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Convertible, in later usage, with Vârâņasî is the de
There is a statement to the like effect in a section of the Padmapurána, the Kasi-mahatmya, V., 58:
वाराणसीति यत्ख्यातं तन्मानं निगदामि वः।
दक्षिणोत्तरयोनद्यौ वरणासिश्च पूर्वतः ॥ The same idea occurs more than once in a putative appendage to the Skanda-purána, the Kasi-khanda. It will suffice to quote XXX., 20, 21:
दक्षिणोत्तरदिग्भागे कृत्वासिं वरणां सुराः॥
क्षेत्रस्य मोक्षनिक्षेपरक्षारिवृतिमाययुः। 1 Particular reference may, also, be made to stanzas 69 and 70 of the same chapter; and similar passages might be extracted from other Purâņas.
The Asi—now known as the Asî, and still trickling during the rainy season, despite Father Vivien de Saint-Martin's scepticism as to its existence, has a niche in the Haima-kośa, a work of the twelfth century. The Varuņâ (sic) and Asî are named in the Calcutta edition of the Mahabharata, Bhishma-parvan, śl. 338. But, in my annotations on the English translation of the Vishnu-purâņa, Vol. II., p. 152, it is surmised that this stanza is an interpolation; and it may be added that is omitted from the text of the Mahabharata as accepted by the commentator Nîlakantha; while the scholiast Arjunamiśra reads, at least in my manuscript, Charuņâ and Asi.
Dr. Schwanbeck-Megasthenis Indica, p. 36, note,-is reminded, by Arrian's 'EPÉVVEOIS, of Varâņasî. Hereupon, Professor LassenIndische Alterthumskunde, Vol. I., Appendix, p. LIV.,--precipitately took the two for one; and he still holds to this opinion; for, in the second edition of his great work, Vol. I., p. 161, note 1, (1867), he writes: “Des Megasthenes Erennesis ist die vereinigte Varâņast." This “conjunct Varanasi "-or, rather, what he unwarrantably calls its modern name, Barânaśî,-he compounds, incautiously, after Mr. Walter Hamilton, of two unknown streams, the Varâ and the Naśî.
The Jábala - upanishad places Avimukta — which is a Paurâ ņik title of Benares,-between the Varana and the Nâsî or Nâsî; and the commentator, Sankarananda, disciple of Anandâtman, etymologizes the words. An anonymous expositor of the same Upanishad, whose work I consulted in India, reads varand and asi, explains them by pingalâ and idd, and makes the result of their conjunction, váránasi, in some acceptation or other, to be equivalent to sushumnd. One need not stop to expatiate on such trifling.
signation Kâśi? or Kâsî? Whence it arose history has
Something of the same sort is to be seen in the fifth chapter of the Kâśî-khanda.
Father Vivien de Saint-Martin-the genesis of whose fictitious river I trace in note 2 to p. xxviii.,-began with being disposed to make the Asî an affluent to the Varâņâ, with a Varâņasî below their confluence, and the city Varâņasî therefrom denominated. Vémoires sur les Contrées Occidentales, Vol. II., p. 361. Here “il serait trèspossible que l'un de ces ruisseaux se fût nommé Asi, et qu'après sa réunion à la Varâņâ, la petite rivière eût pris le nom composé de Varâņasî qu'elle aurait communiqué à la ville.” This, as speculation, will pass; but, to this writer, with his bias in favour of the theological or mythopeic method of geographizing, what are, at first, only suggestions, very soon ripen into indubitable certainties : "Cette rivière (the 'Epévvegis], la dernière de la liste d’Arrien, se reconnaît sans difficulté dans la Varanasi, petite rivière qui se jette dans la gauche du Gange à Bénarès, qui en a pris son nom (en sanscrit Vârânâsi).” Etude sur la Géographie Grecque et Latine de l'Inde, p. 286.
This author more than inclines to see Vârânâsî in the words Erarasa (or Cragausa) metropolis, foisted into the Latin translation of Ptolemy. Ibid., pp. 227, 351. Here, very much as just above, having to do with a Latin interpolation, he sets out with describing it as such, and as offering “un reste de ressemblance qu'on entrevoit encore à travers la corruption du mot;” and, a little while afterwards, as if process of time necessarily stood for an accession of facts and reasons, persuades himself that he may speak of
Ptolémée énumère sous le nom altéré d'Erarasa,” and that he finds, therein, “la trace bien reconnaissable de Vârânâsî, forme sanscrite de notre Bénarès."
I have everywhere scrupulously reproduced the varieties of spelling indulged in by the writer just cited.
The final d and the initial a of two words coalescing into a compound might, possibly, yield a; and Varaņa and Asî would, therefore, combine into Varaņasî. But this form seems to be the peculiar property of a single recent and very indifferent lexicographer; and, moreover, the name of the second stream is, correctly, Asi, not Asi. In the Kasi-khanda, XXX., 18, it is the subject of a pun, in connexion with asi, “ a sword.”
1 This is the oldest form, and that recognized in the Haima-kośa and by Ujjwaladatta's commentary on the Unnadi-sútra.
2 Kâği is not so markedly feminine as the more usual Kâśî, its derivative. Most Indian cities have feminine appellations.
long forgotten;' but conjecture may, possibly, unravel its etymology.
Among the descendants of Âyus: was Kâśa, whose son is noticed under the patronyms 4 of Kâśeya, Kâsîya, and Kâśi.? The regal successors of Kâśi, and
Kasikâ is found in the Kási-khanda, XXX., 70, and elsewhere. Compare Avantikâ for Avanti, as in note 1 to p. xxxiii., infra.
| The vocabularists refer the word to käś, “ to shine.” And herewith agrees the Kasi-khanda, XXVI., 67:
काशते व यतो ज्योतिस्तदनाख्येयमीश्वर।
अतो नामापरं चास्तु काशीति प्रथितं विभो ॥ In the stanza immediately preceding this, the city is called Muktikshetra. Krishṇa is speaking; and he says that the radiance of Kâsî emanates from S'iva.
If, where they interpret Kâsî by “splendid,” Colonel Wilford and his numerous followers intend to take the word from the adjective káśin, they have forgotten that the feminine is not kási, but káśini. See the Asiatic Researches, Vol. III., p. 409.
? Professor Wilson has already written : “It seems probable • that the city [of Kâśî] was founded, not by him [Kshattravřiddha], but by his grandson or great-grandson, denominated Kâśa and Kâśirâja.” Mr. James Prinsep's Benares Illustrated, p. 8. It is meant, here, I suppose, to hint a derivative connexion of Kâsî with Kâśa or Kasirâja. The latter name Professor Wilson everywhere puts, erroneously, for “King Kâsi.” See note 7 in the present page.
See the English Vishnu-purána, Vol. IV., pp. 30-32. . Compare Mâņạûkeya, from Mâņņûka ; and Swâphalki, from Swaphalka.
. So reads the Harivañía, śl. 1734, in the best MSS. accessible to me. 6 Gana on Pâņini, IV., II., 90; and the Brahma-purana.
Bhagavata-purána, IX., XVII., 4. In the Vishnu-purána, he is called Kásirája; but the term, a compound, is there to be explained “Raja Kasi.” Differently, Kasiraja, Kasipati, etc., descriptive of Ajâtaśatru, Divodâsa, Pratardana, and others, signify “Raja of the Kasis.” That काशिराज: may be the same as काशिषु नृपः is clear from the Mahabharata, Anuśásana-parvan, él. 1949 and 1952.
equally their subjects, were called Kâśis. Though at first a masculine appellation, Kâśi, as applied to the city so styled, is feminine.? An exact parallel to this hypothetical evolution is not far to seek. The name of King Champa, femininized, became that of the metropolis of Anga, Champa.
The term Kâsi, denominating, if not a city,* a people
1 Kâsi's successors were likewise known as Kâśyas and as Kâśikas. These terms are, all, actually employed. The last is, also, applied to persons or things pertaining to Kasi.
• Kuntî, a woman, was so called from Kunti, a man.
Kâsî, according to the Vishnu-purána,-see the English translalation, Vol. IV., p. 159,—was the name of the wife of Bhîmasena. The reading is, however, erroneous, most probably. I find, as a variant, Kâbeyi. This, like the corresponding Kâśyâ of the Mahdbharata, Adi-parvan, śl. 3829, is a derivative of Käsi.
3 See the English Vishnu-purána, Vol. IV., p. 125.
* “In the Mahabharata, frequent mention of Kâsi occurs," according to Professor Wilson, as quoted in Benares Illustrated, p. 8. I should be much surprised to find Kâsî mentioned even once in the Mahábharata.
Not till medieval times, it seems, do we read of the city of Kâsî. To the authority, on this behalf, of the Purâņas may be added that of an inscription which I have deciphered and published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1862, pp. 14, 15. The document in question, a land-grant, was issued by Vinayakapala, Raja of Mahodaya or Kanauj, about the middle of the eleventh century, it may be. Kâsî is there indirectly described as in the vishaya of Vârâņasî, in the bhukti of Pratishthâna. For Pratishthâna, vide infra, p. xxv., note 1.
It is, in my judgment, very doubtful indeed that Ptolemy's Kaorida metamorphoses Kasi, as has been confidently asserted by Colonel Wilford and very many others. See the Asiatic Researches, Vol. III., p. 410; Vol. IX., p. 73.
Fă Hian may have intended to reproduce Kaširdjya, “kingdom of the Kâsis,” in his words rendered by “le royaume de Kia chi.” Vide infra, p. xxviii., note 1.
and its chieftains, occurs repeatedly in Sanskrit works of all but the highest antiquity.' Of Kâśi, in whatever sense of the word, we cannot, however, collect, from indigenous records, materials from which to con
The expression afeyrt attuat, in the Daśa-kumára-charita, means “Vârâņasî, a city of the Kâsis.” In the subjoined verse, from the Ramayana, Uttara-kânda, XXXVIII., VI., 17, Vârâņasi is qualified by an expression meaning, the commentator says, “a city in the country of the Kâśis :"
तद्भवानद्य काशेयपुरों वाराणसों व्रज । Finally, in the Mahabharata, Ádi-parvan, śl. 4083, 4084, we read of the king of the Kâśis as dwelling in the city of Vârâņasî.
· The oldest among them, probably, is Pâņini, IV., II., 116 ; with which compare IV., II., 113. Then come the Satapatha-brahmana, the Brihad-dranyaka and Kaushitaki-brahmana Upanishads, etc., etc. In some of these works, the substantive is involved in the adjective Kaśya. This word, like Kâsika,---for which see the Mahabharata, Udyoga-parvan, śl. 5907,-means, etymologically, Kásian. But commentators on old writings explain it, and rightly, to signify “ king of the Kâsis.” Kâśirâja and Kâśya are used of the same person in the Bhagavad-gita, I., 5, 17.
The Rigveda affords no warrant for connecting with the Kâśis any person whom it mentions. It speaks of Divodâsa, and it speaks of Pratardana; but only in later literature are they called father and son, and rulers of the Kâsis; and, where Kâtyâyana, in his Rigvedánukramaņika, characterizes the latter as Käsiraja, he may have expressed himself metachronically, under the influence of a modern tradition which he and his contemporaries accepted. As to the former, we find, indeed, in post-vaidik books, two Divodâsas ; into whom a single personage seems to have been parted.
One of them is son of Badhryaswa, as in the Rigveda ; but it is the other, the son of Bhimaratha, and father of Pratardana, that is called king of the Kâśis. It may be added, that there is no ground for considering Badhryaswa and Bhimaratha to be two names of one and the same person. See the English Vishņu-purđņa, Vol. IV., pp. 33, and 145, 146. Badhryaswa, not Bahwaśwa, is the reading of the Vishnu-purana. Correct accordingly Professor Wilson's translation of the Rigveda, Vol. III., p. 504, note 1. See, further, the Mahabharata, Anuśásana-parvan, Chapter XXX.