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literature. Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise,' is at once daguerreotyped on the mind. It is a scene fully coming under the head of undescribables, and defying the human alphabet to represent the infinite varieties of nature. The space enclosed by walls of everlasting rock, with nothing above but the brave o’erhanging firmament,' and 'the majestical roof fretted with golden fire,' is better calculated to inspire feelings of devotion, than the proudest temple that was ever dedicated to the worship of the Almighty,—and to uplift the mind 'from nature up to nature's God.'
Topechanchee, situated at the foot of Parisnath, forms a scene of bustle and vivacity, little expected in a nook of the forest which had echoed only to the cries of the savage and the howlings of the wild beasts. The people residing here are a lower order of the Beharese, who exhibit a strange mixture of the state of nature and the state of civilization. Fields of paddy and mustard spread round the spot. Topechanchee is now the border village on the Grand Trunk Road, that Chass was on the old route viâ Hazareebaug,—the village where Bengal and Behar on each other gaze, and where the traveller has to pass on from one to the other province. Hence the popular saying of the Hindoostanees,
Jab koi pâr hojâtâ Châss,
Tab ohhorta wuhi ghar ki as : The man who crosses ass, leaves hope behind of returning to his home. How the rude epigram gives an abbreviated exposition of the climatology of the 'Inferno' of Bengal.
It was at Topechanchee, then, that we were at last to bid an adieu to the dear old Bengal of our nativity, and pass on to the land of ancient Magadha, the kingdom of Jarasindha, the scene of Chandra-Gupta's and Asoca's sovereignty, the cradle of Buddhism, the country which once sent a religion from its bosom to the Chinese, and now sends its opium to the very same people—the 'bane and antidote' together.
History does not record where ancient Gour parted from Magadha. In the times of the Moguls the fam
ous Terriagurry Pass formed the westernmost boundary • of Bengal Proper. Beyond, commen
Beyond, commenced the territories of Hindoostan—the Brahmarishi or Punyabhumi of Menu.
No sooner had the gharry been examined, the wheels greased, the coachman and groom changed, and the whole concern pronounced road-worthy, than we prepared to leave Topechanchee, and proceed along the foot of the hills. As far to the right as eye could reach, extended one stupendous rampart of stone-peak after peak appearing in a rapid succession, and assuming new phases of beauty and sublimity according as the curves in the road altered the prospect. There is seldom any pleasure so solemn as that derived from clouds and tempests lowering on the hill-tops. But no chance of its realization could exist in the weather of a calm October morning. However, a few wreaths of smoke from the huts of the neighbouring bazar had collected themselves in a body about the middle of the hills, and resting there, floated upon the atmosphere like thin
Vegetation of the Mountains.
clouds. Rather than acknowledge to have altogether missed the sight, this was lustily contended by one of the party to have partially realized the wished-for spectacle.
It-is now immediately after the rains, and from the bottom to the brow the hills are clothed with one mass of verdure and foliage. The bluff rock is scarcely seen to peep from out the green mantle. Two months hence the trees will have to shake off their leaves, and the naked rocks will then be seen as huge skeletons of an antediluvian world. The luxuriant vegetation is all wild. Not a single familiar tree can the eye make out.. It may be that, as in the animal so in the vegetable world, there is one class which is wild and inimical, and there is the other which is domestic and useful. There are as wild trees as there are savage beasts; and as we have the domesticated horse and cow, so have we the domesticated mango, plantain, cocoa-nut, and tamarind. Nature
have intended such a classification in the creation, and her wisdom is inscrutable.
At the foot of the hills, the trees are clearly visible in all their actual dimensions and details. Towards the middle they appear to have dwindled away into low shrubberies. And at the top the eye meets only an undistinguishable mass of green. Mere passing travellers as we are, and laymen with a completely antigeometrical head,' this is enough to give us a rough idea of the altitude of the hills. The highest peak has been computed to be near 5000 feet above the level of the sea, and about 4000 feet from its base. It entered
into the head of one of us to propose putting up this computation on the topmost crest, with a view to enable the future traveller, two or three thousand years hence, to know the additional height acquired by the mountain in the lapse of time from the date hereof. But he gave up his crotchet on recollection that the English or Bengalee may become as obsolete as the Assyrian Cuneiform to the generations of that day. The hills are said 'to grow with their growth,' and the Himalayas of to-day must have been mere pop-hills in the infancy of the earth.
From a box six feet by three, the passing traveller sees the stupendous Parisnath lift up its head to heaven. This is seeing it merely in its disenchanted, as-it-is, and matter-of-fact state-- without any speculation in the cold eyes. To enjoy the view in the best of humours, he should be in a reverie like that into which Mirza fell on the hills of Bagdad-he should transport himself in his imagination to the days of India in the eighth and ninth centuries. Then would the length and the breadth of our peninsula appear to him as one vast field of hot contention between the Brahmins, the Buddhists, and the Jains—the first refuting, persecut ing, and chasing away the two latter to the woods and mountains. Then would these desolate hill-regions appear to him as enlivened with shrines and monasteries, and peopled with monks and contemplative religionists. And then would these silent vales be heard by him as resounding with the hymns of chanting priests and the voices of preaching worshippers. Such Brahmins, Buddhists, and Jains.
things were where all is now wild and without a trace of habitation. The land was completely lost to the civilized world for more than a thousand years—its name and history were forgotten; and until the opening of the Grand Trunk Road, except to solitary pilgrims, its very site was unknown.
The Jews have their Sinai-the Jains their Parisnath. The hill is named after the principal demi-god of that sect. Its founder meant to have steered the same middle course between Brahminism and Buddhism, that Nanuk Shah intended in a later age-to have the Hindoos and Mussulmans amalgamated by the doctrines of Sikh-ism. But the Brahmins can never bear a brother near the throne.' They were touched in the sore point by their antagonists inculcating against a hereditary priesthood, and could have no rest nor respite until they had driven their dangerous adversaries from every city, town, and haunt of men what
In a council of twenty-four, forming a divine hierarchy, Parisnath is the head. He and his colleagues, however, are so absorbed in meditation as to be blind and deaf to the concerns of this nether world. It is no wonder then that their religion should have failed, when deities, like Eastern despots, never chose to open their ears and eyes to the affairs of humanity. Their godships must excuse us this bit of reflection.
There is now no trace of the Buddhists—they have been chased clean from India. The Jains still hold a footing in the land,—the last ray of a flickering