Page images

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 Kåsi kings; a goodly catalogue, beginning, in the most authoritative of those works, with the son of Kâśa.' To Kâsa, by a lapse of perhaps two centuries, succeeded Divodása, 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 Kasis, none but most vague indications have, as yet,

[ocr errors]


" 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 (???), Râshtra (??), Dirghatapas, Dharma, Dhanwantari, Ketumat, Bhimaratha, Divodâsa.

The Brahmanda-puråna has, in one place, Kâśa and Kâsiya, as
sire and son, and, a little further on, instead of them, Kašika and
Kâśeya Kašika, as evolving Kâbeya, must be considered as an
optional elongation of Käsi.
• See the English Vishnu-purána, VoL IV., pp. 30–40.
We read, in the Vdyu-purdna:

दिवोदास इति ख्यातो वाराणस्यधिपो भवत् ।
एतस्मिन्नेव काले तु पुरों वाराणसी पुरा।

शून्यां विवेशयामास क्षेमको नाम राक्षसः।
Then follows an account of the expulsion of Divodása from
Vårâņasi. 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.

[ocr errors]

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, Uttarakânda, LIX., 18, 19:

त्रिदिवं स गतो राजा ययातिनहुषात्मजः।
पूरुश्चकार तद्राज्यं धर्मेण महतावृतः।

प्रतिष्ठाने पुरवरे काशिराज्ये महायशाः। Before Paru, his father, Yayâti, " lord of all the Kasis," reigned at Pratishthâna. Mahabharata, Udyoga-parran, 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. Vido supra, p. xxii., note 4.

Pratishthâna is the name of a kingdom, or of part of one, in the Kathd-sarit-sdgara, 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 Madanapala 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 Gauda, Mahipala, father of Sthirapâla 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

[ocr errors]

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 Aśoka. 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 historio evidence. Uncritically enough, I once fol.

I lowed 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.

* 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 Bhimasukla. See Der Buddhismus, translated from the Russian of Professor Wassiljew, Part I., p. 54.

• Mr. R. S. Hardy's Manual of Budhism, p. 134.

• So states the Diparañśa. See the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, for 1838, p. 927.

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 are stated to have been much in the minority, kept up thirty religious houses, tenanted by three thousand inmates, all of the Sammatîya sect. In the capital were twenty Hindu temples, and a latten statue of Siva, a hundred feet in height. We are not apprised whether there were any sacred edifices of the pilgrim's fellowreligionists in the capital itself; and the obvious inference is, that there were none, or none worth commemorating. On the monasteries, towers, and reservoirs of the immediate vicinity,' hallowed by Buddhist

1 “ About four thousand lis.” On the length of the li, consult Father Vivien de Saint-Martin, in Mémoires, etc., Vol. II, pp. 256– 259.

* 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-l sai-t'ien (Mahéç. dara déva).” And there should seem to be no improvement in his later rendering: “On voit une centaine de temples des Dieux. I y a environ dix mille hérétiques qui, la plupart, révèrent le dieu Totseu-thsai (Maheçvara 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 ton thousand of the former,

One need do no more than collate M. Julien's two versions of Hiouen Thsang's short account of Benares, to be satisfied that the translator's notion of the sense of his original is, sometimes, of the vaguest.

Its name is not specified. Fă Hian—of the beginning of the fifth century, and so an earlier traveller than Hiouen Thsang,—is translated as speaking of " la ville de Pho lo nai, dans le royaume de Kia chi.Foč Kouě Ki, p. 304.

* Two of these remembrancers of the Buddhist faith, towers at Sârnâth, beyond the Varañâ or Burna, are still conspicuous landmarks. The larger of them is called, by the natives, Dhamekh,a corruption, in all likelihood, of an old word involving dharma as its first factor.

On the word of M. Stanislas Julien, Hiouen Thsang locates & monument “au nord-est de la capitale, et à l'occident du fleuve de Po-lo-ni-88(Vârâņaçı)," and tells of a certain monastery at the distance of “environ dix li al nord-est du fleuve de Po-lo-ni-886 (Vârâņaçi).” In a foot note, the phrase "à l'occident du fleuve de Po-lo-ni-sse (Vârâņaçi)” is explained to signify "à l'occident du Gange.”

As the Chinese pilgrim again and again names the Ganges, it seemed to me unlikely that he should anywhere speak of it by a periphrasis like that of “the river of London.” I had observed, too, that, instead of “environ," etc., M. Klaproth had written: “Au nord (sic) de la ville coule la rivière Pho lo nd (Varaņā); sur son bord, à dix li de la ville," eta; Pho lo na sso being, as he says just before, Hiouen Thsang's name for Benares. Moreover, in M. Julien's



« PreviousContinue »