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The fourth period contains gothing remarkable. The fifth commenced on the 25th December 204, B. C., when the precession amounted to one whole lunar mansion, or 13° 20', reckoning from 1192 B.C., when it was nothing. At this period astronomy received great improvements; and the periods, called Yugas, were first settled by astronomical computations. The manner in which these periods were fixed is thus stated :

The years with which each period was to commence and end having been previously fixed on, the inventor then, by computation, determines the month, and moon's age, on the very day on wbich Jupiter is found to be in conjunction with the sun, in each of the years so fixed on ; which being recorded in the calendar and other books, might at any time be referred to for clearing up any doubt, in case of necessity.

The dates of the four yugas are as follow: The Kali, or first period, immediately preceding the inventor, began B.C. 540; the Dwapar, or second, began B. C. 901; the Treta, or third, began B. C. 1528; the Krita, or fourth, began B. C. 2352. This was the date of the creation, according to the Hindu theory, and it is remarkable that the year corresponds with that of the Mosaical deluge.

The sixth astronomical period began January 23, A. D. 44. At this time Mr. Bentley considers that the Hindus acquired a knowledge of the opinions entertained in the West, respecting the era of the creation, and, in order “ to make the world believe they were the most ancient people on the face of the earth," they remodelled their chronology, dividing it into nine Manwantaras, or patriarchal periods, making the first begin in 4225 B. C. The seventh astronomical epoch began A. D. 291, and ended A. D. 538, with which year terminates the ancient and begins the modern astronomy of the Hindus.

At this epoch, it is alleged, the great corruption of Hindu astronomy took place, by, a preposterous attempt to throw back the date of the creation to the immense distance of 1,972,947,101 years before the Christian era. The plan by which this attempt was to be carried into effect, Mr. Bentley details very minutely in the first section of Part II. It was, in few words, by framing an astronomical system, in which the planetary motions were to commence with a Kalpa (or cycle) of 4,320,000,000 years, which they subdivided into periods called by the same names as in their ancient system; and to make the computations of the eclipses and positions of the planets, at all times, to depend on that fact. They, moreover, adopted the sideral sphere and year, instead of the tropical ; so that the beginnings of the months and years would remain at the same points, in respect of the fixed stars, in which they then stood, and be also the sane at the beginning of the kalpa.

In describing the various arts by which the fraud was to be perpetrated, Mr. Bentley observes that “ there is no imposition too gross or absurd that a Hindu will not employ to gain his ends.". In the present case, the ends themselves seem to be every whit as absurd and gross as the means.

It is natural to entertain some doubt as to the practicability of such an ex. tensive imposition. If it be within the power of a collusive priesthood to impose a given creed upon their besotted followers, it is not easy to extinguish the adverse evidence, which may be found in books and records of various kinds, Mr. Bentley anticipates, and thus answers, the objection :

To some it would doubtless appear, as a thing impossible, that a set of Brahmins in Ujein could impose such a system on the rest of India. Those, however, who are acquainted with the Brahminical character, know too well that every thing was in their power; they were in possessiou of all the learning in the country, and their influence


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of the whole body, whatever resolutions they came to on that lead, would be universally adopted by the brethren: and woe to the man that should dare oppose them; for their power and influence far exceeded those of the Popes in Europe, so that wherever they sent secret orders, they would be sure to be obeyed.

He moreover suggests that the introduction of this new system was, in a great measure, designed to counteract the progress of Christianity in India, which object was furthered, likewise, by the invention of the avatars, or descents of the deity; which Mr. Bentley thinks were devised by the Brahmins to show superior favour displayed by Heaven towards the Hindus, in the very mode which the Christians consider as so miraculous. The birth of Krishna, which the Hindus assign to the era (corrupted) of Yudhishthira, Mr. Bentley finds, from

rom, astronomical data recorded in the Janampatrą of Krishna, Was, on the 7th August, A. D. 600.

The system of Varaha, as it is called, given in the Vasishtha Siddhanta, the Surya Siddhanta, and the Soma Siddhanta, Mr. Bentley pronounces to have been framed in the ninth century of the Christian .era, instead of being upwards of a million of years old, as the Hindus pretend. This system begins later than the great kalpa by 17,064,000 years, owing to the formation of the revolutions of the planets into small cycles for the convenience of calculation. It is, bowever, dependent upon the great or Brahma kalpa; for, in computing the number of years elapsed of the former, the time must be found according to the latter, from which 17,064,000 must be deducted, to slow the years elapsed of the system of Varaha. By a series of elaborate calculations, Mr, vation of the

lo shew
that this system was even posterior:

Canopus, when it was exactly in the beginning of Cancer, which is alleged to have been made by Vridha Vasishtha, the presumed author

f the Vasishtha Siddhanta. The longitude of Canopus, in A. D. 1750, was 3s 11° 30' 39'' 6; difference of longitude since the observation 11° 30' 39"6; which, reduced to time at 1° in 71, gives 822 Therefore, 1750-822= A. D. 928, the time of the observation. By dividing the errors or differences in position of the planets at the beginning of the Kali Yuga, by those in their mean annual motions, Mr. Bentley obtains the mean

of K, Y. 4192, or the genuine date of the system; whence it appears to have been framed even many.years subsequent to the observation before-mentioned.

The ingenious contrivance by which the precession of the equinoxes was computed in the system of Varaha, without recourse to the laborious calculations requisite to find it according to the great kalpa, Mr. Bentley explains very clearly, by the help of a diagram. - He thence infers,

s, that the notion of a libration or oscillation of the equinoxes, instead of a complete revolution, is erroneous, and unsupported by the Hindu texts.

(894:1 trolde The author next considers the system of Aryabhatta, contained in the Arya Siddhanta, and assigns to it the date of A.D. 1322. The principal objects of this system, the conceives to have been, to assign a position to the planets, agreeing with their real places in the heavens, much 'nearer the truth than in preceding works; to support the modern impositions; and to pervert' the meaning of the passage in Parasara, respecting the Rishis being in Magha, &c.

This system was constructed precisely on that of Brahma, or the great kalpa, and the precession of the equinoxes was computed on a plan nearly similar to that of Varaha. To perfect his scheme respecting the Rishis, Mr. Bentley,alleges that Aryabhatta forged a work which he attributed to Parasara ; this is the


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Parasara Siddhanta, which is included in the Arya Siddhanta. Pursuing the same plan with these works as with the preceding, Mr. Bentley deduces froin the errors in the positions and motions of the planets a mean result, which gives the date of Aryabhatta A. D. 1322.

Varaha Mihira supported the fraud attempted by Aryabhatta. The date of Varaha Mihira is fixed at A. D. 1528. He mentions Aryabhatta, and was, therefore, subsequent to him ; '

he also states, in the Varaha Sanhita, that“ Canopus rose heliacally at Ujein, when the sun was 70 short of Virgo; that is, when he was in 23° of Leo." This Mr. Bentley considers as an important fact, as serving to decide a point of time long disputed.

In explaining the causes of Varaha Mihira being thrown back into antiquity, Mr. Bentley states, that upon the presentation of a work of Bhaskara Acharya to the Emperor Akber, who ascended the throne about 1556, the Hindus, desirous of exalting the antiquity of their literature, represented that it was not the work of Bhaskara then living, but of another Bhaskara of antecedent date. But as Bhaskara Acharya, in his Siddhanta Siromani, mentions the name of Varaha, it became necessary to practise the same deception with respect to him ; so that there were thus two Bhaskaras and two Varahas. The proofs in support of these impositions, or rather the expedients employed to remove the inconsistencies which they disclose to the inquirer, were not thought of, Mr. 'Bentley imagines, till about the middle of last century. The expedients, he alleges, were fabricated books; ' amongst others a spurious Arya Siddhanta, substituted for the real one. In unravelling these alleged frauds and forgeries, which brings him into collision with the great oracle of Hindu literature, Mr. Colebrooke, the fact mentioned by Varaha Mihira himself, of the heliacal rising of Canopus, is considered by Mr. Bentley as the only evidence (inadvertently overlooked by the forgers) by which they could be fully detected.

In the analytical account of the Pancha Tantra, which appears in the recently published part of the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Mr. Wilson,

1, 'the author of the paper, adverts to the quotation from the astronomical writings of Varaha Mihira, in that work, and which occurs, he says, without variation, in the two þest manuscripts of the original'; and adds, that “this citation is justly considered, by Mr. Colebrooke, as a proof of the astronomer's priority to the composition of the Pancha Tantra, and a satisfactory corroboration of other arguments favourable to his existence at the time usually assigned to him, in the fifth century of the Christian era."

This proof, which Mr. Colebrooke brought forward in the eleventh volume of the Asiatic Researches, observing that the Pancha Tantra was the original of the fables of Pilpay, translated into Persian for Nushervan more than 1200 years ago, Mr. Bentley thus comments on :

“ It does not follow that the Pancha Tantra of Vishnu Sarmana is the original of the fables of Pilpay: on the contrary, it is more likely that the latter should be the original of the former. We have no proof whatever that the Pancha Tantra of Vishnu Sarmana is even a hundred years old : for to prove that it was the identical one that was translated into Persian more than 1200 years ago, it ought to be shown that the name of Varaha Mihira was actually in that very translation, and still continues, without which it could be no proof; for we know that all Hindu books are liable to interpolations, and consequently the Pancha Tantra as much so as any other. But supposing the fact was true that the name of Varaha Mihira was actually in the original translation into Persian upwards of 1200 years ago, it could only go to prove that there have been more persons of the name of Varaha Mihira than one, but would never affect the time of the author of the Varahi Sanhita, who was the contemporary with Akber.' * Of the readiness with which literary frauds are practised in India, Mr.


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Bentley adduces (note p. 175) a.proof in the confession of a Hindu astronomer, who, upon grounds stated by him, avowed that he would put his name to an astronomical work, wherein the epoch from which the calculations were made should proceed 1000 years back: but he added, “ in such cases, it was usual to put the name of some ancient sage to it, or that of some fictitious astronomer, with an account of his birth, parentage, connexions, and country, in order to give it the plausible appearance of being ancient and real, which, according to modern notions, would much enhance its value.” It is proper to remark that Mr. Colebrooke himself admits that the affixing the name of a celebrated author to a work composed in later times, is “ a practice which is but too common in India, as in many other countries.”

The examination of the alleged spurious works, which are the foundation of the pseudo-ancient system of Hindu astronomy, occupies the whole of Mr. Bentley's fifth section. He adduces a mass of proofs in support of his opinions, which many readers will think amount to demonstration. We cannot pretend to give an epitome of this portion of the work; neither do we feel competent to decide upon the merits of the controversy between the author and Mr. Colebrooke, which is the subject of the concluding section.

The reader will have already perceived how perplexed and difficult a matter is here treated of. Whatever discordance of opinion may exist between the author and other learned persons, on this abstruse subject, no one can justły deny to the memory of Mr. Bentley, the reputation due to the display of great skill, great diligence, profound inquiry, and unwearied perseverance. It would have been fiore gratifying to us had he evinced less captiousness towards his adversaries. No writer ought to deprecate criticism; its end, whether the criticism be just or not, is the establishment of truth: and even where the critic debases his office by the use of vulgar invective, his censures should inspire no other sentiment than contempt.

Moore's Views in the Burman Empire. This work is to consist of eighteen coloured views in aqua-tinta, to be published in three series, each containing six plates, with an emblematical frontispiece. The first number only has yet been published, and the plates. display, to great advantage, Mr. Moore's graphic talents. The pen is unable to delineate faithfully the peculiar objects which awaken attention in the country we are now invading. The most laboured description can give Europeans but an imperfect idea of a Burmese stockade, or a pagoda, with: its countless lines, and curves, its variegated shades, and its innumerable ornaments in detail. These can only be pourtrayed by a skilful pencil.

The plates which appear to us the most interesting of the set are, that representing the storming of a stockade by our troops (giving a very good idea of the nature of that kind of defence), and the two views from the Great Dagon' Pagoda near Rangoon. The latter afford an admirable representation of the gorgeous and peculiar character of Burmese architecture. The gold temple, containing the principal idol of the deity Guadama, or Buddha, is described by Mr. Moore as a magnificent edifice, which, for the light elegance of its contour, and the happy combination of its several parts, may be fairly said to challenge, for beauty, any other of its class in India.”

In the several views, Mr. Moore has had to represent not only landscape and figures, but marine and architectural objects; and, although he may not have succeeded equally in all, he' has produced a work that does him great credit.


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ASIATIC SOCIETY OF Calcutta. be able to form a judgment from the shape A meeting of the Asiatic Society was and appearance of the characters from held at the Society's apartments in Chou. what part of India they originated, and, ringhee, on Wednesday evening, the 13th as accompaniments of the extension of the of July. The bon. J. H. Harington, Esq., Buddha religion, frown whence that legis. president, in the chair.

lator proceeded. At this meeting the dried and prepared

Dr. Siebold also offers his services to dehead of a New Zealander was presented termine any questions, or prosecute any by Mr. Ashburner, in the name of Capt. inquiry, the Society may propose, whether S:ead.

relating to the natural history, botany, A letter was read from the Secretary of language, people, or country of Japan. the Calcutta Medical and Physical Society,

The tract is called Sittan Maia Teimot, presenting the first volume of their trans- or Perfection of Indian Letters. The let. actions,

ters of Southern India were communicated A work on the Principles and Precepts through divinities. In the beginning of of Mahommedan Law, by W. H. Mac- the world Makeis yura (Makeswara) had naghten, Esq., was presented by the author. by his wife, Bifu-ken, a son, named Ba

A letter was read from M. Abel Rému- rama, also named Bonten, that is, the disat, acknowledging his election as an lio- vine author of letters. He had three norary member, and forwarding numbers brothers, who taught the three modes of 12 to 20 of the Journal Asiatique, on the writing, according to the direction of the part of the Asiatic Society of Paris.

letters, A' map of the Burmese empire was pre

The lettors of Southern India were writsented by the Asiatic Lithographic Com- tep from right to left. From their being inpany,

vented by Bonten, they are said in the A letter was read from Mr. Secretary book Ziks to derive their origin from MaLushington, forwarding the second part of keis-yura. In the book of S-saka mention the first volume of the Transactions of the is made of this kind of writing in seven Astronomical Society of London and different places, and the characters are said another from the same gentleman, trans

to amount to fifty. The god of the submitting a letter from the Governor of Ba- lime religion, the offspring of the sun, tavia, to the Governor-General of British left two books, the Book of the Sun and India, with a Latin dissertation by Dr. the Book of the Moon, in which these De Siebold, of the Residency at Japan, fifty letters are detailed; five forms of them upon the knowledge of Sanscrit leiters are also there distinguished, or the letters arnong the Japanese.

of central, southern, northern, eastern, and Dr. Siebold, physician to the Dutch es- western India,

These letters are then attablishment in Japan, notwithstanding the tributed to K-jug-ju (Curia Draconis), and jealousy with which inquiries of every kind

are said to have been first taught by a are regarded by the Government, has been priest named K-ju-djo. In Central India enabled, by the assistance of his pupils in they are called Sitti Arasato. the medical art, to acquire some know

After this the author proceeds to repreledge of the literature and language of sent the different letters, vowels, and conJapan, and has ascertained that the prayers sonants, and their various combinations, of the priests of Eutsdoo or Buddha, are with their value in Japanese letters. The written in characters derived from the specimen sent by Dr. Siebold, is only a Brahmans, whom they term Brahamuma. part, probably, of the work, as it gives He has also procured a treatise on the only the short vowels of the Nagaree alSanscrit language, printed at Su-jako, in phabet, and their combination with but Chinese and Japanese characters, and for- nine of the consonants, making fifty in all, wards a specimen there given of the San- which has probably induced him to think scrit alphabet, together with the pronun- it was the alphabet. Of these eight corciation as expressed by the Japanese author, respond in form precisely with the Nagaree for the Society to determine whether the letters, and the value given to six of thein alphabet is what it pretends to be. He has is quite correct. The letters called Suwa, also translated the account of the origin. Huwa, and Tawa, or $, 9.T, I G, of the alphabet, with the view that it may be decided by the same authority, whether are very differently expressed from the it be derived from Indian tradition; and Indian pronunciation, which calls them, under an impression that the Society may invariably, B, P, and Y. The first, howAsiatic Journ. Vol. XXI. No. 122.

2 E


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