon the throne, but retained the whole power in his own hands. This, however, did not last long; for the young king, disliking his own situation, and having been informed that the minister was the murderer of his royal father, had him apprehended, and put to a most cruel death. After this, the young king shared the imperial power with seven of his brothers; but Chandragupta was excluded, being born of a base woman. They agreed, however, to give him a handsome allowance, which he refused with indignation; and from that moment his eight brothers resolved upon his destruction. Chandragupta fled to distant countries; but was at last seemingly reconciled to them, and lived in the metropolis: at least it appears that he did so; for he is represented as being in, or near, the imperial palace, at the time of the revolution, which took place, twelve years after, Porus's relation made his escape to Palibothra, in the year 328, B.C. and in the latter end of it. Nanua was then assassinated in that year; and in the following, or 327, B. C. Alexander encamped on the banks of the Hyphasis. It was then that Chandragupta visited that conqueror's camp; and, by his loquacity and freedom of speech, so much offended him, that he would have put Chandragupta to death, if he had not made a precipitate retreat, according to Justin* [Lib. xv. c, 4.]. The eight brothers ruled conjointly twelve years, or till 315 years B.C. when Chandragupta was raised to the throne, by the intrigues of a wicked and revengeful priest called Chanacya. It was Chandragupta and Chanacya, who put the imperial family to death; and it was Chandragupta who was said to be the spurious offspring of a barber, because his mother, who was certainly of a low tribe, was called Mura, and her son of course Maurya, in a derivative from; which last signifies also the offspring of a barber: and it seems that Chandragupta went by that name, particularly in the west; for be is known to Arabian writers by the name of Mur, according to the Nubian geographer, who says that he was defeated and killed by Alexander; for these authors supposed that this conqueror crossed the Ganges: and it is also the opinion of some ancient historians in the west.

In the Cumarica-chanda, it is said, that it was the wicked Chanacya who caused the eight royal brothers to be murdered; and it is added, that Chanacya, after his paroxism of revengeful rage was over, was exceedingly troubled in his mind, and so much stung with remorse for his crime, and the effusion of human blood, which took place in consequence of it, that he withdrew to the Sucla-Tirtha, a famous place of worship near the sea on the bank of the Narmada, and seven coss to the west of Baroche, to get himself purified. There, having gone through a most severe course of religious austerities and expiatory ceremonies, he was directed to sail upon the river in a boat with white sails, which, if they turned black, would be to him a sure sign of the remission of his sins; the blackness of which would attach itself to the sails. It happened so, and he joyfully sent the boat adrift, with his sins, into the sea.

This ceremony, or another very similar to it, (for the expense of a boat would be too great), is performed to this day at the Sucla-Tirtha; but, instead of a boat, they use a common earthen pot, in which they light a lamp, and send it adrift with the accumulated load of their sins.

In the 63d section of the Agni-purana, this expiation is represented in a different manner. One day, says the author, as the gods, with holy men, were assembled in the presence of Indra, the sovereign lord of heaven, and as they were conversing on various subjects, some took notice of the abominable conduct of Chanacya, of the atrocity and heinousness of his crimes. Great was the concern and affliction of the celestial court on the occasion; and the heavenly monarch observed, that it was hardly possible that they should ever be expiated.

One of the assembly took the liberty to ask him, as it was still possible, what mode of expiation was requisite in the present case? and Indra answered, the Carshagni. There was present a crow, who, from her friendly disposition, was surnamed Mitra Caca: she flew immediately to Chanacya, and imparted the welcome news to him. He had applied in vain to the most learned divines; but they uniformly answered him, that his crime was of such a nature, that no mode of expiation for it could be found in the ritual. Chanacya immediately performed the Carshagni, and went to heaven. But the friendly crow was punished for her indiscretion: she was thenceforth, with all her tribe, forbidden to ascend to heaven; and they were doomed on earth to live upon carrion.

The Carshagni consists in covering the whole body with a thick coat of cow-dung, which, when dry, is set on fire. This mode of expiation, in desperate cases, was unknown before; but was occasionally performed afterwards, and particularly by the famous Sancaracharya. It seems that Chandragupta, after he was firmly seated on the imperial throne, accompanied Chanacya to the Suclatirtha, in order to get himself purified also.

This happened, according to the Cumarica-chanda, after 300 and 10 and 3000 years of the Cali-yuga were elapsed, which would place this event 210 years after Christ. The fondness of the Hindus for quaint and obscure expressions, is the cause of many mistakes. But the ruling epocha of this paragraph is the following: "After three thousand and one hundred years of the Cali-yuga are elapsed (or in 3101) will appear king Saca (or Salivahana) to remove wretchedness from the world. The first year of Christ answers to 3101 of the Cali-yuga, and we may thus correct the above passage: "Of the Caliyuga, 3100 save 300 and 10 years being elapsed (or 2790), then will Chanacya go to the Suclatirtha."

This is also confirmed in the 63d and last section of the Agni-purana, in which the expiation of Chanacya is placed 312 years before the first year of the reign of Saca or Salivahana, but not of his era. This places this famous expiation 310, or 312 years before Christ, either three or five years after the massacre of the imperial family.

My Pandit, who is a native of that country, informs me, that Chanacya's crimes, repentance, and atonement, are the subject of many pretty legendary tales, in verse, current in the country; part of some he repeated to me.

Soon after, Chandragupta made himself master of the greatest part of India, and drove the Greeks out of the Punjab. Tradition says, that he built a city in the Deccan, which he called after his own name. It was lately found by the industrious and active Major Mackenzie, who says that it was situated a little below Sri-Salam, or Purwutum, on the bank of the Crishna; but nothing of it remains, except the ruins. This accounts for the inhabitants of the Deccan being so well acquainted with the history of Chandragupta. The authors of the Mudra- Rakshasa, and its commentary, were natives of that country.

In the mean time, Seleucus, ill brooking the loss of his possessions in India, resolved to wage war, in order to recover them, and accordingly entered India at the head of an army; but finding Chandragupta ready to receive him, and being at the same time uneasy at the increasing power of Antigonus and his son, he made peace with the emperor of India, relinquished his conquests, and renounced every claim to them. Chandragupta made him a present of 50 elephants; and, in order to cement their friendship more strongly, an alliance by marriage took place between them, according to Strabo, who does not say in what manner it was effected. It is not likely, however, that Seleucus should marry an Indian princess; besides, Chandragupta, who was very young when he visited Alexander's camp, could have no marriageable daughter at that time. It is more probable, that Seleucus gave him his natural daughter, born in Persia. From that time, I suppose, Chandragupta had constantly a large body of Grecian troops in his service, as mentioned in the Mudra-Racshasa.

It appears, that this affinity between Seleucus and Chandragupta took place in the year 302 B.C. at least the treaty of peace was concluded in that year. Chandragupta reigned four-and-twenty years; and of course died 292 years before our era.

-- Essay III. Of the Kings of Magadha; their Chronology, by Captain Wilford, Asiatic Researches, Volume 9, 1809. pgs. 94-100.

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
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Jan 04, 2022 4:29 am

Part 2 of 4

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


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
 
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Jan 04, 2022 4:55 am

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.

Image
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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

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 Devi 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.

Image
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.

-- 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.
Nanda or Mahapadma Nanda... He had by one wife eight sons, who with their father were known as the nine Nandas; and, according to the popular tradition, he had by a wife of low extraction, called Mura, another son named Chandragupta. This last circumstance is not stated in the Puranas nor Vrihat Katha, and rests therefore on rather questionable authority...

It also appears from the play, that Chandragupta was a member of the same family as Nanda, although it is not there stated that he was Nanda’s son.


-- The Mudra Rakshasa, or The Signet of the Minister. A Drama, Translated from the Original Sanscrit, Select Specimens of the Theatre of the Hindus, Translated from Original Sanskrit, in Two Volumes, Vol. II, by Horace Hayman Wilson, 1835

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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:40 am

Part 1 of 2

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

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:59 am

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.'"
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:04 am

Everything We Know about Father Jean Calmette's "Four Vedas" Being Sent to Paris' Bibliotheque Imperiale



***

The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

At this point, Voltaire leaned toward India as the earliest human civilization (1756:1.30) and believed that the most ancient text of this civilization was called Vedam and contained a simple and pure monotheism. So he must have been elated when a reader of his 1756 Essai, Louis-Laurent de Federbe, Chevalier (later Comte) DE MAUDAVE (1725-77), wrote to him from India two or three years after publication of the Essai. Maudave had left in May 1757 for India and in 1758 participated in the capture of Fort St. David and the siege of Madras (Rocher 1984:77). While stationed in South India, Maudave had gotten hold of French translations from the Vedam and decided to write a letter to Voltaire. Having read the Japan chapter of the 1756 Essai, he knew how interested Voltaire was In finding documentation for ancient Indian monotheism through the Vedam. In the margin of a page of his Ezour-vedam manuscript (which he later passed on to Voltaire), Maudave scribbled next to two prayers to God: "Copy these prayers in the letter to M. de Voltaire" (p. 80).32 Though these prayers are nor found in the extant fragment of Maudave's letter, it is likely that Maudave included them in order to document the existence of pure monotheism in the Vedam. The second major point of Voltaire's 1756 Essai that Maudave addressed in his letter was the cult of the lingam.33 In his discussion, Maudave quoted the Ezour-vedam as textual witness and offered to send Voltaire a replica of a Linga and a copy of the Ezour-vedam (Rocher 1984:48).

Maudave's letter to Voltaire described the Ezour-vedam as a dialogue written by the author of the Vedas: "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all, to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 49). Maudave also specifically mentioned the author of the text's French translation: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery" (p. 49). Since this missionary had died in Rome in 1716, Maudave must have thought that the translation from the Sanskrit original was about fifty years old. This missionary connection clearly disturbed Maudave. First of all, a strange agreement with Christian doctrine made Maudave suspicious about the quality of the translation. More than that, he let Voltaire know that his doubts were specifically connected with the tendency of the translator's Jesuit order to find traces of their own faith in just about every part of the world -- in Chinese books, in Mexico, and even among the savages of South America (p. 80)! Maudave [1757] had carefully studied the Jesuit letters including those of Calmette that announced the dispatch of the four Vedas to Paris and wrote the following about their content to Voltaire:

This body of the religion and regulations of the country is divided in four books. There is one at the Royal Library. The first contains the history of the gods. The second the dogmas. The third the morals. The fourth the civil and religious rites. They are written in this mysterious language which is here discussed and which is called the Samscrout.


What puzzled Maudave above all was that this information about the content of the Vedas was in total contradiction with what he saw in the Ezourvedam. He wrote to Voltaire that the Ezour-vedam was a dialogue between two Brahmes, one of whom "believes in the religion of the Indies" while the other "defends the unity of God" (p. 122r). Maudave thought "this dialogue assumes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams and that he wrote them to remedy the vain superstitions that spread among men and above all to stop the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 122r). The Chumontou of the Ezour-vedam was both a fierce critic of rites and seemed to be the author of the Vedams. Maudave observed, "Here there is a very manifest contradiction since one book of the Vedams contains all the religious rites of which the cult of God forms a part" …

Though Father Calmette had sent the Vedas in the 1730s to Paris in Telugu script (see Chapter 7), nobody could read them….

A new phase in the study of ancient Asian materials began in earnest at the end of the seventeenth century, around the time when Jean-Paul BIGNON (1662-1743) became president of the Academie des Sciences (1692), began his reform of the Academy of Sciences (1699), became director of the Journal des Savants, gave it its lasting form (1701), and reorganized Europe's largest library (the Royal Library in Paris that evolved into the Bibliotheque Nationale de France). It was Bignon who stacked the College Royal with instructors like Fourmont (Leung 2002:130); it was Bignon whom Father Bouvet wanted to get on board for his grand project of an academy in China (Collani 1989); it was Bignon who employed Huang, Freret, and Fourmont to catalog Chinese books at the library and to produce Chinese grammars and dictionaries; it was Bignon who ordered CalmeIte and Pons to find and send the Vedas and other ancient Indian texts to Paris (see Chapter 6); and it was Bignon who supported Fourmont's expensive project of carving over 100,000 Chinese characters in Paris (Leung 2002). The conversion of major libraries into state institutions open to the public, which Bignon oversaw, was a development with an immense impact on the production and dissemination of knowledge, including knowledge about the Orient. So was the promotion of scholarly journals like the Journal des Scavans (later renamed Journal des Savants) that featured reviews of books from all over Europe and fulfilled a central function in the pan-European "Republique des lettres"….

Since access to the Vedas was nearly impossible, most of the information about their content was pure fantasy. We have seen in the chapter on Holwell how easy it was to be misled by speculation. But a few missionaries (whose writings were mostly doomed to sleep in archives for several centuries) were in a position to consult vedic texts or question learned informants. The Jesuit Roberto DE NOBILI (1577-1656) obtained direct access to some Vedas from his teacher, a Telugu Brahmin called Shivadharma.

He wrote that the four traditional Vedas are "little more than disorderly congeries of various opinions bearing partly on divine, partly on human subjects, a jumble where religious and civil precepts are miscellaneously put together" (Rubies 2000:338). Having been told in 1608 that the fourth Veda was no longer extant, the missionary decided to proclaim himself "teacher of the fourth, lost Veda which deals with the question of salvation"
(Zupanov 1999:116). De Nobili apparently believed, like his contemporary Matteo Ricci in China, that though original pure monotheism had degenerated into idolatry, vestiges of the original religion survived and could serve to regenerate the ancient creed under the sign of the Cross. After his failed experiment with Buddhist robes (see Chapter I), Ricci adopted the dress of a Confucian scholar, asserted that the Chinese had anciently been pure monotheists, and proclaimed Christianity to be the fulfillment of the doctrines found in ancient Chinese texts. A few years later, Ricci's compatriot de Nobili presented himself in India as an ascetic "sannayasi from the North" and "restorer of 'a lost spiritual Veda'" (Rubies 2000:339) who hailed from faraway Rome where the Ur-tradition had been best preserved. In his Relafao annual for the year 1608, Fernao Guerreiro wrote on a similar line that he was studying Brahmin letters to present his Christian message as a restoration of the spiritual Veda, the true original religion of all countries, including India whose adulterated vestiges were the religions of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva (p. 344).

For de Nobili, the word "Veda" signified the spiritual law revealed by God. He called himself a teacher of Satyavedam, that is, the true revealed law, who had studied philosophy and this very law in Rome. He maintained that his was exactly the same law that "by God's order had been taught in earlier times by Sannyasins" in India (Bachmann 1972:154). De Nobili thus had come to India to restore satyavedam and to bring back, as the title of his didactic Sanskrit poem says, "The Essence of True Revelation [satyavedam]" (Castets 1935:40). De Nobili's description of the traditional Indian Vedas clearly shows that he did not regard them as "genuine Vedas" or genuine divine revelations. That de Nobili was for a long time suspected of being the author of the Ezour-vedam is understandable because in that text Chumontou has fundamentally the same role as de Nobili: he exposes the degenerate accretions of the reigning clergy's "Veda," represented by the traditional Veda compiler Biache (Vyasa), in order to teach them about satyavedam, the divine Ur-revelation whose correct transmission he represents against the degenerate transmission in the Vedas of the Brahmins. This "genuine Veda" had once upon a time been brought to India, but subsequently the Indians had forgotten it and instituted the false Veda that is now religiously followed. The common aim of de Nobili and of Chumontou was the restoration of the true, most ancient divine revelation (Veda) and the denunciation of the false, degenerated Veda that the Brahmins now call their own….

After Abbe Jean-Paul Bignon had been nominated to the post of director of the Royal Library in 1719 and of the special library at the Louvre in 1720 (Leung 2002:130), he gave orders to acquire the Vedas. But this was easier said than done. In 1730 a young and linguistically gifted Jesuit by the name of Jean CALMETTE (1693-1740), who had joined the Jesuit India mission in 1726, wrote about the difficulties:

Those who for thirty years have written that the Vedam cannot be found were not completely wrong: there was not enough money to find them. Many people, missionaries, and laymen, have spent money for nothing and were left empty-handed when they thought they would get everything. Less than six years ago [in 1726] two missionaries, one in Bengal and the other one here [in Carnate], were duped. Mr. Didier, the royal engineer, gave sixty rupees for a book that was supposed to be the Vedam on the order of Father Pons, the superior of [the Jesuit mission of] Bengal. (Bach 1847:441)


But in the same letter Calmette announced that he was certain of having found the genuine Vedas:

The Vedams found here have clarified issues regarding other books. They had been considered so impossible to find that in Pondicherry many people could not believe that it was the genuine Vedam, and I was asked if I had thoroughly examined it. But the investigations I have made leave no doubt whatsoever; and I continue to examine them every day when scholars or young brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the land come to see me and I make them recite it. I even recite together with them what I have learned from some text's beginning or from other places. It is the Vedam; there is no more doubt about this.


Calmette achieved this success thanks to a Brahmin who was a secret Christian, and in 1731 he reported having acquired all four Vedas, including the fourth that de Nobili had thought lost (p. 442). In 1732, Father le Gac mailed to Paris two Vedas written in Telugu letters on palm leaves, and the copying of the remaining two was ongoing.

From the early 1730s Father Calmette devoted himself intensively to the study of the Vedas and wrote on January 24, 1733:

Since the King has made the decision to form an Oriental library, Abbe Bignon has graced us with the honor of relying on us for research of Indian books. We are already benefiting much from this for the advancement of religion; having acquired by these means the essential books which are like the arsenal of paganism, we extract from it the weapons to combat the doctors of idolatry, and the weapons that hurt them the most are their own philosophy, their theology, and especially the four Vedam which contain the law of the brahmins and which India since time immemorial possesses and regards as the sacred book: the book whose authority is irrefragable and which derived from God himself. (Le Gobien 1781:13.394)…


Naturally, Calmette profited from the experience of other missionaries who had mastered difficult languages and were interested in antiquity, for example, Claude de Visdelou who resided in Pondicherry for three decades and was very familiar with missionary tactics and methods in China.8 But even more important, in 1733 a learned fellow Jesuit by the name of Jean-Francois PONS (1698-1751) had joined Calmette in the Carnate mission. Pons and Calmette came from the same town of Rodez in southern France, had both joined the Jesuit novitiate in Toulouse, were both sent to India, and were both studying Sanskrit. Pons had arrived in India two years prior to Calmette, in 1724, and spent his first four years in the Carnate region. It was Pons who had tried to buy a copy of the Veda for 60 rupees in 1726, only to find out that he had fallen victim to a scam. From 1728 to 1733, he was superior of the Bengal mission, and it is during this time that he studied Sanskrit. As superior in Chandernagor he became an important channel for the European discovery of India's literature. He spent on behalf of Abbe Bignon and the Royal Library in Paris a total of 1,779 rupees for researchers, copyists, and manuscripts in Sanskrit and Persian. They included the Mahabharata in 17 volumes, 24 volumes of Puranas, 31 volumes about philology, 22 volumes about history and mythology, 7 volumes about astronomy and astrology, and 8 volumes of poems, among other acquisitions (Castets 1935:47). …

Calmette's objective in studying the Vedas was not a translation of any part of them. That would definitely have been impossible after just a few years of study, even with the help of Pons. The language of these texts, particularly that of earlier Vedas, was a tough nut to crack even for learned Indians. In a letter dated September 16, 1737, Calmette wrote to Father Rene Joseph de Tournemine in Paris:

I think like you, reverend father, that it would have been appropriate to consult original texts of Indian religion with more care; but we did not have these books at hand until now, and for a long time they were considered impossible to find, especially the principal ones which are the four Vedan. It was only five or six years ago that, due to [the establishment of] an oriental library system for the King, I was asked to do research about Indian books that could form part of it. I then made discoveries that are important for [our] Religion, and among these I count the four Vedan or sacred books. But these books, which even the most able doctors only half understand and which a brahmin would not dare to explain to us for fear of a scandal in his caste, are written in a language for which Samscroutam [Sanskrit], the language of the learned, does not yet provide the key because they are written in a more ancient language. These books, I say, are in more than one way sealed for us. (Le Gobien 1781:14.6)


But Calmette tried his hand at composing some verses in Sanskrit and wrote on December 20, 1737, after a bout of fever that had hindered his study of Sanskrit: "I could not help composing a few verses in this language, in the style of controversy, to oppose them to those poured forth by the Indians" (Castets 1935:40). Calmette was inspired by de Nobili's writings that were stored at the Pondicherry mission and seems to have partly copied and rearranged de Nobili's Sattia Veda Sanghiragham (Essence of genuine revelation) (p. 40), whose title expresses exactly the idea that seems to have influenced Calmette so profoundly: the notion of a true Veda (satya veda)….

For Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, the word "Veda" "does not signify exclusively a sacred book but implies in general as much as a sacred law, whether observed by Indians or other nations". Of course, Paulinus famously (and wrongly[???]) argued that "the Vedas" do not exist as a specific set of ancient Indian scriptures and that the Indians call many texts, even non-Indian ones, "Vedas." But modern southern Indian usage agrees with Paulinus's view about the word…

***

The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

By the end of 1728 Le Gac’s resistance had given way in the face of the resources and authority of Bignon and Le Noir. In his response to Bignon in January 1729, Le Gac expressed his confidence that he would be able to acquire the Vedas and, to a greater or lesser extent, the other works which had been requested. In August of the following year [1730], Calmette reported that he had obtained copies of the first two Vedas, which he calls “Rougvédam” and “Ejourvédam,” and two years later, in August 1732, he was able to add the “Samavédam” and the “Adarvanavédam.”91 [Calmette to Souciet, 26 Aug 1730, Fonds Brotier 89, f. 25v; Calmette to Souciet, 25 Aug 1732, Fonds Brotier 89, f. 35r. Further references to these two letters will be given in the text by year and folio. The works were sent to Europe in the early 1730s and remain in the BNF: Ṛgveda (Sanscrit 214); Sāmaveda (Sanscrit 310–12); Yajurveda (Sanscrit 313, 424); Artharvaveda (Sanscrit 177–79, but see below). For details of the contents of the manuscripts see Filliozat, Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, I & II. [Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published:1941-, Call Number:016.4912 FRA] ]

-- Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published: 1941, Volume I

-- Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, par Jean Filliozat, Author: Bibliotheque nationale (France). Departement des manuscrits, Publisher: Adrien Maisonneuve, Paris, Year Published: 1941, Volume II


In 1941 and 1970, Jean Filliozat (1906-1982) prepared and published the detailed catalogue for the beginning of the collection and gave for the manuscripts 1 to 462 a full record with the transcription of the incipit, explicit, scribe remarks, ends of the chapters, etc. This a "modele du genre" that has to be followed nowadays.

Image
214.
RGVEDA, astaka I-IV, padapatha. 1st part of ms. complete of which No. 1036 forms the second. Not accentuated.
ole 1a, margin: rgvedam modati (telinga first) vedam pratha-mastake prathamo dhyayah Small cross at the top of the margin
Debut, 1a 1. 1: crijagadicvaraya namah cubham astu avighnam astu crigurubhyo namah harih om agnim ile purah-hitam yajnasya devam
End from astaka, 1: ole 92a 1. 6 - 2: 189a - 3: 280a 1, 3 (the hymn 363 tvam agne havismanto ... is here the last of the 3rd ast. Instead of being the 1st of the 4th , the 4th begins with hymn 364: agna ojistham ...) - 4: 374a
End, 384a 1.4-5: ... aranyani ganma 32 harih om stuse nara (first words of astaka V) crijagadicvaraya namah
Used by Burnouf (who calls it telinga 1b), Commentary on the Yacna, Paris, 1833, Notes, pp. xxxi, xlix.
374 oles, plus 4 oles of guard at the beginning and 4 at the end (1st ole of guard: line in Telingas characters partially transcribed in Latin characters of the hand of Burnouf), 380 x 30 mm. 6 1. Bamboo corn. - Eer. telinga.
N.d. (1729 or 1730 A.D.). - Prov .: Ballapouram (Mysore). - Sending of Fr. Le Gac (Pondicherry) 1732. - Anc. dimensions: Cod. ind. XXXI; S. telinga 3.

Image
310.
1. Aranyageyasamapradipa (Aranyakagana).
2. Uhyagana.

Image
311.
Samaveda - Uhagana

Image
312.
Tandyabrahmana du Samaveda, pancika I-III = prapathaka 1-15.

Image
313.
Taittiriyasamhita I-V

Image
314.
Samaveda

Image
424.
1. Taittiriyasamhita, VI et VII (suite du no 313).
2. Taittiriyabrahmana, du debut a II, 7 inclus.

Image
177.
Atharvanarahasya-Tantraraja. Texte tantrique relatif au culte de Devi.

Image
178.
Atharvana, recueil de textes magiques, tantriques et relatifs au culte de Devi.
1. Compilation Tantrique
2. Devikavaca par Harihara.
3. Argalastotra.
4. Kilakastotra.
5. Markandeyapurana (adh. 81-93) - Devimahatmya.

Image
179.
Atharvana, mantracastra.

The Telugu or Telinga script (east of Deccan) and the Kannada script (west of Deccan) are different, as to calligraphic qualities especially. Both are typified by letters forms of circles and arcs and topped by a matra forming in V-shape; but this assumes a quite different form in each of the two structures. Besides, in the earliest Kannada, forms tended to curls and curving verticals, which turned progressively upward where the circle first lengthened and then closed into circles. This ornamental hand inherited the calligraphic peculiarities of the Hoysala inscriptions (12th century); it appeared in temple architecture with a particularly lively and complex ornamentation that suggests work in ivory. Kannada epigraphs have survived from the Katumba, Chalukya, Rastrakuta, and other reigns.

-- by the Times International Press

In both letters, Calmette refers to the Brahmins’ secrecy about the Vedas:

Ever since India has been known, it does not appear that the Europeans have been able to unearth this book which the Brames scruple to communicate and which they transcribe superstitiously in the woods or in remote places where they cannot be seen by any who are not of their caste.

I have at last recovered the four Vedas, of which the first is called Rougvédam, the second Ejourvédam, the third Samavédam, the fourth Adarvanavédam. The fourth is that which, so long as there have been missionaries in India, has been said to have been thrown into the sea by the Brahmins. Thus, that which the Brahmins have until now kept hidden more than the Jews have the books of Moses, that which they have communicated to no other nation of the world, not even to Indians if they are not of their caste, finally falls into our hands and the sea itself has given up its prey.


Calmette described how he had confirmed the authenticity of the texts he had purchased by having young Brahmins who were learning the Vedas recite them to him. In his letter he describes how both Gargam, his close colleague in the northern reaches of the Carnatic mission, and Jean-François Pons, a Jesuit collecting Sanskrit texts in Bengal, had been deceived into buying texts purporting to be Vedas. Nevertheless, while Calmette did obtain the Ṛg, Yajur, and Sāma Veda saṃhitās, his “Adarvana Vedam” is in fact an assortment of tantric and magical texts connected with goddess worship called Ātharvaṇatantrarāja and Ātharvaṇamantraśāstra.92 [Filliozat, Catalogue du fonds sanscrit, I, 25.]

Calmette twice states that money alone would not have sufficed to obtain the Veda. It was only thanks to “hidden Christians” among the Brahmins that he had been able to obtain copies of the Vedas.93 [One of these may have been Calmette’s convert Maṅgalagiri Ānanda, who later composed a summary of the Gospels in Telugu verse entitled Vedānta Rasayanam (Léon Besse, “Liste Alphabétique des Missionaires du Carnatic de la Compagnie de Jésus au XVIIIe siècle,” Revue Historique de l’Inde Française 2 [1917/18]: s.v. Calmette; see also C. P. Brown, “Notices of some Roman Catholic Books, existing in the Telugu Language,” The Madras Journal of Literature and Science [July 1840], 54–58).] Some of these works, like others sent by the Jesuits, were not so much copies of actual Indian texts as verbal abstracts of the texts recited by scholars and recorded, on paper not palm-leaves, by converts who adorned them with Christian symbols.96 [Colas and Colas-Chauhan, Manuscrits telugu.] ….

[T]he Jesuits had thus finally succeeded in obtaining for European libraries at least parts of the Vedas…


[T]he texts which had been obtained, although in Sanskrit, were mostly written in Telugu-Kannada script, and even someone who could read Vedic Sanskrit, and Devanāgarī script, would find them unintelligible without knowing Telugu-Kannada script. Pons, who had long experience of India and had sought copies of the Vedas in Bengal, described those collected by Calmette as “en arabe,” in a justly famous account of Hindu thought in a 1740 letter to Jean-Baptiste Du Halde.99 [Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, 26: 233.] This was sufficient to mislead even Caland into thinking this was a reference to an Arabic translation of the Vedas when what Pons presumably intended was the use of Telugu script. [???!!!]100 [Caland, Veda, 281.]...

In an appendix to their diary for 1734, published under all their names in the Hallesche Berichte, the Tranquebar missionaries gave a brief account of the Vedas. They report that despite their efforts to see the Vedas, they have been told that they are not written, but that boys (who can only be Brahmins) learn sections of them from a priest by repeating it constantly. The language in which they are recorded, which they call Grantha, is so old that no one can understand it without referring to the śāstra. Few learn the fourth part, because it consists of sorcery.109 [HB 39: 418.] ….

Three years later, in 1737, four of these missionaries announced that they had obtained a translation of the Yajur Veda.111 [Their letter is printed in HB 45: 1182–85. The translation of the text appeared in the next installment (HB 46: 1251–94).] They were very likely conscious of the Jesuits’ success in obtaining copies of the Vedas, announced in Calmette’s letter in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses in 1734.112 [Although they do not here mention the Lettres édifiantes, they had cited an earlier reference in them to the Vedas in their 1734 diary.] The text had been translated for them by a Brahmin named Kṛṣṇa, after much persuasion. His reluctance alone provided assurance, they argued, this was indeed the “veritable Veda.” In fact, although Kṛṣṇa appears—like Nobili’s informant Śivadharma—to have been a Brahmin of the Taittirīya branch of the Yajur Veda, the text that was published in the Hallesche Berichte had, according to Albrecht Weber, “not the slightest thing to do with the Yajurveda,” instead representing “an encyclopedic and systematically ordered representation of the modern Brahmanical world and life-view.”113 [Albrecht Weber, “Ein angebliche Bearbeitung des Yajurveda,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 7 (1853): 235–48, at 236.] …

Although catalogued, on the basis of the Jesuits’ descriptions of the texts, as soon as 1739,114 [Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae. Paris 1739. Étienne Fourmont was likely responsible for the entries in the section “Codices Indici.”] [the Vedas] remained unread throughout the eighteenth century.115 [A fragment of the Vedas—a single hymn from the first maṇḍala of the Ṛg Veda (I, 89)—was collected in Surat by James Fraser in Khambayat in the 1730s (Bodleian Library, MSS. Fraser Sansk. 30). Fraser aspired to translate the Vedas but was aware he had only a fragment of them. He notes that the “Pourans and Shasters are glosses and comments on the Vedh” and of the Gītā he says “This book the Brahmins call The Marrow of the Vedh. It gives a Light into the most mysterious part of their religion, and explains the substance of the Vedh” (A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Persic, Arabic, and Sanskerrit Languages [London, 1742], 37–39). On Fraser and his collections see Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Europe’s India: Words, Peoples, Empires, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2017), 144–210.] One of the few who might have been able to read them was the Carmelite Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo. He knew both Sanskrit and the Tamil and Malayalam scripts, and may have recognized Telugu, even if he had not learned it. Paulinus saw them in late 1789, but in the chaos of the revolution was not permitted enough time to examine them closely.116 [Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo, Examen Historico-criticum Codicum Indicorum Bibliothecae Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide (Rome, 1792), 5.] ….

While the Ezour Vedam was being discussed by Voltaire and others, the Vedas sent by Calmette languished unread in the Bibliothèque Impériale. 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.121 [Ângela Barreto Xavier and Iñes G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th–18th Centuries) (New Delhi: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015), 302–3.]

By this time, other manuscripts of the Vedas had been obtained in India. In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. 122 [On Polier, see Subrahmanyam, Europe’s India, 239–68.] Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão. A doctor named Pedro da Silva Leitão had been present at the court of Jai Singh in 1728 and played a part in the negotiations with the Portuguese regarding the exchange of scientific knowledge, personnel, and equipment. He was long-lived, but Polier’s friend may rather have been one of his descendants. Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the saṃhitās of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century.123 [G. N. Bahura, “Glimpses of Historical Information from Manuscripts in the Pothikhana of Jaipur,” in Cultural Heritage of Jaipur, ed. J. N. Asopa (Jodhpur: United Book Traders, 1982), 107. See also G. N. Bahura, ed., Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Maharaja of Jaipur Museum (Jaipur: Maharaja of Jaipur Museum, 1971).] ….

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, w.ch are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

***

Histoire de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (1865), by Louis Ferdinand Alfred Maury

Anquetil did not limit himself to revealing to us, through his luminous dissertations, what had been the empire of the Achaemenids and the Sassanids, he also introduced us to India, which we did not know in the last century even more than Persia. Voltaire did not take the sanscrit, which was then called Sanscretan, for a book, and was he not duped by the forger who had composed Ezour-Vedam, and surprised the religion of Father Nobili? The Vedas themselves were so ignored that Father Paulinus of Saint-Barthélemy did not believe in their existence, and considered them mythical books.

We can say that the discoveries are in the air
and that when they occur, alongside their authors, a crowd of researchers met who had approached them and who would have been called upon to make them, if the discoverer had not been taken from the world before reaching his goal. Thus, at the same time as Anquetil du Perron lifted the veil which hid ancient India from us, Abbé Étienne Mignot, a learned theologian that the Academy had enrolled among its members, shed light in five memoirs published successively by his Collection, the history of Hindu doctrines. [He should not be confused with Father Vincent Mignot, Voltaire's nephew.] An independent mind, who had shaken off the yoke of the Sorbonne, Mignot sometimes succeeded, in spite of very incomplete documents, in unraveling the speculations of these ancient Indian thinkers whose boldness he loved, and which took a century of study to be known and understood.

Anquetil had only been able to advance on the threshold of Hindu literature, with the help of Persian translations; but on the other hand he had collected a prodigious number of information on India and the East, which he put to use and which have earned us works which have remained indispensable to the study of Asia.

***

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

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. 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.

***

The Father Calmette and the Indianist Missionaries, by Father Julien Bach, of the Society of Jesus [Compagnie de Jesus], 1868 [Rough translation from French to English on Google books]

Translation from French Edition of Le Père Calmette Et Les Missionnaires Indianistes (Litterature)

If there is an interesting point of view in the history of the Society of Jesus, it is undoubtedly that of the Indian missions. Saint Francis Xavier, their wonderful founder, has had successors worthy of him, who continued his work, whose conquests on the paganism are recorded in a justly famous collection. One of our most distinguished Indianists, professor of Sanskrit at the College of France, M. Eugène Burnouf, once gave them a testimony which I am happy to be able to invoke at the beginning of this article. As I was talking to him about the missions in India, he suddenly got up with animation and showed me in his library the collection of Edifying & Curious Letters [Jesuit Accounts of the Americas, 1565-1896], saying: "There are men! They understood their mission."

This opinion of the Orientalist scholar is consistent with the impressions these letters left in the scholarly world. The conversion of idolaters, the establishment of the Catholic Church in the midst of an enemy civilization, such was the work with which the missionaries were charged, a difficult and thankless work that was necessary to undertake and accomplish by men of devotion and the sacrifice of heroes, such as the Catholic Church has given birth to thousands in all ages, and we can say that missionaries of India have not been below their task.

The deep roots that Christianity has grown in these climates, are known to us by the collection I mentioned just now, and if you judge they have produced fruit, and yet produce every day, read the letters of the new mission of Madurai recently published by the P. Jos. Bertrand, who, after having been superior of this mission, had the happy idea of revealing to Europe some of the works of which he was the witness or the actor. This work, added to the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, showed once again how powerful the charity of missionaries had been for the transformation of India.

But these big-hearted men did not stop at working for the establishment of the Christian religion in India. They have again made, and, so to speak, playing with each other, numerous conquests for the advancement of human knowledge. It is through them that literary history, philology, and ethnography emerged from the swaddling clothes where routine held them tight. There were those who knew how to wrest from the Brahmins the secret of their language and their philosophy, and who dared to engage in a hand-to-hand struggle against them, as admirable from the literary point of view as from the religious point of view. Such was the P. Jean Calmette, prime Indianist, as will the view. A study of his work is not without importance: it is connected with the history of Brahminism and Eastern philology, and in this respect it deserves the attention of scholars, so rich a mine of Sanskrit literature, and if it finds there unexpected treasures, is it not interesting to research who was the Christopher Columbus of this new world? The account of his first investigations is certainly worthy of exciting our curiosity.

The Carnate was a French mission formed around 1703 on the model of the Portuguese mission of Maduré; the Jesuits had adopted there, since the initiative of Father de Nobili, the way of life of the Brahmins, in order to be in more intimate relation with the populations, without having to fear national antipathies. In Pondicherry was the central establishment. Advancing towards the north and inland, the missionaries had found a population that differed from that of Madurai as much as Indians can differ between them. The same idolatry, the same uses based on the distinction of castes, the same horror for the Pranguis but, instead of the Tamil language, it was the Telugu; instead of the government of the Naïques du Maduré, it was, since the capture of Visapour, the Mohammedan domination of the Grand Mogul; and we know that the Nawabs of India showed, in imitation of the court of Delhi, a great sympathy for the Christian missionaries.

It also appears that the Brahmins of this region were less fanatic and more educated than those of the Tamil country. In Ballapouram, in particular, there was a kind of academy, whose doctors willingly entered into contact with the Roman Brahmins. This is the theater where several Indian missionaries will be shown, and especially the one which is the subject of this article. Party Penmarck the beginning of 1726 the P. Calmette happened in the month of October in Pondicherry, and after several years of trials in various homes of the mission, he was sent to Ballapouram. Gifted with a great facility for languages, and a penetration of mind equal to his zeal, he soon saw all the advantage that a missionary could derive from knowledge of the Brahminic books, and he applied himself tirelessly to the study of Sanskrit, or Sanscrutan, as we said in the Carnate.

Several converted Brahmins were of great help to him for this. He conversed with them frequently, and he was thus able to make rapid progress, not only in their language, but also, a precious thing, in the true genius of Brahminism. As they took pleasure in transcribing various passages from the Vedas for him, he learned from memory some tirades; then, when he met Brahmins who were still pagan, he sold them out, and used them to object to them. Here is what he wrote in 1730: “Until now we had had little trade with this order of scholars; but since they realize that we hear their science books and their Sanscrutan language, they start to approach us, and as they have enlightenment and principles, they follow us better than the others in the dispute, and more readily agree with the truth."

The breach was made, but for the P. Calmette it was not enough. This missionary, desiring above all else the conversion of idolaters, knowing from experience how impossible it was to dispel the prejudices of the Indians without going back to the source of their beliefs, seeing on the other hand that the origin of most Brahminic superstitions was the abuse that the Vedas had made of primitive traditions, he first applied himself to drawing from them texts to fight the Brahmins with their own weapons. “Since their Vedam is in our hands, we have extracted texts suitable to convince them of the fundamental truths which ruin idolatry. Indeed the unity of God, the character of the true God, the salvation and reprobation are in the Vedam; but the truths which are to be found in this book are only spread there like gold spangles on heaps of sand: for the rest we find there the principle of all the Indian sects, and perhaps the details of all the errors which form their body of doctrine."

One of the first investigations of the fruits of P. Calmette was to have been sent to Paris a copy of the four Vedas, written about ____. Here is the occasion.

The King's Library was not yet very large, when Abbé Bignon was appointed curator in 1718, and this scholar brought there his own library, which was already very fine, and with it a great desire to enrich the royal establishment which he held and was entrusted. It was the time when we began to deal in France with the ancient religions of India and Persia. We spoke especially of certain sacred books, which went back, it was said, in the highest antiquity, and which deserved by their importance the attention of scientists.

Such curious works were worthy of the Royal Library, and Abbé Bignon, for this precious acquisition, believed that he had nothing better to do than to address himself to Father Souciet, librarian of the college Louis-le-Grand, in frequent correspondence with the missionaries of the East. The P. Souciet, zealous himself to this kind of research, sent an urgent request to Father Le Gac, superior of the residence of Pondicherry. The P. Le Gac replied first that to get an exact copy of the four Vedas would be a very difficult and perhaps an expensive affair; that he did not see too much of what use this copy could be in Paris, since there would be no scientist able to decipher it; that however he was going to take care of it seriously. If there was some hope of obtaining certified copies of the Vedas, it was through the medium of P. Calmette.

It was to him that indeed turned the P. Le Gac, and the deal was finalized, despite enormous difficulties. Here is what the P. Calmette said:


"Those who write that for thirty years the Vedam is not found are not entirely wrong: money was not sufficient for the find. It seems to me that we would never have had it, if we had not, among the Brahmins, hidden Christians who trade with them without being known to be Christians. It is to one of them that we owe this discovery, and there are two of them now who are busy researching the books and having them copied. If we came to know that it is for us, we would do serious business with them, especially on the subject of Vedam; it is an article that cannot be forgiven."

"On the thought so found, that many people would not agree in Pondicherry, whether it was the real Veda, and I was asked if I had considered, but the tests I made leave no doubt, and I still do every day when scholars or young Brahmins who learn the Vedam in the schools of the country come to see me, making them recite, and sometimes myself reciting with them, what I have learned from the beginning or elsewhere. This is the Veda, there is no doubt about that."


So, thanks to Father Calmette and several Christian Brahmins, the P. Le Gac could write in 1732 to Fr. Souciet:

"The four books that contain the Vedas are an expense of 35 to 40 pagodas (about 350 francs). I have already sent two for the Library of S.M.[The Royal Albert Library by H.M. The King (Bibliothèque Royale).]. We are working on transcribing the other two."


The copy of the four Vedas, sent to Paris the following year, was deposited in the Richelieu Library, department of manuscripts, where it is still found.

If the learned P. Calmette had done nothing else than to obtain, by dint of zeal and industry, this unexpected result, he would already deserve great praise. To have made a first breach in the great wall of the Brahmins, his name should be inscribed with honor at the head of the Indianists. Among the Romans, there was a special crown for the soldier who climbed the first ramparts of a besieged city; the work of Father Calmette is comparable to the taking of a citadel.

It must be confessed, that the P. Le Gac had predicted what happened: this package in the Royal Library was first perfectly useless, and soon the souvenir was cleared. Some of the manuscripts were curious enough to show several Vedas written on palm leaves in Telingas characters. But we did not know the origin, and no Indianist was tempted to use it. It is to these books that Voltaire's mischief could rightly apply:

"Sacred they are, because no one touches them."


However, the taste for oriental studies gained consistency at the beginning of this century, and this mysterious copy of the Vedas contributed perhaps as much to it as the other oriental manuscripts which had been acquired. In 1815 a chair of Sanskrit was erected in Paris in favor of Léonard de Chézy. This famous orientalist, true founder of the Sanskrit school in France, alludes to the copy of the Vedas, when he says, when speaking of the efforts he had been made obliged to do to learn the knowledge of Indian languages:

"The rich treasure of Indian manuscripts that I had constantly before my eyes, those long palm leaves, depositories of the highest thoughts of philosophy, and which, silent for so long, seemed to require an interpreter, excited more and more my curiosity."


So spoke the most laborious of our Indianists. We know that his works, together with those of his worthy successor, Eugène Burnouf, gave great importance to the study of Sanskrit, not only in Paris, but also in the provinces. Honor to Father Calmette, laborious promoter of this movement of minds.

His discovery of the Vedas, and the copies he obtained through the converted Brahmins, were only a prelude. Soon the knowledge he had acquired made him suspect that behind these penetralia of Sanskrit literature, other poems, and even, as he confidently announced, real treasures unknown to him could be found. He said when speaking of Darma shastra:


"If the gentlemen of the Royal Library continue to honor us with the care of finding books, I hope that we will discover riches worthy of Europe. It is not pure gold; it is like that which one draws from mines, where there is more earth than gold. But the glare that certain passages give makes us believe that there really is gold."


This is how he discovered, in addition to several shastras, Upa-Vedas, or commentaries on the Vedas, and Puranas, poems more extensive than the Iliad and which, like the Iliad among the Greeks, contain all the sources of mythology.

This zeal of investigation was shared by his colleagues, and soon the residence of Ballapouram also became a kind of academy, where the Jesuit missionaries, in perfecting the knowledge of the Brahminic books, drew from them weapons to fight the errors.

But not content with a philosophical war, and wanting to join his arguments another way entirely consistent with the genius of these peoples, the P. Calmette conceived a design that then no one else was capable of. We read in his correspondence that he also began to compose poems himself, like the Brahmins, to refute their fictions. Surprisingly, a poor religious man, without grammar, without dictionary, made, more than a century ago, enough progress in the language of the Vedas, to accomplish a work which the Indianists of India would scarcely dare to undertake today.

It is curious to see what such extraordinary poetic inspiration has produced. The one of these poems which obtained a certain celebrity by a circumstance of which we will speak later is called Ezour-Vedam.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Jan 13, 2022 2:14 am

The Four Vedas, Excerpt from "Vedic Hinduism"
by S.W. Jamison and M. Witzel

1992

Only one version of the Rigveda is known to have survived into the modern era. Several different versions of the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda are known, and many different versions of the Yajur Veda have been found in different parts of South Asia....

The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text. It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas). The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities....

The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles. The Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and gayatri as the text progresses.

The rituals became increasingly complex over time, and the king's association with them strengthened both the position of the Brahmans and the kings. The Rajasuya rituals, performed with the coronation of a king, "set in motion [...] cyclical regenerations of the universe." In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.…

The Samaveda Samhita consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda….Just as in the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with hymns to Agni and Indra but shift to the abstract. Their meters shift also in a descending order….In the Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated….

The Yajurveda Samhita consists of prose mantras. It is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire.… The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda. Unlike the Samaveda which is almost entirely based on Rigveda mantras and structured as songs, the Yajurveda samhitas are in prose…

The Atharvaveda was not considered as a Veda in the Vedic era... It was compiled last… The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas"... The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine.


-- Vedas, by Wikipedia

Let us begin with the key to the whole system, the four Vedas: Rg Veda, Såma Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.

The oldest and most important in Vedic ritualism, as to later Indian religion, is the Rg Veda (hereafter also RV). This is a collection (Samhita) of rcs 'verses', forming hymns to be recited during ritual, praising various divinities. They were composed by a number of bards or bardic families, over a period of several hundred years, at the very least, as linguistic and stylistic evidence shows.8 [Possible between c. 1900 BC. and c. 1100 BCE, see above, n.1. This time frame includes only the period of possible immigration and settlement in Northern and North-West India; parts of the RV may have been composed already in Afghanistan (on the *Sarasvatī = Avest. Haraxaiti, etc.).] The ritual, as it appears in these hymns, is earlier and less developed than the "classical" one of the later texts, such as the Yajurveda Mantras and all of the Brahmanas. The Rg Veda has come down to us basically in only one9 [The other two about which we know something more than just their names are the Båskala and the Måndukeya schools, see Scheftelowitz, 1906.] extremely well preserved school, that of Śåkalya, who analyzed the traditional text towards the end of the Brahmana period, apparently in Eastern India (Videha, N. Bihar). His grammatical analysis, in form of a text without any euphonic combinations (sandhi) has been transmitted as the RV-Padapåtha.10 [Edited in Max Müller's RV (1849-74), and also several times in India as separate volumes.]

The standard editions of the Rg Veda are that of Max Müller 1849-1874, incorporating Sayana's medieval commentary (14th cent.),11  [Cf. now also the earlier commentaries of the RV, ed. Vishva Bandhu 1963-66.] and the more compact one of T. Aufrecht 1877.
The standard current translation is that of K. F. Geldner 1951 (written already in the Twenties), into German, which supersedes earlier ones such as that of H. Grassmann 1876-77. There is also an almost complete French translation by L. Renou 1955-69, and the first volume of a Russian translation by T. Ya. Elizarenkova has recently appeared (1989). Unfortunately there is no complete modern English translation, though there are unsatisfactory and outmoded ones by H. H. Wilson (1888) which largely depends on the medieval commentary of Sayana, and by R. T. H. Griffith (1889-92). There are also useful translations of selected hymns, such as that of W. D. O'Flaherty 1981a and Maurer 1986 which includes much of the preceding scholarship. An up-to-date, philologically sound translation of the entire text, incorporating the grammatical and semantic progress that has been made in recent decades, would be extremely welcome.

Other important tools for Rgvedic researches include the invaluable (if somewhat out of date) Wörterbuch of H. Grassmann 1872-75, which lists all the occurrences of all but the most common words in the RV, with definitions, grammatical identification, and contextual information
; the Prolegomena and the Noten of H. Oldenberg (1888 and 1909, 1912 respectively), one of the leading Western Indologists, E.V. Arnold's treatise on Vedic meter (1905), one of the first attempts to develop an internal chronology of the text, and also several of Bloomfield's reference works (Concordance, Repetitions, Variants, see below).

The Atharva Veda (AV) stands a little apart from the other three Vedas, as it does not treat the śrauta rituals, but contains magical (black and white) and healing spells, as well as two more large sections containing speculative hymns and materials dealing with some important domestic rituals such as marriage and death, with the vråtya (s. below), and with royal power.

There are two extant recensions of the AV, differing considerably from each other.
Currently the more usable one is that ordinarily known as the Śaunaka recension (AVŚ, ŚS). The standard edition is that of Roth and Whitney (1856, corrected repr. Lindenau 1924). For certain sections, however, the Bombay edition by Shankar Påndurang Pandit (1895-98) or the recent amalgamated edition by Vishva Bandhu (1960-64) has to be compared, notably in book 19-20. A nearly12 [It lacks only book 20 which almost completely has been taken over from the RV. Griffith 1895-96, however, includes a translation of this book and its difficult Kuntåpa hymns as well.] complete English translation of this text exists by W. D. Whitney (1905), as well as a partial translation by M. Bloomfield (1897) that remains valuable, and a popular one by Griffith (1895-96). Whitney (1881) also compiled a complete word list, arranged grammatically, but it lacks the semantic and contextual information given by Grassmann's Wörterbuch for the RV.

The other, the Paippalåda recension (AVP, PS), was until recently known only in a very corrupt manuscript from Kashmir, which was heroically, though not too successfully edited by L. C. Barret, in a series of articles (1905-1940), save for one book done by F. Edgerton (1914). On this basis, Raghu Vira (1936-41) published the text from Lahore as well. The discovery of a much better version preserved in Orissa will now allow the Paippalåda version to take its proper place in the Vedic canon. However, only books 1-4 have been edited (D.M. Bhattacharyya 1964, D. Bhattacharya 1970). The editing and publication of the AVP based on both versions is an eagerly awaited event in Vedic studies. For preliminary studies on the history of the school, the archetype of all PS manuscripts, and on the oral tradition of the Orissa Paippalådins, see Witzel, 1985a,b; on editing problems see Hoffmann 1968a and 1979; for the relationship between PS and AVŚ, see Insler, forthc.

The Såma Veda (SV) is the collection of chants, referred to as såmans or 'melodies'. To each melody a variety of different verses can be sung; these verses are almost entirely extracted from the Rg Veda. The standard edition of the SV is that of Benfey 1848 of the Kauthuma (and Rååyanīya) recension; see also Caland's 1907 edition of the Jaiminīya recension, which to some extent differs from the Kauthuma version in order and in content (cf. Parpola 1973). Because of its dependence on the RV, -- only 75 of its Mantras are not found in the RV -- an independent translation of this text is not particularly crucial. Nonetheless, several exist, e.g. that of Griffith 1893.

The Yajur Veda is a complex entity, consisting of several partly parallel texts, most of which mix mantras (i.e. veda-text-type) with prose commentary (brahmana-text-type). It is divided into two branches: the Black (Krsna) YV (BYV) and the White (Śukla) YV (the WYV). It is the Black YV that contains the mixture of text types; the White YV contains only mantras, with its Brahmana separate. Yet it is generally considered -- see e.g. Caland, 1931b, pp. 132-133, cf. 1990, p.XIV) -- that this separation is secondary, that the mantras of the WYV were abstracted from a text that would have looked more like the BYV.

The White Yajur Veda, or Våjasaneyi Samhita (VS), has two very similar recensions, the Mådhyamdina and the Kåva (VSK). The standard edition is that of A. Weber (1852), which includes the variants of VSK. A separate edition of the VSK has been prepared by D. Satavalekar 1983 and a new edition is in progress, prepared by the indefatigable B. R. Sharma (1988-). There is a rather unsatisfactory English translation by Griffith (1899). Its massive and important Brahmana is the Śatapatha Brahmana (ŚB), the 'Brahmana of the Hundred Paths' (after the number of its 'lessons'), also with two similar recensions, likewise Madhyamdina and Kåva (ŚBM and ŚBK), whose mutual relationship is rather complicated (Caland, 1926, pp. 103-108, 1990 p. XIV). The one ordinarily referred to is the Madhyamdina, edited by A. Weber (1855) and translated into English by Eggeling (1882-1900). The Kåva recension was edited by Caland and Raghu Vira (1926-1939). There is no translation of the ŚBK, but it differs little in content and phraseology from ŚBM.

The Black YV is more complex. It exists in three major versions, parallel in great part, but often differing from each other in both phraseology and points of doctrine: the Taittirīya Samhita (TS), the Maitråyaī Samhita (MS), and the Kåthaka Samhita (KS), the latter two often agreeing with each other against the (obviously younger) TS. (There is also a fragmentary, and, as based on a very narrow tradition, somewhat corrupt fourth version, the Kapisthala Samhita (KpS), very close to the KS.) The standard edition of the TS is Weber's (1871-2), of the MS von Schroeder's (1881-86), as also of the KS (1900-1910), while Raghu Vira edited the fragments of the KpS (1932). Mittwede's useful collections of suggested emendations to the MS (1986) and KS (1989) are important tools in understanding these sometimes corrupt texts, which are based (unlike TS which still is widely recited in South India) only on the traditions of Gujarat/N. Maharashtra and Kashmir. All these texts must have been preceded by an even earlier stage of brahmana style discussion, see Hoffmann 1969, apparently that of the lost Caraka school, cf. Witzel 1982, forthc. b.

Only the TS has been translated (into English, by Keith 1914).13  [Not always reliably, however; see the review by Caland 1924.] Since MS and KS are generally fuller and more archaic in appearance than TS, translations of these two texts are badly needed. The prose of the brahmana portion of these texts is the oldest expository prose in Sanskrit, and its treatment of the ritual and narration of myths therefore extremely archaic.

Though the prose portions of the Taittirīya Samhita serve as its primary brahmana, there also exists a Taittirīya Brahmana (TB) with additional commentary (and mantras), unfortunately an inferior text with no standard edition. There are the editions prepared at Calcutta (R. L. Mitra 1859), Ānandåśrama (V.Ś. Godbole et al. 1934), and the Mysore (Mahadeva Sastri and L. Srinivasacharya, 1908-13); the latter has some South Indian phonetic peculiarities. The TB has been partly translated (into English) in a series of articles by P. E. Dumont (1948-69). A late (c. Upanisad period) addition to the Brahmana is the fragmentary Vådhūla Brahmana (or Vådhūla Anvåkhyåna), which usually is wrongly called Vådhūla Sūtra.14 [See Witzel 1975: The text contains large sections of Brahmana style discussion, the so-called Anvåkhyånas, i.e. "additional Brahmanas" added to the older texts of the Taittirīya school. The Sūtra, though lying at Utrecht since the Twenties, had remained virtually untouched until the edition of the first chapter by Sparreboom 1989.] About two thirds of the fragments of this Brahmana text have been edited and translated into German by Caland 1923-1928. Neither the Maitråyanī Samhita nor the Kåthaka Samhita has a surviving separate text called a Brahmana, though a collection of fragments of the original Katha Brahmana, called Śatådhyåya Brahmana, is found in Kashmiri ritual handbooks and has been partially edited by von Schroeder (1898) and Surya Kanta (1943); cf. also Lokesh Chandra 1982, 1984.

The Rg Veda has two Brahmanas, the Aitareya Brahmana (AB) and the Kausītaki (or Śånkhåyana) Brahmana (KB), of which the Aitareya is the older and the more extensive. The AB was edited by Aufrecht (1879); the KB by Lindner (1887) and in its Kerala version by E.R.S. Sarma (1968). Both have been translated into English by Keith (1920).

The major Brahmanas of the Såmaveda are the Jaiminīya Brahmana (JB) and the Pañcavimśa Brahmana (PB, or Tåndya Mahåbrahmana). The JB is an immense, unfortunately corrupt, and very rich text, that has not yet been sufficiently worked on (see Ehlers 1988). Caland (1919) edited and translated significant portions of it (into German), and added many passages in an English rendering in his translation of the PB (1931b), as did, to a lesser extent, Oertel in a series of articles (1897-1909). Only in 1954 did a complete edition appear (that of Raghu Vira and Lokesh Chandra), unfortunately still riddled with misprints and corruptions.15 [A guide to the MSS has been given by W. Rau, 1988, and a useful compilation of emendations that have been proposed, by Ehlers 1989.] A carefully, and if possible critically edited version of the JB is greatly desirable.16 [E. R. Sreekrishna Sarma (Adyar, Madras) has begun a new edition in the early Eighties, based on new MSS from Kerala.] There are several recent partial translations, e.g. H. W. Bodewitz (1973, 1990) of the Agnihotra and Soma sections, accompanied by detailed philological though not particularly pioneering commentary. W. Doniger O'Flaherty (1985) has translated some of the narrative portions, however, mostly a recapitulation of those translated by Oertel and Caland, with a Freudian commentary.17 [17 And some basic misunderstandings of Indian sociology, (e.g. fear of the father in case of a måtula?!); the date assigned to JB (of 900 B.C.) is pure guesswork and definitely too early for the text as it stands now, especially for book 1,1-65. For further criticism see Bodewitz 1990:19-24.] Tsuchida (1979) and Schrapel (1970) have translated parts of book 2. A complete, philologically grounded translation of the JB, would contribute mightily to our understanding of middle Vedic religion, but it may be premature to desire one without an accurate text.

The Pañcavimśa Brahmana, which is available only in unsatisfactory uncritical editions, presents fewer difficulties, but also fewer rewards than the JB. For a preliminary critical reading of the text the old manuscript from Gujarat printed by Lokesh Chandra (1981) and Caland's remarks in his translation, referring to another old MS at Leiden,18 [18 One may use, for the time being, the notes on two old Leiden MSS from Gujarat in Caland's translation PB (1931) as well as the facsimile ed. by Lokesh Chandra 1981, the proper use of which is explained by W. Rau, 1985; cf. Caland 1990, p. XXX, n. 35.] are invaluable. The text has been translated and copiously annotated, with many valuable references to and partial translations of JB, by Caland (1931a). There are a number of other, minor "Brahmanas" attached to the SV, most of which rather belong to the category of the Sūtras. Most of them have been edited by B.R. Sharma.19 [Sadvimśa Brahmana, ed. B. R. Sharma 1967, transl. W. B. Bollée 1956. -- The other SV Brahmanas are in reality of Sūtra character: Såmavidhåna, Ārseya, Devatådhåya, Upanisad Brahmana (or Mantra-Br., a list of Grhya Mantras), Samhitopanisad- Br., Vamśa-Br.; most of them have recently been (re-)edited by B.R. Sharma, as are the Ksudra Sūtra and Maśaka Kalpa Sūtra, which are Śrauta Sūtras preceding the Låty. / Dråhy.ŚS. A good account of the literature of the SV has been given by Caland 1931a, updated by Parpola 1968; cf. also B.R. Sharma 1976.] The AV has a very late and inferior Brahmana, the Gopatha Brahmana (GB), critically edited by Caland's pupil D. Gaastra 1919. Its first part, in fact, presupposes the grammar of Pånini. However, this text which to a large degree quotes from other brahmana type texts, probably was nothing but an additional Brahmana (anubrahmana) of the Paippalåda school of the AV, which was, just like some other texts, incorporated into the Śaunaka school of Gujarat only during the Middle Ages (Witzel 1985a).

A collection of fragments of 'lost' Brahmanas found in various medieval commentaries has been compiled by Batakrishna Ghosh 1947.

Aranyakas are found under this name only in the tradition of the Rgveda
(Aitareya Ār., Kausītaki or Śånkhåyana Ār.), and Yajurveda (Taittirīya, Katha Ār.). The SV and AV have no text named in this way. However, the Jaiminīya Upanisad Brahmana may, in part, be regarded as the Ār. of this Veda,20 [See Witzel 1977:145 for further discussion of the relationship between the Paippalåda and Śaunaka schools.] and the Gopatha-Brahmana plays the same role for the AV.21 [There must have been another text, still known to Śamkara (c.700 CE), which began with sarvam pravidhya (cf. PS 12.19.5), see Witzel 1977:143sqq ] In addition, the first part of Kånda 14 of the Śatapatha-Brahmana, which deals with the Pravargya ritual (ŚB 14.1-3), may with good reason be called the Ār. of the Mådhyandina school of the White YV, for all three Ār. texts of the YV deal centrally with this ritual. Its performance and even its acquisition by learning is regarded as too dangerous to be carried out inside the village and has to be done "where the houses of the village cannot be seen any more."
A.B. Keith states that from 'clay chosen from a pit east of the Ahavaniya fire, to which a horse leads the way, a Mahavira pot is made, a span high, two spare pots, and various other utensiles. A stool of Munja grass is also made as a throne for the pot. The pot is heated, the milk of a cow and a goat is poured in. Finally, the hot drink is offered to the Asvins, and two Rauhina cakes are also offered in the morning to the day, in the evening to the night. At the outset of the ceremony the wife of the conductor is made to cover her head, but she joins with the rest at the close in the finale of the Saman which is sung. At the end the offering utensils are arranged so as to make up the semblance of a man, the three Mahavira vessels marking the head, and so on... The pot is covered with a golden plate, which can be nothing else than a symbol of fire or the sun, the pot glows, the milk, which in its whiteness is a sun symbol, boils with heat. The Yagya by drinking as usual a share of the milk thus gains power at the same time as the sun is strengthened'.[29]

S. Ketkat agrees, elaborating that at the Pravargya ceremony 'a cauldron [i.e. the Mahāvīra earthen pot] is made red-hot on the sacrificial fire, to represent symbolically the sun; in this cauldron milk is then boiled and offered to the Asvins. The whole celebration is regarded as a great mystery. At the end of it the sacrificial utensils are so arranged that they represent a man: the milk-pots are the head, on which a tuft of sacred grass represents the hair; two milking-pails represent the ears, two little gold leaves the eyes, two cups the heels, the flour sprinkled over the whole the marrow, a mixture of milk and honey the blood, and so on. The prayers and formulae naturally correspond with the mysterious ceremonies'....

Aitareya Brahmana
The Yagya went away from the gods (saying), 'I shall not be your food.' 'No', replied the gods, 'Verily thou shalt be our food.' The gods crushed it; it being taken apart was not sufficient for them. The gods said 'It will not be sufficient for us, being taken apart; come, let us gather together the Yagya.' (They replied) 'Be it so'. They gathered it together; having gathered it together they said to the Açvins, 'Do ye two heal it', the Açvins are the physicians of the gods, the Açvins the Adhvaryus; therefore the two Adhvaryus gather together the cauldron [Mahāvīra pot]. Having gathered it together they sau, 'O Brahman, we shall proceed with the Pravargya offering; O Hotṛ, do though recite.'

— Rigveda Brahmanas: The Aitareya And Kausitaki Brahmanas Of The Rigveda, translated by Arthur Berriedale Keith (1920), Aitareya Brahmana, Adhyaya IV, Verse 1 ('The Pravargya')...

Makha decapitated
The Gods Agni, Indra, Vayu, and Makha, desirous of glory, performed a sacrificial session. They said: 'The glory that will come to (one of) us, must be in common to (all of) us'. Of them it was Makha to whom the glory came. He took it and stepped forth. They tried to take it from him by force and hemmed him in. He stood there, leaning on his bow, but the end of the bow, springing upwards, cut off his head. This (head) became the pravargya; Makha, forsooth, is the Yagya; by holding the pravargya (ceremony), they put the head on the Yagya. — Pancavimsa Brahmana, translated by W. Caland (1931), Prapathaka VII (7), Adhyaya 5 ('The samans of the midday pavamana laud'), Verse 6

This seems to be made in reference to Indra slaying Makha as mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhita (3.2.4) of the Black Yajurveda....

Vishnu decapitated
Now he who is this Vishnu is the Yagya; and he who is this Yagya is yonder Âditya (the sun). But, indeed, Vishnu was unable to control that (love of) glory of his; and so even now not every one can control that (love of) glory of his. Taking his bow, together with three arrows, he stepped forth. He stood, resting his head on the end of the bow. Not daring to attack him, the gods sat themselves down all around him.

Then the ants said--these ants (vamrî), doubtless, were that (kind called) 'upadîkâ' -- 'What would ye give to him who should gnaw the bowstring?'--'We would give him the (constant) enjoyment of food, and he would find water even in the desert: so we would give him every enjoyment of food.' -- 'So be it,' they said.

Having gone nigh unto him, they gnawed his bowstring. When it was cut, the ends of the bow, springing asunder, cut off Vishnu's head. It fell with (the sound) 'ghriṅ'; and on falling it became yonder sun. And the rest (of the body) lay stretched out (with the top part) towards the east. And inasmuch as it fell with (the sound) 'ghriṅ,' therefrom the Gharma (was called); and inasmuch as he was stretched out (pra-vrig,), therefrom the Pravargya (took its name).

The gods spake, 'Verily, our great hero (mahân virah) has fallen:' therefrom the Mahâvîra pot (was named). And the vital sap which flowed from him they wiped up (sam-mrig) with their hands, whence the Samrâg.

— Satapatha Brahmana, translated by Julius Eggeling (1900), Kanda XIV, Adhyaya I, Brahmana I ('The Pravargya'), Verses 6-11

The above-quoted account from the Shatapatha Brahmana seems to be an altered and elaborated version of the same legend from the Panchavimsha Brahmana. The most notable changes are that Vishnu is present at the Yagya, and the bow-string snaps and decapitates Him this time as a result of ants gnawing at it. As mentioned before, the word 'Mahāvīra' can also be translated as 'great hero' and 'archer' (see above). As noted earlier, there is also a reference to Indra slaying Makha as mentioned in the Taittiriya Samhita (3.2.4) of the Black Yajurveda, from which this legend may be derived.

The legend given here is that 'the gods Agni, Indra, Soma, Makha, Vishnu, and the [Visvedevas], except the two Asvins, performed a sacrificial session', which was first attained by Vishnu, hence 'he became the most excellent of the gods'. Upadika ants then agreed with the other gods to gnaw at the bowstring of Vishnu while He rested his head on the Bow, in exchange for the boon to 'find water even in the desert' (as 'all food is water').

The Gharma (hot beverage offered as an oblation) is named after the sound of Vishnu's head hitting the ground (which 'on falling became yonder sun'), and 'inasmuch as he [Vishnu] stretched out (pra-vrig) on the ground, therefrom the Pravargya (took its name)'.

-- Pravargya, by Wikipedia

This points to the correct meaning of the designation Ār., from aranya "wilderness" which curiously still eludes most modern Sanskritists though it was established long ago by Oldenberg (1915-6).22 [See now Sprockhoff 1981, WZKS 25, 28.] This oversight also clouds the understanding of the type of text the Ār. constitute. They are not, as medieval Hindu tradition asserts, the texts of the third stage in life, the Vånaprastha, but deal, quite in the fashion of other Brahmana type texts, with a particular ritual. In the case of the RV it is the Mahåvrata day of the year long Gavåm Ayana and some other rituals.

Around this nucleus of dangerous and secret texts (Śankara and others call this sort of texts Rahasya) are clustered various additions to the canon: the RV schools add their Upanisads (see below) and even a brief Sūtra style addition (in AĀ 5, by Āśvalåyana); the Taitt. school, similarly, begins with one of the eight special Kåthaka Agnicayana rituals,23 [Interestingly a very late, quasi Puranic one, see Witzel 1972:180 n.12; 1977:152; the others are found in the last parts of Taittirīya Brahmana (TB 3.10-12).] adds two sections with death ritual as well as all of their Upanisads. As mentioned before, the White YV contains in its book 14 both the Ār. and its Upanisad, the Brhadåranyaka Up. However, the last sections of this Up. contain various "strange" materials not expected in an Upanisad. P. Thieme is the first to have correctly understood the structure of this text.24 [In his lecture at Kyoto on accepting the Kyoto Prize in 1989.] The sections dealing with the procreation of particular types of sons, etc. belong to the last instructions of a Veda teacher to his departing student, similar to those, it may be added, that TU 1.11 = KatŚiUp. 11 present in a normative fashion.25 [See above, n. 22, and cf. below, on Dharma Sūtra texts.] The last sections of BĀU thus are of Aranyaka type and provide a frame surrounding the Brhadåranyaka Upanisad. Its very name may signify this amalgamation: it is a Brhad-Aranyaka-Upanisad, a "large (text consisting of) the Aranyaka and the Upanisad" of the White YV, similarly to Båhv-rcyam "the text consisting of many rc", the RV.

The Āit. Ār. has been edited and translated by Keith 1909; the Kausītaki or Śånkhåyana Ār. by V. N. Apte 1922 and Bhim Dev 1980 and transl. by Keith 1908. The Taitt. Ār. was edited by Rajendralål Mitra 1864-72, Mahådeva Śåstrī and P.K. Rangåcharya 1900-02, and in the Ānandåśrama Series by K.V. Abhyankar et al. in an often incorrect newly set reprint 1967-69 of the earlier edition of 1897-98; book 2 of TĀ has been edited and translated into French by Malamoud 1977. The Katha Ār. has been edited and translated into German by Witzel 1974.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:28 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter IV: The Structure of the Rgvedic Poems, Excerpt from A History of Indian literature: Vedic Literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas)
edited by Jan Gonda
Volume I, Fasc. 1
1975

The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles. The Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati [12 12 12 12 (syllables)] and tristubh [11 11 11 11 (syllables)] to anustubh [8 8 8 8 (syllables)] and gayatri [8 8 8 (syllables)] as the text progresses.

The rituals became increasingly complex over time, and the king's association with them strengthened both the position of the Brahmans and the kings. The Rajasuya rituals, performed with the coronation of a king, "set in motion [...] cyclical regenerations of the universe." In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?", the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.

-- Vedas, by Wikipedia


Chapter IV: The Structure of the Rgvedic Poems

1. Stanzas and metres


The 'hymns' (sukta) of the Rgveda consist of stanzas ranging in number from three1 [There are some fragments, e.g. 1, 99 (consisting of one stanza); perhaps also 10, 176 and some other short hymns.] to fifty-eight (9, 97), but usually not exceeding ten or twelve2 [For a certain predilection for eleven stanzas: OLDENBERG, in ZDMG 38, p. 456 (= K. S. p. 530).]. The stanzas of all Vedic metrical texts are almost always complete in themselves and are composed in some fifteen different metres, only seven of which are frequent3 [In this section all technical details, in part very complicated, must for reasons of space be omitted. For an introduction see A. A. MACDONELL, A Vedic grammar for students, Oxford 1916 (3-1953), p. 436. The only comprehensive work of greater compass is in some respects antiquated: E. V. ARNOLD, Vedic metre in its historical development, Cambridge 1905, 2-Delhi 1967. For some particulars see, inter alia, ARNOLD in KZ 37, p. 213; BLOOMFIELD, in JAOS 27, p. 72; Repetitions p. 523; H. N. RANDLE, in BSOAS 20, p. 459; V. K. RAJWADE, at IHQ 19, p. 147. For references to metrics in the Vedic texts: WEBER, I. S. VII, p. 1.]. Three of them, used in about four-fifths of all stanzas in the Rgveda-Samhita, are by far the commonest, viz. the anustubh stanza [8 8 8 8 (syllables)] , consisting of four 'feet'4 [Not to be confused with the feet of Greek metrics; pada (sometimes translated by 'verse') means 'quarter' (from the foot of a quadruped).] (pada) of eight syllables each5 [Pada etc. were already mentioned in the Nidanasutra. (WEBER, I. S. VIII, p. 115).]; the tristubh [11 11 11 11 (syllables)], consisting of four times eleven; and the jagati [12 12 12 12 (sylables)], composed of four times twelve syllables6 [The number of syllables is not always strictly observed. Stanzas may also contain more or fewer quarters than four; the well-known gayatri for instance consists of three padas of eight.]. Stanzas are sometimes formed by combining units of different length. From the point of view of syntax and contents a half-stanza (verse or line) is very often a distinct unit7 [J. GONDA, Syntax and verse structure in the Veda, IL 1958 (R. Turner Jubilee Vol.), p. 35; Syntaxis en versbouw voornamelijk in het Vedisch. Amsterdam Acad. 1960; The anustubh stanzas of the Rgveda, ALB 31-32, p. 14.]; that means that a large majority of the stanzas is essentially bipartite [made by two separate parties.]8 [For syntactic and stylistic aspects see p. 211ff. Like the formation of longer units by the accumulation of single lines, the line as an individual unit seems to have been widely normal in songs and poems which are not accompanied by a dance.]

In illustration of the processes adopted by the poets to construct stanzas from lines and quarters containing short, single, condensed statements an analysis of the first half of RV. 1, 10, chosen at random may be inserted here. Stanza 1, a and b9 [The quarters are indicated by letters.] constitute two sentences, stating that the eulogists praise Indra and start a hymn; cd are one sentence, which paraphrases the same idea in poetical imagery. Two telescoped subordinate clauses in 2a and b are continued by a main clause (2c); 2d is a short independent sentence. Stanza 3ab and cd constitute two sentences connected by "then." The line 4ab consists of four short sentences (imperatives) equally distributed over the quarters; cd are one sentence, the verb of which is likewise an imperative. Stanza 5 constitutes one compound sentence -- cd are subordinate -- both parts of which are of equal length. In 6 the first pada is a complete short sentence, supplemented by the syntactically incomplete second; a similar structure recurs in the second line. Occasionally two stanzas are syntactically connected by means of a particle ("for, because" etc.); instances of enjambment beyond a line are comparatively infrequent; beyond the stanza they are very rare and sometimes wrongly assumed10 [Cf 1.8, 1f. (one compound sentence); 7, 65, 2; 66, 4-5; 10-11; cf. 1, 10, 6f. Questions of syntactic and stylistic interest will be discussed in chapter V. -- In oral poetry of other peoples also a thought is rarely incomplete at the end of a line which is marked by a pause for breath.].

In studying Vedic verses scholars have too often had a bias in favour of the implicit assumption that they are the natural continuation of 'original Indo-European' verses which in their opinion were characterized, like those of the ancient Greeks, by a more or less fixed arrangement of long and short syllables11 [See e.g. A. MEILLET, in JA 1897, 2, p. 300; Les origines indo-europeennes des metres grecs, Paris 1923.]. However, the main principle governing Vedic metre is isosyllabism [syllables are of equal length]; the systematic alternation of short and long, or of stressed and weak syllables is an incompletely realized secondary characteristic. Such a fixed alternation is, moreover, in all metres more rigidly determined in the latter part of the unit than in the earlier part. So there is much to say for the supposition that in the Indo-Iranian period -- as is the case in the Avesta -- the principle was the number of syllables only12 [This is not to say that this versification was 'primitive'; compare e.g. also C. M. BOWRA, Primitive song. New York 1962. p. 87; even a 'bard' in the Yugoslav tradition might not be able to tell how many syllables there are between pauses (A. B. LORD. The singer of tales, Cambridge Mass. 1960. p. 32).]. In India the quantities tended to become more and more fixed13 [H. OLDENBERG, Zur Geschichte des Sloka, NG 1909, p. 219 (= K. S. p. 1188); Zur Geschichte des Tristubh, NG 1915 (1916), p. 490 (= K. S. p. 1216); ZDMG 37, p. 54 (= K. S. p. 441).]. The 'popular' and freer anustubh of the Atharvaveda-Samhita and the grhyasutras -- in which the process of fixing the quantities is in a more rudimentary state -- may be regarded as structurally and chronologically earlier than the more strictly regulated 'hieratic' octosyllabic verses [lines that have eight syllables.]14 [BLOOMFIELD, A.V.G. B., p. 41, but see also OLDENBERG, at ZDMG 54, p. 181 (= K. S. p. 85).] of the Rgveda which however did not fail to influence, in course of time, the 'popular' form of the metre. Very often a hymn of the Rgveda consists of stanzas in the same metre throughout. A typical divergence from this rule was then already to mark the conclusion of the poem with a stanza in a different metre15 [OLDENBERG, H.R.I, p. 140. See e.g. RV. 1, 64; 82; 90; 143; 158; 2, 8; 13; 5, 55; 59; 64; 65; 6, 8; 7, 104; 8, 78 etc. The tendency to conclude a series with a longer or 'heavier' end is well known also in other arts and among other peoples. In part of the cases the two last stanzas are in a different metre: 1, 51; 141; 157; 166; 5, 44; 8, 17; 10, 9; elsewhere the last and the third last: 1, 52; 182; the last and another stanza: 1, 85; 2, 23; or the second last one: 1, 179; 4, 50; or the first: 7, 41; 44; 8, 37; 92; another stanza 5, 36; 8, 48, 96; 10, 34.]. In the Atharvaveda the metres vary in the same hymn more than is customary in the Rgveda16 [Hymns with two or more different metres are RV. 1, 54; 84; 88; 89: 120; 3, 53; 4, 7; 7, 55; 8, 26; 30 etc. In many hymns two metres are used alternately: 1, 36; 39; 7. 74; 81; 8, 20; 27 etc. The hymns 5, 53 and 8, 46 are examples of a considerable degree of variation.]. It has not without reason been supposed that this variation was to a certain extent made a stylistic device17 [BLOOMFIELD, l.c. and in JAOS 17, p. 176; 21, p. 46.]. In 2, 24 the only stanza in a different metre (12) constitutes the culmination of the poet's address. In part of the cases -- especially those in which a hymn consists of two metrically different sets of stanzas18 [Cf. RV. 1, 50; 58; 2, 32; 7, 1; 34; 56; 9, 5. Cases are not lacking in which the metre changes more than once: 5, 51; 8, 89; 103, and compare 1, 91; 3, 52.] -- the alternation, or rather interruption of the continuity, may, especially when there is at the same place a break in the context or a change in the subjects dealt with19 [Cf. RV. 1, 101; 5, 27; 6, 71; 8, 42; 10, 32.], be made a serious argument in a discussion of the structure or genesis of the hymn. An unmistakable predilection for one and the same metrical form in the poems ascribed to the same poet or family of poets is indeed not absent20 [See e.g. 1, 65-70; 137-139 (with curious predilection for interrupted repetition of the type ... jatavedasam vipram na jatavedasam; cf. AiB. 5, 11, 1); 10, 1-9 (8); compare also the three hymns 7, 1; 34; 56 and see BERGAIGNE in JA 1889 (I = 8-13), p. 151.]; for instance, outside the Atri hymns of book V the anustubh hymns are very rare21 [There is, in the Veda, no narrative metre such as its successor, the epic sloka.].

In a considerable number of instances, recurrence of otherwise identical padas is accompanied by changes in the metre which are mostly effected by extensions or abbreviations22 [BLOOMFIELD, Repetitions, p. 523; BLOOMFIELD and EDGERTON. Variants, III, p. 22.]. There moreover exists a structural relationship between tristubh and jagati because in many cases lines composed in these metres are identical, except that they add or subtract a last syllable23 [BLOOMFIELD, o.c., p. 529; LANMAN, in JAOS 10, p. 535.]. The very extensive interchange between octosyllabic and long metre lines should not however tempt us to consider24 [With W. HASKELL, at PAOS 11 (1881), p. LX.] the latter to have originated from the former. The diction of the Vedic poets is so imitative and, at the same time, so free in all matters of form as to preclude, in most cases, any decision as to the chronological precedence of a definite metrical type. There is ample evidence that metre, style and contents of stanzas or groups of stanzas usually form a harmonious whole25 [See also BLOOMFIELD, A.V.G.B., p. 41.]. The comparatively rare dvipada viraj [a species of Gayatri consisting of two Padas only (12+8 or 10+10 syllables); inadequately represented in the translation by two decasyllabic iambic lines.] stanza -- two decasyllabic units which because of a rest in the middle consist of two pentads each -- is for instance very well adapted to the 'chopped' style, jumping thought and sudden transitions of the Agni hymns 1, 65-73; (1, 66, 3):

dadhara ksemam oko na ranvo
yavo na pakvo jeta jananam,

"Guarding peace and rest, pleasant like one's home
(Is) ripe like barley, victor of peoples."


The complex and emphatic phraseology of the Vayu hymn 1, 134 and its many repetitions at the ends of the successive padas are in harmony with the complicated atyasti [four Padas of seventeen syllables each.] strophes [combining two verses, viz. a Brhati (four Padas ( 8 + 8 + 12 + 8) containing 36 syllables in the stanza) or Kakup (a metre of three Padas consisting of eight, twelve, and eight syllables respectively) followed by a Satobrhati (a metre whose even Padas contain eight syllables each, and the uneven twelve: 12+8+12+8=40).] (12, 12, 8; 8, 8; 12, 8) of which it consists26 [Cf. e.g. also 1, 139; 9, 111; ARNOLD, o.c., p. 237; RENOU, E.V.P. II, p. 33; 42 etc.]:

(3) vayur yunkte rohita vayur aruna
vayu rathe ajira dhuri volhave
vahistha dhuri volhave ...

"Vayu (Wind) yokes the two chestnut horses, Wind the two tawny ones,
Vayu puts to the chariot the two agile (ones) in the yoke to draw.
The best (draught-horses,) in the yoke to draw ... "


It is perhaps no accident that the Vedic wedding hymns are prevailingly in anustubhs, the funeral stanzas in tristubhs27 [RV. 10, 85; AV. 14 or against RV. 10, 14-18; AV. 18.].

Since the verses are largely flexible and adaptable to the different themes28 [See also p. 227 etc.], a change of mood or subject is not infrequently marked by a change of metrical form. In this connection it is worth noticing that already some of the Rgvedic poets not only had a sensitiveness to the metrical structure of their productions29 [Cf. 1, 186, 4; 8, 12, 10: 10, 114, 9; 130, 3.] and were acquainted with some technical terms30 [See e.g. 1, 164. 23ff.; 2, 43, 1; 10, 14, 16. Compare also 10, 90, 9 mentioning the creation of metres and melodies.], but also attributed a wonderful creative power to them: "by means of the jagati stanza and melody the Creator placed the river in the heavens"[!!!] (1, 164, 25). They moreover made an attempt to attribute them to, or co-ordinate them with, definite deities: the viraj is said to belong to the double deity Mitra-Varuna, the tristubh to Indra, the jagati to the Visve Devas31 [RV. 10, 130, 4f.; cf. 10, 124, 9.]. These tendencies became more pronounced in the Atharvaveda -- where a larger number of technical terms appears to be known32 [AV. 8, 9, 14; 20; 10, 25; 11, 7, 8; 12, 3, 10; 19, 21 etc.] -- to be developed into a more systematic whole by the authors of the brahmanas and aranyakas33 [RENOU, in JA 250 (1962), p. 173.]. As far as they are attached to the Rgveda their works are perhaps in a third of all their speculative passages more or less concerned with the metres which are systematically co-ordinated, not only with the gods, but also with other important concepts, such as the social classes, animals, parts of the body, the provinces and quarters of the universe34 [Cf. e.g. TS. 1, 7, 5, 4; SB. 1, 2, 5, 6; 1, 3, 2, 16; 1,4, 1, 34; 1, 7, 2, 13ff.; 10, 3, 2, 1ff. For a survey see SIDDHESWAR VARMA, in Proc. 16 AJOC II, p. 10.]. The gayatri, symbolizing the social order of the brahmins, is Agni's metre35 [E.g. TS. 2, 2, 5, 5.], the tristubh, the heroic metre par excellence, is Indra's and co-ordinated with nobility36 [Haug, Ai. B. I, p. 76.]. The metres become deities themselves37 [This great significance of the metres and metrical speech in general depends largely on the number of the syllables of which they consist and the belief that objects and concepts are closely connected with another by their numerical values and proportions. Df, e.g. AiB. 1, 1, 7. (See also p. 373).], instruments of creation, and are even raised higher than the gods38 [SB. 1, 8, 2, 14; 8, 2, 2, 8; cf. 8, 2, 3, 9. Elsewhere they are associates of the gods, e.g. AiB. 4, 5, 2.].[!!!]

Why was he named HaBaKkuK? Because it is written, "At this season when the time cometh round, thou shalt be embracing (HoBeKeth) a son" (II Kings IV, 16), and he-Habakkuk-was the son of the Shunammite. He received indeed two embracings, one from his mother and one from Elisha, as it is written, "and he put his mouth upon his mouth" (Ibid. 34)' In the Book of King Solomon I have found the following: He (Elisha) traced on him the mystic appellation, consisting of seventy-two names. For the alphabetical letters that his father had at first engraved on him had flown off when the child died; but when Elisha embraced him he engraved on him anew all those letters of the seventy-two names. Now the number of those letters amounts to two hundred and sixteen, and they were all engraved by the breath of Elisha on the child so as to put again into him the breath of life through the power of the letters of the seventy-two names. And Elisha named him Habakkuk, a name of double significance, alluding in its sound to the twofold embracing, as already explained, and in its numerical value (H.B.K.V.K. =8.2.100.6.100) to two hundred and sixteen, the number of the letters of the Sacred Name. By the words his spirit was restored to him and by the letters his bodily parts were reconstituted. Therefore the child was named Habakkuk, and it was he who said: "O Lord, I have heard the report of thee, and I am afraid" (Habak. III, 2). that is to say, I have heard what happened to me, that I tasted of the other world, and am afraid....

The following is another explanation of the words: "These are the generations of heaven and earth." The expression "these are" here corresponds to the same expression in the text: "these are thy gods, O Israel" (Ex. XXXII, 4). When these shall be exterminated, it will be as if God had made heaven and earth on that day; hence it is written, "on the day that God makes heaven and earth". At that time God will reveal Himself with the Shekinah and the world will be renewed, as it is written, "for as the new earth and the new heaven, etc." (Is. LXVI, 22). At that time "the Lord shall cause to spring from the ground every pleasant tree, etc.", but before these are exterminated the rain of the Torah will not descend, and Israel, who are compared to herbs and trees, cannot shoot up, as is hinted in the words: "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field, etc." (Gen. II, 5), because "there was no man", i.e. Israel were not in the Temple, "to till the ground" with sacrifices. According to another explanation, the words "no shrub of the field was yet in the earth" refer to the first Messiah, and the words "no herb of the field had yet sprung up" refer to the second Messiah. Why had they not shot forth? Because Moses was not there to serve the Shekinah -- Moses, of whom it is written, "and there was no man to till the ground". This is also hinted at in the verse "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler's staff from between his feet", "the sceptre" referring to the Messiah of the house of Judah, and "the staff" to the Messiah of the house of Joseph. "Until Shiloh cometh": this is Moses, the numerical value of the two names Shiloh and Moses being the same. It is also possible to refer the "herbs of the field" to the righteous or to the students of the Torah ....

GET THEE FORTH. R. Simeon said: 'What is the reason that the first communion which God held with Abraham commenced with the words "Get thee forth" (lech lecha)? It is that the numerical value of the letters of the words lech lecha is a hundred, and hence they contained a hint to him that he would beget a son at the age of a hundred. See now, whatever God does upon the earth has some inner and recondite purpose....

God here blessed Abraham because he was on a par with the whole world, as it is written: "These are the generations of the heaven and the earth when they were created" (Gen. II, 4), where the term behibaream (when they were created), by a transposition of letters, appears as beabraham (in Abraham). The numerical value of the letters of yihyah (will become) is thirty, which points to the traditional dictum that the Holy One provides for the world thirty righteous men in each generation in the same manner as He did for the generation of Abraham. R. Eleazar supported this from the verse: "He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the three" (II Sam. XXIII, 23). 'The thirty', he said, 'refers to the thirty righteous whom the Holy One has provided for the world without intermission; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada of whom it is written "He was the most honourable of the thirty" was one of them. "But he attained not to the three": i.e. he was not equal to those other three [1] on whom the world subsists, neither being counted among them nor being deemed worthy to....

R. Hiya said: 'It has been established that when Isaac was bound on the altar he was thirty-seven years old, and immediately after Sarah died, as it is written, "And Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her." Whence did he come? He came from Mount Moriah, after his binding of Isaac. These thirty-seven years from Isaac's birth to the time of his being bound were thus the real life of Sarah, as indicated in the expression "and the life of Sarah was (vayihyu)", the word VYHYV having the numerical value of thirty-seven.'...

AND HE SAID: BEHOLD, I HAVE HEARD THAT THERE IS CORN IN EGYPT. GET YOU DOWN (redu) THITHER. It has already been pointed out that the numerical value of the term redu (RDV =210) amounts to the number of years Israel was in Egypt....

AND HE SAID: I AM GOD, THE GOD OF THY FATHER ... I WILL GO DOWN WITH THEE INTO EGYPT. This is an indication that the Shekinah accompanied him into exile; and wherever Israel were exiled the Shekinah followed them also into exile. Observe that Joseph sent his father six wagons, [3] an allusion to which is found in the "six covered wagons" presented by the princes to Moses (Num. VII, 3). According to another view, the number was sixty; but the two views are not contradictory. For, indeed, it is first written: "in the wagons which Joseph sent" (Gen. XLV, 27), and afterwards, "which Pharaoh sent" (Ibid. XLVI, 5), so that the truth is that those which Joseph sent were of the proper number, which had a recondite significance, but the larger number which Pharaoh sent had no such numerical symbolism...

An allusion to the "mighty hand" with which God smote the Egyptians, the word "lad having the same numerical value as yad (hand)....

Therefore it has been said that man should always imagine that the fate of the whole world depends upon him. Now he who emanates from the side of Michael is called "firstborn". Michael's grade is white silver, and therefore the redemption of the firstborn is silver: five sel 'as, according to the numerical value of the letter he in Abraham. Should such a man be successful in the study of the Torah, then a letter yod is added to him, which symbolizes holiness: for with the numerical value of yod -- namely ten -- the firstborn of cattle had to be redeemed. And when a man shall have reached this degree of holiness, then the words "Israel is holy to the Lord" (Jer. II, 3) can indeed be applied to him....

But now let us return to our former subject, namely to the supernal garment which the Holy One spreads over the soul as an armour of protection so that she should not be delivered to a "strange nation". "And if he hath betrothed her unto his son, he shall act towards her according to the rights of daughters." 'Associates,' said the old man, 'When ye shall draw nigh unto that rock upon which the whole world is sustained (R. Simeon), then shall ye tell him to remember the day of snow whereon beans were sown of fifty-two kinds and colours, [Alluding to a discussion on the word be" (understanding), the numerical value of which is fifty-two.] and having recalled that day to his mind, recall also the fact that on it we read the above verse: which, when ye have awakened in him the memory thereof, he will then unravel for you himself.'...

Therefore we proclaim loudly: "Hear, O Israel; prepare thyself, for thy Husband has come to receive thee." And also we say: "The Lord our God, the Lord is one", which signifies that the two are united as one, in a perfect and glorious union, without any flaw of separation to mar it. As soon as the Israelites say, "The Lord is One", to arouse the six aspects, these six unite each with each and ascend in one ardour of love and desire. The symbol of this is the letter Vau (because its numerical value is six) when it stands alone without being joined to any other letter. Then the Matrona makes herself ready with joy, and adorns herself with delight, and Her attendants accompany Her, and in hushed silence She encounters her Spouse; and Her handmaids proclaim, "Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever."...

'The Sabbath service continues with the prayer: "The soul of all living shall bless thy name, O Lord our God." The Companions have made some true observations on this prayer. But the real truth is that on Sabbath it is incumbent on us to mention that soul which emanates from "the Life of Worlds" (Yesod). And since this soul belongs to Him from whom all blessings proceed and in whom they are present, who wills to water and to bless that which is below, she is given permission to bless this Place. Thus the souls which fly forth from this "Living One" on the entrance of Sabbath do actually bless that Place in order to communicate blessings to the world below which is called the "Lower Name" (Malkuth). At the same time, the region whence those souls emanate blesses the Name from above, and so it receives blessings from below and from above, and is completed in all aspects. During other days she receives blessings from those souls which bless her from below; but on the Sabbath she receives blessings from those supernal souls which bless her with forty-five words according to the numerical value of the word Mah (What?) From the words "the soul of all living" to "the God of the first and last ages" there are forty-five words; from the words "were our mouths filled with song as the sea" to the words "and with us" are very nearly fifty words, corresponding to the Mi (numerical value = fifty). From here on follow other praises which resolve themselves in the number one hundred, the completion of all (to "the great God") and form one chariot. Thus this hymn of praise and all the words contained in it are numerical symbols of the perfection of the Sabbath, and the perfection attained through it, according to the Divine purpose. Blessed is that people that has learnt how to conduct a service of praise in well-pleasing fashion!...

Then began he to expound the words, "The commandment is a lamp." 'This', he said, 'refers to the Mishnah in the same way as the "Torah and the commandment" (Ex. XXIV, 12) mean the Written and the Oral Law respectively. And why is the Mishnah called a "lamp"? Because when she receives the two hundred and forty-eight organs from the Two Arms, she opens her two arms in order to gather them into her embrace, and so her two arms encompass them and the whole is called "lamp". "The Torah is a light" which kindles that lamp from the side of primordial light, which is of the Right Hand, because the Torah was given from the Right Hand (Deut. XXXIII, 2), although the Left was included in it to attain perfect harmony. This light is included in the two hundred and seven worlds which are concealed in the region of that light, and is spread throughout all of them. These worlds are under the hidden supernal Throne. There are three hundred and ten of them: two hundred and seven belong to the Right Hand and one hundred and three to the Left Hand. These are the worlds which are always prepared by the Holy One for the righteous, and from them spread treasures of precious things, which are stored away for the delight of the righteous in the world to come. Concerning them it is written: "That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures" (Prov. VIII, 21). "Eye hath not seen ... what he shall do to those that wait for him" (Isa. LXIV, 3). Yesh, substance, indicates the three hundred and ten worlds (numerical value of Yesh) which are stored away under the world to come. The two hundred and seven (numerical value of 'or, light), which are of the Right Hand, are called "the primordial light", as the Left is also called "light", but not "primordial". The primordial light is destined to produce issue for the world to come. And not only in the world to come, but even now every day; for this world would not be able to exist at all if it were not for this light, as it is written, "For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever" (Ps. LXXXIX, 3). It was this light that the Holy One sowed in the Garden of Eden, and through the agency of the Righteous, who is the Gardener of the Garden, He set it in rows; and He took it and sowed it as the seed of truth in rows in the Garden, where it grew, multiplied, and brought forth fruit which has nourished the world, as it is written: "A light sown to the righteous" (Ps. XCVII, 11)....

THE HOOKS OF THE PILLARS AND THEIR FILLETS SHALL BE OF SILVER. Said R. Isaac: 'I presume that the "hooks of the pillars" symbolize all those who are attached to the supernal unifying pillars, [58] and that all those who are below depend on them. What is the significance of the word vavim (hooks; also the letter vau, the numerical value of which is six)? Six within six (vv), all united and nourished by the Spine which is set over them. And we have learnt in the Book of the Hidden Mystery (Sifra di-zeniutha) this dictum: "Hooks above, hooks below (six above, six below), all comprehended in one meaning and one name, having one and the same significance."...

'AND HE MADE IT A MOLTEN CALF. We are told that it weighed one hundred and twenty-five hundredweight (this figure being the numerical equivalent of the word massekah, "molten"); how, then, could he have taken them all from "their hands"? Could such a heavy weight possibly be lifted and held by human hands? The fact is, however, that they held in their hands only so much as filled them, and this portion represented the whole. It is written: "And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it"....

Now the injunction "to fear the Name" is accomplished by means of the hymns and songs that King David chanted, and of the sacrifices ordained by the Torah. For it behoves man to be filled thereby with fear of his Master, for those hymns belong to a region called "Fear" (yir'ah), and all the Hallelujahs are emblematic of the fear of the Holy One, [Because the word Hallelujah has the same numerical value as Elohim, signifying the attribute of Justice.] blessed be He; it thus behoves man to attune his mind to a spirit of awe in the recital of those hymns....

R. Eleazar then continued: 'It is written, "And he brought me thither, and behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate" (Ezek. XL, 3). Ezekiel saw in this prophetical vision a "man", but not "a man clothed in linen" (Dan. X, 5). For it is only when the angel is on an errand of severity that he is called "a man clothed in linen". Otherwise, he assumes various guises, appears in various attire conformably to the message he bears at the time being. Now, in the present vision "his appearance was like the appearance of brass", that is, he was clothed in the raiment formed of the "mountains of brass", and the "measuring reed" that he had in his hand was not the "Obscure Lamp" of the hidden and treasured-up light, but it was formed out of a solidified part, as it were, of the residue of light left by the "Obscure Lamp", what time that light mounted up to the heights and became engraven within the scintillating and undisclosed brightness. The "measuring reed", therefore, is used for measuring the dimensions of the lower sphere. Now, there is a "measuring reed" and a "measuring line". All the measurements of Ezekiel were by the measuring reed, whereas in the work of the Tabernacle all was measured by the measuring line. This is also used for the measuring of the dimensions of this world after the pattern of the "cord" (employed in Ezekiel's Temple), inasmuch as in the process of its extension a knot was formed at every cubit length, which length became the standard measure for the purpose, called ammah (cubit). That "measuring line" thus bears the name of "cubit"; and that explains the wording, "The length of each curtain was eight and twenty by the cubit (ba-amah), and the breadth of each curtain four by the cubit" (Ex. XXXVI, 9), the singular, " cubit", pointing to the fact that it was the cubit which measured on every side. Now this was a projection from the Supernal Lamp, the lower measurement being the counterpart of the higher. The miniature lower measurement embraces a thousand and five hundred facets, each facet expanding into twelve thousand cubits. Thus one cubit moved along, growing into a "measuring line", each cubit in its turn being newly revealed; and so it resulted in a length of eight-and-twenty "by the cubit" and a breadth of four "by the cubit". Hence the one cubit covered thirty-two spaces, symbolic of the thirty-two "Paths of Wisdom" that emanate from the supernal regions. Now the length (of the curtains) was formed into four sections of seven cubits each, the number seven expressing here the central mystical idea; similarly the thirty-two Paths are embraced within the seven, in their mystical symbolism of the Divine Name. So far in regard to this measurement, which was of a higher degree of holiness; for, indeed, there was another measured substance that was designed to be a covering to this, the external comprising the number thirty-four; whilst the internal was of the number thirty-two, and, moreover, being of a higher degree of holiness, it contained the sacred colours enumerated in the passage, "of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet". The same lesson is indicated in the words. "I went down into the garden of nuts" (8.S. VI, 11). For, as the nut has a shell surrounding and protecting the kernel inside, so it is with everything sacred: the sacred principle occupies the interior, whilst the "other side" encircles it on the exterior. This is the inward meaning of "the wicked doth surround the righteous" (Habakkuk I, 4). The same is indicated in the very name EGVZ (nut). [The numerical value of EGVZ. (1+3+6+7)=17. Similarly, HT (sin) (9+8=17; and TVB (the good) (9+6+2)=17.] Observe that the exterior, the more it is enlarged the more worthless it becomes. As a mnemonic we have the sacrifices of the Feast of Tabernacles, the number of which goes on diminishing with the increase of days. We thus find the same here. Of the inner curtain it is written: "And thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains" (Ex. XXVI, I); whereas for the outer ones the number was "eleven curtains" (Ibid. 7). Furthermore, of the outer curtains it says, "The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits" (Ibid. 8), the two numbers amounting together to thirty-four, a number symbolic of the lowest depth of poverty; [Since 34 is the numerical value of DaL (D=4, L=30), signifying the lowest extreme of poverty.] whereas the corresponding number in the ten curtains was thirty-two, a smaller number, but symbolizing the sublime mystery of the Faith, or the Divine Name. The lower is thus the higher, and the higher the lower. The former constitutes the interior, the latter the exterior. Now the same "measuring-line" went on expanding and thus measured the boards, concerning which it is written: "And he made the boards for the tabernacle of acacia-wood, standing up" (Ibid. XXXVI, 20). These symbolized the Seraphim, as indicated by the description "standing up", which is paralleled in "Seraphim were standing up" (Isa. VI, 2). Now, here it is written, "Ten cubits shall be the length of a board" (Ex. XXVI, 16), and not "ten by the cubit". This is because the boards represented the three triads with a single one hovering high above them. The number eleven and a half has its recondite significance in that the boards symbolized a striving upwards, but not yet reaching to the degree of the Ophanim, [33] the half being expressive of incompleteness. This concerns the mystery of the Holy Chariot, for the twenty boards divide themselves into ten on this side and ten on the other, denoting a reaching out to the height of the sublime Seraphim. Then there is a further ascent in the holy region, denoted by the "middle bar" (Ibid. XXVI, 28). There is also an inward significance in the twenty boards in that they embrace the number 230. [i.e. Twenty times the length of each plus twenty times the breadth of each: (20 x 10) + (20x 1-1/2) = 230. The number 230 is the numerical value of certain sacred names.] The value of each prescribed measure has here its proper meaning. The curtains of the Tabernacle mentioned before stand for sublime mysteries, namely, the mystery of heaven, regarding which Scripture says: "Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain" (Ps. CIV, 2). Now, of the two sets of curtains, the one expresses one aspect of the mystery whilst the other expresses another aspect of the same mystery. The whole is designed to teach us Wisdom in all its aspects and all its manifestations; and so that man may discern between good and evil, between what Wisdom teaches and what it rejects. The mystery of the basic measurement, as elsewhere laid down, embraces various objects. The Ark in its dimensions falls within the same recondite principle, in respect of what it received and what it possesses of its own. We thus read: "two cubits and a half was the length of it" (Ex. XXXVII, 1). The one cubit on either side tells us about the Ark being the recipient from this side and from that side; whilst the half cubit in the centre represents what it had possessed of its own; and the same is indicated by the cubit and a half of its breadth and a cubit and a half of its height: each cubit speaks of what accrued to it, and each half of what is possessed already. For there must needs be something for something else to rest on, and hence the existing half in every account. There is a further recondite significance in that the Ark was inlaid with gold inside and outside so as to have its dimensions formed after the archetypal plan. The table was similarly measured by this archetypal scale. The dimensions of the Ark, however, were not used elsewhere, for reasons revealed to the wise. Similarly, all the other works of the Tabernacle were measured by the same cubit, with the exception of the breastplate, which was measured by the span. Now observe this. The tunic embraced the mystery of the "six" (shesh) in that it symbolized the vesture designed for the setting right and investiture of all that comes within the "six" (directions of the world). So far the recondite significance of the "measuring-line". In the vision of Ezekiel, however, we find instead the "measuring-reed", for the reason that the House which he beheld was destined to remain forever in its place with the same walls, the same lines, the same entrances, the same doors, every part in accordance with prescribed measure. But in regard to the time to come, Scripture says: "And the side-chambers were broader as they wound higher and higher" (Ezek. XLI, 7). For immediately the building will be begun that "measuring-reed" will mount higher and higher in the length and in the breadth, so that the House will be extended on all sides, and no malign influence shall ever light on it. For at that time Severity will no more be found in the world; hence everything will remain firmly and immovably established, as Scripture says, "and [they will] be disquieted no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more", etc. (2 Sam. VII, 10). And observe that all these measurements prescribed for this world had for their object the establishment of this world after the pattern of the upper world, so that the two should be knit together into one mystery. At the destined time, when the Holy One, blessed be He, will bestir Himself to renew the world, all the world will be found to express one mystery, and the glory of the Almighty will then be over all, in fulfilment of the verse, "In that day shall the Lord be one, and his name one" (Zech. XIV, 9).'...

It is for this reason that in the command it says simply "saying" (amor), instead of the definite form "say" (imru), this being a reference to the hidden letters within the words of blessing. Again, the word AMoR has in its letters the numerical value of two hundred and forty-eight less one, equal to the number of the bodily members of man, excepting the one member on which all the rest depend. All these members thus receive the priestly blessing as expressed in the three verses.'...

He who constantly occupies himself with the Torah is compared by the Psalmist to "a tree planted by streams of water" (Ps. I, 3). Just as a tree has roots, bark, sap, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, seven kinds in all, so the Torah has the literal meaning, the homiletical meaning, the mystery of wisdom, numerical values, hidden mysteries, still deeper mysteries, and the laws of fit and unfit, forbidden and permitted, and clean and unclean. From this point branches spread out in all directions, and to one who knows it in this way it is indeed like a tree, and if not he is not truly wise.

-- The Zohar, translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:42 am

Part 2 of 2

Being believed to exert various forms of power and infiuence39 [See e.g. TS. 2, 2, 4, 8; SB. 1, 3, 4, 6; 1, 8, 2, 8; 4, 4, 3, 1.] they impart certain qualities or characteristics to their user40 [See e.g. TS. 3, 3, 7, 1f, ; 4. 4,12, 1ff.]; they moreover came to be closely associated with definite divisions of the ritual: the gayatri is at the morning service of the soma sacrifice allotted to Agni41 [See also BERGAIGNE, in JA 1889 (8-13), p. 134.] and the Vasus, the tristubh at the midday service to Indra and the Rudras, the jagati at the third pressing in the evening to the Visve Devas and the Adityas42 [AiB. 3, 13, 1; see BERGAIGNE, in JA 1889 (8-13), p. 13; 166, who was of the opinion that most Rgvedic hymns were composed for a soma sacrifice that was not essentially different from that described in the brahmanas and sutras.]. The tristubh, moreover, is the chief metre of the hotar, the gayatri and the pragatha43 [Pragathas are formed by combination of units of 8 and 12 syllables.] of the udgatar [The udgatar is the chanter of hymns set to melodies (sāman) drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the Hotar, chants the introductory, yajna and eulogistic verses. These three types of hymns are identified with the three kinds of vital breath Prana, Apana and Vyana in the body and the udgatar himself contemplates on the vital breath.] 44 [For details see OLDENBERG, in ZDMG 38, p. 439 (= K . S. p. 513).]. The Rgveda shows traces of this distinction between recitative and song; beside hymns in simple metres are found strophic effects made up of various combinations of series of eight and twelve syllables45 [Cf. P. D. CHANDRATRE, Longer metres in Rigveda, at Bulletin Chunilal Gandhi Vidyabhavan 14 (1969), p. 1.] intended for saman singing46 [E.g. 1, 127; 5, 87; 9, 111. After the observations made in chapter II the moot question as to what portions of the corpus were from the beginning intended to serve liturgical purposes and the problem of the character of ritual and liturgy in the early Rgvedic period must be left undiscussed here.].

2. Structure of the suktas

At first sight many Rgvedic hymns impress us as consisting of isolated, self- contained stanzas of restricted scope, each of which presents -- even without any perceptible inner connection -- a single aspect or a single situation1 [See e.g. OLDENBERG, Vedaforschung, p. 14.]. In some cases this impression is no doubt correct: many stanzas could be interchanged or even transferred to another sukta without detriment to the intelligibility of the context; there are, in our eyes, many interruptions2 [After dealing, in stanza 1, with the birth of the primeval horse the poet of 1, 163 proceeds to mention those gods who harness the animal etc. before saying (in stanza 3) that it is identical with other deities, a statement which we would have expected to follow immediately after stanza 1. For other interruptions see 1, 164, 12-14 (st. 13 continuing 12a; 14, 12 in general); 2, 27, 13-15; 3, 7, 5-7.]; there are disorderly and badly composed or otherwise structurally unsuccessful hymns3 [See e.g. 1, 139 (RENOU, E.V.P. IV, p. 31); 4, 55; 5, 43; 10, 77; 93. The repeated reference to Dabhiti in 2, 15, 9 (cf. 4) is incomprehensible.]. On closer investigation it however appears that in many cases unity in a hymn is more clearly observable than continuity, which is not infrequently difficult to trace because of a certain amount of repetition and the insertion of digressive material4 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in JAOS 88, p. 201.]. The elaboration of the theme, while contributing much to the unity of the hymn, was, as far as we are able to see, largely the task of the individual poet, who no doubt was acquainted with a great variety of models to choose from5 [Cf. LOMMEL. Gedichte. p. 23.]. A thorough examination will indeed often show that many times abrupt transitions find their explanation in a certain vivacity of expression6 [See e.g., RV. 1, 92, 6; 113, 16; 8, 48, 3; 11; 10, 31, 3.] and that an at first sight rather incoherent hymn constitutes a well-considered whole. In 1, 1 7 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in Congr. Vol. Gonda, p. 63.] Agni is invoked as the divine priest presiding over the sacrifice who is most lavish in bestowing treasures on his worshipper (st. 1). Lauded by sages of old as well as of today, he is adjured to bring the other gods to the sacrificial place (st. 2); through him the sacrificer can gain prosperity (st. 3). Only that sacrifice will be successful that is encompassed by Agni (4); he will, indeed, hear the prayer (5); that will come true (6). The final stanzas (7-9) express the allegiance of those speaking and implore Agni's benevolence.

A great number of Vedic suktas, indeed, are to a remarkable degree characterized by an obviously preconceived plan, by one chief underlying idea or the elaboration of one definite theme, which give them unity8 [In the second half of the mandala X there are many exceptions.]. Not infrequently the initial stanza contains an invitation, exposition or some reference to the main subject of the poem, the next stanza an explanation or elaboration of the theme. At the end some conclusion or recapitulation and a final prayer are very common. The more or less recapitulative recurrence to the theme (or the subject or situation of the initial stanza) brings about, in various cases, a certain relationship between the beginning and the final part of the poem9 [B. SCHLERATH, in Akten 24. Intern. Orient. Kongr., Munchen 1957 (1959). p. 532. Compare e.g. RV. 1, 6; 17; 35; 140; 145; 2, 16; 19; 24; 3, 32 and see also 2, 28; 7, 87; 10, 40.].

There are of course many possibilities of variation or complication; the eulogy may for instance pass into a long prayer, or into invocations and requests, alternating with a confirmation of the god's favour10 [See e.g. 2, 23; 27; 48.]. The invitation at the beginning is not infrequently followed by a prayer in one of the next stanzas11 [See 1, 5; 3, 40. Some hymns consist of one long invitation and a very short prayer (e.g. 3, 41). Compare also shorter hymns such as 1, 138.]. In the Asvin hymns (e.g. 1, 116-119) the introduction (invitations) is normally followed by a litany listing the gods' deeds in the same metre. The theme is not necessarily indicated in the first stanza12 [As e.g. also 10, 15, 1; 23, 1; 25, 1.]; it may follow the exordium13 [E.g. 4, 24, 2; 6, 9, 2; 10, 31, 3; 88, 3f.].

Very often the theme, though obviously viewed as a unit, is throughout the hymn broken into smaller parts, the poet selecting or emphasizing some aspect or incident, or dwelling, in varied wordings, on the same motives or episodes14 [See e.g. 5, 2; 30; 32; 6, 39; 7, 4. Compare also the beautiful and well arranged Usas hymn 1, 113. See HENRY, Les litteratures de l'Inde, Paris 1904, p. 29.].

The Rig Veda, Mandala 1, Hymn 113, Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith

1. This light is come, amid all lights the fairest; born is the brilliant, far-extending brightness.
Night, sent away for Savitar's uprising, hath yielded up a birth-place for the Morning.
2. The Fair, the Bright is come with her white offspring; to her the Dark One hath resigned her dwelling.
Akin, immortal, following each other, changing their colours both the heavens move onward.
3. Common, unending is the Sisters' pathway; taught by the Gods, alternately they travel.
Fair-formed, of different hues and yet one-minded, Night and Dawn clash not, neither do they travel.
4. Bright leader of glad sounds, our eyes behold her; splendid in hue she hath unclosed the portals.
She, stirring up the world, hath shown us riches: Dawn hath awakened every living creature.
5. Rich Dawn, she sets afoot the coiled-up sleeper, one for enjoyment, one for wealth or worship,
Those who saw little for extended vision. All living creatures hath the Dawn awakened.
6. One to high sway, one to exalted glory, one to pursue his gain, and one his labour:
All to regard their different vocations, all moving creatures hath the Dawn awakened.
7. We see her there, the Child of Heaven apparent, the young Maid, flushing in her shining raiment.
Thou sovran Lady of all earthly treasure, flush on us here, auspicious Dawn, this morning.
8. She first of endless morns to come hereafter, follows the path of morns that have departed.
Dawn, at her rising, urges forth the living him who is dead she wakes not from his slumber.
9. As thou, Dawn, hast caused Agni to be kindled, and with the Sun's eye hast revealed creation.
And hast awakened men to offer worship, thou hast performed, for Gods, a noble service.
10. How long a time, and they shall be together,--Dawns that have shone and Dawns to shine hereafter?
She yearns for former Dawns with eager longing, and goes forth gladly shining with the others.
11. Gone are the men who in the days before us looked on the rising of the earlier Morning.
We, we the living, now behold her brightness and they come nigh who shall hereafter see her.
12. Foe-chaser, born of Law, the Law's protectress, joy-giver, waker of all pleasant voices,
Auspicious, bringing food for Gods' enjoyment, shine on us here, most bright, O Dawn, this morning.
13. From days eternal hath Dawn shone, the Goddess, and shows this light to-day, endowed with riches.
So will she shine on days to come immortal she moves on in her own strength, undecaying.
14. In the sky's borders hath she shone in splendour: the Goddess hath thrown off the veil of darkness.
Awakening the world with purple horses, on her well-harnessed chariot Dawn approaches.
15. Bringing all life-sustaining blessings with her, showing herself she sends forth brilliant lustre.
Last of the countless mornings that have vanished, first of bright morns to come hath Dawn arisen.
16. Arise! the breath, the life, again hath reached us: darkness hath passed away and light approacheth.
She for the Sun hath left a path to travel we have arrived where men prolong existence.
17. Singing the praises of refulgent Mornings with his hymn's web the priest, the poet rises.
Shine then to-day, rich Maid, on him who lauds thee, shine down on us the gift of life and offspring.
18. Dawns giving sons all heroes, kine and horses, shining upon the man who brings oblations,--
These let the Soma-presser gain when ending his glad songs louder than the voice of Vayu.
19. Mother of Gods, Aditi's form of glory, ensign of sacrifice, shine forth exalted.
Rise up, bestowing praise on our devotion all-bounteous, make us chief among the people.
20. Whatever splendid wealth the Dawns bring with them to bless the man who offers praise and worship,
Even that may Mitra, Varuna vouchsafe us, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.


Minor themes, subsidiary to the larger themes, can assume various forms suitable to different situations. Or some motives or secondary themes combine or alternate with the main theme so as to form a varied whole: in 9, 61 eulogistic and precatory references to the process of Soma's purification succeed, in these passages in the middle of the hymn, to references to Indra's Vrtra combat in which he was assisted by Soma -- in st. 22 both themes combine -- , digressions on the draught's significance for man and other matter. So a hymn may expand and modify its theme as it proceeds15 [Compare also addresses and invitations such as 4, 4; 32.] and, although many poets show considerable skill in treating a subject without losing anything that is essential to them, they sometimes are, especially when the subject matter is complex, forced to leave the poem a fragment or torso or to resume the theme in another hymn16 [For 4, 24 see SIEG, Sagenstoffe, p. 90: for 1, 165; 169-171, GELDNER, RV. I. p. 249; for 4, 18, ibidem, I, p. 441. It is impossible to say if all hymns which may give modern readers the impression of fragments (e.g. 5, 66; 8, 58; 9, 58; 5, 48: RENOU, E.V.P. IV, p. 76) are really torsos.].

There is, in the elaboration of the themes and the distribution of the descriptive elements over the poems an unmistakable difference between hymns addressed to, for instance Agni, Usas, Maruts and other deities. The poems in praise of the Maruts17 [RENOU, E.V.P. X, p. 1.] are in these respects more varied, more precise and detailed. They, moreover, insist on definite characteristics of these gods. In using the term theme we should not forget that in many hymns -- and now we think first and foremost of the Soma hymns of mandala IX -- there is no question of any clear time-sequence or even of a thematic development proper. Many poems do not progress and their composition could in a sense be described as cyclical in that they usually recur to the same minor themes and make use of the same -- it is true somewhat varied -- images. The beautiful -- almost 'epic,' yet essentially eulogistic -- hymn 1, 32 states, in st. 2, 4, 5 that Indra slew Vrtra, inserting flashbacks in 3, 6, 11 and 12, and mentioning some details of the fight in 6 and 7, and its results in 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 etc., to return in the final stanzas to the varied statement that the god was triumphant.

There are instances of special skill in constructing transitions from one theme or aspect of a subject to another. After praising Agni in the stanzas 6-10 the poet of 4, 1 proceeds to relate the Pani myth (13- 17), but before doing so he dwells, in two stanzas, on the god's birth, adding that among those who were born at the same time were also the Angirases, "our human fathers" who (in 13) are said to have taken away the cows from the Panis18 [For transitions see also 2, 35, 10; 3, 31, 3; 7, 18, 21; 10, 56, 5.]. In the long Indra hymn 8, 4 an apostrophe to Pusan (st. 15-18), the god who guides the travelling eulogist, connects the hymn proper and the danastuti. A closer connection between two successive stanzas can be achieved, for instance by continuation of the same syntactic structure; by parallelism or close similarity in contents19 [Cf. e.g. 1, 164, 17f. (questions); 7, 66, 10f. (relative clauses); 7, 1, 8f.]. Occasionally, and especially in passages dedicated to a dual deity, a stanza is followed by its duplicate20 [E.g. 1, 108, 9f.; 8, 40, 10f. (RENOU, E.V.P. XIV, p. 129).].

On the other hand, the poet's technique made also possible short episodic references to a legendary event, interrupting a definite sequence of more or less coherent statements21 [E.g. 1, 19, 6 (GELDNER, Auswahl, II, p. 69); 6, 64, 7-9.]. Another practice is the insertion of a larger resume of a definite mythical event in a series of shorter allusions: the poet of 4, 33, whilst enumerating the various achievements of the Rbhus, needs two stanzas (6f.) for the most frequently mentioned exhibition of their skill, viz. their having made one cup into four22 [Cf. 4, 16, 9-12; 30, 8-11; 10, 17, 7-9. See also 1, 104; 5, 85, 3f.].

The structure of a confirmation of divine power may be illustrated by the Indra hymn 2, 12: st. 1-3 recall the great feats of the god -- the worlds trembled, he made firm the quaking earth, slew the serpent, released the waters --, 5-10 (after a transition in 4) his activities in the mundane sphere; 11-12 refer to legends; after a short recapitulation and transition (13) the poet states that the god, strengthened by the faithful worshipper, will help him (14f.). The essential traits of Visnu's character are, in 1, 154, presented in a still more condensed form23 [Compare also the typically Rudra hymn 2, 33, the Agni hymn 3, 1.]. Other hymns consist almost exclusively of an enumeration of the god's cosmic and legendary24 [Compare e.g. 2, 15 (the final stanza is a stereotyped request).] deeds, or of general statements of his power, alternating with epithets or injunctions to worship him25 [E.g. 2, 21; 3, 46; 47.].

RV. 1, 16 is an example of what may be described as a manifoldly varied invitation. In stanza 1 Indra's horses are requested to convey him to the sacrificial place; in 2 this request, clothed in other descriptive words, is repeated; in 3 it is stated that Indra is called upon in the morning, in 4 and 5 he is invited directly to be urged, in 6 and 7, to drink the soma; st. 8 states that the god (usually) comes; the final stanza is a prayer. RV. 2, 18 is more complicated: after informing the hearer, in figurative wording, that now, in the morning, the god is prepared to come (st. 1 f.), the poet, continuing the same imagery, proceeds to invite him (3), to address him (in 4-6) with three times repeated "come," varied with a climax -- "with two, twenty, eighty bay horses" --, and to be quite explicit in 7: "come to my hymn, to this sacrifice"; st. 8 is a prayer, 9 a stereotyped final stanza. RV. 8, 25, called a "type of a static hymn26 [RENOU, E.V.P. VII, p. 67. According to the anukramanika the dual deity is addressed in 1-9 and 13-24, the Visve Devas in 10-12.], invokes Varuna-and-Mitra in 1-9; 13; 17 and, between these addresses, Aditi and other gods in 10 (and 11), Visnu and Sindhu in 12; other deities in 14 (and 15), to refer again to the dual deity in the danastuti (st. 23).

Intelligibly enough, special or uncommon subjects may require deviations from the above patterns and tendencies. The cosmogonic hymns 10, 90; 121; 129 quite rationally start their expositions at the beginning of the evolution which they try to describe. The difficult and complicated hymn 1, 164 may be resolved into three closely linked divisions each of which purports to be a part of the poet's transcendental visions27 [NORMAN BROWN, in JAOS 88 (see above).]. RV. 10, 127 describes the phenomena. attending the approach of Night imploring the protection of this goddess. RV. 7, 104, which the poet "saw for the destruction of the demons"28 [Brhaddevata 6, 28.] and indeed essentially is a long exorcism, invoking the help of the dual deity Indra-Soma against demons and their adherents, the 'sorcerers,' includes a smaller passage (14-17) in which the poet clears himself from the charge of malpractices. The composition of the hymns addressed to the Visve Devas29 [See p. 102 and cf. RENOU, in Comm. Vol. Nobel, p. 178; RV. 1, 186; 6, 49; 50 etc.] is remarkable in that, generally speaking, each stanza is directed to a different deity, which is -- in 8, 29 even anonymously -- eulogized by means of appropriate characteristics and references. A structural principle which some Vedic passages have in common with the Avesta and therefore are regarded as inherited30 [Avesta, Yt. 12, 9-37; RV. 1, 108, 7; 8, 12, 16f.; 97, 4f.; see LOMMEL, at AO (L.), 10, p. 372.] consists in an enumeration of various abodes or places of residence of a deity: the well-known tendency to completeness lest the deity or demon addressed can excuse himself from coming and answering the prayer.

Although in hymns directed to the same deities the same topics tend to recur -- a certain monotony has, inter alia in the Soma hymns of mandala IX, more than once been noticed31 [E.g. MACDONELL, H.S.L., p. 65; RENOU, E.V.P. I, p. 46; ELIZARENKOVA, Rigveda, p. 37.] -- examples are far from rare in which two hymns which consist, for instance, chiefly of prayers and invitations addressed to the same gods, differ, also in their structure, on many points. Thus 7, 97 (Indra- Brhaspati) presents a greater variety of contents than 4, 49 (directed to the same dual deity); moreover, in the latter the deity is invoked in every stanza, whereas in the former the compound expressing the name does not occur32 [See GONDA, Dual deities, p. 322.]. Even the Apri hymns are not wholly stereotyped. On closer examination we can indeed subscribe to Macdonell's opinion: ''When we consider that nearly five hundred hymns of the Rgveda are addressed to two deities (Indra, Agni) alone, it is surprising that so many variations of the same theme should be possible." From a comparative survey of six successive hymns dedicated to Varuna-and-Mitra and traditionally ascribed to the same poet (7, 60-65) it appears that all of them begin with paying homage to the Sun (Surya), the 'eye' of the dual deity. In part of the hymns this homage expanded into a larger eulogy upon this divine luminary or a prayer for Surya's mediation. Whereas, in 63, the double deity recedes into the background, it is in the other hymns circumstantially praised. In 60 and 62 other gods, especially the Adityas, share in this praise. In 60 and 64 -- which is largely precatory -- the poet introduces prayers on behalf of king Sudas.

A comparison between a shorter and a longer hymn dedicated to the same deity33 [Cf. NORMAN BROWN, in NIA 2, p. 115.] and dealing with the same subject matter may show how in the latter this is elaborated and expanded with new ideas; 7, 102 (in gayatri metre, stanzas of 24 syllables):

(1) "Start singing to Parjanya, son of heaven, the bounteous!
He must get us pasturage!

(2) (He) who places the germ into the plants, the cows,
the mares, the women, Parjanya,

(3) In his mouth offer the oblation, the sweetest one.
That he will give us refreshment without check";


and in 7,101 (in tristubh metre, stanzas of 44 syllables):

(1) "Speak out the three voices preceded by light, which milk this sweetness-yielding udder. Making as his calf the germ of the plants, he, the bull, bellows as soon as (he is) born34 ["Speak": either the god, or more plausibly, Soma is addressed, the three voices being those which rise when the soma draught is pressed. "Udder": the soma-press and the rain cloud.].

(2) That he who increases plants, and waters, the god who rules the entire world, provide a triple refuge as our shelter, threefold light for our protection.

(3) In that he is now sterile and now gives birth, he makes himself what he wishes.

The mother accepts the juice of the father. By it the father increases and the son35 [Juice: the rain. The son: the vegetable kingdom; the mother is the earth. The rain first increases the plants, later it returns to the clouds, increasing the 'father.'[???]].

(4) He in whom all worlds (and their inhabitants) stand (firmly), (and) the three heavens, (from whom) the waters flow triply. On all sides the three vessels, pouring out, drip abundance of sweetness36 [Vessels: the clouds; sweetness: the rain, the terms alluding to the soma vessels and the soma.[???]].

(5) These words must lie in the heart of Parjanya, the autonomous king; that he will take delight in them. Rain, bringing refreshment, must be ours; the plants guarded by the god(s) (be) fruitful.

(6) He is the bull impregnating all female beings. In him is the soul of all that moves and stands. This manifestation of the universal Order must preserve me for a hundred autumns37 [I.e. years.]. Preserve us evermore (, O gods,) with fortune and well-being!"


Cases are not rare in which these structural tendencies are made obvious by essentially syntactic or stylistic means and processes. The unity of a hymn can, for instance, be more conspicuous if the same word recurs in the greater part of its stanzas38 [See e.g. 5, 63: 6, 26 (repeated address with "thou"): and cf. 1, 8, 8-10: 9, 3; 15; 37.]. In the Indra hymn 1, 7 the god is invoked or in different case forms mentioned by name, at the beginning of the stanzas 1-5 and 10 (the last) and after the caesura in 1, 2 and 9; the conclusion of this hymn is not marked by a different metre39 [See e.g. also 6, 72; 74: 7, 87 (Varuna).]. All stanzas of 10, 80 begin with a case form of the name Agni. Most stanzas of 1, 63 begin with "thou" (tvam). All stanzas of 10, 78, except the last (8), the prayer, consist of three or four similes; 2-5 are moreover syntactically similar.

The poets can also resort to grammatical means when they wish to distinguish between the present time, the actual past and the remote past, which, whether mythical or historical, they set almost always outside the normal temporal scheme40 [For grammatical particulars, J. GONDA, Old Indian, Leiden 1971, p. 129.]. Sometimes they transfer themselves mentally to the past introducing a divine speaker or addressing a mythical figure41 [E.g. 6, 20, 8; 31, 3.]. Shifts and differences in time are quite common42 [Cf. RENOU, E.V.P. II, p. 24.]. Often an author starts his poem in the mythical past to continue -- in a prayer, invitation or allusion to a recent event -- in the present43 [E.g. 1, 104, 7; 3, 1; 5, 30, 10.]. Or he returns to the present time of the first stanza44 [Cf. 1, 104: GELDNER, at ZDMG 71, p. 319.]. A mythical fact is also transferred to the present, said to take place, that is to be reiterated, in the present situation45 [E.g. 3, 5, 10; cf. also 1, 121 and places such as 2, 11, 19.]. This actuality of a mythical fact can however also lead to the reverse identification: at 5, 15, 5 the fire, that has been kindled while the poem is recited, is said to have assisted the legendary Atri46 [Cf. also 5, 45, 3; 6; 11; 6, 17, 3. For 1, 6 see A. VENKATASUBBHIAH, in ALB 28, p. 55.]. Or the mythical -- and legendary -- events are presented as actual, seen so to say from the point of view of those who witnessed them47 [E.g. 5, 40. 8f. and cf. 6, 18, 5: 13: 8, 73, 8: 6, 47: 8, 86.]. The long address inserted in 10, 22 (st. 4-14) contains mainly prayers which are also utilizable in the present.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34239
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Articles & Essays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests