ON MOUNT CAUCASUS
CAPTAIN FRANCIS WILFORD.
[Extracted from Asiatic Researches, vol. 6 (1801), pp. 455-539.]
THIS appellation, at least in its present state, is not Sanscrit; and as it is not of Greek origin, it is probable, that the Greeks received it through their intercourse with the Persians. In this supposition, the real name of this famous mountain should be Casus or Cas; or Cauor Coh, in Persian signifies a mountain. Now, if we translate this appellation of Coh-cas into Sanscrit, we shall have Cas-giri; or according to the idiom of the spoken dialects, Cas-ghar or Cas-car; and, really, such is the present name of the mountainous region, in which Ptolemy asserts, that the Caucasus, properly so called, was situated. This country, which very much resembles the valleys of Cashmir, and Nepal, is mentioned in the Ayeen Akbery; and was surveyed a few years ago by my friend Mirza-Mogul Beg. It must not, however, be confounded with the famous country of Cash-ghar, or Cash-car to the eastward of Samarcand; though the appellation and its etymological derivation be the same.
The true Sanscrit name of this mountain is Chasa-glri, or the mountain of the Chasas, a most ancient and powerful tribe: who inhabited this immense range, from the eastern limits of India to the confines of Persia; and most probably as far as the Euxine and Mediterranean seas. They are often mentioned in the sacred books of the Hindus.
Their descendants still inhabit the same regions, and are called to this day
Chasas, and in some places, Chasyas and Cosais. They belonged to the class of
warriors, or Chetiris: but now they are considered as the lowest of the four
classes; and were thus degraded, according to the institutes of Menu,1 by their
omission of the holy rites, and by seeing no Brahnwis. However, the vakeel of
the rajah of Comanh, or Almora, who is a learned Pandit, informs me, that the
greatest part of the zemindars of that country are Chasas; and that they are not
considered, or treated, as outcasts. They are certainly a very ancient tribe;
for they are mentioned as such, in the institutes of Menu; and their great
ancestor C'hasa or Chasya is mentioned by Sanchoniathon, under the name of
Cassius. He is suppofed to have lived before the flood, and to have given his
name to the mountains he seized upon. The two countries of Cashghar, those of
Cash-mir, Cashwar, and the famous peak of Chasghar, are acknowledged in
derive their names from the Chasas. The country, called Casia by Ptolemy, is
still inhabited by Chasyas; and Pliny2 informs us that the inhabitants of the
mountainous region, between the Indus and the Jumna, were called
Cesi, a word
obviously derived from Chasa, or Chesai, as they are often denominated in the
The appellation of Caucasus, or Cohcas, extended from India to the shores of the Mediterranean and Euxine seas; most probably, because this extensive range was inhabited by Chasas. Certain it is, that the mountains of Persia were inhabited by a race of people called Cossĉi, Cussĉi and Cissĉi; there was mount Cosius on the borders of Egypt, and another in Syria; the Caspian sea, and the adjacent mountains, were most probably denominated from their Jupiter Cassius, like Jupiter Penenus in the Alps, was worshipped in the mountains of Syria, and on the borders of Egypt: in the [p.457] Epirus we find, that the titles of Cossis and Cassiopĉus, given to Jupiter, were synonymous, or nearly so. In Sanscrit the words Chasapa, Chasyapa and Chasyapati, signify the lord and sovereign ruler of the Chasyas: Chasyapeya or Chasopeya, in a derivative form, implies the country of Chasapa.
The original country of the Chasas seems to have been the present country of Cashgar, to the north-east of Cabul; for the Chasas, in the institutes of Menu, are mentioned with the Daradas, who are obviously the Dardiz of Ptolemy, whose country, now called Darad by the natives, and Dawurd by Persian authors, is to the north-west of Cashmir; and extends towards the Indus: hence Ptolemy, with great propriety, asserts, that the mountains to the north east of Cabul are the real Caucasus.
The country of Cashcar is situated in a beautiful valley, watered by a large river, which, after passing close to Chaga Seray, Cooner and Noorgul,3 joins the Land of Sindh, or little Sindh, below Jalalabad, in the small district of Cameh (for there is no town of that name), and from this circumstance the little Sindh is often called the river Cameh.
The capital city of Cashcar is called Chairaid, or Chastraur, and is the place of residence of a petty Mahomedan prince, who is in great measure tributary to the emperor in China; for the Chinese are now in possession of Badacshan as far as Baglan to the north-west of Anderda. The Badacshandt, or districts composing the province of Badacshan (or Badacshandt is the plural form) are separated from Casocar to the south-east by a high range of mountains, always covered with snow; and the road from the new capital of Badacshan, called Faidzabad, and Faiziyia- abad, near the site of the old one, is through [p.458] Zebawc. Cashcar is also called Cashtwar, which denomination is generally distorted into Ketwer and Cuttore by Persian authors and travellers. The town and district of Ketwer, mentioned in the life of Amir-Timur, is different from this, and lies about fifteen miles to the north-west of Cbaga-Serai, on a pretty large river, which comes from Vahi-galamh: it is generally pronounced Catowr. Pliny4 informs us that mount Caucasus was also called Graucasus; this appellation is obviously Sanscrit; for Grava, which in conversation, as well as in the spoken dialects, is invariably pronounced Grau, signifies a mountain, and being a monosyllable (the final being surd) according to the rules of grammar, it is to be prefixed thus, Graum-Chasa, or Grau-Chasa.
Isidorus5 says, that Caucasus, in the eastern languages, signifies white, and that a mountain, close to it, is called Casis by the Scythians, in whose language it signifies snow and whiteness. The Casis of Isidorus is obviously the Castan ridge of Ptolemy; where the genuine appellation appears stript of its adjunct. In the language of the Calmack Tartars, Jasu and Chasu signify snow; and in some dialects of the same tongue, towards Badacshan, they say Jusha. and Chusha. Tusha and Tucha or Tuca. These words, in the opinion of my learned friends here, are obviously derived from the Sanscrit Tushara, by dropping the final ra: this is often done in the vulgar dialects: in the same manner we say whale, leg, calf, &c for whalur, legr, and calfr, which prevailed, it seems, in the ancient Gothic language. The words Chasu or Chusa are pronounced Chasa or Cas; Chusa or Cusa, by the inhabitants of the countries between Bahlac and the Indus; for they invariably substitute ch or c in the room of ch. Thus they say Chebr for Shebr, which in Persian signifies a town, &c, but the words Chasu or Cas never signified white, or whiteness, unless by implication: and this is in some measure confirmed by Pliny, who seems to hint, [p.459] that the word Graucasus signified snow-white. Ptolemy places mount Casius, or Casis, in a country called Achasa, which was situated between Ladac and Tarchand. The word Ac signifies white, and Cara black, in the Turkish language, which is used in the country about Samarcand, and both are obviously derived from the Sanscrit Achh and Cala. The word Achasa is corrupted from Adyh-Chasa, and in the vulgar dialect of that country Acchasa, the white Chasas; because the inhabitants of that country are Chasas, and are remarkably fair; whilst the southern Chasas are of a darker complexion. According to the report of respectable merchants, who constantly travel from Cashmir, Nurpoor, &c. to Yarchand, the inhabitants of the countries, situated between Ladac and Yarchand, use the words Ac and Cara, till within a few days of Yarchand, where the Calmack dialect prevails.
The general rendezvous of these merchants, since the time of Shah-Jehan, is at Ladac; from which they proceed in a body to the place of their destination, travelling, the greatest part of the way, along the Indus: for this famous river has its source in the mountains to the north-west of Yarchand, at the distance of about four or five days journey. Then taking a southerly direction, it comes within two days of Ladac, where suddenly turning to the west, it takes an immense sweep towards Saighur, probably the Sheker of old maps; and thence alters its course toward the confines of India.
The denomination of Chasa-giri or Chasa-ghar is now confined to a few spots; and is never used in any Sanscrit book, at least that ever came to my knowledge. This immense range is constantly called in Sanscrit Himachel, or snowy mountain; and Himalaya, or the abode of snow. From Hima, the Greeks made Imaus: Emodus seems to be derived from Himoda, or snowy: Himana, Haimana and Haimanas, which are appellations of the same import, are also found in the Puranas: from these is probably deriv- [p.460] ed Amayim, which is the name of a famous mountain in the lesser Asia, and is certainly part of the Himalaya mountains; which, according to the Puranas, extend from sea to sea. The western part of this range was called Taurus; and Strabo6 says, that mount Immis was called also Taurus. The etymology of this last appellation is rather obscure; but since the Brahmens insist that Tocharestan is corrupted from Tashara-sthan, by which appellation that country is distinguished in the Puranas; and that Turan is derived from Tusharan, its Sanscrit name, they being quiescent; may we not equally suppose, that Taurus is derived from T'ushara or Tusharas: for this last form is used also, but only in declensions for the sake of derivation. Tushara signifies snow; Tushara-sthan or Tucharas-sthan, the place or abode of snow, and Tusharan in a derivative form, the country of snow.
Strabo and Arrian were certainly mistaken, when they supposed, that the followers of Alexander, in order to flatter his vanity, had given out, that the mountains to the north and north-west of Cabul were the real Caucasus. The information the Greeks received about it was true and accurate: they were undoubtedly careless in their inquiries; but I can aver, that all the names of places in Alexander's march, from Bahlac or Balk to Multan, (where my friend Mogul Beg's survey ended), are either pure Sanscrit, or analogous to the idiom of the dialects used in the countries he conquered. The most questionable names, according to the learned, are Nicĉ and Dĉdala: the first is a true and accurate translation of the Sanscrit Jayini-devi-sthan, or the place of the goddess of victory, who was worshipped under that name at Cabul to this day. Numerous are the legends in the Puranas, relating to this place; which is called Asa-vana, and in the spoken dialects Asbana. There are two places of that name [p.461] one called the lower; and the other Urdh-Asbana, or Asbana the upper: from this last the Greeks made Orthospana.
As to Dĉdala, it is no uncommon appellation in India, several places are called Daidayel, Dudhowla or Dudhayli, and Dundayali: the town or Dĉdala, with the adjacent mountains, are called to this day Dundhyali; but more commonly Yauk-dundh or Dundh the cold, being situated on a high mountain.
An extensive branch of the Caucasus was called by the Greeks Parapamisus: it is a part of the mountainous region called Davanica in the Puranas. I believe, there is no general name at present for the whole range: but that part, which lies between Cabul, Bamiyan, and Anderdb, is called Hindu-cash and Hindu-kesh; which last denomination has been distorted by Persian authors, and travellers into Hindu-Cosh; at least in the opinion of the natives. Whether the appellation of Hindu-Cash has any affinity with the Chasas, I cannot determine: but the inhabitants say, that this name was given to them, from a certain giant, who used to lie there in wait, to catch (cash), or to kill (kash), all the Hindus, who passed that way. We find it called also Sheybar-Tag, or Sheybar-Tau, or the mountains of Sheybar or Shabar, under which appellation Prometheus is generally known in the sacred books of the Hindus. Be this as it may, the Greeks called it also Parapanisus, in the same manner, I suppose, that they called the river Pamisus, (in the Peloponesus) Panisus.
The name of this famous mountain is various, written in different authors and manuscripts
|Paro Famisus,||Paro Fantsus,|
Parapamisus or Parapameus appears to be a compound; the first part, I conceived
at first, to be the word Pahar, which, in the spoken dialects of India,
signifies a mountain. In this supposition, the whole compound, script of its
Greek termination, would signify the mountains of Vami, or Bami, commonly called
Bamsyan, a famous city situated in the centre of this hilly country.
Unfortunately the word Pahar, which is not of Sanscrit origin, is a disyllable;
and moreover the second syllable being long, and marked with a strong accent, it
cannot of course be prefixed. Besides, the word Pahar is never used in that
country; but they say Ghar above Dera-Ismail; and Roh below it, amongst the
Baloches. Roh is a Tartarian word, and indeed the Baloches seem to be the
remains of some colony of Tartarian origin; it was originally the same with
The word Pahar is sometimes prefixed: but then it is in another sense; as for instance, Pahar-pur (literally Hill-burgh) signifies a town situated on, or near, a mountain.
The word Parapamisus, or Para Famisus, is obviously derived from the Sanscrit Para-Vami, or the pure and excellent city of Vami, commonly called Bamyari. It is called in Sanscrit Vamlnagari, Vam-gram, and in a derivative form Yamiyan, or the most beautiful and excellent city. It is a place of great antiquity; and was considered at a very early period, as the metropolis of the feet of Buddha; hence it was called emphatically Buddha-Bamisan; but the Musulmans have maliciously distorted this venerable title, into But-Bamiyan or Bamian of the evil spirit, or of the idols. Para, which signifies pure and holy, is also one of the thousand names of Vishnu. Para or Paras is obviously the same with the Latin purus; for the letter a here sounds exactly like u in murmur in English. Para or Paras is for the [p.463] masculine, Para for the feminine, and Param far the neuter genders.
Bamiyan is represented in the books of the Bauddhists, as the source of holiness and purity. It is also called Stharma-Bamlyan or Sham-Bamiyan; for in Sanscrit, Shanna and Shama are synonymous. This is also one of the thousand names of Vishnu, and of the famous patriarch Shem; by whom, according to the Bauddhists, Bamiyan was built. They say, that he was an incarnation of Jina or Vishnu, and the Brahmen in general are of that opinion.
This famous city, the Thebes of the east, being hardly known in Europe, I beg leave to say before the Society a short description of it, with an abstract of its history.
It is situated an the road between Bahlae and Cabul, and they reckon eight manzis or days' journey from Cabul to Bamsyan. From Cabul to Carabaug, there are four manzils N. N. W: from Carabaug to the pass of Sheybar, two manzils, inclining a little more to the west, hence to the sort of Zohauk one manzil, course north-west from Zohauk to Bamiyan one manzil. Like Thebes in Egypt, it is entirely cut out of an insulated mountain, the valley round it is called, in the language of the country, the Tagavi of Bamiyan. In this mountainous country, where the valleys alone are inhabited, the word Tagavi has become synonymous with Purganah or district. To the south of it, or nearly so, at the distance of about two miles are the ruins of an ancient city, called Ghulghuleh, which, according to tradition, was destroyed at a very early period by the Musulmans. There are the ruins of several buildings of masonry round a small conical hill, on the summit of which are the remains of the palace of its ancient kings. A rivulet, rising in the adjacent hills, goes through the ruins of Ghulghuleh and the Tagavi to Bamiyan, and falls [p.464] into a small lake, from which issue four rivers, the Hirmend, the Landhi-Sindh, the rivers of Bahlac, and of Conduz.
The city of Baimyan consists of a vast number of apartments, and recesses, cut out of the rock; some of which, on account of their extraordinary dimensions, are supposed to have been temples. They are called Samachh,7 in the language of the country, and Sarnaj in Persian. There are no pillars to be seen in any of them, according to the information I have received from travellers, who had visited them. Some of them are adorned with niches and carved work; and there are to be seen the remains of some figures in relievo, which were destroyed or miserably disfigured by Musulmans. Some remains of paintings on the walls are still to be seen in some of them: but the smoke from the fires made there by the inhabitants, has almost obliterated them. It is said in the Ayeen-Akbery, that there are about 12,000 of these recesses, in the Tiiman or Tagavi of Bamiyan; this is also confirmed, from general report, by travellers. The country of the Afghans, as far as Bahlac and Badacshau, abounds with Sanmchhes or Samajes: some of them are very rude, whilst others are highly finished and ornamented. The most perfect are at a place called Mohi, on the road between Bamiyan and Bahlac: as they are situated amongst precipices, the Musulmans have never thought of living in them, and the paintings, with which they are adorned, look quite fresh.
But what never fails to attract the notice of travellers, are two colossal statues, which are seen at a great distance. They are erect, and adhere to the mountain, from which they were cut out. They are in a sort of niches, the depth of which, is equal to the thickness of the statues. It is said, [p.465] in the Ayeen-Akbery, that the largest is eighty ells high, and the other only fifty. These dimensions are greatly exaggerated, according to the opinion of all the travellers I have seen, and the disproportion is not so great between the two. According to the author of the Pharangh-Jehanghiri, cited by Th. Hyde8 they are said to be only fifty cubits high; which appears to be the true dimensions. At some distance from these two statues, is another of a smaller size, being about fifteen cubits high. Natives and Persian authors, who have mentioned them, agree neither about their sex nor their names. The few Hindus who live in these countries, say, that they represent Bhi'm and his consort: the followers of Buddha, that they are the statues of Shahama, and his disciple Salsala. The Musulmen insist, that they are the statues of Key-Umursu and his consort, that is to say, Adam and Eve; and that the third is intended for Seish or Seth their son; whose tomb, or at least the place where it stood formerly, is shewn near Bahlac. This is in some measure confirmed by the author of the Pharangh-Jehanghiri, who says, that these statues existed in the time of Noah; though he gives them different names, and supposes the third to represent an old woman, called Nesr, more generally represented with the countenance of a vulture. These statues are so much defaced, through the injury of all-devouring time, and the intolerant zeal of the Musulmans, that I believe it is difficult to ascertain their sex. Travellers do, however, agree that one of them at least is a beardless youth, some more particularly insist that the swelling of the breasts is remarkably obvious, and that both look towards the east, so that, when the sun rises, they seem to smile, but look gloomy in the evening. Their dress, as described to me, is much the same with that of the two figures, half buried at Tuct-Rustum near Istacar in Persia; with this difference, that the female figure has no head-dress; but the male has such a tiara as is worn by the supposed female figure at Tuct-Rustum.
These statues were visited, at least ten or twelve different times, by a famous
traveller, called Me'yan-Asod-Shah, who is a man highly respected, both on
account of his descent from Mohammed, and his personal character. He is well
informed, in affluent circumstances, through the piety of the faithful, and
keeps company with the princes of the country and persons of
the first rank. He informed me lately, that these two statues are in two
different niches, and about forty paces distant from each other. That the
drapery is covered with embroidery and figured work; which formerly was painted
of different colours; traces of which are still visible. That one seems to have
been painted of a red colour: and the other, either retains the original colour
of the stone, or was painted grey. That one certainly represents a female, from
the beauty and smoothness of her features, and the swelling of her breasts: the
head being so much elevated is secure from insult below, and
is also protected from the weather by the projection above. The statue of their
supposed son is nearly half a mile distant, and about twenty feet high. One of
the legs of the male figure is much broken: for the Mussulmans never march that
way with cannon without firing two or three shots at them: but from their want
of skill, they seldom do much mischief. Aurangzebe, it is said, in his
expedition to Bahlac. in the year 1646, passed that way and ordered as usual a
few shots to be fired; one of them took place, and almost broke its leg, which
bled copiously. This, and some frightful dreams, made him desist, and the
clotted blood it is said adheres to the wound, to this day. The miracle is
equally believed by the Hindus, and Musulmans: the former attribute it to the
superior power of the deity; and the latter to witchcraft. According to Dr.
Hyde, one of these statues is called Surkh-But, or the red idol; the other
Khink-But, or the grey idol. As to their being hollow, I believe, it is an idle
tale: at least the travellers, I have consulted, knew nothing of it. Between the
legs of the male figure, is a door leading into a most spacious tem-
[p.467 to 469] ple, the dimensions of which, they could not describe otherwise, than by saying,
that it could easily hold the camp equipage and baggage of Zeman-shah, and of
his whole army. It is remarkable only for its extraordinary dimensions: it is
dark and gloomy; and there are a few niches, with the remains of some figures in
alto-relievo. At the entrance are stationed a few wretched Banyans, who sell
provision to travellers. The greatest part of the Samajes in Taga'vi Baimyan are
first inhabited by Musulmans, who live promiscuously with their cattle. I have
been informed, that there are no other statues, than these three; but, from the
numerous fragments, which are seen through the Tagavis, there must have been
several hundreds of them. They shew to this day the Samach'h in which the famous
Vyasa composed the Vedas; and others, where divers holy men gave themselves up
to meditation, and the contemplation of the Supreme Being.
Persian authors are constantly confounding Bamiyan and Bahlac together; the first they call Ba'lkh-Batniyan, and the second Balkh Bokhara; when they speak of the metropolis of the fire worshippers, it is to be understood of Bamiyan alone, according to the followers of Buddha, and the author of the Buddha-dharmacharva Sindhu. According to Persian authors, Bamiyan must have existed before the flood; but the followers of Buddha insist that it was built by a most religious man called Shama, who appears from particular circumstances to be the same with the famous patriarch Shem; and that his posterity lived there for several generations. Hence Balkh-Bamiyan is said to have been originally the place of abode of Abraham,9 who, according to scripture, and the Hindu sacred books, removed with his father to distant countries to the westward.
According to Diodorus the Sicilian, Bamiyan exited before Ninus: for this
historian, like the Persian authors we have mentioned, has mistaken Bahlac for
Bamiyan; which he describes as situated among steep hills: while Bahlac is
situated in a low, flat country, and at a great distance from the mountains.
The natives look upon Bamiyan, and the adjacent countries, as the place of abode of the progenitors of mankind, both before and after the flood. By Bamiyan and the adjacent countries, they understand all the country from Sistan to Samarcand, reaching towards the east as far as the Ganges. This tradition is of great antiquity, for it is countenanced equally by Persian authors, and the sacred books of the Hindus. The first heroes, of Persian history lived, and performed there, innumerable achievements. Their sacred history places also, in that country, their holy instructors, and the first temples that were ever erected. In the prefatory discourses, prefixed to the Puranas, and which appear to have been added by a more modern hand, a general description of the whole world is inserted, which one would naturally suppose to be extracted from that Purana, to which it is annexed: but the reverse is actually the case: for it has no affinity whatever with such geographical notions as are to be found, occasionally, in that Purana. In these prefaces, if we may call them so; it is said, that Swayambhuva or Adam lived in the dwip of Puscara, at the furthest extremities of the west. There seven sons were born unto him, who divided the world or seven islands among themselves.
This notion seems also to be admitted in the Trelociderpana, by the Bauddhists, who give the name of Jambu to Puscara: for by Jambu is understood the continent. Plutarch also says that the inhabitants of Egygia, which is probably the dwip of Puscara, considered their own country as the continent. Be this as it may, I have [p.471] never found in the Puranas any passage, except one, that could in the least countenance such an idea. The passage alluded to, I discovered some days ago, in a legend in which it is said, that the father of Satyavrata or Noah, was born on the banks of the river Chandra-bhaga in the dwip of Chandra, which is one of the sacred isles in the west. There is certainly a river of that name in Chandra-dwip, even more famous in the Puranas, than another of that name in the Panjdh, and which is now called the Chindb. It is highly probable, that the words Chandra-dwip are an interpolation by some of the ignorant compilers of the Puranas, who have arranged this heterogeneous mass without method, and still less judgment: for in this same legend from the Scanda purana, Satyavrata or Noah, is said to have left the banks of the Chandra-bhaga, at the head of a numerous army, in order to invade the country of Dravira, or the peninsula of India, which he conquered and annexed to his dominions.
Bhalac or Bamiyan are both situated in the country of Vahlica or Vahlaca; and as Bamiyan was once the capital, it is possible, it might have been called also Vahlica or Bhalac. The origin of this appellation is rather obscure: it is however the general opinion, that it is derived from the plant, which produces Assa-foetida, called in Sanscrit Vahlica, and is the Silphium of the historians of Alexander. It grows therein great abundance, and is reckoned superior to that of other countries. Others insist, that this plant was thus denominated from its growing in the country of Valica, which, they say, was thus called from a certain sage of that name, who lived there: this is countenanced by Cedrenus, who says that Peleg, whom he calls Phalec, dwelled in the country of Bactra, which seems to be derived from the Sanscrit Vahlider or Balcter, which signifies the country about Vahlica, or Balk. Thus the country of the Byltis, called Baltstian, is generally called by natives Balut-ter. Derivatives of this sort, though not pure Sanscrit, are how- [p.472] ever very common all over India: thus they say Jungul-tery, or country about woods and forests. Shivauter, Brahmauter, Vishnauter, &c. imply a piece of ground, or a district belonging to Shiva, &c. or set apart for his worship. In Sanscrit, the compound Vahlica-tiram or Vahlic-tir, would signify the country on the banks of the river Vahlica. Bamyian, as well as Cabul and Balikh, were at an early period in the hands of the Musulmans. There were even kings of Bamiyan: but this dynasty lasted but a few years and ended in 1215. The kings and governors resided at Ghulghuleh, called at that time, the fort or palace of Bamiyan. It was destroyed by Genghiz-Khan, in the year 1221; and because the inhabitants had presumed to resist him, he ordered them to be butchered, without distinction, either of age or sex: in his rage, he spared neither animals, nor even trees. He ordered it to be called in his own language Mau-balig. or the city of grief and sorrow: but the inhabitants of that country, called it in their own dialect Ghulghuleh, which word, used also in Persian, signifies the cries of woe. To have rebuilt it, would have been ominous: for this reason, they erected a fort on a hill to the north of Bamiyan, which is called to this day, the imperial fort. This fort also was destroyed by Zingis the Usbeck, in the year 1628; and has not been rebuilt since.
According to the Puranas, Swayambhuya, or Adima, Satvavrata or Noah, lived in the north-west parts of India about Cashmir. There Brahma assumed a mortal shape according to the Matsya-Purana; and one half of his body springing out, without his experiencing any diminution whatsoever, he framed out of it Satarupa. She was so beautiful, that he fell in love with her. As he considered her as his daughter, being sprung from his body, he was ashamed. During this conflict between shame and love, he remained motionless, with his eyes fixed on her. Satarupa perceiving his [p.473] situation, and in order to avoid his looks stepped aside. Brahma unable to move, but still desirous to see her, a face sprang out upon him, toward her. Thus she shifted her place four times round him, according to the four corners of the world; and four faces grew up to his head. Having recovered his intellects, the other half of his body sprang from him and became Swayambhuya or Adima. Swayambhuva literally Swayambhuya-like signifies, that Brahma or Swayambhu appeared in an assumed form, called from that circumstance Swyambhova. The possessions of Cardameswara were in the hills along the banks of the Ganges, to the eastward of the rest of mankind. His son Capila, a most religious man, performed for a long time religious austerities near Hardwar, where they shew to this day the place where he lived, under the name of Capila-sthan: hence the pass of Hardwar is sometimes called the passes of Capila or Kupeleh.
Cardameswara is the destructive power united to a form of clay: Iswara attempted to kill his brother Brahma, who being immortal, was only maimed: but Iswara finding him afterwards in a mortal shape in the character of Dacsha, killed him, as he was performing a sacrifice. Cardameswara is then obviously the Cain of scripture, and of course Capail is his son Enoch, and Capila-sthan is probably the city Encchia thus called after him. The Musulmans seem to have borrowed from the Hindus the appellation of Capila or Cabil, which they give to Cain, who is sometimes called Capileswara in the Puranas; being an incarnation of Mahadeva; Enoch was an incarnation of Vishnu, and is always called Capila-muni. Capileswara was a Muni also; hence he is sometimes called, though improperly, Capila-muni; which inaccuracy has occasioned some confusion in the Puranas. Capila-muni, is represented as a most religious penitent, though somewhat cholerick, and Henoch or C'han- [p.474] och, for such is his name in Hebrew, implies that he was consecrated to God, and for ever devoted to his service.
Capila or Capila-muni, that is to say, Capila the silent contemplator, is generally found making tapasya at the mouths of rivers. Though found at several places at the same time, he is but one. Near Hardwar is Capila-sthan, where he made his first appearance. His father and mother were exceedingly happy when he was born; as they conceived him to be a gift, and also an incarnation of Vishnu, the preserving power; and they hoped, that he would preserve and comfort them. There at Capila-sthan, he was consulted by his mother the devout Devahuti, daughter of Swayambhuva, about the surest and best method to obtain Mocsha or re-union to the Supreme Being. The exhortations of Capila, and his wife admonitions, are related in the Bhagavat and other Puranas. Devahuti withdrew afterwards to the forests on the banks of the Bindu-Sarovara lake, from which issues the Ganges, and is improperly called Man Sarovara. There she performed tapasyas for a long time, and was ultimately reunited to this Supreme Being, never to be born again.
In that country, on the banks of the Chinab, in the hills, was performed that famous sacrifice, which occasioned the death of Abel, according to the Scanda-purana: an account of which, from the Hindu sacred books, I beg leave to lay before the Society, as, most probably, I shall not have an opportunity to resume this subject hereafter.
There had subsisted, for a long time, some animosity between Brahma and Mahadeva in their mortal shape; and the latter on account of his bad conduct, which is fully described in the Puranas, had, it appears, given much uneasiness to Swayambhuva and S^tarupa. For he was libidinous, going about stark naked, [p.475] with a large club in his hand. Be this as it may, Mahadeva, who was the eldest, say his claim as such, totally disregarded, and Brahma set up in his room: this intrusion the latter wanted to support; but made life of such lies as provoked Mahadeva to such a point, that he cut off one of his heads in his divine form. In his human shape we find likewise Dacsha boasting, that he ruled over mankind. One day in the assembly of the Gods, Dacsha coming in, they all rose to pay their respects to him: but Mahadeva kept his seat, and looked gloomy. Dacsha resented the affront, and after having reviled Mahadeva, in his human shape, cursed him; wishing he might remain always a vagabond, on the face of the earth, and ordered he should be carefully avoided, and deprived of his share of the sacrifices and offerings. Mahadeva irritated, in his turn cursed Dacsha, and wished he might die; a dreadful conflict took place between them, the three worlds trembled, and the Gods were alarmed. Brahma, Vishnu, and the whole assembly interfered and separated the combatants, who returned to their respective homes. They even effected a reconciliation, in consequence of which Dacsha gave one of his daughters, called Sita, in marriage to Mahasiva. Sita was an incarnation of Devi; for Sri-devi the wife of Dacsha, and daughter of Adima and Iva, entreated the Goddess, to give her one daughter exactly like herself: her request was granted, and Devi was incarnated in her womb. She was blessed also with an hundred daughters more. One day, as Dacsha was sitting with his wife, they both lamented that they had no male offspring. I command over the world, says Dacsha, great is my power and my wealth: but I have no son. They agreed to make a solemn sacrifice, in order to obtain one; on this occasion Dacsha convened gods and men; but he could not be persuaded to invite Mahadeva: who took little notice of this neglect; for he is represented in all his Avataras, as perfectly indifferent either to praise or abuse. But his wife [p.476] was enraged; and insisted on her going. Mahadeva did what he could to dissuade her from it, but in vain. She was treated with such contempt by her father, that, in a rage, she flung herself into the sacred fire, and thereby spoiled the sacrifice. Mahadeva hearing of this, blamed her for her rash conduct, in thus spoiling the religious performance, and cursed her. In consequence of this curse, and for her improper behaviour, she was doomed to be born again, and to transmigrate for a thousand years into an inferior being. Thus she became a Pica: but Mahadeva to please her, assumed the shape of a Pica or Picas under the title of Piceswara or Picesa-Mahadeva. He is more generally known by the name of Cocileswara-Mahadeva: Cocila (Cucidus) being another name for the bird Pica or Picas.10
Mahadeva afterwards went up to Brahma, in the character of Dacsha; and after a great deal of abuse, began to beat him; the confusion became general in the whole assembly, who all took the part of Dacsha: but Siva striking the ground with the locks of his yata, produced two heroes, and a whole army of demons came to his assistance; the battle raged, and during this general conflict Mahadeva cut off Dacsha's head: several of the Gods were wounded, particularly the Sun and Moon; Heaven, Hell, and the Earth trembled.
The Gods at last humbled themselves before Mahadeva, who was appeased; and order was re-established through the whole assembly. The Gods requested Mahadeva to restore Dacsha to life, which he promised to do; but the head could not be found, for dur- [p.477] ing the fray, it fell into the fire, and was burnt. They brought a he-goat, whose head they cut off, and placed upon the lifeless corpse of Dacsha, who instantly revived: but he remained weak and without power till he was born again a son of Noah.
Mahadeva then took up the body of his beloved Siva on his shoulders, and went seven times round the world, bewailing his misfortune. Here I shall remark that, when any accident happens to the Gods, they generally set off at full speed, going seven times round the world, howling all the way most woefully.
The gods, whom Sita contained in her womb, burst out, her limbs were scattered all over the world; and the places, where they fell, are become sacred. Her breasts fell near Jalander in the Panjab; the yoni into Assam, and the gubya (podex) into Nepal, where they are most devoutly worshipped to this day. The latter is a small cleft in a rock, with an intermitting spring: it is called Guhya-Jihdn.
Puja, with offerings, are directed to be made to Picesa, whenever there happens to be in the year two months of Asbadha, the second of which, is embolismic. The first Asbadha, is reckoned impure, and the religious rites are to begin on the day of the full moon, if possible: if not on the third or seventh day. For this purpose an image of the Picas is to be made; the body of gold, the wings of precious stones, the beak of red coral, and the eyes also of a precious stone of a red colour, called manica. Women particularly ought to be cautious not to omit this religious performance, on any account whatever; should any woman fail in this, she will be born a Vyali (a snake) in the forests. Whatever woman performs it duly, will have many [p.478] children, and her husband shall not die before her: for Parvati is highly delighted with prayers and offerings in that intercalary month. Picesa Mahadeva is probably the Jupiter Picus of the Latians: some pretend that this metamorphosis happened in Syria, others in Italy: but the Hindus insist that it happened in the mountains to the north of the Punjab. Though Picus be said to have appeared in the time of Adima; yet as, according to the Puranas, the same concatenation of events reappears in every Manwantara, the same story must have happened of course in the time of Satyavrata, or Noah.
In the Puranas, the Ganges is represented as remaining concealed for a long time in the hills; at the prayers of a certain holy man it entered the plains of Hindustan till it reached Benares then, gradually advancing, it found at last its way into Bengal. As the whole country from Hardwar to the sea was annually overflowed in such manner as to render the greatest part of it unfit for cultivation, Bhagirasha restrained the inundation between certain limits. The Chinese relate the same story of Pohi, who surveyed the course of the yellow river to its source, and by proper inbankments, restrained its destructive overflowings. Capila, always fond of the sea shore, followed the Ganges: we find him afterwards meditating near a place called Mooragatcha in Major Rennell's Atlas, to the south of Calcutta, not far from Fulta, and at that time close to the sea. Here he was insulted by the children of Sagara, whom he reduced to ashes by a single look: this place is called the old Sagar, and is probably the place called Oceanis by Diodorus the Sicilian, for Sagara and Oceanis are synonymous words. There the Ganges seeing Samudur or Oceania was frightened, and fled back through a thousand channels: thus the Puranas account for the retrograde motion of the waters of the Ganges twice a day.
Capila is now performing Tapasya at Sagar island, where his
sthan or place is
about five miles from the sea; the Delta of the Ganges having thus far
encroached upon the sea, since the erection of this last sthan. Cardameswara is
thus called, when considered as a divine emanation from Iswara, but he seems to
be Priyavrata, when considered as a mortal. For whenever the deity condescends
to be born of woman; the person is one, but there are two natures. To this
distinction we must carefully attend, in order to reconcile many seeming
contradictions in the Puranas; and more particularly so, with respect to Vaivaswata and Satyavrata; who are acknowledged to be but one person: the divine
nature is an emanation of Vishnu in his character of the Sun; and Satyavrata is
the human nature; these two natures often act independently of each other, and
may exist at the same time in different places.
From particular circumstances it appears, that Satyavrata before the flood lived generally in the countries about the Indus, between Cabul and Cashmir; and if we find him in Dravira or the southern parts of the peninsula, it seems that it was accidentally, and that he went there only for some religious purposes. Even after the flood, he resided for some time on the banks of the Indus. According to tradition, which my learned friends here inform me is countenanced by the Puranas, he lived and reigned a long time at Bettoo; on the banks of the Ganges and to the south of Canoge. In the Varaha-purana, Vasu the father of Vivaswata, is declared to have been king of Cashmir, and the adjacent, countries. They shew to this day the tomb of his father Lamech, as mentioned in the Ayeen Akbery, at at place called Naulakhi, between Alishung and Munderar; about twelve or thirteen miles to the north-west of Jalalabad in the country of Cabul. The Musulmans called him Peer Maitlam; and in the dialect of Samarcand, Maker or Maitri Burkhan. The Bauddhists say, that it is Buddha-Narayana, or Buddha dwelling [p.480] in the waters: but the Hindus, who live in that country, call him Machhodar-Nath11 or the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish. All these denominations are by no means applicable to Lamech; but to Noah alone. The tomb is about forty cubits in length: which was actually the statue of Lamech according to tradition: under it is a vault of the same dimensions, with a small door which is never opened, out of respect for the remains of this illustrious personage. They say, that his body is in high preservation, and that he is sitting in a corner of the vault on his heels, with his arms crossed over his knees, and his head reclining upon his hands; a favourite posture among the inhabitants of India.
Vaivaswata, both in his divine and human character, or nature, is certainly, Maitla, Maiter-Burkhan and Buddha-Narayana. Maitla or Maitlam is a derivative form from the Sanscrit Mait, which implies the consort of Lacshami, and the owner of her wealth, an epithet often applied to rich men; and may be translated mighty: but it properly belongs to Vishnu, and his various incarnations. Prithu, according to the Puranas, was an incarnation of Vishnu, and the consort of Lacshmi; as I have shewn in a former essay on the chronology of the Hindus.
It is probable, that when the Musulmans conquered that country, they pronounced the word Maitlam Maiter-La'm; and concluded that he was the same with Lamech the father of Nuh. The Afghans always use the word Maiter instead of Hazeret, and thus say Maiter Mohammed, Matter Isa, Maiter Soleiman, for Hazeret Isa, Hazeret Mohamman, Hazeret Soleiman. Hazeret in Persian is a title, by which kings are addressed, and holy men mentioned; it implies dignity and excellence! Maiter from the Persian Mehtur, signifies also a lord, [p.481] prince, or chief. The Musulmans, and Hindus of that country, I had an opportunity to consult, informed me, that according to tradition, the famous Sultan Mahmood, of Ghazfu, hearing of the tomb of Maitlam; and of the miracles daily performed there, conceived that the whole was done through magick; and accordingly resolved to destroy it: but, being disturbed by frightful dreams, he desisted, and having made particular inquiries about Maitlam, he was fully satisfied, as well as the learned about his person, that he was Lamech, the father of Nuh. Since that period Maitlam is revered as a Peer, or saint, by the Musulmam of that country. Maiter Burkha'n, or BURGHA'N, in the dialect of Samarcand, as I am informed, signifies, literally, the lord and master. In several Tartarian dialects, God is called Burkham, or the lord.
The title of Machhodar-Natha is by no means applicable to Lamech; but properly belongs to Noah; for by the belly of the fish they understand the cavity, or inside of the ark. There is a place under ground at Benares, which they call Machhodara. The centrical and most elevated part of Benares, is also called Machhodara, because, when the lower parts of the city are laid under water by some unusual overflowing of the Ganges, this part remains free from water like the belly of a hill. The city also is sometimes thus called, because, during the general floods, the waters rise like a circular wall round the holy city. In short, any place in the middle of waters, either natural or artificial, which can afford shelter to living beings, is called Machhodara.
The place, where Lamech is supposed to lie entombed, is called Naidakhi, a word, which signifies nine lakhs; because, it is said, Sultan Mahmood granted to this holy place a yearly revenue of nine lakhs of rupees. Be this as it may, this foundation no longer exists: and I believe it never did. The real name is probably [p.482] Nau-Laca, or Nuh-Laca, which in the language of that country, implies the place of Nuh or Noah: at least there are many places in that country, the names of which end in Laca or Laki, such as Ebau-lac, Gauzczlac, &c.
Close to Ayudhya or Oude, on the banks of the Gagra, they shew the tomb of Noah and those of Ayuh, and Shis or Sish (Job and Seth). According to the account of the venerable Derveish, who watches over the tomb of Nuh, it was built by Alexander the Great, or Secukder Rumi. I sent lately a learned Hindu, to make enquiries about this holy place: from the Musulmans, he could obtain no further light: but the Brahmens informed him that where Nuh's tomb stands now, there was formerly a place of worship dedicated to Ganesha, and close to it are the remains of a Bowlj, or walled well, which is called in the Puranas Gana-put cunda. The tombs of Job and Shis are near to each other; and about one bow shot and a half from Nuh's tomb; between them are two small hillocks, called Soma-giri, or the mountains of the moon. According to them these tombs are not above four hundred years old; and owe their origin to three men, called Nuh, Ayub, and Shis, who sell there, fighting against the Hindus; these were of course considered as Shehids or martyrs: but the priests, who officiate there, in order to encrease the veneration of the superstitious and unthinking crowd, gave out that these tombs were really those of Noah, Job, and Seth of old. The tomb of Nuh is not noticed in the Ayeen-Akbery, only those of Ayub and Shis.
Machhodara-Natha is not unknown in China; at least there is an idol near Pechin (Pekin), which is supposed by pilgrims from India and Tibet, to represent Machhodara or Maitre-Burghan. This account I received from a famous traveller called Arceswaka, who was introduced to my acquaintance by Mr. Dun- [p.483] can three years ago. He said, that the Myau or temple, is at a small distance from the north-west corner of the wall of Pechin, and is called Maha-Cala-Myau, from its chief deity Maha-Calla, who is worshipped there, and whose statue is on one side of the river, and the Myau on the other. That in one part of the Myau, is a gilt statue of Mach-hodara-Nath, about eighteen feet high: in another part is the Cadra-pad, or the impression of the feet of Dattatreya or Datta, called Toth by the Egyptians. There is a convent and a Lama. What are the Chinese names of these deities, he could not tell. This astonishing traveller first visited the most famous places of worship in the northern parts of India, as far as Bahlk, and the borders of Persia. Though a Brahmen, he had a regard for the worship of Jina, and renouncing his tribe, he resolved to visit the living Fohs. I shall here exhibit the outlines of his peregrinations, which are as accurate as can reasonably be expected from a man who declares, that he did not travel for the purpose of geographical information, and who never imagined he should be requested to give an account of his travels.
|According to Arceswaras account.||According to the maps of the Jesuits|
|From Benares to Nepal||Nepal|
|Cheri, south-east of Lassa||Dsiri|
|Country of Letanh||Laton|
|Then turning toward the west, he entered the country of Combo, where he adorned the Lama-Combo||See Alphab. Tibet. p.423.|
|to Sama-Jerbu||Bridge of Sama.|
|to Caucasu||Cocosay custom-house.|
|Country of Jeshraim|
|Crossed the Hara-Moren and entered the country of Urdusu, which he describes as flat and abounding with lakes and marshes,||Urtous.|
|Crossed again the Hara-Moren, and entered the country of Urda,||Urat.|
|Then turning to the north-west, he entered the country of a famous Kalka chief, called Bhagagu. Thence into the country of the Tolen-casu-Kalkas; thus called from the river on the banks, of which they live,||Tola-pira or river Tola.|
He went afterwards to pay his adorations to the Taranath, the place of whose
residence is marked in the maps between the rivers Selinghei and Orgun. This
living Foh is well known in the northern parts of India, under the name of Taranath, and is mentioned in Bell's travels.
In three months he went into the country of Chitcar-Naymdun-casu, in the maps Teitcicar and Nayrjiann, Thence to Tola-Nor, the Taal-Nor of the maps. He then entered China, through the breach made in the great wall, for the conveyance of the remains of the emperors to their place of burial, which he says is called Ekloor by the Tartars, and Sechin by the Chinese: thence to Pekin called by the Chinese Pechin. He returned from his expedition about three years ago, and shewed to Mr. Duncan and to me the numerous Rahdares or passports he obtained from the various chiefs and Lamas he had visited. They are written in the characters of the countries he went through, namely of Tibet, the Mungul Tartars, [p.485] and of China. He is now gone to visit the places of worship in the southern parts of India; after which he intends to come and die at Benares. A near relation of his is in my service as a pandit.
It may appear strange, that the posterity of Cain should be so much noticed in the Puranas, whilst that of the pious and benevolent Ruchi is in great measure neglected: but it is even so, in the Mosaical account of the antediluvian history: where little is said of the posterity of Seth; whilst the inspired penman takes particular notice of the ingenuity of the descendants of Cain, and to what high degree of perfection they carried the arts of civil life. The charms and accomplishments of the women are particularly mentioned. The same became mighty men, which were of old, men of renown. The antediluvian history of Sanchoniathon is obviously that of the posterity of Cain. We have been taught to consider the descendants of Cain, as a most profligate and abominable race: this opinion, however, is not countenanced, either by sacred or profane history. That they were not instructed with the sacred deposit of religious truths to transmit to future ages, is sufficiently certain: they might in consequence of this, have deviated gradually from the original belief; and at last fallen into a superstitious system of religion, which seems also a natural consequence of the fearful disposition of Cain, and the horrors he must have felt, when he recollected the atrocious murder of his brother. Be this as it may, their worldly achievements passed to posterity, whilst the peaceful and domestick virtues of the descendants of Seth sunk into oblivion. Out of five Menus, who ruled as lords paramount between Adima and the flood, according to the Puranas, four were of the posterity of Cain.
Thus, according to an uniform tradition, of a very long standing, as it is countenanced by the Hindu sacred books, and Persian authors, the progenitors of mankind [p.486] lived in that mountainous tract, which extends from Balkh and Candahar to the Ganges; we may then reasonably look for the terrestrial paradise in that country; for it is not probable, that Adima and Adima, or Iva should have retired to any great distance from it. Accordingly we find there such a spot, as answers minutely to the Mosaical account; a circumstance, I believe, not to be met with any where else on the surface of the globe. A small brook winds through the Tagavis of Bamiyan, and falling into a small lake, divides itself into four heads, forming so many navigable rivers. The first called Phison compasses the whole country of Chavila, where gold is found: and the gold of that country is good: there is also Bdellium and Sardonyx. The country of Chavila is probably the country of Cabul: it is a very ancient denomination; for Ptolemy calls its inhabitants Cabolitae, and the town itself Cabura, which is obviously a corruption from Cabul; for the Persian name for a shed or pent-house is indifferently pronounced Cabul and Cabur. Tradition says, that Cabul was built by an ancient king of that name; and the place where he lived, is still shewn near Cabul: they generally call him Shah Cabul. Gold is found in the sands of the Indus, above Derbend, but in greater quantity about Cabul-gram, to the north of Derbend, and in the rivers, which fall into the Indus from the west. It is found also near the surface of the earth in these parts, but the natives are too indolent to dig for it. The gold found in the sands, I am told, is not so pure as that found by digging the earth to a considerable depth. This country abounds with divers sorts of precious stones, such as the Lapis Lazuli, the Tacuth or hyacinth, crystal, marble of various colours, and razor stones of a superior quality. The Phison appears then to be the Landi-Sindh, or lesser Sindh, called also Nilib from the colour of its waters, which are deep and limpid. This river is also denominated the Nila-Ganga, or simply Ganga by Hindus; and it is called Ganges by Isidorus, when he says that the Assa-foetida grows on the mountains of Oscobagi, at the source of the Ganges. [p.487] Oscobagi is obviously derived from Jeshu-Beg, the lord Jeshu, another name for the famous Rasala or Brongus, who dwelt at Bamiyan, whose colossal statue is to be seen there to this day, and of whom I shall speak more fully hereafter. The true name of that place commonly called, Yhaug and Jybuck by Major Rennell, between Cabul and Balkh, is Ai Beg Dominus Lunus, our Lord the Moon. There are in its vicinity, in the mountains, several curious remains of antiquity. Jerome says also that the Phison was called Ganges in his time. They were both perfectly right, though it is almost certain, that they understood by it the great Ganges. Hesychius says, that the Phison was thus called, because it flowed from a fissure, gap, or mouth. If so, this appellation is synonymous with Cophes, the ancient name of the Landi-Sindh, as will appear hereafter.
The second river was the Gihon, which compassed the land of Cush: this is the Hir-Mend; and the country is the original land of Cusha of the Puranas, which begins near Candahar, and includes part of Iran or Persia. In a former essay on Egypt, I had carried too far the eastern limits of that country.
The third river is the Hiddekel, which runs toward, or through the eastern parts of the land of Assur. This appears to be the river of Bahlac, which runs through the eastern parts, and seems to have been once the eastern boundary of the land of Haffarah or Hazdrah. This country extends from Herdt to Bahlac and Bamiyan: from the unsettled disposition of its inhabitants, its boundaries cannot well be defined. They consider themselves as the aborigines of that country; and like the Arabs, were never thoroughly subdued. They are very numerous, brave, but incapable of discipline. They are Musulmans; but retain still many heathenish, and superstitious customs, at least in the opinion of their neighbours. The principal tribes are the Daicandi, Taimani, &c. the first live between Herdt and Dawar: and [p.488] the others toward Marv-Shajehan. This is probably the country of Arsareth of the apocryphal book of Esdras, The fourth is the Frat, of which no particulars are recorded; it is the river of Cunduz. Musulmans, as well as Christians, have assigned various situations to the garden of Eden:12 and there is hardly a country on earth, or a region in heaven, but has been ransacked in search of it: whilst some of the fathers have denied even its existence. The Hindus are equally extravagant: they place it on the elevated plains of Bukhara the lesser, where there is a river which goes round Brahmapuri, or the town of Brahma; then through a lake called Mansarovara (the existence of which is very doubtful), and is erroneously supposed by travelling fackeers to be the same with that, from which the Ganges issues, which is called in Sanscrit Bindu Sarovara. From the Mansarovara lake, come four rivers running towards the four corners of the world, through four rocks cut in the shape of the heads of four animals; thus taking literally the corresponding passage of scripture. The Cow's head is toward the south, and from it issues the Ganges toward the west, is a Horse's head, from which springs the Chocjhu or Chocjhus: it is the Oxus. The Sita-ganga, or Hoang-ho, issues from an Elephants head; and lastly the Bhadra-ganga or Jenisea in Siberia, from a Tyger's head, or a Lion's head according to others.
The Hindus generally consider this spot, as the abode of the Gods, but, by no means, as the place, in which the primogenitors of mankind were created; at least I have not found any passage in the Puranas, that might countenance any such idea; but rather on the contrary. As it is written in the Puranas, that on mount Meru, there is an eternal day for the space of fourteen degrees round Su-meru; and of course an eternal night for the same space on the opposite side; the Hindus have been [p.489] forced to suppose that Su-Meru is exactly at the apex, or summit of the shadow of the earth; and that from the earth to this summit, there is an immense conical hill, solid like the rest of the globe, but invisible, impalpable, and pervious to mankind: on the sides of this mountain are various mansions, rising in eminence and pre-excellence, as you ascend, and destined for the place of residence of the blessed, according to their merits. God and the principal deities are supposed to be seated in the sides of the north, on the summit of this mountain, which is called also Sabha, or of the congregation. This opinion is of the greatest antiquity, as it is alluded to by Isaiah, almost in the words of the Puranas. This prophet describing the fall of the chief of the Daityas, introduces him, saying, "that he would exalt his throne above the stars of God, and would sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." The mountain, or hill of God, is often alluded to in scripture.
Some Hindu astronomers, ashamed of this ridiculous superstructure, endeavour to reconcile the Puranas to nature, by supposing that the sun at some remote period, revolved in such parallel of altitude to Su-meru, as to afford constant light for the space of fourteen degrees round this point, and constant night for the same space round Su-meru. Thus by placing the north pole on the elevated plains of the lesser Buchdra, and forcing the sun out of the ecliptick, they explain the alteration, which is supposed to have taken place on the west and east points; whilst the north and south points, as they say, remain unmoveable. This alteration, they tell us, was not perceptible, at least very little, in the countries to the south of Meru, but in those to the north of it, the sun appeared to rise in the west and to set in the east. As long as the Hindus considered the earth as flat table with the immense conical mountain of Meru, rising in the middle, and intercepting the rays of the sun, during part of its diurnal course; the points of east and west must of course have been entirely inverted beyond [p.490] Meru. In the first passage I met with, in the Puranas, referring to the sacred isles in the west, by which we are to understand the British islands, Iceland and Fero, it is positively declared, that they are situated to the east of Scanda-dwip, which is Scandia, or Scandinavia; accordingly I looked for them in the seas, to the eastward of that famous peninsula, particularly as Pliny seems to place there the island of Elixoia, supposed by some, to be the abode of the blessed: but my chief pandit warned me, with much earnestness not to be too hasty: that this instance from the Puranas was deemed to be the only one, in which the sacred isles were asserted to be to the eastward of Scandia; and that he would produce numerous passages in which these islands were declared to be to the westward of Scanda-dwip, or in a derivative form Scandeya: and that, from numberless particular circumstances, he would prove to my utmost satisfaction, that Scandeya was really to the eastward of Samudrantaraca, a name by which the sacred isles are sometimes called, because they are in the middle of the ocean. As the Brahmem would rather suppose the whole economy of the universe disturbed, than question a single fact related in their sacred books, he then informed me, that this single passage alluded to a remote period, in which the pole of the globe, the course of the sun, were different from what they are now, in consequence of which there was a time, when the sun appeared to the inhabitants of Scandia, to rise above the sacred isles. But let us return to the terrestrial paradise.
The followers of Buddha in Tibet place the garden of Eden at the foot of mount Meru toward the south wall, and at the source of the Ganges. The sacred rivers, according to them, are the Ganges, the Indus, the Sanipu, and the Sita-ganga; by which they understand the Sirr or Jaxartcs, which is also called Sud-ganga in the Puranas. They have the same number of heads of animals, which are disposed in the same manner; and the divines of Tibet, and of India consider these four [p.491] animals as the original guardians of the four quarters of the world. In the same manner commentators have considered the four sacred animals mentioned in scripture, namely, the Man, the Bull, the Lion, and the Eagle, as the guardians and messengers of the four corners of the world.
The few Hindus, who live toward the Indus, insist that the lake near Bamiyan, is the real and original Mansarovara: and near Cabul a little to the north west of 5icdrdard, is a small lake, which they call the lesser Mansarovara, and which corresponds to a similar lake to the south of Bindu-Jaro-vara, called in the Puranas, the eyes of Mansarovara.
Brahmens in general understand by Meru or Su-meru the north pole, in opposition to numerous passages in the Puranas. Their system of geography has reference, in general, to the spot in which they suppose the terrestrial paradise to be, or rather the abode of the Gods, called Su-meru, hence we read of countries to the W. N. W. of Meru, &c. The immense country of Curu is repeatedly declared in the Puranas, and by Brahmens, in conversation, to be situated to the north of Su-meru. Even in their maps of the seven dwips, Su-meru is placed a great way to the south of Siddha-puri, which they uniformly acknowledge to be exactly under the north pole.
Curu, which includes Russia and Siberia, is divided into two parts, Uttara-Curu, or north Curu, and south Curu. In the Puranas, particular notice is taken of the extraordinary length of the days in Uttara-Curu: and it is added, that in the island of Puscara, which is asserted there to be situated at the furthermost extremities of the western world, the length of the days is the same as in Uttara-Curu. This places Puscara under the polar circle, at least under the sensible one: this island will appear, in a future essay, to be Iceland. It is further added, in the Puranas, that the shores of that immense [p.492] country, which encompasses what we call the old continent, and the Atlantick sea, &c. passes between the islands of Puscara, and Uttara-Meru, or the north pole: indeed the shores of Greenland, tending towards the north east, may have given rise to such an idea. However, this shews plainly, Uttara-meru, or north Meru, to be different from Su-meru. Meru signifies an axis, and the two extremities of the terrestrial axis are called Uttara-Meru and Dacshin-meru, the northern and southern Meru, or pole. The line passing through the centre of the earth and the supposed terrestrial paradise, to which they generally refer in the Puranas with respect to bearings, is also Meru; audits two extremities, called Su-meru and Cu-meru, are only the zenith and nadir points of that abode of the Gods.
The Musulmans in the countries adjacent to Bamiyan, insist that Adam, (whom they call also Keyumursu) and Eve, having been driven out of paradise, wandered separately for some time, till they met accidentally at a certain place, where saluting each other with mutual embrace, the place was accordingly called Bahla, or, in derivative form, Bahlaca, or the place of embrace. This is the general opinion of the natives: whilst others, considering that the termination ac, or ach, signifies brother, will have it to imply the place where he embraced his brother; and of course suppose that Keyumursh had one. The first etymology is, I believe, countenanced by Abulfida.
When Satan was ejected, or kicked, as they say, out of the garden of Eden, where he first lived, he leaped over the mountains, and fell on that spot, where Cabul now stands: hence the origin of the well known proverb, that the inhabitants of Cabul are truly the offspring of this prince of darkness. Those of Cabul do not deny his having been at Cabul; but say, he had no offspring, was soon conjured away, and withdrew into the district of Lanigan.
It appears from scripture, that Adam and Eve lived afterwards in the countries
to the eastward of Eden; for at the eastern entrance of it, God placed the angel
with the flaming sword. This is also confirmed by the Puranas, who place the
progenitors of mankind on the mountainous regions, between Cabul and the
on the banks of which, in the hills, they shew a place, where he resorted
occasionally, for religious purposes. It is frequented by pilgrims, and is
called Swayambhuva-Jihan: I have not been able yet to ascertain its situation,
being but lately acquainted with it: but I believe it is situated to the north
west of Sri-Nagar.
At the entrance of the passes, leading to the place, where I suppose was the garden of Eden, and to the eastward of it, the Hindus have placed a destroying angel, who generally appears, and is represented like a Cherub; I mean Garuda, or the Eagle, upon whom Vishnu. and Jupiter are represented riding. Garuda is represented generally like an eagle; but in his compound character, somewhat like the Cherub, he is represented like a young man, with the countenance, wings, and talons of the eagle. In scripture, the deity is represented riding upon a Cherub, and flying upon the wings of the wind. This is the Simurgh of Persian romances, who carries the heroes from one extremity of the world to the other. Garuda is called the Vahan,13 (literally the vehicle) of Vishnu or Jupiter, and he thus answers to the Cherub of scripture; for many commentators derive this word from the obsolete root Charab in the Chaldean language, a word implicitly synonymous with the Sanscrit Vahan.
An accurate translation of the legends relating to Garuda, Prometheus, and the building of Bamiyan, [p.494] shall be given separately at the end of this dissertation. The city of Bamiyan being represented as the fountain of purity and holiness, it was called with propriety Para-Bamiyan or Bamiyan. the pure and holy; for the same reason the district of Bamiyan might be called Paradesa, or Para-desa, the pure and holy country. This district is now barren, and without a single tree. The sacred books of the Hindus, and of the Bauddhists, do, however, declare most positively, that it was otherwise formerly. Tradition informs us also, that the number of inhabitants was at one period so prodigious, that the trees, underwood, grass and plants were destroyed. The vegetable soil being no longer protected, was in the course of ages washed away by the rains: certain it is, that the soil in the valleys is most fertile, and the whole district, such as it is now, is still a most enchanting and delightful spot. The country to the eastward of Bamiyan, as far as the Indus, is the native country of the vine, and of almost all the fruit trees we have in Europe: there they grow spontaneously, and to a great degree of perfection. When the natives find a vine, an apple tree, &c. in the forests, they clear all the wood about it, dig the ground, and by these means, the fruit comes to perfect maturity. When we are told in scripture of Noah cultivating the vine, we may be sure, that it was in its native country, or at least very near it.
Bamiyan, though not mentioned by name in Nonnus's Dionysiacs,14 is well described by him as the abode of the benevolent Brongus, who lived in Samachhes, or recesses artfully excavated in the mountains. Brongus is obviously the Bhranga, or Bhrengas of the Puranas, called also Sarasala, and of whom I shall speak more fully hereafter. Brongus had two sons, who were highly respected by Doriaden, perhaps the Diryodan of the Puranas. Bhranga, or Sarasala, had also several children, who ascended the throne of [p.495] Calinga, after their father had forsaken the world, and withdrawn to Bamiyan, to give herself up to contemplation.
Bamiyan appears also to be the town called Drastoca by Ptolemy; which is derived from the Sanscrit Drashatca, and implies the stone city: towns before being only an assemblage of huts. Its distance and bearing from Cabura, or Orthospana, the present city of Cabul, puts it beyond doubt. One of the Sanscrit names of Casil, is Asavana, and sometimes, by contradistinction, Urdh-Asvana, or, as it is always pronounced in the spoken dialects, Urdh-Asban or Asbana. The upper Naulibis, or Nildbi, in Ptolemy, falls in at Ghor-band, or Goracha-van, in Sanscrit, which appears to be the Alexandria ad Parnpamisum of the historians of Alexander. It was called Nilabi, from its being situated on the banks of the Nilab. The immense ridge between Nilabi and Drasnotca, or Drashtaca, is properly delineated in Ptolemy. Alexandria ad Propanisum was near the cave of Prometheus, which is to be seen to this day near the pass of Sheibar, between Ghor-band and Bamiyan. Orthospana, or simply Ashana, is mentioned in the Pentingerian table. It is called also in Sanscrit, Jayini-Devi'-sthan, or the place of the goddess of victory, and is the Nica (a word of the same import) of the historians of Alexander. The place where her temple stood, is close to Cabul, and is still secretly visited by Hindu pilgrims. Jayini'-devi' and Asa-Devi are the same deity: the latter signifies the goddess, who grants the object of our asa, or wishes. She is called also Asyaca in a derivative form, and the place is called by the Musulmans, Ashcan-arsan, who have thus altered the old name into an Arabick denomination of the same import nearly; for it signifies, he who knows our ashee, or wishes. There is the tomb of a saint, who now officiates in the room of Asa-Devi, and grants to devout Musulmam the object of their wishes.
The Nicea of the historians of Alexander, is probably the
Nicea of Nonnus,15
which he calls also Asacia, probably for Asacia or Asyacia: for, according to
the Puranas, Jayini-devi, or the nymph Nicea, was also called Aayaca;
be as grammatical; and the town of Asaca or Asyaca, in a derivative form, would
be Asyaceya or Asaceya, or according to the idiom of the Greek language,
The Parapomisean hills, or at least part of them, are called also Parnasus, and Parnessus, by Dionysius Periegetes, Priscian, and F. Avienus: this last appellation has been supposed to be only a corruption, or contraction from the first. But the difference is so great, that, in my humble opinion, these are really two different denominations of the same mountainous tract, at least, of part of it. These mountains are in general called Devanica in the Hindu sacred books, because they were full of Devas or gods, and holy Rishis and Brahmens, who are emphatically called the gods of the earth, or Bhu-devas. They lived, according to the Puranas, in bowers or huts, called Parhasasas or Parhasas, because they were made of leaves, for such is the Sanscrit expression, whilst we should say, built with twigs and branches. Indeed the leaves are the most conspicuous part, because in India, when dry, they generally adhere still to the boughs they grew upon. The most celebrated amongst these Parnasas was that of the famous Atri, whose history is closely connected with that of the British islands, and other western regions. It was situated on an insulated hill, called in the Puranas, Meru, and by the Greeks, Meros. It is supposed by the Hindus to be a splinter from the larger Meru; and that the Gods come and reside upon it occasionally. Its situation was ascertained by the late Mr. Foster, by my friend Mirza-Mogul Beg, and by P. Montserrat, who accompanied the emperor Acbar in his expedition to Cabul in the year 1581. It [p.497] is called to this day Mercoh and Uar-coh, or the mountain of Mer or Meru; for in the spoken dialects, they often say Mer for Meru and in the Trelcci-derpana we constantly read Mer for Meru. It is on the road between Peishower and Jalalabad; and about twenty-four miles from the latter, on the banks of the Landi-Sindh or Cameh river. It is now a bare rock, the river which formerly ran to the south of it, having carried away all the earth from the lower parts; and the earth above being no longer supported, was also washed away by the rains. From its dismal appearance, it was called Be-dowlat by the emperor Humayun. It looks like a single stone, without any fissure. It extends from the well to the east. It rises abruptly from the plain in which it stands; from the bottom to the top; P. Monserrat reckons about 2000 feet, and it is about six furlongs in length: its distance from the nearest hill is about three miles. The ground to the south and east is marshy, being the old bed of the river: to the west are seen several triangular entrances into caves. To the east at the distance of three miles, is a wretched village, called Bissour or Bissowly (Bussowd in Major Rennell's map) which about two hundred years ago was a pretty large town. To the west are the villages of Ambarcdna and Battercote, close to which Nadirshah encamped; and as there is no other encamping ground near this place for a numerous army, we may safely conclude this to be the very spot on which Alexander, encamped near the town of Nysa, which extended all round the mountain. Besides, his camp was near the sepulchres of the inhabitants, which were to the west of the mountain.
On this mountain, it is declared in the Puranas, was the Parnasala, or Parnasa, of Atri; there they shewed formerly a cave, in which he used to retire occasionally.
The word Parna signifies the leaf of a tree, a feather, and a wing. Its
derivative Parnasa, signifies any thing made of leaves; such as baskets, hats,
penns, coops, huts, &c. it signifies also any thing that is radiant; hence the
learned affirm, that the word Parna was formerly synonymous with Cirana, or
ray, though now never found in that sense. In the north-west parts of India, in
the Pastoo language, it is pronounced Panna and Pannai in the plural: hence I
conceive the word Parna or Pannu, to be the root of the Greek and
Latin words Pinna; and of the Saxon and English words pen, fin, pin, penn, and
also of the
name of that plant, with pinnated leaves, called fern in English, and in
Greek Pteris, the pinnated or winged: Parnica is another regular derivative, some
times used in composition, as well as Parshaca; and, as in the first ages,
mankind either lived in Gopas, caves, or in huts built of branches and leaves,
which last were their summer habitations, these huts were Parnasas, or Parnicas,
and Parnacas, Pomaces and Pornices. The Greek words
[Greek], seem to be derived from Parneyam, a regular Sanscrit derivative, though
never used. Prostitutes were thus called in Greek for the same reason that
fornication is derived from fornix.
Mount Parnasus in Greece was probably thus denominated, from a Parnasa, which constituted the ancient temple, according to Pausanias: it was made of branches and leaves; but as the word Parnasa signifies also any thing made of feathers or wings, others insisted, that formerly it consisted of the wings of certain bees cemented together with wax.
In the most secret recess of the temple of Vesta at Rome, there was a Parnasa or Parnasa fenced with leaves and branches, and it was called Penus according to Festus: as it was uncovered, it was really, what we call in English, a penn or fence: and, indeed, the word Parnasa, properly pronounced, sounds very much like Penus.
In the same manner, the word Patra a leaf, or Patta, as it is pronounced in the
spoken dialects, has found its way into Latin, in the words Patera, Patina,
Patena, and Petasus: this last being used to signify equally the covering of
the head and of a house, which were originally made of leaves and branches, and
to this day, in India, by the poorer sort of people. The Pateras called
Sanscrit, or cups used in sacrifices, are often made of a large leaf, folded up,
and kept together with four wooden pins; utensils made of leaves are still used
by the Hindus at their meals, and the Greek word Petalon is obviously derived
The word Parnasa, or Parnasas, was not unknown in the west, at some early period: but as it belonged to the language of the gods, there was another word prevalent in the vulgar or profane languages, and used in its room. This word is Lama or Lar, which is found to this day in the Galic language, and that of the Cymri, as well as in Greek; in which last however it appears to be obsolete: but either in its original form, or through its derivatives, it is susceptible of the various acceptations of the word Parnasa; and this accounts for Larnassus being also the name of mount Parnassus.
Larcos, Larnax signified a basket of twigs, and a chest: Lariethos any covering of bark. In Greek Laura, Lauran, signify, a house, an hermitage; also an assemblage of such houses. Lar, in Latin, is a house in Galic; and in the dialect of the Cymri, the ground floor. The original name seems to have been Larna, which was pronounced in different countries, Lar and Lan, like the Sanscrit word Parna, of which, by dropping either the r or the n, they make either Para, or Pana, in various dialects of India. Hence Llan in Galic signifies a house: Llan in the dialects of the Cymri, an inclosure. Thus, were the household gods called indifferently Lares and Penates.
The words Lar, Lama, Parna and Pata were once used indifferently in the west, to
signify a penn or coop: and swine confined in them for the purpose of fattening,
were called from that circumstance Larioni, and their flesh, Laridum, Perna
The word Lar or Laura, is still used in Galic (Loar or Lombar), and in the dialect of the Cymric Llueru to signify resplendence, and probably from the last are derived the words glare, clear, &c. It is applied in Greek to resplendent metals, as gold and silver; also to the Laurus, or laurel tree, sacred to the author of resplendence. Daphne, another name for the Laurus, is derived from the Sanscrit Tapana, a name of the Sun, as the author of heat: for that place in Egypt,16 called Tapana in the Puranas, is called Taphnah by the seventy interpreters; and Daphanes or Daphne, by Greek and Roman authors.
Though these mountains were in general called Parnassian, yet the appellation of Parnassus or Parnasa, belonged properly to that single mountain, on which stood the Parnasala, or Parnasa, of Atri or Idris; this was, I suppose, his summer habitation, for he had below a Samach'h, in which, it is said, he lived occasionally.
It is declared in the Puranas, that when Deva-Na-Husha, always pronounced Deo-naush in conversation, and in the vulgar dialects and obviously the Dionysius of the Greeks, conquered the world, he visited the seat of his grand ancestor Atri on the lesser Meru; and being uneasy to see it thus neglected; he sent for Visva-Carma, the chief engineer of the gods, and ordered him to build on the spot a superb city, which he called after his own name Deva-Nahisha-nagari, which is accurately rendered Dionysiopolis in Greek.
It is called also simply Nabusbam, Nahupa and
Nausha, from which the Greeks
made Nysa: and, as the word Nahusha is pronounced Nagush in several dialects of
India, particularly in the Deckan; we find it also called Nagaz, as in the
life of Amir Timur: but it is not to be confounded with Nughz in the Ayeen
Akbery; the true name of which, is Bughz, or Bughzari, the capital city of the
district of Iryab near Cabul. Nahusa is better known in Hindustan by the
emphatical appellation of Deva-Nagari, or the divine city. It was called also,
but within the limits of that country only, Nagara or the city.
Since the destruction of the original city, the capital of that district, whatever it was, went also by the name of Nagara, which was successively applied to Adinagara and to Jellalabad.
The district of Nagara is called, in the Ayeen-Akbery and by the natives to this day, Nekier-bur, for Nagar-wara, or the home district of Nagara.
Not a single vestige remains now of the ancient Naushi or Nysa; but the stony base of Meru, has resisted the ravages of time, and the corrosions of the river, which flowed formerly to the south of it.
The Sun and Dionysius were worshipped there, and Devi, or the Earth, had a cave sacred to her.
There is a striking similarity between the Grecian Panassus and this mountain. The original temple at both places was an humble Parnasa: at both places the Sun, Dionysius, and the Earth were worshipped. Mount Parnasus in Greece was full of Samach'hes also. It had two summits, one of which was called Nysa, as well as the adjacent city; and the other Cyrrha or [p.502] Cyrrhan in the oblique case: this was sacred to the Sun. The words Cyrrha and Kirros, seem to be derived from the Sanscrit Ciraria, which implies irradiation and resplendence. The most ancient oracle, and place of worship at Delphos, was that of the earth, in a cave, which was called Delphi; an obsolete Greek word, synonymous with yoni in Sanscrit: for it is the opinion of devout Hindus, that caves are the symbol of the sacred yoni: this opinion prevailed also in the west; for perforations and clefts in stones and rocks were called Cunni-Diaboli by the first Christians, who always bestowed the appellation of devils on the deities of the heathens. Perforated stones are not uncommon in India; and devout people pass through them, when the opening will admit of it, in order to be regenerated. If the hole be too small, they put either the hand or foot through it, and with a sufficient degree of faith, it answers nearly the same purpose. One of the seven wonders of the peak in Derbyshire, is called by a coarser name still, but very improperly; for this wonderful cave, or at least one very much like it, in the Sacred-Isles, and particularly noticed in the Puranas, is declared to be the sacred yoni. The cleft called Guhya-Jihan in Nepal, answers fully and literally to the coarse appellation bestowed upon the other in Derbyshire by the vulgar, and is most devoutly worshipped by numerous pilgrims from all parts of India.
According to the opinion of my learned friends here, it is probable, that whenever puja was performed in honour of Prithivi, or the Earth, the navel of Vishnu, or sacred umbilicus of white marbles kept at Delphos, in the sanctuary of the temple, and carefully wrapt up in cloth, was placed in the cave of Delphi. By the navel of Vishnu the Hindus understand the Os Tincae.17
From the similarity between the Parnasa of India, [p.503] and that of Greece, it is natural to suppose, that the rites and ceremonies, were carried from the more ancient, to the modern one: the Indian Parnasa is evidently the more ancient: for when Deucalion went into Greece, Dionysius and Apollo were not worshipped on mount Parnasus: he found there only the oracle of Themis. As Deucalion was sovereign of the country, in which the Indian Parnasus is situated, it is, in my humble opinion, highly probable, that he carried into Greece, the worship of the deities of his native country, and more particularly that of Dionysius; though I must confess, that it is positively asserted in the Puranas, that Deva-Nahush visited the countries in the west; and there built cities called after his own name: he gave also his name to rivers, and particularly to the Danube or Ijier, which, according to the Puranas, should be spelled Ister. His route is thus described in the Puranas: he first descended from the elevated plains of little Bokhara with a numerous army, and invaded the countries of Samarcand, Bahlac, and Cabul, which were then inhabited by the Sacas and Sacasenas: he conquered afterwards Iran, Egypt, and Ethiopia; and proceeding afterwards through the dwip of Varaha, or Europe; he conquered Chandra-dwip, or the British islands: he went thence into Curu, which includes the northern parts of Europe, and the whole of Siberia: having conquered China, the countries to the south of it, and India, he returned to the plains of Meru, through the pass of Hardwar.
The Greeks supposed that mount Parnassus was the favourite abode of the Muses. The Hindus have not limited their residence to any particular spot: but as the Suw is their leader, they are supposed to accompany him.
They are called Rasa in Sanscrit, in which language this word signifies juice in general, but is more particularly understood of the honied juice of flowers: it implies also any thing which we particularly delight in.
There are nine of them, divided into three classes: and this accounts for the
Greeks supposing that there were, originally, but three mules.
These three classes relate to love, war and religion.
1 Shringara adorned with jewels: called also Shuchi neat; and Uswala shining white.
2 Hasya, Hasa, Hasa; all implying laughter.
3 Caraha; Carunya, Grana, Crapa, Anucampd, Anucrosha, all implying a merciful disposition, and tender pity.
4 Raudra and Ugra, grief and rage accompanied with tears: despair.
5 Vira or Utswaba-vardana: heroick; inspiring with courage.
6 Bhayanaca, Bhayancara, Pratibhaya, Bhasrana, Bhishand, Daruha, Bhishma, or Bhima, Ghora; all these names imply, fear, horror, hardness of heart, reciprocal dread, &c.
7 Vibhatsa or Vicrata; trembling with fear at the sight of scenes of cruelty, or at the recital of heavy misfortunes.
8 Adbhuta or Vismaya, Chitra Ascharya: wonder and admiration.
9 Shanta is when we have effectually extinguished our senses.
Vibhatsa, and Adhhuta relate to that state, in which are virtuous people; who, without renouncing the world, enjoy its lawful pleasures; cautiously avoiding vice and guiltiness. Shanta is adapted to the state of a person, who, wishing to be reunited to the Supreme Being, considers virtue in the [p.505] light of vice, because it implies attachment to the world. This is seldom used, hence it is, that many reckon only eight Rasas or Muses. Worldly, or common singers are forbidden the use of this, and even according to some, that of the seventh and eighth.
The ancients, according to Macrobius, entertained nearly the same idea, with respect to the Muses. Divines, says he18 reckon nine Muses, eight of which answer to the musical sounds of the eight sphaeres: the ninth, which is the most perfect and sublime, they consider as an harmonical concord resulting from the eight former. Macrobius insists that this idea is as ancient as Hesiod. The Hindus likewise consider Shanta as resulting from the simultaneous cadence and united powers of the others: and as Shanta is never used in worldly concerns, they often reckon eight Rasas or Muses only. The nine Rasas are represented as beautiful damsels, with peculiar attributes and dresses.
Pierus the son of Magnes, whose great-grandfather was Deucalion, introduced into Greece the nine Muses: and the old uncouth music of the Greeks, which consisted only of four Muses, was laid aside, it seems; but not without violent struggles on the part of the adherents of the old Rhythmica.
Deucalion is called Cala-Yavana in the Puranas, but Calayun and Calyun in conversation, and in the vulgar dialects. Though acknowledged of divine extraction, and of course entitled to the epithet of Deva; it is never bestowed on him, because he presumed to oppose Crishna: and, indeed, he was very near overpowering him. But, as [p.506] his descendants gave him his right as to the title of Deva, and decreed divine honours to be paid to him, we shall henceforth call him Deva-Cala-Yavana, or, according to the vulgar mode of pronouncing this compound word, Devi-Cal-Yun, which sounds exactly like Deucalion in Greek.
His father was the famous Garga, whose story is thus related in the Bhavishya-purana, Sada-Siva-Maha-deva, is a great penitent (Yogi): he continually walks in the path of knowledge: having dedicated himself to the service of Vishnu (here is understood the supreme being in the character of Vishnu), he was constantly thinking on him. They, who devote themselves to the worship of Vishnu, have no occasion to worship the other gods: for there is no god like Vishnu, who is the original soul, and the ancient of days. Whoever devotes himself to him, obtains a seat at the most excellent feet,19 he has no beginning, and he never dies: he is pure and incapable of decay: he bestows knowledge, and everlasting bliss: hence he is particularly to be worshipped. Maha-deva well knowing that Vaicantha (Vishnu) was to be born of the Vrishnis and Andhacas, said, I shall be his Purohita (or officiating priest): and he was born of woman, in the character of Garga: as soon as Crishna was born, Garga acted as his Purohita: hence he is called Gargacharya: he gives Urdha (command over lust), and, though concealed under a mortal form, he is really Maha-deva. Garga is positively asserted here to be Maha-deva himself, who is called also Pramathesa or the lord of the five senses or servants: because they are to be kept in due subjection to reason. Hence [p.507] the western mythologists gave out some, that Deo-Calyun was the son of Jupiter, others of Prometheus. Garga was a famous astronomer, being Maha-deva himself, and the same is asserted of Prometheus, who generally lived in Scythia, in which is situated the peak of Caliasa the abode of Maha-deva. Lastly, Prometheus is said to be the son of Japet, the Jya-pati of the Hindus; and it is very probable, as we have seen in a former essay, that Jya-pati was an incarnation of Maha-deva, or Maha-deva himself. The Greek mythologists were little acquainted with the numberless incarnations found in the Puranas, but suppose the Avataras and Avantaras to be the offspring of the parent deity, according to the usual course of nature.
The history of Deo-cal-yun is thus related in a well-known poem called Hari Vansa. Garga was the spiritual guide of the Vrishnis and Andhacas: at an early period he became Brahmachari, and had such command over himself, that he never longed after woman. One day, before a numerous and respectable assembly, king Shala reviled him, and asserted that his continence proceeded merely from incapacity. The sage irritated at this reflection, withdrew from the world, and performed religious austerities for twelve years, during which time he subsisted entirely on filings of iron. Maha-deva being pleased granted his boon, that a son should be born unto him, who would reunite in himself all the energy of the Vrishnis and Andhacas, and that they should never prevail against him. The sovereign king of the Yavanas, having no children, and hearing of this boon, went to Garga; and after many entreaties prevailed on the sage to accompany him into his kingdom: there he brought him into a Gosha, or hut made of leaves and branches, and [p.508] placed round him many shepherdesses; the holy man fixed his choice on one of them called Gopuliapsarasa: she retained his seed against her will, and in due time was delivered of a boy at Gazni. Here I shall observe, that this apsarasa, or celestial nymph, having misbehaved at the court of Indra, was doomed to live on earth, for a certain time, in the character of a Gopali or shepherdess. This punishment is often inflicted on them: and whilst on earth they generally prostitute themselves to the handsomest men; but always destroy the embryo as soon as possible. In this however the Gopah-apsarasa did not succeed, because Garga was of a superior nature, being an incarnation of Mahadeva. The king of the Yavanas brought up the child in his own place, and adopted him for his son: after his death Cala-yavanad succeeded to the throne. He longed after the strife of war, and having asked the most respectable Brahmens; which were the most powerful tribes in the country; Narada pointed out to him the Vrishnis and Andhacas, Calyun being joined by the Sacas, Daradas, Paradas, Tangans, Chasas, and all the petty tribes of robbers, inhabiting the skirts of the snowy mountains, advanced against Mathura, Crishna having heard of Mahadeva's boon, was greatly alarmed; and attempted to enter into a negociation with Cal-yun, but his overtures were rejected. He then convened his friends and relations; and having declared to them in a few words, the critical situation they were in; represented to them that they had to time to lose, advised them to leave Mathura, and retire with him to Ptaraca in Guijur-desa (near point Jigat). He informed them also that Jara-sandha (the most powerful prince in India at that time, and whose daughter had married Cansa) at the head of the confederate kings, who had resolved to revenge the death of Cansa, was advancing with an im- [p.509] mense army. When Crishna had seen his friends and relations safe at Dwaraca, he returned alone to Mathura; and presented himself before Cal-Yun, who rising from his seat in a great rage, attempted to seize him. Crishna fled, and Cal-Yun pursued him as far as the cave in which slept the famous Muchu-cunda. It is situated in the Raivata mountains, which extend from Guzrat toward Ajmer. Muchu-cunda was the son of king Mandata, who lived in the Crita-yuga or golden-age: having defeated and humbled the Daityas, the gods, out of gratitude, waited on him requesting him to ask a boon. The warrior, who was exhausted with fatigue, answered he wanted nothing but sleep, and wished he might sleep till the arrival of Crishna, and that, whosoever should presume to awake him, might be destroyed by the fire of his eye. Crishna, who knew that such a boon had been granted to Muchu-cunda, boldly entered the gloomy cave, and placing himself toward the head of Muchu-cunda, waited in silence the arrival of Cal-yun. He soon arrived, and seeing a man asleep, struck him several times to awake him. Muchu-cunda opening his eyes, a flame darted from them, which reduced Cala-yavana to ashes. Crishna went immediately to Dwaraca, and gathering his forces fell upon the Yavans, put the greatest part of them to the sword, and the rest fled to their native country.
The conclusion of the drama is certainly forced, ridiculous, and unnatural: it is more probable, that Deo-cal-yun seeing his army defeated, fled to his native country: and that, through shame and vexation, he withdrew with his family and adherents to Greece. This conjecture is supported by the testimony of Greek historians, who uniformly assert, that he reigned, and ultimately died in Greece. They [p.510] are not, however, agreed about his origin, some saying he was a Scythian, and others, that he was a Syrian.
Any catastrophe, general or partial, either by fire, sword, or water, is called in Sanscrit Pralaya: but this word in the spoken dialects is generally understood of destruction by water, and of course the Greeks understood it in that light; when speaking of the dreadful catastrophe, which befel the Yavanas and their leader Deo-cal-yun on the borders of India; and I cannot help observing, that Greece was a most unfavourable spot for a partial flood.
The Yavanas originally worshipped the sacred Yoni alone, which they considered as the sole author of their being; but learned pandits suppose, that, when we read in the above legend, that the king of the Yavanas adopted for his son an Avantara of Maha-deva; it implies also, that himself with his subjects admitted the worship of the Linga or Phallus. Be this as it may, Prometheus, Deucalion, and his mother Jodaimia, had altars erected to them in Greece.
Garga-sthan or the place of Garga, where he lived amongst cowherds, is fourteen coss from Cabul, according to some pilgrims. I have not been able yet to ascertain its situation, with sufficient accuracy to insert it in the map. It is situated in the mountains, which, from this circumstance, are called Garga-sthani and by Persian authors Gherghistan.
It was asserted in the Cabirian mysteries, that Prometheus or Pramathesa had a son called Aetnoeus.20 Pausanias mentions his name only; [p.511] and says he could not divulge, what he had heard concerning these deities in the sacred recesses of the temple, without being guilty of a sacrilege. The name of this inferior deity is derived from the Sanscrit Aitneswara or Aitnesa for Aitna-isa. This god I do not find mentioned in the Puranas; but his consort Aitni-devi, or the goddess Ain-Ni, is repeatedly noticed in these sacred books. She resided in an island, the dimensions of which are declared to be thirty yojanas, or about 150 miles, an expression rather obscure. There on a high mountain vomiting fire, was the sthan, or place of the goddess Aitni: indeed the whole island is called Aitni-sthan, and has no other name in the Puranas. This obviously is Mount Etna, and the island of Sicily, which was uninhabited, according to the Puranas, on account of the dreadful eruptions of the mountain; the crater of which was considered as sacred according to Pausanias.21 The island (or tract of islands) of Lipara is mentioned also in the Puranas in which it is declared, that the appellation of Laya-para is derived from Para-Laya; because they who threw themselves into the volcano, obtained Laya, or reunion to the supreme being. It is said to be ten yojanas or fifty miles distant from Aitni-sthan or Sicily.
Aitni-devi is obviously the nymph called Etna by the Sicilians: she was the mother of the Palici, whose father was Jupiter with the title of Adramus, supposed with good reason by the learned to be the same with the Babylonian Adram-melech, whom I mentioned in a former essay on Semiramis, Adramus is obviously derived from the Sanscrit Adharmeswara or Adharmesa: Isa, Iswara in Sanscrit, Melech in Chaldean, are synonimous; and the lord Adharma is an epithet of Siva.
Having discovered some years ago, that Prometheus, as a title of Siva, was not
unknown to learned pandits, I immediately enquired after his cave or den, and
related to my learned friends the legend of Prometheus and the eagle. They
shrunk back with horror at this horrid blasphemy, and declared that none but
impious Yavanas could ever suppose, that the deity could be fastened to a rock,
and have its entrails devoured by an eagle. I was forced to drop my enquiries on
a subject so disagreeable; but on considering lately, that the den was
improperly called the cave of Prometheus; and that it should be rather called
the place of the eagle; I enquired after Garuda-sthan, and was perfectly
understood. They soon pointed it out to me in the Puranas and other sacred
books, such as the Harivansa, the Casmir-mahatmya, &c. and I immediately
perceived that it was situated in the vicinity of Cabul, where the historians of
Alexander have placed it, and declare, that this hero had the curiosity to go
and see it. I have discovered since a passage in a section of the Scanda-purana,
called the Himdchel-chanda; in which it is declared that the sthan or place of
Garuda, is near Vamiyan. It is related in the Hari-vansa, that, when Chrishna
had occasion for Garuda's assistance, to clear up the country round Dwaraca,
which abounded with savages, ferocious animals, and noxious reptiles, Garuda had
then his place or sthan on the summit of a high peak of difficult access, in the
country of the Yavanas, to the westward of the Indus; where he used to carry men
and animals he could lay hold of, in order to devour them at his leisure.
Unfortunately no further particulars could be collected from the Hindu sacred
books, when a learned pandit recollecting, that as from an early period that
country had been in the possession of the followers of Buddha, some light on
this subject might naturally be [p.513] expected
from their books; after many entreaties, I prevailed on him to consult the
learned of that sect: this he promised to do on condition that I would not make
a practice of it. He found the Buddhists equally averse to such communication.
To be short, he produced at last a singular book called the Budha-dhdrmacharya
Sindliuh; in which we found the legends relating to Prometheus and the eagle,
with many other interesting particulars. I beg leave here to retract what I said
in a former essay on Egypt concerning the followers of Buddha.22 There are many
learned men among them, and they have many valuable books: it appears also that
they have Vedas and Puranas of their own. A comparison of them with those of the Brahmenical tribes would prove very interesting, and of the greatest importance.
It would prove at first a very arduous undertaking, as it would be very
difficult to gain the confidence of both parties.
Garuda or the Eagle, called also Garutmat or the winged, lived in his own Van or forest, called from him Garutmat-van and Garutman-van. Bamiyan and the Mosaical Eden were situated in the forest of Garutman: and it is remarkable, that the Farsis, according to Anquetil du Perron, call the abode of the supreme being and of the blessed, Gorotman, which they represent as a terrestrial paradise. It is near Goracsha-van or Goruc-ban, as it is pronounced in the vulgar dialects; but by Musulmans it is called Goor-ban and Goor-band. There he flew over mountains, through forests, searching whom he might devour, tearing up their bodies, and devouring their entrails. For Vishnu had given him this boon, saying, you may devour my enemies, and those of Siva; those who are guilty of constant uncleanness: the Nasticas, or unbelievers; those who deal in iniquity, the ungrate- [p.514] ful, those who speak ill of their spiritual guides, or otherwise behave ill to them, or defile their beds: all these you may devour: but do not touch a Brahmen, whatever be his guilt; should you presume to devour him, he will prove a scorching flame in your throat; spare also my servants, and those of Maha-deva, and the righteous in general: for if you should transgress, your strength and power will be thereby greatly diminished. Vishnu having thus spoken, disappeared. Long after Garuda spying a Brahmen dressed like a Shahara, or mountaineer, laid hold of him, and attempted to devour him: but he soon felt a scorching flame in his throat, which forced him to disgorge the priest alive. Some time after he met with a servant of Maha-Deva, who was rambling stark naked through the woods, and looked like an ideot: Garuda sprung upon him; but found his body as hard as the thunder bolt. When Garuda saw this, he carried his prey to his den, where he bound him, that he might devour him at his leisure: but he never could make the least impression upon him. The unfortunate prisoner called on Maha-deva, who sent Haraja to rescue him. Haraja or Hara-cula requested Garuda to release him, saying, you are the chief of birds, this man is a favorite of Maha-deva, you also are a favorite of his, set him at liberty, or come and fight me. For a whole month they fought, when Garuda's strength failed him: he saw then, that his prisoner was a servant of Maha-deva, and recalled to his mind, the words of Vishnu. He then set him at liberty, observing to Haraja, that in his life he never found so tough a subject.
The situation of Goracsha-van is well known to the Hindus; and I have seen many pilgrims, who have visited this singular spot. Near it, in the mountains, according to the sacred books, is situated the forest and place of GARUDA: there it was visited [p.515] by Alexander and his Macedonians. I was not fortunate enough to meet with pilgrims, who had seen this place, which I understand, is seldom visited on account of its being difficult of access; and because few and trifling indulgences only are to be obtained there. They generally place it near the pass of Shabara, which was thus denominated from the Shabars, whom Garuda used to devour. The word Shabara is interpreted in glossaries, Shali-vastra, and Vastracdra, and signifies such uncivilized race of men, as make, and wear for garments, a sort of matting made of grass and roots. The Shabara, whom Garuda confined in his cave, was a servant of Maha-deva; a synonimous term for which, is also PRAMATHAH or Pramathas, whom the Greeks have confounded with Prometheus, obviously derived from the two Sanscrit words Pramathaisa, which coalescing according to the rules of grammar, form Pramathesa. This supposed adventure is posterior to Crishna: for in his time Garuda was in the full enjoyment of his strength and power.
Garuda is often represented as a Griffin, and the native country of the Griffins is placed by western mythologists in Bactria: this is also countenanced in the Puranas, and we read in the Himdchel-chand, that Garuda and his brother Aruna, who now drives the chariot of the Sun, went into Bactria and made Tapasya, at a place called Vimalamhu, close to Vamiyan, and near the oracle of Uma or Umasa, which is a name of the Earth, considered as the Magna-water, and, perhaps from it, is derived the Latin word Hicuis. There he married a beautiful woman; the snakes alarmed at his marriage, waged war against him: but they were defeated, one only escaping the general slaughter: who falling at the feet of Garuda, said, devour [p.516] me not, spare me, o Nagdntaca, or destroyer of snakes. Garuda granted his request, and placed him by way of ornament round his neck.
Bactria was also the native country of the Sacas and Sacasenas, and it is remarkable, that wherever the Sacas went, there we find also the Griffins.
It appears, that at an early period some emigration took place from Bactria into Colchis, the inhabitants of which country were called Sidi and Sindi. There was a powerful tribe called Augoi, Augan, Abasgoi and Abasgoji, which appear to be the same with the present Afghans or Augans, called Aspagonos by Pliny. These carried with them their original legends, such as the story of Prometheus and the eagle; and in the course of time they even supposed, that the events they alluded to, did really happen in the country they were now inhabiting. According to the Puranas, the Sacas and Sacashias, leaving Bactria, went into the dwip of Placsha, or Asia the lesser, which was afterwards denominated from them the dwip of Saca. The appellation of Placsha or Placa in the vulgar dialects, was not entirely lost in the time of Herodotus, who takes particular notice of a place called Placia, the inhabitants of which, and of the adjacent country, still retained the old language. As the word Placsha is sometimes written Lacsha, I suspect that the Legzi or Losgi, formerly a powerful nation in Colchis, were the remains of the ancient inhabitants of the dwip of Lacsha or Placsha: for they lived formerly in the more southern parts of lesser Asia, toward Syria, and were the same with the Leuco-Syri, perhaps for Lesgo-Syri, or Lachya-Syri.
Deo-Cal-yun, the adopted son of the lord paramount of the Yavanas, lived in the country of the [p.517] Camboj, to the westward or the Indus. This is the same country, which, according to the learned, is now called by contraction Coj. As the vowel is very short, and of course obscure, every one of the five vowels is indifferently used; thus we have Caj, Kij, or Kidge, &c. In the same manner the name of the country called Casnis, Camus, and Cambis, to the south of the Caspian sea, is often written and pronounced Cans. It includes all that mountainous tract, which extends from Gazni to the sea, and comprehended the countries known to the Greeks by the names of Arachosia and Gedrosia, written also Kedrosia; indeed, these two denominations signify the same thing, the mountains of Coj: for Moh in the language of the Balluches signifies a mountain, and may be placed, either before or after, thus Coj-Roh, Kej-Roh or Kedrosia; Roh-Coj or Arachosia. When they speak of the country in general, they say Coj only: and when they use the word Roh it implies the mountains of Coj. The appellation of Coj is now restricted to that part which is included in the province of Macran or Mackran, called by the Greeks Macarene; the chief river of which, was the Maxates, now called Macshid.23 Gazni, the true name of which is Sasni, was once the capital city of that country; hence it is called with propriety Sasni-Coj by Tavernier, or Chakeni-couze: the Pattans generally use k for sh; and very often also for s; thus they say, Pirkhowr for Pirshowr, Khehr for Shehr, a city. Gazni is called Sasni by Chrysoccoras; and Shafni or Chassenee, in Thevenot's collection of voyages. The present name is Gazni or Casni; but in the time of Tavernier, they said also Sacni or Jacni.
Roh-Coj, according to the Balluch pronunciation, or Row-Coz, as softened by the Pattans, is the Arachosia of the Greeks; which includes the districts [p.518] of Gazni and Candahar. Arachosia is now called Cawer or Caweran: but even this appellation is becoming obsolete. The river Arachotus called also Choaspes, and Cophex is now called Abeh-Tarnic, or the river Tarnic. It rises in the hills to the north by east of Gazni; and after having watered the whole valley of Arachosia, it loses itself in a marsh about four miles to the south of Candahar: and when the rains are abundant, part of its waters run into the Arghand-ab, which falls into the Hirend. One of the emperors of Gazni had its waters dammed up in the hills, above that city, which are let out occasionally to water the fields, in which it is lost: when the rains are copious, the superabundant waters form a small stream, which reaches as far as Carabaug; and afterwards forms in some low grounds to the south east, a small marsh or lake. The present river Arachotus, is formed by a small stream, which rises a little above Mucur in the above marsh: hence it is often called the water of Alucur.
It was called Choaspes, or rather Cho-Asp from the following circumstances. Between the cities of Zussa and Kala-at (a plural form implying towers or forts), there is in the bed of the river Tarnic a deep hole, supposed unfathomable; called in the language of that country Sup, in Sanscrit Gopa, and in some dialects Gopha, from which, probably, are derived the words [Greek] and [Greek], Coop, Cove, Cave, and in Latin Cauvus and Cavea, a Cave, a Coop, or Cage. An unwary traveller, riding upon a mare great with foal, stumbled into it and both were drowned. During the struggles the mare brought forth a foal, who was received by the fairies residing in this cave, and nursed by them. He is often seen grazing on the banks of the river, and at [p.519] other times his head only is seen above the waters; from that circumstance the surrounding hills are called Sereh Asp, or the horse's head. As the foal was grazing one day in the adjacent meadows, he was seen by a traveller, who admiring his shape, laid hold of him and rode him for a long time; when returning the same way, he did Jelo-rez, or relax the reins,24 the horse ran away, and jumped into the cave, or hole. From the circumstance of his relaxing the reins, the surrounding hills are also called Jelorez. They might be called with propriety Coh-Asp, or the mountains of horse: and they were thus called once, or Cho-aspa as it appears from Ptolemy, who has applied this appellation to a city in the vicinity, but with greater propriety called Cophes by Pliny; a word obviously derived from Gopa-Gopha pronounced in different dialects. Cup and Sup, Cuph and Suff, or Cuph. It is called to this day Zussa or Shehr-zussa, the town of Zussa. It is called Zupha in the Pentingerian table, in the road from Fociana [Fusheng], to Asbana, or Cabul. The marsh, to the south of Candahar, is obviously the Arachosian marsh of the ancient geographers.25 The ancient kings of Gor were natives of Zussa, or Zuf; and gave that appellation to Gor, the place of their residence, but now desolate: the place where it stood is called Gor-moshcan.
Ptolemy mentions a town called Arachotus; but surely Roh-Coj could not be the real name of a city, which probably was Coj-vara, or Coshar, Coswar, and Cashur: it is the Kodzar and Kozdar of Persian authors; literally the habitation in the country of Coj, and, by implication the capital city of Coj. The kings of the Yavanas, and Deo-cal-yun re- [p.520] sided at Sasni, (now Ghazni), which word in Sanscrit signifies command, and by implication, the seat of empire. They generally pronounce this word Ghazni; because, it is said to be derived from Ghazz-ni. Ni is foundation, and Ghazz is the Tamarix, which abounds in that country. For they say, that, when the Musulmans invaded that country, being surrounded by an immense host of Cafirs, or unbelievers, they made a tumultuary rampart of loose earth, and tamarix; from which circumstance the place was called ever after Ghazz-ni.
By a strange mistake, the country of Arachosia, and the river which flows through it, have been placed by the learned Danville, to the south of Candahar; had this famous geographer recognised Gazni, in the Shakeni-Couze of Tavernier, this mistake, I believe, would not have happened. I have had the satisfaction to converse often with natives of Candahar, of Kala-at-Nasir-Khan, and Coshur, and other intermediate places; and have obtained sufficient local knowledge of that country, to rectify this error. Kala-at-Nasir-Khan is the Ka-at-Berlook of the Ayeen-Acbery: it is also the Al-Casr of the Nubian geographer, a word of the same import with Kala-at a plural form. It was surnamed Nasir-khan, from its last governor, who died some years ago. In its vicinity is the town of Sorra mentioned by the Nubian geographer: it is better known by the name of Sorra-Bac or Sorra-Beyck. Beyck is a name common to several places in that country: they are situated among mountains denominated from them, by Ptolemy. Becii or Baicii montes, as we read in Mercator's maps; or Baitiim the original: for in ancient manuscript, t and c are often mistaken the one for the other. In the Puranas they are called Su-Bhasha. The real name of Gazni was originally Sabul, Zabul, or Saul, as it is [p.521] written by Chrysococcas: hence it appears to be the Ozola of Ptolemy. It is probably the Oscanidati of the Pentigerian table, twenty-two farsacks from Asbana or Cabul; and thirty-five from Zuyha Gscaiiidati is perhaps corrupted from Sacni-tut, or the mulberry grove of Sacni. Tut in the Pastoo, as well as in the Persian and Hindi languages, signifies a mulberry. In composition, it implies a mulberry grove. This tree grows spontaneously in that country, in the plains: and the Pattans generally pitch their tents, or erect their huts near groves of it. Its fruit is exquisitely delicious: and we often hear Pattans in Hindustan sighing after their mulberry groves, wishing to die under their shades.
The famous peak of Chaisa-ghar, which we mentioned before, is situated on the road between Gazni and Dera-Ismahil: the Musulmans call it Tuct-Suleiman, or the throne of Solomon; and to the adjacent mountains they have given the name of Coh-Suleiman. It is seen at the distance of one hundred coss, and begins to be visible near the extensive ruins of the famous city Sangala about sixty miles west by north of Lahore. Sangala is situated in a forest, and though desolate and uninhabited, it preserves still its ancient name. It was built by the famous Puru or Purus, great grandson of Atri. It is called S'mkol in Persian romances, and its king, raja Sinkol. It has been confounded by Arrian with Salgala or Salgada, which is now called Calanore; close to which is still an ancient place called Salgeda to this day, and its situation answers most minutely to Arrian's description. Salgala and Sagada, are two derivative forms, the first is Sanscrit, and the second is conformable to the idiom of the dialects of the Panjab. The summit of Chaisa-ghar is always covered with snow; in the midst of which are seen several streaks of [p.522] a reddish hue, supposed by pilgrims, to be the mark, or impression made by the feet of the dove which Noah let out of the ark. For it is the general and uniform tradition of that country, that Noah built the ark on the summit of this mountain, and there embarked: that, when the flood assuaged, the summit of it first appeared above the waters, and was the resting place of the dove, which left the impression of her feet in the mud, which with time, was hardened into a rock. The ark itself rested about half way up the mountain, on a projecting plain of a very small extent. There a place of worship was erected, near which is a caldron of copper of such dimensions, that one hundred mounds of food may be dressed in it at the same time. Near it is an hermitage inhabited by several Derveishes, and a little above, is a flag. The inhabitants of the country resort there occasionally on Fridays. With respect to the footsteps of the dove, they are known only by tradition, for the inhabitants of that country assert, that they have never heard of anybody going up so high on account of the ruggedness of the mountain, and of the snow. The Bhauddhists, who were the first inhabitants of that country, are, I am told, of the same opinion as to the place where the ark rested; but hitherto I have been able to procure a single passage only, from the Buddha-dharma-chdrya-Sind-huh, in which it is declared that Shama or Shem, travelled first to the north east, and then turning to the north west, he arrived on the spot, where he built afterwards the town of Bamiyan. Shama they say, having descended from the mountain of Chaisa-ghar, travelled north east, as far as the confluence of the Attack with the Indus; where he made Tapasya: he then proceeded north west to Bamiyan.
The Pauranics insist, that, as it is declared in their sacred books, that Satyavrata made fast the [p.523] ark to the famous peak, called from that circumstance, Nau-banda, with a cable of a prodigious length, he must have built it in the adjacent country. Nau (a ship) and bandha (to make fast), is the name of a famous peak situated in Cashmir, three days journey to the north north east of the purganah of Lar. This famous place is resorted to by pilgrims, from all parts of India, who scramble up among the rocks to a cavern, beyond which they never go. A few doves frightened with the noise, fly from rock to rock: these the pilgrims fancy to be their guides to the holy place, and believe, that they are the genuine offspring of the dove, which Noah let out of the ark, at all events in the numerous legends, which I have extracted from the Puranas relating to Satyavrata and the ark, no mention is made of his letting out the dove: the whole story I shall give in abstract. Satyavrata having built the ark, and the flood increasing, it was made fast to the peak of Nau-banda, with a cable of prodigious length. During the flood, Brahma, or the creating power was asleep at the bottom of the abyss: the generative power of nature, both male and female, were reduced to their simplest elements, the Linga and the Yoni, assumed the shape of the hull of a ship since typified by the Argha; whilst the Linga became the mast.26 In this manner they were wafted over the deep, under the care and protection of Vishnu. When the waters had retired, the female power of nature appeared immediately in the character of Capoteswari or the dove, and she was soon joined by her consort, in the shape of Capoteswara.
The mountains of Coh-Suleiman are sometimes called by the natives the mountains of the dove: the [p.524] whole range as far as Gazni is called by Ptolemy the Paruetoi mountains, probably from the Parvata or Paravat, which signifies a dove. The peak of Chaisa-ghar is called also Cala-Roh or the black mountain: the summit alone being covered with snow, is not always seen at a great distance; but the body of the mountain, which looks black, is by far more obvious to the sight. Persian romances say, that there were seventy or seventy-two rulers called Suleiman, before Adam; this has an obvious relation to the seventy-one Manivantaras of the Hindus: and of course Noah or Satyavrata was a Suleiman.
The followers of Buddha acknowledge that the ark might have been fastened to Nau-bandha near Cashmir; but surely they say, the ark could not have been riding perpendicularly above this peak, and such a vessel required a vast length of cable: in short though the cable was made fast at Nau-bandha, the ark was riding above Chaisa-ghar, According to the Pauranics and the followers of Buddha, the ark rested on the mountain of Arya-varta, Aryaivart or India, an appellation which has no small affinity with the Araraut of scripture. These mountains were a great way to the eastward of the plains of Shinar or Mesopotamia, for it is said in Genesis that, some time after the flood, they journeyed from the east, till they found a plain in the land of Shinar, in which they settled. This surely implies that they came from a very distant country to the eastward of Shinar. The region about Tuckt-Suleiman is the native country of the olive tree, and I believe the only one in the world. There are immense forests of it on the high grounds; for it does not grow in plains. From the saplings, the inhabitants make walking sticks, and its wood is used for fuel all over the country; and, as Pliny [p.525] justly observes, the olive tree in the western parts of India, is sterile, at least its fruit is useless, like that of the Oleaster. According to Fenestalla, an ancient author cited by Pliny,27 there were no olive trees in Spain, Italy or Africa in the time of Tarquin the eldest. Before the time of Hesiod, it had been introduced into Greece: but it took a long time before it was reconciled to the climate, and its cultivation properly understood: for Hesiod says, that, whoever planted an olive tree, never lived to eat of its fruit. The olive tree never was a native of Armenia; and the passage of STRABO, cited in support of this opinion, implies only, that it was cultivated with success in that country. But let us return to SHARMA and his disciple Sarasala, the legends concerning whom are to be found in the Buddha-dharma-charya-Sindhah.
"The chief of the followers of Buddha is endowed with knowledge: great are his riches and power. He shewed mercy to the living creation; and instructed them all in their respective duties: he was deeply skilled in the Sastras. He is the abode of human and divine knowledge, which he imparts to all. He, whose name is Shama, is the chief of living beings: he gives an increase of pleasure to every body: he travels over the whole world, instructing every one in their respective duties. Once he went north east, then turning toward the north-west, he arrived at the Himani mountains. There he saw a variegated hill: it was beautiful: there were numerous springs: all sorts of animals and chirping birds. In this forest, he, whose name is Shama-Maha-Muni, began to perform Tapasya: for he saw that the country was Tapobhumi, (land fit for the performance of religious rites.) [p.526] Here, says he, I shall soon obtain the end of my Tapasya. Jineswara, the god of gods, was pleased; he granted his boon: Jine'swara, who is Bhagavan, for the good of mankind, granted his boon: from day a (mercy) comes ardra (softness of heart:) to do good to all men you were born! Before this he was famed as a good man; but when he had obtained his boon!28 As he lived in an uninhabited forest, pilgrims suffered much: through the efficacy of his Tapasya, he built a town, which he called Vameyan: it was vama (beautiful), hence it was called Vameyan. Wood, grain, and grass, were in plenty. He placed beautiful flags on all the gates and posterns. He made also beautiful (chetwara) squares, where grain and wealth were displayed. He called in the four great tribes: gold and jewels abounded in their houses. In one house were often seen an hundred women, shining with gold and precious stones: here the drum beat: there they danced: everybody was pleased. From the noise in every street, in every house, it seemed as if the whole town spoke. In every house there were constantly feasts and rejoicings: it was like the town of the gods. Shama instructed them all in their respective duties. In this city men and women follow the religion of Buddha, and nobody says there, why do you worship Buddha? Shama having thus obtained the object of his wishes, withdrew to an adjacent hill, where he erected a beautiful and strong building for his residence. He kept his internal indris, or senses, under subjection; hence he was called Shama. He is constantly performing the Yoga: upon a hill fit for such performance, he seated himself: there resides the chief of the forms of Buddha." This hill is now called Ghulghuleh.
"There is another image-like resemblance of Shama-Sharma in his disciple: he is
constantly performing Tapasya: he studies daya (mercy), and observes most
rigidly the dictates of justice. He waited with most scrupulous obedience on
Shama, his spiritual guide. Lust had no power on him: in him were united human
and divine knowledge: he became Paranishta (he dwelled in god) and great were
the powers of his understanding. For ten years he made Tapasya, during which he
left off eating and drinking: he felt no uneasiness on that account: he lived
upon the winds: thus he kept up the efficacy of his religious austerities. He is
a great penitent; constantly thinking on the deity. He did not make Damaha, that
is to say, he did not perform religious acts for the sake of worldly praise.
Thus he made a most rigorous Tapasya. Then Jina-wara (or the lord of the forms
of Jina) was pleased: Jina-deva said; why are you making Tapasya? What is your
wish? You have made a most rigorous Tapasya, even to the peril of your life: get
up, get up: it shall be well with you: ask your boon; Rasala, such was his
name, said, to day have I obtained the fruit of my labours: I have seen you: I
have seen you! This is all I wanted: what is the rest to me! This was my only
object and desire. I was like a poor man, who is oppressed; but on my
complaining to you I have obtained redress: be merciful. Jina said your heart is
like a beetle,29 who constantly sticks to me; your name before was Rasala (he who
delights in the honied juice) Rasa of flowers: now it shall be Sa-Rasala (who
delights much in it). All the world shall call you Sa-Rasala:
[p.528] ask your boon. The Muni said he was
nispraha, he wanted nothing: only give me the end of my Tapasya: that I may go
unmolested through the three worlds, and see you every where; let me also retain
the efficacy of my Tapasya. O chief of the forms of Jina, this is my boon.
Jina-va-Ra who is Iswara, granted it, and disappeared. The son of the Raja kept
up the efficacy of his Tapasya, and thus became Avydhataswairagati
he went every where unmolested: he became Samadraca; friends or foes, men and women were the
same to him. Such was his Tapasya, that he even surpassed his Guru
who, seemingly, became Spardha, saying why do you wish to surpass me. He
endeavoured to spoil his Tapasya, and to corrupt his heart: but in vain. Still
he waited on him with humility, without answering, without complaining. When
Shama saw this, he said with astonishment: he is a good man (Sadhu): his name
then shall be Sadhu. Thus he obtained a boon from his spiritual guide. Sa-Ra-sala
is constantly making Tapasya thinking on Jineswara.
"Who is he, whom all the world call Sa-Rasa-La? You are the chief of the Vales: relate the whole to me. Who was he before? Why did he come into this forest? Why is he making Tapasya? Be exalted and relate the whole to me. The chief of the Yatis said: he is the king of the country of Calinga. He had forsaken the paths of righteousness, and dwelt among women, he was proud and his heart was fixed on them. He was like the Sarasra,30 like the beetle, who delights on the honied juice (Rasa) of flowers: hence he was called Rasala. Once in a former state, [p.529] he performed a most meritorious action; which proved afterwards of great service to him. Some private business having brought him to Mathura; his friends prevailed on him to perform the usual ablutions: he gave alms also. His heart was purified from guilt, and his iniquity removed. At that time the chief of the Munis of Jina (Shama) came to Mashura, and shewed to him the path to rectitude. He treasured up every word: acknowledging the truth, he was irradiated. From that moment he held for nothing his crown, his wife, his children, and his wealth. He disposed of his effects among the Yatis, and having resigned his crown to his son, and recommended his wife to him, he withdrew to the forests. There, he made Tapasya, thinking on Jinavara. Thus I have related the whole to you."
By Calinga, the Pauranics understand the sea coasts at the summit of the bay of Bengal, from point Godaveri to cape Negrais. It is divided into three parts. Calinga proper, which extends from point Godaveri to the western branch of the Ganges, the inhabitants of the country are called Colingee by Aelian and Pliny. Madhya-Calinga or middle Calinga is in the Delta of the Ganges, and is corruptly called Modo-Galinca by Pliny. Moga-Calinga extends from the eastern branch of the Ganges to cape Negrais in the country of the Migas or Mugs: this is obviously the Macco-Calingae of Pliny. Calinga implies a country abounding with creeks and is equally applicable to the sea shore about the mouths of the Indus.
Shama, and his disciple Sa-rasala, are perhaps the same, who are called Sam and Zal-zer or Sal the white in Persian romances: certain it is that they lived in that country. The father of Sam was [p.530] Neriman, which is a Sanscrit appellation, is very applicable to Noah: nere signifies a wave in Persian, and nara water in Sanscrit. Sam may be the same with Siamec the son of Key-Umursh; for Sharma and Sharmaca, Shama, and Shamca are various appellations of the patriarch Shem. As to Key-Umursh or king Umursh, it is a denomination given equally to Adam and Noah in Persian romances, and with great propriety, for Umarsha in Sanscrit signifies the lord of Uma, the female power of nature and the earth. In that section of the Scanda-purana called the Himachel-Chanda, it is said that Buddha the ninth Avatar of Vishnu appeared in the characters of Shama or Shem; by which we must understand, according to the learned, that Sharma an incarnation of Vishnu reappeared as Buddha. Indeed the character of Sharma is well preserved throughout: for this famous patriarch is represented of a most benevolent and mild disposition, with a very weak constitution. When Buddha was seven years above eight old, he was invested with the sacerdotal cord. He went immediately to Vamigram or Vamiyam in order to defeat the schemes of the Daityas, who were assembled in its vicinity, to perform solemn sacrifices and the most rigid acts of devotion in order to obtain the dominion of the world. Varniyan is declared to have been at that time a most magnificent city. There the gods and many holy men were assembled in order to pay their respects to Vishnu and implore his assistance against the Daityas. Buddha in the shape of a Sannyasi presented himself to them, and was kindly received: he then told them, that every sacrifice of an animal was an abomination, and that even ablutions were wicked, because small insects might be killed by bathing. Such was his eloquence, that the Daityas wept bitterly, abandoned all thoughts of sacrifice and ablution, and thereby were frustrated in [p.531] their scheme of attaining the dominion of the world. After this memorable victory, great rejoicings were made throughout the whole town of Bamiyan: for the Bauddhists insist that the religion of Buddha existed from the beginning.
I cannot better conclude this essay than by making a few remarks on the supposed prohibition, imposed on every good Hindu from crossing the Indus; in order to obviate some objections lately started, against the possibility of their being acquainted with the most ancient transactions in the western parts of the world. This prohibition is certainly very ancient: for it is mentioned by Diodorus the Sicilian; who says, that king Staurobaxes, in Sanscrit Sthawara-pati, was prevented by the soothsayers, in consequence of certain prodigies, from crossing the Indus.
Before we proceed, it is proper to ascertain, what part of the Indus is properly called Attaca or the forbidden. From the unanimous report of the natives of that country, either Hindus or Musulmans, learned as well as simple, I am fully satisfied that the Landha-Sindh, which rises from a lake in the vicinity of Bamiyan, and falls into the Sindi above Attaca-Varanesa or Attock-Benares is the real Attock or forbidden river: this property however it communicates to the greater Sindhi from the place of their confluence down to the sea. The Indus is called Sindhuh or Sindhus in Sanscrit, Ab-Sind or water of Sind by Persian authors: but in the Pastoo language it is called Abai-Sin or father Sin. The waters of the Landhi-Sin, or lesser Sind, are remarkable for their limpidity: and being very deep, it gives them a dark azure appearance; whilst the waters of Abai-Sin, are turbid: and above Tor-Belak or the black Belah31 toward Der-bend and [p.532] Bawersa they are of a milk white colour, from the immense banks of chalk in its bed. Bawersa called also Baiversa-da and Bawersa-di, is the Barisadis of the historians of Alexander.32 Below Tor-Belah or Tor-belam, and its black sands, the waters of the Sind are blackish, between the high mountains about Attock and the fort of Nilab, the gloom encreases much their black appearance. The Landi-Sin from the dark azure appearance of its waters is with great propriety called the Nu-ab: the inhabitants know of no other river distinguished by that epithet. They seldom, however, make use of it. At Goorband, it is called the Goor-band river; near Baran, the Baran river. Near Palanghur, the Pleygrhan of Strabo, in the district of Cameh, it is called Cameh river. Gorydalis, mentioned by Strabo near the pass of Kheibar, is called now Gurdyali, and Gurdeh: and Bando-Bena, is the band or dam of Bhia or Beyanah, or rather it implies Beyanah near the band or dam, which, I suppose to be the royal wall in the country of Opianeh mentioned by Stephanus of Byzantium: it is near Peishou.
Ancient geographers were as much perplexed as the moderns, with regard to the rivers, to the westward of the Indus. The Choaspes, and the Cophe, are represented as two distinct rivers: but I suspect that, like the river in Arachosia, the same river was in its vicinity: there probably Alexander crossed the Indus. Ac-Belam or Ec-Bolima was probably near Hazru, about half way between Tor-Belam and the fort of Attock, there are many banks of white chalk; from which, it was probably called Ac-Belam, or the white Belam, [p.533] called by two different names. The Choaspes has been also mistaken for the Cons of Ptolemy, which last comes from the country of Cash-ghar.
The appellation of Cophes, as we have seen before, is derived from the words Gopa or Gopha: and, though never used by the natives, yet, they assert, that this river passes, through an immense Gap in the mountains of Bamiyan, or in Sanscrit through a large Gopa or Gopha, from which the English words Gap, to Gape, and in German Gassen are probably derived. Tradition is now silent with respect to the appellation of Choaspes: but we read in Ctesias of certain animals in this river, somewhat in the shape of river horses. This author calls it Gaitas; and it is the same with the Geudis or Geuthis of Nonnus; for Bacchus crossed this river in his way from Niccea, or Cabul, to the place of abode of the benevolent and hospitable Brongus among the Samachhes of Bamiyan. On the bank of this river was the town of Alybe or Alyben in the oblique case33 which is called to this day Elbei and sometimes Elybend. It is at the foot of the mountains, near the entrance of a pass leading to Bamiyan.
The Gaitas and Geuthis being the same river with the Cophes, I strongly suspected that the two former appellations are corrupted from the latter. Of this we have a remarkable instance in the Greek and Latin languages. The words Coepa and Coepe in Latin or Gaipia, Gaipi or Gephli, in old Greek, are pronounced and written in the more modern Gethua and Getia. Thus the tree called Tala in India and also by Arrtan, is written Tala by Pliny: thus the word Paulus is pronounced Taulua in the countries bordering on the Nile: and the materials from which [p.534] Nonnus compiled his Dionysiacs were originally written in these countries; of which Nonnus himself was a native.
The Hir-mend which has its source in the same lake with the Landhi-Sin, and flows toward Persia, is called also Attock, so that it seems, that the whole country between the Hermend and Indus, was equally Attaca or forbidden. I have not been able yet to discover the origin of this prohibition: but I believe it extended at first to civil purposes only. In this manner the Hara-Modren in China is called Attock by Hindu pilgrims, who do not consider it, in the least, as a religious prohibition: this civil prohibition is very ancient for it is recorded by Pliny.34 The Maha-nadi near Cuttack is also called Attock, but this prohibition is very little regarded.
In that dreadful war which we mentioned in out former essay35 between the Lingancitas and Yonijas or Yavanas: the former stood their ground pretty well at first: but were in the end defeated and shamefully routed in the battle, through the efficacy of the sacred Yoni, Mahadeva enraged, was going to destroy them with the fire of his eye: but Parvati interposed, and to appease him made use of the same artifice, the old woman called Baubo, did to put Ceres in good humour, and shewed him the prototype of the Latos. Mahadeva smiled and relented; but on the condition only that they should instantly leave the country. Whether this legend allude to a real war between the worshippers or the Linga and Yoni, or be a mere physiological allegory I cannot determine: be this as it may, the Yavanas withdrew to the countries between the Indus, and the Hirmend, and the Landhi-Sin or Nilab: every [p.535] intercourse was forbidden on all sides: thus in my humble opinion, these three rivers were denominated Attaca or forbidden. The Yavanas it seems were expelled afterwards with their chief Deo-cal-yun by Crishna, and his brother Bala or Balas, the Indian Hercules, called also Belus. This I suppose was the Bactrian war alluded to by Nonnus in his Dionysiacs. It was then that, Indian Hercules besieged in vain the famous fort of Aornas called also Avernus on the banks of the Indus. It has preserved its ancient name to this day being called Varanas or Benares: it is more generally known by the name of Attock. It was surveyed some years ago by my friend Mirza Mogul Beg, and his description of that famous place, answers minutely, to that given by the historians of Alexander, of the fortified rock of Aornas.36
There are four rivers, which were once much dreaded by a religious people according to the following text:
Carmandad jala sparshat; Caratoya vagakanat:
Gandaci bahutaranat: Sindho paregamattatka.
Evam carma Dwipa curvan punah Sanscdram arhati.
By which it is forbidden even to touch the waters of the
Carmanasa, to bathe in the Caratoya (a river in Bengal called
Curratya in the
maps), to swim in the Gandaci, and to cross the Indus. The inhabitants of the
countries on the banks of these rivers, claim however, an exemption, which is
admitted by the rest of the Hindus: and on the banks of the Carmanasa live many
Brahmens who daily perform their ablutions in it, and drink of its waters; and
to my knowledge they are not considered as defiled in the least; on the contrary
they are in ge- [p.536] neral highly respected at
prohibition with respect to the three other rivers, has never been much attended
to; but their aversion to the Carmanasa is now as great as ever: by the
contact alone of its baneful waters, pilgrims suppose that they lose the fruit
and efficacy of all their religious austerities and pilgrimages: and they always
cross it with the utmost caution. With respect to the Indus, my learned friends
here agree, that the sin, if any, consists only in crossing the river: and that
it by no means implies any prohibition to go and remain in the countries beyond
it. Besides you may easily go to Bamiyan without crossing any of the forbidden
rivers, by crossing the Indus above its confluence with the Attaca: for in all
the prohibitary laws, you may safely adhere to the latter. They informed me also
that in the time of Acbar, who greatly favoured the Hindus, the numerous bands
of Rajpoots in his service, having been ordered to cross the Indus to chastise
some refractory Pattan tribes, they informed him, that they were forbidden to
cross this river. The emperor wrote to them, that the earth and its rivers were
the lord's, and that the prohibition was of course more in their heads, than
consistent with reason: however if they conceived in their hearts that it was
improper to cross, by all means to abstain from it. On the receipt of this
letter, the Rajpoots, with the Brahmens who accompanied them, crossed the Attock
The numerous Brahmens who live in Iran, cross it daily, without any scruple whatever, as well as those of Multan, and other adjacent countries. Those of Multan jocularly say, that, as the true bed of the river is not ascertained, they may cross it with impunity. The truth is that the Indus ran formerly a great way to the westward of its present channel, through the Nulla-Sancar, which branches out of the Indus be- [p.537] low Dera-Ismahil. Mirza-Mogul-Beg surveyed it some years ago as far as the parallel of Multan, where his survey ended. But he was informed, that it ran a great way to the south in a direction almost parallel to the Indus, with which it communicates occasionally through the various branches. The Nulla-Sancara being the old bed of the Indus is of course considered as the true boundary of Indostan, and was admitted as such in the treaty of peace between Nadir-Shah and the emperor of India. This dereliction happened before Alexander's time, as it was recorded by Aristobulus, according to Strabo.
I cannot help taking notice of a curious observation made by a learned Brahmen, that whosoever prohibited the crossing of the Attock, meant only that no body making use of the usual modes known at that time, should presume to cross it: but if he could leap over it, or cross it in a balloon, or astride a wild goose, or any other bird, which may be effected through magick, there could be no harm whatever. A strange idea brought to my recollection a whimsical story of the Musulmans who inhabited the country of Sind or Tata: they fancy Alexander by magical art conveyed his whole army over the Indus, every man of his riding astride a wild goose. Alexander was pretty successful in India, they conceive that this would not have been the case if he had crossed the Indus either in boats or by swimming; and the most obvious method he could adopt, in their opinion, was to convey his soldiers in the above manner.
When the unfortunate Raghu-Na'th-Ra'ya or Ragoba, sent two Brahmens as ambassadors to England, they went by sea as far as Suez, but they came back by the way of Persia, and of course [p.558] crossed the Indus. On their return they were treated as outcasts; because they conceived it hardly possible for them to travel through countries inhabited by Mlechhas or impure tribes, and live according to the rules laid down in their sacred books: it was also alledged, that they had crossed the Attaca. Numerous meetings were held in consequence of this, and learned Brahmens were convened from all parts. The influence and authority of Raghu-Nath-raya could not save his ambassadors. However the holy assembly decreed, that in consideration of their universal good character, and of the motive of their travelling to distant countries, which was solely to promote the good of their country, they might be regenerated and have the sacerdotal ordination renewed. For the purpose of regeneration, it is directed to make an image of pure gold of the female power of nature; in the shape either of a woman or of a cow. In this statue the person to be regenerated is enclosed and dragged through the usual channel. As a statue of pure gold and of proper dimensions would be too expensive, it is sufficient to make an image of the sacred Yoni, through which the person to be regenerated is to pass, Raghu-Nath-Raya had one made of pure gold and of proper dimensions: his ambassadors were regenerated, and the usual ceremonies of ordination having been performed, and immense presents bestowed on the Brahmens, they were re-admitted into the communion of the faithful. The two culprits made a very able defence, and had it not been for some irregularities at Jedda, where water is brought from a place about ten or twelve miles distant: it is the general opinion, that they would have been acquitted: for they were men of unexceptionable character, and of course they were to be judged in great measure from their own deposition, and declaration of all circumstances. In vain they pleaded necessity, and referred to the conduct [p.539] of Visva-Mitra and other holy men as a precedent in such circumstances. It was answered, that such cases were inadmissible as precedents in the present.
No such prohibition however, is mentioned in the Puranas, or in any of their sacred books of great antiquity. On the contrary, we see in the Puranas many holy men constantly crossing the Indus, and going even as far as the sacred isles in the west. There are Brahmens to this day, and Hindus of all denominations crossing the Indus to visit the holy places in the west: but these persons have renounced the world, and retain but few practices of their classes. Though highly respected, yet no body presumes to eat, or communicate with them; but they go in crowds to receive their blessing. We have mentioned before, that Brahmens, and other Hindus, living in the countries, on either side of the Hindus claim an exemption from all ecclesiastical censure, on that account; and though in general they are not much respected at Benares; yet their claim is admitted as good, and valid.
1 P. 294.
2 Pliny B. 6, c. 20. Cesi montani, &c.
3 Cooner and Noorgul, also called Guznoorgul in the Ayeen Akbery.
4 Pliny, B. 6. C. 20.
5 Isidor. Orig. B. 4. C.28.
6 Strabo, B. xi. p. 519.
7 This word is spelt Sarnacmh't by the natives.
8 p. 132.
9 Th. Hyde, p. 29 and 494.
10 Pica in Sanscrit is the name of the Cuckoo: but it was once taken in a more extensive sense; for we read in glossaries, that Pica is the name of such birds as pick their food out of holes. In this sense the bird Picut is certainly a Pica. The root of the word Picus is lost in Latin, but it is preserved in Gothick and most of its dialects.
11 This word is spelt Machcb'hodara in Sanscrit.
12 The word Eden is perhaps derived from the Sanscrit Udjan, which as well as Vatica, signifies a garden.
13 Hence the Latin words Vehu, &c. In the southern dialects of India, they generally pronounce the letter h hard like thus (or vahan, they say vagan, a waggon: for maha, great, they say mega, hence the Greek word mega.
14 B. 17, V. 40, &c.
15 B. 16 in fine.
16 Asiatick Researches, vol. III. p. 383.
17 Asiatick Researches, vol. III. p. 363.
18 Macrob. in Som. Scip. lib. 20, c. 30, p. 88.
19 This expression is still used at the court of the great Lama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu.
20 Paus. Exotic. lib, 9. p, 300.
21 Pausan. Lacon. p. 107.
22 Asiatic Researches, vol. iii, p. 4.12.
23 Step. Bizant advocem Alexandria.
24 Jelorez kerdun in Persian, signifies to relax the rein.
25 This marshy lake is mentioned by Tavernier.
26 Maha-deva is sometimes represented standing erect in the middle of the Argha in the room of the mast.
27 Pliny B la C. 6.
28 So it is in the original: but it is understood, that, after he had obtained his boon, he was considered as a superior being.
29 In Sanscrit Bhranga; in Greek Bruchos and Brucos; hence Sa-Rasala, is called Bhranga; and Brangus by Nonnus.
30 A bird of the crane kind.
31 Tor-Bela or Tor-Belam, thus called from the banks of black sand.
32 Baiversadi is a derivative form, from Bawersa, according to the idiom of the dialect of the Panjab, in which, as well as all over India, derivative forms are used in the room of the primitive: thus we say Bengal for Banga: thus the town of Nahushu or Nysa, is called Nisha-dapuram for Nisha-Jzuram or Nisha-pur, in a fragment cited by Sig. Bayer.
33 Nonn. Dionys. lib. 17. V. 33, &c.
34 Lib. 6, c. 22.
35 Asiatick Researches, vol. 3. p. 362.
36 To the north north east of Attock-Benares, about eighteen miles distant, is the town of Bazar near the western banks of the Indus: it is the Bazha of the historians of Alexander.