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not a very full one. I shall therefore not attempt to analyze the book further, but will conclude with the account of the Fort of Allahabad, and the remarkable legend about Akbar's having been originally a Hindu. The author knew Allahabad well, having visited it several times, and having served there for seven or eight years. The account begins in the
middle of p. 663.
After telling us that Akbar founded the city and called it Allahābās, and that his grandson, Shah Jahan, changed the name to Allahabad, he proceeds to mention that when he was in the service of Rajah Nawal Rai, the Naib of Oudh and Allahabad, he saw the original accounts of the costs of making the fort. He forgets the exact figures, but remembers that the amount was two crores and some lakhs, and that the last item was three annas. He also remembers that the rupee was stated to be equal to fifty-two katcha copper tankas. Then he describes the mysterious Sarasati river, and says there was a subterranean chamber (sardāba) in the fort known by the name of Patalpūrī, and that there was a Brahman woman who would get a light and show it to the curious. She would take him as far as a decayed ban-tree, without leaves or branches. Near it was an opening, or window (daricha), such as a man could with difficulty pass through; but she would dissuade the visitor from making the attempt by telling how a jōgī had once gone in with a torch and lots of oil, but had never come out again.
Then he tells how an accidental fire in the fort led to the discovery of many buildings which had been hidden under jungle and rubbish. In one of them there was found a thing, shaped like a common bat, made of raw leather. He mentioned this afterwards to Captain Jonathan Scott, and was told by him that in old times guns were made of leather. In an old hammām, or bath, in the fort, the writer saw, in 1163 A.H. (the Alchaibar, Elliot's "Supplementary Glossary," i. 265), a tree which, according to the Hindūs, was indestructible, and as old as the world. Jahāngir had
cut it down, and placed a hot iron plate over its root, and built the bath over it; but the tree had sprouted again, and had destroyed the masonry. However, when the author revisited the spot in 1190 A. H., he saw the ruined bath, but not the tree.
And now we come to the legend about Akbar. The Hindūs, he says, used to cut themselves in two on the bank of the Jamna, in order that they might obtain deliverance, or that they might in another birth become kings and princes. Shah Jahan was said to have removed the saw, etc., by means of which they killed themselves; but many people tell that it was Akbar who removed the implements. An old Hindu who was well versed in their scriptures told the author that Akbar was originally a Hindū ascetic, and was named Mukund. He used to sit on the bank of the Jamna over against Jhūsī, and had three confidential disciples, or chelas. From a desire of obtaining sovereignty, he made hōma of himself-i.e., he cut himself in two on the saw, and was burnt. His three disciples did the same from a desire to be with him in the other life. In process of time Mukund was born in the house of Humāyūn, and was known as Muhammad Akbar. Likewise his three disciples were born again, and becoming Birbal, Todar Mal, and Tansen, or, according to another account, the Khān-Khānān, entered into Akbar's service. One day Akbar was playing chaupar† with the three, and proposed that each of the four should recite a line of Sanscrit poetry. They threw the dice, and repeated their lines, Birbal being the last. Ilah Yar forgets the first three lines, but the
"Sakal darathāri Brahmachari Mukund."
Akbar perceived that they were cognizant of the old affair, and questioned them about the hōma, and the burying of
* Tānsen was a famous musician from Gwaliar. The Khan-Khānān was 'Abdur-Rahim, the son of Bairam Khan. His mother was an Indian lady, her father being Jamal Khan of Mewat.
+ See Blochmann's translation of the Ain, p. 303, for an explanation of this game.
the copper tablet under ground. Birbal gave all the particulars, and thereupon he sent to the Tribeni, and had the saw, etc., dug up and destroyed, lest anyone else should form the same design and become King. The author made inquiries about the tablet, and questioned Hindū Pandits about it. They produced their Shāstras, and read the whole story to him. He now copies it, but makes the proviso that the responsibility of the truth or falsehood of the story rests upon them. The story is to the effect that Akbar was, as already stated, originally a distinguished Hindu darvesh named Mukund, and that he had a disciple, or chela, called Biran, who, on being born again, received the name of Birbal. Mukund engraved on a copper plate the slok, with the day, month, and year of his hōma, and also with the motive for his regeneration, and buried it in his house, and cremated himself on the top thereof. Thereafter Biran killed himself by suppressing† his breath. Mukund was reborn in the house of Humayun as a king, while Biran was reborn in the house of a Brahman, and was called Birbal. When Muhammad Akbar arrived at years of discretion, he frequently recited the slok. One day when Birbal was present, Akbar recited the line:
"Sakal darathāri Brahmachāri Mukund."
Immediately Birbal recited the three preceding lines, and also this fourth one as follows:
"Bas, randhra, bān, chandra, tirtha rājab Priyāgi
Magar bahul pakhchi dāūdashi pūrab yāmi
Nakha sikha tan hōmi sarb bhumyanda pati
Sakal darathārī Brahmachāri Mukund."
Ilah Yar's explanation is given below, but I am unable to identify all the words. Rajab in the first line appears to be the Sanskrit Vajya, royal. Bahul or Bahula in the second line is given in the dictionary as meaning the dark half of a month, but it is also said to be the name of the twelfth
* At foot of p. 665 we have a description of the implement. It was not properly a saw, but was shaped like a sickle or scythe, and was a kind of guillotine.
+ The effect of confining the breath being that it burst the skull.
Kata of the moon. Perhaps the word is a mistake for bāla, cf. bāla chandra, the waxing moon. Bhumyanda in the third line appears from Ilah Yar's explanation to be a misprint for bhumikhanda, a division of the earth. Darathari in the fourth line I am unable to explain. Perhaps it is misprinted, and should be brittdhāri, or birthāri, which might mean, abandoning subsistence. Or the last part may be āhāri from āhar, food and darat may be connected with the Sanscrit dara, clearing or breaking and also little. It is possible, too, that the first word may be zurat, millat, or maize. I am indebted to Professor Rhys Davids for the reference to Dr. Bühler's book and for other help, but I am responsible for the spelling of the words, etc.
The King perceived that Birbal knew about the former matters, and that he was the very Biran who had been his disciple. Accordingly he sent him to Arail to bring the copper-plate with the slok engraved on it. The translation of the slok is as follows:
(1) Bas signifies 8.
(2) Randar signifies 9 and stands for 90.
(3) Ban signifies 5, and stands for 500.
(4) Chandar signifies 1, and stands for 1,000.
(5) Tirtha means a river worshipped by the Hindūs, such as the Ganges, Jamuna, etc.
(6) Rajab means Rajah.
(7) Prayājī means Allahabad.
Thus the first line signifies:
In 1598 of the Vikramaditya era in the most excellent place of pilgrimage of Allahabad.
The second line signifies:
(1) Magar, the month of Magh.
(2) Bahul, days of the moon's increase.
(3) Pakhchi means pākha, i.e., half of a month.
(4) Duadashi means the twelfth day, according to the Hindu calendar, and the tenth according to the Muhammadan calendar, the first day of the month according to the Muhammadan reckoning being the third according to the Hindus.
(5) Purab signifies first.
(6) Yami signifies one watch.
The meaning of the second line then is:
In the month of Magh, viz, the time of the sun's entering the constellation of Capricorn, which the Hindūs call Makar (or Magar), on the twelfth day at the first watch.
The third line signifies :
(1) Nakha, i.e., nails.
(2) Sikha, i.e., head.
(4) Homi, i.e., fire.
(5) Sarb, i.e., all (surba).
Though written sarb it is, says the author, pronounced by the Hindus as saha, and taken to mean one.
(6) Bhumianda (?), territory.
(7) Pati, Lord.
The meaning, then, of the third line is that the body (of Mukund) from the nails of his feet to the hair of his head, was cut in pieces and burnt, with the design that the owner thereof might in another life become King of a division of the earth, viz., India.
The fourth line signifies :
(1) Sakal, all.
(2) Darathāri (?) abandoning all sustenance except fruits and the like. (3) Brahmachāri, ascetic.
The fourth line, then, means that Mukund was an ascetic who gave up all food except fruits and the like.
The meaning of the slok is that in 1598 of the Vikramad. itya era in Allahabad, and on the twelfth day of the waxing moon, in the first watch, Mukund the ascetic cut his body to pieces and had it burnt in order that he might attain the sovereignty of India.
Ilah Yar goes on to explain that 1598 Vikramaditya corresponds to 955 A. H., whereas according to historians Akbar was born on Sunday, 5 Rajab 949 A. H., and that the discrepancy of a few years may be due to the difference between lunar and solar calendars. But the fact is that the discre
pancy does not exist. 949 Rajab corresponds to Kartik 1599 Vikramaditya and the difference of a few months between January-February (Magh) of 1598 and the actual birth was presumably designedly made in order to allow for the period of Akbar's gestation in the womb of MariamMaham Hamīda Bānū. If it was the Pandits who explained the discrepancy to Ilah Yar, it only shows that they did not understand their own era. It seems to me probable, then, that the slok was not an invention of theirs, but a tradition coming down from the time of Akbar.* Indeed, it is hardly likely that any Hindu would take the trouble to make the slok after Akbar's death. The interest of the slok
It seems likely that Birbal, whose estate lay in Karra, near Allahabad, may have had a hand in the composition.