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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS:
PAGE RAJA OF AHMETY'S TEMPLE . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece
CARVING ON THE BUDDHIST TOWER, No. I. . . . . . . . 240
„ „ „ No. II....... ANCIENT BUDDHIST TEMPLE AT BAKARÍTÁ KUND . . . . . 283
ALIKE as to limits and as to influence, the Indian kingdoms of former times were, with few exceptions, inconsiderable; such of them as lay conterminous were often at open feud; and their cities, or fortified towns, constituted, in fact, their only stable boundaries. It was, probably, with the dominion of the Kâśis as it was with other seats of Hindu power. Deriving its origin from some city, as Pratishthâna,' or Vârâņasi,it must have acquired extent and consideration by very gradual development.
At least since a hundred and twenty years before our era, Vârâņasî, as denoting a city, has been a name
Vide infra, p. xxv., note 1. • Also called Varâņasi and Varanasf, according to the Haima-kosa and the Sabdaratnávali, respectively. The latter of these vocabularies is of small authority.
A rational system of Romanized spelling would give us, instead of Benares, Banâras. The form QGITE was the work, perhaps, of the Muhammadans. It should appear that the metathesis of r and ? in the original word, must be later than the times of Få Hian and Hiouen Thsang. Vide infra, p. xxviii., notes 1 and 2.
In the ordinary belief of the vulgar of Benares, the name of their city is connected with Raja Banar,-a mythical magnate, of whom mention is associated with that of the reformer Kabir, of the begin. ning of the fifteenth century. Asiatic Researches, Vol. XVI., p. 57. “According to some of the Muhammadan accounts,” says Mr. James
familiar to Brahmanical literature. The word is crudely referred, by modern inventiveness, to. a combination of Varaņâ 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 Banår 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.
" Vârâņasí 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-purana, Vol. II., p. 189, ad caleem.
? 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 Vamana-purdna, that Vârâņasi lies between the Varaña and the Asi :
लोक्यप्रवरतीर्थ सर्वपापप्रमोचनम् ।
Convertible, in later usage, with Vârâņasî is the deThere is a statement to the like effect in a section of the Padmapurâna, the Kasi-mahatmya, V., 58:
वाराणसीति यत्ख्यातं तन्मानं निगदामि वः।
दक्षिणोत्तरयोनद्यो वरणासिश्च पूर्वतः।। The same idea occurs more than once in a putative appendage to the Skanda-purdņa, the Kasi-khanda. It will suffice to quote XXX., 20, 21:
दक्षिणोत्तरदिग्भागे वार्सि वरण सुराः।
क्षेत्रस्य मोतनिक्षेपरचारिवृतिमाययुः । 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 Asi, 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 Varuna (sic) and Asi are named in the Calcutta edition of the Mahabharata, Bhishma-parvan, śl. 338. But, in my annotations on the English translation of the Vishnu-purdņa, 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 Nilakantha; while the scholiast Arjunamisra reads, at least in my manuscript, Charuņâ and Asi.
Dr. Schwanbeck-Megasthenis Indica, p. 36, noto,-is reminded, by Arrian's 'EPÉVVELS, of Varanasi. 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 Varāṇast." This “conjunct Varanasi ”—or, rather, what he unwarrantably calls its modern name, Barâņası,-he compounds, incautiously, after Mr. Walter Hamilton, of two unknown streams, the Varâ and the Naśl.
The Jåbála-upanishad places Avimukta — which is a Paurâộik title of Benares,—between the Varaņā and the Nâśf or Nâss; 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 sushumpa. One need not stop to expatiate on such trifling.