« PreviousContinue »
and its chieftains, occurs repeatedly in Sanskrit works of all but the highest antiquity.' Of Kâği, in whatever sense of the word, we cannot, however, collect, , from indigenous records, materials from which to con
The expression afegit arttuat, in the Daśa-kumára-charita, means “ Vârâņasî, a city of the Kâśis." 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 Kâbis :"
तद्भवानद्य काशेयपुरी 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 Vârânasi.
1 The oldest among them, probably, is Pâņini, IV., II., 116 ; with which compare IV., II., 113. Then come the Satapatha-brahmana, the Brihad-aranyaka and Kaushitaki-brahmana Upanishads, etc., etc. some of these works, the substantive is involved in the adjective Kâśya. This word, like Kâśika,—for which see the Mahabharata, Udyoga-parvan, śl. 5907,-means, etymologically, Káśian. 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-gitá, 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 Kâśis; and, where Kâtyâyana, in his Rigvedânukramaņika, characterizes the latter as Käsirája, 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 Bhîmaratha to be two names of one and the same person. See the English Vishnu-puráņa, Vol. IV., pp. 33, and 145, 146. Badhryaswa, not Bahwaśwa, is the reading of the Vishnu-purána. Correct accordingly Professor Wilson's translation of the Rigveda, Vol. III., p. 504, note 1. See, further, the Mahabharata, Anusasana-parvan, Chapter XXX.
struct anything approaching a history. The kingdom of the Kâśis, and its rulers, as is evinced by the frequency of reference to them, enjoyed, from distant ages, more or less of notoriety; and this is, substantially, all that the Hindu memorials teach us.
The Purâņas specify but one dynasty of Kâği kings; a goodly catalogue, beginning, in the most authoritative of those works, with the son of Kâsa. To Kâśa, by a lapse of perhaps two centuries, succeeded Divodâsa, in whose reign Buddhism seems to have been still acting on the aggressive.? In this synchronism there is no discernible improbability; and, with some likelihood, it embodies an historic fact. A reflexion of actual events may, likewise, be afforded in the story of the burning of Vârâņasî by the discus of Vishņu.' Of the age of Ajâtaśatru, as of other very early leaders of the Kâśis, none but most vague indications have, as yet,
A Kâśa is named in the gaña on Pâņini, IV., I., 10. According to my five wretched copies of the Vayu-purána, Kasa was followed by Kâśaya (???), Râshțra (??), Dirghatapas, Dharma, Dhanwantari, Ketumat, Bhimaratha, Divodâsa.
The Brahmánda-purána has, in one place, Kâśa and Kâsiya, as sire and son, and, a little further on, instead of them, Kâśika and Kâseya. Kâśika, as evolving Kâśeya, must be considered as an optional elongation of Kâśi.
* See the English Vishnu-purana, Vol. IV., pp. 30–40.
दिवोदास इति ख्यातो वाराणस्यधिपो भवत् ।
शून्यां विवेशयामास वेमको नाम राक्षसः । Then follows an account of the expulsion of Divodâsa from Vârâņasî. So far as we know, he was the only king of the Kasi family that had to do with that city.
* See the Vishnu-purána, Book V., Chapter XXXIV.
been discovered. Some of these personages ruled, not at Benares, but at Pratishthâna ;' and, at the time of the Muhammadan conquest, Benares and the surrounding country appertained to the throne of Kanauj.?
* Its site was near Allahabad. Pûru's capital was Pratishthâna, in the kingdom of the Kâśis, according to the Råmdyana, Uttarakanda, LIX., 18, 19:
त्रिदिवं स गतो राजा ययातिनहुषात्मजः ।
प्रतिष्ठाने पुरवरे काशिराज्ये महायशाः ॥ Before Půru, his father, Yayâti, “ lord of all the Kâśis,” reigned at Pratishthâna. Mahabharata, Udyoga-parvan, śl. 3905 and 3918.
Purûravas received Pratishthâna in gift from his father Sudyumna. English Vishnu-purána, Vol. III., p. 237. Also see Burnouf's Bhagavata-purána, Vol. III., Preface, pp. XCVII.-XCIX.
Pratishthâna appears as a district of the kingdom of which Kanauj was the metropolis, in comparatively recent times. Vide supra, p. xxii., note 4.
Pratishthâna is the name of a kingdom, or of part of one, in the Kathd-sarit-sagara, VI., 8.
? Vide supra, p. xxii., note 4. Several Sanskrit land-grants have been published, -two among them by myself, from which it appears that the kings of the latest dynasty of Kanauj, from Madanapâla to the unfortunate Jayachandra, were masters of Benares, in succession to their predecessors; and that they were so is fully made out by the Muhammadan historians.
In the fifth volume of the Asiatic Researches is a professed transcript of a short inscription from a stone, now long disappeared from sight, which was exhumed near Benares, in 1794. We read, therein, of a king of Gauņa, Mahîpâla, father of Sthirapala and Vasantapâla ; and, at the end, the date 1083. An easy credulity may accept these statements, no longer possible of verification; but there still remains the question as to the era of the year 1083, whether Vikramaditya's, or Salivahana's -- better, Satavahana's,or Harsha's, or whose. Not only are the blunders in this inscription, as printed, so many and so gross that we are forbidden to suppose they were in the original; but they provoke the surmise that the interspersed patches of the record which read as if correct
Flagrant as is the exaggeration of the Hindus, it is surpassed by that of the Buddhists. The Brahmadatta who figures so largely, in their sacred writings, as king of Benares' very likely was not a mythe;' but there is no ground for crediting that Gautama ever governed that city at all, notwithstanding that they represent him to have reigned there during nineteen several states of existence. In a similar spirit, they assert, that, at the same capital ruled, in turn, eighty-four thousand monarchs descended from Asoka.* From these specimens it is manifest that the Buddhist scriptures are little to be trusted for throwing light on the history of Benares. That Buddhism, or any Buddhist king, ever dominated there is altogether problematical.
Some relevant details, scant, but interesting as far as they go, are derivable from the itinerary of Hiouen Thsang,' a Buddhist pilgrim from China, who visited
may be, to a large extent, equally products of ignorant mistake and misrepresentation. A good deal of weight has been allowed to this inscription; and it has been, from time to time, honoured as a piece of genuine historic evidence. Uncritically enough, I once followed the herd, myself, in this respect : see the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1862, p. 8, first foot-note. It now appears to me rash to see, in it, proof that Benares was subordinate to Gauda, or anything else whatever claiming reliance.
1 Burnouf's Introduction à l'Histoire du Buddhisme Indien, Vol. I., p. 140; and Mr. R. S. Hardy's Manual of Budhism, p. 101.
? Another king unknown to the Hindu records is spoken of by the Buddhists. His name is Bhimaśukla. See Der Buddhismus, translated from the Russian of Professor Wassiljew, Part I., p. 54.
* Mr. R. S. Hardy's Manual of Budhism, p. 134.
4 So states the Dipavañía. See the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1838, p. 927.
6 Mémoires sur les Contrées Occidentales, Vol. I., pp. 353, et seq.
India in the first half of the seventh century. At that date, as he informs us, the kingdom of Vârâņasî had a circuit of eight hundred miles,' while its capital measured nearly four miles by somewhat more than one. The inhabitants of the kingdom were, for the most part, Hindus. These were, mainly, worshippers of Siva ; and among them were two classes of ascetics. Their temples amounted to a hundred, which gave lodgement to about ten thousand devotees.' The Buddhists, who
1 “About four thousand lis.” On the length of the li, consult Father Vivien de Saint-Martin, in Mémoires, etc., Vol. II., pp. 256259.
On M. Julien's own showing, both in the Mémoires and in the Méthode, one of these classes, that of naked mendicants, has the name, in Chinese translettering, of ni-kien-to, i.e., niggantha, or even nigánth, -a Prakrit word softened from the Sanskrit nirgrantha, which the French translation exhibits. Nowhere in his works does M. Julien acknowledge, what he must have known full well, that he constantly puts into the mouth of Hiouen Thsang Sanskrit words, where he really used Prakrit. But there was a theory to support; and facts must be fitted to it.
* In the first instance, M. Julien wrote : "On compte une centaine de temples des dieux (Déválayas) où habitent environ dix mille hérétiques, qui, la plupart, adorent le dieu Ta-tseu-tsaï-t'ien (Mahécvara déva).” And there should seem to be no improvement in his later rendering : “On voit une centaine de temples des Dieux. Il y a environ dix mille hérétiques qui, la plupart, révèrent le dieu Tatseu-thsaï (Mahêçvara Dêva)."
The Chinese does not, to be sure, as the translator at first expressed it, literally quarter the aforesaid heretics in the temples, or, rather, monasteries ; and yet its indefiniteness easily endures this interpretation. So I am informed by Professor Summers, my obligations to whom I shall presently acknowledge in connexion with a matter of graver import. And this construction alone quadrates with the previous context. For Hiouen Thsang makes Benares a large kingdom, and one in which the Hindus much outnumbered the Buddhists; and there must, then, have been many times ten thousand of the former,