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Vishnu. Bala is represented as a stout man, with a club in his hand. He is called also Bala-Roma. To decline the word Bala, you must begin with Balas, which I conceive to be an obsolete form, preserved only for the purpose of declension, and etymological derivation. The first a in Bali is pronounced like the first a in America, in the eastern parts of India: but in the western parts, and in Benares, it is pronounced exactly like the French e; thus the difference between Balas and Belus is not very great. As Bala sprung from Vishnu, or Heri, he is certainly Hericula, Heri-culas, and Hercules. Diodorus Siculus says, that the posterity of Hercules reigned for many centuries in Palibothra, but that they did nothing worthy of being recorded; and, indeed, their names are not even mentioned in the Puranas."
"In the Ganga-mahatmya, in which all places of worship, and others of note, on the banks of the Ganges, are mentioned, the present town of Raj-mehal is positively declared to be the ancient city of Raj-griha of the Puranas, the capital of Prachi, which afterwards was called Bali-putra."
"Raj-griha in Bengalee and Raj-mehal in Persian, signifies the same thing. It is also called by the natives Raj-mandalam; and by Ptolemy, Palibothra-mandalon, for Bali-putra-mandalam: the first signifies the royal mansion, and the second the mansion of the Bala-putras. In a more extensive sense, Mandalam signifies the Circle, or country belonging to the Bali-putras. In this sense we say Coro-mandel, for Cholo, or rather fala-mandal."
"Here I must observe, the present Raj-mehal is not precisely on the spot where the ancient Raj-griha, or Bali-putra, stood, owing to the strange devastation of the Ganges in that part of the country for several centuries
past. These devastations are attested by universal tradition, as well as by historical records, and the concurring testimony of Ralph, Fitch, Tavernier, and other European travellers of the last century. When I was at Raj-mehal in January last, I was desirous of making particular inquiries on the spot, but I could only meet with a few Brahmins, and those very ignorant; all they could tell me was, that in former ages, Raj-mehal, or Raj-mandal, was an immense city; that it extended as far as the eastern limits of Boglipoore towards Terriagully; but that the Ganges, which formerly ran a great way towards the N. E. and E. had swallowed it up; and that the present Rajmehal, formerly a suburb of the ancient city, was all that remained of that famous place. For further particulars they referred me to learned Pundits, who unfortunately lived in the interior parts of the country."
"In the Mudra-racshasa it is declared, that the city in which Chandra-Gupta, or Sandrocotus, resided, was to the north of the hills; and, from some particular circumstances that will be noticed hereafter, it appears that they could not be above five or six miles distant from it. Megasthenes informs us also, that this famous city was situated near the confluence of the Erannoboas with the Ganges. The Erannoboas has been supposed to be the Sone, which has the epithet of Hiran-ya-baha, or gold wasting, given to it in some poems. The Sone, however, is mentioned as a distinct river from the Erannoboas, both by Pliny and Arrian, on the authority of Megasthenes: and the word Hiran-ya-baha, from which the Greeks made Erannoboas, is not a proper name, but an appellutive, (as the Greek Chrysorhoas) applicable, and which is applied, to any river that rolls down particles of gold with its sands. Most rivers in India, as well as in Europe,
and more particularly the Ganges, with all the rivers that come down from the northern hills, are famous in ancient history for their golden sands. The Cossoanus of Arrian, or Cossoagus of Pliny, is not the river Coosy, but the Cossanor Cattan, called also Cossay, Cossar, and Cassay, which runs through the province of Midnapoor, and joins the remains of the western branch of the Ganges, below Nanga-Cussan."
"The Erannoboas, now the Coosy, has greatly altered its course for several centuries past; it now joins the Ganges, about five-and-twenty miles above the place where it united with that river, in the days of Megasthenes; but the old bed, with a small stream, is still visible, and is called to this day, Puranah-bahah, the old Coosy, or the old channel. It is well delineated in Major Rennell's Atlas; and it joins an arm of the Ganges, formerly the bed of that river, near a place called Nabob-gunge. From Nabob-gunge, the Ganges formerly took an extensive sweep to the eastward, towards Hyatpoor; and the old banks of the river are still visible in that direction. From these facts, supported by a close inspection of the country, I am of opinion, that Baliputra was situated near the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges, and on the spot where the villages of Mynyaree and Bissunt-poor-gola, now stand; the Ganges proceeding at that time in an easterly direction from Nabobgunge, and to the north of these villages. The fortified part of Palibothra, according to Megasthenes, extended about ten miles in length, while the breadth was only two; but the suburbs, which extended along the banks of the Ganges, were, I doubt not, ten or fifteen miles in length. Thus Dehli, whilst in a flourishing state, extended above thirty miles along the banks of the Jumna;
but, except about the centre of the town, consisted properly of only a single street, parallel to the river.”
"The ancient geographers, Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny, have described the situation of Palibothra in such a manner that it is hardly possible to mistake it.
"Strabo, who cites Artemidorus, says, that the Ganges, on its entering the plains of India, runs in a south direction as far as a town called Ganges, (Ganga-puri) now Allahabad, and from thence, with an easterly course, as far as Palibothra; thence to the sea, (according to the Chrestomathia from Strabo) in a southerly direction. No other place but that which we have assigned for the site of Baliputra, answers to this description of Artemidorus."
Pliny, from Megasthenes, who, according to Strabo, had repeatedly visited the court of Chandra-Gupta, says, that Palibothra was 425 Roman miles from the confluence of the Jumna with the Ganges. Here it is necessary to premise, that Megasthenes says, the highways in India were measured, and that at the end of a certain Indian measure (which is not named, but it is said to be equal to ten stadia) there was a cippus, or sort of column, erected. No Indian measure answers to this, but the Brahmeni, or astronomical coss of four to a yojana. This is the Hindū statute coss. It is used to this day by astronomers, and by the inhabitants of the Panjab; hence it is very often called the Panjabi-coss: thus the distance from Lahor to Multan is reckoned, to this day, to be 145 Panjabi, or 90 common coss."
"In order to ascertain the number of Brahmeni coss, reckoned formerly between Allahabad and Palibothra, multiply the 425 Roman miles by eight, (for Pliny reckoned so many stadia to a mile) and divide the whole by ten, (the number of stadia to a coss according to Megas
thenes) and we shall have 340 Brahmeni-coss, or 417-18 British miles; and this will bring us to within two miles of the confluence of the old Coosy with the Ganges.'
Mr. Wilford, in support of his opinion, that Palibothra stood near the confluence of the old Coosy with the Gauges," on a site near the spot where Rajamahal now stands, gives the distance, mentioned by Strabo, from Palibothra to the sea; and the distances, given by Ptolemy, from Palibothra to several towns situated on the banks of the Ganges, above and below it. It is not necessary to follow him through this part of his observations: they contain, however, many things deserving the attention of the curious.
Robertson supposes Palibothra, or Patali-putra, to have stood at or near to the present Allahabad; but, at the time he wrote, he did not possess the great body of information concerning India that has been since obtained.+
The question then, where Palibothra stood, seems now to be brought to this issue, either to adopt the opinions of Jones and Rennell, that it was at Patna, or the opinion of Wilford, that it was at Rajamahal; but it is proved beyond all doubt, that, besides Palibothra, there were anciently other immense cities in those parts of India.
* On the Chronology of the Hindūs, As. Res. vol. v. p. 269, et seq. + See Disq. on Ancient India, Note xiv. p. 307. (8vo. edit.)