XVIII.

ON THE
CHRONOLOGY OF THE HINDUS.

BY CAPTAIN FRANCIS WILFORD.

[Extracted from Asiatic Researches, vol. 5 (1799), pp. 241-95.]


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

Indeed their systems of geography, chronology, and history, are all equally monstrous and absurd. The circumference of the earth is said to be 500,090,000 yojanas, or 2,456,000,000 British miles: the mountains are asserted to be 100 yojanas, or 491 British miles high. Hence the mountains to the south of Benares are said, in the Puranas, to have kept the holy city in total darkness, till Matra-deva growing angry at their insolence, they humbled themselves to the ground, and their highest peak now is not more than 500 feet high. In Europe similar notions once prevailed; for we are told that the Cimmerians were kept in continual darkness by the interposition of immensely high mountains. In the Ca'lica purana, it is said that the mountains have sunk considerably, so that the highest is not above one yojana, or five miles high.

[p.242]

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

The Hindus still make use of a period of 12,000 divine years, after which a periodical renovation of the world takes place. It is difficult to fix the time which the Hindus, forsaking the paths of historical truth, launched into the mazes of extravagance and fable. Megasthenes, who had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra Gupta, and of course had an opportunity of conversing with the best informed persons in India, is silent as to this monstrous system of the Hindus: on the contrary, it appears, from what he says, that in his time they did not carry back their antiquities much beyond six thousand, or even five thousand years, as we read in some MSS. He adds; also, according to Clemens of Alexandria, that the Hindus and the Jews were the only people, who had a true idea of the creation of the world, and the beginning of things. There was then an obvious affinity between the chronological systems of the Jews and the Hindus. We are well acquainted with the pretensions of the Egyptians and Chaldeans to antiquity. This they never attempted to conceal. It [p.243] is natural to suppose, that the Hindus were equally vain: they are so now; and there is hardly a Hindu who is not persuaded of, and who will not reason upon, the supposed antiquity of his nation. MEGASTHENES, who was acquainted with the antiquities of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Jews, whilst in India, made enquires into the history of the Hindus, and their antiquity: and it is natural to suppose that they would boast of it as well as the Egyptians or Chaldeans, and as much then as they do now. Surely they did not invent fables to conceal them from the multitude, for whom on the contrary these fables were framed.

At all events, long before the ninth century the chronological system of the Hindus was as complete, or rather, perfectly the same as it is now; for AL-BUMAZAR, who was contemporary with the famous Almamun, and lived at his court at Balac or Balkh, had made the Hindu antiquities his particular study. He was also a famous astronomer and astrologer, and had made enquiries respecting the conjunctions of the planets, the time of the creation of the world, and its duration, for astrological purposes; and he says, that the Hindus reckoned from the flood to the Hejira 720,634,442,715 days, or 3725 years.1 Here is a mistake, which probably originates with the transcriber or translator, but it may be easily rectified. The first number, though somewhat corrupted, is obviously meant for the number of days from the creation to the Hejira; and the 3725 years are reckoned from the beginning of the Cali-yug to the Hejira. It was then the opinion of Albumazar, about the middle of the ninth century, that the ra of the Cali-yug coincided with that of the Flood. He had, perhaps, data which no longer exist, as well as Abul-Fa- [p.244] zil in the time of Akrar. Indeed, I am sometimes tempted to believe, from some particular passages in the Puranas, which are related in the true historical style, that the Hindus have destroyed, or at least designedly consigned to oblivion, all genuine records, as militating against their favourite system. In this manner the Romans destroyed the books of Numa, and consigned to oblivion the historical books of the ETRURIANS, and I suspect also those of the TURKSTANI in Spain.

The Puranas are certainly a modern compilation from valuable materials, which I am afraid no longer exist: an astronomical observation of the heliacal rising of Canopus, mentioned in two of the Puranas, puts this beyond doubt. It is declared there, that certain religious rites are to be performed on the 27th of Bhadra, when Canopus, disengaged from the rays of the sun, becomes visible. It rises now on the 18th of the same month, the 15th and 27th of Bhadra answer this year to the 29th of August and 7th of September. I had not leisure enough to consult the two Puranas above mentioned on this subject. But as violent disputes have obtained among the learned Pundits, some insisting that these religious rites ought to be performed on the 27th of Bhadra, as directed in the Puranas, whilst others insist, it should be at the time of the uddya, or appearance of Canopus; a great deal of paper has been wasted on this subject, and from what has been written upon it, I have extracted the above observations. As I am not much used to astronomical calculations, I leave to others better qualified than I am to ascertain from these data the time in which the Puranas were written.

We learn from Manetho, that the Egyptian chronology enumerated fourteen dynasties, the particulars of which he omitted as unworthy of notice. In the same manner the Hindu chronology presents us with a [p.245] series of fourteen Dynasties, equally repugnant to nature and reason; six of these are elapsed, we are in the seventh, which began with the Flood, and seven more we are taught to expect. These fourteen Dynasties are hardly ever noticed by the Hindus in their legendary tales, or historical poems. The rulers of these Dynasties are called Menus: and from them their respective Dynasty, antara, or period, is called a Manwantara. Every Dynasty ends with a total destruction of the human race, except the Menu or ruler of the next period, who makes his escape in a boat, with the seven Rishis. The same events take place; the same persons, though sometimes under different names, re-appear.

Thus the history of one Dynasty serves for all the rest. In reality history, according to the Hindus themselves begins with the Flood, or the seventh Menu. Each period consists of 12,000 years, which the Hindus call divine. The Persians are not unacquainted with these renovations of the world, and periods of 12,000 years; for the bird Simurgh is introduced, telling CAHERMAN that she had lived to see the earth seven times filled with creatures, and seven times a perfect void, (it should be six times a perfect void, for we are in the seventh period,) and that she had already seen twelve great periods of 7000 years. This is obviously wrong; it should be seven great periods of 12,000 years.

The antediluvian history, being considered by the Hindus in different points of view, is related in various ways, having little connection with each other. We are told first that Brahma created ten Bramadicas or children of Brahma, who were to be the progenitors of the moveable and immoveable parts of the creation, by which they understand animals and vegetables. Their names are Manichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Critu, Dacsha, Vasishtha, Burigu, and Narada. These sprang immediately from Brah- [p.246] ma, and produced the Gods, the Daityas, good and bad genii, animals, and plants of all sorts. The Puranics are not agreed as to the number of Brahmadicas. In the Bhagavat it is declared that they were ten; but in other Puranas they reckon nine; whilst in the Scandapurana it is declared that there were only seven Brahmadicas, whose names are Manichi, Atri, Axgira'sa, Pulastya, Pula'ha, Crita, and Vosrshta; nor are there wanting authorities to reduce them to three, namely, the three sons of Swayamehuva, who was Brahma himself m a human shape.

It is declared, that the seven Menus, who have made their appearance, sprang from the Brahmdicas: their names are, Swayambhuva, Swarochisha, Uttama, Ta'masa, Raivata, Chacshusha, and Saty'avrata or Noah.

The seven Rishis sprang immediately from Bra'hma, and their names are, Casyapa, Atri, Vosishta, Visvame'tra, Gautama, Jamadagni, and Bha'radwa'ja. These holy penitents, by their salutary counsels, and the example of their austerities, discover the path of rectitude and virtue to mankind. It is remarked of Atri, that he was both a Brahma'tca and a Rishi, and, perhaps, the seven Menus, the seven Brahmadicas, with the seven Rishis, are the same, and make only seven individual persons. The seven Brahmad'icas were prajapatis or lords of the prajas or creatures. From them mankind were born, and they are probably the same with the seven Menus who, when far advanced in years, withdrew from the world, and became Rishis or holy penitents, as, according to the Puranas, was the general practice of mankind in former ages. These seven grand ancestors of the human race were first Brahmadicas or children of Brahma, and created for the purpose of replenishing the earth with inhabitants; having fulfilled their million they became sovereigns of the universe, or Menus; and in their old age they withdrew to solitary places [p.247] to prepare for deaths and become Rishis. Swayanibhuva, or the son of the self-existing, was the first Menu, and the father of mankind: his consort's name was Satarupcu. In the second Veda, the Supreme Being is introduced thus speaking: "From me Brahma was born: he is above all; he is pitama, or the father of all men; he is Aja and Swayambhu, or self-existing." From him proceeded Swayambhuva, who is the first Menu: they call him Adima (or the first, or Protogonus:) he is the first of men, and Paramapinisha, or the first male. His help-meet Pricriti is called also Salarupa: she is Adima2 or the first: she is Visi'a-jenni, or the mother of the world: she is Iva or like I, the female energy of nature, or she is a form of, or descended from I; she is Para or the greatest: both are like, Maha-deva and his Sakti (the female energy of nature) whose names are also Isu and Isi,

Swayambhuva is Brahma in a human shape, or the first Brahma: for Brahma is man individually, and also collectively, mankind; hence Brahma is said to be born and to die every day, as there are men springing to life, and dying every day. Collectively he dies every hundred years, this being the utmost limits of life in the Caliy'ug, according to the Puranas: at the end of the world, Brahma or mankind is said to die also, at the end of a hundred divine years. Swayanbhuva, in the present calpa, is Vishnu in the character of Brahma-rupi Javardana, or the Vishnu with the countenance of Brahnyj. To understand this it is necessary to premise, that it has been revealed to the Hindus, that, from the beginning to the end of things, when the whole creation will be annihilated and absorbed into the Supreme Being, there will be five great calpas, or periods. We are now, in the middle of the fourth calpa, fifty years of [p.248] Brahma being elapsed; and of the remainder the fist calpa is begun, these five great calpas include 500 years of Brahma, at the end of which nothing will remain but the self-existing. Every calpa, except the first, is preceded by a renovation of the world, and a general flood: whilst the flood that precedes every Manwantara is in great measure, a partial one, some few high peaks and some privileged places, as Benares, being excepted; the peaks remaining above the waters, and Benares and other privileged places being surrounded by the waters as with a circular wall.

These five calpas have five deities, who rule by turns, and from whom the calpas are denominated. These five deities are, Devi, Surya or the Sun, Ganesa, Vishnu, and Iswara. Brahma has no peculiar calpa: he is intimate to every one of them. Every deity, in his own period, is Calsva-rupi or Chronus. We are now, under the reign of the fourth Chronus, The Western mythologists mention several ruling deities of that name. Calsva-rupi signifies he who has the countenance of Cala, Chronus, or Time, This is now the calpa of Vishnu who, to create, thought on Brahma, and became Brahma-rupi-Janardana. He preserves and fosters the whole creation in his own character; and will ultimately destroy it through Iswara or Rudra, The calpa of Vishnu is called also the Padma or Lotos period. It is declared in the Puranas that all animals and plants are the Ling or Phallus of the Calsva-rupi deity; and that at the end of his own calpa he is deprived of his Ling by his successor, who attracts the whole creation to himself, to swallow it up or devour it, according to the Western mythologists; and at the end of his calpa he disgorges the whole creation. Such is the origin of Chronus devouring his own offspring; or Jupiter disgorging it through a potion administered to him by Metis; and of Chronus castrating his own father. According to this, Swayambhuva [p.249] is conjointly and individually, Brahma, Vishnu, and Isa or Maha-deva. To Swayambhuva were born three daughters, Acut'i, Deva-sruti, and Visruti or Prasuti. Brahma created three great Rajapasis, to be their husbands; Curdamci, Dacssui, (the same who was also a Brahmadica) and Ruchi. Cardama is acknowledged to be a form of S'roa, or Siva himself: and Dacsha to be Brahma; hence he is often called Dacsha Brahma; and we may reasonably conclude that the benevolent Ruchi was equally a form of Vishnu. It is said in the Vedas, as I am assured by learned pundits, that these three gods sprang in a mortal shape from the body of Adima; that Dacsha Brahma issued mystically from his navel, Vishnu from his left, and Siva from his right side. It is declared in the Puranas, that Iswara cut off one of the heads of Brahma, who being immortal was only maimed. The same mystical rancour was manifest when they assumed a mortal shape, as appears from the following relation: The pious Dacsha desiring to perform sacrifice, invited gods and men to assist at it, but did not ask S'rja on account of his bad conduct and licentious life. The wife of Siva, who was the daughter of Dacsha, could not brook this neglect, and determined to go: her husband expostulated with her, but to no purpose. When she arrived, her father took no notice of her, which enraged her so much, that after having spoiled the sacrifice, she jumped into the sacred fire, and expired in the flames. Siva hearing of her misfortune, went to Dacsha; and, reproaching him for his unnatural conduct towards his own daughter, cut off his head. Dacsha had no male offspring, but many daughters, whose alliance was eagerly sought for by the most distinguished characters. It is asserted in Puranas that from Cardama, Dacsha, and Ruchi, the earth was filled with inhabitants: yet in the same Puranas we are told, that Brahma, being disappointed, found it necessary to give two sons to Adima, from whom, at last, the earth was filled [p.250] with inhabitants. These two sons were Priyavrata and Utta'napa'da, who appear to be the same with Cardama and Ruchi. Here the antediluvian history assumes a different shape; and the Paurunics, abandoning their idle tales of the seven Menus and renovations of the world, between the time of Swayambhuva and the flood of Satyavrata, presents us with something more consistent with reason and historical truth; but which at once overthrows their extravagant fabrick. PRIYAVRATA was the first born of Adima; and the particulars recorded of his progeny have no small affinity with the generations exhibited by Sanchoniatho, as will appear from the following comparative Table:

I. Adima, and Adima or Iva. I. Protogonus, synonimous with Adim: Aion or
  Aeon from Iva or Ivam, in the second case.
II. Priyavrata. He married Barhismati, II. Genus, Genea.
the daughter of Visvacarma, the chief  
engineer of the Gods.  
III. Agnidhra and his seven brothers, III. Phos, Phur, Phlon; that is, light, fire, and
whose names signify fire and flame. flame.
By one wife he had three sons:  
they became Menus; and were named,  
Uttama, Tamasa, and Ratvata. By  
another wife, Agnidhra had nine sons,  
who gave their names to the  
mountainous tracts of Nabhi.  

[p.251]

IV. Cimpurusha, Harivarsha, Havarta, IV. They begat sons of vast bulk, whose names
Ra'ma'naca, Curu, Bhadrasva, Ce'tuma'la, were given to the mountains on which they
and Hiranmaya. seized, viz. Cassius, Libanus, Anti-Libanus,
  Brathys.
V. Rishabaha, son of Nabahi. V. Memrumus,Hypsuramus, and Usous.
VI. Bharata, who gave his name to the country VI. Agres, Halius.
of Bharata-varjsha.  
VII. Sumarti, Dhumra-Ce'tu, whose name VII. Chrysaor.
signifies a fiery meteor.  
VIII. Devajita VIII. Technites, Genus, Autochton.
9. Pratihara/10. Pratihata {said by some to be brothers. The names of the two last imply beating, hammering, &c.}  
IX. Aja and Bhuma'na. Then follows a list of IX. Agrowerus, or Agrotes. Aja in Sanscrit is
sixteen names, supposed by some to be so many synonimous nearly with Autochton, and
generations in a direct line; by others, this is Bhumana answers to Agrowerus and Agrotes.
denied: but as nothing is recorded of them,  
they are omitted.  

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

[p.252]

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

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

[p.253]

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

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

V. Pushpa'ena had by his wife Dosha three sons, and by Nad'wala, Chacshusha, who became a Menu.

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

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

VIII. Anga had an only son called Vena.

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

X. Prithu. Gods and men came to make obeisance to him, and celebrate his appearance on earth. He married a form of the goddess Lacshmi. In his time, the earth having refused to give her wonted supplies to mankind, [p.254] Prithu began to beat and wound her. The earth, assuming the shape of a cow, went to the high grounds of Meru, and there laid her complaint before the supreme court, who rejected it; as she acknowledged, that she had refused the common necessaries of life, not only to mankind in general, but to Prithu himself, whose wife she was in a human shape. Prithu and his descendants were allowed to beat and wound her in case of non-compliance with the decree of the supreme court. The earth submitted reluctantly, and since that time mankind are continually beating and wounding her, with ploughs, harrows, hoes, and other instruments of husbandry. We are told also, in more plain language, that Prithu cut down whole forests, levelled the earth, planted orchards, and sowed fields with all sorts of useful seeds. From her husband Prithu, the earth was denominated Prithwi.

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

XI. Prithu had five children. Vijitasva, who became sovereign over his four brothers, and had the middle part of the kingdom to his own share; Huryacsha ruled over Prachi, or the east, and built the town of Rajgriha, now Raj-mehal; Dhumracr'sha, who ruled in the south, as Vrica did in the west, and Dravina'sa in the north.

[p.255]

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

XIIL Varishada, the eldest of them, married Satadruti the daughter of Oceanus, and had by her two sons called the Pracheias.

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

I. Swayabhuva or Adim.

II. Utta'napa'da, who was probably the same with Ruchi.

III. Dhruva, eminent for his piety.

IV. Vatsara.

V. Pusparna, called also Ripunjaya.

VI. Chacshusha, Menu.

VII. Ulmaca or Uru.

VIII. Anga.

IX. Venu.

X. Prithu, supposed to be Noah.

XI. Vigitasva.

[p.256]

XII. Havirdhana. Swayambhuva dies.

XIII. Varishada.

XIV. The ten Pra'cheta's. Dhruva is translated into heaven,

By supposing Prithu to be Noah, and Dhruva to be Enos, this account agrees remarkably well with the computation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Enos lived 433 years after the birth of Noah, and, of course, the great-grand-children of the latter could be witnesses of the translation of Dhruva into heaven. Swayamhhuva of Achmi lived 223 years after the birth of Noah, according to the computation of the Samaritan Pentateuch; and it is said of Prithu, that the earth having assumed the shape of a cow, he made use of this grand ancestor Swayamhhuva as a calf to milk her. Perhaps the old fire took delight in superintending the fields and orchards, and attending the dairies of his beloved Prithu.

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

[p.257]

SWAYAMBHUVA or ADIMA.

I. Menu.

2. Priyavrata. ---------- 2 Utta'napa'da.
3 Agnidhra, supposed the same with Swarochisa.   3 Dhruva.
  II. Menu.  
4 Nabhi,   4 Vatsara.
  --- Uttama,  
5 Risshabha. III. Menu. 5 Pushparna.
6 Bkarata. --- Tamasa. 6 Cshacshusha.
  IV. Menu.  
7 Sumati.   7 Ulmaca.
  ---- Raivata.  
8. Devajita, V. Menu. 8 Anga.
9 Aja.   9 Vena.
  Cshacshusha --  
  VI. Menu.  
  ---------------- 10 Prithu
Noah's Flood.    
Satyavrata. ------------------    
  VII. Menu.  

This table completely overthrows the system of the Menwantaras, previous to the Flood; for it is declared in the Puranas, that at the end of every Meru- [p.258] wantara, the whole human race is destroyed, except one Menu, who makes his escape in a boat with the seven Rishis. But, according to the present table, Swayamhhuva  went through every Menwantara and died in the sixth; Dhruva also saw five Menwantaras and died on the sixth. Uttaina, Tamaauy and Rarjata, being brothers, lived during the course of several Menwantaras, and when Uttama made his escape in a boat, besides the seven Rishis, he must have taken with him his two brothers, with Dhruva and Swayamhhuva. Of these Menus little more is recorded in the Puranas, than that they had a numerous offspring; that certain Devatas made their appearance; and that they discomfited the giants. The mortal father of Swarochisa is not known. His divine father was Agni; hence, he is supposed by some to be the same with Agnidhra.

During the reign of the fourth Menu, occurred the famous war between the elephants and the crocodiles, which, in the Puranas, is averred to have happened in the sacred Isles in the west. What was the origin of it we are not told; but whenever the elephants went to a lake, either to drink or to bathe, the crocodiles laying in wait, dragged them into the water and devoured them. The Gujundhra or Nag'nath, the lord of the elephants, was once attacked by the chief of the grahas or crocodiles on the bank of a lake, in one of the sacred isles called Suvanirya; a dreadful conflict took place, and the Nag'nath was almost overpowered, when he called on Her'i or Vishnu, who rescued him, and put an end to the war. What could give rise to such an extravagant tale I cannot determine, but some obvious traces of it still remain in the sacred isles in the west, for almost every lake in Wales has a strange story attached to it, of battles fought there between an ox and a beaver, both of an uncommon size. At night the lowing of the ox and the rattling of the chain, with which the Ychain-bannawg or great ox endeavours to pull out of the water the aranc or beaver, are often [p.259] heard. It is well known that elephants were called oxen in the west, and the ancient Romans had no other name for them. It may be objected, that if there had been elephants, in the sacred isles, the inhabitants would have had names for them; but the Cymri are certainly a very modern tribe, relatively to the times we are speaking of; and probably there were no elephants or crocodiles when they settled there; but, hearing of a strange story of battles between a large land animal and an amphibious one, they concluded that these two animals could be no other than the ox and beaver, the largest of the kind they were acquainted with nag, nahha st'han, or the place of the nagnath, or lord of the elephantine race, is well known to the antiquaries of Juvernia.

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

The old continent is well described in the Puranas, but more particularly the countries in which the Veda where made public; and in which the doctrine they contain flourished for a long time. Accordingly the Sacred Isles in the west, the countries bordering on the Nile, and last of all, India, are better and more mi- [p.260] nutely described than any other country. Atri called Edris, and Idris, in the countries to the west of India, carried the Vedas from the abode of the gods on the summit, of Meru, first, to the sacred isle; thence to the banks of the Nile; and, lastly, to the borders of India. The place of his abode, which in the sacred isles, became afterwards a famous place of worship under the name of Atr'i-sthan the place or seat of Atri or Idris. It is often mentioned in the Puranas, and described to be on a high mountain, not far from the sea shore.

I shall pass over the four ages, as they do not appear to answer any purpose, either astronomical or historical. They are called by the same names that were used by the Greek mythologists; except
the fourth, which is called by the Hindus the earthen age. I shall only remark, that Menu in his Institutes says, that in the first ox golden age,3 men, free from disease, lived four hundred years; but in the second, and the succeeding ages, their lives were lessened gradually by one quarter; that in the cali-yug, or present age, men live only one hundred years. This may serve to fix the period and duration of the first ages; for it is obvious, that the whole passage refers to natural years.

I shall now conclude this account of antediluvian history by observing, that the first descendants of Swayambhuva are represented in the Puranas, as living in the mountains to the north of India toward the sources of the Ganges, and downwards as far as Serindgara and Heri-dwar. But the rulers of mankind lived on the summit of Meru towards the north; where they appear to have established the seat of justice, as the Puranas make frequent mention of the oppressed repairing thither for redress. India, at that time, seems to have been perfectly insulated; and we know, that [p.261] from the mouth of the Indus to Dehli, and thence to the mouth of the Ganges, the country is perfectly level, without even a single hillock; but this subject is foreign to my present purpose, and may be resumed hereafter. The generations after the Flood, exhibited in the accompanying table, begin with the famous Atri, and end with Chandra-Gupta, who was contemporary with Alexander the Great, Buddha, the grandson of Atri married lla, daughter of Satyavrata or Noah, who was born to him in his old age.

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

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

The third was a cholerick saint called Durvasas. He was a portion of Mahadeva. but had no fixed place assigned to him; and he is generally rambling over the world, doing more mischief than good; however, we find him very often performing Tapasya in the mountains of Armenia. A dreadful conflagration happened once in that country, which spreading all over Cusha-dwipa destroyed all the animals and vegetables, Arama, the son of son of Satyavrata (and consequently the Arum of Scripture) who was hunting, through these [p.262] mountains, was involved with his party in the general conflagration; a punishment inflicted, it is supposed, for his having inadvertently wounded the foot of Durvasas with an arrow. The death of Arama happened three hundred years after the Flood, according to the Puranas4, as noticed in a former essay on Egypt.

Chandra-Gupta, or he who was saved by the interposition of Lunus or the Moon, is called also Chandra in a poem quoted by Sir William Jones. The Greeks call him Sandracuptos, Sandracottos, and Androcottos. Sandrocotos is generally used by the historians of Alexander; and Sandracuptos is found in the works of Athenus. Sir William Jones, from a poem written by Somadeva, and a tragedy called the coronation of Chandra or Chandra-Gupta,5 discovered that he really was the Indian king mentioned by the historians of Alexander, under the name of Sandracottos. These two poems I have not been able to procure; but, I have found another dramatic piece, intitled Mudra-Racshasa, or the seal of Racshasa, which is divided into two parts: the first may be called the coronation of Chandra-Gupta, and the second the reconciliation of Chandra-Gupta with Mantri-Racshasa, the prime minister of his father.

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

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

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

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

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

Nanda recovered from his illness he became a tyrant, or, rather, having entrusted Sacatara, his prime minister, with the reins of government, the latter ruled with absolute sway. As the old king was one day hunting with his minister, towards the hills to the south of the town, he complained of his be- [p.265] ing thirsty, and quitting his attendants, repaired with Sacatara to a beautiful reservoir, under a large spreading tree, near a cave in the hills, called Patascandira, or the passage leading to the infernal regions; there Sacatara flung the old man into the reservoir, and threw a large stone upon him. In the evening he returned to the imperial city, bringing back the king's horse, and reported, that his master had quitted his attendants and rode into the forest; what was become of him he knew not, but he had found his horse grazing under a tree. Some days after Sacatara, with Vacranara, one of the secretaries of state, placed Ugradhawwa, one of the younger sons of Nanda, on the throne.

The young king being dissatisfied with Sacatara's account of his father's disappearance, set about farther enquiries during the minister's absence, but these proving as little satisfactory, he assembled the principal persons of his court, and threatened them all with death, if, in three days, they failed to bring him certain intelligence what was become of his father. This menace succeeded, for, on the fourth day, they reported, that Sacatara had murdered the old king, and that his remains where concealed under a stone in the reservoir near Patalcandra; Ugradhanira immediately sent people with camels, who returned in the evening, with the body and the stone that had covered it. Sacatara confessed the murder, and was thereupon condemned to be shut up with his family in a narrow room, the door of which was walled up, and a small opening only left for the conveyance of their scanty allowance. They all died in a short time, except the youngest son Scatara, whom the young king ordered to be released, and took into his service. But Vicatara meditated revenge; and the king having directed him to call some Brahman to assist at the fraddha he was going to [p.266] perform, in honour of his ancestor, Vicatara, brought an ill-natured priest, of a most savage appearance, in the expectation that the king might be tempted, from disgust at so offensive an object, to offer some affront to the Brahmen who, in revenge, would denounce a curse against him. The plan succeeded to his wish: the king ordered the priest to be turned out, and the latter laid a dreadful imprecation upon him, swearing at the same time, that he would never tie up his shica or lock of hair, till he had effected his ruin. The enraged priest then ran out of the palace exclaiming, whoever wishes to be king let him follow me. Chandra-Gupta immediately arose, with eight of his friends, and went after him. They crossed the Ganges, with all possible dispatch, and visited the king of Nepal, called Parvatsivtira, or the lord of the mountains, who received them kindly. They entreated him to assist them with troops and money, Chandra-Gupta promising, at the same time, to give him the half of the empire of Prachi, in case they should be successful. Varvatesrvara answered, that he could not bring into the field a sufficient force to effect the conquest of so powerful an empire; but, as he was on good terms with the Yavans or Greeks, the Sacas or Indo-Scythians, the people of Cambosa or Gaym, the Ciratas or inhabitants of the mountains to the eastward of Nepal, he could depend on their assistance. Ugradhanwa enraged at the behaviour of Chandra-Gupta, ordered all his brothers to be put to death.

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

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Parvateswara took the field with a formidable army, accompanied by his brother Virochana and his own son Malaya-Cetu. The confederates soon came in sight of the capital of the king of Prachi, who put himself at the head of his forces, and went out to meet them. A battle was fought, wherein Ugradhamva was defeated, after a dreadful carnage, in which he himself lost his life. The city was immediately surrounded, and Saivartha-Siddhi, the governor, seeing it impossible to hold out against so powerful an enemy, fled to the Vindhyan mountains, and became an anchoret. Racshasa went over to Parvateswara.6 Chandra-Gupta, being firmly established on the throne, destroyed the Siunasyadicas, and dismissed the allies, after having liberally rewarded them for their assistance: but he kept the Yavans or Greeks, and refused to give the half of the kingdom of Prachi to Parvateswara, who, being unable to enforce his claim, returned to his own country meditating vengeance. By the advice of Racshasa he sent a person to destroy Chandra-Gupta, but Vishnu-Gupta, suspecting the design, not only rendered it abortive, but turned it back upon the author, by gaining over the assassin to his interest, whom he engaged to murder Varvatesvcara which the villain accordingly effected. Racshasa urged Mataya-Cetu to revenge his father's death, but though pleased with the suggestion, he declined the enterprise, representing to his councillor, that Chandra-Gupta had a large body of Yavans or Greeks in his pay, had fortified his capital, and placed a numerous garrison in it, with guards of elephants at all the gates; and finally, by the defection of their allies, who were either overawed by his power, or conciliated by his favour, had so firmly established his authority, that no attempt could be made again by him with any prospect of success.

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

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

Perhaps from these two countries called Purva is derived the appellation of Parvaim in Scripture, which appears with a dual form. According to Arrian's Periplus, Bengal was famous for its highly refined gold, called Keltin in the Periplus, and Canden or Galden to this day. It is called Kurden in the Ayeen Ackbery.7

The capital city of Prachi proper, or the western part of it, is declared to be Raj-griha, or the royal mansion. According to the Puranas it was built by a son of king Prithu, called Haryacjlta. It was taken afterwards by Bala-Ratna, the brother of Crisnia, who rebuilt it, and assigned it as a residence for one of his sons, who are called in general Baliputras, or the children of Bala. From this circumstance it was called Palipura, or the town of the son of Bala, but in the spoken dialects it was called Bali-putra, because putra, or son of Bali, resided in it. From Bali-putra the Greeks made Palipaira and Pali-bothra, and [p.270] the inhabitants of the country, of which it was the capital, they denominated Palibothri, though this appellation more properly belongs to another tribe of Hindus, of whom I gave some account in a former essay on Egypt.

Diodorus Siculus, speaking of Palibothra, says, that it had been built by the Indian Hercules, who, according to Megasthenes, as quoted by Arrian, was worshipped by the Surafeni. Their chief cities were Methora and Clohora; the first is now called Mutra,8 the other Mugu-nagur by the Musulmans, and Calisa-pura by the Hindus. The whole country about Mutra is called Suraseua to this day by learned Brahmens.

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

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In the Ganga-mahaimya, in which all places of worship, and others of note, on the banks of the Ganges, are mentioned, the present town of Raj-mehal is positively declared to be the ancient city of Raj-griha of the Puranas, the capital of Prachi, which afterwards was called Bali-pitra.

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

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

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

The Erannoboas, now the Coosy, has greatly altered its course for several centuries past. It now joins the Ganges, about five and twenty miles above the place where it united with that river in the days of Megasthenes; but the old bed, with a small stream, is still visible, and is called to this day Puranah-baliah the old Coosu, or the old channel. It is well delineated in Major Rennel's Atlas, and it joins an arm of the Ganges, formerly the bed of that river, near a place called Nabobgunge. From Nabobgunge the Ganges formerly took an extensive sweep to the eastward, towards Hyatspoor, and the old banks of the river are still visible in that direction. From these facts, sup- [p.273] ported by a close inspection of the country, I am of opinion, Baliputra was situated near the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges, and on the spot where the villages of Mynyaree and Bissontpuor-gola now stand; the Ganges proceeding at that time in an easterly direction from Nabob-gunge, and to the north of these villages. The fortified part of Palibothra, according to Megasthenes, extended about ten miles in length, while the breath was only two. But the suburbs, which extended along the banks of the Ganges, were, I doubt not ten or fifteen miles in length. Thus Dehli, whilst in a flourishing state, extended above thirty miles along the banks of the Jumna, but, except about the centre of the town, consisted properly of only a single street, parallel to the river.

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

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

Pliny, from Megasthenes, who, according to Strabo, had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra-Gupta, says, that Palibothra was 425 Roman miles [p.274] from the confluence of the Jumna with the Ganges. Here it is necessary to premise, that Megasthenes says the highways in India were measured, and that at the end of a certain Indian measure (which is not named, but is said to be equal to ten stadia) there was a cippus or sort of column erected. No Indian measure answers to this but the Brahmeni or astronomical coss, of four to a yojana. This is the Hindu statute coss, and equal to 1,227 British miles. It is used to this day by astronomers, and by the inhabitants of the Punjab, hence it is very often called the Punjabi-coss: thus the distance from Lahor to Midtun is reckoned, to this day to be 145 Punjabi, or 60 common coss.

In order to ascertain the number of Brahmeni coss reckoned formerly between Allahabad and Palibothra, multiply the 423 Roman miles by eight (for Pliny reckoned so many stadia to a mile) and divide the whole by ten (the number of stadia to a coss according to Megasthenes) and we shall have 340 Brahmeni coss, or 417.18 British miles; and this will bring us to within two miles of the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges.

Strabo informs us also that they generally reckoned 6000 stadia from Palibothra to the mouth of the Ganges; and from what he says, it is plain, that these 6000 stadia are to be understood of such as were used at sea, whereof about 1100 make a degree. Thus 11000 of these stadia give 382 British miles. According to Pliny they reckoned more accurately 6380 stadia or 405 British miles, which is really the distance by water between the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges, and Injellee at the mouth of the Ganges. Ptolemy has been equally accurate in assigning the situation of Palibothra relatively to the towns on the banks of the Ganges, which he mentions above and below it. Let us begin from the confluence of the Tuso, now the Tonse, with the Ganges.

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

Cindia, now Contecah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corygazus, near Palibothra, and below it, is derived from the Sanscrit Gauri-Goschi or the wilderness of Gauri, a form of Devi. The famous town of Gaur derives its name from it. It is called by Nonnus in his Dionysiacs Gagus for Goscha, or the Goscha by excellence. He says it was surrounded with a network, and that it was a journey of two days in circumference. This sort of inclosure is still practised in the [p.277] eastern parts of India, to prevent cattle from straying, or being molested by tigers and other ferocious animals. The kings of Persia surround their Haram, when encamped, with a network; and formerly, the Persians when besieging a town, used to form a line of contravallation with nets. The northern part only, towards Cotwally, was inhabited at that early period.

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

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

Elydna is probably Laudanyiah.

Cartinaga, the Capital of the Cocconag, or rather Cottonaga, is called now Cattunga, it is near Sooty; the Portuguese, last century, called it Cartimza and Catruns.

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

The next place on the banks of the Ganges is ....

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

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

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

Palura, now Palorah, or Pollerah, four or five miles to the west of Oolbarya below Hudge-hiulge. A branch of the Ganges ran formerly to the west of it, and after passing by Naga-basan, or Nagam-bapan, fell into the sea towards Ingellee. From Nagam-basan the western branch of the Ganges [p.279] was denominated Cambuson Ostiun by the Greeks. This place is now ridiculously called Nangabassan, or the naked abode; whereas its true name is Naga-basan, or the abode of snakes, with which the country abounds.

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

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

Patali-putra was certainly the capital, and the residence of the kings of Magadha or south Behar. In the Mudra Racshasa, of which I have related the argument, the capital city of Chandra-Gupta is called Culumapoor throughout the piece, except in one passage, where it seems to be confounded with Patali-putra, as if they were different names for the same place. In the passage alluded to, Racshasa asks of his messengers, "If he had been at Cusumapoor?" the man replies, "Yes, I have been at Patali-putra." But [p.280] Sumapon, or Phulwaree, to call it by its modern name, was, as the word imports, a pleasure or flower garden, belonging to the kings of Patna, and situate, indeed, about ten miles W.S.W. from that city, but, certainly, never surrounded with fortifications, which Annanta, the author of the Mudra Racshasa says, the abode of Chandra-Gupta was. It may be offered in excuse, for such blunders as there, that the authors of this, and the other poems and plays I have mentioned, written on the subject of Chandra-Gupta, which are certainly modern productions, were foreigners; inhabitants, if not natives, of the Deccan; at least Annanta was, for he declares that he lived on the banks of the Godaveri.

But though the foregoing considerations must place the authority of these writers far below: the ancients, whom I have cited for the purpose of determining the situation of Palibothra; yet, if we consider the scene of action, in connexion with the incidents of the story, in the Mudra Racshasa, it will afford us clear evidence, that the city of Chandra-Gupta could not have stood on the site of Patna; and, a pretty strong presumption also, that its real situation was where I have placed it, that is to say, at no great distance from where Raj-mehal now stands. For, first, the city was in the neighbourhood of some hills which lay to the southward of it. Their situation is expressly mentioned; and for their contiguity, it may be inferred, though the precise distance be not set down from hence, that king Nanda's going out to hunt, his retiring to the reservoir, among the hills near Patabcandara, to quench his thirst, his murder there, and the subsequent return of the assassin to the city with his master's horse, are all occurrences related, as having happened on the same day. The messengers also who were sent by the young king after the discovery of the murder to fetch the body, executed their commission and returned to the city [p.281] the same day. These events are natural and probable, if the city of Chandra-Gupta was on the site of Ra'j-mehal, or in the neighbourhood of that place, but are utterly incredible, if applied to the situation of Patna, from which the hills recede at least thirty miles in any direction.

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

The confusion Ananta, and the other authors above alluded to, have made in the names of Patali-putra and Bali-putra, appears to me not difficult to be accounted for. While the sovereignty of the kings of Maghadha, or south Bahar, was exercised within the limits of their hereditary dominions, the seat of their government was Patali-putra, or Patya: but Janasandha, one of the ancestors of Chandra-Gupta, having subdued the whole of Prachi, as we read in the Puranas, fixed his residence at Bali-putra, and there he suffered a most cruel death from Crisna and Bala Rama, who caused him to be split asunder. Bala restored the son, Sahadava, to his hereditary dominions; and from that time the kings of Mashadha, for twenty-four generations, reigned peaceably at [p.282] Patna, until Nanda ascended the throne, who, proving an active and enterprising prince, subdued the whole of Prachi; and having thus recovered the conquests that had been wrested from his ancestor, probably re-established the seat of empire at Bali-putra: the historians of Alexander positively assert, that he did. Thus while the kings of Palibothra, as Diodorus tells us, sunk into oblivion, through their sloth and inactivity, (a reproach, which seems warranted by the utter silence observed of the posterity of Bala Rama in the Puranas, not even their names being mentioned:) the princes of Patali-putra, by a contrary conduct, acquired a reputation that spread over all India: it was, therefore, natural for foreign authors, (for such at least, Ananta was,) especially in compositions of the dramatic kind, where the effect is oftentimes best produced by a neglect of historical precision, of two titles, to which their hero had an equal right to distinguish him by the most illustrious. The author of Sacontula has committed as great a mistake, in making Haltinapoor the residence of Dushnanta, which was not then in existence, having been built by Hasti, the fifth in descent from Dushnanta; before his time there was, indeed, a place of worship on the same spot, but no town. The same author has fallen into another error, in assigning; a situation of this city not far from the river Malini, (he should rather have said the rivulet that takes its name from a village now called Masyayi, to the westward of Lahore: it is joined by a new channel to the Ravy;) but this is a mistake; Hastinapoor lies on the banks of the old channel of the Ganges. The descendants of Peru resided at Sangala, whole extensive ruins are to be seen about fifty miles to the westward of Lahore, in a part of the country uninhabited. I will take occasion to observe here, that Arrian has confounded Sangala with Salgada, or Salgana, or the mistake has been made by his copyists. Frontinus and Polynus have preserved the true name of this place, now called Calanore and close to it is a deserted village, to this day [p.283] called Salghada; its situation answers exactly to the description given of it by Alexander's historians. The kings of Sangala are known in the Persian history by the name of Schangal, one of them assisted Afrajlah against the famous Caicofru; but to return from this digression to Patali putra.

The true name of this famous place is Patali-pura which means the town of Patali, a form of Devi worshipped there. It was the residence of an adopted son of the goddess Patali, hence called Pataliputra, or the son of Patali. Patali-putra and Bali-putra are absolutely inadmissible, as Sanscrit names of towns and places; they are used in that sense, only in the spoken dialects; and this, of itself, is a proof, that the poems in question are modern productions. Patali-pura, of the town of Patali, was called simply Patali, or corruptly Pattiali, on the invasion of the Musulmans it is mentioned under that name in Mr. Dow's translation of Ferishta's history. It is, I believe, the Patali of Pliny. From a passage in this author compared with others from Ptolemy, Marcianus, Heraclcota, and Arrian in his Periplus, we learn that the merchants, who carried on the trade from the Gangetic Gulph, or Bay of Bengal, to Perimula, or Malacca, and to Bengal, took their departure from some place of rendezvous in the neighbourhood of Point Godavery, near the mouth of the Ganga Godavery. The ships used in this navigation, of a larger construction than common, were called by the Greek and Arabian sailors, colandrophonta, or in the Hindustani dialect coilan-di-pota, coilan boatIs or ships: for pota in Sanscrit, signifies a boat or a ship; and di or da, in the western parts of India, is either an adjective form, or the mark of the genitive case. Pliny has preserved to us the track of the merchants who traded to Bengal from Point Godavery.

[p.284]

They went to Cape Coniga, now Palmira; thence to Dandagula, now Tentugully, almost opposite to Fultati;9 thence to Tropina. or Triveni and Trebeni, called Tripina by the Portuguese, in the hill century; and lastly, to Patale, called Patali, Patiali as late as the twelfth century, and now Patna. Pliny, who mistook this Patale for another town of the same name, situate at the summit of the Delta of the Indus, where a form of Devi, under the appellation of Patali is equally worshipped to this day, candidly acknowledges that he could by no means reconcile the various accounts he had seen about Patale, and the other places mentioned before.

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

In the Mudra Racshasa it is said, that king Nanda, after a severe fit of illness, fell into a slate of imbecility, which betrayed itself in this discourse [p.285] and actions; and that his wicked minister, Sacatara, ruled with despotic sway in his name. Diodorus Siculus and Curtius relate, that Chandrani was of a low tribe, his father being a barber. That he, and his father Nanda too, were of a low tribe, is declared in the Vishnu-purana and in the Bhagavat Chandrani, as well as his brothers, was called Maura from his mother Mura; and as that word10 in Sanscrit signifies a barber, it furnished occasion to his enemies to asperse him as the spurious offspring of one. The Greek historians say, the king of the Prasu was assassinated by his wife's paramour, the mother of Chandra; and that the murderer got possession of the sovereign authority, under the specious title of regent and guardian to his mother's children, but with a view to destroy them. The Puranas and other Hindu books, agree in the same facts, except as to the amours of Sacatara with Mura, the mother of Chandra-Gupta, on which head they are silent. Diodorus and Curtius are mistaken in laying, that Clhamdrani reigned over the Prasu, at the time of Alexander's invasion: he was contemporary with Sehucus Nicator.

I suspect Chandra-Gupta kept his faith with the Greeks or Yavans no better than he had done with his ally, the king of Nepal; and this may be the motive for Seleucus crossing the Indus at the head of a numerous army; but finding Sandrocoptos prepared, he thought it expedient to conclude a treaty with him, by which he yielded up the conquests he had made; and, to cement the alliance, gave him one of his daughters in marriage.11 Chandra-Gupta appears to have agreed on his part to furnish [p.286] Seleucus annually with fifty elephants; for we read of Anikelms the Great going to India, to renew the alliance with king Sophagasemus, and of his receiving fifty elephants from him. Sophagasemus, I conceive, to be a corruption of Slilvaca-Seua, the grandson of Chandra-Gupta. In the Puranas this grandson is called Asecuvard-cihayia or full of Mercy, a word of nearly the same import as Aseca-sema or Shaca-shia; the latter signifying he whose armies are merciful do not ravage and plunder the country.

The son of Chandra-Gupta is called Allitrochates .and Arratrocates by the Greek historian. Seleucus sent an ambassador to him; and after his death the same good intelligence was maintained by Antiochus the son or the grandson of Seleucus. This son of Chandra-Gupta is called Varisara in the Puranas; according to Parasara, his name was Dasuratha; but neither the one nor the other bear any affinity to Arratrocates: this name appears, however, to be derived from the Sanscrit Mitra-Gupta, which signifies saved by Mitra or the Sun, and therefore probably was only a surname.

It may be observed to the foregoing account, the improbability of a Hindu marrying the daughter of a Yavana, or, indeed, of any foreigner. On this difficulty I consulted the Pundits of Benares, and they all gave me the same answer; namely, that in the time of Chandra-Gupta the Yavanas were much respected, and were even considered as a fort of Hindus though they afterwards brought
upon themselves the hatred of that nation by their cruelty, avarice, rapacity, and treachery in every transaction while they ruled over the western parts of India; but that at any rate the objection did not apply to the case, as Chandra-Gupta himself was a Sudra, that is to say, of the lowest class. In the [p.287] Vishnu-purana, and in the Bhagawat, it is recorded, that eight Grecian kings reigned over part of India. They are better known to us by the title of the Grecian kings of Bactriana. Arrian in his Periplus, enumerating the exports from Europe to India, sets down as one article beautiful virgins, who were generally sent to the market of Baroche. The Hindus acknowledged that, formerly, they were not so strict as they are at this day; and this appears from their books to have been the case. Strabo does not positively say that Chandra-Gupta married a daughter of Seleucus, but that Seleucus cemented the alliance he had made with him by connubial affinity, from which expression it might equally be inferred that Seleucus married a daughter of Chandra-Gupta; but this is not so likely as the other; and it is probable the daughter of Seleucus was an illegitimate child, born in Persia after Alexander's conquest of that country.

Before I conclude, it is incumbent on me to account for the extraordinary difference between the line of the Surya Varsas or children of the sun, from Ichswacu to Dasaratha-Rama, as exhibited in the second volume of the Asiatick Researches, from the Vishnu-purana and the Bhagavat, and that set down in the Table I have given with this Essay. The line of the Surya Varas, from the Bhagavat being absolutely irreconcilable with the ancestry of Arjuna and Chrishna, I had at first rejected it, but, after a long search, I found it in the Ramayan, such as I have represented it in the table, where it perfectly agrees with the other genealogies. Dasaratha-Rama was contemporary with Varasu Rama, who was, however the eldest; and as the Ramayan is the history of Dasaratha-Rama, we may reasonably suppose, his ancestry was carefully set down and not wantonly abridged. I shall now conclude this Essay with the following remarks:

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I. It has been asserted in the second volume of the Asiatick Researches, that Parasara lived about 1180 years before Christ, in consequence of an observation of the places of the colures. But Mr. Davis. having considered this subject with the minutest attention, authorizes me to say, that this observation must have been made 1391 years before the Christian era. This is also confirmed by a passage from the Varasara Sanhita in which it is declared, that the Udilya or heliacal rising of Canopus, (when at the distance of thirteen degrees from the sun, according to the Hindu astronomers,) happened in the time of Parasara, on the 10th of Cartica, the difference now amounts to twenty-three days. Having communicated this passage to Mr. Davis, he informed me, that it coincided with the observation of the places of the colures in the time of Varasara.

Another synchronism still more interesting, is that of the flood of Deucalion, which, according to the best chronologers, happened 1390 years before Christ, Deucalion is derived from Deo-Calyun or Deo Caljun, the true Sanscrit name is Deva-Cala-Yavana. The word Cala-Yavana is always pronounced in conversation, and in the vulgar dialects Ca-lyim or Calijun: literally, it signifies the devouring Yavana. He is represented in the Puranas as a most powerful prince, who lived in the western ports of India, and generally resided in the country of Camhoja, now Gazhi, the ancient name of which, is Sasn or Sasna. It is true, they never bestow upon him the title of Deva, on the contrary, they call him an incarnate demon: because he presumed to oppose Cr'ishna; and was very near defeating his ambitious projects; indeed Crishna was nearly overcome and subdued, after seventeen bloody battles; and, according to the express words of the Puranas, he was forced to have recourse to treachery: by which means Calyun was totally defeated in the eighteenth engagement. That his followers and descendant should bestow on him the title of Deva, or Deo, [p.289] is very probable; and the numerous tribes of Hindus, who, to this day, call Crishna, an impious wretch, a merciless tyrant, an implacable and most rancorous enemy. In short, these Hindus, who consider Crishna as an incarnate demon, now expiating his crimes in the fiery dungeons of the lowest hell, consider Calyun in a very different light, and, certainly, would have no objection to his being called Deo-Calyun, Be it as it may, Deucalion was considered as a Deva or Deity in the well, and had altars erected to his honour.

The Greek mythologists are not agreed about him, nor the country, in which the flood, that goes by his name, happened: some make him a Syrian; others say, that his flood happened in the countries, either round mount Etna, or mount Athos; the common opinion is, that it happened in the country adjacent to Parnasus; whilst others seem to intimate, that he was a native of India, when they assert that he was the son of Prometheus, who lived near Cabul, and whose cave was visited by Alexander, and his Macedonians. It is called in the Puranas Garnda-sthan, or the place of the Eagle, and is situated near the place called Shibi, in Major Rennel's map of the western parts of India; indeed, Pramathasi is better known in Sudia by the appellation of Sheba.12 Deo-Calyun, who lived at Gazni, was obliged on the arrival of Crishna, to fly to the adjacent mountains, according to the Puranas; and the name of these mountains was formerly Parmsa, from which the Greeks made Famasus; they are situated between Gazni and Peshower. Crishna, after the defeat of Calyun, desolated his country with fire and sword. This is called in Sanscrit Pralaya; and may be effected by water, fire, famine, pestilence, and war: but in the vulgar dialects, the word Pralaya, signifies only a [p.290] flood or inundation. The legends relating to Deo-Calyun, Prometheus and his cave will appear in the next dissertation I shall have the honour to lay before the Society.

II. Megasthenes was a native of Persia, and enjoyed the confidence of Sibyrtius,13 governor of Aracholia, (now the country of Candahar and Gazni,) on the part of Seleucus. Sibyrtius sent him frequently on the embassies to Sandracoptos, when Seleucus invaded India, Megasthenes enjoyed also the confidence of that monarch, who sent him, in the character of ambassador, to the court of the king of Prachi. We may fairly conclude, that Megasthenes was a man of no ordinary abilities, and as he spent the greatest part of his life in India, either at Candahar or in the more interior parts of it; and, as from his public character, he must have been daily converting with the most distinguished persons in India, I conceive, that if the Hindus, of that day, had laid claim to so high an antiquity, as those of the present, he certainly would have been acquainted with their pretensions, as well as with those of the Egyptians and Chaldeans; but, on the contrary, he was astounded to find a singular conformity between the Hebrews and them in the notions about the beginning of things, that is to say, of ancient history. At the same time, I believe, that the Hindus, at that early period, and, perhaps, long before, had contrived various astronomical periods and cycles, though they had not then thought of framing a civil history, adapted to them. Astrology may have led them to suppose so important and momentous an event as the creation must have been connected with particular conjunctions of the heavenly bodies; nor have the learned in Europe been entirely free from such notions. Having once laid down this position [p.291] they cannot know where to stop; but the whole was conduced in a most clumsy manner, and their new chronology abounds with the most gross absurdities; of this, they themselves are conscious, for, though willing to give me general ideas of their chronology, they absolutely forsook me, when they perceived my drift in a stricter investigation of the subject.

The loss of Megasthenes works is much to be lamented. From the few scattered fragments, preserved by the ancients, we learn that the history of the Hindus did not go back above 5042 years. The MSS. differ: in some we read 6042 years; in others 5042 and three months, to the invasion of India by Alexander, Megasthenes certainly made very particular enquiries, since he noticed even the months. Which is the true reading, I cannot pretend to determine; however, I incline, to believe, it is 5042, because it agrees best with the number of years assigned by Albumazar, as cited by Mr. Bailly, from the creation to the flood. This famous astronomer, whom I mentioned before, had derived his ideas about the time of the creation and of the flood, from the learned Hindus he had consulted; and he assigns 2220 years, between what the Hindus call the last renovation of the world, and the flood. This account from Megasthenes and Albumazar, agrees remarkably well with the computation of the Sepluaghu. I have adopted that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, as more conformable to such particulars as I have found in the Puranas; I must confess, however, that some particular circumstances, if admitted, seem to agree best with the computation of the Septuagint: besides, it is very probable, that the Hindus, as well as ourselves, had various computations of the times we are speaking of.

Megasthenes informs us also, that the Hindus had a list of kings, from Dionysius to Sandrocuptos, to the number of 153. Perhaps, this is not to be under- [p.292] stood of the successions in a direct line: if so, it agrees well enough with the present list of the descendants of Nansha, or Deo-Nansha. This is what they call the genealogies simply, or the great genealogy, and which they consider as the basis of their history. They reckon these successions in this manner: from Nansha to Crishna, and collaterally from Nansh to Paricshita; and afterwards from Jarasandha, who was contemporary with Crishna. Accordingly the number of kings amounts to more than 153; but, as I wanted to give the full extent of the Hindu chronology, I have introduced eight or nine kings, which, in the opinion of several learned men, should be omitted, particularly six, among the ancestry of Crishna.

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

Megasthenes reckons also fifteen generations between Dionysius and Hercules, by whom we are to understand, Crishna and his brother Bala-Rama. To render this intelligible, we must consider Naush in two different points of view: Naush was at best a mere mortal, but on mount Meru he became a Deva or God, hence called Deva-Naush or Deo-Naush, in the vulgar dialects. This happened about fifteen generations before Crishna . It appears that like the spiritual rulers of Tartary and Tibet (which countries include the holy mountains of Meru), Deo-Naush did not, properly speaking, die, but his soul shifted its habitation, and got into a new body whenever the old one was worn out, either through age or sickness. The names of three of the successors of Nausha have been preserved by Arrian; they are Spartembas, Budyu, and Cradevas. The [p.293] first seems derived from the Sanscrit Prachinvau, generally pronounced Prachinbau, from which the Greeks made Spartembau in the accusative case; the two others are indubitably Sanscrit, though much distorted, but I suspect them to be titles, rather than proper names.

III. This would be a proper place to mention the posterity of Noah or Sutyavrata, under the names of Shanui or Shasna (for both are used,) Charma and Jyapti. They are mentioned in five or six Puranas, but no farther particulars concerning them are related, besides what is found in a former essay on Egypt. In the list of the thousand names of Vishnu, a sort of Litany, which Brahmens are obliged to repeat on certain days, Vishnu is called Sharma, because, according to the learned, Sharma or Shama, was an incarnation of that deity. In a list of the thousand names of Siva, as extracted from the Vadma-purana, the 37th name is Shania-Jaya, which is in the fourth case, answering to our dative, the word praise being understood: Praise to Sharrnaja, or to him who was incarnated in the house of Sharma.

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

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

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

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Here I shall observe, that the ploughshare is always represented very small sometimes omitted; and that it looks exactly like a harpoon, with a strong hook, or a gass, as it is usually called by fishermen. My pundits inform me also, that Bala-Rama is sometimes represented with his shoulders covered with the skin of a lion.


FOOTNOTES

1 See Bailly's Astron. Anc. p. 30. and Mr. Davis' Essay in the Second volume of the Asiatick Researches, p. 271.

2 Adima is the feminine gender from Adima or Adamas.

3 Institutes of Menu, p. 11.

4 Essay on Egypt, in the Asiat. Res. vol. III. p. 38.

5 Asiat. Res. vol. IV, p. 6. 11.

6 Racshasa on hearing of the death of Sacatara returned and became prime minister of Ugra-dbantva.

7 Vol. III. p. 214.

8 In Sanscrit it is called Matrura.

9 This is the only place in this essay not to be found in Rennel's Atlas.

10 See the Jutiwivicca, where it is said, the offspring of a barber, begot by health, of a female of the Sudra tribe, is called Maurya: the offspring of a barber and a slave woman is called Maurya.

11 Strabo, B.45, p. 724.

12 Bamian (in Sanscrit Vamyan) and Shibr lay to the N.W. of Cabul.

13 Arrian, B. 5. p. 203.