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“ To conceal his impositions of the third class, which is the most numerous, he had the patience to write two voluminous sections, supposed one to belong to the Scanda-puránú, and the other to the Brahman’-da, in which he connected all the legends together in the usual style of the Puránás. These two sections, the titles of which he borrowed, consist, as he wrote them, of no less than 12,000 slocas or lines. The real sections are so very scarce, that they are generally supposed to be lost, and probably are so, unless they are to be found in the library of the Rajah of Jayanúgar. Other impostors have had recourse to the Scanda, Brahmánda, and Padma-puránás, a great part of which is not at present to be found; and for that reason these are called the Puránás of thieves and impostors, though the genuineness of such parts as are in common use has never been questioned. Some persons attempted, by such means, to deceive the famous Jayasinha, and the late Ticatraya, prime minister of the Nabob of Oude. They were discovered, lost their appointments, and were disgraced.
“My chief Pandit had certainly no idea, in the first instance, that he should be driven to such extremities. I used (as already remarked) to translate the extracts which he made for me by way of exercise, and never thought, at that time, of comparing them with the originals ; first, because I had no reason to doubt their authenticity; and, secondly, because it would have been soon enough to make the collation when I had determined to publish any part of them.
“ This apparently lulled him into security ; but, being afterwards sensible of the danger of his detection, he was induced to attempt the most daring falsification of the originals, in order, if possible, to extricate himself. When discovered he flew into the most violent paroxysms of rage, calling down the vengeance of Heaven, with the most horrid and tremendous imprecations, upon himself and his children, if the extracts were not true. He brought ten Brahmins, not only as compurgators, but also to swear, by what is most sacred in their religion, to the genuineness of these extracts. After
giving them a severe reprimand for this prostitution of their sacerdotal character, I, of course, refused to allow them to proceed.
“And here I shall close the recital of what relates personally to a man whose course of imposition I have deemed incumbent on me to lay before the public. He came to me in distress, but with a fair reputation; he is now in affluence, but with a character infamous for ingratitude, and fraud, and deceit. His voluminous extracts are still of great use to me, because they always contain much truth, and the learned, therefore, have not been misled in their general conclusions from my Essay on Egypt; though it would be dangerous for any one to use detached passages, and apply them to any particular purpose.
In the course of my present work, I have collected carefully what I could find in India concerning Ethiopia and Egypt.
Mr. Wilford seems to have thought, from a passage already quoted, that his countrymen were much less liable to be imposed upon in examining the astronomical records of the Hindoos, than in perusing those manuscripts which were the objects of his researches. But, from the inquiries of Mr. John Bently, it would appear that, even in the astrononical department, frauds, of a great magnitude, have been practised, and with no inconsiderable success. The inquiries to which I allude are contained in his Essay on the Antiquity of the Surya-Siddhanta, printed in the sixth volume of the Asiatic Researches, (8vo. ed.) The Surya-Siddhanta, it is proper to premise, is generally believed to be the most ancient astronomical treatise the Hindus have, and, according to their notions, is supposed to have been received through Divine revelation at the close of the Satya-yug, of the 28th Maha-yug, of the 7th Manwantara ; that is, about 2,168,899 years ago. After a variety of calculations with respect to the formation of the astronomical cycles contained in this ancient monument, Mr. Bently proceeds thus :
An Essay on the Sacred Isles of the West, &c. &c. &c. by Captain F. Wilford. Asiatic Researches, Vol. VIII. p. 247, et seq., 8vo. edition.
“ But, independent of all calculations, we know from Hindu books the age in which the Surya-Siddhanta was written, and by whom. In the commentary on the Bhasvoti, it is declared that Vara’-ha was the author of the Surya-Siddhanta. The Bhasvoti was written in the year 1021 of. Saka, by one Sotanund, who, according to Hindu accounts, was a pupil of Vara’-ha under whose directions, he himself declares he wrote that work. Consequently Vara’-ha must have been then alive, or else a very short time before it; which agrees, as near as possibly can be, with the age above deduced; for the Bhasvoti, in 1799, will be exactly 700 years old.”
“ From what has been said above, it appears extremely probable, that the name of Vara-ha must have been to the Surya-Siddhanta when it was first written, and the author.well known; but that, after his death, priestcraft found means to alter it, and to introduce the ridiculous story of Meya or Moya having received it through Divine revelation at the close of the Satya-yug ; upon which petty fiction its present pretended antiquity is founded. But this, it seems, was not the only pious fraud committed by the crafty sons of Brahma, for it appears that a number of other astronomical works were then framed, calculated also for the purpose of deception. Among these, some were pretended to be delivered from the mouth of one or other of their deities, as the Brahma-Siddhanta, Vishnu-Siddhanta; and the works of Siva, commonly called Toutros," &c. &c. &c.
On this extract any comment would be superfluous. I shall therefore only subjoin the following query, which, essential as it obviously is to the decision of the question, has not yet, so far as I know, received an answer; nor, indeed, am I aware that it ever has been put by any of the numerous authors who have treated of Indian literature, with the single exception of Mr. Pinkerton, in his Geography. Upon what sort of materials are
• The following are Mr. Pinkerton's words :-" The Hindoos are ignorant of the Chinese art of printing, and the materials used in their manuscripts seem very perishable; nor have we any rules for determining the antiquity of these manuscripts. To an exact inquirer this would have been the first topic of investigation ;
the most ancient records of Sanscrit learning preserved, and by what criteria are the Bramins enabled to judge of the antiquity of manuscripts ? According to the best accounts, they have none of these tests to which European scholars and antiquaries are accustomed to have recourse on similar occasions. Dr. Francis Buchanan, the accuracy of whose details, on all matters which fell under his personal observation in India, is universally admitted, informs us, that “the greater part of the Bengal manuscripts, owing to the badness of the paper, require to be copied at least once in ten years, as they will in that climate preserve no longer.' He observes farther, “Every copyist, it is to bę suspected, adds to old books whatever discoveries he makes, relinquishing his immediate reputation for learning, in order to promote the grand and profitable employment of his sect, the delusion of the multitude.'
The historical detail into which I have entered, (see pp. 75, 76, 77,) with respect to the ancient intercourse between the Greek colony at Bactriana, and the inhabitants of Hindostan, throws a strong light upon Gibbon's conjecture concerning the source of Indian science. When we consider how long the intercourse between Greece and India subsisted, we must be satisfied, not only of the probability of a great influx of light from the former country into the latter, but of the absolute impossibility that this should not have taken place. Even in the army which accompanied Alexander, we may
but it has, on the contrary, been completely neglected. We have merely the bold assertions of Bramins, eagerly imbibed by European credulity, instead of successive arguments and prodfs.”—Vol. I. p. 718. “The Bramins,” he adds, " are more conversant in quadrillioos, trillions, and billions, than in discussing the little dates of European scholars.”-Ibid. p. 739.
Essay on the Literature of the Burmas.-Asiatic Researches, Vol. VI. 8vo. ed. Having given so much countenance to the doubts which have been raised with respect to the records of Indian literature, it is but fair to direct the attention of the reader to what has been very ably urged on the opposite side of the question by Mr. Colebrooke, in a paper on the Vedas, or Sacred Writings of the Hindus.-Asiatic Researches, Vol. VIII, p. 377. VOL. III.
safely assume, that there were many well acquainted with all the philosophical opinions of the Grecian schools. With the history of one learned individual, rendered memorable by Alexander's cruelty, every reader is acquainted. I allude to Callisthenes, the nephew of Aristotle, who, I think, may not unreasonably be conjectured to have been one of those who instructed the Bramins in the use of the syllogism. Sir William Jones, indeed, seems to lean to the opposite supposition, for he mentions “ a tradition which prevailed, according to the well informed author of the Dabistan, in the Panjab, and in several Persian provinces, that, among other Indian curiosities which Callisthenes transmitted to his uncle, was a technical system of logic, which the Bramins had communicated to the inquisitive Greek, and which the Mahomedan writer supposes to have been the ground-work of the famous Aristotelian method.” But, surely, if the name of Callisthenes was any how coupled in the Indian traditions with the syllogistic logic, it is much more probable that he was remembered rather as the person who first introduced into India a knowledge of that art, than as an inquisitive Greek, distinguished, during his stay with Alexander's army, by his logical curiosity. In the former case his memory must necessarily have been revered among the learned; in the latter case, his name, if at all heard of, was not likely to produce any permanent impression.
To this we may add, the utter impossibility that Callisthenes should have alone acquired his syliogistic knowledge, while all the rest of Alexander's army remained totally ignorant upon the subject; and the absurdity of supposing that Aristotle should venture to lay claim to this invention as his own, when so many of his countrymen were still alive who could so easily expose the falsehood of his pretensions.
The question, whether the Indians derived their knowledge of the syllogism from Greece, or the Greeks from India, I had occasion to start in the second volume of this work. The more I reflect on the subject, I am the more convinced of the improbability of the latter supposition ; and, indeed, the considerations stated