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familiar to Brahmanical literature. The word is crudely referred, by modern inventiveness, to a combination of Varañâ and Asi ;? and all the other explanations that we have of its source are equally questionable. Prinsep, but without naming his voucher for the statement, Benares
was governed by a Raja Banâr, at the time of one of Mahmûd's invasions, or in A.D. 1017, when one of his generals penetrated to the province, and defeated the Raja."--Benares Illustrated, p. 9. General Cunningham states that Raja Banâr is traditionally believed to have rebuilt Benares about eight hundred years ago. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1863, Supplementary Number, p. xcvi.
Vârâņasî is specified more than once in Patanjali's Mahábháshya. On the age of that work, see my edition of Professor Wilson's translation of the Vishnu-purána, Vol. II., p. 189, ad calcem.
. So allege the Pandits of the present day; repeating, no doubt, a long-current conceit of their predecessors : see the Asiatic Researches, , Vol. III., pp. 409, 410. This notion, though it has found expression in the Araish-i-mahfil and other recent Muhammadan books, is, I believe, only implied in the Puranas. It is said, for instance, in the third chapter of the Vámana-purdņa, that Vârâņasi lies between the Varana and the Asi:
Convertible, in later usage, with Vârâņasî is the de
There is a statement to the like effect in a section of the Padmapurâņa, the Kúść-máhatmya, V., 58:
वाराणसीति यत्ख्यातं तन्मानं निगदामि वः। 1
दक्षिणोत्तरयोनद्यो वरणासिश्च पूर्वतः ॥ The same idea occurs more than once in a putative appendage to the Skanda-puráņa, the Kási-khanda. It will suffice to quote XXX., 20, 21:
दक्षिणोत्तरदिग्भागे कृत्वासिं वरणां मुराः।
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 Varuņa (sic) and Asi are named in the Calcutta edition of the Mahabharata, Bhishma-parvan, él. 338. But, in my annotations on the English translation of the Vishnu-puráņa, 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 Nilakaạtha; 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 ’Epévvedis, of Varâņasi. 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 Naśí.
The Jabala - Upanishad places Avimukta — which is a Paurâņik title of Benares,-between the Varaņâ and the Nâsî or Nâsî; and the commentator, Sankarananda, disciple of Ânandâtman, etymologizes the words. An anonymous expositor of the same Upanishad, whose work I consulted in India, reads varand and asi, explains them by pingald 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 Kâği' or Kâsî.? Whence it arose history has
Something of the same sort is to be seen in the fifth chapter of the Kasi-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 Varâ ņâ, with a Varâņasî below their confluence, and the city Varâņasî therefrom denominated. Mémoires sur les Contrées Occidentales, Vol. II., p. 361. Here “il serait trèspossible que l'un de ces ruisseaux se fût nommé Asî, 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 'Epévveois], la dernière de la liste d’Arrien, se reconnait 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).” Étude 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 une ville
Ptolémée énumère sous le nom altéré d'Erarasa," and that he finds, therein, “la trace bien reconnaissable de Vârânâsi, 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 Varana and Asi would, therefore, combine into Varaṇast. 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 Taima-kośa and by Ujjwaladatta's commentary on the Unnadi-sútra.
· 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 Ayus: was Kâśa, whose son is noticed under the patronyms of Kâśeya, Kâsîya, and Kâśi.” The regal successors of Kâsi, and
Kâşikâ is found in the Kási-khanda, XXX., 70, and elsewhere. Compare Avantikâ for Avantî, as in note 1 to p. xxxiii., infra.
The vocabularists refer the word to káś, " 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. Krishņa is speaking; and he says that the radiance of Kâsî emanates from Siva.
If, where they interpret Kâsi by “splendid,” Colonel Wilford and his numerous followers intend to take the word from the adjective käsin, they have forgotten that the feminine is not káśi, but káśini. See the Asiatic Researches, Vol. III., p. 409.
· Professor Wilson has already written: “It seems probable • that the city [of Kâsî] was founded, not by him [Kshattravșiddha], but by his grandson or great-grandson, denominated Kâśa and Kasirâja.” Mr. James Prinsep's Benares Illustrated, p. 8. It is meant, here, I suppose, to hint a derivative connexion of Kâsî with Käsa or Kâśirâja. The latter name Professor Wilson everywhere puts, erroneously, for “King Kâśi.” See note 7 in the present page.
3 See the English Vishnu-purána, Vol. IV., pp. 30-32.
• Compare Mândûkeya, from Mâņdůka; and Swâphalki, from Swaphalka.
6 So reads the Harivañía, śl. 1734, in the best MSS. accessible to me. • Gana on Pâņini, IV., II., 90; and the Brahma-purdņa.
Bhagavata-purána, IX., XVII., 4. In the Vishnu-purána, he is called Káśiraja ; but the term, a compound, is there to be explained “Raja Kâśi.” Differently, Kaśirája, Kasipati, etc., descriptive of Ajâtaśatru, Divodâsa, Pratardana, and others, signify “Raja of the Käsis.” That afatlat: may be the same as afiy qa: is clear from the Mahabharata, Anuśásana-parvan, śl. 1949 and 1952.
equally their subjects, were called Kâsis. 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, Champâ.S
The term Kâsi, denominating, if not a city,' a people
| 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.
• Kunti, a woman, was so called from Kunti, a man.
Kasi, according to the Vishnu-purána,-see the English translalation, Vol. IV., p. 159,—was the name of the wife of Bhimasena. The reading is, however, erroneous, most probably. I find, as a variant, Kaseyî. This, like the corresponding Kâśyâ of the Mahabharata, Adi-parvan, sl. 3829, is a derivative of Käsi.
3 See the English Vishnu-purána, Vol. IV., p. 125.
4. "In the Mahabharata, frequent mention of Kâsî 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 Mahábhárata.
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 Vinayakapâla, 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 Kâsi, 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 Káśirdjya, “kingdom of the Kâśis,” in his words rendered by “ le royaume de Kia chi,” Vide infra, p. xxviii., note 1.