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selves with their deceased husbands, according to the practice of the Hindus. Like the unconverted Javanese, they are peculiarly addicted to the worship of Indra, Surya and Vishnu; but being neither in possession of their original religious books, nor of the extracts from them which have been adduced in the Transactions of the Batavian Society, I forbear to dilate on this subject at present."
The alphabet used by the Rekhends, or original inhabitants of Arracan, or Ruckan,*
* Arracan, or, as it also named, Ruckan, lying at the bottom of the bay of Bengal, begins where Chittygong ends, which is the most eastern part of the British possessions in that quarter. The Barma empire commences on the coast where Arracan ends, and is separated from it, inland, by a lofty ridge of mountains. This empire now includes the ancient kingdom of Pegu; which was finally reduced by the Barmas about the year 1760. The ancient name of the empire was Miamma, but it is now, as well as its capital, called Ava. On the N. W. it is separated from Casay by the river Kein-duem; on the North it is bounded by mountains, and some small independent Rajahships that lie contiguous to Assam ; and on the N. E. and East by the borders of China and North-Siam. Pegu occupies the
is said to coincide accurately with the Devanagari system of characters in its arrangement, and very nearly in the power of the particular characters: Dr. Leyden, after mentioning several Rekhend literary works, says," it is evident, that the subjects of some of these works are the adventures of characters well known in Sanscrit mythology, as the Rama Wut'hu, or history of Rama, the Budd'ho-wa-du, or history of the Avatar Buddha; others of them seem to be only Rukheng versions of well known Sanscrit compositions, as the Thi-to-pa-desa, or Hitopadesa, the Tham-ma-sut-Manu, or Dherma-sastra of Menu. The SuwannaAsyang is the popular story of Suvurna Springi, or the Golden Cow, formed by the Brahmen Sumbukara Misra, and presented to Raja Mukunda Deva Cajapati. The Bhuridat is the history of Raja Bhuridatta of Magadha, mentioned in the Maha-Bha
sea-coast from the borders of what, before its conquest, were the limits of the Barma Empire, and extends as far as Martaban, or, as it is also named, Mondima-a.
rata, and the Bhuridat-kapya, or Bhuriduttakavya, is a poem on the same subject. The Rajabuntza is the Rukheng edition of the Raja-Vumsavali; the Raja-Wontgza is a different work on the same subject, and the Pat'ha-wi-jéya seems to be the Prit'thu-vijeya. Of the modifications they have received in the process of translation, I have hitherto had little opportunity of judging; but as far as I have been able to investigate the subject, not only the style, but the incidents and progress of the Sanscrit narration are generally altered, to render them more illustrative of the ascetic doctrines of the Budd'hist sect; such as the guilt of killing animals, even accidentally; and the perfection acquired by Rishis in solitary retirement, by means of sublime penance and meditation."
The poem intituled in the Rekhend language Nga-Chaing-Braing, is the history of the birth of Gautama, and is evidently taken entire from the Hindū mythology; and the Chatu-Damasara, as it is termed in Pali, contains an eulogium of a
sovereign of Benares. The poem begins by saying: Baranasi (Benares) was a beautiful and extensive region, inhabited by a race superior to every other, whether far or near, living fortunate and happy. Baranasi was, in every respect, an admirable country, possessing every thing desirable; for in that kingdom prevailed the practice of charitable donation, and the performance of ascetic duties.”*
The language used by that numerous and powerful people, the Barmas,+ differs from the Rukheng: its alphabet corresponds with the Bali. The Barmas affect a more delicate pronunciation than the Rekhends; but their speech is less articulated, and less conformable to true ortho
* In the poem the Rajah is named Sivakara Kasa Mitra Ketu. Doctor Leyden says, "it is difficult to determine, from the Barma text, the true name of this sovereign of Benares; but several names, in some degrée similar, as Mitreya and Ketumat, occur in a Pauranic list of the Rajas of Benares, descended from Divodasa, which was pointed out to me by Mr. Colebrook.” See page 213, note.
graphy. The Barma language, however, has been highly cultivated, and in it are to be found numerous works on religion and science, mythology, medicine, and law; nor is the pretended science of astrology neglected. Many of the Barma poems are supposed to be derived from Sanscrit works, and the adventures of Rama in Lanka or Ceylon, are favourite topics in the Barma Dramas.*
The Mon language is still used by the original inhabitants of Pegu, who call themselves Mon, but by the Barmas they are named Taleing, and by the Siamese Ming-Mon. Its alphabet seemed to Doctor Leyden to be only a slight variation from the Barma-Bali alphabet.
Colonel Symes in his account of the ambassy to Ava, says "The kindness of Colonel Sir John Murray supplied me with the Code
"The Barma language has been little cultivated by Europeans, excepting the Catholic Missionaries. The alphabetum Barmanum, digested by Carpanius, was published at Rome in 1776." As. Res. vol. x. p. 258.