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OF HINDU LAW . , 145 








1. Dialogues on the Hindu Philosophy : comprising the Nydya, Sdnkhya, 
the Veddnt ; to which is added a discussion of the authority of the 
Vedds. By Rev. K. M. BANEEJEA, Second Professor of Bishop's 
College, Calcutta, London, 1861. 

2. A Rational Refutation of the Hindu Philosophical Systems. By 
NEHEMIAH NILAKANTHA SASTRI GORE. Translated from the original 
Hindi, printed and manuscript, by Fitz-Edward Hall, D.C.L., Oxon., 
H.M.'s Inspector of Public Instruction for the Central Provinces. 
Calcutta. 1862. 

3. The Chhdndoyya Upanishad of the Sdma Veda, with extracts from 
the Commentary of Sankara Achdrya. Translated from the original 
Sanskrits,, by RAJENDRALALA MITRA. Calcutta. 1862. 

OURS is an age of unbelief. Meteors do not warn us ; eclipses of sun 
and moon have lost for us their power of prognostication. We have 
fowls, like the ancient Romans, but they do not, as Pliny says, " daily 
govern the minds of our rulers "(hi magistratus nostros quotidie regunt). 
"\Ve kill and roast oxen and sheep, but there is no haruspex or thyoskoos 
to enlighten us on the mystical properties of their entrails, or on those 
of the smoke ascending from their flesh. Ants, spiders, and bees, 
VOL. II. / 1 


which had so much to tell in olden times, are silent now about future 
events ; and though the aged portion of our fair sex seems still to 
adhere to the mysterious rules on omens and portents laid down in the 
learned works of Atreya, Charaka, Susruta, and other fathers of Hindu 
medicine, we have still a doubt whether it is powerful enough to arrest 
the sceptical bias of this age. Nevertheless there are signs which we 
should do well to dwell upon with the same awe as our forefathers did 
when a comet made its sudden appearance on their horizon. 

Five years have passed since we quelled that untoward rebellion "of 
India. Then, we said, it was the inferior race which dared to feel 
dissatisfied with the governing wisdom of its superiors. Men, deficient 
in religious notions, with a literature not worth considering, with 
institutions not heard of in civilized Europe, with laws of inheritance 
and adoption so inconvenient to the Indian Exchequer, had the pre- 
sumption to give vent to a feeling of treasonable uneasiness, utterly 
unjustified, and therefore deserving the severest punishment. We 
' have grown wiser since. We now remember that vast and wonderful 
literature of ancient India, which still fertilizes the native mind ; we 
no longer close our ears to the numerous witnesses, dead and living, 
wliich testify to the superior intelligence and capacities of the Hindu 
race ; wo begin to admit that the institutions and laws dating from im- 
memorial times and outlasting all the vicissitudes of Indian history 
must be congenial to the nation that reverses and upholds them so 
tenaciously ; nay, humbly mindful of our own religious perplexities, we 
have thought it the wiser course to allow the Hindus themselves to 
settle their own mode of attaining eternal bliss. 

" We desire," says Her Majesty, in that memorable Proclamation of 
the 1st November, 1858, which will ever be quoted to the glory of her 
reign, and to the honour of the Minister who then presided in her 
Councils of India 


" We desire," says Her Majesty to the Princes, Chiefs, and People 
of India, " no extension of our present territorial possessions ; and 
while we permit no aggression on our dominions or our rights to be 
attempted with impunity, we shall sanction no encroachment on those 
of others. We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honour of our 
native princes as our own ; and we desire that they, as well as our 
own subjects, should enjoy that prosperity and social advancement 
which can only be secured by internal peace and good government. . . . 

" Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknow- 
ledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right 
and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects. We 
declare it to be our Royal will and pleasure that none be anywise 
favoured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their religious faith 
or observances, but all shall alike enjoy the equal or impartial pro- 
tection of the law ; and we do strictly charge and enjoin all those who 
may be in authority under us, that they abstain from all interference 
with the religious belief or worship of our subjects, on pain of our 
highest displeasure. 

" And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of 
whatever race or creed, be freely and partially admitted to offices in 
our service, the duties of which they may be qualified by their educa- 
tion, ability and integrity duly to discharge. . . . 

"We know and respect the feelings of attachment with which the 
natives of India regard the lands inherited by them from their ances- 
tors, and we desire to protect them in all rights connected therewith, 
subject to the equitable demands of the State ; and we will that gene- 
rally in framing and administering the law, due regard be paid to the 
ancient rights, usages, and customs of India." 

It would be in vain to deny that these words have become the Magna 


Charta of India ; and it would be dangerous to misunderstand the signs 
which have risen on the political horizon of that country since they 
struck root in the native mind. The Hindus have ceased to look upon 
themselves as inferior in rights to their fellow-subjects in Europe. 
Their'princes, undeterred by adverse decisions of former governments, 
firmly renew their claims, and plead them before the people of England ; 
their native associations hold meetings, discuss and issue reports of the 
acts of Government, which, rival in their form and contents the pro- 
ceedings of the British Parliament ; their press, though loyal, has 
grown manly, and their political agents in this country offer us the 
novel and instructive spectacle of convening meetings of Englishmen 
and of enlightening them on the actual position, the wishes, the rights, 
and the claims of their countrymen. But whereas those who were in 
the habit of looking down upon native talent and native acquirements 
may feel surprised when hearing Hindu politicians descant on inter- 
national law, with quotations from Grotius, Puffenderf, Vattel, Donat, 
and Wheaton, others will probably find not less ground for reflection 
when they discover that religious questions also are dealt with now by 
native writers in a spirit and with an amount of European erudition 
winch hitherto seemed to have been the exclusive privilege of western 

W hile contenting ourselves for the present with these general 
remarks on the important political changes which are shadowed forth 
by the actual movements in India, we intend in this article to draw 
the attention of our readers to that remarkable religious feature of 
Hindu development just alluded to. 

Of all problems concerning the future of India the most pro- 
blematical at all times has been the religious one. No government, 
uh.-tlicr Mohammedan or Christian, ever approached it without the 
strongest misgivings ; and no government has hitherto been able to 


offer any solution of it. We are neither surprised at the attempt nor 
at the failure. We comprehend that every one who, either through his 
personal intercourse or through his studies, has become acquainted with 
the actual religious condition of India, must consider it unsatisfactory 
in the highest degree ; but we understand, too, that neither a foreign 
government nor foreign zeal apparently possesses the means of im- 
proving it. A creed, however objectionable to those who do not share 
in it, is always congenial to the mental condition of its professor. 
Beyond all things it is his property ; and that property, too, which no 
oppressor can seize or annihilate. It must be valuable, since it can 
resist al] might ; and its value increases in proportion to the strength 
which oppression gains. No foreign law, no dictatorial force has ever 
modified the essential aspect of Hindu religion, beyond trifling changes 
illusory in themselves. Nor need we speak of the result which per- 
suasion has obtained when laws have been ineffectual. Of the various 
causes which have produced its failure we need mention only one, which, 
in most instances, has been all-powerful we mean ignorance. With- 
out inquiring into that which it was intended to substitute for the creed 
to be removed, we may fairly assert that scarcely any one of those 
zealous men who have set out on their missionary tasks had ever under- 
taken to study the rise, the progress, and the decline of Hindu religion. 
Appearances alone have captivated their minds, and in appearances 
only have their successes resulted. " Our religion is that of the East 
India Company," was the satisfactory answer given to one of these 
successful missionaries when examining his converted flock before the 
bishop of his diocese ; and experience shows that this answer holds 
practically good in nearly all other cases in which the worshipper of 
Brahma, Vishnu, or Siva, has learned to adore the Christian Trinity. 
To show a pious Hindu that he might abandon his rites without 
forfeiting salvation, required more than a superficial discourse on their 


futility ; to persuade an orthodox Brahmin that neither Vishnu nor Siva 
is the creator of the world, necessitated at least a knowledge of what 
Vibhnu and Siva are ; and such a knowledge would have compelled the 
missionary to ascend the height of Hindu antiquity, to study the Vedas 
and the numerous writings connected with it, to descend from it to the 
mediaeval period of Hindu civilization, and to follow its meandering 
course through all the intricacies of Sanskrit literature. It is needless 
to say that the acquirement of such a knowledge was hardly ever 
dreamt of by any of those who meant to convince the Hindus of the 
errors of their various creeds. 

We consider it therefore a new and remarkable phase in the develop- 
ment of India, not only that researches of the most arduous kind have 
been commenced in order to pave the way to that knowledge, but that 
native scholars of position and learning take upon themselves the task 
which has hitherto engaged the activity of European missionaries. It 
is a first-fruit we reap from the wisdom of the Royal proclamation. 
Conversion having ceased to be the means of obtaining or granting 
favours, the native mind will listen to its indigenous teachers without 
passion or mistrust, and in their turn English statesmen will have 
better opportunities for studying the minds of the Hindus by listening 
to their own scholars, than by learning the views too often tainted by 
partiality of European philanthropists. 

We have placed at the head of this article the titles of two works, 
which illustrate what we have just called the new phase of the religious 
condition of India. Both works are written by native scholars of great 
accomplishment, and, though differing in their intrinsic value, tend 
towards the same goal. The " Dialogues on the Hindu Philosophy," 
by Mr. Banerjea, it is true, is the more learned and the more com- 
prehensive of the two ; it is more attractive in its form, and it has the 
advantage also of having been written in the masterly English in 


which it is presented to the public by the author himself, who gives 
ample proof that he combines in a high degree the erudition of a Hindu 
Pandit with that of an English Professor. On the other hand, the 
" Rational Refutation of the Hindu Philosophical Systems," by Mr. 
Nehemiah Nilakantha Sastri Gore, originally composed in Hindi, and 
translated by Dr. Hall, not only enjoyed the benefit of the numerous 
and valuable remarks of this accomplished scholar, but, as it seems to 
us, addresses itself more to the understanding and the training of the 
Hindus, than its more refined rival, which, on account of its superior 
merits, will necessarily be less appreciated in its own country than with 
us. When we mention, moreover, that both authors the one tracing 
his pedigree to the oldest Brahmanic families of ancient India have 
embraced the Christian religion in preference to that of their ancestors, 
we need not add that their conclusions are in favour of the creed they 
now profess. 

It is essential, however, for a proper and due appreciation of their 
elaborate works, that no misunderstanding should exist in our reader's 
mind as to what we mean by the creed of their ancestors. As we shall 
enter more fully on this question in the course of these pages, it will 
suffice for the present to observe that the ancient religion of India has 
become gradually changed into the double form of an exoteric and 
esoteric creed. The worshippers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva in a 
great variety of forms in which these deities represent themselves to 
the native imagination, the adorers of the Saktis or female energies of 
these gods, of the Sun, Ganesa, and a number of other beings all 
pretend that their mode of worship is founded on, and countenanced 
by, their revealed sacred writings, the Vedas, though its immediate 
source is to be found in the Puranas. These represent what we may 
call the creed of the masses, inasmuch as it appeals to the grosser 
capacities of human understanding. The esoteric creed of the Hindus 


likewise appealing to the Vedas, is essentially philosophical. It pro- 
fesses to express the real meaning of these sacred works, by reducing 
their myths to allegories, and by proving that their essence is the 
rine of one God, the creator of the universe and the source of 
eternal bliss. Like Sankariicharya one of the greatest Hindu divines, 
the professors of this creed admit the utility, and, as the case may be 
: the necessity, of a sensual description of worship, as suited to the 
intellect of those who are not fitted for the unalloyed reception of 
eternal truth ; but their object is gradually to elevate the mind of the 
masses, to wean it from rites based, as they argue, on the misinterpre- 
tation of their holy scriptures, and to prepare it for a pure conception 
of the deity. Amongst these, the followers of the Vedanta philosophy 
occupy the foremost rank, and exercise the greatest influence, so much 
so that this esoteric creed may be identified to a certain degree with 
the tenets of the Vedanta philosophy. 

It is to this philosophical form of Hindu religion that the " Dialogues " 
and the "Refutations" are addressed. They do not condescend to 
deal with the worshippers of Vishnu, Siva, and their kin. For as 
their object is to penetrate to the root of Hindu thought, it becomes 
superfluous for them to lop branches without a stem. Or, to speak in 
plainer terms : since they endeavour to prove not only that the doctrine 
of all Hindu philosophies, the Vedanta included, is erroneous, but that 
the very source whence they profess to flow, the Veda, is devoid of 
authority and unworthy of belief, the whole Hindu Pantheon according 
to them loses its prop and tumbles to the ground. 

It is the unenviable fate of those who, while dealing with matters of 

Hindu religion or Hindu literature, claim attention beyond the narrow 

of professional students of Indian antiquity, to have always to 

fciu-c their statements with precautions which, in kindred and familiar 

matters, would be tedious and superfluous. Thus we believe that, in 


spite of all the encouragement which the study of Sanskrit and Sanskrit 
literature lias of late years received at the hands of the Indian Govern- 
ment, such precaution cannot yet safely be altogether dispensed with 
when it is necessary to deal freely with such terms as Veda and Hindu 
philosophies. Veda will no doubt represent to the popular mind some 
book like the Bible or the Koran, and with an expression like Hindu 
philosophies, it probably combines ideas like those suggested by the 
philosophy of Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, or to speak in homelier 
language, of Bacon, Locke, or Hume. Above all things, it will readily 
imagine some safe or at least some probable date by which we may not 
only assign a fixed position to these works in Hindu literature, but 
also determine the relation which they hold to one another, and the 
influence which the earlier writer exercised on the minds of his suc- 
cessors. We must at the outset, therefore, destroy such illusions 
wherever they may exist. We shall have to mention that the Veda is 
no wise comparable to the sacred writings of Jews, Mohammedans, or 
Christians ; and we will at once confess that no one has as yet been 
able to connect any personage in the historical sense of the word 
with any of these writings, or the text books of modern philosophy, or 
to prove at which period of Hindu antiquity they were composed. Nor 
do the materials known to us justify more than theories on the relative 
position occupied by the three great branches of Hindu philosophy. 
So antagonistic is this utter mysteriousness of historical data in Indian 
literature with the matter-of-fact predilections of the European mind, 
that even conscientious writers on Sanskrit literature thought it indis- 
pensable to their task to lay before their readers at least some con. 
jectural date of the antiquarian subject they were treating of; and so 
easily do personal opinions skilfully expressed become invested with 
the authority of proof, that authors drawing their information from 
these writers have transformed their imaginary dates into historical 


definitions of time. It is necessary, therefore, for the formation of a 
proper judgment, to reduce these speculations, however interesting in 
many respects, to their real value, and to free our notions from the 
fetters they may impose. 

We notice on these grounds with peculiar pleasure the soher and 
cautious manner in which the reverend professor has dealt with ques- 
tions like these, and though we differ in various respects from the views 
he has expressed and the judgment he has passed, we cannot do better 
than attach our own remarks to the summary and ingenious sketch he 
has given in the commencement of his " Dialogues " of the rise and 
progress of Hindu theology and philosophy. 

" The division of our Vedas," Mr. Banerjea writes (p. 41), "it is 
well known, is twofold, into Mantras and Brahmanas. The former may 
generally be considered devotional, the latter ceremonial and dogmatic. 
As for the short treatises called Upanishads, they are, with a few 
exceptions, appendices to the dogmatic parts, and, like codicils of wills, 
are held to be the most recent, and therefore the most matured, 
expositions of the authors' minds. They profess to be repositories 
of para mdya or superior knowledge, and look down on the great 
bulk of the Vedas as apard, or inferior. They contain some rude 
indications of philosophic thought, and, like the twinklings of stars in 
a dark night, may occasionally serve as guides in a history of Hiudu 
philosophy. They 'do not, however, exhibit any great attempt at 
method, arrangement, classification, or argument. Even there the 
poetry predominates over the logic. Bold ideas abruptly strike your 
fancy, but you find no clue to the associations which called them forth 
in the author's mind, and search in vain for the reasons on which they 
were based. Sublime thoughts are not wanting, but they resemble 
sudden flashes, at which you may gaze for a moment, but are imme- 


diately after left in deeper darkness than ever. Nor are they free from 
those irregular nights of the imagination in which poets,, with vitiated 
tastes, delight to indulge, setting at defiance all rules of decency and 

"The Upanishads appear from their language and style to have 
been the latest, and the Mantras the earliest, of Vedic compositions. 
It may be a delicate question, but it is one which ought not to be un- 
fairly suppressed, whether the authors of the earliest compositions, the 
Mantras, profess to have written them down as inspired records. You 
are fond of saying that they were breathed out by Brahma at the 
time of the Creation, and yet you speak of the Rishi of each Mantra. 
The Mantra itself is such that its Eishi may well be supposed to have 
composed and chanted it, and there is nothing as to matter and style 
which could possibly require divine illumination. That our ancestors 
looked on the Vedas with such reverence is no marvel. The Vedas 
were the first national efforts in the department of literature. In the 
infancy of literature, the ignorant, who did not know how to read or 
write, would naturally look upon those mysterious talents as divine 
endowments, as especial instances of Saraswati's grace. They would 
accordingly feel a sort of religious veneration for such gifted and 
highly favoured persons, and consider their writings as divine inspi- 

(P. 46) : *' Between that period and the age of the Darsanas, 
however, a tremendous revolution had taken place in the opinion of 
men. From extreme credulity to extreme infidelity the transition is 
easy. Those who were called upon to render implicit obedience to the 
Brahminical college, began to question the very foundations of sacer- 
dotal authority. The Brahminical hierarchy had become so powerful 
as to set the sovereignty of kings and princes at defiance. The fear 
of incurring their malediction an anathema the effects of which 


hatmi the priest-ridden 
byjrfg^lf ever tfc*y set themselves 
to ofpesitioo to Brahmins/ , , , , At length, however, a prince 
wse to the wyal Itoe of Ikshwaku, determined to dissolve the charm 
by^eh the mtods eT men were held in servitude to the Brahmins, 
SAkys Mtrai imposed en himself the task of reforming 

to te I4l fprto, n4 the *ctoT priiril^f arrogated Vjr 
tU Brabwirw to W ^wi/t/ ixeton&nm. He MMtled the authority of 

>.'.': ' ;, f, '.,:: '.:. .'.,.<.:. -.',:', :/'/':. .-,,: . :'.!>-. '.' . -'. 'J . iJ '>'' . .' '\ 

that th^ divwkw of out** wa * mere hurnaw iofeiition, and iovitod 
U nmto to iMMnble 4er hw tome** on a footittg of equality. The 
Brahmin* add that he atoo denied the immortality of the wl, and 
pwootmeed the expectation of a future world to he a rain reverie, 
Whether Bu4%*m WM really liable to the charge of materialiim pre- 
ferred again** it by the BrahmitM or not, it certainly had no divine 
n to plead for it tpport f nor could it appeal to any tradition 
in it* fa /old onlyttand on it* //,,/-/ pretentione, The 

/ ami metaphy*icf wa* therefore atoolutdy needed 


tty fife foeycotjl'i n,,,,.:,i iy,,i, i,-. i, \, lt ih- -j.n.'.n rmtro?eiei 
<"< thj wlutioB j deuhi i But ri* n rereltiion ITM ignored, 'ii^.ut^ 
could only be settled by the rerdict of ruwi. The nece*iitief o f 
rendered the cultiration of logic and metophyic dw>l 
W, and thuf were the tot attempt! at philosophy called 
forth ifl Mb . . ." 

are qtMtion f as to the chronological position of the 

'''"" 1! ""'" I-'- .-ud on their eont<:< 


(P. 'f our six Ditrsantis or schools of philosophy, two, those 

of .laimini and Vyasa, are generally considered orthodox; while the 
other lour are looked upon with great suspicion by the Brahmins them- 
selves. I think that the Darsanas of Jaimini and Vyasa .called the 
Former and Latter Mimansas. or dividers'' were written with a view to 
correct the errors of their predecessors, and were of more recent date 
than the rest. The Nyaya and the Sankhya are in fact a sort of 
compromise between Brahminism and Buddhism. They contain as 
much of the Buddhist clement as could be held without danger to 
Brahminieal supremacy. The authors profess to uphold the ^ 
because experience had taught them that the dignity of their order could 
not be maintained without the Veda; and they inculcate the reality of 
future states of life against the Buddhists. But the spirit of their 
teaching is quite as hostile to the ritual of the Veda as that of Buddhism. 
we. therefore, that the Nyaya and Sankhya were amongst the 
fruits of the Brahminical intellect when it sought to enlist the aid 
of rationalism in the service of the Brahininical order. As to the 
question of priority between the two systems themselves, the fact of one 
of the Sankhya Sutras making plain reference to the Nyaya, and 
speaking of its ^i.rtt't'n topi. red as decisive proof ill 

favor of the Nyaya. Such evidence, it is true, is far from being con- 
clusive, because there hate been many interpolations ; but tlu 
the least controversial among the systems, and there is no reason of 
any cogency tor rejecting the authenticity of the Sankhya Sutra in 
ion. The Nyaya may therefore be considered the first production 
of Brahininical philosophy after the overthrow of Buddhism in India, 
ce of Buddhism had convinced the Brahmins of the use 
of metaphysics in conducting controversies, and e\ 

.lions; and of the risks they ran of winning the contempt of the 
community by confining their attention to the simple ritual of the 


Vedas. The Nyaya, with its orderly array of scientific terms, its 
physics, logic, and metaphysics, was manifestly fitted to train and 
quicken the intellectual powers. While heresy had been rampant, the 
vast majority of the Brahminical order were unable to think for them- 
selves, or unlearn prejudices already instilled into their minds. The 
reasons for which Sudras were relieved from the task of intellectual 
exercises, were becoming more and more applicable to the twice-horn 
classes. Traditional teaching, and the prescribed ritual, received with 
implicit submission, were fast incapacitating them for vigorous mental 
labour. If the servile tribes had a routine of duties made ready for 
them, the higher grades had also their routine, not indeed of servile 
attendance on human superiors, but of endless rites and ceremonies no 
less enslaving to the mind. As far as intellectual activity is concerned, 
the distinction between Brahmins and Sudras had become almost 

" The author of the Nyaya would no doubt have the satisfaction of 
believing that his new system would arrest the progress of heresy, and 
prevent the gradual decline of the orthodox intellect. If the Brahmin's 
mind continued to be stinted by the discipline of the Vedas, in the 
same manner as the Sudra's was by the authority of the twice-born, 
what real difference would here remain between the highest and the 
lowest tribes ? Implicit submission of intellect was exacted from both. 
Was it at all wonderful, then, that heresy stalked abroad, and that 
many Brahmins had themselves fallen into the snare ? Could minds of 
any activity acquiesce in the above restrictions? Must they not 
meditate on the wonders of the creation, except as the antiquated 
Vedas directed them ? And must they always interpret the Vedas in 
the monotonous way taught by the old Rishis ? Orthodox philosophers 
accordingly came forward to supply the craving of the Brahminical 
mind, without endangering the stability of the Brahminical order. 


They did not seem to think very highly of the Vedas, but were unwill- 
ing to renounce those time-honoured compositions 

(P. 55) : " The same desire of humouring the prejudices of the times, 
led them to promise supreme felicity as the reward of philosophical 
speculation. Nothing short of the summum bonum was considered as 
sufficient recompense for the trouble it imposed. That the sentiment 
of religion predominated in the minds of our ancestors, is evident from 
the spirit of our ancient literature. It indicates a feeling of dependence 
on supernatural powers, which is equalled only by the contempt the 
authors expressed for the perishable objects of the world. Philosophers 
perhaps imagined that whether they treated on the highest truths 
which could concern human nature, or merely speculated on the 
quality of earth and water, they could never find an audience, unless 
they held out hopes of everlasting welfare as the end of their 
investigations. In the estimation of their contemporaries, no inferior 
boon was worth the trouble. The offer of such spiritual rewards on 
the part of philosophers, for investigations chiefly physical, at best 
metaphysical, though it must be accepted as a pleasing testimony to 
the religious feelings of our predecessors, was productive of conse- 
quences very much to be regretted. Physics, metaphysics, and 
theology were confounded in one mass. While the most trifling points 
of inquiry .... were prosecuted with some feeling of religious awe, 
questions of really vital importance, which regarded the existence and 
attributes of God, and the permanent interests of the soul, were 
necessarily robbed of their due solemnity. Theology and physics being 
placed on the same level, the former could challenge no greater degree 
of attention than was accorded to the latter. The degradation of the 
one, and the undue exaltation of the other, were the natural conse- 
quences." . . . 

(P. 58): " Gotama directed the attention of the Brahmins to the 


several branches of human knowledge which he thought were calculated 
to strengthen the intellect, and enable it to conduct polemical discus- 
sions with advantage. He classified them under sixteen topics, which 
he enumerates in his first aphorism." . . . 

" Kanada's system (the Vaiseshika] is considered a branch of the 
Nvfiya. His theory is what we call the Atomic a theory which was 
simply hinted at by Gotama (the founder of the Nyaya). ... His 
categories and his classification of causes bear a similar resemblance to 
those of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, while his mode of accounting 
for the origin of the world, by the combination of atoms, is almost 
identical with that of a sect of ancient European philosophers, the 
Epicureans, as represented by Lucretius. . . . He does not seem to 
have entertained the idea of a self-existent Supreme Intelligence exist- 
ing in the world. 

(P. 64) : " . . . Kapila came forward next with his remedy for the 
three/old evils of life, which neither the Vedas nor the common sense 
of mankind had been able to remove. Who this Kapila was, and 
when he lived, is equally uncertain with the age and personality of 
Gotama. . . . Kapila went the length of denying outright the exist- 
ence of the Deity. The wonder is that he is still ranked among orthodox 
philosophers, and not denounced as a teacher of heresy, like the Budd- 
hists. With Kapila there could be no real freedom if a person were 
subject to a desire or motive. The soul being essentially free, is, 
according to his theory, incapable of volition. It is uddsin, or perfectly 
unmindful of the external. It is a simple witness. He accordingly 
argues that since no thinking agent performs an action without a 
motive, the soul could not be supposed to be the CREATOR without 
being subject to a motive or desire. Such subjection, however, would 
imply a bondage, and detract from its freedom, and, by necessary con- 
sequence, from its power. If it had the desire, it would be wanting in 


the power and if it had the power, that is to say perfect freedom, it 
would not have the will. Hence a thinking agent would not if he 
could, and could not if he would, create the universe. The acuteness 
displayed in this argument is indisputable, but subtlety and profundity 
are not synonymous." . . . 

(P. 68) : " The objects of knowledge are, according to Kapila's 
arrangement, twenty-five. Prakriti, or nature, defined to be the 
equipoise of the three qualities of excellence, foulness, and darkness, is 
the first, as Purusha, or soul, is the last. The intervening twenty- 
three are mahat, or intelligence ; ahankdra, or self-consciousness ; the 
five tanmdtra or subtle elements, eleven organs inclusive of the mind, 
and the five gross elements. Of these, Prakriti, the rootless root, is the 
first cause of all things ; while Purusha, or soul, is a simple witness. 
Both are eternal: but the former, inanimate and non-sentient, is 
prolific and active ; the latter, intelligent and sentient, is non-productive, 
because free and indifferent. Prakriti, however, creates for the soul 
and in its vicinity. 

" The atheistic part of Kapila's system was rectified by a mystic 
Rishi of the name of Patanjala, who unmistakeably inculcated the 
existence of Iswara or God, and whose system has consequently been 
called Seswara or theistical. It must, however, be confessed, injustice 
to Kapila, that Patanjala does not attribute the creation to his Iswara. 
His definition of Iswara corresponds exactly to Kapila's idea of the 
soul, viz., ' untouched by troubles, works, fruits, or deserts.' The only 
difference is that Patanjala considers him to be the Guru, or master, 
of * even the elder beings,' merely acknowledging one spirit as supreme 
over the rest. The non-acknowledgment of some such Supreme Being 
was a glaring inconsistency in Kapila, when nevertheless he contended 
for the authority of the Vedas. Who could have inspired the Vedas if 
there were no Supreme Being ? Patanjala's is thoroughly a mystical 
VOL. IL 2 


system. It consists mainly of some vague rules of yoga, or a sort of 
mental aud corporeal discipline, which cannot be considered as other 

than chimerical." 

(P. 75) : " When Jaimini came forward with his Mimdnsd, or decider, 
he was probably desirous of mediating between the controversalists that 
preceded him, and hoped to determine questions which had so long 
agitated the Brahminical mind. He could not fail to see that neither 
the Vedas, nor the institutions they supported, could stand long if the 
Nyaya and Sankhya were to direct the Indian intellect. Barren specu- 
lations, he thought, had been abundantly indulged. Topics, categories, 
and principles had been sufficiently discussed. What was the result ? 
They had introduced some technical terms, and taught some contro- 
versial tactics ; but they gave little or no assistance in the discovery 
of the truth which those terms and tactics were intended to 

guard He commenced his Mimdnsd with the enunciation of 

Duty, the only topic he had to propound If Jaimini had carried 

out his proposal of considering the nature of duty in a truly philo- 
sophical spirit, he might have greatly contributed to the improvement 

of the Indian mind Had Jaimini laboured in a similar way to 

strengthen those moral principles which the Almighty had implanted 
in the human mind, he might have met with a success honourable to 
himself and beneficial to the nation ; but a servile adherence to the 
Vedic ritual had unfitted his mind for such speculations. Jaimini had 
no other idea of duty than as an injunction of the Sruti ; and that 
apart from any notion of its Inspirer, or his Will. We have seen pre- 
viously how Kapila could admit the Vedas as an authority, without a 
Supreme Intelligence to inspire it. We observe a similar anomaly in 
Jaimini. He urges the consideration of DUTY, without caring for any 
to whom it may be due. He contends for the authorized Veda without 
an authorize)-, for a law without a lawgiver, a revelation without a 


GOD To say that Dharma (duty) signifies an injunction of the 

Veda, can only be intelligible in the sense of its involving the will of 
the AUTHOE of the Veda. Jaimini, however, has said nothing as to its 
AUTHOE, nor while talking of its eternity, as Sabda, or the word, has 
he made mention of any co-eternal Intelligence uttering or revealing it. 
His Sutras are so vague on this point, and on the existence and 
providence of God, that, for anything which may be adduced to the 
contrary, he may be called a second Kapila, maintaining the authority 
of the Veda without admitting His existence, without whom no com- 
position can be produced to be inspired That the Mimansa 

of Jaimini met with no success in settling the questions so long 

controverted is no marvel (p. 80.) Vydsa, the well-known 

compiler of the Vedas, accordingly put forth a second decider, the 
Uttara Mimansa, or Vedanta, in which the old pantheistic doctrine of 
the Upanishads was reproduced. Not to give an uncertain sound like 
Jaimini on such a cardinal point in theology as the existence of a 
Supreme Intelligence, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, he 
propounded that as the most prominent, and the only great, idea per- 
vading his system. But if there can be no mistake as to the idea of a 
GOD in his doctrine, it is neutralized, if not nullified, by the identity of 
that God with everything else with the whole visible world. He 
inculcates the existence of one sole essence, manifesting or producing 
itself in the form of the universe before our eyes. If Brahma is the 
efficient cause or creator of the world, he is also its substance, as the 
gold is of the bracelet. This identity of the universe with God pre- 
cludes the idea of duty on the part of the creation towards the Creator 

quite as effectually as does Jaimini's theory The doctrine 

which Vyasa brought to light from the depths of the Veda, is no other 
than the teaching of the Upanishad, that this universe is God that 
the things made and their Maker are identical that the human soul is 


one and the same with the Divine spirit. The doctrine is held in two 
different ways. One way is the Parinama Vdda, which, acknowledging 
the reality of the visible universe while it identifies it with God, pro- 
nounces it to be a formation or development of Himself. The other is 
the Vivarta Vdda, which, maintaining that the one eternal essence, 
Brahma, manifests himself in various illusory forms, denies the real 
existence of any substance which is not God, and holds the visible 
world to be a mere shadow or Maya, such as the reflections of the sun 

and moon in water All ideas of duty and responsibility are 

openly repudiated in the Vedantism of Vyasa. The human soul and 
the Divine Spirit being identical, how can there be an obligation on 
the part of the one to the other? How or whom can one mind or 
despise ? ' Here,' says Sankara, ' there is no admission of even a smell 
of works.' Good manners and good works are, however, declared to be 
useful for the attainment of true knowledge." 

We have made this long quotation from the interesting work of Mr. 
Banerjea, not only because it contains the nucleus of the ideas developed, 
explained, and illustrated in his " Dialogues," but because we are not 
aware that any writer before him has ever attempted to give so con- 
tinuous and graphic a sketch of the origin and sequence of the various 
portions of Hindu philosophy as is presented here in the foregoing 
extracts. But we should fail in doing justice to him did we not add to 
them at once the views he takes of the authority of the Veda. After 
having refuted the arguments of several writers who contend for the 
omniscience and the eternity of the Veda, he asks (p. 485) : 

" What can the Vedas possibly be in the conception of Brahminical 
philosophers ? Not the word of God, not a revelation of His will 
such as is needed for our guidance under bewildering circumstances, 
but something which, certain of them affirm, mechanically issued from 


Brahma, like smoke from burning fuel; something which, others 
declare, was educed from the elements ; something which, others again 
tell us, is eternal and independent of a cause. But what that thing is 
it is impossible to gather from them, unless it be a charm or talisman. 
They talk of it as articulate sound ; but what is articulate sound with- 
out a sounder or utterer ? and they all identify it with Rich, Yaj us, 
Saman, and Atharvan. Singularly enough they know nothing about 

the date or circumstances of these compositions Again I ask, 

what are the Vedas ? In the -Satapatha Brahmana it is said : "He 
(Prajapati) brooded, &c. over i.e. [infused warmth into] these three 
worlds. From them, thus brooded over, three lights were produced 
fire, this which purifies (i.e. pavana, or the air), and the sun. He 
brooded over these three lights. From them so brooded over, the three 
seeds were produced." .... What were these productions? Mere 
sounds, or writings on paper or palm-leaf ? In either case how could 
they be generated by brooding over fire and the sun? .... The 
Chhandogya and Manu speak in a similar way of the origin of the 
Vedas. Kulluka Bhatta, in explanation of the difficulty we have stated, 
says : " The sanre Vedas which existed in the previous mundane era 
(Kalpa) were preserved in the memory of the omniscient Brahma, who 
was one with the Supreme Spirit. It was those same Vedas that, in 
the beginning of the present Kalpa, he drew forth from fire, air, and 
the sun ; and this dogma, which is founded upon the Veda, is not to be 
questioned ; for the Veda says : " The Rigveda comes from fire, the 
Yajurveda from the sun." .... Manu adds : " Prajapati also milked 
out of the three Vedas the letters a, u, m, together with the words 
bhur, bhuvar, and svar.' .... What in the name of common sense 
is the meaning of all this ?" 

And after having quoted and criticised some other theories of the 


origin of the Vedas, Mr. Banerjea winds up with the following words 
(p. 497) : 

"The assertion of Jaimini that the Rich, Yajus, Saman, and 
Atharvan contain the primitive revelation, is not proved. No one knows 
when, where, or by whom, these four works were written, and conse- 
quently no one can pretend that they are a record of the primeval 
sound. On the contrary, a critical examination of their contents dis- 
proves their authority. As to the argument that the Vedas must have 
proceeded from the divinity, because no human author can be shown to 
have produced it, it is not of much validity. If a stranger, or a man 
brought up as a foundling, came to you, and no one was able to give 
you an account of his paternity, you would not surely conclude that 
he was coeval with the creation. And there is nothing in the general 
scope of the Vedas to justify the conclusion that they were revealed in 
the beginning. It is impossible to fancy what edification our first 
parents could derive from mere praises of the Sun, Moon, and Fire. 
If historical narrative were entirely excluded, the residuum would be 
mere invocations of the elements, and a few ceremonial injunctions." 

That the reverend Hindu professor has not failed to support the 
views we have here adduced with his own arguments, and that he 
availed himself of his knowledge of the mind of his countrymen to 
impart to them a far greater power of persuasion than they might have 
obtained at the hands of a European theologian, it is but justice to 
state. In omitting, therefore, to quote kindred views and sentiments 
from the " Rational Refutation " of Mr. Nilakaiitha Sastri, we do not 
mean to withhold our acknowledgment of the able and clever manner 
in which this author also endeavoured to lay bare the weakness of 
Hindu philosophy and the errors of the actual Hindu creed. The 


remarks we intend to offer apply to both of them, indeed to the whole 
class of those zealous men who expect to solve the religious difficulties 
of India by refuting the conclusions of Hindu philosophy, and by 
denouncing the assumed sacredness of the Vedic writings. 

We must begin, then, with asking them how it happens that some 
notions they entertain of those philosophies differ so materially from 
those expressed by so many other Hindus of ancient and modern times. 
According to the sketch we have quoted, Kapila, the originator of the 
Sankhya philosophy, " went the length of denying outright the existence 
of the Deity." Kanada, who started the Vaiseshika, " does not seem 
to have entertained the idea of a self-existent Supreme Intelligence 
creating the world." Jaimini, the author of the Mimansa, " may be 
called a second Kapila, maintaining the authority of the Veda, without 
the existence of Him, without whom no composition can be pronounced 
to be inspired." Yet Mr. Banerjea himself, as we have seen, tells us 
that Patanjali, the author of the Yoga philosophy, " rectified " the 
system 0f Kapila " by inculcating the existence of Iswara, or God." 
It would perhaps have been more correct had he said that Patanjali, by 
way of completing, added some chapters of his own to the Sankhya- 
Sutras of Kapila, and that both works were intended by him to form in 
reality only one ; so much so, that in our best existing manuscripts 
and if we are not mistaken in the very commentary itself which 
Patanjali wrote on his own doctrine each of the four chapters of his 
treatise calls itself part of the Sankhya Pravachana, which is the title 
of Kapila's work. Here we must ask, then, those who speak of the 
" godless " doctrine of Kapila, how it was possible, at any time, and 
under any circumstances, to look upon the theistic Patanjali as the 
completer, or even, as Mr. Banerjea calls him, the rectifier of Kapila? 
Was theism ever a cap which by being put upon atheism completed or 
even " rectified " it into theistic respectability ? Did it not strike Mr. 


Banerjea, when passing his judgment on the Sankhya doctrine, that 
had it been what he believes it to be, no theistic philosopher or theo- 
logian would ever have thought of attaching his tenets to it ? and had 
he done so, that no one, however unskilled in philosophical speculation, 
would ever have looked upon him as the maintainer of a Deity ? Yet 
the fact is undeniable, that all India calls Patanjali and rightly so 
" seswara," or the believer in a God. Mr. Banerjea, it is true, con- 
fesses to find an exact correspondence between Patanjali's definition 
of God and Kapila's definition of soul ; but when he met with this con- 
cordance, did it never occur to him that there must have been some- 
thing in the Sutras of Kapila to justify a theistic writer to complete 
and rectify it in his own way ? So much is certain, at any rate, that 
the mode in which Mr. Banerjea and Mr, Nilakantha Sastri view the 
doctrine of Kapila would never explain the fact of a system acknow- 
ledged by all Hindu writers to be a theistical one, having become the 
appendix, nay, part and parcel of the Sankhya Pravachana. 

Before we explain the reasons which seem to us to have misled the 
judgment of the learned Hindus who descanted on the atheism of 
Kapila, it will not be superfluous to advert to the inconsistencies implied 
by the other charges preferred against Kanada and Jaimini. Both of 
them are likewise declared not to have entertained the idea of a creator. 
But Kanada's system, as Mr. Banerjea, and indeed all authors engaged 
in matters of Hindu philosophy admit, "is considered a branch of the 
Nyaya," and that this system is essentially theistical, is a fact which, 
we believe, requires no proof, since it has never been controverted 
before. But we confess that of all assertions the strangest appears to 
us to be that which turns Jaimini into an atheist. His work, the 
Purva-Mimansa, is chiefly engaged in solving doubtful questions con- 
cerning the ritual service of ancient India. These services mainly 
consist in a series of prayers addressed to, and oblations or ceremonies 


performed in honour of, fire, sun, Indra, the Aswins, and other beings, 
real or imaginary, which engrossed the pious imagination of the ancient 
Hindus, and were looked upon by them either as gods or as personifi- 
cations of the supreme soul. Should we then not be fairly surprised 
when we are told that an author who regulated these ritual acts, denied 
the existence of a God ? Might we not sooner expect to find him 
saddled with a superfluity of that in which he is represented to us to 
be utterly deficient ? That the Puranas and writers hostile to the 
Purva-Mimansa, indulged in accusations of this kind, cannot concern 
those who have no other object than that of ascertaining the real 
character of these philosophies. 

The truth is, that the ingenious theory which Mr. Banerjea con- 
ceived of the rise and progress of Hindu philosophy, and his desire of 
filling up the historical blank by a plausible and interesting narrative 
betrayed him into overlooking the facts as they will present themselves 
to the mind of every one not biassed in favour of conclusions foreign 
to the subject-matter itself. We quite admit that neither Kapila, nor 
Kauada, nor Jaimini, nay, we will in fairness add, Gotama, satisfy us 
on the nature of God we quite admit that they leave us as much in 
darkness respecting Him as any philosophy, but for the simple reason 
that they meant to be systems of philosophy and not of theology. 
Even Mr. Banerjea allows one of the dramatis persona of his Dialogues 
to say that an author has the right of choosing his own subject. And 
should not the Hindu framers of philosophy have been allowed to 
confine their research to the investigation of things which they thought 
were within the domain of human understanding without soaring too 
high into regions probably deemed too lofty by them for human 
thought ? In stating at once that the Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, 
and in some measure the Purva-Mimansa are intended to be philo- 
sophies, that the Vedanta is theology, and the mysticism of the Yoga 


a dreamy speculation, partly theological and partly physical we have 
explained the antagonism which existed between these Darsanas 
severally, for it existed at all periods when philosophy and theology 
contested each other's rights to the human mind. The theologian who 
does not care for disquisitions on the atomic theory, or for speculations 
on matter, syllogism, and language, will spurn the Nyaya, Vaiseshika, 
and Sankhya, and ridicule the researches into the eternity of sound ; 
he will find his consolation in the mystical definitions given of God by 
the Vedanta, and in the prospect held out to him by the asceticism of 
the Yoga, to free himself from all fetters of thought and common sense. 
The philosopher, on the other hand, will have more earthly longings 
and interests ; he will study with more satisfaction the state of physical 
and linguistic science at the time of Gotama, Kanada, and Kapila 
whose system, we may, in passing, remark, became the scientific 
foundation of Hindu medicine than the exalted doctrine of Vyasa and 
Patanjali so edifying because so incomprehensible. 

This is, in the shortest compass, the history of the ancient philosophy 
and theology of India. To confound both is to do injury to both, and 
injustice too. Whether Kapila's, Gotama's, and Kanada's interest in 
mundane matters were stronger than that of Vyasa and Patanjali, 
because they stood nearer than these to the time of the oldest Upani- 
shads which satisfied theological curiosity ; again, whether Vyasa and 
Patanjali were more eager to inculcate their notions of God, than to 
inquire into the nature of matter and the human mind, because the 
researches of the Nyaya and Sankhya were diverting too much the national 
mind from the mysterious doctrine of the Upanishads, we have of course 
no means of deciding. It may be that the sequence of the system 8 
took place in the order in which Mr. Banerjea so graphically describes 
it ; though we hold that the Jaimini Sutras, in their oldest form, were 
the oldest of all, because, strictly speaking, they are neitker philo- 


sophical nor theological, and though we hold that Patanj all's Yoga 
marks the transition from the oldest Vedanta to its more modern type. 
But whichever of these views be right, there is obviously a vast 
difference between understanding that a philosopher does not choose to 
enter into a discussion on the nature of God, and asserting that he 
denies His existence outright. That philosophy may jump from the 
premise of not knowing to the conclusion of denying, there is evidence 
enough in the history of philosophy, both in ancient and modern times ; 
but we maintain that the charge of atheism, levelled against these 
Hindu systems, is not justified ; and we quite conceive therefore that, in 
spite of the little satisfaction they may afford to the theologian, Hindu 
antiquity could rank them amongst those Darsanas which are not 
antagonistic to the Vedic creed. 

This is as little the place to enter into the merits or demerits of the 
philosophical theories of ancient or medieval India, as it was the object 
of the learned Hindus whose works we are speaking of, to solve the 
many problems suggested by the writings of their ancestors. We have 
followed them thus far, because a charge of atheism against some of the 
most valued productions of their literature involved a similar charge 
against the numerous class of those of their countrymen who, we 
understand, are still adherents of the tenets of the Nyaya and Sankhya 
philosophies. But though we regret that space and opportunity do not 
permit us to say more here on a question so vital for a proper under- 
standing of the Hindu mind, we must draw closer to the practical end 
for which the Dialogues as well as the Rational Refutation have made 
their contribution to modern researches on Hindu religion and philo- 

We observed before that the creed of the learned and enlightened 
portion of the Hindus is essentially founded on the doctrine of the 
Vedanta philosophy, which they hold to be the truest exponent of the 


spirit of the Vedas, more especially in the sense which Sankara, their 
greatest "Vedanta theologian, elicited from the Sutras of Vyasa 
Dwaipayana. The Vedanta is not concerned in the logical laws of the 
human mind, nor do its theories on the development of the world 
possess any -'scientific interest after the discussions of the Sankhya and 
Nyaya, with which " t they agree to a certain" extent. Its chief object is 
to explain the nature of God, His mode of creating the world, and the 
relation between both. It teaches the existence of one Supreme Being, 
that this Being is the efficient and substantial cause of all things, and 
" that the universe, therefore, is necessarily co-substantial with Him " 
(or rather with It). For a scientific appreciation of the gradual 
development of this doctrine, *it is necessary to distinguish between the 
Sutras^ of Vyasa, the*" commentary of Sankara, and the more recent 
treatises which may be called the modern Vedanta. But though 
Mr. Banerjea, with much learning and accuracy, points out the 
difference which exists between these various periods of the Vedanta, 
we nevertheless coincide with the view implied by Dr. Ballantyne's 
observations in his_translation of the Vedantasara, that this difference 
does not amount to a schism^between the modern and the old doctrine, 
but that the tenet, for instance, of the illusory existence of the world, 
taught by the modern Vedanta, is merely an evolution of the tenet of 
the older doctrine, which maintains that the world is real, but a 
product of ignorance. For the popular understanding of this doctrine, 
it is sufficient to adduce the words of Mr. Nilakantha Sastri, which, 
supported by original texts, summarize it in this way : 

" ' Brahma is true, the world is false ; the soul is Brahma himself, 
and nothing other.' As expanded and expounded by the advocates of 
the Vedanta, this quotation imports as follows: Brahma alone a 
spirit ; essentially existent, intelligence, jind joy_; void of all qualities 
and of all acts, in whom there is no consciousness, such as is denoted 


by * I," ' thou,' and ' it,' who apprehends no person, or thing, nor is 
apprehended of any : who is neither parviscient nor omniscient, neither 
parvipotent nor omnipotent; who has neither beginning nor end; 
immutable and" indefectible is the true entity. All besides himself, 
the entire universe, is false, that is to say, is nothing whatsoever. 
Neither has it ever existed, nor does it now exist, nor will it exist at 
any time future; and the soul is one with Brahma. Such is the 
doctrine of the Vedanta regarding the true state of existence ; and it 
is denominated non-dualistic, as rejecting the notion of any second true 
entity." (p. 176.) 

It may seem surprising, at a first glance, that the professors of a 
creed so sublime and so meek, should not only have carried on hotter 
discussions on its merits than the adherents of the other schools of 
philosophy did on the truth of their theories, but also that they should 
now be denounced by their own countrymen in terms far stronger than 
those bestowed by them on the other Darsanas. 

But on reflection we shall find the one and the other perfectly 
obvious. No discussion is more likely to grow warm and passionate 
than one in which both disputants know nothing, and can know nothing, 
of the subject of the debate, but are trying hard to persuade each other 
of the correctness of their views. We humbly submit that a definition 
of the Creator of the World, and an explanation of the mode in which 
he created it, is a subject of this kind. It is an innate desire of the 
human mind to know everything, and as long as human nature remains 
the same, it is certain that man will not desist from the attempt to 
penetrate mysteries for ever closed to him. We shall always have, 
therefore, some kind of Vedanta philosophy, and we shall always also 
enjoy the satisfaction of meeting with clever men who will explain to us 
that we know no more by it than we did before. But Mr. Nilakantha 
Sastri and Professor Banerjea want to prove far more. They infer from 


the doctrine of the Vedanta, not only that its Brahma is a " non- 
entity" or "no-thing," and Vedantism therefore atheism in disguise, 
but that it is " a libel on God," and " a source of immorality." 

Now, in spite of the most careful attention we have paid to the 
arguments of the two learned Hindu Professors, we must entirely 
demur to the conclusion they have arrived at. Neither the Sutras, nor 
Sankara's commentary, nor the Vedanta treatises which a western 
barbarian may have the good luck of understanding, would suggest to 
him the views or the accusations contained in the foregoing words. 

All we find is that the Vedanta is the sublimest machinery set into 
motion by oriental thought, with the result of proving once more that 
the human mind is incapable of understanding God. All the epithets 
lavished by the Vedanta on Brahma simply show, that one may exhaust 
the whole vocabulary of human speech without finding a single word 
which will enlighten us on what He is. But it is likewise clear that 
the Vedantists felt the most ardent desire to describe the greatness of 
God a greatness so great that it overwhelmed their intellect, and ulti- 
mately left it destitute of all thought. There is not the slightest cause 
to find fault with the confession at which they arrive. That " Brahma 
is incomprehensible," "beyond thought," is the burden of all their 
songs after they have displayed the minutest description of what He 
is. That He is nirguna, or void of qualities, is another of their 
admissions, apparently strange, after the endless enumeration they give 
of his attributes. But just as after its unsuccessful attempt of 
"thinking'* of Brahma, the Vedanta owns that "Brahma cannot be 
thought of," it arrives at the result that whatever qualities it may 
predicate of Him, He has no qualities, be they material or spiritual, in 
the sense suggested by this word. In short, we neither believe that 
the Vedanta in calling Brahma " void of qualities," means to declare 
God a nonentity, nor can we agree with a distinguished European 


scholar who presses nirguna so hard that it yields the sense of an 
" immaterial " God. The Brahma of the Vedanta presents itself as the 
God whom the pious are certain to understand at the outset, and whom 
they end in finding " incomprehensible." Hence, He is " pure entity," 
" pure thought," " pure felicity," which words in reality do not explain 
anything ; hence, He has the qualities of " omniscience, freedom, self- 
existence," and so forth, which description in reality merely reveals an 
utter vagueness of thought, without conveying any idea of quality at all. 
It is neither our fault nor that of the Vedanta, when we say that it has 
not accomplished an impossibility ; but it is fair to admit that it has 
brought on itself the obloquy of the philosopher, by saying so much 
while telling nothing, and that of the theologian, by confessing to 
nothing, after having said so much. 

A charge of immorality, however, is a far different thing from a 
charge of ignorance. If the deduction advanced by Professor Banerjea, 
that the Vedanta doctrine strikes at the root of duty, were founded on 
fact, the controversy he entered upon with the most enlightened portion 
of his countrymen would indeed cease to be one of literary consequence 

" If you say the universe is of the same substance with God," he 
makes Satyakama argue, towards the end of the Dialogues (p. 396), 
' and that the soul is identical with the Supreme Being in the strict 
sense of the term (excluding the figurative senses of sampat, &c.) then 
you must either unduly exalt the world or grossly degrade the divinity. 
In either case you strike at the root of D/iarma, or duty. You cannot, 
with any fairness or consistency, impose upon persons duties which on 
your own theory are impossibilities. Whether you acknowledge the 
universe to be God, or deny the existence of everything that is not 
Brahma, you can have no law, no ethics, no discipline." The reply 
given to this syllogism by the second interlocutor is as follows : " We 


allow that a man in a state of ignorance is bound by laws, rules, and 
duties." Whereupon the first returns to the charge : " You allow that 
which your better sense contradicts ; you hold that in truth there can 
be neither law nor lawgiver. The bolder spirits among you glory in 
denying injunctions or prohibitions." 

We do not know who these bolder spirits are, whom Mr. Banerjea 
is alluding to, but we do know that they are not to be found 
amongst the authorities of the Vedanta writers. We have, then, his 
own confession, that experience does not bear out the conclusion which, 
he says, must result from a belief in the Vedanta tenets, or we are 
almost afraid to conclude, ought to result from it, if the working of the 
Vedanta were left at his discretion and will. For, according to him, 
it is the better sense of the Vedantists which contradicts their moral 
practice, the latter being an inconsistency. That a doctrine, possibly 
good, may, through perversion or misunderstanding, become the source 
of evil, is sufficiently shown by the political and religious history of 
mankind ; but that a doctrine essentially wrong and practised in its 
wrongness, should, out of sheer inconsistency, bear good and moral 
results, is a novelty we had yet to learn. 

But though fully aware of the weak parts of the Vedanta, we are 
spared the necessity of elucidating the moral and ethical greatness of 
this system, for this task has been fulfilled by a western system of 
philosophy which occupies a foremost rank amongst the philosophies of 
all nations and ages, and which is so exact a representation of the ideas 
of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have 
borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, 
did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with 
ttair doctrines. From this philosophy the Vedantists might learn 
what their philosophy really is, Swajnei, as Aristotle would have said, 
and what it might nave become, had it been stripped of all its cos- 


mogonic vagaries, which, however, do not affect its vital part. We mean 
the philosophy of Spinoza, a man whose very life is a picture of that 
moral purity and intellectual indifference to the transitory charms of 
this world, which is the constant longing of the true Vedauta 

That the philosophy of a scholar who lived two hundred years ago 
must possess a value different from that of a philosophy of ancient 
India requires no remark ; but comparing the fundamental ideas of 
both we should have no difficulty in proving that, had Spinoza been a 
Hindu, his system would in all probability mark a last phase of the 
Vedanta philosophy. 

Without .showing that the charges preferred by Mr. Banerjea and 
Mr. Nilakantha Sastri against the Vedanta have been repeatedly 
levelled against the philosophy of Spinoza, we content ourselves with 
quoting a few critical observations on his system which will perhaps 
best dispose of the cry of atheism, pantheism, and immorality raised 
against the system of Vyasa. They are taken from the works of one 
of the greatest philosophers of our time, of one who was by no means 
an adherent of Spinoza's philosophy. In his history of philosophy, 
Hegel says : 

" Spinozism is reproached with being atheism ; for God and the 
world being one, and undivided, Spinoza makes nature God, or God 
nature, so that God disappears and nature alone remains. Yet Spinoza 
on the contrary does not oppose God to nature, but thinking to 
existence ; and God is the unity, the absolute substance, in which the 
world disappears. The adversaries of Spinoza assume the air of being 
very much concerned about God, but in reality they are much concerned 

about what is perishable, about their own selves Atheism 

is declaring arbitrariness, vanity, the transitoriness of the world to be 



the highest principle. Such is not Spinoza's principle. According to 
him God is the only substance ; nature is merely modality. Spinozism 

is therefore akomiim Those who charge him with atheism 

maintain the reverse of that which is true ; there is too much of God 
in his system. ' If God (they may say) is the identity of spirit and 
nature, nature the human individual, is God.' Quite right ; but they 
forget that in God they have ceased to exist independently. They can 
never forget that they are nothing. It follows, therefore, that those 
who traduce Spinoza in this way, do not mean to preserve God, but 
that which is perishable, the world. They are offended at the world 
not being allowed to be a substance. They are offended at their own 


" Spinoza says : ' Our happiness and freedom consist in constant and 
eternal love of God ;'....' the more man comprehends the nature 
of God and loves God, the less he is under the influence of evil passions 
and the less he fears death." Spinoza demands to this end that man 
should acquire the true mode of comprehension ; he wants him to view 
everything sub specie aterni, in absolutely adequate notions; viz., in 
God. Man should refer everything to God, God being one in all. 
Thus Spinozism is akosmism. There are no morals more pure and 
more elevated than those enjoined by Spinoza ; for he wants human 

action to be regulated merely by divine truth ' All ideas 

are true, inasmuch as they are referred to God.'" 

We have quoted enough to convince the learned Hindus that every 
one of Spinoza's sentences might be supposed to have been literally 
borrowed from the system they charge with degrading God and 
elevating the world. They will perceive that one of the greatest 
thinkers of our age judged differently from them on the morality of 
a system which compels man to view everything in the light of God. 


Since the philosophical systems which called forth the foregoing 
remarks, appeal for the soundness of their doctrine to the theological 
treatises called Upanishads, which are looked upon by many ancient 
writers as part of the Vedas, and since these, in their turn, are believed 
to be inspired by the deity, Mr. Banerjea reviews the arguments 
brought forward by Jaimini, Vyasa, Gotama, Sankara, and other Hindu 
divines, for the purpose of establishing the authority of the Veda on 
the ground of its divine authorship, and shows that they cannot bear 
the test of logical reasoning. As the Vedas have not been revealed 
to us, and as we could have no hope of becoming Brahmins even if we 
" surrendered our private judgment " in favour of them, we might have 
fully enjoyed that mental pleasure which is always derived from sound- 
ness of logic and readiness of wit, had we not found that the whole 
controversial journey of the learned Hindu was merely undertaken to 
end in the haven of another revelation. We must confess, therefore, 
the disappointment we have felt. It is a political maxim of consti- 
tutional bodies, a maxim acquired by dint of long experience and pre- 
served with the utmost care, not to allow the name of the sovereign to 
be drawn into political debate. For nations have learnt that it is 
unwise to saddle the sovereign whom they want to make inriolable, 
with errors and shortcomings that may belong to the acts of his 
ministers. But though the political animal seems to be capable of an 
increase in wisdom, the religious man evidently remains stationary. 
Thousands of years have engraved their religious experience in the 
annals of history, religion has succeeded religion, the followers of each 
have invariably maintained theirs to have come from above, and con- 
troversialists have mutually picked the most damaging holes in their 
respective revelations. Prudence alone, one might have supposed, 
would at last have taught theologians not to expose the God whom they 
adore to the chance of being held responsible for those errors which our 


neighbours are always so much keener than ourselves in discovering. 
Kings whom nations might if they pleased make answerable, are raised 
beyond the reach of responsibility ; but God, whom no one can make 
responsible, is constantly dragged down by the theologian into his 
little debate. If Jaimini and his ancient co-religionists set up an 
elaborate defence of the divine authorship of their Veda, we may excuse 
them at least for want of that experience which we now possess ; we 
may allege in their favour also that they maintained the inspiration of 
their sacred books, not against other inspirations, but against unbelief. 
But Mr. Banerjea is not satisfied with merely enlightening his country- 
men on the fact that Brahma did not write or dictate, or brood the 
Veda, he must on his part step forward, not only with a superior 
religious work, but with one inspired by God. Were we not deeply 
convinced that he is in earnest, we should have really thought that he 
was hitting hard at the pretence of the Vedic inspiration, merely in 
order to arm his countrymen with the most logical weapons against all 
the arguments which may be adduced for the inspiration of the Bible. 
For his attack on the Hindu theories is so wonderfully strong, and his 
defence of the Biblical revelation so wonderfully weak, that a Hindu 
by comparing both sides will probably feel farther off than ever from 
embracing the particular revelation which he recommends. Or does he 
seriously mean that he can grind the intellect of his nation, blade-like, 
sharp on the Vedic and obtuse on the Biblical side? Did he not 
become aware, were it only by criticising the religion of his ancestors, 
that, just as fire and water require an intervening substance to become 
harmless to one another, reason and faith can coexist only on the con- 
dition that a proper consciousness of the limits of the human intellect 
is powerful enough to bind them over to keep the peace? Did his 
method of destroying the Brahminical faith in the divine inspiration 
of Vedas not prove to his satisfaction that this intervening power 


being withdrawn, either reason evaporates faith, or faith extinguishes 
reason ? 

We are far from being disposed to enter here into a discussion of 
that portion of Mr. Banerjea's Dialogues in which he attempts to prove 
to his countrymen the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testament, 
and, on this score, to recommend it to them as the source of their 
future creed. But we cannot refrain from a remark which he has 
forced upon us. Whoever reads for a first time the evidence he brings 
forward in favour of the inspiration of the Scriptures will necessarily 
think that his statements concerning the creation of the world, the 
prophecies, miracles, and so on, are incontrovertible and micontro verted 
facts. It would never occur to such a reader that there existed a very 
voluminous, very learned, and also a very pious description of works 
amongst them, in which not a single argument of Mr. Banerjea's has 
been left unobjected to. He would never dream that the subject which 
the learned Hindu lays before his countrymen with an air, and no 
doubt with a conviction, of utter finality, is to the minds of a large 
class of Christians, to say the least, as doubtful as possible, and as 
unsettled^as any question can be. We cannot approve, therefore, of 
the silence he has kept on this momentous point ; for any one who is 
asked to exchange his creed for another has a right to know all the 
particulars of the bargain he is desired to make ; and his acquisition 
will most likely prove a very undesirable one if he should find hereafter 
that the knowledge afforded him was exceedingly incomplete. Mr. 
Banerjea might have refuted, of course, if he could, all the charges 
preferred against the inspiration of the Bible, and shown that their 
extreme similarity to the charges he preferred against the inspiration of 
the Vedas is purely apparent or accidental ; but it is certain that in 
dealing with this part of his subject as he has done, he has failed both 
in justice to his countrymen and in prudence as regards the cause he 


We will give an instance or two of the method which Mr. Banerjea 
adopted in persuading the Hindus of the inspiration of the Scriptures, 
after he had exerted all his energy, and availed himself of all his scholar- 
ship, to sharpen their logical powers for the dissection of their philo- 
sophical theories and their notions of God. 

One of the most delicate points in the Old Testament, it is well 
known amongst western theologians, is the account given there of the 
act and process of creation. Science has proved that the latter is 
contrary to facts ; and theological writers who perceive the inexpediency 
of allegorizing, or the danger of equivocating, have generally the dis- 
cretion to say as little about the matter as possible, especially in con- 
nexion with the topic of inspiration. For as the production of the 
universe out of nothing is, to say the least, incomprehensible by human 
reason, while its creation out of pre-existing matter is a position not 
countenanced by the Bible, the ablest writers generally agree to be 
silent on the subject, and to avow that they do not understand how the 
world was called into existence. But Satyakama, who had triumphantly 
disposed of the Saukhya and Vedanta doctrine, expresses himself to 
Agamika on this subject as follows (p. 11) : 

" As regards the external universe, the Bible tells us ' In the begin- 
ning God created the heavens and the earth,' thus showing that the 
Nyaya, Sankhya, and Vedant were all right and all wrong. They 
rightly apprehended the truth, as regarded their opposition to each 
other's systems. The Vedant was right in its protest against the 
eternal atoms of the one, and the unintelligent creative prakriti of the 
other ; and the Nyaya and Sankhya were equally right on their part in 
inveighing against the doctrine of the world's identity with God. But 
they were all wrong in regard to their positive doctrines the Nyaya 
in its theory of eternal atoms, the Sankhya in that of creative Prakriti, 


and the Vedant in its denial of a duality of substance. The universe 
is neither an illusion nor self-formed, but was called into being out of 
nothing by the one only, Eternal, and Supreme Intelligence, the author 
of all things in heaven and in earth." 

And Agamika, who has nothing to say on the " nothing," may well 
become speechless when he is further told that " all perplexing diffi- 
culties are thus cleared." 

Another weak point which, in the interest of their faith, is generally 
surrendered by the most learned, and, we repeat it, by the most pious, 
writers of Biblical disquisitions, as evidence for the inspiration of the 
Bible, is the question of prophecies and miracles. It is one of the 
strongest weapons in the armory of Mr. Banerjea. And after he has 
ridiculed the idea of the Upanishads a supposed portion of the Vedas 
being invoked by the Brahminical believer in testimony for the 
authority of the Vedas since, as Sayana says, " not even a dexterous 
man can ride on his own shoulders " he makes Satyakama explain 
to Agamika the mystery of the Trinity in the following manner 
(p. 529):- 

"(The Christian religion speaks) not of three Gods nor a plurality 
of Gods, but a plurality of persons in the unity of the Godhead. This 
doctrine you can find no great difficulty in acknowledging, (1) because 
it is inculcated in the Bible which, as we have seen before, is attested 
by miracles and prophecies : and (2) because the Brahminical sastras 
themselves bear some confirmatory testimony to its truth. (Agamika 
asks, * how,' and is told), the Brahminical sastras speak of a triad of 
divinities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. They speak of it, as one form 
and three gods. They tell us that they are mystically united in One 
Supreme Being. But the doctrine appears incongruous, and quite out 


of place in their system. The gods are frequently represented, not as 
different personal manifestations of the same Godhead ought to be, but 
as impure characters and antagonistic gods, wrangling and fighting with 
one another. Siva fights and punishes Brahma, and Vishnu humbles 
Siva. The votaries of Vishnu anathematize those of Siva, and the 
votaries of Siva anathematize those of Vishnu. And all three are, 
again, pronounced to be transient and perishable. The doctrine 
represents an idea which is quite foreign to the Brahminical system, 
and we can only unravel the mystery by supposing it to be a relic of 
some primitive revelation, of which a distorted tradition had probably 
reached our ancestors." 

Here Mr. Banerjea himself allows Agamika, in reply, to exclaim, 
" These appear to be strange and novel views of things." And we 
cannot but join with Agamika most heartily in his astonishment, 
though we might have wished he had known a little more of the triad 
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, to be spared the confession which he sub- 
joins, that he " certainly cannot gainsay them." 

There is another serious perplexity into which our learned authors 
must be aware that they will throw even those Hindus who may be 
clever enough to overcome all these difficulties, but it has as little been 
removed by them as indeed any difficulty which besets the solution of 
the religious problem in India. Their object, as we have seen, is to 
persuade their countrymen to embrace the Christian religion ; but they 
have neither explained to them what the Christian religion is, nor 
where it may be found. Any Hindu who follows the deductions of 
Mr. Banerjea would simply infer that there is but one Christian 
religion, which a devout student of the Bible might easily acquire from 
a perusal of this sacred book. Let him descend, however, from the 
region of abstraction into that of reality, and he will soon discover the 


endless variety of opinions which may be founded on the apparently so 
intelligible scriptural text, and he will soon learn that so far from this 
being a mere possibility, hundreds of creeds have sprung up from this 
same scriptural soil, every one of which claims to be in exclusive 
possession of true Christianity. And if he be disposed to investigate 
historically the mutual relation of all these creeds, he will find that 
their difference is so essential that it was strong enough to perpetuate 
the most inveterate animosities, and to result in wars the like of which 
cannot be traced in the history of any other creed. 

We have no desire to enlarge upon this theme, for we have said 
enough to explain why we hold the solution proposed by Mr. Baneijea 
to be an impossibility. When the Royal proclamation combined with a 
profession of its reliance in the truth of Christianity, a solemn injunc- 
tion of toleration for the religions of India, its wisdom, by expressing 
the result of matured experience and profound thought, showed itself 
far superior to the zeal, however well intentioned, which believes that 
human happiness can be fashioned according to one mould. Attempts 
of conversion are too frequently made without examining the limits 
within which they are possible, and the result in which their momentary 
success may end. If a man derives his religious views from his own 
individual information, or from sources which are void of authoritative 
influence, he may yield them to the views which are of a higher range 
without causing injury to the nobler part of himself. But if the creed 
of an individual is founded on texts held sacred and authoritative, it is 
a national creed ; and no individual can abandon it without severing 
himself from the national stem ; no nation can surrender it without 
laying the axe to its own root. For a religion based on texts believed 
sacred, embodies the whole history of the nation which professes it ; it 
is the shortest abbreviation of all that ennobles the nation's mind, is 
most dear to its memory, and most essential to its life. No religion 


has better illustrated this truth than the religion founded on the Bible. 
It could be, and was, successfully introduced amongst all nations which 
possessed no texts supposed to be divinely inspired, and therefore of 
general authority, and whenever a nation possessing merely the 
semblance of such a text, adopted it, it thereby decreed its own end. 
The Romans and Greeks when becoming Christians, ceased to be the 
continuation of the classical Romans and Greeks, in history, in litera- 
ture, in character. Their political importance, based on the conditions 
of their past, was brought to a close, and they had to grow into another 
nationality. Christianity itself is not one single form of religion, for 
the character of the nations which adopted it compelled it to become 
English, or German, or Russian, or Italian, or any other Christianity 
as the case may be; each so different from the other, that only con- 
ventional politeness can comprise these various and historical forms 
under one common name. But the condition under which this religion 
introduced itself into the countries of Europe, was always the absence 
of a book ascribed to divine authorship. When Mr. Banerjea speaks 
of the Jews, he has chosen an exact counter instance which goes far to 
prove that even a people without land, without any history which, since 
they are scattered over the world, can be called their own, that a 
people exposed to all the horrors of persecution and all the allurements 
of seduction, did not, and does not, espouse that very religion which 
exercises the most powerful influence on its actual destinies, and which 
it even supports and favours amongst those who profess it. The Jews 
do not become Christians simply because they believe that their Testa- 
ment is a sacred book. 

But the charm which apparently inheres in that word is by no means 
a mysterious one. There was and there is no book considered sacred, 
unless it contains a stock of that which the nobler part of human nature, 
everywhere and at all times, acknowledges to be good. It is quite im- 


material whether this stock is more developed or less, as long as it is 
capable of development; for at different periods new branches will 
proceed from the same stem, and they will enjoy the same reputation of 
divine origin as the old stock. When Mr. Banerjea discovers that the 
Hindu Triad resembles the Christian Trinity, his trover may cause the 
hair of some good Christians to stand on end, but it nevertheless shows 
that whoever requires a belief in the Trinity, may even as a Brahminical 
believer gather it from his own sacred texts. And that the Vedas con- 
tain sentiments and injunctions as elevated and conducive to the moral 
excellence of man as the Bible itself, we might learn from the testimony 
of Mr. Banerjea's Dialogues themselves. He alleges, it is true, that 
Vedic passages of this kind are sometimes not unalloyed with state- 
ments and descriptions which may impair their exalted quality. But 
he would have been less hard on the Vedas, had he known that there 
have been many writers who from a feeling of hostility as great towards 
the Bible, as his is for the Vedic inspiration, have culled from the 
scriptural texts, narratives and injunctions which Mr. Banerjea would 
be the last to recommend as typical for that which in our age we define 
as good, moral, or sublime. The Hansa bird is described by the Hindu 
poets as possessing the faculty of separating milk from water. A 
sacred text, whatever it be, requires a just man to be such a Hansa ; 
but it requires him also to be the Hansa of the Upanishads, which 
being the sun, would be able to discover that all those objectionable 
passages in the Vedas or in the Bible were never meant, when they 
were written, to imply those conclusions which now the Christian may 
turn against the one and the Brahmin against the other. 

We have been carried, however, with these remarks to the point 
where we cannot shrink from, expressing the views which we entertain 
of the duties of the Brahminical Hindus of our days. We need not 
emphasize more than we have already done, that we reject as unwise 


and unpractical any attempt to persuade them to become Christians or 
to adopt the Biblical Scriptures as their spiritual code. We want them 
to become a nation worthy of their ancestors and worthy of the great 
role, which in ancient times they have acted in the history of the 
human race, and we are satisfied that they cannot regain that position 
by breaking the springs of their life, and by exchanging their own 
religious uncertainty for that of any other creed. It is necessary, 
however, to this end, that they should realise the condition in which 
they are. We need not prove to them that the minds of the enlightened 
portion of their nation are wholly estranged from the sectarian worship 
as it is practised now, but we could satisfy them that they are utterly 
remiss in examining where the root of the evil lies. Every Brah- 
niinical believer, if asked, will tell us that the mode of his worship is 
founded on the Vedas. He refers us, it is true, occasionally to the 
Purauas and Tantras, but he himself admits that these works have no 
authoritative power unless they can prove that the tenets they contain 
are drawn from the Vedic source. This proof is never offered. On 
the other hand, a recent work, which, from the impartial spirit in which 
it is composed, and from the vast learning on which it rests, cannot too 
strongly be recommended to the Brahmin, we mean the Original 
Sanskrit Texts of Mr. Muir, enables us to say that its contents may 
enlighten the Hindu worshipper on the real relation between the 
principal gods of his Pantheon and the Vedic belief. 

The pivot, then, on which all religious questions of India turn, is 
and remains the Veda. Philosophers and lion-philosophers, Vishnuits 
and Sivaits, all echo the word Veda ; and we must once more therefore 
raise the question, What is the Veda ? sinee the answer we have to give 
to it though here necessarily unsatisfactory and incomplete may 
induce the learned Hindus to consider whether it may contribute to a 
solution of their religious difficulties or not. We have quoted above 


the short definition which Mr. Banerjea gives in his Dialogues of what 
is usually meant by Veda. It is, as he says, a collection of " Mantras 
and Brahmanas. The former may generally be considered devotional, 
the latter ceremonial and dogmatic." It is likewise understood now to 
embrace four distinct works, each called Veda, and each possessing its 
own Mantras and Brahmanas, viz., the Rig- Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the 
Sama-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda : and the term Veda is ultimately 
applied to the Upanishads which are appendices, as it were, to each of 
these Vedas respectively, and contain explanations of the nature of 
God, the creation of the world, and other matter, which for brevity sake 
may be called theological or theosophical. Thus the Brahmin who 
speaks of his Vedic religion, means the religion founded on Mantras, 
Brahmanas, and Upanishads of these Vedas. This creed, however, is 
binding on his conscience only because the Veda was inspired by the 
deity, and existed from eternity ; and that such was the case he holds 
on the statements and arguments of his oldest divines. No Brahmin 
will dispute therefore the conclusion which follows from these premises, 
that no tenet or worship would be obligatory on him, which is founded 
on other works than the Veda, or on passages which cannot be referred 
to it. Thus, we may adduce, for argument's sake, that though the 
standard works on medicine, music, and archery are also styled Vedas 
(Ayur-Veda, Gandharva-Veda, and Dhanur-Veda), no Hindu would 
dream of looking upon them as sacred records, although they bear this 
venerable name. 

Yet here we have to advert to important inconsistencies. One of 
the four Vedas, now called canonical, the Atharva-Veda, was wholly 
unknown to the oldest Hindu divines, probably even to Manu ; they 
merely speak of the ' threefold knowledge," viz., the Rig-, Yajur-, and 
Sama-Veda. It is obvious therefore, that the Atharva-Veda need not 
be binding on any Hindu, for it cannot have existed from eternity, in 


the sense of their own writers. And the fate of this Veda is, as a con- 
sequence, necessarily shared in by the Upanishads attached to it. But 
there is no necessity, indeed, to single out so prominently the Upani- 
shads of this Veda, for, to the best of our knowledge, there is no ancient 
authority which ever ascribes any Upanishad to divine authorship. 
These treatises doubtless are looked upon with the greatest reverence 
and awe : they are held to be the truest exponents of Vedic thought ; 
they are, in short, the standard works of Hindu theology ; but just as 
little as any of the six philosophies is invested by the native mind with 
superhuman authority, as little are the Upanishads ever placed on the 
same level with the Mantras and Erahmauas. Nor can we stop here. 

The Yajur- or Ceremonial Veda, emphatically so called, survives now 
in two different recensions, the one called Black and the other White. 
There is an ugly legend concerning the origin of this division ; but 
whatever be its worth, it clearly proves that the Black Veda is older 
than the White, and the researches of a recent work which might 
have added other evidence to that given by it have shown that the 
White recension of this Veda did not yet exist at the time of the 
grammarian Panini. Certain it is that the oldest writers on the 
Mimansa the system of philosophy which, as we have seen, is con- 
sidered so eminently orthodox take no notice of it. No impartial 
Brahmin can therefore deny that also the White Yajur-Veda need not, 
unless he pleases, be binding on him. But is there no evidence at all 
that, even in the remaining portions of these Vedas, some portions 
cannot have existed from eternity? In the excellent work we have 
already mentioned, Mr. Muir has quoted several instances which show 
that the Rishis or " seers" of the Mantras now and then confess not to 
have received their hymns from above, but to have " made " or, as the 
text says, to have "fabricated" them; moreover, that other Rishis 
speak of "old" and "new" Rig- Veda hymns, thus pointing to a 


succession in time which, at any rate, does not bespeak the eternity of 
the "new" hymns. In short, however orthodox a Hindu may be, he 
must bow to the fact that the sacred canon of his Veda was not at all 
times the same. Assuming portions of it to be older than eternity, 
the evidence tendered by some of his greatest authorities tells him in 
the plainest manner that some portions at least have a beginning in 
time, and worse than that, have been written by mortal men. Which 
of these portions belong to the former and which to the latter category, 
it is not for us to decide, even if the day of Vedic chronology had 
already dawned on Sanskrit philology. For not only do we hold that, 
for their own religious purposes, the Hindus themselves must settle this 
point, but also that this very chronological uncertainty is providential 
for their own good. Jews and Christians had not a little to suffer from 
the inconvenient fact that the canon of their Scriptures was settled at 
so early a date as to preclude the possibility of adapting them at later 
periods by a process of elimination to the progress of more enlightened 
ages. The Brahminical Hindus are better off in this respect than our- 
selves. That which is deplorable from a scientific point of view, may 
become a boon to them if viewed in a religious light. Let them decide 
therefore, according to their own knowledge and requirements, and with 
the assistance of the results already obtained by western researches, 
which portion of their Veda dates from eternity, or, to speak in our own 
language, may be held by them to be canonical and binding on their 
conscience, and which not. But let them not try to settle so 
momentous a question privately and individually, for such a course 
would likely end in no more than a literary controversy. The history of 
other religious communities points out the mode which they may advan- 
tageously adopt. Buddhists and Christians settled their difficulties in 
synods or councils, composed of their most learned and influential men, 
and such councils met as often as religious problems had become so 


serious or troublesome as to require a solution by common consent. If 
the Hindus followed their example, they would not only remove interior 
disorders which exist in their religious body, but by forming a canon of 
sacred texts, essentially Vedic, prove to the world at large that they may 
possess one containing doctrines and sentiments as good, moral, and 
elevated as that of any existing creed. 

We do not anticipate that such a result can be obtained at once. The 
question of representation in such a council might, for instance, be a 
preliminary problem fraught with much difficulty, which they would 
have to solve first. But we hold that it may be taken up with much 
probability of success, seeing that the analogous problem within the 
sphere of the political representation of India seems to progress towards 
a solution by means of the energy displayed by their native associations. 

But, whatever these difficulties for the moment be, let the end be 
kept constantly in their mind, and let it be gradually approached by the 
formation, for this purpose, of learned societies in the different Presi- 
dencies, with the view of communicating with one another on their 
religious views, and gradually extending their spiritual influence over 
the whole nation. By doing so they would also pay a debt to their 
ancestors, which they have been sadly remiss in discharging for centuries 
back. As orthodox Hindus they are aware that the sons inherit the 
property of their fathers only on the condition of their fulfilling the 
ancestral rites. The modern Hindus claim the spiritual inheritance of 
their ancestral lore ; but with a few honourable exceptions they have 
discontinued that sacrifice, the performance of which alone would entitle 
them to this inheritance, the sacrifice which they call themselves " the 
sacrifice in honour of Brahma," that is to say, the study of their own 
ancient literature (" adhyayanam brahmayajnah") a study which not 
only their oldest lawgiver, but also the Chhandogya-Upanishad, calls one 
of the three chief duties of man. So slender indeed is the thread by 


which the remembrance and the knowledge of their own sacred works is 
suspended in the minds of the present generation, that they may well 
compare it to the blades of grass by which, in one of the legends of 
their Mahabharata, the manes of the poor Rishis Yayavaras were 
suspended in a cave, trembling for fear of falling into eternal perdition, 
through the remissness of Jaratkaru, their undutiful son. But this 
legend may teach them also that it is never too late to avert even an 
imminent danger by a proper consciousness of what every individual 
of a nation owes to his forefathers and to himself. We need not 
describe to them the deplorable condition into which if we except a 
few principal colleges the study of Sanskrit, their sacred language, 
and of Sanskrit literature, has been allowed to fall through their own 
fault. It is impossible to calculate the immense loss which their 
literature has suffered through the indifference with which it has been 
treated by them for centuries. A vast number of their most celebrated 
works are probably lost beyond recovery ; and had it not been for the 
exertions of English scholars this loss would be greater still than it is 
now. The sense of their religious duty, to which they have become 
roused by the enlightened portion of their own community and the 
judgment pronounced on them by the professors of other creeds, we 
hope will now be strong enough to convince them that it is time to 
remove this stain from their national dignity. They should take 
energetic steps to save from destruction all that bears testimony to their 
intellectual greatness ; they should collect all over India the remnants 
of their ancient, and the products of their modern, literature ; they 
should found libraries, seats of learning, and museums, to show to the 
world at large that by respecting themselves they have a claim to the 
respect of others. Synods are the means by which their religious 
difficulties may be settled ; but synods themselves cannot properly do 
their work unless they are supported by that culture of the mind which 
bespeaks the vitality of a nation. 

VOL. II. 4 



1. Rig-Veda- S ankitd ; the Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans, together 
with the Commentary of Sdyandchdrya. Edited by MAX MULLER, 
M.A. Volume IV. London: 1862. 

2. Taittiriya Brdhmana of the Black Yajur Veda, with the Commentary 
of Sdyandchdrya. Edited by RAJENDEALALA MITEA, with the Assist- 
ance of several learned Panditas. Vol. II. (In the " Bibliotheca 
Indica," published under the Superintendence of the Asiatic Society 
of Bengal.) Calcutta: 1862. 

3. Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of 
India, their Religion and Institutions. Collected, translated into 
English, and illustrated by Remarks, by J. MUIE, D.C.L., LL.D. 
Part IV. London: 1863. 

4. A Contribution towards an Index to the Bibliography of the Indian 
Philosophical Systems. By FITZGEEALD HALL, M.A. Calcutta : 

5. Report of the Mahdrdj Libel Case. Bombay : 1862. 

6. The Maharajas. By KAESANDASS MOOLJEE. Bombay: 1861. 

THE beginning of the year 1862 was marked by an occurrence of great 
importance in the social and religious history of India. Little notice 
was taken of it by the European press, and, to superficial observation, 
it has floated away on the current of contemporary events. We will 


briefly recall it to the memory of our readers. In a native newspaper, 
The Satya Prakdsa, that is, " the Light of Truth," published at 
Bombay, there appeared, on the 21st October, I860, an editorial 
article headed " The Primitive Religion of the Hindus, and the present 
Heterodox Opinions." It began with stating that the Puranas and other 
sacred works of the Hindus predict the rise of false religions and 
heresies in the Kaliyuga, or the present mundane age, which according 
to Hindu theory dates from 3101 B.C.; it then went on to relate that 
the religion of the Vallabhacharyas is one of these heresies, and wound 
up by emphatically calling on the Maharajas or high priests of that sect 
to desist from the propagation of their faith until they had renounced 
the gross immoralities countenanced or directly inculcated by it. 

The sect in question, we may remark, was founded by a Brahmin, 
Vishnu-Swamin, but derives its name from its principal teacher and 
saint, Vallabhacaarya (or the spiritual teacher Vallabha), who was 
supposed to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu, and lived towards the 
end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century of our era. Its 
doctrinal tenets are a fantastical mixture of pantheism and mysticism, 
and its worship is that of Krishna, one of the incarnations of the god 
Vishnu, particularly in his juvenile forms, and commemorating his 
amorous sports with the cowherdesses amongst whom he passed the 
earlier stage of his earthly career. There is this remarkable feature, 
however, about this sect, as compared with other Hindu sects based on 
Brahminical tradition that its teachers, rejecting abstemiousness as 
not conducive to sanctity, enjoin the worship of the Deity, not by 
means of mortification, or an austere ritual, but by indulging in the 
pleasures of society and the enjoyment of the world. 

The members of this sect are very numerous and opulent, the 
merchants and bankers, especially those from Gujarat and Malva, 
belonging to it. Their temples and establishments are scattered all 


over India, and their spiritual chiefs are the supposed descendants of 
Vallabha, veneration being paid to them, not on account of their 
learning or piety, but for their family connexion with that arch-saint of 
the sect.* 

One of their actual chiefs now styled Maharajas the Maharajas 
Jadunathjee Brizrattanjee of Bombay, felt highly incensed at the article 
we have alluded to. The respectable jeurnal in which it was contained 
had imparted to it more than the ordinary weight of a controversial 
production of the native press, and the name and position of its author, 
Karsandass Mooljee, renowned amongst his countrymen for his un- 
daunted zeal in the cause of their social and religious reform, had 
impressed on it the stamp of purity of motive and a strong presump- 
tion of trustworthiness. Had the Maharaja vented his indignation by 
assembling the members of the caste to which the writer of the article 
belonged, and had he made them excommunicate the obnoxious reformer 
as with his social and spiritual influence he could doubtless have 
done it is more than probable that the world at large would have heard 
nothing of the actual state of this Vallabhacharya creed, and that native 
apathy in this case, as in others would have little heeded the appeal 
made to their better selves. But the Maharaja acted otherwise, and 
India, we hope, will have to thank him for the course he took. He sued 
the writer of the article in the Supreme Court of Bombay for having 
"caused to be printed and published a false, scandalous, malicious, 
infamous, and defamatory libel " on the religion of his sect in general, 
and on the conduct and character of the Maharajas in particular. 

Hence ensued a spectacle which is unique in the history of India. An 
English tribunal had to decide whether the charges made by the editor of 
the Satya Prakdsa were founded in fact and justifiable on public grounds. 
It was nominally a question whether Mr. Karsandass Mooljee was a 
libeller and hould be mulcted in the amount of 5000Z., the damages 
* See H. H. Wilson's Works, vol. i., p. 119, ff. 


laid, but in reality, whether the actual religion of the Vallabhacharya 
sect ordained those immoral practices which the defendant had imputed 
to it, and whether it was, or was not, in keeping with the spirit of the 
ancient Hindu faith, "one of the different ways," as was alleged in 
favour of it, "into which the courses of the Vedas and Puranas have 
diverged, just as some one goes from the gates of the fort to proceed to 
Walkeshwar and some one to Byculla." 

The Spirit of History seems to have had one of his turbulent fits of 
impatience and weariness. He must have grown tired at the slow 
pace of reforming benevolence and antiquarian research ; for, as we see, 
he suddenly called upon Justice to engrave with her sword on the 
skull of a religious community that wbich science with her pen had not 
yet been able to write into its intelligence. 

The task of Justice was, we must acknowledge, well performed by 
her substantially acquitting the defendant in the suit : her verdict is 
recorded in the elaborate and lucid judgment of Sir Matthew Sausse 
and Sir Joseph Arnould, and it henceforward belongs to the annals of 
the judicial history of India. But though twenty-four days of a rigidly 
scrutinizing trial is no mean amount of time to be allotted to the settle- 
ment of a legal point, though the light thrown by it on the social and 
moral condition of a large and interesting portion of the Hindu com- 
munity will advance our knowledge of modern India, we cannot share 
in the sanguine hope of those who entertain the belief that this trial 
has materially advanced the solution of the problem of the religious 
future of India. That the facts disclosed by it may become a stimulus 
to rouse the activity of the indolent, and to impress every thinking 
Hindu with a sense of his personal duty towards his nation at large, 
we are willing to admit ; but we do not believe that it will bring us 
nearer the desired end, unless the real question at issue in the trial 
and its true importance be fully understood by the followers of the 


That importance does not lie in the startling disclosures which the 
world has received concerning the doctrinal immoralities of the present 
Vallabhacharya sect and its leading priests. Disclosures like these 
need as little surprise us as attract our attention on behalf of their 
novelty. Every one, however slightly acquainted with the history of 
religions in general, knows that there is no religious stem without its 
parasitical priesthood sucking its sap, if allowed to cling to its bark. 
Who will denounce Christianity because Mormonism has sprung from 
its soil ? or who will question the morality of its tenets, because, so 
recently as twenty-seven years ago there existed, at Konigsberg, in 
Prussia, the sect of the Muckers, which held its conventicles for the 
procreation of a new Messiah, and, though yielding nothing in mysticism 
and lewdness to the sect of the Vallabhacharyas, was so highly respect- 
able as to count amongst its members some of the first families of the 
land ? 

To lay stress on aberrations of this kind would be unjust as well as 
unwise. But the very comparisons we have alleged involve the point 
on which we must lay stress. Mormonism must hide its profligacy in 
the deserts of America, and a few Prussian police constables proved 
strong enough, with the applause of the good people of Konigsberg, to 
check the new Messiah in his career of incarnations. 

The Vallabhacharya creed, however, continues to flourish all over 
India, and to feed, we believe, its fourscore of saints ; no professor of 
it is looked upon by a Hindu as a heretic, with whom it is not per- 
missible to associate ; no Brahmin ceases to be one, though he eat the 
dust of the feet of the Maharaja. Do, then, the Hindus really believe 
that this creed is a true Hindu creed ? Or since there is no neces- 
sity for singling out this special sect from among numerous others, the 
practices of which would startle us as much as those of the followers of 
Vallabha do the Hindus really assume that all these sects are healthy 


branches of their original religious stock ? and, as to all appearance, 
their reply is in the affirmative, on what grounds does the assump- 
tion rest ? 

Some answers to those questions have been given by " The Maharaja 
Libel Case ;" and because this case, if stripped of its specialities and 
personalities, is in reality no other than the case of Hinduism itself as 
it now stands, we will once more cast our eyes on it. 

The defendant in that trial had charged the sect of the Maharajas 
and their chiefs to use his own words with " perpetrating such 
shamelessness, subtilty, immodesty, rascality, and deceit," as have 
never been perpetrated by other sectaries ; and, convinced that the 
committal of such acts could not be countenanced by the true Hindu 
faith, he accordingly stigmatised the persuasion of the Vallabhacharyas 
as a "sham, a delusion, and a heresy." The plaintiff, on the other 
hand, stoutly denied ever having been " guilty of heterodox opinions in 
matters connected with his religion, or of the offences or improper 
conduct imputed to him." 

The denial, we may see at once, does not meet the charge. For, 
supposing the life of the Maharaja had been as spotless as one could 
desire, it does not follow from his words that he had abstained from 
licentious acts, because his religion declared them to be sinful ; nor, if 
his religion enjoined or encouraged such acts, does it necessarily follow 
that it must be a heterodox faith ; since, for aught we know, it might 
derive its tenets from the old and authoritative Brahmanic source. It 
is true that by his evidence the defendant fully proved that acts of the 
grossest immorality were not only committed by the Maharajas, but 
committed by them with the full knowledge and connivance of their 
followers ; it is likewise true that he proved that " the Maharajas are 
considered by their followers as incarnations of the god Krishna," that 
" their managers give the sectaries water to drink in which the 


Maharaja had bathed ;" and that " drinking the nectar of the feet, 
swinging, rubbing, and bathing the body with oils, or eating the dust 
on which they have walked, are not practised towards the Gurus of 
other sects." But evidence like this obviously does no more than 
establish the fact, that such customs are the actual practices of a parti- 
cular sect and of certain individuals professing to be their high priests 
and chiefs. It will induce no one to charge the faith of these people 
with inculcating these practices, or to say whether they are or are not 
in harmony with the ancient religion of the Hindus, the supposed 
foundation of all present creeds, unless further evidence be produced to 
that effect from the sacred works of both. 

What means, then, did the defendant and the plaintiff possess, the 
one to denounce the heresy of the Maharaja sect, the other to vindicate 
its orthodoxy ? 

The text-books of the sect are the works of its principal teacher, 
Vallabha ; they are all written in Sanskrit ; and a leading commentary 
on one of these works, by Gokulnath, a grandson of Vallabha, is like- 
wise written in Sanskrit. Some of these works are translated in the 
Brij-Bhasha language ; but, as the Maharaja very properly observed, 
these versions have authority so far only as they exactly render the 
original ; and, for himself, he seemed to scorn the idea of reading his 
sacred books in such versions at all. That the groundworks of the 
ancient Hindu faith are likewise written in the sacred language of 
India, and some in that archaic form of Sanskrit, which differs in many 
respects from the Sanskrit of the classical literature, it is almost need- 
less to say ; but it may perhaps not be superfluous to add that several of 
those works the Vedas, for instance and the principal Puranas, are 
not accessible to a Hindu except in that language, since no translation 
of them exists in any of the vernacular tongues. 

Now, as to Mr. Kursandass, the spirited editor of the Bombay 


journal, who in this noteworthy case courageously staked his property, 
and probably his personal liberty, who had to brave not only the 
obloquy of his countrymen, but an organised conspiracy what does he 
say as to his trustiest weapon, this Sanskrit tongue, when he enters the 
arena to struggle for the restoration of the pure ancient religion of 
India ? He frankly and honestly confesses that he has no knowledge 
whatever of it. He does his best to supply that defect by resorting to 
a young native who seems to have a smattering of it, and provides him 
with the translation of a passage of the commentary of Gokulnath ; 
but beyond the result of this trifling assistance, given only for the 
purposes of his defence, his ascertaining the authoritative sense of a 
Sanskrit work does not go. He had taken up the cause of religious 
reform, because he had heard, and felt convinced, that the ancient 
Hindu creed must be pure, and different therefore, from the unclean 
shape in which it is paraded before his eyes ; but it had never occurred 
to him, when appealing to the Vedas, that the Vedas could not talk to 
him unless he mastered the language in which they were composed. 

And the Maharaja ? When we quote the words of one of the judges, 
who said ** That the plaintiff has allowed his personal interests to 
overcome his respect for truth while on his oath in the court," and 
those of the other judge, who declared " the oath of the plaintiff as 
utterly valueless," and " the whole framework of his evidence as con- 
ceived in a spirit of hypocrisy and falsehood," we may be spared the 
necessity of scrutinizing the knowledge of which he makes profession 
in regard to the original works of his own and the ancient Hindu faith. 
Yet some of his own statements are, nevertheless, too curious not to 
deserve a passing notice. Sanskrit, he says, on one occasion, he 
knows " for the most part ;" and on another, he owns that he " knows 
more of Sanskrit now than he did before the libel." In his plea he 
classes the " sacred books of the Hindus" as, first the Puranas, then 


the Vedas and Shastras ; but, when cross-examined, he can neither give 
the names of the four Vedas, nor had he any idea whatever as to the 
number of that part of them called the Brahmanas. He has heard the 
name of the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, but he has not read it. His opinion 
was that if the Shastras allowed it, remarriages of widows might take 
place, but not otherwise. He had seen no authority in the Shastras for 
remarriages, but personally he had no objection thereto ; in his sect, 
indeed, remarriages took place, and he did not prohibit them. He 
likewise informed the court of a fact which as yet rests on no other 
authority than his own viz., that the name of the god Krishna occurs 
in a portion of the Vedas. Of the other Maharajas he cannot say 
whether a few only can read Sanskrit ; but the witness most friendly 
to him did not hesitate to say that " the plaintiff was an exception 
amongst them, the rest being ignorant persons." 

We have shown enough, we think, of the scholarship of these high 
priests and preceptors of the Vallabhacharya sect. Yet, though the 
specimen of saints introduced to us by this trial is perhaps merely an 
illustration of the adage that there is but one step from the sublime to 
the ridiculous, we cannot conceal from ourselves the reality that that 
step may be an extremely unpleasant one. 

In the worst days of Roman Catholicism, when the multitude pro- 
fessing that religion was steeped in ignorance and its worship was no 
better than idolatry, there was still a considerable portion of its priest- 
hood fully acquainted with the text-book of Christianity. It was, no 
doubt, with its priests a question of policy whether their flock should 
be admitted to the knowledge which they possessed, and restored to a 
purer faith ; but that they had the power to work that change is borne 
out by the history of Protestantism. Yet, without fear of contradiction, 
we may assert that the vast majority of all Hindu priests are as igno- 
rant of the ancient faith of their nation as the Maharaja of Bombay ; 


nay, this Maharaja himself is not merely a fair average specimen of a 
Hindu priest, but his knowledge, however miserable, exceeds that of 
most priests of other Hindu sects. Amongst the hundred million and 
more who profess Brahrnanisin, there are perhaps a few thousands who 
may be able to read an easy Sanskrit book ; but those who can master 
a philosophical or grammatical work are scarcely to be found except at 
the high seats of learning, such as Benares, Calcutta, and Poona, while 
as to those who can understand a Vedic text, like the venerable author 
of the great Cyclopedia, Raja Radhakant Deb, or the learned editor of 
one of the Vedas, Babu Rajendralala Mitra, or like the accomplished 
Dr. Bhau Dajee, a gentleman whom Sir Joseph Arnould describes as 
" one who in learning, freedom from prejudice, and general superiority 
of mind, is among the foremost, if not the foremost of the native citizens 
of Bombay," their number is indeed so infinitely small that it dis- 
appears in the mass of their co-religionists. 

And yet every Hindu, high or low, is eager to persuade himself, that 
his actual worship is founded on inspired texts : for he knows that it 
would be worthless unless it could trace its tenets to the "inspired" 
words of the Vedic hymns ; he clings to it because he is penetrated 
with an instinctive feeling, that if he abandoned a religion based on the 
Vedas, he would abandon that which is dearest to a man, his nationality. 
It is this instinctive feeling alone that arms him against any attempt 
at conversion ; for, even though the intelligent native may recognise 
the superiority of Christianity as taught by the New Testament over 
the sectarian worship practised by himself, yet, rather than profess a 
religion foreign to his instincts, habits, and nationality, he will console 
himself with the hope that he may one day possess in his old faith, 
when restored, one as good and as pure as any other faith. 

Whether that hope be justifiable or not is a question that admits of 
different answers, according to the mental and social condition of the 


inquirer. But Hindu and European must alike agree that a nation 
which cannot examine and understand the foundation of its own exist- 
ence, is on the high road to the loss of that existence altogether. And 
because we are well aware that the intelligent portion of the present 
generation of India has raised its political aspirations, and has the proud 
ambition of conquering for its country the same position which is occupied 
by the other parts of the British Empire, we must remind them that 
the first and most efficacious means for attaining that end is boldly to 
attack the deplorable religious condition of their countrymen, and that 
this is to be done only by imparting to them a knowledge of their own 
literature, and more especially of those sacred works which mark the 
brightest epoch of their national life. There are some amongst them, 
we know, who consider the religious question as insignificant compared 
to the great political questions of the day, and who judge of the different 
forms of their present worship by the standard which a celebrated his- 
torian applied to the various forms of Paganism in ancient Rome : that 
they are all alike sublime to the vulgar, all alike useful to the politician, 
and all alike ridiculous to the philosopher. But these modern Hindu 
statesmen seem to forget the downfall of ancient Rome, and that masses 
sunk in religious degradation can never become the political equals of 
those to whom their sublime is the ridiculous. Nor must they imagine 
that their favourite appeal to the argument of Sankaracharya can avail 
in these days. When that great reformer and philosopher probably 
about a thousand years ago made his crusade against the heresies then 
rampant all over India, he is said to have himself established several 
sects, and to have sanctioned the worship of any acknowledged deity, 
" for the sake of those whose limited understandings rendered them 
incapable of comprehending and adoring the invisible Supreme Being." 
Hence they conclude, that if so staunch a defender of " a sole Cause 
and Supreme Ruler of the universe " considered the worship of Vishn u 


and Siva in its various forms compatible with the monotheistic doctrine 
he was preaching to his countrymen, no objection need be taken to the 
present creed as answering the same ends. 

An appeal to authorities, instead of an argument, is in itself a con- 
fession of defeat ; but those who are in the habit of using this appeal as 
their argument do not seem to apprehend that it could be turned against 
them as one of the strongest condemnations of the practices which they 
palliate. Sankara, one of the most renowned and influential scholars 
of medieval India, was himself one of the most zealous denouncers of all 
worships if repugnant to the Vedas. His aim was the propagation of a 
belief in one immaterial Cause. In his chief work, the Commentary on 
the text-book of the Vedanta philosophy, he endeavours to prove that 
the celestial beings named in the Vedic writings are but allegorical 
personifications of that Supreme Being, and in his Commentary on the 
Upanisbads he compares such gods even to demons, or foes of the human 
race. If tradition therefore be correct, that he tolerated the modern 
worship of the sectarian gods, for, let it be remembered, that it is only 
a vague tradition which ascribes that toleration to him it is obvious that 
this admission on his part was, if not an act of weakness and inconsist- 
ency, at the best an educational experiment, supposed by him to lead to 
the end which engrossed his mind. A thousand years, one would think, 
are a sufficient space of time to prove the error of Sankaracharya. The 
experiment has had its test, and it has lamentably failed. Another 
thousand years of a similar experiment, and we feel convinced that no 
Brahmanical Hindu will then be found to whom it could be denounced 
as fallacious and mischievous. 

But, let us ask what those writings are which the orthodox Hindu is 
called upon by his creed to consider as inspired, and what are those other 
works which in the course of time his priests have foisted as such on 
his credulity? 


The oldest tradition is very precise in the answer it gives to the first 
of these questions. So far from leaving it to the option of a believer to 
declare at will any book inspired, and so far from recognising any gifted 
individual who might at some future period pretend to receive inspirations 
from divine apparitions or intuitions, it has carefully defined the person- 
ages who alone had been favoured by the Deity, and the revelations they 
had obtained. The former, it says, are the old Vedic Rishis or saints ; 
and the latter are the hymns of the Rigveda, which, dating from eternity, 
were "seen" by them, and the number of which is one thousand and 
twenty-eight. Passing, then, over the doubts as to the genuine antiquity 
of some of these hymns and we could show that even the most orthodox 
authorities of India looked upon some as spurious it is certain that 
the inspired writings of the Hindus do not exceed the limits of those 
one thousand and twenty-eight hymns. 

The Hindu priesthood, however, has managed to demonstrate that 
one thousand and twenty-eight hymns mean in reality a very ponderous 
mass of divinely revealed works. " These hymns," it says to the people, 
" you must be aware, speak of ritual acts which are unintelligible to you, 
and they make allusion also to events, human and divine, which are 
shrouded in obscurity ; hence you must admit that those works called 
Brdhmanas, which explain the origin and the proper performance of 
rites which give illustrations of those events and legendary narratives, 
and which contain philosophical speculations to boot are a necessary 
complement of the inspired Rigveda hymns. And," say the priests, 
"there are three other Vedas besides the Rigveda, viz., the Yajur-, Sama- 
and Atharva-Veda; but, as the contents of these Vedas," they continue, 
" are bodily taken from the Rigveda, their inspiration can as little be 
gainsayed as that of these hymns themselves ; " and as the Brahmana 
portion of these Vedas stands in the same relation to their hymnic part 
as the corresponding portion of the Rigveda stands to the hymns of the 


latter, the Brahmins conclude that the inspired works of the Hindu 
religion are the hymns of the four Vedas and the Brahmana works 
attached to each of them. The theologian, moreover, adds : " And 
because in the hymns, as well as in the Brahmanas, there are many 
hints of extreme mysteriousness allusions to the production of the 
world, to the qualities of a supreme God, and to the nature of the human 
soul those works which contain the authoritative explanation of these 
mysteries, the Upanishads, cannot be disconnected from the inspiration 
of the hymns and Brahmanas. 

Those who have followed the course of the religious development of 
mankind in general will not feel surprised at this luxuriance of inspired 
texts : the instincts and the history of a priesthood are alike everywhere. 
One thousand and twenty-eight hymns, of a few verses each, are but a 
poor livelihood for a fast-increasing number of holy and idle men : but 
expand these hymns into a host of works which even the most diligent 
student could not master in less than several years; apply to their 
teaching the rule that the pupil must never study them from a manu- 
script, but receive them orally from his spiritual guide ; make them the 
basis of a complicated ritual, which no one is allowed to perform without 
a host of priests, and handsome presents to each of them aud what a 
bright perspective opens itself to a member of the Brahminical caste, 
and to those who follow in his track ! 

That the Brahmana portion of the Vedas, which is entirely ritual and 
legendary, has no claim whatever to be considered by an orthodox Hindu 
as dating from eternity, like the hymns of the Rigveda, and as super- 
naturally composed, results from the tradition to which we have referred ; 
for, though the doctrine of their divine origin has been current in India 
for more than two thousand years, no Rishi has ever been mentioned 
into whom they were divinely inspired, except, perhaps, in the case of 
one, the Satapatha-Brahmana. But the sanctity of this very Brahmana 


was so little acknowledged by common consent when it was composed, 
that it marks, on the contrary, a great schism in the 'ancient religion of 
India ; in fact, when compared with the hymns of the Rigveda, it is so 
late that there is strong reason to surmise that it did not exist in Panini's 
time. This grammarian himself, when teaching the names of some 
Brahmanas, gives us rules for distinguishing between ancient and modern 
Brahmanas ; and even if, contrary to the evidence supplied by him, a 
single one of those ancient Brahmanas had come down to us, his rules 
would bear testimony to the fact that in his time the authors of those 
works were not yet looked upon as inspired. A very learned writer on 
Sanskrit literature, indeed, has asserted, on the authority of those rules, 
that the affix in which terminates the name of such ancient Brahmanas 
as the Sailalin, Karmandin, &c., is "a mark that the name to which it 
is added is that of an author considered as a Rishi, or inspired writer." 
But such is not the case ; for, Panini, who distinguishes between works 
that were "seen" or are inspired, between works that were "made" or 
composed, and works that were " promulgated " or taught, states in the 
clearest possible manner that those "ancient" Brahmanas were not 
" seen," but only " promulgated " by the personages after whom they 
are named. 

Of the inspired character of the Upanishads still less need be said. 
It is, in India itself, upheld only either by those theologians who like 
their commentator, the celebrated Sankaracharya, or the translator of 
some of these theosophical works, the late Ram Mohun Roy endea- 
voured to give a stamp of sacredness to the Vedanta philosophy founded 
on them, or by those adherents of other philosophical schools, which 
appeal for the truth of their axioms to passages from these works. At 
the time when the priests had succeeded in laying down the law that 
instruction in sacred works could be imparted only by them, and was to 
be "heard," or orally received by the pupil from the teacher, they gave 


currency to a term, " Sruti" "hearing" implying by it that the 
texts which the pupil heard from their mouth were inspired works ; 
but in the early literature even this term comprises merely hymns and 
Brahmanas. It is only at a late period of Hinduism that we meet with 
" Sruti" as applied also to the Upanishad literature. 

The inspired network of the hymnic portion of the three Vedas, called 
the Yajur-, Sama-, and Atharva-Veda, is apparently closer drawn than 
that of the other writings just named ; but now that it is laid open before 
the investigating mind of modern Europe and India; now that the spell 
is broken which made the study of the Veda consist of intonating its 
verses to the melody of the Guru, and mechanically committing them 
to memory ; now that native and European industry has given us in 
print not merely the obscure words of the hymns, but also the commen- 
taries which lead us into their inner meaning, no Hindu can shrink from 
the duty of examining the grounds on which the inspiration of these 
three Vedas rests. 

He will probably not offer much resistance when he is asked to reject 
that of the Atharvaveda. He possesses abundant evidence that no 
Atharvaveda was known at an early period of Hindu life. The old and 
orthodox authorities of India speak of three Vedas only the Rig-, 
Yajur-, and Sama- Veda; even late commentators, though the Atharva- 
veda existed at their time, pay little attention to it ; it is ignored by the 
ritual-philosophers, the Mimansists, whose influence is felt wherever a 
sacrificial fire receives pious offerings. Trayi vidyd, " the threefold," 
not the fourfold, "wisdom" is in the mouth of every learned Hindu. 
Will he then contend for the inspired origin and the eternal existence of 
those incantations and charms which aim at " the attainment of wealth, 
the destruction of evil influences, the downfall of enemies, success in 
love or play, the removal of petty pests, recovery from sickness, and 
even the growth of hair on a bald pate ?" Yet, though the character of 
VOL. II. 5 


the hymns of this Veda differs from that of the Yajur- and Sama-Veda, 
the causes whence all these three Vedas arose, are similar; and the test 
by which a Hindu may judge of the claims to inspiration of one of them, 
is the test which he may apply to the claims of the remaining two. 

The hymns of the Rigveda are essentially poetical : they make frequent 
allusion, it is true, to pious and sacrificial acts ; but so far only as the 
latter are the concomitants of the pious and poetical feelings of the 
poet, or as they are connected with events in his personal life. We 
meet, therefore, with many hymns which have nothing to do with reli- 
gious performances: thus, some describe the grandeur of natural 
phenomena ; here a gambler " laments: over the passion that beguiles 
him into sin," and there a Rishi even ridicules the worship performed by 
the priests. In short, these hymns, if taken as a whole, are the genuine 
product of the poets' minds : they reflect the gradual growth of a nation's 
life ; they were not composed for any ritual purposes. On the other 
hand, there is nothing genuine in the Yajur- and Sama-Vedas. These 
Vedas are arranged and written merely to serve as prayer-books at various 
sacrificial acts. The collection of the Rigveda hymns, as one may 
a priori conclude from their very character, did not admit of any arrange- 
ment answering systematically the order of an elaborate ceremonial; 
the arrangement of the two other Vedas, on the contrary, is entirely 
adapted to it, and therefore throughout artificial. Thus, the verses of 
the Samaveda were intoned at the sacrifices performed with the juice of 
the Soma plant, and the order in which these verses occur is that of the 
sacrificial acts of which the Soma sacrifices consist. Again, those of the 
Yajurveda are arranged according to the rites of a great variety of 
sacrifices, at which the officiating priests had to mutter them inaudibly. 

Now, so firmly rooted is the belief in the divine origin of these 
Vedas, that it seems almost to have overshadowed the belief in the 
sanctity of the Rigveda itself ; not indeed in spite of their unpoetical 


character, but on account of it. For, judging from the opinions met 
with in the most orthodox writers, the Brahmins seem to have 
concluded that the Rigveda, however beautiful from an aesthetical point 
of view, was, after all, more an ornamental than a useful book ; that its 
real destiny is fulfilled in those two other Vedas, taken from it, which a 
contingent of sixteen officiating priests, supported by butchers, ladle- 
holders, and choristers, could turn to practical account at ceremonies 
regulated in their minutest detail, and some of them lasting as many as 
a hundred days. And, as the sacrifices requiring the muttering of the 
Yajurveda were even more imposing and more elaborate than those 
which fall within the range of the Samaveda rites, we find that the 
sanctity of the Yajurveda ultimately outstripped that of the rival Veda 
too. " The Yajurveda," says Sayaua, the great commentator on the 
Vedas, "is like a wall, the two other Vedas like paintings [on it]." 
Yet, as we before observed, the inspired character of these later Vedas 
rests on the assumption that their verses are borrowed from the 
Rigveda; that they are, in fact, portions of it. So far as the Samaveda 
is concerned, this assumption is justified; for, though in the present 
edition of this Veda there are some verses which do riot occur in the 
present text of the Rigveda, we must remember that this text is but 
one of the recensions of the principal Veda, and that the missing verses 
may have existed, and probably did exist, in some other recension of it. 
But a comparison of the Yajurveda with the Rigveda does not allow us 
to stretch probabilities to this extent. There are portions of the Yajur- 
veda which can at no time have belonged to any recension of the Rich, 
we mean those passages in prose, called Yaj us, whence the Yajurveda 
derives its name ; for, there is no hymn in the Rigveda that is not 
composed in verse. Here then this question obtrudes itself Who are 
the Rishis who " saw " these passages in prose ? Tradition, so far as 
we know it, is just as silent respecting them as it is respecting the 



authors of the Brahmanas. But as little as these latter works can 
become inspired because they are tacked to the hymnic collection which 
was " seen " by the Rishis of old, so little can inspiration pass like the 
electric fluid from the Rigveda verses, found in the Yajus, to those 
passages in prose which, from ritual reasons, had been joined to them. 
Yet, setting aside these pseudo-revealed passages, and those verses of 
the Yajurveda, too, which do not occur in the actual recension of the 
Rigveda, we shall be at once enabled to judge, by even a superficial 
glance, at how the inspired poetry of the Rigveda found its way into 
the Sama- and Yajurveda, on what grounds the Brahmins invite the 
nation to recognise the last two Vedas as inspired texts. 

We open at random two hymns which form part of the first book of 
the Samaveda and three chapters of one recension of the Yajurveda. 
The first hymn of the Samaveda which meets our eyes consists of 
eleven verses (370 380) ; and with the exception of its third verse 
(372), every one occurs amongst the verses of the Rigveda ; but what is 
the mutual relation of the verses in both Vedas ? 

Samav., verse 

370 is Rigveda 


... 8 











































The second hymn we happen to choose is the opening one of the 
Samaveda. It consists of ten verses, nine of which are likewise con- 































tained in the present recension of the Rigveda, but those nine verses 
correspond respectively with the following Rigveda verses : 


Samav., verse 1 with Kigveda... 6 

> <* n 

3 ,, 

> > * 



> O ,, 


We turn to any chapters of the Yajurveda, say the 22nd to the 25th. 
They contain verses and passages in prose, which were muttered at the 
horse sacrifice. Of chapter 22, which has 34 divisions, only four verses 
occur in the Rigveda, viz. ; 

Book. Hymn. Verse. 

Yajurveda, verse 10 in Rigveda ... 1 22 2 

15 5 14 1 

16 3 11 2 

18 9 110 8 

Of chapter 23, which consists of 65 divisions, there correspond : 

Boob. Hymn. Verse. 

Yajurveda, verse 3 with Rigveda... 10 121 4 

,, 5 161 

6 169 

16 1 162 21 

32 4 39 6 

Chapter 24, being entirely in prose, is foreign to the Rigveda ; and 
of chapter 25, with 47 divisions 


Boot. Hymn. Verse. 

Yajurveda, verse 12 is Rigveda ... 10 121 4 
13 10 121 2 

verses 1423 are 1 89 110 

2445 1 162 122 

and verse 46 is the first half of the Rigveda verse 

10, 157, 1, the first half of 10, 157 2, and the latter half of 10, 
157, 1. 

There is unhappily nothing so irreverent as statistical prose. A 
Brahmin will tell his nation that the verses of the Sama- and Yajurveda 
are the same as those of the Rigveda, and, if need be, he may perhaps 
show that a good number of them do really occur in the original Veda. 
We, however, are impertinent enough to test that sameness by book, 
chapter, and verse ; we marshal side by side the figures which mark 
the position of these verses in their respective Vedas and what do 
these figures reveal ? A Rigveda piecemeal : verses of the same hymn 
transposed, verses of different hymns shuffled about, and even verses of 
different authors strung together, as if they had proceeded from the 
same mind. We expected to find in the later Vedas, the feelings and 
thoughts of the ancient poets, but we hear only the sounds of their 
words ; we were promised possession, in these Vedas, of a living portion 
of the Rigveda, but we discover there only its scattered remains. In 
short, the Brahmin juggles before our eyes what he calls an identity of 
these Vedas with the Rigveda, yet what we really obtain is but a 
miserable counterfeit of it. 

Well may the disciples of Loyala feel humiliated when they look at 
the consummate skill with which this Brahminical legerdemain was 
performed, long before their master had taught them how to govern the 
world by obfuscating its intellect; for there is no priesthood in the 
universe which, by a stratagem like that we have described, can boast 


of so splendid a success in metamorphosing its most sacred book into a 
dull attendant on artificial rites, and in diverting the stream of the 
national life from its original course. 

While acknowledging, however, the intellectual capacity of those 
Brahmins who fashioned the hymns of the Rigveda in a series of 
" inspired " texts, we ought not to forget that they were powerfully 
assisted in their task by an invention which, though some may imagine 
to be of recent date, those Hiudu priests are fully entitled to claim as 
theirs we mean the invention of writings without a writer anony- 
mousness. Pride in his personality is the natural feeling of a man 
whose work proceeds from the promptings of his own genius and will ; 
and nations likewise have the instinctive feeling that they uphold their 
own individuality by guarding from oblivion the memory of their de- 
serving men. Unless, therefore, this innate feeling be intentionally 
subdued, it is merely an accident political or literary when works that 
merit to be remembered go down to posterity without the names of their 
authors, since so many names of authors survive without their works. 
We do not know, it is true, the authors of the Nibelungen and of the 
Kutrun ; we can speak only of the compiler of the Edda ; but it is 
exceptions like these that prove the rule ; for even a name like Homer 
probably devoid of a personal reality shows that the nation which 
put it forward was eager to. possess an individuality in the poet of the 
Iliad and Odyssey. 

But, when man is not the agent of his own acts, or if, for good or 
evil purposes, he wishes or is forced to personate more than his own 
self, he sinks his individuality into a brotherhood, he becomes anony- 
mous. To assume it to be a pure accident that the authors of the 
Yajus and of the Brahmanas have remained unknown, would be 
assuming that all those artificial and elaborate works were of uninten- 
tional origin, and that the Hindu mind is an exception to the general 


law. But that the proud feeling of individuality was as strong in India 
as it is everywhere else, and at all times too, is evidenced by the long 
list of proper names which represent the authors of her greatest poetical, 
philosophical, grammatical, and other works ; and it is borne out by 
the fact that the Hindus remember the names of their oldest Rishis, 
the " inspired seers " of the Rigveda hymns : for, whether these per- 
sonages existed or not, whether they were the authors of the works 
or hymns ascribed to them, matters not. To the Hindu mind they 
are realities : and since, on the other hand, Hindu tradition supplies us 
with a full account of the names of those who " collected " or arranged 
the Vedas, [and who " promulgated " or taught the Brahmanas, and 
Upanishads, the very jealousy it betrays in perpetuating the memory of 
merits inferior certainly to those of authorship, proves that the names 
of their " inspired " authors cannot have remained unknown through 
chance or carelessness. 

The anonymousness of these Vedic writings is, however, up to this 
day the staple argument in proof of their sanctity. In a spirited drama, 
written probably six hundred years ago, a Jaina mendicant apostrophizes 
a follower of Buddha who intends to persuade him of the superiority of 
his creed over that of the Jaina sect, in the following terms : " But 
who has laid down these laws ? " " The omniscient, sacred Buddha/ 7 is 
the reply. "And whence know ye that Buddha is all-wise ?" " Why," 
says the Buddhist, " because it is written so in his sacred books." The 
Brahminical author of this satire is obviously alive to the more solid 
basis on which the sanctity of his own revelations rest. The belief in 
their genuineness does not depend on the testimony of those by whom 
they were composed. Public opinion has never heard of any author of 
them : hence they must be of superhuman workmanship. 

In surveying the origin of the three later Vedas and that of their 
liturgic and theosophioal appendages, we stand, as it were, on the 


heights of Hinduism ; but the descent from them to the region of its 
actual condition is easy, and scarcely requires a guide. For, once 
acquainted with the spirit that engendered these Vedas and Brahmanas, 
with its method of fabricating inspired texts, and the conclusion wrought 
by its powerful engine, anonymousness, we may feel curiosity as to the 
turnings and byways of the road ; but the journey itself is monotonous. 
There is one reflection, however, which may arrest our steps. 

It must seem a matter of course that so fertile a soil as the sacrificial 
Vedas, and the ritual, legendary, and mystical Brahmanas could not 
remain without an abundant crop of works ; human works, to be sure, 
with their authors' name duly recorded and recognised, but works as 
indispensable to a proper use of those " inspired " texts, as they were 
indispensable to turn the ornamental Rigveda into a book of practical 
utility. They are the Kalpa works. But even these writings could 
not do justice to the store of services that might be rendered by a 
Brahmin to his countrymen. The Kalpa works merely treat of those 
great and public ceremonies which, for a time, may handsomely stock 
the budget of the officiating priests, but which are too sporadic and too 
select to be a permanent and solid livelihood. A number of daily and 
household ceremonies was evidently needed to bring the whole life of a 
believer under the control and into the grasp of his spiritual master, 
the priest. These ceremonies, then, were regulated by the Grihya 
books ; but as the life of even the most pious society cannot be entirely 
filled up with rites that take place at conception and birth, tonsure and 
investiture, marriage and the like, it was prudent to impart a religious 
stamp also to habits and customs in one word, to the whole organism 
of society. A special class of works the Samayacharika rules was 
therefore devoted to the ordinary practices ; and from these resulted 
ultimately the so-called legal works, amongst which Manu's law-book is 
known as the most prominent. Everything now was as complete as it 


could be. Social and religious duties are henceforward synonymous ; 
dharma is the word which designates both. All the institutions of 
society have now become of Vedic origin ; for the laws of Manu and 
others are founded on the habits and customs laid down in the works 
complimentary to the Grihya works ; these complete the Kalpa works ; 
and without the Kalpa works the practical Vedas would be unpractical. 
The chain which links religion and politics together is, on several occa- 
sions, brought home to the Hindu mind by a reasoning like this : 
Society cannot perform the duties prescribed in these sacred books 
unless it possesses a king, who watches over the safety of the people ; 
but a king cannot exist without the produce of the land ; land, however, 
yields no produce without rain ; rain is sent down by the favour of the 
gods ; such favour is obtained by means of sacrificial acts ; but where 
there is no Brahmin there is no sacrificial act : king and Brahmin thus 
close the circle within which the people has to obey the behests of 

There is, then, that difference between the Vedic works and those 
which are the present foundation of the Brahmanic belief that the 
former were inspired for the exclusive interests of priests, whereas 
the latter were inspired for the combined benefit of the priests and 
kings. But the latter, the Purdnas, have this in common with the 
three " practical" Vedas and the Brahmanas that they are likewise 
" inspired," because they are anonymous; for tradition, which knows all 
about Vyasa, their wonderful compiler, has concealed the names of the 
holy personages who received them direct from the Deity. If com- 
parison wants to go beyond this, it must hold the Vedic texts before a 
mirror which reflects a caricature. There is no trace of Vedic poetry 
or of Vedic thought in all those Purana works composed in glorification 
of the epical Pantheon of India, and more especially in that of the 
Hindu triad Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. There is scarcely a legend 


or myth narrated by them which can claim the remotest connexion 
with a Vedic myth. There is no ceremony they teach which, put 
even against the ceremonial of the Brahmana and Kalpa works, does 
not appear devoid of all that may please the imagination or elevate the 
mind ; and with the exception of a few of them, their style even is 
tedious, slovenly, and to some extent ungrammatical. Considered as a 
whole, these Puranas contain cosmogonies, which are a superstructure of 
epical and modern legends on the creative theories propounded in some 
of the systems of philosophy ; theogonies, which expand the myths of 
the great epos, the Mahabharata, in favour of the particular god whom 
it was the intention of the writer to place at the top of the Pantheon ; 
they profess to know the genealogies of patriarchs and the chief 
dynasties of kings ; they are bits of law-books in imitation of Manu and 
Yajnavalkya ; they pretend to explain ancient ceremonies, and abound 
in the description of rites which vie with one another in the absurdest 
detail ; tbey prophesy. And as it is plain, from this summary of their 
contents, that they aimed at being the books that teach everything, and 
with the weight of religious authority, we cannot feel surprised that 
some of them considered it necessary also to expatiate on sacred 
geography or the description of places where there is a special chance 
of attaining to eternal bliss, on medicine and astronomy, on archery, 
rhetoric, prosody, and grammar. But the low position which these 
works occupy in the household of Sanskrit literature, is nowhere more 
manifest than when they attempt to meddle with those scientific 
branches of human knowledge, where every student can test the kind 
of omniscience by which they were inspired. 

The modern date of the existing Puranas has long ceased to be 
matter of doubt to any one who reads them without prejudice ; but even 
an orthodox Hindu must shut his eyes to all evidence, literary, histo- 
rical, and grammatical, if he attempt to assert their antiquity. From 


the abundance of disproof which is open to him, we need, for curiosity's 
sake, only point to one. That works called Puranas i.e., " old," 
may have existed at ancient times, and that they may have combined 
some portion of the matter embodied in the actual works bearing this 
name, is not improbable; for, the word itself, as designating a 
class of writings, occurs as early as in the law-book of Manu, though 
this book itself, as we have seen, may be called recent when compared 
with the Vedic texts. A definition, however, of what such Puranas 
are, does not occur before the beginning of the Christian era, when the 
lexicographer Amarasinha says, that a Purana is a work which has 
" five characteristic marks." This definition is again explained by 
the commentators on the glossary of Amarasinha ; and the oldest of 
them did not live earlier than about four hundred years ago. He 
says that these five characteristic portions of a Purana are primary 
creation ; secondary creation, or the destruction and renovation of the 
world; genealogy viz., of gods and patriarchs; reigns of the Manus ; 
and history viz., of the princes supposed to derive their pedigree from 
the sun or moon. Now, in applying this definition to the actual 
Puranas, Professor Wilson, the distinguished Sanskrit scholar, who 
translated the whole Vishnu Purana, and was thoroughly conversant 
with these works, observes, " that not in any one instance do they 
exactly conform to it ; that to some of them it is wholly inapplicable ; 
whereas to others it only partially applies."* Whatever, therefore, 
may have been the nature of the original Puranas, and whatever scope 

* A translation into English of the most interesting portion of these works was 
made in India many years ago, under the personal direction of this celebrated and 
learned scholar. With the consent of his widow, and by the liberality of Govern- 
ment, this important MS. collection the only one which enables the English 
student, not conversant with Sanskrit, to examine the principal contents of the 
forms now part of the library of the India Office. 


one may give to the assumption that the actual Puranas have borrowed 
part of their contents from some older works of the same name, it is 
obvious that, in their present shape, they cannot reckon their age by 
many centuries. 

When, by priestcraft and ignorance, a nation has lost itself so far as 
to look upon writings like these as divinely inspired, there is but one 
conclusion to be drawn : it has arrived at the turning-point of its 
destinies. Hinduism stands at this point, and we anxiously pause to 
see which way it will direct its steps. For several centuries, it is true, 
its position has seemed stationary ; but the power of present circum- 
stances, social and political, is such that it can no longer continue so. 
All barriers to religious imposition having broken down since the 
modern Puranas were received by the masses as the source of their 
faith, sects have sprung up which not merely endanger religion, but 
society itself ; tenets have been propounded, which are an insult to the 
human mind ; practices have been introduced, which must fill every 
true Hindu with confusion and shame. There is no necessity for 
examining tbem in detail, by unveiling, for instance, the secrets of the 
Tantra literature ; nor need we be at the pains of convincing the 
intelligent portion of the Hindu community ; for, the excellent works 
which it sent forth from Calcutta, Benares, and Bombay, and the 
enlightened views which it propagates through its periodical press, 
fully prove that, equal in mental accomplishments to the advanced 
European mind, it requires no evidence of the gulf which separates the 
present state of the nation from its remote past. 

But what we do hold is, that all the activity of that learned portion 
will not avert the danger which threatens the future destiny of 
Hinduism, unless it boldly grapples with the very root of the disease. 
The causes of the gradual degeneracy of Hinduism, are, indeed, 
not different from those to which other religions are subject, when 


allowed to grow in the dark, In Europe, religious depravity received 
its check when the art of printing allowed the light of publicity to enter 
into the book whence her nations derive their faith; and no other 
means will check it in India than the admission of the masses to that 
original book which is always on their lips, but which now is the 
monopoly of that infinitesimal fraction of the Brahminical caste able to 
understand its sense ; and admission, also, to that other and important 
literature which has at all periods of Hinduism striven to prove to the 
people that their real faith is neither founded on the Brahmana portion 
of the Vedas, nor on the Puranas, but on the Rigveda hymns. 

If those intelligent Hindus of whom we are speaking have the will 
and the energy to throw open that book, and the literature connected 
with it, to the people at large, without caring for the trammels imposed 
on caste by the politicians of late ages, we have no misgivings as to the 
new vitality which they will impart to its decaying life, The result is 
foreshadowed, indeed, by what their forefathers attempted to do, but 
did not succeed in accomplishing, because they had not the courage to 
break through the artificial bonds which had already in their day 
enslaved Hindu society. We will briefly advert therefore to their views 
and to the light in which they must have read their most ancient 

The hymns of the Rigveda, as we observed before, are of an entirely 
poetical stamp. " They almost invariably combine," as Professor 
Wilson writes, " the attributes of prayer and praise. The power, the 
vastness, the generosity, the goodness, and even the personal beauty of 
the deity addressed, are described in highly laudatory strains ; and his 
past bounties or exploits rehearsed or glorified ; in requital of which 
commendations, and of the libations or oblations which he is solicited 
to accept, and in approval of the rite in his honour, at which his 
presence is invoked, he is implored to bestow blessings on the person 


who has instituted the ceremony, and sometimes, but not so commonly, 
also on the author or writer of the prayer. The blessings prayed for 
are, for the most part, of a temporal and personal description, wealth, 
food, life, posterity, cattle, cows, and horses. . . . There are a few 
indications of a hope of immortality and of future happiness, but they 
are neither frequent nor, in general, distinctly announced, although the 
immortality of the gods is recognised." The following verses taken 
from the second Octade of the Rigveda in the literal translation of it 
by Professor Wilson may afford an idea of the general tenor of these 
hymns. They are addressed, the first four to Pushan, the nourishing 
Sun ; the five latter to Heaven and Earth : 

" 1. The greatness of the strength of the many-worshipped Pushan 
is universally lauded ; no one detracts (from his praise) : his praise 
displeases no one. Desirous of happiness I adore him, whose protec- 
tion is ever nigh : who is the source of felicity ; who, when devoutly 
worshipped, blends with the thought of all (his worshippers); who, 
though a Deity, is united with the sacrifice. 

" 2. I exalt thee, Pushan, with praises, that thou mayest hasten (to 
the sacrifice), like a rapid (courser) to the battle ; that thou mayest 
bear us across the combat, like a camel ; therefore do I, a mortal, 
invoke thee, the divine bestower of happiness, for thy friendship ; and 
do thou render our invocations productive (of benefit) ; render them 
productive (of success) in battles. 

"3. Through thy friendship, Pushan, they who are diligent in thy 
praise and assiduous in thy worship, enjoy (abundance), through thy 
protection ; by (assiduous) worship they enjoy (abundance) : as con- 
sequent upon the recent favour, we solicit infinite riches ; free from 
anger, and entitled to ample praise, be ever accessible to us ; be our 
leader in every encounter. 

"4. Free from anger, and liberal of gifts, be nigh to us, for the 


acceptance of this our (offering) ; be nigh to those who solicit food : we 
have recourse to thee, destroyer of enemies, with pious hymns. I never 
cease, Pushan, acceptor of offerings, to think of thee ; I never disregard 
thy friendship." 

" 1. Those two, the divine Heaven and Earth, are the diffusers of 
happiness on all, encouragers of truth, able to sustain the water (of 
the rains), auspicious of birth, and energetic (in action); in the 
interval between whom proceeds the pure and divine Sun for (the dis- 
charge of his) duties. 

" 2. Wide-spreading, vast, unconnected, the father and mother (of 
all beings), they two preserve the worlds. Resolute, as if (for good) of 
embodied (beings), are Heaven and Earth, and the father has invested 
everything with (visible) forms. 

" 3. The pure and the resolute son of (these) parents, the bearer (of 
rewards) [the sun], sanctifies the world by his intelligence ; as well as 
the milch cow (the earth), and the vigorous bull (the heaven), and 
daily milks the pellucid milk (of the sky). 

" 4. He it is, amongst gods (the most divine), amongst (pious) works 
the most pious, who gave birth to the all-delighting heaven and earth : 
who measured them both, and, for the sake of holy rites, propped them 
up with undecaying pillars. 

" 5. Glorified by us, grant to us, Heaven and Earth, abundant food 
and great strength, whereby we may daily multiply mankind ; bestow 
upon us commendable vigour." 

As with the exception of a few hymns which have no reference to 
the praise or worship of the elementary gods, the scope and tenor of all 
the lays of the Rigveda are similar to those we have quoted, the first 
question suggested by them is whether they contain any laws or in- 
junctions concerning sacrificial rites. The answer is in the negative. 
They allude to such rites, some with less, and others with more detail ; 


but these allusions are no more than a record or a narrative of the 
practices of the poets of the hymns. We are told, it is true, that the 
practices of those holy men are tantamount to a law ordaining them ; 
but it is clear that such an inference is purely arbitrary. That it was 
strenuously opposed, moreover, by the highest authorities of ancient 
and medieval India is borne out by the works and efforts of that 
influential school which professes the Vedanta tenets, and which counts 
Sankaracharya amongst its teachers and divines. No Hindu doubts of 
the thoroughly orthodoxy of that school, and yet all its writings reject 
' work," that is, the observance of the sacrificial rites, as a means con- 
ducive to eternal bliss. It rejects, therefore, implicitly, the sanctity or 
authority of those " sacrificial " Vedas, the only object of which is the 
institution of such rites ; and with them, as a matter of consequence, 
the binding power of the Brahmanas and the worship founded on 

The next important question relates to the doctrine professed by 
those poets who are supposed to have received the Rigveda hymns 
from a deity. The answer to it is complicated from a European, but 
simple from a Hindu, point of view. To the European inquirer the 
hymns of the Rigveda represent the product of various epochs of Hindu, 
antiquity : in some he will recognise a simple, in others a complex, 
ritual ; some will reflect to his mind a pastoral and, as it were, primi- 
tive life, others a people skilled in several arts and engaged in mercan- 
tile and maritime pursuits. And, in investigating the religious views 
expressed by these hymns, he will find accordingly, in some, the 
worship of the physical powers, whereas he will discover in others the 
idea of a Supreme Creator of the universe. He will perceive in them, 
in short, a progressive religious thought, beginning, as everywhere 
religion began, with the adoration of the elements, proceeding to an 
attempt at understanding their origin, and ending with the idea, more 
VOL. II. 6 


or less clear, of one creative cause. The last stage of this development 
is indicated, for instance, by a hymn which has already acquired some 
celebrity, as attention was drawn to it by so early a Sauskritist as the 
illustrious Colebrooke, and as it has found its way into several European 
works. It runs as follows : 

" Then was there no entity nor nonentity ; no world, nor sky, nor 
aught above it ; nothing anywhere in the happiness of any one, in- 
volving or involved ; nor water, deep or dangerous. Death was not ; 
nor then was immortality : nor distinction of day or night. But THAT 
breathed without afflation, single with (Swadha) her who is sustained 
within him. Other than him, nothing existed (which) since (has been). 
Darkness there was ; (for) this universe was enveloped with darkness, 
and was undistinguishable (like fluids mixed in) waters ; but that mass, 
which was covered by the husk, was (at length) produced by the power 
of contemplation. First, desire was formed in his mind, and that 
became the original productive seed ; which the wise, recognising it by 
the intellect in their hearts, distinguish, in nonentity, as the bond of 
entity. Did the luminous ray of these (creative acts) expand in the 
middle ? or above ? or below ? That productive seed at once became 
providence (or sentient souls) and matter (01 the elements) : she, who 
is sustained within himself, was inferior; and he, who heeds, was 
superior. Who knows exactly, and who shall in this world declare, 
whence and why this creation took place ? The gods are subsequent 
to the production of this world ; then who can know whence it pro- 
ceeded ; or whence this varied world arose ? or whether it upheld itself 
or not ? He who in the highest heaven is the Ruler of this universe 
does indeed know ; but not another can possess that knowledge." 

The orthodox Hindu mind does not admit in these hymns of a 
successive development, like that which we must assert. It considers, 
as mentioned before, all the hymns of the Rigveda as being of the 


same age ; as dating from eternity. The Upanishads, and still more 
explicitly the Vedanta writers, cannot therefore allow any real discord 
to exist between the adoration of the phenomena of nature and the 
belief in one Supreme God. They solve the difficulty by concluding 
that the elementary gods are but allegorical personifications of the 
great soul, the primitive cause of the universe. And even Upanishads 
and Vedantists were already preceded in this view by Yaska, the oldest 
exegete of the Vedic hymns, who, on one occasion, says ; " There are 
three deities (Devatas) : Agni (Fire), who resides on earth ; Vayu 
(Wind), or Indra (Firmament) who resides in the intermediate region 
(between heaven and earth) ; and Surya (Sun), who resides in heaven. 
.... Of the Devata there is but one soul ; but the Devata having 
a variety of attributes, it is praised in many ways : other gods are 
merely portions of the one Soul." 

Upanishads, therefore, and Vedanta, the type of Hindu orthodoxy, 
will by no means allow that Hinduism, represented by the Rigveda, 
was at any period idolatry ; they maintain that all the Rishis intended 
to inculcate the standard tenet of Monotheism. Whether they are 
justified in this theory does not affect the practical conclusion at which 
we aim. For, this much is certain, that they interpret the Vedic 
hymns so as to derive from them the belief in one God, and that they 
quote numerous passages by which they intend to invalidate all doubts 
to the contrary. 

But, what is remarkable, too : during the long period of Hindu 
theology which is comprised by the Upanishad and Vedanta literature, 
there is no attempt on its part at expanding this tenet of Monotheism into 
any doctrinal mysticism. They abound in the most pious phraseology : 
they show that the Vedic text inculcates the idea of the immateriality, 
the infiniteness, and the eternity of the Supreme Spirit ; they expatiate 
on its qualities of goodness, thought, and beatitude ; but they are 


entirely free from any tendency to justify the notion of a mystical in- 
carnation of that Spirit such as is taught, for instance, by the votaries 
of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. From the words of the Veda, it must 
be granted, they endeavour to prove that the human soul having been 
created by that One Spirit, it is bound to maintain its original purity, 
and if it lose it by its acts in the world, it must renew its earthly 
existence until it is capable of commingling with the divine source 
whence it sprang. But beyond this doctrine of transmigration which 
is incidental to all the Monotheistic religions of mankind it does not 
even try to found any religious dogma on the Rigveda hymns. In 
one word, the pre-eminently orthodox schools demonstrate that the 
Veda imposes no observance of a superstitious ritual ; that it enjoins 
no law regulating for all eternity social or political life, no dogma 
except the belief in One God, no duty except that of living in con- 
formity with the nature of that God from whom the human soul has 

The bane of the social edifice within which these schools had to live 
and to teach Vedanta, that is, the " purport (anta) of the Veda," 
thwarted their full success, which would have stopped the degeneracy 
of Hinduism they foresaw ; but, however powerful, it could never 
entirely crush their existence, or completely stifle the influence which 
they exercised on the nation. The adherents of these schools always 
fostered a spirit of investigation, and by it threw doubts, at least, into 
the mind of the masses as to the authority of those law-books which 
profess to regulate society for all eternity. To their influence, in our 
days, we must ascribe the quiet disappearance of the practice of Sati 
after they were shown that the injunction of burning the surviving 
widow on the funeral pile of her husband had arisen from a misreading 
of a Rigveda verse. Their learning is active in convincing the masses 
that the remarriage of widows is not prohibited by the Vedic text ; and 


to them are due the progressive changes which mark, for instance, the 
laws of inheritance, propounded by the existing legal authorities, as 
compared with those presented by Manu.| 

We may, therefore, still entertain the hope that the regeneration of 
Hinduism will proceed from these schools, provided that they possess 
tlie energy to refuse any compromise with the sectarian worship, which 
has brought Hinduism into contempt and ridicule. The means which 
they possess for combating that enemy is as simple as it is irresistible ; 
a proper instruction of the growing generation in its ancient literature, 
an instruction, however wholly different from that now constituting the 
education of a Hindu youth ; to whom reading the Veda is jabbering 
thoughtlessly the words of the verse, or intoning it to the melody of a 
teacher as ignorant as himself of its sense ; who, by studying grammar, 
understands cramming his memory with some grammatical forms, 
without any notion as to the linguistic laws that regulate them ; who 
believes that he can master philosophy or science by sticking to the 
textbook of one school and disregarding its connexion with all the rest 
of the literature. That such a method and such a division of labour 
do not benefit the mind is amply evidenced by the crippled results they 
have brought to light. The instruction which India requires, though 
adapted to her peculiar wants religious, scientific, and political 
must be based on the system which has invigorate'd the European 
mind ; which, free from the restrictions of rank or caste, tends to 
impart to it independence of thought and solidity of character. 



1. Indische Alterthumskunde . Vols. I. IV. By CHR. LASSEN. Bonn 
and Leipzig : 18471861. (Vol. I., 2nd edition, 1867.) 

%.The History of India from the Earliest Ages. By J. TALBOYS 
WHEELER. Vol. I. London. 1867. 

3. Original Sanskrit Texts ; on the Origin and History of the People 
of India, their Religion and Institutions. By JOHN MUIR. 
Vol. I. IV. London: 1858 186S; (Vol. I., 2nd edition, 

4. Le Mahdbhdrata. . . . Traduit en Frangais. Par HIPPOLYTE 

FAUCHE. Vols. 1. VII. Paris : 18631867. 


WHEN the late Professor H. H. Wilson had completed the first volume 
of his now celebrated translation of the Rigveda he felt sure that his 
long and laborious work was about to satisfy an eager desire of every 
literary man, and relieve the anxiety which, he supposed, was generally 
evinced to get at the remotest source of the religious creed of India. 
Proud, therefore, of the service he was about to render to the world at 
large, and to this country in particular, and free from all vanity or 


selfishness as none ever entered the heart of this truly scientific and 
noble-minded man he felt especially happy when at last he was able 
to offer his work for publication to one of the most renowned publishers 
of England. The offer was unconditional ; the importance of the work 
beyond the possibility of a doubt, and the interest it would create, as 
he at least thought, so universal, that the greatest reward for the 
moment, as he pictured it to himself, was the delight with which the 
publisher of his choice would receive his proposal to open to the public 
the Hindu book of seven seals the oldest Veda. 

He had finished his little speech to the publisher, and the reply he 
received was not a refusal. It was only a question; but a question 
compared to which a hundred refusals would have been nectar and 
ambrosia to the feelings of the venerable translator of the Veda: it was 
the question, '* What in the world, sir, is the Veda ?" 

Hindu mythology sometimes tells us of gods who have dropped from 
their heavens. This great event was then generally caused by the 
severe austerities of some powerful saint, by his stern insensibility to 
worldly demands. Here it was insensibility too, though of another 
kind, that sent the enthusiastic professor down from his heaven to the 
realities of this world. He folded up his precious parcel, and to the 
question, "What, sir, is the Veda?" the Royal Asiatic Society was 
indebted for one of the most interesting lectures, which towards the 
close of his long and meritorious career he delivered within its walls, 
and in which he narrated the incident of which we are reminded in 
proposing to approach another chapter of the theme of so many 
mysteries still unsolved ancient India. 

The Veda, indeed or, as we should say, the Vedas have since been 
especially fortunate. For the last eighteen years and more they have 
almost exclusively engaged the attention and energy of the best Sanskrit 
scholars in India, Europe, and America, not to speak of the precursor 


of all modern Sanskrit scholarship, the great H. T. Colebrooke, whose 
essays on the Vedas, though written in the beginning of this century, 
still shine in their brightest lustre. Thanks to the efforts of such 
eminent men as H. H. Wilson, Max Muller, Benfey, Haug, John 
Muir, Cowell, Whitney, Rajendralal Mitra. and others, no question will 
be further raised as to what are the Vedas. The contents, it is true, 
of these oldest records of Hindu civilization, and still more those of the 
vast literature connected with them, are as yet far from being fathomed 
to their full depth ; but their surface, at least, has been extensively 
explored, and, though it cannot be said that every explorer has proved 
a reliable guide, the busy life which for many years has marked these 
Vedic expeditions bears witness to the interest with which they were 
followed by scientific research and amateur curiosity. Nor would it be 
just to regard even their aberrations as the result of mere conceit, and 
as altogether devoid of utility ; for if by the side of such an under- 
standing of the Vedas as is handed down to us by native scholarship and 
native tradition, and as is considered authoritative by the Hindus 
themselves, as well as by many scholars in Europe, we shall in some 
years hence, as we are given to hope, also possess an interpretation of 
these works such as was never heard of before in India, or elsewhere, the 
opportunity of comparing the results attained by the more serious of 
these various explorations can only tend to further the ends of truth, 
just as the mere prospect of these adventurous enterprises has already 
called new forces into the field, roused new combatants to the fight, and 
even produced the hornblowers and the clown to afford recreation and 
amusement on a long and perhaps tedious march. 

The more, however, Vedic studies have of late engrossed the best 
energies of the present staff of Sanskrit scholars, the more, necessarily, 
have other fields of Sanskrit philology remained, comparatively speaking, 
fallow. It is especially the gigantic epos of ancient India, the Maha- 


bharata, which has suffered under this flux and reflux of Sanskrit 
studies in Europe. When, in 1819, by one of his happy hits, 
the late illustrious founder of comparative philology made known 
Nala and Damayanti, one of the most charming episodes of the 
Mahabharata, and a few years later followed it up by his edition of 
some other portions of the same epos, less poetical, but still of consider- 
able merit, the hope was justified that we might get hold of a knowledge 
of the whole wonderful fabric from which these fragments had come to 
light. Translations of these episodes which also made their appearance 
rather increased than satisfied the curiosity that had been roused. 
Nor was it appeased by other and larger extracts from the great poem 
which subsequently followed, both in the original Sanskrit and in 
various European versions. Native industry and scholarship, it is 
true, were in the meantime hard at work. Under the patronage of the 
Asiatic Society of Bengal, which, while now doing its best work, 
through the efforts of such scholars as Rajendralal Mitra, Narayana 
Vidyaratna, K. M. Banerjea, and other eminent natives, was at that 
time guided by the counsel of men like H. H. Wilson and James Prinsep, 
the whole text of the Mahabharata was prepared for the press and 
afterwards printed at Calcutta in four portly quartos ; and we may here 
add, it has been followed of late years by another edition of great value, 
which, together with a paraphrase in Bengali, owes its existence to the 
munificence of the enlightened Maharaja of Burdwan. And even so 
recently as five years ago a third splendid edition of the great poem, 
together with an important commentary on it, was sent forth from a 
Bombay press, its appearance being chiefly indebted to the advice and 
liberality of a distinguished native scholar, whose name has for many 
years been in the foremost rank wherever literary, scientific, and 
philanthropic work required the assistance of sound knowledge, a clear 
intellect, and a generous heart we need not say, Dr. Bhau Daji. 


Ever since 1839, therefore when the last volume of the first 
edition of the Mahabharata was completed in print there has been no 
lack of material for studying even in Europe this wonderful book ; 
nevertheless, the public at large, and probably many a Sanskritist, 
would still pause in having to answer the question, " What is the 
Mahabharata?" Judging from printed evidence, there is only one 
scholar in Europe who seems to have mastered the great epos in all its 
varied details. True, it is no less a scholar than Lassen, one of those 
rare minds who combine critical judgment with a vast and profound 
scholarship. Yet a monography of the Mahabharata did not enter into 
the plan of Lassen's works, and more especially into that of the 
greatest monument he has raised to his fame his " Indische Alter- 
thumskunde." That he explored every corner of the great epos is 
borne out by the use he has made of it in the last-named work for his 
special purposes ; but these purposes themselves were chiefly limited 
to showing the importance which the Hindu poem has for an inves- 
tigation of the history and geography of ancient India, and the 
numerous other problems raised by it did not therefore receive in his 
masterly work that minute attention which no one was so well qualified 
as himself to give to it. A consideration of a few of these problems 
fortunately belonged more especially to the province of Dr. John Muir's 
' Original Sanskrit Texts," a work which, under the most modest 
title, has contributed more trustworthy materials to the elucidation of 
some of the obscurest points of Hindu antiquity than many a pretentious 
book professing the same aim ; and, in spite of its extreme cautiousness 
in arriving at settled conclusions, by its thorough impartiality, and 
judicious treatment of the subject-matter, it will have done more to 
establish correct ideas than the bold assertions and solemn affirmations 
with which some other writers on Sanskrit matters are wont to repre- 
sent the unreliable result of their speculations. But the " Original 


Sanskrit Texts," like the work just referred to, merely touches upon 
some of the religious and antiquarian questions connected with the 
Mahabharata, upon such questions as lay within the scope of Dr. 
Muir's own plan. They neither profess nor intend to supply a know- 
ledge of the whole of the Mahabharata. A little and very useful book, 
published by Professor Monier Williams, in 1863, would seem to be 
more directly concerned with this task, for it bears the title of 
" Indian Epic Poetry," and, besides a popular and interesting introduc- 
tion, gives what it calls an analysis of the Ramayana, the second 
great Hindu epos and of the Mahabharata. Unfortunately, however, 
it omits to speak at all of the episodical matter treasured up in this 
poem, and filling not less than three-fourths of the whole work : and 
the " summary " itself of the rest as he probably meant to convey by 
the word " summary " has so completely assumed the character of a 
skeleton that it would be in vain to seek in it any of the life of the 
Mahabharata. Still, though the living Mahabharata does not seem to 
have been the subject of Professor Williams's inquiry, even his 
diligent gathering of its bones and his earnest attempt to give a correct 
outline of its external features, is a good service, for which the 
humbler class of Sanskrit students must be thoroughly grateful to him . 

Two other works mark the last visible phase which may be assigned 
to Mahabharata studies as ventured upon by European scholars. The 
one is in course of publication the translation of the Mahabharata 
in French, by M. Hippolyte Fauche ; the other the first volume of 
" the History of India from the Earliest Ages," by Mr. Talboys Wheeler, 
which, from its page 42 to 521, is exclusively devoted to the great 

A literal translation of the Mahabharata in any of the generally 
known languages of Europe would be, of course, a first desideratum to 
any one who, though unacquainted with Sanskrit, yet would wish to 


form for himself an opinion of the nature and contents of the great 
works. He would certainly be well-informed enough not to expect that, 
however excellent such a translation might be, it could replace the worth 
of the original, or that from it he could collect the strain of ideas which 
only the words of the poet himself are able to rouse, or the thoughts 
which lie hidden in the very sounds in which they came first to light. 
Nevertheless, a good and literal translation of the Mahabharata would 
be a great literary boon, and its importance may be well realized if one 
remembers the effects which, in Germany, for instance, the translation 
of Homer's poetry by Voss produced on the education of the people. 
The difficulties, however, which beset a good translation of the Maha- 
bharata in our days are not to be compared to those which Voss had to 
encounter when he increased German literature with another national 
work. We do not speak of difficulties essentially sesthetical, we merely 
refer to those purely philological ; for, in spite of the excellent work 
done in the three editions of the Mahabharata already mentioned, we 
venture to say that a comparison of the existing manuscripts of the 
epos and we can here only speak of those to be found in Europe 
would show that a good deal of additional critical labour must be 
performed before we can hope to possess a thoroughly genuine text of 
the poem. It does not seem that M. Fauche was troubled by any 
anxiety of this kind. To him the first and naturally least critical edition 
was the genuine text ; but we fear that even to this he did not always 
conform, and that his imagination had too often a more powerful sway 
over him than a submissive adherence to grammar would allow. His 
translation is often neither literal nor correct, and when we add that it 
is in prose, without the pretension of affording an sesthetical equivalent 
for the poetry of the original, we must necessarily conclude that it does 
not reach the beau ideal of a version of the Mahabharata. Still, though 
justice has to be severe, it must be equitable. Had M. Fauche laboured 


under the full weight of the difficulties to which we have already 
alluded, his present translation would probably not have come to the 
world so soon, if indeed it had ever come, and those whom Sanskrit 
philology does not count amongst its working men, but wishes to enlist 
as its patrons and friends, would have lost the considerable advantages 
which, in spite of its imperfections, they may derive from his very 
laborious work ; for as it follows the original verse for verse, and as its 
failings do not affect the general tenor of the contents it renders, it is, 
for the present at least, the best guide we could recommend to those 
who, without the aid of the original, may wish to obtain an insight into 
this wonderful product of the Hindu mind. And the objections here 
raised, we will hope, may even be lessened the more M. Fauche's 
translation progresses on its road ; for though it has already reached its 
seventh volume, the ground passed over is not more than about a third 
of the entire journey to be accomplished; and doubtless every succeeding 
step towards its goal will enable its meritorious author, whose enthusiasm 
and industry cannot be sufficiently praised, to travel with greater safety 
than before, and thus will still more ensure to him the gratitude of the 
literary world. 

Mr. Talboys Wheeler's investigation of the Mahabharata is, in one 
sense, perhaps the most curious that as yet has seen the light of 
publicity. For, when we say that Mr. Wheeler is no Sanskritist, and 
that he has not availed himself either of Lassen's researches or M. 
Fauche's translation even so far as it goes it might well be wondered 
out of what materials he built his comprehensive sketch of the leading 
story of the Mahabharata and the inferences he drew from it. And 
the wonder might seem the greater when we add that with some restric- 
tions his sketch is the best we know of in print, and his reasoning very 
often to the point. The mystery is lessened, however, by the account 
which he himself gives of the foundation on which his structure was 


raised. In the library of the Asiatic Society of Bengal there was lodged, 
he relates, " many years ago, a manuscript translation of the more 
important portions of the Mahabharata, which there is reason to believe 
was drawn up by the late Professor H. H. Wilson. The manuscript was 
very illegibly written upon paper much embrowned by age, and seems 
to have been at least fifty years in existence. The whole has now been 
copied and indexed, and forms nine volumes folio. The original was 
by some mistake put away in the Calcutta library under the head of 
Bhagavadgita, and was not discovered by Mr. Wheeler until four years 
ago, when he accidentally sent for the Bhagavadgita, and to his surprise 
and gratification found that the manuscript contained the bulk of the 
Mahabharata." Unless we are much mistaken, some additional infor- 
mation might be added to that given us by Mr. Wheeler regarding his 
lucky discovery. When living in India, the late Professor H. H. Wilson 
had under his superintendence translations prepared and some of them 
he probably himself made of nearly all the chief contents of the 
Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana ; and these were, after 
his death, found to have been preserved for the most part in a rough 
and by him revised draught, and at the same time in a fair copy; some, 
however, were only in the former condition. A complete set of these 
translations was hereafter, with the consent of his widow, acquired by 
the library of the India Office, and the remaining incomplete portion 
representing the original draughts of which fair copies had been taken, 
by the Bodleian library at Oxford. A third set, then, of these same 
translations seems, therefore, to be that of which Mr. Wheeler speaks, 
and to him certainly the great merit is due of being the first who turned 
them to good account. In the first volume of his " History of India " 
he only utilised that part of these translations which bears upon the 
political history of ancient India. But, according to the comprehensive 
plan on which his work is laid out, there is a strong hope that we shall 


at last possess a full account of what the Mahabharata is, and an 
account too, rendered not only in a clear and attractive, but in some 
respects also in an original manner. For the method of Mr. Wheeler 
consists in premising his own remarks on the story of the epos under 
review with a narrative of the story itself, but told in his own fashion 
and words. The original itself thus appears before us, not in the form 
of a translation, but in that garb which it would assume if, irrespectively 
of poetical considerations, a modern European had to convey, to a 
European audience of average education, the general impression pro- 
duced by the Sanskrit story on the Hindu mind. To effect this end 
he would have to sacrifice all such details as without much comment 
would probably remain unintelligible, and he would otherwise, also, have 
to curtail the original narrative so as not to overtax the patience of an 
European public. 

" Large masses of supernatural matter," Mr. Wheeler says, in 
reference to the plan of his work (p 39), " have been either briefly 
indicated or cut away altogether. Brahmanical discourses and religious 
myths have been generally eliminated, to be reconsidered subsequently 
in connection with the religious ideas and belief of the people. Many 
episodes have been excluded . . . but a sufficient number have 
been exhibited in outline ; whilst three favourite stories, which are 
apparently types of three different epochs of Hindu history, have been 
preserved by themselves under a separate head. Finally, the residue 
has been re-cast in English prose in such a condensed form as would 
preserve the life and spirit of the ancient traditions without oppressing 
the reader with needless repetitions and unmeaning dialogue ; and 
has been interspersed with such explanations and commentary, and 
such indications of the inferences to be derived from different phases 
in the traditions, as might serve to render the whole acceptable to the 
general reader." 


All this Mr. Wheeler has done with considerable tact and skill, and 
the result of his labour is an English account of the leading story of 
the great epos, tastefully drawn and attractive from the beginning to 
the end, but above all very accurate, too, in the main. For when 
(p. 84) he gives us a little bit of a legend which is to explain why the 
Bhils " shoot the bow with their middle finger until this day," or when 
(p. 88) he appends in a foot-note a description of " weapons of a super- 
natural character;" or when (p. 351) he has a pretty story about 
Duryodhana's squeezing what he first imagined to be the heads of the 
five Pandu Princes, all of which incidents are not to be found in the 
printed text of the Mahabharata, there is, after all, not much harm 
done by these and a few similar embellishments, which must have 
somehow crept into the translations he used. A mishap of perhaps 
more yet by no means vital consequence is that which occurred to 
him in his description of the horse sacrifice of Raja Yudhishthira 
(p. 377 433) ; since his whole description does not form part of the 
Mahabharata. It is a very condensed extract from a more recent work, 
the Jaiminiya-Asvamedha, or " The Horse Sacrifice," ascribed to the 
authorship of Jaimini. And to the same work likewise belongs, as an 
episode, the beautiful little romance of Chandralidsa and Vishayd, 
which is one of "the three favourite stories " (p. 522 534) referred to 
by him before. These materials too, therefore, must by accident have 
been mixed up with the translation of the real Mahabharata at his 

We will now proceed to give a brief outline of the character and the 
contents of the Mahabharata so far as it has hitherto come within the 
scope of Professor Lassen's and Mr. Wheeler's works with an indica- 
tion, also, of what a future account of it would have to tell were it to 
do full justice to the gigantic work. 

Bhdrata it is called because its leading story is devoted to the history 


of some descendants of an ancient king of India, called Bharata, and 
more especially to a fratricidal war which was waged between two 
branches of his family, the Kauravas or sons of Dhritarashtra, and the 
Pandavas, or sons of Pandti ; Ma/m-Bharata. or the great Bharata, is its 
name, because it comprises not less than about 100,000 verses, each 
verse consisting of thirty-two syllables, or, to speak in more homely 
phrase, above seven times the bulk of Homer's poems combined, or 
more than twenty times the extent of the Nibelungenlied. There is 
recorded indeed, in the beginning of the work, a tradition that there are 
three other versions of the poem, which had a still higher claim to the 
title of " great," for one of them, it is said, was fourteen, another fifteen, 
and a third even thirty times as large as the present Mahabharata ; but 
as these versions are happily only to be found among the heavenly 
bards, the manes of the deceased ancestors, and the gods, and as the 
passage, moreover, containing this tradition is not even contained in all 
the MSS. of the poem, there is no occasion to mourn the loss of a poem 
of still more Himalayan dimensions than the actual Mahabharata 
though, as will presently be seen, there is no reason why on the plan 
on which the latter, the Mahabharata intended for the human race, 
grew into its present size, it might not have assumed even the bulk 
which courtesy would consider only fitted for the use of the gods. 

This plan may be easily understood. The groundwork of the poem, 
as mentioned before, is the great war between two rival families of the 
same kin; it occupies the contents of about 24,000 verses. This, 
however, was overlaid with episodical matter of the most heterogeneous 
kind ; and the latter became so exuberant that it ultimately exceeded 
in extent three times over the edifice to which it was attached. Nor 
was this merely matter of accident in the sense in which such a term 
might vaguely be used. A record* of the greatest martial event of 
ancient India would have emphatically been claimed as the property of 
VOL II. 7 


the second or military caste, the Kshattriyas* It was recited, as tra- 
dition tells us, by men of a special caste, the Sutras, or bards, at great 
public festivals instituted by powerful kings. The heroism of ancient 
warriors, who were the ancestors of these kings, their wonderful deeds, 
their royal virtues, their connexion with the gods all these and kin- 
dred themes would naturally tend, in the people's mind, to strengthen 
their power, and increase the lustre of their dignity. But such an 
exaltation of the kingly splendour and of the importance of the military 
caste, would as naturally threaten to depress that of the first or Brah- 
manical caste. Brahmans, therefore, would endeavour to become the 
arrangers of the national epos ; and as the keepers of the ancestral lore, 
as the spiritual teachers and guides, as priestly diplomatists, too, they 
would easily succeed in subjecting it to their censorship. The 
personage to which this task is by tradition assigned is called Vyasa, a 
word which literally means " distributor, arranger," and is kindred to the 
Greek word Homeros, which, from d/x and dp, conveys a similar sense, 
that of "joining together." But Hindu tradition also takes care to say 
that Vyasa belonged to the Brahmanical caste. It became thus the 
aim of the Brahmanas to transform the original legend of the great 
war into a testimony to the superiority of their caste over that of the 
Kshattriyas. And this aim was effected not only by the manner in 
which the chief story was told, but also by adding to the narrative all 
such matter as would show that the position and might of a Kshattriya 
depends on the divine nature and the favour of the Brahmana caste. 
Legends relating to the actions of gods and men, to the origin, develop- 
ment, and destruction of the worlds, exposition of matters concerning 
the moral and religious duties of men, especially the duties of kings, 
political discourses, essays on philosophy and theosophy, even fables 
every subject in fact that could serve this end, was worked into the 
leading story by priestly skill. Here and there an old legend or myth 


might be found in the epos, apparently not betraying such a set 
purpose. Whether it found its way into it at the time when its 
general object was already fulfilled, or whether it was a stroke of policy 
on the part of the oldest compilers, to veil their intentions by also 
incorporating into their work matters of, politically speaking, an 
indifferent nature, is of course difficult, if at all possible, now to decide. 
That their object, however, was to make the Mahabharata a Brahman- 
ical encyclopaedia for the military caste, and a powerful means in the 
hands of the Brahmans of swaying the Kshattriya mind, is unquestion- 
able. One of several passages taken from the first book of the great 
poem may afford an insight into the importance which they themselves 
attached to their work. It runs as follows : 

" This hundred thousand of Slokas, relating holy acts, told in this 

world by Vyasa of unbounded splendour whoever the wise man be 

who recites it, or whoever those men be who hear it, they will reach 

the abode of Brahman and obtain the rank of a deity. For this poem 

is equal to the Vedas ; it is pure and excellent, it is the best of all 

things to be heard, it is the Purana praised by the saints. In 

it whatever is conducive to worldly interest and pleasure is fully 

taught, and the mind that reposes on this holy epos fits itself for final 

liberation. The wise man who recites this Veda of Krishna to others, 

provided they are liberal, truthful, not low and not unbelievers, obtains 

the accomplishment of his worldly interests ; and even a wicked man 

when hearing this epos would get rid of his sin, be it even incurred by 

the destruction of an unborn child. He becomes liberated from all 

sins, like as moon is liberated from the (grasp of the) dragon. This 

poem is victory indeed, and should be heard by every one desirous of 

conquest. (By its aid) a king conquers the earth and vanquishes his 

enemies. . . . This poem related by Vyasa of unbounded intellect, is 

a sacred code of religious and civil duties ; it is an eminent code of all 


that relates to worldly interest, and it is a sacred code of final liberation. 
Some recite it to-day and others will hear it ; sons who do so will 
become obedient (to their parents), and servants will please (their 
masters). Whosoever hears it, becomes at once free from all sin, 
whether committed by his body, or his speech, or his mind. ... He 
who reads the Bharata, it must be known, understands fully the 
Vedas ; for there the gods and the kingly saints and the holy Brah- 
manical saints all of them free from sin are extolled, and there 
Krishna is extolled, and also the holy Siva and his consort, and the 
birth of the war-god, effected by several mothers, and there is praised 
the eminence of the Brahmans and the cows. It is a collection of all 
sacred traditions, and should be heard by those whose mind is given to 
the law. . . . Whatever there is stated in this Bharata in regard to 
religious and civil duties, to worldly interests, to what is conducive to 
pleasure and leads to final liberation (the Commentary adds : or the 
reverse of these) that is; on the other hand, whatever there is not 
stated in this poem (in regard to these topics) that can be found 

The Mahabharata may thus be regarded under a threefold aspect ; as 
a work relating events of an historical character ; as a record of mytho- 
logical and legendary lore ; and as the source whence especially the 
military caste was to obtain its instruction in all matters concerning 
their welfare in this, and their bliss in a future life. Some such aim 
as the great epos has was also taken by a kindred and later class of 
works, the Puranas. They are in a great measure modelled on the 
Mahabharata, which is their prototype. But they have remained far 
inferior to it both as regards the quantity and the quality of their 
contents. They are moreover works of a sectarian stamp, each of them 
composed to establish the superiority of a particular god over the rest 
of the Pantheon ; whereas such a purpose, though it may seem to loom 


in the distance, cannot yet be ascribed to the framers of the Mahabha- 
rata. In this poem there is certainly a special predilection for Krishna 
whom the present Hindu canon looks upon as an incarnation of the 
god Vishnu ; it is called, as we have seen before, ' the Veda of Krishna.' 
but in those portions of the great epos which in all probability are its 
oldest, Krishna is only the hero who by his exploits engrossed the 
national mind ; he is treated there as a personage above the ordinary 
mortal stamp, and as such we may say he is the chrysalis of the future 
god, but he is not yet there the real unquestionable god of the later 
period of Hindu worship. Again, though there are passages in the 
Mahabharata, probably of a later date than the former, where Krishna 
or Vishnu is spoken of as the most powerful and even supreme god, 
there are others too where the same honour is allotted to Siva and his 
consort, and others where Krishna pays adoration even to the Sun and 
Fire, or where Agni, the god of fire, is distinctly praised as the 
universal deity. It is clear therefore that the compilers of the Maha- 
bharata were by no means the narrow-minded sectarians of later ages. 
Impressed, we should conclude, with the philosophical creed of the 
Vedas, they could, at the behests of policy, bestow their compliments 
on any god and any form of worship capable of receiving the Brah- 
mamcal stamp ; but in the pursuit of their policy they must have been 
aided also, on the part of the people, by a spirit of toleration which 
could allow each worshipper to look upon his neighbour's god as a 
god who, too, had its vested rights and some claims to a supremacy 
which he might not be able to gainsay with certainty. It must have 
been in their time as it was in the age of the Antonines, which 
Gibbon describes when saying, " The various modes of worship which 
prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as 
equally true ; by the philosopher as equally false ; and by the magistrate 
as equally useful." 


The Mahabharata is therefore the source of all the Puranas, the 
Purana emphatically so called, and as a document for antiquity unrivalled 
for religious statesmanship. 

There, however, the momentous problem interposes : how far did 
this Brahmanical diplomacy affect its worth as an historical work, as a 
source of mythology, and a code of moral, religious, and political law ? 
It is the first of these questions which chiefly engaged the investigations 
of Professor Lassen and Mr. Wheeler ; and we will pause to see how 
they answered it. 

But to appreciate their reasoning we must first take a passing glance 
at the leading story of the Mahabharata. 

Atri, a great saint of the Vedic period, who afterwards became one 
of the lords of creation, produced by a flash of light from his eye the 
moon, and the moon again (in Sanskrit, a male being) became the 
ancestor of a line of kings, who therefore are called the kings of the 
lunar dynasty. One of these was Puriiravas, whose love for the heavenly 
nymph Urvasi has become familiar to us through one of the finest 
productions of the genius of Kalidasa, his drama Vikramorvasi. His 
descendants were in a direct line successively Ayus, Nahusha, and 
Yayati, the latter becoming the father of Puru and Yadu. The line of 
Yadu acquired celebrity through Vdsudeva, whose sister was Kunti or 
Prithd, but especially through his sons Krishna and Balarama, the 
reputed incarnations of the god Vishnu. Puru's son was Dushyanta, the 
husband of Sakuntala, and their son, Bharata. From Bharata descended 
successively Hastin, Kuru, and Santanu. The latter married Satyavati, 
who, by a previous informal marriage with an impetuous saint, had 
already borne a son, the celebrated Vytisa, whose specific name was 
Krishna Dvaipayana. Santanu's sons by Satyavati were Chitrangada 
and Vichitravirya ; and his son by another wife, the river Ganges, was 
Bhishma. He adopted moreover a son whose name was Kripa. The 


two former died childless ; but as according to Hindu law the eternal 
happiness of a man is jeopardised unless the funeral ceremonies are 
performed for his soul, and at that period children begot by a brother- 
in-law and the widow of a man who died childless became the lawful 
children of the deceased, and thus could perform those ceremonies, 
Satyavati asked her son Vyasa to provide a male progeny for the manes 
of Vichitravirya. By one of his widows he therefore begot a son, 
Dhritardshtra, and by another a second son, Pdndu. But as the former 
was born blind, and the latter with a pale complexion, which was objec- 
tionable, Vydsa was induced to become the father of a third son, who 
should be blemishless. Ambikd, however, the second widow of Vichi- 
travirya, who was intended for the mother of this child, did not fancy 
the powerful saint, for his aspect was horrifying ; she therefore substi- 
tuted for herself a slave girl, and the latter became the mother of 
Vidura, surnamed Kshattri. Now the progeny of Dhritardshtra, who 
married Gandhari, consisted, besides a daughter, in a hundred and one 
sons, the most prominent of whom were Diiryodhana, " the one with 
whom it is difficult to fight," also called Suyodhana, or " the upright 
fighter," and Duhsdsana. Pdndu, again, had two wives, Prithd, the 
sister of Vasudeva and aunt of Krishna, and Madri. By the former 
he had three sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna; by the latter, 
twins, Nakula and Sahadeva. Pritha, it should be added, had previously 
to her marriage with Pandu borne a son, Kama ; but as his birth had 
been miraculous, and could have been misrepresented as objectionable, 
it was concealed by her both from her husband and her sons, who thus 
remained for- a long time unacquainted with their relationship to Kama. 
It will have been seen from this pedigree that Diiryodhana and his 
brother on the one side, as well as Yudhisthira, Bhtma, Arjuna, Nakula, 
and Sahadeva, on the other, were descendants of Kuru ; in tradition, 
however, the name of Kauravcis, the Sanskrit word for these descendants, 


is exclusively reserved for the former, the sons of Dhritarashtra; whereas 
the name of Pandavas, or descendants of Pandu, there always designates 
only the five princes, the eldest of whom is Yudhishthira. Both lines, 
as will have been likewise seen, were on their father's side remotely 
related to Krishna ; but a near relationship between this great hero and 
the Pandavas was established through Pandu's marrying their mother, 
Pritha, who was the paternal aunt of Krishna. It will have been 
noticed, too, that Vyasa, the compiler of the Mahabharata, is at the 
same time the reputed grandfather of both the Kauravas and the 
Pandavas ; and as he is constantly represented as taking some part or 
other in the events recorded by him, tradition must have considered 
him as especially fitted to preserve a reliable account of the great 

The events, then, which happened in the life of the Kauravas and 
Pandavas are the historical groundwork of the great epos. They may 
be briefly adverted to as follows : 

After the demise of Santanu, who resided in Hastinapur, the ancient 
Delhi, Dhritarashtra was by seniority entitled to succeed. But as he 
was blind he resigned the throne in favour of his brother Pdndu. The 
latter became a powerful monarch, but after a time, feeling tired of his 
regal duties, preferred to retire to the forests of the Himalaya, and to 
indulge in his favourite sport, the chase. Dhritarashtra had thus to 
resume the reins of government, but on account of his affliction it was 
his uncle Bhishma who governed for him, and also conducted the 
education of his sons, who had been born in the meantime, and attained 
to boyhood. -After a while Pandu died in his mountainous retreat, and 
his widow Pritha was in consequence invited by the old king to take up 
her residence at his court, with her five sons, so that they might be 
brought up together with his own. The two families thus became 
united, but as the education of the boys progressed, and it became 


manifest that the Pandavas were superior in qualities and attainments 
to their cousins, the jealousy of Duryodhana was roused, and his wicked- 
ness assumed a first tangible shape in an attempt he made to poison 
and then to drown Bhima. This attempt failed, like several others 
which succeeded it, to destroy the whole of the Pandu princes, but his 
jealousy soon found even a stronger inducement than before to urge on 
his sinister designs against the cousins. A Brahmana of miraculous 
origin, Drona, who had obtained from a still more wonderful saint a 
knowledge of the most mysterious and powerful weapons, and was skilled 
in the art of war, had on one occasion been slighted by Drupada, the 
king of Panchala, and resolved to take his revenge on him. To effect 
his purpose he repaired to Hastinapur, and offered the king to instruct 
the princes in the martial arts in which he excelled. This offer was 
gladly accepted, and when he had completed their military education it 
was arranged that the princes should exhibit their skill at a public 
tournament, where every one was allowed to enter the arena against 
them. It came off, but entirely to the advantage of the Pandaras, 
whose valour and dexterity by far surpassed those of Duryodhana. Here 
it was that Kama made his first public appearance, for after the defeat 
of Duryodhana he offered to challenge Arjuna ; and the hopes of the 
Kaurava princes were set on him. Yet as Kama, who was believed to 
be the son of a charioteer, and whom his mother Pritha alone knew to 
be the son of the Sun, could not comply with the rules of the tourna- 
ment, in showing that his was a noble pedigree, he himself being ignorant 
of his illustrious descent, he was excluded from the lists of the sham 
combatants. And from that time dated his enmity against the Panda- 
vas, as he considered them to be the cause of his public disgrace. The 
interposition of Drona, on that occasion, prevented the outbreak of 
serious hostilities between the rival princes ; and he even united them 
for a time in the acceptance of his proposal to wage war against Drupada, 


who had offended him, since as the fee for his instruction he now 
claimed the kingdom of Panchala, which they would have first to wrest 
from king Drupada. The princes accordingly went to attack Drupada, 
but he defeated the Kauravas, and only yielded to the superior strength 
of the Pandavas. The Brahman Drona, having attained his object, 
then graciously made over half of the kingdom to Drupada, and merely 
kept the remaining half to himself. In consequence of these events, 
however, the renown of the Kaurava princes having become entirely 
eclipsed by that of the Pandavas, and their father Dhritarashtra even 
intending to install as heir-apparent to his kingdom Yudhishthira, his 
cousin Duryodhana planned another scheme to get rid of the obnoxious 
rivals. He prevailed upon his father to send the Pandu princes, with 
their mother, on an excursion to a town, Varan avata, the ancient 
Allahabad, the pretext being a festival which was to be held there ; and 
before them he despatched a confidant with the instruction to have a 
house constructed for them out of highly inflammable materials, and 
when they were installed in it, to set it on fire, so that they might perish 
in the conflagration. But this scheme also failed. Having had an inti- 
mation of it, they contrived to lodge in the doomed house a woman of 
low caste, with her five sons, and while these were burned they succeeded 
in saving their lives through a subterranean passage which previously 
had been made for them. 

Nevertheless, to be safe from further machinations they considered 
it prudent to conceal their escape, and it was given out that they had 
been destroyed in the flames. They now assumed the garb of mendicant 
Brahmans, and went to the forests, where they performed a number of 
miraculous feats. Bhima had there an encounter with a giant demon j 
Hidimba, killed him, but married his sister Hidimba, by whom he had 
a son. They then went to a town, Ekachakra, where Bhima freed 
the country from a cannibal, Vaka, who was the terror of the pious 


anchorites. When staying there Vyasa paid them a visit, and through 
him the princes were informed that Drupada would shortly institute a 
solemn festival, at which his daughter Draupadi from amongst the 
princes assembled would choose for her husband the prince who would 
perform the most wonderful feats. From the west and east, from the 
north and south, the royal suitors flocked in ; and, at the advice of 
Vyasa, the Pandavas, also, in their guise as Brahmans, joined the 
multitude. None of the kings, however, could perform the task that 
had been set them as a condition of the prize, the hand of Draupadi. 
Kama, too, wanted to try his fortune, but he was prevented from 
entering the lists on account of his being, or appearing to be, the son 
of a charioteer. To the astonishment of the assembly, then Arjuna 
came fonvard, and by his deeds won Draupadi. An uproar ensued, 
since the royal suitors did not acknowledge the right of a Brahman 
as whom they took Arjuna to compete with them, and in the fight 
which was the consequence Drupada would have lost his life had not 
Arjuna saved him, and Krishna, who had come from Dvaraka, and 
seen through the disguise of the Pandavas, declared that Draupadi was 
his legitimate prize. Arjuna now repaired with his bride and his 
brothers to their mother; and the epos tells us that Draupadi was 
hereafter solemnly wedded first to the eldest, Yudhishthira, and, 
according to seniority, successively also to his other four brothers. 
She became, in short, at the same time the wife of all the five 
Pandavas, who, in order to obviate domestic conflicts, laid down 
certain rules, stipulating that their violation should be visited on 
the offender by banishment into the forests for a period of twelve 

The Pandavas now dissembled no longer their existence and real 
character, and when it had become known at Hastinapur that they 
were not only alive, but had for their ally the powerful Drupada, the 


Kauravas resolved to make peace with them. The terms agreed upon 
were, that the former should continue to reign at Hastinapur, while the 
latter should have the sovereignty over Khandavaprastha, the modern 
Delhi. At that period it so happened, unfortunately, that Arjuna 
entered the house of Yudhishthira when Draupadi was staying with 
him ; and, as this was a breach of the compact they had concluded, he 
banished himself to the forest for twelve years, though Yudhishthira 
readily condoned the offence of his brother. During the period of his 
exile a great many events are recorded to glorify the power of this 
prince. The most important, however, seem to have been various love 
adventures, in the course of which he married Ulupi, a serpent princess ; 
Chitrangada, a daughter of the king of Manipur ; and Subhadra, 
Krishna's sister, whom he carried off forcibly against the will of 
Krishna's brother, Balarama, and by whom he afterwards had a son, 

The reign of his brother Yudhishthira at Khandavaprastha in the 
meantime prospered so wonderfully, and after the return of Arjuna from 
his exile became so much more strengthened by a series of successful 
conquests which he accomplished, that he resolved upon celebrating 
the Rajasuya sacrifice, a ceremony which only a king could perform who 
had conquered all his enemies, and the attendance at which involved on 
the part of those who joined in it an acknowledgment of the sovereign 
power of the king who instituted this sacrifice. After the defeat of a 
last enemy, king Jarasandha of Magadha, Yudhishthira had the 
satisfaction of gratifying his wish. The most powerful monarchs 
assembled from all parts of India to be witnesses of his greatness and 
splendour ; and the festival would have come off without any jarring 
incident had not the Argha, or respectful offering, which had to be 
made to the worthiest of those present, provoked the jealousy of 
Sixupala, the king of Chedi ; for when by common consent this offering 


was voted to Krishna, the king of Chedi disputed his claim to it, and 
by his unmeasured abuse of Krishna at last provoked the latter into a 
combat, in which he was slain. The very power and splendour, how- 
ever, displayed on this occasion by king Yudhishthira soon became 
disastrous to him, for when Duryodhana, who, together with his 
brothers, was also among the invited guests, had become aware of the 
greatness which his rival had obtained, he could no longer suppress his 
envy, and the desire he felt to deprive him of his possessions and his 
wealth. As soon, therefore, as he had returned to Hastinapur, he 
planned a new scheme for attaining this object. As he could not 
hope to be a match for the forces of the Pandavas in open warfare, and as 
they had already proved equal to him in cunning, he resolved to try what 
could be done by means of a game at hazard. Playing at dice was in 
the oldest time part of several sacrificial ceremonies ; it had afterwards 
become a favourite sport of royal personages, and even special officers 
were attached to their courts for the arrangement and superintendence 
of such games. That Yudhishthira, though described as a pattern of 
piety and virtue, was especially fond of playing at dice was known to 
Duryodhana, and the latter conspired, therefore, with his uncle Sakuni 
to defeat him in such a game. The Pandavas and their wife Draupadi 
were accordingly invited by their relatives to be present at a banquet 
to be given by the old king at Hastinapur, and when they had come a 
game was proposed by Sakuni to Yudhishthira. The greater skill of 
the former, and foul play besides, soon accomplished the evil purposes 
of Duryodhana. Yudhishthira lost everything he staked, his wealth, 
his kingdom, at last Draupadi too. He had even to witness the 
indignity which was inflicted npon his wife when Duhsdsana, the 
brother of Duryodhana, seized her by her hair and dragged her as a 
slave into the presence of all the assembled guests. Ultimately, how- 
ever, Duryodhana consented to liberate her, and even to restore to his 


cousins their territory, on the condition that they became exiles for 
thirteen years, and, during the thirteenth year, kept so strict an 
incognito that no one should be able to recognise them, or even 
ascertain the place of their retreat. 

The Pandavas accepted these terms, and accordingly entered upon 
their exile, twelve years of which they spent in the forests of India. 
The events which happened during this long period are full of stirring 
incidents, and form the subject of many episodes. It must here suffice 
to advert only to one of them. When one day they were out hunting, 
and their wife was left at home alone with their domestic priest, a king 
of Sindhu, Jayadratha, passed through the forest with a large retinue 
on his way to the south, whither he went to obtain in marriage a 
princess of Chedi. But seeing Draupadi, he was so much struck with 
her beauty that he at once entertained the desire of possessing her. 
He sent, in consequence, a messenger to her hermitage to ascertain her 
name and lineage, and to get himself introduced to her as a guest, 
Draupadi, unaware of the danger which threatened her, received him 
hospitably according to the laws of her religion, and the more so as she 
recognised in him a distant kinsman. Jayadratha, however, soon dis- 
closed his disloyal intentions, and when Draupadi indignantly repelled 
them, he carried her off forcibly. Soon afterwards the Pandu princes 
returned home from their hunting excursion, and learned the outrage 
that had been committed on them. Off they started in pursuit of 
Jayadratha, He was soon overtaken and his army routed. Draupadi 
was released, and, after an unsuccessful flight, Jayadratha himself made 
a prisoner. In the end, however, Draupadi, out of regard for their 
relationship, interposed in his favour with her husbands, and he was 
allowed to depart to his own country. 

The thirteenth year had now come, during which the Pandavas were 
pledged to assume an incognito beyond discovery. To carry out this 


last part of their agreement, they resolved to assume different disguises, 
and to enter the service of a king Virata of Matsya. When they'came 
near his city they went accordingly to a burial-ground, concealed 
there their weapons and garments, and took garbs suitable to the 
characters in which they meant to offer their services to the king. 
This being done they presented themselves, together with Draupadi, at 
the court of Virata, under fictitious names, and giving out that they 
were a party of travellers who had met with great vicissitudes in life, 
and now were anxious to get a livelihood in various menial capacities. 
Yudhishthira said he was a Brahman, and especially versed in the art 
of playing at dice ; his word was taken, and he was] engaged as 
teacher and superintendent of the game. Bhima was dressed like a 
cook, and held a wooden ladled and a long knife in his hands. He 
professed to be versed in all culinary arts, and was made the head of 
the royal kitchen. Arjuria appeared in the garb of a eunuch, with 
earrings, bracelets, and the other attire of a person of that kind, and 
stated that he could give instruction in singing, playing, and dancing ; 
he was, consequently, appointed companion and teacher of the royal 
ladies. Again, on the faith of their professions, Nakula was made 
master of the horse, and Sahadeva superintendent of the cattle. 
Lastly, Draupadi, who, from her beauty and gait, could least dissemble 
her real nature, but also gave a plausible account of her assumed 
character, was engaged as servant to the queen of king Virata. The 
five brothers soon became the favourites of the royal household, for they 
excelled in their respective occupations. The giant Bhima especially, 
who, in his power of eating and fighting, was not surpassed by any one, 
had an opportunity of s showing himself off in a wrestling match, in 
which he conquered a powerful wrestler of the day who had put every 
one else to shame. Draupadi's beauty, however, was fated to be the 
cause of disturbing for a while their happiness. At the court of Virata 


there lived a mighty warrior, Kichaka, who was the brother of the 
queen, and the commander of the king's forces. His passions were 
roused towards Draupadi, and he resorted to various stratagems to 
become possessed of her. The! virtuous Draupadi resisted, of course, 
his advances, and after an indignity she had suffered in open court, 
resolved to accomplish his destruction. She simulated, therefore, com- 
pliance with the wishes which Kichaka soon again repeated to her, and 
made an appointment with him during the darkness of midnight in the 
dancing room. Her husbands were apprised of the scheme she had 
planned, and which consisted in Bhima' s putting on female attire, and 
while personating her, dealing with Kichaka as he deserved. When 
the appointed hour had arrived Kichaka came; but Bhima meeting 
him, a fight between them ensued, in which Bhima put his adversary 
to death. As in the morning his dead body was discovered, and in a 
fearful condition, too, every one thought that no human power could 
have effected the destruction of so powerful a man as Kichaka, and it 
was generally assumed that some Gandharvas, under whose divine 
protection Draupadi professed to be, had avenged her on Kichaka for 
his illicit desires. Nevertheless, the followers of Kichaka made an 
attempt to burn Draupadi with his body, as if she had been his 
legitimate wife, and it required another effort on the part of Bhima 
to avert this danger from the Panda vas. Virata and his court now 
held Draupadi in especial awe ; but the death of Kichaka proved 
of consequence also in other respects. While he lived the renown of 
his prowess was so great that it held in check all the enemies of his 
brother-in-law, the king. As soon, therefore, as spies from the city of 
Virata had spread the tidings of his death, their former designs and 
hopes revived. Among these enemies were especially Susarman, a 
king of Trigarta, and Duryodhana. As the former happened to be on 
a visit at the court of H&stmapur when the news of Kichaka's death 


arrived, he at once planned with Duryodhana a campaign against his 
old rival and foe. Accordingly Susarman hroke into the territory of 
Virata, and so successful was his inroad that he even made Virata his 
prisoner. But when Yudhishthira and his brother learned the mis- 
fortune that had befallen their protector, he, together with Bhima and 
the younger brothers, at once set out in pursuit of Susarman, who had 
gone to the north, and they not only liberated Virata, but completely 
defeated his enemy. While these events, however, passed in the north 
of Matsya, Duryodhana invaded from the south the territory of Virata. 
The forces of this king having gone out to meet Susarman, the country 
was deprived of all its defenders, Uttara alone, the son of Virata, and 
Arjuna, the supposed eunuch, with some servants, being left to offer 
resistance to the hostile force. Uttara was merely a boy, and Arjuna 
therefore undertook the defence of the country, first in acting as 
charioteer to the young prince, and afterwards, when the latter 
despaired, as principal in a combat with Duryodhana. In spite of 
their greater numbers, the Kauravas were completely defeated, but 
allowed to depart to Hastinapur. 

At the time when these events occurred, the thirteenth year of the 
exile of the Pandavas had expired. Soon after the return of Arjuna to 
the capital of Virata they disclosed, therefore, as they were now free to 
do, their real character to the king, and made an alliance with him, 
which was still more strengthened by Virata giving his daughter 
Uttara in marriage to Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna by Subhadra. 

By virtue of their compact with the Kauravas, the Pandavas had now 
regained their title to the kingdom, which they had been temporarily 
obliged to quit. But they well foresaw that their cousins would not of 
their own accord reinstate them into their territories. They convened 
therefore a council to deliberate on the steps they should take. It was 
attended by all the allies of the Pandavas, especially by king Drupada, 

VOL. II. 8 


their father-in-law, king Virata, and the two mighty brothers Krishna 
and Balarama, who had come from Dvaraka ; and there it was resolved 
that the Pandavas and their allies should fully prepare themselves for 
battle, but, before declaring war, try the effect of peaceable negotiations 
first. For this purpose, then, the family priest of king Drupada was 
despatched to the Kauravas, but without result ; and in return an 
embassy was sent by Dhritarashtra to the Pandavas. This also proved 
of no avail, for though the Pandavas were willing to declare themselves 
satisfied even with the cession, on the part of the Kauravas, of five 
small towns, the latter remained obstinate in not yielding up any 
portion of the territory claimed by their cousins. A last attempt at 
reconciliation, made by Krishna himself at Hastinapur, was also un- 
successful, and the great war between the two rival families became 
henceforth unavoidable. 

The two parties, with their respective allies, now chose for the battle- 
field the large plain of Kurukshetra, which seems to have been situated 
to the north-west of the modern city of Delhi, and there entrenched their 
camps. The Kauravas then appointed for their commander-in-chief 
their uncle, the veteran Bliislima. Challenges preceded the outbreak 
of the regular hostilities, and both the Kauravas and the Pandavas 
agreed on certain rules which they promised to keep, that on both sides 
the war should remain an honest war. Thus they stipulated to fight 
each other without treachery, not to slay any one who would run away 
or throw down his arms, not to take up arms against any one without 
giving him warning ; no third man should interfere when two com- 
batants were engaged with each other, horsemen should only fight with 
horsemen, footmen with footmen, warriors in chariots with warriors in 
chariots, and riders on elephants with riders on elephants. By these 
and similar rules it was thus intended to conduct this war according to 
the notions which the military caste at that period entertained of 
military honour. 


There now ensued a series of battles chiefly consisting of single 
fights which lasted for eighteen days. For the first ten days the 
command-in-chief belonged to the aged and wise Bhishma ; yet how- 
ever great his valour, he at last succumbed. Pierced by arrows he fell 
from his chariot upon the ground, and Arjuna and the other chiefs of 
the Pandavas comforted their dying relative. But Bhishma did not 
yet give up the ghost ; he lingered on for fifty-eight days, when his 
soul went to heaven. The generalissimo of the Kaurava army who 
succeeded him was Drona. He fell five days after he had assumed 
the command ; and this interval was especially marked by the death of 
Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna, who, contrary to the rules agreed upon, 
was attacked and slain by Duhsasana and four other warriors, while 
the wicked Jayadratha, known already for his attempt at ravishing 
Draupadi, prevented the Pandavas from rescuing the luckless youth. 
Duhsasana escaped this time the consequences of his ill deed, but 
Jayadratha was killed by Arjuna. Drona, too, however, was the victim 
of a stratagem on the part of the Pandavas, who thus likewise violated 
the rules of the war. For when Bhima fought without avail against 
the warrior Brahman, the Pandavas spread the rumour that Asvatthd- 
man was dead ; and Drona, not knowing that the Pandavas had on 
purpose called an elephant Asvatthaman and allowed him to be slain, 
but believing that his own son bearing this name had fallen in battle, 
Drona, disheartened by this news, laid clown his arms, and suffered his 
head to be cut off by Dhrishtadyumna, a brother of Draupadi. Drona's 
successor was Kama ; but his command only lasted two days, for at the 
end of this short period he was slain by Arjuna. His successor was 
Salya, who commanded but one, the eighteenth day of these battles, 
which terminated in the complete defeat of the Kaurava forces. This 
last day, however, was marked by an act which again proved that the 
Pandavas also could depart from the rules of honourable warfare. 


When Duryodhana had fled and hid himself in a safe retreat, he was 
discovered by the Pandavas, and, after a time, prevailed upon to fight 
again. His condition, however, was that he should be allowed to fight 
with his mace, and according to the received rules of such a duel. The 
challenge was accepted by Bhima, who was a great adept in the use of 
the mace ; but when he found that even his great skill failed against 
the superiority of Duryodhana, he struck the latter such a violent blow 
on his right thigh, that it smashed the bone and felled him to the 
ground. Yet in fighting with the mace it was contrary to all rule to 
strike below the waist, and the victory of Bhima over Duryodhana was 
thus merely due to foul play. Bhima was called, therefore, the " foul- 
fighter," while Duryodhana on that occasion earned the epithet of the 
" fair-fighter." 

The Kaurava army was now completely destroyed, and only three 
warriors of it survived, Asvatthdman, the son of Drona, Kripa, the 
adopted son of Santanu, and Kritavarman. When they found Duryo- 
dhana on the point of death, and heard of the treachery of Bhima, they 
vowed to take their revenge on the Pandavas. These had meanwhile 
after the defeat of the hostile forces, taken possession of the Kaurava 
camp, and installed themselves there, while Draupadi and her sons, 
together with the remnant of their army, had been ordered to occupy 
their own camp. Now, when- the night had come, and all were sleeping 
in apparently the most perfect security, the three surviving warriors of 
the Kauravas entered the camp of the Pandavas, and there murdered 
the five sons of the Pandavas, the whole family of Drupada, and every 
male belonging to the army of the Pandavas. After this they hurried 
off to Duryodhana, who was still alive, to bring him the news of the 
manner in which they had fulfilled their horrible vow, and then fled 
for their lives to their respective countries. Duryodhana now died, 
and the Pandu princes, after the fate that had befallen them, wished 


to effect a reconciliation with Dhritarashtra and his wife Gandhart, to 
whom they were now left as the nearest relatives. The old blind king 
came to the battle field, and apparently forgave them ; but he could 
not forget the foul play of Bhima towards his son Duryodhana, and by 
a ruse would have killed him had riot the foresight of Krishna saved 
Bhima's life. 

The next care of Yudhishthira and his brothers was the performance 
of the funeral ceremonies in honour of the fallen dead, arid when this 
duty on their part was fulfilled he entered the city of Hastinapur, 
where, under the nominal sovereignty of Dhritarashtra, he was installed 
junior king. His heart remained, nevertheless, filled with sorrow, and 
he felt a strong wish to pay a parting visit to his uncle Bhishma, who 
lay still alive on his bed of arrows, as he hoped to obtain from him con- 
solation in his grief. He repaired to him, and Bhishma, agreeably to 
his wishes, instructed him in all his duties. This was the last, and by 
no means least wonderful performance of Bhishma's; for the instruc- 
tion in all matters relating to this and the future world which he con- 
veyed to Yudhishthira, while transfixed with arrows, and his head 
resting on a pillow of arrows, does not occupy less than above 20,000 
verses in the Mahabharata. 

The reign of Yudhishthira now having been securely established, his 
next desire was to obtain its acknowledgment by the other kings of 
India, and to effect this he performed the great sacrificial ceremony 
known as the Asvamedha, or horse sacrifice. Hitherto that portion of 
the family which had survived the great war lived together, and in 
apparent happiness. Dhritarashtra alone could never forget the 
treacherous conduct of Bhima in his club fight with Duryodhana, and 
Bhima, too, lost no opportunity of slighting the old king. The latter, 
therefore, resolved upon renouncing the throne and retiring to the 
forest, where he intended to pass the remainder of his life as an 


anchorite. He therefore left Hastinapur, together with his wife Gan- 

dhari, with Pritha, the mother of the Pandavas, and their uncle Vidura, 

and proceeded to the woods. There first Vidura died, and later the 

rest of the royal exiles perished in a forest conflagration. When the 

news of their death reached the Pandavas they were deeply afflicted by 

it ; but when some time later they also received the tidings of Krishna's 

death, and the destruction of his town, Dvaraka, their heart was so 

much overcome with grief that they, too, became determined upon 

renouncing their royal position and the world. Accordingly they set 

out on a long journey towards mount Meru, where they hoped to obtain 

admission into Indra's heaven. Through many countries they 

wandered, Yudhishthira walking on foot, followed by Bhima ; then 

came Arjuna; then, in order, the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, and last 

of all came Draupadi. Behind them walked a faithful dog. By 

degrees they reached the shore of the sea, and here Arjuna cast into 

the waves his bow and quivers. Gradually, however, the strength of 

the royal pilgrims failed. Draupadi sank first, and the others 

successively, until Yudhishthira alone and the faithful dog remained. 

At last Yudhishthira reached the heaven of Indra, but the dog was 

refused admittance to it by the god. The king insisted, nevertheless, on 

remaining with his faithful companion, and it then turned out that Indra, 

by his resistance, had merely tried Yudhishthira's constancy, since the 

dog was no other than the god of justice himself, and the real father of 

king Yudhishthira. To his surprise, however, Yudhishthira found in 

Indra's heaven Duryodhana and his other cousins, but not his own 

brothers or Draupadi. And when he was told that these were confined 

in one of the hells to expiate their sins, Yudhishthira resolved to share 

in their fate, instead of remaining alone in heaven. He proceeded, 

therefore, to the fearful hell where they were, and was about to 

undergo the miseries to which his brothers were doomed, when it 


became manifest that all had been an illusion, and this his last trial. 
For Indra, to test his attachment for his relatives, had created a vision, 
which now vanished away, and after Yudhishthira had bathed in the 
heavenly Ganges he found himself re-united with his whole family in 
the heaven of Indra. And thus ends the story of the great war and 
the reign of the most virtuous of the Pandavas. 

In giving this bare outline of what may be called the historical 
portion of the Mahabharata, we have had to be ruled by considerations 
of space, and an estimate of what we thought might be the amount of 
forbearance possibly granted by an indulgent reader who, in a weak 
moment, professing an interest in Hindu epic poetry, had suddenly 
found himself taken at his word. We therefore at once confess some 
remorse at the havoc which such a rapid ketch has had to make of the 
contents of the great poem. But lest, by dint of condensing and 
curtailing, it might even cause a doubt as to how such a simple narra- 
tive could have been worked into a bulk of verses like that described, 
and into one though of unequal yet great poetical worth, we must come 
to the aid of the reader's imagination with at least a few additional 

We need not dwell on the chance which was given to the poet when 
he had to describe the battles of eighteen days, each of which was a 
series of single combats, nor on the eloquence he could display when 
giving a picture of the great councils held both at the court of Dhrita- 
rashtra and that of Virata previously to the first battle, or of the 
messages exchanged between the Pandavas and Kauravas. We need 
likewise not point to the wide scope for poetical embellishment where 
the amours of Arjuna during his exile, or kindred subjects, are told, or 
where the scene is described when the mothers and wives of the fallen 
warriors visit the battle-field, and give themselves up to the expression 
of their grief. Themes like these will always be a fertile source for the 


poet's muse, whether he be Vyasa or Homer, Valmiki or the author of 
the Niebelungenlied. But another field, and a large one too, in which 
the Hindu poet could travel at his ease, might not so readily appear 
from the meagre narrative just offered. The personages that have been 
named in it, their pedigrees and their lives, have been represented 
there as if we were writing history. But in the Mahabharata all the 
leading characters are raised beyond the sphere of ordinary human 
life. Their birth is miraculous, and their acts defy the standard of 
human acts. They constantly associate with gods : their palaces are 
of divine grandeur ; their armies count by millions ; their wealth is 
inexhaustible; time and distance vanish before their deeds. In epic 
poetry there must always be fictions of a kindred character, or else it 
would no longer be epic poetry. But in Homer, for instance, such 
fictions are rather hinted at than dwelt upon at length ; as a rule, where 
dealing with mortal heroes he allows us to feel at home in the sphere 
of human possibilities. In Hindu epic poetry, on the contrary, the 
supernatural halo which surrounds every personage of consequence 
becomes a heavy reality, which forcibly, and for a considerable time, 
arrests our attention, and withdraws it from the main story, which it 
originally was intended merely to brighten up. Thus the miraculous 
births of Vyasa, Pandu, Drona, of Pritha, and Draupadi, not to speak 
of Krishna, and of many more leading characters, become centres of 
interest for themselves, though this interest is foreign to the main 
story of the great war. All, in short, that lies on its bye-roads assumes 
an importance of its own, and these bye-roads themselves multiply the 
farther we advance. Nor by adverting to* this difference which 
distinguishes the character of the epic poetry of the Mahabharata from 
that of ancient Greece do we as yet allude to what is purely episodical 
in the Hindu epos. By the latter we here understand all that could 
be easily cut out from the main story without in the least affecting its 


mechanism or even its poetical worth all, in short, that, at first sight 
as it were, proves to be an extraneous addition, whatever the motive 
be for which it was made. Thus, when the divine sage Narada pays a 
visit to the Pandu princes after their marriage with Draupadi, and in 
order to warn them against the conflicts that might arise from their 
polyandric arrangement, relates to them a story of two giant brothers, 
who from love to a beautiful woman became deadly enemies, and 
ultimately perished by their own hands the whole incident, visit, and 
story, merely intrude into the midst of the main narrative, and may 
readily be eliminated from it. Or when the same sage pays another 
visit to Yudhishthira before he performed the Rajasuya sacrifice, and 
gives him an account of the divine palaces of the different gods, which 
in his roamings through the heavens he had seen, the account itself is 
interesting, and even poetical, but to the main story entirely super- 
fluous. In a similar manner, after Yudhishthira had lost everything 
in the game at dice, and when he was living in his forest exile, his 
grief is soothed by a Saint Yrihadasva, who arrives propos, and tells 
him the story of Nala and Damayanti, which in several respects was 
similar to his own. Again, another great saint, who likewise turns up 
as a deus ex machina, when Jayadratha had been frustrated in his 
attempt at ravishing Draupadi, consoles Yudhishthira by reminding 
him that in times of yore another hero, Rama, had met with a similar 
fate to his ; and as the king becomes curious, he gratifies him with the 
whole story of the Ram ay an a in the condensed shape of about 750 
verses. Or to give an instance or two of episodes of another character, 
which are readily recognized as such. When Arjuna went into exile, 
and lived the life of a penitent addicted to meditation and practising 
severe austerities, his brothers became saddened by the loss of his 
company, and Yudhishthira especially felt deeply aggrieved by it. 
Happily for them, Narada arrived again, and delivered to them a long 


discourse on the results of piety, and the hoons that accrue to a man 
who visits holy places of pilgrimage. The description of these, together 
with numerous legends connected with them, occupies about 7400 
verses. On the first day of the great war, when both armies were 
drawn up and ready for battle, Arjuna felt troubled in his mind at the 
prospect of causing the destruction of so many human lives, and com- 
municated his scruples to Krishna, who promised to act for him as 
charioteer. Krishna at once allayed his conscience with the celebrated 
discourse on the Yoga philosophy, the Bhagavadgita, in about 1000 
verses ; and, as allusion has already been made to the more than 
20,000 verses in which Bhishma, wounded to death, conveyed consolation 
and instruction to Yudhishthira when he paid him a parting visit, they, 
too, may be recalled as a last instance of that episodical matter which, 
as already mentioned, fills about three-fourths of the Mahabharata, and 
may readily be separated from the leading story, that of the great war. 

The task, however, of separating the main story from all that matter, 
which though now closely interwoven with it, may not originally have 
belonged to it, is one beset with far greater difficulty than that of 
' distinguishing between the story itself and its episodical exuberance. 
Whether every personage whose name is recorded in the eighteen days' 
war performed the acts with which he was credited: whether the 
speeches were delivered as they are reported : whether the women were 
as beautiful as they are described, and the kings as wealthy and 
powerful as they are represented to be all these and similar subjects 
might seem of comparative indifference, if poetical and antiquarian 
interests are set aside, for which even such material has a significance. 
But by disallowing the historical reliability of such material, the 
question is not yet settled whether it may not have belonged to the 
oldest account of the great war, and whether, therefore, it may not 
represent the oldest portions of the Mahabharata. Again, supposing 


this question had been satisfactorily solved, there remains the further 
problem of determining what portion of the story may lay a claim to 
historical authenticity, for in the shape in which it is handed down to 
us, no portion of it is without its mythical and legendary alloy. 

The position taken by Professor Lassen in dealing with the latter of 
these problems is that of considering the leading characters of the 
story, not as persons, but symbolical representations of conditions and 
events. Names and facts thus assume to his mind a different value to 
what they would seem to have. Pdndu, for instance, the father of the 
Pandavas, he interprets as the first appearance in history of the Pan- 
davas, and Dhritardshtra " by whom the kingdom is upheld " as 
he survived the great war, is to him the continuance of the power of 
the Kauravas till the return of the Pandavas. Arjuna, again, a word 
which literally means "light," and Krishna " the black," as well as 
Draupadi, who is also surnamed Krishna, " the black," would, accord- 
ing to him, designate the second and third periods of the history of the 
Pandavas. Their marrying Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada, would 
be a symbolical indication of their political alliance with this king of 
Paiichala, when their " unnatural " relation to Draupadi would lose its 
offensiveness. And that there were five Pandu princes would follow 
from there also being five tribes of the people of Panchala. Moreover, 
their connexion with Krishna originally a hero of the Yadu race, and 
identified by Professor Lassen with the Herakles of Megasthenes, who 
gives him a daughter, Pandaia, would symbolically indicate the 
extension of the dominion of the Pandavas to the south ; and this view 
he finds also confirmed in a tradition which connects Arjuna by 
marriage with Subhadra, the sister of Krishna, Subhadra meaning 
" the woman who brings much prosperity." Bhima, who in the epos 
is the brother of Arjuna, and is represented as the special enemy of 
Duryodhana, Professor Lasseii looks upon as a successor of Yudhish- 


thira, and as having been made, at a later period, a contemporary of 
Arjuna ; and as for the twins, Nakula and Sahadeva, the sons of Madri, 
he assigns to them a still more remote period in the history of this 
family, in considering them as the founders of an empire in the 
Eastern Punjab. The Pandavas would thus, according to Professor 
Lassen, be properly speaking a symbolical personification of the Aryan 
conquests, pushing on from the northwest to the east, and gradually 
extending all over India, and the individuals bearing this name would 
therefore symbolically represent the various periods which might be 
assigned to these conquests. The final battles, too, would then likewise 
not be so much the combats between two rival families, as the end of a 
great national struggle, in which the fate of the principal peoples of 
India was concerned. 

We cannot, of course, here follow in detail the results of this most 
ingenious method, by which Professor Lassen endeavours to reconcile 
discrepancies in the narrative of the great epos, and to transform the 
improbable stories recorded in it into plausible and real events. It may 
be inferred, however, even from this meagre statement, that there are 
very few facts indeed which, as related by the epos, he would accept as 
real. For, according to his reasoning, the legendary element would 
have so strongly and so constantly vitiated the historical basis of the 
story, that without a special process of interpretation this basis could 
never be reached. 

Mr. Wheeler is also inclined to view the history of the Pandavas as 
embodying events belonging to different epochs of the ancient history 
of India. 

" If the Pandavas," he says (p. 104) " may be accepted as the repre- 
sentatives of the Aryan race, it would appear from the story that they 
had advanced far away to the eastward of the Aryan outpost at Hasti- 
napur, and had almost reached the centre of the land of the aborigines. 


This direction was undoubtedly the very one which was eventually 
taken by the Aryan invaders ; that is, they pushed their way from the 
Punjab towards the south-east, along the fertile valleys of the Ganges 
and Jumna, until they arrived at the junction of the two rivers at 
Allahabad. Probably, as already indicated, this migration occupied a 
vast period of unrecorded time, and the Aryans may not have reached 
Allahabad until ages after the Kauravas and Pandavas had fought their 
famous battle for the little Raj at Hastinapur. But when the story of 
the war of the Mahabharata had been converted into a national 
tradition, it seems not unlikely that the legends of the later wars waged 
by the Aryans against the aborigines, during their progress towards the 
south-east, would be tacked on to the original narrative. This process 
appears to have been carried out by the compilers of the Mahabharata, 
and although .... the adventures of the Pandavas in the jungle, and 
their encounters with Asuras and Rakshasas are all palpable fictions, 
still they are valuable as traces which have been left in the minds of 
the people of the primitive wars of the Aryans against the aborigines." 
In spite, however, of the coincidence of these general views of Mr. 
Wheeler with those of Professor Lassen, the former recognises in the 
story of the great epos far more solid historical ground than the latter. 
Not only does he accept the tradition of the five Pandava brothers as 
being contemporaries ; but he also accepts as historical their polyandric 
marriage with Draupadi, who thus to him is a real personage. And 
the great war he takes, what it purports to be, for a contest between 
two rival families, ending in the destruction of the one and the victory 
of the other ; not for a national war, embodying in its events different 
epochs of ancient India. Mr. Wheeler's process of separating fiction 
from truth is, therefore, wholly different from that of Professor Lassen. 
While the latter accepts the grand dimensions which the epos assigns 
to the events narrated in it, and adapts its principal personages to these 


dimensions, in raising men beyond what they would be as simple 
individuals, Mr. Wheeler, on the contrary, accepts the leading person- 
ages as real, and lessens the dimensions so as to fit the reality of these 
characters. Thus, while Professor Lassen lays stress on the names of 
the peoples which are recorded as having been arrayed against each 
other in the eighteen days' battle, and endeavours to show that the 
battle-field could not have been merely the limited plain of Kuru- 
kshetra, but must have extended over an area which had for its 
boundaries in the west the Indus, in the east the Ganges, in the north 
the Himalaya, and in the south the sea to Mr. Wheeler's mind all 
these innumerable armies are merely exaggerations, and all that is told 
of their deeds is past credibility. According to him, no such war in 
all probability took place. 

" The contest," he says (p. 292), " did not depend upon the engage- 
ments of armies, but upon the combats of individual warriors ; and 
indeed, so much stress is laid upon these single combats, that the 
innumerable hosts, which are said to have been led upon the field, 
dwindle down into mere companies of friends and retainers. Again, it 
will be seen that whilst the Brahmanical compilers love to dwell upon 
combats with magical darts and arrows, which could only have been 
carried on when the enemy was at a certain distance ; yet the decisive 
combats were those in which the rude warriors on either side came to 
close quarters. Then they fought each other with clubs, knives, and 
clenched fists; and cut, and hacked, and hewed, and wrestled, and 
kicked, until the conqueror threw down his adversary and severed his 
head from his body, and carried away the bleeding trophy in savage 

From the same point of view, Mr. Wheeler disenchants us in regard 
to the extent of the royal power ascribed to the Kauravas and Pandavas. 
While their kingdoms are described as extending over a vast country, he 


reduces the Raj of Hastinapur to a certain area of cultivated lands and 
pastures, which furnished subsistence for a band of Aryan settlers ; and 
the Pandavas founding a glorious kingdom at Khandavaprastha and 
conquering the earth, would mean, according to him, their proceeding 
from the banks of the Ganges to those of the Jumna ; thus clearing 
the jungle, founding a new Raj, and establishing a supremacy over every 
bordering enemy. In perfect consistency with his line of argumenta- 
tion, Mr. Wheeler therefore also discards as historical those traditional 
connexions between the Pandava family and other princes which would 
seem to be opposed by geographical difficulties ; or he assigns to those 
princes localities different from those which the epos would allow them 
to occupy. He disbelieves, for instance, the tradition which marries 
king Vichitravirya, the son of Santanu, to two daughters of the king of 
Kasi or Benares ; for this tradition allows Bhishma to drive to Benares 
in his chariot and back again with these young damsels; but as 
Benares, he says, is five hundred miles from Hastinapur, as the crow 
flies, the whole story is improbable and the result of a later manipu- 
lation. Or since Panchala, if identified with Kanouj, as it generally is, 
would be at least two hundred miles from Hastinapur, Mr. Wheeler 
concludes that the country of that name governed by Drupada against 
whom Drona and the Pandavas waged war cannot have been Kanouj, 
but probably was " a little territory in the more immediate neighbour- 
hood of Hastinapur'' (p. 97). Again, the frequent and easy intercourse 
between Krishna and the Pandavas, as described in the Mahabharata, 
becomes, for a similar reason, also a matter of doubt. 

"At the time," Mr. Wheeler argues (p. 459), " when Krishna is said 
to have first come into contact with the Pandavas, he and his tribe had 
already migrated to Dvaraka, on the western coast of the peninsula of 
Guzerat, which is at least seven hundred miles from Hastinapur, as the 
crow flies. Accordingly, it seems impossible that such relations as 


those said to have subsisted between Krishna and the Pandavas could 
really have existed ; and this suspicion is confirmed by the mythical 
character of every event which apparently connects the Yadava 
chieftains of Dvaraka with the royal house of Hastinapur." 

It is with regret that we must here arrest our desire to afford more 
illustrations of the critical method which Mr. Wheeler pursues in 
scanning the leading story of the Mahabharata; for the more 
consistently he applies it to every event of special consequence as 
narrated in the epos, and the more attractive the manner in which he 
puts forward his arguments, the less are we able, within these limits, to 
do justice to his criticisms ; but, however valuable they are, and how- 
ever much we agree with many conclusions at which he has arrived, we 
nevertheless believe that the time is as yet distant when a final verdict 
can be pronounced on what is really historical in the great epos, or when 
it will even be safe to decide on the critical method by which such a 
verdict is to be obtained. 

We would, for instance, be as little inclined to submit the events of 
the great war to Mr. Wheeler's geographical test, as to look with 
Professor Lassen upon Draupadi as a mere allegorical expression of the 
link which connected the Pandavas with king Drupada. It is quite 
true that, considering the political and social condition of ancient 
India, visits at a distance could not be paid, nor armies transferred, or 
expeditions made, without much loss of time. When in the epos, 
therefore, the most distant places are reached as it were instantaneously, 
such occurrences might be declared impossible. But that which is 
really impossible in the account of them is merely the disregard of 
time, not the fact itself. Time, however, as will be conceded by every- 
one familiar with Sanskrit literature, is a category apparently foreign to 
the ancient Hindu mind. In Sanskrit poetry, therefore, a test of time 
ceases to be a test. Hindu epic poetry is, for this very reason, not 


amenable to the Aristotelian canon of epic poetry, because the Hindu 
mind, unlike the European, did not obey the laws of time. An episode 
of twenty thousand verses, as that of BhishrnVs instructing Yudhishthira 
when lying on his bed of arrows, would in European literature be an 
impossibility, not on sesthetical grounds alone, but because no European 
mind could realize the possibility of a narrative being stayed for such 
an amount of time as the delivery of so many incidental verses would 
occupy. In Hindu epic poetry, however, such an interruption is 
regarded as none ; it is received as the legitimate fate of a narrative, 
and no Hindu critic ever objected to it as antagonistic to probabilities 
based on considerations of time. So little, indeed, has any native critic 
ever objected to the massing up of all the other episodical matter of the 
great epos, though it entirely destroys that unity which we would 
require in it, and a demand for which is based on a due conformance to 
the law of time. Such, however, being the characteristic feature of the 
Hindu mind, as shown by its national poetry, it would follow that no 
credence whatever can attach to any statement in regard to time 
recorded in it, unless supported by interior or collateral evidence. We 
should on this ground, therefore, see no objection to the theory of 
Professor Lassen, which assumes that various periods of ancient Hindu 
life are in the history of the Pandavas blended into one, did not the 
tradition of their polyandric marriage with Draupadi, as we hold, throw 
a considerable doubt on it ; for this marriage, which implies the coeval- 
ness of the Pandavas, we believe to be a historical reality, and one 
which might also become a guide in the search for a critical standard 
to test other facts related in the Mahabharata ; but as such a standard 
may afford some light, however dim, in the dark chronology of the 
ancient epos, we will briefly explain what we understand by it. 

We take it for granted that the Mahabharata is a traditional record 
of an early period of Hindu history, compiled, however, by eminent 
VOL. II. 9 


men of the Brahmanical caste, and modelled by them to suit a special 
purpose of their own, that of imposing their own law on the Kshat- 
triya, or military caste. The fabric of the great epos was not built up 
at once. Different times supplied different materials for it, and with 
the importance of the object the greatness of the task increased. These 
materials, as Professor Lassen himself has in several instances shown, 
sometimes underwent the treatment of various editors ; but the chief 
object of all these editors, arrangers, and modellers, always remained 
the same to demonstrate the necessity and sanctity of the Brahmanical 
law. In dealing, then, with the traditional lore of the military caste, 
the Brahmanas would have to meet three categories of facts. One 
category would comprise those facts which were more or less in accord- 
ance with the religious and political system to be established or consoli- 
dated by them; another would comprise facts, if not in harmony 
with, yet not antagonistic to it ; a third category, however, would be 
absolutely opposed to it, since not all the ancestors of the Kshattriyas, 
who had to be represented as belonging to the common stock, were of 
Aryan origin, or professed the orthodox faith. The most, of course, would 
be made of the Brahmanical compilers of the first of these categories of 
facts ; it would naturally become the basis on which they would proceed. 
The second category might appear inconvenient, but it could be tolerated 
by them ; or since, in the work of different ages and different minds, 
even inattention is not impossible, we could imagine that it might escape 
a close scrutiny. But the third category could admit of no compromise ; 
it had to be suppressed or to be explained away. And we should con- 
clude that if parts of this category were explained away, this was merely 
done because they could not be suppressed, as being too deeply rooted 
in tradition, and consequently, as having the strongest presumption in 
favour of their authenticity. Now, of all traditions related in the 
Mahabharata, there is, on the face of them, none more opposed to the 


spirit of the Brahmanical religion than this " five-maled " marriage of 
Draupadi. Polyandry, it is unnecessary to say, never found any place 
in the Brahmanical code, or in the habits of the Hindus, as we know 
them from their literature; and if, in spite of its thorough offensiveness, 
it nevertheless was imputed to the very heroes of the ancient epos, there 
seems to have been no alternative but to admit it as a real piece of 
history. Professor Lassen, as we have seen, assumes that this tradition 
involves an allegory. But either polyandry existed as an institution 
when this allegory was made in that case there is no ground for 
considering a polyandric marriage as an improbable event in the history 
of the Pandavas themselves or it as little existed in their time as in 
the later history of India. In that case, however, it would have 
offended the national sentiment, and no allegory of this kind could 
have entered a poet's mind, or obtained currency. The Brahmanical 
compilers not being able to suppress this fact, endeavoured therefore to 
explain it away ; but the very manner in which they strove to make it 
acceptable, shows the difficulty they experienced, and the stubbornness 
of the fact. When Drupada is apprised by Yudhishthira that he and 
his four brothers have resolved to make his daughter their common 
wife, he is represented by the Brahmanical compiler as shocked at the 
idea of such a proposal, and says to him, " It is lawful for one man to 
take unto him many wives, but it is unheard of that many men should 
become the husbands of one wife. You who know the law, and are 
pure, must not commit an unlawful act, Which is contrary to usage and 
theVedas. How can you conceive such a thought?" When Yudhishthira 
replies, " The law, O king, is subtle ; we do not know its way. We 
follow the path ivhich has been trodden by our ancestors in succession." 
But the king not being satisfied with this answer, Yudhishthira pleads 
precedents ; " In an old tradition it is recorded that Jatila, of the 
family of Gotama, that most excellent of moral women, dwelt with 


seven saints; and that Varkshi, the daughter of a Muni, cohabited 
with ten brothers, all of them called Prachetas, whose souls had been 
purified by penance." Then Vyasa interferes ; and in order to explain 
to the king the lawfulness of polyandry, relates a legend, which consists 
of two parts. From its first part, however, we merely learn that the 
gods, at a sacrifice celebrated by them, expressed to Brahma their fear 
at seeing mankind multiplying excessively, and not dying ; when Brahma 
assures them that Death, being much engaged just now, would soon 
resume his office, and put an end to men. In the second portion of 
this legend, Vyasa shows that the five Pandavas are incarnations of 
Indra, that Draupadi is an incarnation of Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, 
and consequently, that though apparently married to five men, she 
would in reality become the wife of one husband only. 

The last of these explanations is a Brahmanical one ; that which 
one would expect to receive from a Hindu priest. The third may be 
thought suggestive, but the first two are full of significance. The story 
of the god of death being busy sacrificing, and therefore neglectful of 
his duties, and of Brahma's consoling the other gods in their perplexity, 
is so loosely tacked on to the legend of the incarnation of Indra and 
Lakshmi, that as a justification of polyandry it would seem meaning- 
less. But the fear of an excessive increase of mankind, as expressed 
by the gods, is suggestive, perhaps, of the real cause of polyandry. The 
two arguments, however, brought forward by Yudhishthira, can leave no 
doubt that polyandry was an institution in India, though in pre-Brah- 
manical^ times, and that instances of it were still in the memory of 

But if this marriage of Draupadi is a real event, it throws at once 
the life of the Pandavas into such a remote period of Hindu antiquity 
as to leave behind not only Manu, the oldest representative of Hindu 


law, but even those Vedic writings of Asvalayana and others, on which 
the ancient law of India is based. 

It remains to be seen, however, whether there are not other facts 
recorded in the history of the war which likewise are at variance with 
this law, but were not, or could not, be suppressed by the compilers 
of the Mahabharata. For if there are, they would still more strongly 
corroborate the conclusion we have drawn, and indicate a standard 
by which to test the age and the historical reliability of the record 

We will point to a few such facts whicn would seem to belong to this 

The institution of caste, as Mr. Muir, in his excellent work, has 
proved, did not exist at the earliest Vedic period. It was fully estab- 
lished, however, and circumscribed with stringent rules at the time 
when the code of Manu was composed. At the Vedic period a warrior, 
like Visvamitra, for instance, could aspire to the occupation of a Brah- 
mana, and a Brahmana, like Vasishtha, or the son of Jamadagni, could 
be engaged in military pursuits. At the time of Manu such a confusion 
of occupations, as an orthodox Hindu would say, was no longer allowed ; 
it recurs only at the latest period of Hinduism. Yet in the history of the 
great war we find the Brahmana Drona not only as the military instructor 
of the Kauravas and Pandavas, but actively engaged in a war against 
Drupada; we find him, too, as king over half the kingdom of Panchla, 
and finally, as one of the commanders-in-chief of the Kauravas. Nor 
do the compilers of the Mahabharata even try to explain this anomaly ; 
for when in the third book of the epos it is said that Drona and some 
others joined Duryodhana " because their mind was possessed by the 
demons," such a remark might seem to imply that Droua, having 
become impious, would also be capable of violating the rules of his 
caste ; but even if it did, it could, at the utmost, only refer to the part 


he took in the hostilities of the Kauravas against the Paudavas ; it 
would not palliate the facts of his previous history, as told in the first 
book of the Mahabharata, where he is described as a Brahmana. The 
case of his son, Asvatthaman, is even worse : he is not only an active 
combatant in the great war, but it is he who conceives and carries out 
the terrible revenge which ends in the treacherous slaughter at midnight 
of the Pandava forces. In the tenth book, which describes the wicked 
proceedings of this Brahmana, he is made to descant on the duties of 
the castes, which he then describes in perfect conformity with the law 
of Manu, and to express a regret that his " ill-luck " caused him to 
follow the pursuits of a Kshattriya. But the only attempt at an excuse 
for his conduct which the compilers put into his mouth, is contained in 
the words, " As I have now at will taken upon myself the duties of a 
soldier, I shall enter upon the path of a king, and that of my high- 
minded father." 

Another fact which, after the establishment of caste, must have been 
highly objectionable, but could not be eliminated from the epos, is the 
disguise of the Pandavas. " False boasting of a higher caste," is an 
offence which Manu considers so grave that he ranks it together with 
the killing of a Brahmana; and there could certainly be no greater 
danger to the preservation of caste than the possible success of false 
pretenders. We have seen, however, that the chief personages of the 
great epos, the Pandavas, though Kshattriyas, assume the character of 
Brahmanas, and even retain it at the tournament of Drupada : that 
Yudhishthira, too, resorts to the same " false boasting of a higher caste" 
a second time when he offers his services to King Virata. Had it 
been possible to suppress such a dangerous precedent, there is little 
doubt that the Brahmanical arrangers of the national tradition would 
not have held up their military heroes as snccessful violators of the law 
which they were bent on inculcating to the Kshattriyas. 


We will allude to another class of passages in the Mahabharata, 
which, perhaps, still more forcibly prove that the events to which they 
relate must have been historical, and anterior to the classical state of 
Hindu society. We mean those events which bear on the law of 
marriage and inheritance. There are portions of the great epos where 
the statements made in regard to these important laws are in perfect 
harmony with the ruling of Manu or later lawgivers ; but there are 
other passages, too, where the discrepancy between their contents and 
the law books is palpable. Nor is it possible to assume that the 
occurrences mentioned in those passages are innovations on Manu and 
the lawgivers : the contrary is the case. It is Manu who criticises 
them, and rejects their authoritativeness. A few instances will indicate 
the direction in which the reader of the epos might trace the facts of 
which we speak. 

In the brief outline given above of the contents of the epos, mention 
has been already made of the circumstance, that king Vichitravirya 
died childless, and to provide for the salvation of his soul his half- 
brother, Vyasa, begot for him two sons by his two widows, and at the 
time, believed that he was begetting for him even a third son when he 
approached the slave girl, who personated Ambika. Now, in regard to 
this practice to raise children for a deceased relative who died childless, 
Manu expresses himself in these terms : 

" On failure of issue by the husband the desired offspring may be 
procreated either by his brother or some other near relative, called 
Sapinda, on the wife who had been duly authorised. Anointed with 
clarified butter, silent, in the night, let the (kinsman thus) authorized 
beget one son on the widow, but a second by no means. Some who 
understand this (law), and hold that the object of their authorization 
might remain unaccomplished, are of opinion that it might be lawful 


to beget a second offspring on women. ... By twice bora 
men (i.e., Brahmanas, Kshattriyas, and Vaisyas) no widow must be 
authorized (to conceive) by any other (than her own lord) ; for they 
who authorize her (to conceive) by any other violate the primeval law. 
(Such) an authority (given to her) is nowhere mentioned in the nuptial 
hymns of the Veda, nor is the remarriage of a widow named in the laws 
concerning marriage. The practice, fit only for cattle, is reprehended 
by the learned twice-born men. Amongst men it is mentioned while 
Vena had sovereign power ; (but this king) of yore possessing the whole 
earth, and therefore (not on account of his piety) called the best of royal 
saints, gave rise to a confusion of castes, his intellect having been im- 
paired through lust." 

Thus Manu admits that the practice in question existed ; he con- 
demns it, however, as strongly as possible, in the case of the first three 
castes, allowing, though not recommending it, as might be inferred 
from his words and has been inferred by the commentators in the 
case of the fourth or servile caste. But even in regard to this caste he 
lays down the law that the authorized kinsmen should by no means 
procreate more than one son, though he states that lawgivers anterior 
to him thought the procreation of a second son was lawful. Both these 
stipulations must have been unknown to Vyasa in the narrative to 
which we referred ; for Vichitravirya was a Kshattriya, and Vyasa 
himself a Brahmana, though of a doubtful origin procreated not only 
more than one child for the benefit of his relative, but, so far as his 
own belief went, three. And Pandu, too, when lamenting his child- 
lessness, says to Pritha: "In distress men desire a son from their 
oldest brother-in-law." It is certainly curious that Manu, in illustrating 
the historical occurrence of this practice, should allude to a lustful 
King Vena, and pass over in silence the example of Vyasa. But whilst 


on the one hand it is intelligible that Manu could not associate the 
name of the holy compiler of the Vedas with a practice " fit only for 
cattle," it would seem incredible that Vyasa could have been guilty of 
it had there existed in his time a code of law invested, like that of 
Manu, with undisputed authority, and strongly condemning it. 

A comparison between the marriage law as mentioned by Manu, 
and alluded to in some passages of the Mahabharata, leads to an 
analogous inference. Regarding the manner in which a husband is 
chosen Manu says : 

"To an excellent and handsome suitor of the same let every mail 
give his daughter in marriage according to law. . . . Three years 
let a damsel wait, though she be marriageable, but after that term let 
her choose for herself a husband of equal rank. If not being given in 
marriage she obtain a husband, neither she nor the husband whom she 
obtains commits any offence." 

Hence Manu limits the right of a girl to choose herself a husband to 
the condition that her father did not give her away in marriage at the 
proper time. In those portions of the Mahabharata, however, to which 
we allude, a girl often chooses her husband before her father gives her 
away, and while she thus has a perfect freedom of choice, the right of 
the father is merely that of assent. This mode of a girl's choosing her 
husband was called the Svayamvara, or " self-choice." We see it 
observed in the marriage of Pandu with Pritha, of Yudhishthira with 
Devika, of Sahadeva with Vijaya, of Sini with Devaki, Nala with 
Damayanti, &c. ; and we have a full description of it when Draupadi 
chose Arjuna. This greater freedom of women is consonant with the 
position which, to judge from some Vedic hymns, they must have held 
in society during the Vedic time, but it is foreign to the period of 


Manu. In the narrative of Draupadi's " self-choice " we are even 
distinctly told that this mode of electing a husband was a peculiar 
privilege of the Kshattrija caste, to which a Brahmana had no claim. 
But no such privilege is mentioned in the code of Manu, who in regard 
to the subject of marriage gives the following rules ; 

" Now learn compendiously the eight modes of marriage (for the 
acquisition) of wives by the four castes (some of which modes are 
productive of) good and some of evil in this world and the next, They 
are the modes called Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prdjdpatya, Asura, 
Gandharva, Rdkshasa, and the eighth and worst, the Paisacha. . . . Let 
mankind know that the six first in direct order are valid in the case of 
a Brahmana : the four last in that of a warrior : and the same (four) 
except the Rakshasa mode in the cases of a man of the third 
and fourth castes. The wise consider the four first forms as most 
approved in the case of a Brahmana, and only the Rakshasa mode in 
that of a Kshattriya, and the Asura in that of a man of the third and 
fourth castes. But among these, three of the five last, viz., the 
Prajapatya, Gandharva, and Rakshasa, are held legal, and two illegal ; 
the Paisacha and Asura marriages must never be contracted by any 
caste. Whether separate or mixed, the before-mentioned Gandharva 
and Rakshasa modes are declared legal for a man of the military caste. 
The mode of marriage is called Brahma (1) when, having voluntarily 
invited a man versed in the Vedas, and of good character, a daughter is 
given away to him, after clothing both of them, and honouring them 
with ornaments, &c. The mode called Daiva (2) is the giving away of 
a daughter, after having decked her with ornaments, to the priest 
officiating at a properly conducted sacrifice. When, after receiving 
from the bridegroom one pair of kine (a bull and a cow), or two pairs, 
for religious purposes a daughter is given away in due form, that mode 


of marriage is called Arsha (3), It is called Prdjdpatya (4) when a 
daughter is given away with due honour after having uttered this 
injunction : * May both of you perform your duty.' When the bride- 
groom, having given as much wealth as he can afford to the damsel and 
her kinsmen, takes her according to his own pleasure, that mode is 
called Asura (5). The reciprocal connexion of a damsel and her lover, 
from mutual desire, is called the Gandliarva mode (6) ; it proceeds from 
sensual desire, and is intended for amorous embraces. The seizure of 
a maiden by force from her home, after slaying or wounding her kins- 
men, and breaking into their houses, while she weeps and calls for 
assistance, is the mode called Rdkshasa (7). When the lover secretly 
embraces the damsel while she sleeps or is intoxicated, or disordered in 
her mind, such a mode the eighth is called Paisdcha (8) ; it is the 
most wicked and the basest." 

No " self-choice " mode, as we see, occurs in this detailed description 
by Manu of the eight marriage modes, six of which he declares legal. 
But Svayamvara is not only mentioned in the description of Draupadi's 
marriage, as a privilege of the Kshattriyas, it is asserted also by the 
patriarch Bhishma to be the best of all modes of marriage for a man 
of his caste, besides a still better one, that of forcibly carrying off a 
bride. The occasion on which Bhishma makes mention of the marriage 
notions of his time is that of his choosing in the last-mentioned fashion 
as intended wives for his brother Vichitravirya, the beautiful daughters 
of a king of Benares ; and since his words are remarkable, inasmuch as 
they afford the means of comparing these notions with those expressed 
in the code of Manu, we will quote the passage in which they occur. 
It runs as follows : 

" When Bhishma, the best of combatants, had put the damsels on 


his chariot, he said, with a voice like thunder, to the assembled kings : 
(1) Giving away a damsel to men of distinguished qualities, after 
having invited them, and after having decked her with ornaments, and 
given her as much property as possible, is one mode of marriage men- 
tioned by the wise. (2) Some give a damsel away for a pair of kine. 
(3) Others again acquire her for a named amount of wealth ; (4) some 
by force, and (5) others having made her consent; (6) some again 
approach a damsel when she is disordered in her mind ; (7) others 
marry her of their own accord ; (8) and some marry wives in doing 
honour to the Arsha mode. This you should know is the eighth mode 
chosen by the wise. But men of the military caste exalt and practice 
the ' self-choice ' mode, and those who declare the law call the choicest 
of all wives the wife who has been carried off by force." 

It may be conceded as Nilakantha, the only commentator who 
appends any remarks to these words, suggests that Bhishma's first 
mode is Manu's Brahma mode, his second that which Mauu first calls 
Arsha, his third Manu's Asura mode, his fourth that which in Maim is 
the Rakshasa, his fifth the Gandharva, and his sixth the Paisacha mode. 
But when the same commentator identifies Bhishma's seventh mode 
with Manu's Prajapatya, and says that his eighth is Manu's Daiva 
mode, his interpretation is plainly arbitrary, as there is nothing in 
Manu's explanation of these two modes to warrant an inference of this 
kind. We must, on the contrary, conclude that Bhishma alludes to 
two other modes unknown to Manu, just as he extols two special 
Kshattriya kinds of nuptials, one of which is not mentioned by Manu 
at all the Svayamvara whereas the other is merely declared by him 
to be a legal mode, but nothing else. It is interesting, moreover, 
to notice that in the long instruction which Bhishma imparts to 
Yudhishthira when on his death-bed of arrows in the thirteenth book 


of the Mahabharata he gives another account of the marriage law. 
There he does not enumerate all the modes of marriage ; hut so far as 
it goes his account is in perfect harmony with the statement of the old 
law-giver, and to a certain extent delivered in the very words of Manu 
himself. But the thirteenth book, there is sufficient evidence to prove, 
does not belong to the oldest portions of the great epos ; it is a later 
addition to it, and was modelled on the received and standard law. A 
discrepancy of a similar character is that between the law of inheri- 
tance as stated in some portion of the great epos and the code of Manu, 
and later codes of law. In speaking of the twelve descriptions of sons 
which a man may have, Manu says : 

" Of the twelve sons of men whom Manu the son of Brahma has 
named six are kinsmen and heirs, six not heirs, but kinsmen. The son 
begotten by a man (in lawful wedlock), the son of his wife (by a kins- 
man authorised to procreate a son for her husband), one given to him 
(by his parents), one adopted, one of concealed birth, one abandoned 
(by his natural parents), are the six kinsmen and heirs. The son of a 
damsel (who is unmarried), the son of a pregnant bride, a son bought, 
a son by a twice-married woman (or by a woman betrothed to one man 
and given in marriage to another), one who offers himself up as a son, 
and a son by a woman of the servile caste are the six kinsmen, but not 

Pandu, however, gives to his wife Pritha the following account of 
these different kinds of sons ; 

" In the code of law six sons are mentioned who are kinsmen and 
heirs, and (after these) six sons who are neither kinsmen, nor heirs the 
son begotten by a man himself, the son of his wife (by a kinsman 
authorised to procreate a child for her husband), the son bought (accord- 


ing to one version ; according to another, the son begotten for money), 
the son by a twice-married woman (or by a woman betrothed to one and 
given in marriage to another), the son of a damsel (who is unmarried), 
and the son of an adulterous woman, the son given (by his parents), the 
son bartered away, the son adopted, one who offers himself up as a son, 
the son of a pregnant bride, the son of a relative, and the son by a 
woman of the servile caste." 

Enough has been adduced to indicate that there are portions in the 
Mahabharata and we may add that they occupy a considerable part of 
it in which a state of Hindu society is pictured that is anterior to the 
code of Manu ; and an investigation of those portions would show that 
this society differs from the society mirrored by this ancient code not 
only in regard to positive laws, but also in customs and morality. 
Whether the account of that state of society, too, as we possess it in the 
actual Mahabharata, is anterior to Manu is another problem, and one 
perhaps more difficult to solve. Yet, after the observations made before, 
we would venture to say that such a solution is not impossible. Where 
the Brahmanical arrangers of the great epos endeavour to palliate or 
to explain away obnoxious facts or doctrines which they could not 
suppress, it is probable that their account of these facts or doctrines 
belongs to a later of the several recensions, which, as Professor Lassen 
has proved, the epos had to undergo. But where such facts are related, 
without any attempt at harmonizing them with the object the compilers 
had in view, there is a strong presumption that they have been preserved 
in the oldest recension of the epos,[and that this recension was likewise 
anterior to the standard codes of law. Later recensions may have, and 
in some cases unquestionably have, obscured the antiquity of this oldest 
recension by mixing up with it legends and other matter foreign to it 
such legends, for instance, as relate to Siva, whom, like the god, not 


the hero, Krishna, we consider as an intruder into the oldest portions 
of the Mahabharata. But in many cases it is easy even now to distin- 
guish these interpolations from the original story into which they were 
forced. We cannot agree, therefore, with Mr. Wheeler when he is 
inclined to assign, even to those oldest portions of the Mahabharata, a 
period at which Buddhism had already made its appearance in India ; 
we on the contrary fully concur with Professor Lassen, who considers 
Buddhism posterior to them. That there are portions of the epos 
which are post-Buddhistic cannot be matter of doubt, but even these 
we see no reason to ascribe to a date subsequent to the rise of Chris- 
tianity. Some years ago an opinion of this kind was volunteered on 
the ground that there was a similarity between some legends relating 
to Krishna, and some connected with the life of Christ. But apart 
from the circumstance that it would be begging the question to con- 
sider those Hindu legends as borrowed from the legends of the Bible ; 
coincidences of this nature are so frequent in history that an attempt at 
basing on them inferences of a chronological bearing seems almost 
ludicrous. It is probably a similarity between certain scenes described 
in the poems of Homer and the Mahabharata which gave rise to the 
rumour, told by Dio Chrysostomus, that the Hindus had translated and 
sang the poetry of Homer; but it would be just as critical to base 
chronological conclusions on this rumour and on that similarity, as it 
would be to base them on the faint resemblance which the mythological 
history of Krishna bears to some Christian legends. 

Before, however, Sanskrit philology has established with as much 
probability as its critical means will permit at least the relative 
chronological position of the immense material which constitutes the 
actual Mahabharata, it must remain hazardous to decide which portion 
of it has preserved intact the historical lore of Hindu antiquity, and 
which has not ; but legends and myths, customs and laws, religious 


doctrines and philosophical speculations in short, the vast episodical 
vegetation which has overgrown the stem of the great epos they 
likewise, and as much as the main story of the epos itself, are concerned 
in this critical labour; for they have, too, their problems and their 
history. We therefore sincerely wish that the learned works which 
called forth these cursory remarks may speed on this labour, and lead 
it to a satisfactory result. 


The attention of the East India Association having lately been drawn 
by Mr. W.Tayler to some urgent wants in the administration of justice, 
in so far as Indian litigants in general are concerned, it may not be 
inexpedient to bring under your notice the difficulties which beset the 
course of justice in reference to a particular class of cases which it did 
not enter into the scope of Mr. Tayler's able paper to deal with, viz. of 
those cases which are governed by Hindu law. 

This law, I need not explain, concerns two topics of litigation only 
that of inheritance and that of adoption topics intimately connected 
with Hindu religious belief, and therefore allowed to remain free from 
the touch of foreign legislation. 

The Hindu law, it is likewise unnecessary for me to add, is laid 
down in the ancient and mediaeval works of the Hindus, all of which 
are written in Sanskrit. It is contained in the code of Manu, in that 
of Yajnavalkya, in the codes of numerous legislators, which are inter- 
mediate between, or posterior to, both these great authorities, and in a 
number of subsequent, but very important commentaries and digests, 
which have developed the ancient law, and ultimately, because latest in 
time, have become first in authority.* Amongst these, one of the most 

* See < Yajnavalkya-Dharmasastra,' I., 4, 5 ; H. T. Colebrooke's Preface to 
' Two Treatises on the Hindu Law of Inheritance ;' A. F. Stenzler, c Zur Literatur 
der Indischen Gresetzbiicher,' in A, Weber's c Indische Studien,' vol. i., pp. 232 ff. ; 
Standish Grove G-rady , ' A Treatise on the Hindoo Law of Inheritance,' pp. lix. 

VOL. II. ]0 


important in all matters relating to the law of inheritance is the 
Mitdkshard of Vijndnes'vara, which, as Colebrooke says, is, with the 
exception of Bengal, "received in all the schools of Hindu law, from 
Benares to the southern extremity of the peninsula of India, as the 
chief groundwork of the doctrines which they follow, and as an authority 
from which they rarely dissent."* The Mitakshara was expanded in 
subsequent digests, and, in consequence, the Vivadachintamani, the 
Ratnakara, and Vivadachandra, became the first legal authorities, on 
matters of inheritance, in Mithila (Tirhut); the Viramitrodaya and 
the works of Kamalakara became so at Benares ; the Vyavaharataa- 
yukha amongst the Mahrattas, and the Smr'itichandrika and Vyavahara- 
Madhaviya at Madras. 

In Bengal the paramount authority on the law of inheritance is 
Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga, which in several important respects differs 
from the ruling of the Mitakshara ; and in agreement with it are 
Raghunandana's Dayatattva, S'rikrishna-Tarkalankara's Dayakrama- 
sangraha, besides various other works, which it is not necessary here to 

The best authorities on the law of adoption are the Dattakamimansa, 
by Nanda Pand'ita ; the Dattakachandrika, by Devand'a Bhat't'a ; and 
after them, the Dattakanirnaya, Dattakatilaka, Dattakadarpana, Datta- 
kakaumudi, Dattakadidhiti, and Dattakasiddhantamanjari. All these 
commentaries and digests derive their authority from, and profess to be 
based on, the codes of Manu and Yajnavalkya and the other lawgivers 
already alluded to. They do not admit that there is any real difference 
between the laws laid down in the ancient works ; and wherever any 
such differences seem to exist, they either endeavour to reconcile them 
by the interpretations they put on their texts, or explain them away by 

* Two Treatises,' Pref., p. iv. 

f Compare the works mentioned in the note of the preceding page. 


the assumption of accidental omissions which they supply. And it is 
in consequence of such interpretations or additions that different con- 
clusions have obtained in the Mitakshara- and the Bengal-schools, 
though both profess to derive their opinions from a correct and authori- 
tative understanding of the same ancient texts. 

That all these commentaries and digests, whenever it suits their 
line of argument, occasionally also refer to other non-legal works of 
Sanskrit literature, such as the vedic Gr'ihyasutras, the Mahabharata, 
Ramayaria, the Puranas, and even the grammar of Panini, need not 
surprise us, for their object is to convey the impression that a har- 
monious spirit pervades the whole antiquity of India, and that their 
ruling, therefore, is in accordance with all that is sacred to the Hindu 

Now, from the facts I have been able to gather, it would appear that, 
with scarcely any exception, the English judges who are entrusted with 
the administration of the Hindu law of inheritance arid adoption, are 
not acquainted with the Sanskrit language, and are unable therefore 
to found their decisions on a direct and immediate knowledge and 
examination of the original law sources just mentioned.* They must 
resort, therefore, to second-hand information which they derive from 
translations, and the assistance afforded them by the pleadings of 
counsel and otherwise But as I am probably not very wrong in 
assuming that for the most part the counsel, too, are indebted for their 
knowledge of the Hindu law, not to the original texts, but to transla- 
tions of them, these translations are the real basis on which the admi- 
nistration of the Hindu law at present rests, and it will, therefore, be 
necessary to give a brief account of them. 

* ' The Law of Partition and Succession, from the Vyavaharanirn'aya,' by A. 
C. Burnell. Mangalore, 1872. Preface, p. x. ' Dayadas'as'loki,' by the same. 
Ibid., 1875, p. 5. 


Of the code of Manu there exists the well-known complete translation 
of Sir W. Jones, first published in 1794, then in 1796, and reprinted 
by Haughton in 1825. It was translated into German by Hiittner in 
1797. A French translation of the original by Loiseleur Deslong- 
champs, mainly agreeing with that of his predecessor, appeared in 
1133.* A complete translation in German of the code of Yajnavalkya 
was published by Professor Stenzler in 1849 ; and some portions of the 
same code, translated into English by Dr. Roer and Mr. Montriou, 
appeared in 1859. 

The Mitakshara of Vijnanes'rara is a running commentary on each 
Terse of Yajnavalkya's Institutes. The latter consists of three parts. 
The first treats of dchdra, or established rules of conduct, comprising 
such subjects as education and marriage, funeral rites, &c. The second 

* About thirty years ago, I believe, there appeared at Calcutta a few parts of a 
new edition and translation of Manu, which seem to have remained almost 
unknown in Europe. The quarto volume in question, when opened, contains on 
the left side in one column the text of Manu in Devanagari, and in Bengal 
characters ; and in another, a Bengali translation of the corresponding verses, a 
few notes in Bengali being generally added to the page ; on the right side it con- 
tains in one column Sir W. Jones's translation, and parallel to it, in another 
column, a new English translation, which may be looked upon as a running 
criticism on the former. For though it repeats as much as it approves of Sir W. 
Jones's translation, in the very words of the latter, this is apparently done in 
order to make ita divergence from it still more prominent ; and this divergence is 
not inconsiderable, and very often marks a decided improvement on the rendering 
of Sir W. Jones. Foot-notes in English, moreover, are frequently added to justify 
the discrepancies. Unfortunately for there is no doubt that the author of the 
new translation was a very competent scholar in the two copies of it known to 
me, the text breaks off at verse 40, and the translation at verse 33, of Book 3, 
while these two copies do not contain the name of the author or a date ; and 
since all my endeavours to learn more about the progress of the work have been 
unsuccessful, I apprehend that no, more of it, than the portions I have seen, has 
appeared in print. The name of the editor and translator, as I learn from a friend, 
is Tarachund Chuckerbutt. 


part treats of vyavahdra, or the business of life, including amongst 
many other topics judicature and inheritance ; the third part treats of 
prdyas'chitta, and comprises penance, purification, transmigration, and 
kindred subjects. Of the Vyavahara part of the Mitakshara eight 
chapters translated by W. H. Macnaghten first appeared in 1829 ; and 
that portion of it which strictly relates to inheritance, about the four- 
teenth part of the whole work, exists in the well-known translation by 
Colebrooke, first published in 1810, and then edited in his Hindu law 
books by Mr. Whitley Stokes in 1865. Of the Vyavaharamayukha, 
Harry Borradaile published a [translation in 1827, which likewise re- 
appeared in Mr. Stokes's Hindu law books in 1865. 

The Vivadachintamani, translated into Engli'sh by Prosonno Coomar 
Tagore, was published in 1863; the Vyavahara-Madhaviya, by Mr. A. 
C. Burnell, in 1868, and through the medium of Tamul sources, as I 
am informed the Smritichandrika, by Mr. T. Kristnasawmy Iyer, in 
1867. Of Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga we possess the translation of 
Colebrooke, first published in 1810, and in his law books by Mr. 
Stokes in 1865 ; and of the Dayakramasangraha also edited in the 
same collection by the same distinguished scholar the translation of 
Wynch, first published in 1818. 

Lastly, the Dattakamimansa and Dattakachandrika exist in a 
translation by Sutherland, first published in 1821, then in 1825, and 
also embodied in Mr. Stokes's Hindu law books. 

Besides these few translations, nothing whatever worth mentioning, 
out of the large bulk of Hindu law literature, is accessible to the 
English judge, if unacquainted with Sanskrit, except a few disconnected 
verses of the ancient lawgivers, put together, without any reference to 
the context in which they stand, in the Digest of Hindu law prepared 
by Jagannatha under the directions of Sir W. Jones.* 

* Colebrooke's opinion of this Digest is contained in the following passage 


The question, then, which I have to raise is this : Do these trans- 
lationsa mere fraction, I need not say, of the large mass of Hindu 
law literature suffice both in quality and quantity for ensuring to 
litigants a proper and satisfactory administration of the Hindu law of 
inheritance and adoption ? 

Before giving ray opinion on this point, I will place myself in the 
position of a judge who has no means of examining for himself the 
original text of a statute, and I should then have to assume that the 
question asked must be answered by him in the affirmative. For on 
what grounds could he decide that the translations enumerated above 
were insufficient in quantity, and how could he undertake to say that 
any objection mooted against their reliability was valid or not? It 
would be a dangerous and, I hold, an arbitrary proceeding on his part 
were he to overrule, for instance, the translation of a passage by Tagore 
or Burnell, merely because the translation of the same passage by Cole- 
brooke did not agree with it, and because the authority of Colebrooke 
stands higher than that of the scholars differing from him. For how- 
ever high the authority of anyone, a doubt of this kind cannot be finally 
settled by it ; and a mere consideration of the immense progress made 

from his preface to the ' Two Treatises,' &c., p. ii. : " In the preface to the trans- 
lation of the Digest, I hinted an opinion unfavourable to the arrangement of it, as 
it has been executed by the native compiler. I have been confirmed in that 
opinion of the compilation, since its publication ; and indeed the author's method 
of discussing together the discordant opinions maintained by the lawyers of the 
several schools, without distinguishing in an intelligible manner which of them is 
the received doctrine of each school, but on the contrary leaving it uncertain 
whether any of the opinions stated by him do actually prevail, or which doctrine 
must now be considered to be in force and which obsolete, renders his work of 
little utility to persons conversant with the law, and of still less service to those 
who are not versed in Indian jurisprudence ; especially to the English reader, for 
whose use, through the medium of translation, the work was particularly 


by Sanskrit studies since the time when the great Colebrooke wrote, 
of the large quantity of new materials that have since come to light, of 
all the advantages in short, which, in consequence of the very labours of 
Colebrooke, later workers in the same field must have over him, would 
naturally make a judge hesitate in disposing of such doubts simply on 
the ground of tradition and authority. 

Yet instances of such conflicting translations are by no means rare ; 
and where therefore for his final opinion the judge would have to rely 
on third parties, his position would at any rate not be safe. 

To illustrate this uncertainty I will choose at random a few examples 
as they occur to me. 

The Mitakshara and the digests, as I have already observed, con- 
stantly support their statements by quotations from Manu, Yajnavalkya, 
and the other lawgivers ; but as every disputed case has not been fore- 
seen by them, these very quotations sometimes become the principal 
basis on which the judgment in a particular case has to rest. 

In dealing with the rights of brothers, a verse of Yajnavalkya is 
quoted by the Dayabhaga of Jimutavahana, which Colebrooke translates 
as follows : 

"A half-brother, being again associated, may take the succession; 
not a half -brother* though not re-united : but one united [by blood, 
though not by coparcenary] may obtain the property ; and not [exclu- 
sively] the son of a different mother."! 

In the Vivadachintamani, Tagore translates this verse thus : 
" Re-united step-brothers, but not brothers who live separated, shall 
take each other's property. A uterine brother even when he is separated, 
shall have the property. But a separated step-brother cannot get it."J 

* The italics in this and the following quotations are intended to facilitate a 
comparison of the discrepancies. 

f XL, 5, 13. J P. 306. 


Again, in the Vyavaharamayukha we find Borradaile translating this 
verse : 

" One of a different womb, being again associated, may take the suc- 
cession ; not one of a different womb, if not re-united : but [a whole 
brother if] re-united, obtains the property ; and not [exclusively] the son 
of a different mother."* 

Hence, according to Colebrooke, a brother united by blood; accord- 
ing to Tagore, a uterine brother, even when he is separated, may obtain 
the property ; while according to Borradaile a whole brother may obtain 
it, but only on the condition of being re-united. Again, Colebrooke and 
Borradaile say that the son of a different mother cannot get the suc- 
cession exclusively, while Tagore says, that a step-brother cannot get it, 
if separated. 

Or, under the heading of effects not liable to partition, the Mitak- 
shara cites a verse from Narada, which Colebrooke translates : 

" He who maintains the family of a brother studying science, shall 
take, be he ever so ignorant, a share of the wealth gained by science."! 

Jn the Vyavahara-Madhaviya, Mr. Burnell renders the same 
verse : 

" A member of a family though he be ignorant, who supports his 
brother while learning science, shall get a share of the wealth acquired 
by that brother by learning. "J 

And Tagore, in the Vivadachintamani : 

" Wealth, acquired by a learned man, whose family was supported, 
during his absence from home to acquire learning, by a brother, shall be 
shared with the latter, even if he be ignorant." 

Hence, according to Tagore's version a brother acquires this right 
only when he supports his brother's family during his absence from 

* IV., 9, 10. I,, 4, 8. J P. 49. P. 253. 


home a restriction not contained in Colebrooke's and Burnell's trans- 
lation of the same passage.* 

Again, when, treating of the succession to a woman's peculiar pro- 
perty, Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga quotes a verse of Devala, which ac- 
cording to Colebrooke says : 

" Her subsistence, her ornaments, her perquisites, and Tier gains t are 
the separate property of a woman. She herself exclusively enjoys it; 
and her husband has no right to use it, unless in distress."} 

But in the 'Vivadachintamani, Tagore renders the same verse 
thus : 

" Food and vesture, ornaments, perquisites, and wealth received by a 
woman from a kinsman, are her own property;" &c.J 

Hence in Colebrooke's^ translation the stridhana applies to all the 
gains of a woman ; while in that of Tagore and he italicizes the words 
" from a kinsman " it applies solely to the wealth which a woman 
receives from a kinsman. 

The word perquisite (sometimes also called " fee ") in the foregoing 
quotations is the Sanskrit s'ulka, and as an item of stridhana it is denned 
in Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga by a reference to Katyayana, which 
Colebrooke translates as follows : 

"Whatever has been received, as a price, of workmen on houses, 
furniture, and carriages, milking vessels and ornaments, is denominated 

In the Vyavahara-Madhaviya Mr. Burnell renders this verse as 
follows : 

" What is received as the price of utensils for the house, or cattle, or 
milch cows, for personal ornaments or for work, that is called Sulka."\\ 

* Jolly's translation of * Mrada's Institutes," xiii., 10. Mayr, * Das Indische 
Erbrecht,' p. 26. Burnell, '^yavaliaranira'aya,' p. 29. 
t IV., 1. 15. $ P. 263 IV., 3, 19. || P. 41. 


And Tagore, in the Vivadachintamarii : 

" The small sums which are received by a woman as the price or 
rewards of household duties, using household utensils, tending beasts of 
burden, looking after milch cattle, taking care of ornaments of dress, or 
superintending servants, are called her perquisites."* 

The claims of a woman on the ground of S'ulka would therefore be 
greatly different according to the rendering of Colebrooke, Burnell, or 
Tagore, of the same authoritative passage.! 

An outcast, it is well known, is subject to legal disabilities ; he is not 
allowed to testify, and he is excluded from inheritance. Now Sir W. 
Jones, and after him Tagore, J render the verse of Manu, IX., 202, in 
the following way : 

" But it is just that the heir who knows his duty should give all of 
them [viz. relatives who are excluded from inheritance] food and raiment 
for life without stint, according to the best of his power : he who gives 
them nothing sinks assuredly to a region of punishment." 

But in the Mitdkshard t where this passage from Manu is quoted, 
Colebrooke renders it : 

" But it is fit, that a wise man should give all of them food and 
raiment without stint to the best of his power : for he, who gives it not, 
shall be deemed an outcast." 

According to Sir W. Jones and Tagore, such a dereliction of duty 
would therefore entail a spiritual consequence only, but according to 
Colebrooke serious legal penalties too.|| 

Without multiplying instances like these, I may now ask how could 
a judge, without a knowledge of Sanskrit, decide which of these scholars 

* P. 258. 

t Jolly, Die rechtliche Stellung der Frauen bei den alien Indern,' p. 23 ff. 
Mayr, 1.1., p. 167. Burnell, 1.1., p. 45 ff. 

I ' Vivadach.' p. 243. II., 10, 5. || Burnell, 1.1., p. 13. 


is right, or whether their difference of translation is based on a different 
reading of the same text, and if so, which of these different readings 
has a claim to greater authority than the rest? And if he cannot 
decide this question, what is to become of justice in all those cases that 
are governed by the law contained in these conflicting versions ? 

But as a Hindu has clearly a right to have justice done to him 
according to what are his real authorities, it is impossible to forego the 
question whether the present English translation of the law books can 
be implicitly relied upon as an equivalent for the originals. 

On the whole, I have no doubt they may; and of all translations 
from Sanskrit into a European language I know of none to which, in 
my opinion, greater admiration is due than to the translation of Jimu- 
tavahana's and Vijnanes'vara's law of inheritance by Colebrooke. So 
great, indeed, was the conscientiousness of that scholar, so thorough 
his understanding of the Hindu mind, and so vast and accurate his 
Sanskrit learning, that there is always the strongest reason for hesita- 
tion whenever one might feel disposed to question a rendering of his. 
And as Colebrooke's authority is still paramount in all law courts which 
have to deal with Hindu law, the aid afforded by his works to English 
judges cannot be too highly valued. 

But, in the first place, the same high opinion cannot be entertained 
of all the translations already mentioned, for, with the exception of the 
version of the Vyavahara-Madhaviya by Mr. Burnell, most of them are 
often too free and vague to be thoroughly reliable ; and even the trans- 
lation of the Vivadachintamani by the late Prosonno C. Tagore, is 
often more paraphrastic than is compatible with an accurate rendering 
of the text. 

And in the second place, it should also be remembered that, apart 
from Burnell's, Tagore's, and Kristnasawmy's translations which ap- 
peared a few years ago, and those of Loiseleur Deslongchamps, Stenzler, 


and Roer, which may likewise be looked upon as relating to our own 
period, the remaining important works date from the end of the last 
and the earlier part of the present century, when there was not a single 
critical edition of any of their originals. Hence, with the MS. 
materials which have since come to light, with the numerous good 
editions of law texts to which it is now easy to refer, I may here only 
name the admirable edition, by Bharatachandras'iromani, of Jimutava- 
hana's Dayabhaga, with seven commentaries, published under the 
patronage of P. C. Tagore, the various editions of Yajnavalkya, with 
the whole Mitakshara, published at Calcutta, Benares, and Bombay, 
and several editions of Manu, with the commentary of Kullukabhat't'a, 
in a word, with the immense progress which Sanskrit studies have 
made for the last thirty years, both in India and Europe, it would be 
much more surprising if these translations were still found to stand the 
test of modern scholarship, than if they were found to fail. 

And from this point of view alone must we judge of imperfections 
which occur, not only in Borradaile, Wynch, and Sutherland, but also 
in Sir W. Jones's translation of Manu, and even in Colebrooke's trans- 
lations of the two treatises of Vijnanes'vara and Jimutavahana. Yet 
that such imperfections exist, whatever the cause may. be, is undeni- 
able ; and as even the accomplished work of Colebrooke is not entirely 
exempt from them, it may easily be inferred that they call for the atten- 
tion of those who are answerable for the administration of the Hindu law. 

To illustrate the nature of the imperfections of which I here speak, 
and which have a material bearing on the law of succession, I will 
choose some instances from Colebrooke's ' Two Treatises.' 

In Jimutavahana,* the right to the female line of succession is laid 
down in an important text from Vr'ihaspati. According to Colebrooke 
this text runs thus : 

* IV., 3, 31. 


"The mother's sister, the maternal uncle, the father's sister, the 
mother-in-law, and the wife of an elder brother, are pronounced similar 
to mothers. If they leave no issue of their bodies, nor son [of a rival 
wife], nor daughter's son, nor son of those persons, the sister's son and 
the rest shall take their property." 

That in a series of female relatives the " maternal uncle " should 
occur, and be declared to be similar to a mother, would in itself be im- 
probable ; nor is he really mentioned there ; and the mistake seems to 
have been caused by an omission in the MS. used by Colebrooke ; for 
according to the correct text the passage reads : 

" The mother's sister, the ivife of a maternal uncle, the paternal 
uncles wife, the father's sister, the mother-in-law, and the wife of an 
elder brother are pronounced similar to mothers. If they leave no 
issue of their body, nor son, nor daughter's son, nor son of those persons, 
the sister's son and the rest shall take their property/'* 

Hence the maternal uncle cannot claim on the ground of this passage, 
but in his stead the wife of a maternal uncle and the paternal uncle's 
wife can so claim. f 

In the same chapter, where the son's prior right to inheritance is 
mentioned,! a quotation from Vr'iddha-S'atatapa is made at the same 
time to show in what order the succession of other persons is regulated 
in accordance with the benefits which, through the S'raddha rites, they 
may confer on the soul of the deceased. Colebrooke renders the passage 
as follows : 

" The son's preferable right too appears to rest on his presenting the 
greatest number of beneficial oblations, and on his rescuing his parent 

* Calc. 8vo. ed., 1829 (p. 154) ; Bharatach.'s ed. (p. 172) : matuh 7 svasa matu- 
lani, pitr'ivyastrt pitr'isvasa, sVas'rftli' pftrvajapatni cha matr'itulyah' prakirtitali' ; 
yad asam auraso na syat suto dauhitra eva va, tatsuto va dhanam' tasam' svasrt- 
yadyak' samapnuyuh'. 

t Burnell, 1.1., p. 51. J IV., 3, 36. 


from hell. And a passage of Vr'iddha-S'atatapa expressly provides for 
the funeral oblations of these women: ( For the wife of a maternal uncle 
or of a sister's son, of a father-in-law and of a spiritual-parent, of a 
friend and of a maternal grandfather, as well as for the sister of the 
mother or of the father, the oblation of food at obsequies must be per- 
formed. Such is the settled rule among those who are conversant 
with the Vedas.' " 

The drift of the quotation from Vr'iddha-S'atatapa as it stands would 
not be intelligible, for Jimutavahana alleges his words, not in order to 
state for whom the S'raddha should be performed, but by whom the 
benefits are conferred, and thus the title to inheritance in succession is 
acquired. But according to the words of the correct text, and the in- 
terpretation of them in the Dayanirnaya, the passage from Vr'iddha- 
S'atatapa would have to be rendered thus : 

" . . . . And a passage of Vr'iddha-S'atatapa expressly provides for 
the funeral oblations of the following persons (masc.): the maternal 
uncle (performs the S'raddha) for a sister's son, and a sister's son for his 
maternal uncle, (a son-in-law) for a father-in-law; a (pupil) for a 
spiritual teacher, (a friend) for a friend, and (a daughter's son) for a 
maternal grandfather. And also for the wives of these persons, and 
the sister of a mother and father, the oblation of food at obsequies must 
be performed. Such, &c."* 

* The original passage, according to the text published in Calc. 1829 (p. 157), 
and Bharatach.'s edition (p. 175), is as follows : Matulo bhagineyasya svasriyo 
matulasya cha, s'yas'urasya guros' chaiva sakhyur matamahasya cha, etesham' 
chaiva bharyabhyah' svasur matuh' pitus tatha, s'raddhadanam' tu kartavyam iti 
vedavidam' stbitir iti Vr'iddha-S'atatapa-vachanat. Amlsham pin'd'adatva-prati- 
padanad ayam pin'd'adanavis'eshad adhikarakramah'. 

In the Ddyakaumudi, where this passage from S'atatapa is quoted (ed. Calc., 
p. 155), the following comment from the Ddyan'irnaya is appended to it : Matulo 
bhagineyasya pin'd'adah' ; evam' svasriyo matulasya pin'd'adah' ; s'vas'urasya 


The importance of this passage had a recent illustration in the case 
of Grihadi Lall Roy v. the Government of Bengal. Gridhari was the 
maternal uncle of the father of a deceased Zemindar, whose inheritance 
he claimed, no other heirs claiming ; but as the Bengal Government 
maintained that there was no law-text under which a maternal uncle 
could succeed to the property of a sister's son, it held that this was a 
case of escheat, and the High Court at Calcutta actually delivered a 
judgment in favour of the Crown. Now, since it has never been 
denied that a clear duty to perform the S'raddha implies a right to 
succeed, there can be no doubt that the judgment of the High Court 
must have been different, had it been able to avail itself of the correct 
translation of the passage quoted, proving as that does, the maternal 
uncle's duty to perform the S'raddha for a sister's son. 

In Jimutavahana,* according to Colebrooke, a grandmother and great 
grandmother would seem to have no right to succeed, inasmuch as they 
take no part in the Sraddha. It is true that the passage alluded to 
would stand in direct contradiction with others in the same work, 
where the grandmother's and great-grandmother's right is distinctly 
admitted, but the fact is that no such contradiction results from the 
original text. Colebrooke's words are : 

*' Nor can it be pretended that the stepmother, grandmother and 
great-grandmother take their places at the funeral repast, in conse- 
quence of [ancestors being deified] with their wives." 

Whereas the correct original text would in the translation run : 

" Nor can it be pretended that a stepmother, a stepmother of a 
father, and a stepmother of a paternal grandfather, take their places at 

jamata pin'd'adah' ; guroh' pin'd'adata s'ishyab/; matamahasya pin'd'adata 
dauhitrah. Etesham matuladiuam bharyabhyah' stribhyah s'raddhadanain' karta- 
vyam iti vedartb.opanibandb.r'in'am' nishtlia ; iti Dayan'irn'ayah'. 
* XL, 6, 3. 


the funeral repast, in consequence of [ancestors being deified] with their 

In the translation of the Mitaksharaf for I will also add an instance 
or two from this treatise a curious mistake has been caused by Cole- 
brooke's adopting part of the translation by Sir W. Jones of a passage 
of Manu, quoted by Yijnanes'vara in support of his rule regarding effects 
not liable to partition. 

" If the hprses or the like," Vijnanes'vara says, "be numerous, they 
must be distributed among coheirs who live by the sale of them. If 
they cannot be divided, the number being unequal, they belong to the 
eldest brother, as ordained by Manu." And now follows the quotation 
from the latter, J which Colebrooke has rendered thus : 

" Let them never divide a single goat or sheep, or a single beast with 
uncloven hoofs : a single goat or sheep belongs to the first-born." 

How, on the ground of such a text from Manu, the Mitakshara could 
forbid the division of an unequal number of cattle, would be unintelli- 
gible. But what Manu really says is : 

" If goats and sheep, together with beasts that have uncloven feet, 
are of an unequal number, let no division be made of them ; but let such 
an unequal number of goats and sheep (v.L let such goats and sheep, 
with beasts that have uncloven feet), go to the first-born." 

The error arose from the translators mistaking the import of the 
singular number which is required by Sanskrit compounds to express 
collectiveness, and which in the case of the Dvandva compound ajdvikam 

* Gale. ed. 1829 (p. 323), Bharatach.'s ed. (p. 332) : Na cha sapatnikatvena 
sapatnimatuh.' sapatnipitamahyah' sapatnlprapitamahyas' cha s'raddhe 'nupra- 
ves'ah'. Compare the analogous passage in the Viramitrodaya, f. 208, 5, 11. 1 ff. 

In this instance a printer's mistake perhaps caused the inaccuracy in Cole- 
brooke's rendering ; for if we read in it " the step- mother, -grand- mother." &c., 
the chief discrepany would be removed. 

t I., 4, 18. f IX., 119. [Mayr, 1.1 1., p. 34.] 


" goats and sheep " is also interpreted in this sense by the commentator 
Kullukabhat't'a, with a reference to the grammar of Panini.* 

In the chapter which treats of the right of a widow to inherit the 
estate of one who leaves no male issue, the Mitaksharaf says : 

" In the first place, the wife shares the estate. * Wife ' (patni) 
signifies a woman espoused in lawful wedlock ; conformably with the 
etymology of the term as implying a connexion with religious rites. 
The singular number ' wife' (in the text of Ydjnavalhya) signifies the 
kind ; hence if there are several wives belonging to the same or different 
castes, they divide the property according to the shares (prescribed to 
them), and take it" 

The italicized words are entirely omitted in Colebrooke's translation, 
and as there is no other passage in the Mitakshara which relates to the 
emergency of several wives surviving a man who leaves no male issue, 
it is needless to point out how important they are in a disputed case of 
this nature. The omission, I may add, has already been noticed by 
Mr. Stokes in a note to page 53 of his ' Hindu Law Books,' where he 
comments on a passage of Borradaile's Vyavaharamayukha. 

I need not enlarge any further on mistakes of this nature, which, as 
I have already observed, may chiefly have arisen from the imperfect 
condition of MSS. which were used for the translations ; but it is clear 
that they may become a serious impediment to rightful claims, and 
obstruct the course of justice. 

Apart however from the question, whether a judge could entirely 
rely on these translations of Sanskrit law texts, it remains to be seen 

* Hit. (I., 4, 18) : Ajavikara' saikas'apham' na jatu vishamam bliajet, ajavikam' 
tu vishamam (a. I. saikas'apham') jyesht'hasyaiva vidhiyate, iti Manu-smaran'at. 
Kullukabhat't'a to Marnt, IX., 119 : ajavikam iti pas'udvandvad vibhashayaika- 
vadbhavah' (comp. Pan. II., 4, 11). 

f II., 1, 5. 

VOL II. 11 


whether, even in their most perfect condition, the existing translations 
of the Hindu law hooks could he held to suffice for the settlement of the 
numerous cases that arise from disputes in matters of Hindu inheri- 
tance and adoption. 

No one, I think, acquainted with the works enumerated at the com- 
mencement of this paper, and with works of Sanskrit literature 
quoted by them, would affirm that they do suffice. He would, on 
the contrary, have to own that many law-books, as yet untranslated are 
sometimes a material aid, and sometimes even indispensable, for a correct 
understanding of the Mitakshara and the digest of Jimutavahana. 

The Viramitrodaya, for instance, is to a large extent a full commen- 
tary on the Mitakshara, which it copiously quotes ; and the same may 
be said of the Smr'itichandriM, of which a few years ago not a line had 
appeared in print, and of which even now a trustworthy translation 
cannot be said to exist. Again, the seven commentaries on Jimutava- 
hana's Dayabhaga, Raghunandana's Smr'ititattva, the treatises of Kama- 
lakara, the Dayakaumudi, and kindred works, are in numerous instances 
the best, if not the only, means for arriving at the precise meaning of 
its text. And so long as all these works remain untranslated, justice 
to the Hindus in matters of inheritance must remain uncertain, because 
it would often have to depend on the reasoning of the European mind, 
which failing to appreciate the historical facts and the religious ground 
on which Hindu reasoning proceeds, must necessarily often become 
fallacious. In a recent case tried in the High Court at Fort William, 
the Chief Justice gave the advice, not to introduce English notions 
into cases governed by Hindu law. " The Hindu law of inheritance ," 
he very justly observed, " is based upon the Hindu religion, and we 
must be cautious that in administering Hindu law we do not, by acting 
upon our notions derived from English law, inadvertently wound or 
offend the religious feelings of those who may be affected by our deci- 


sions ; or lay down principles at variance with the religions of those 
whose law we are administering." (In the High Court of Judicature at 
Fort William. Ordinary original civil jurisdiction, 1st September, 1869, 
Gannendro Mohun Tagore v. Opendro Mohun Tagore, &c., p. 23.) 

Yet how much even judges of the highest standing are liable to err, 
if, for a knowledge of the positive Hindu law, they substitute that which 
from an English point of view may appear to be the most logical and 
faultless reasoning, will be seen by the instance of a Privy Council 
judgment which, if relied upon as a precedent, would materially alter 
the whole Hindu law of inheritance in one of its vital points. 

The judgment I am here alluding to is that delivered on the 30th of 
November, 1863, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council upon 
the appeal of Kattama Nauchear v. the Raja of Sivaganga, from the 
Sudder Devanny Adawlut at Madras. 

The object of the litigation was the Zemindary of Sivaganga, situated 
in the Madras Presidency. Its last owner, who was in undisputed 
possession of it, had died in 1829, leaving no male issue, but several 
wives by whom he had daughters ; and the daughter of one of those 
wives was the appellant in the case ; for the Sudder Court at Madras 
had decided against her claims, and pronounced in favour of the res- 
pondent, a nephew of the deceased, who at the time of the appeal was 
in possession of the Zemindary. 

The issues of the case, as stated in the judgment of the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council, were these : 

1. Were Gaurivallabha (the deceased Raja) and his brother (for the 
grandson of the latter was the respondent, the Raja in possession) un- 
divided in estate, or had a partition taken place between them ? 

2. If they were undivided, was the Zemindary the self-acquired and 
separate property of Gaurivallabha (the deceased Raja) ? And if so 

3. What is the course of succession according to the Hindu law of 


the south of India of such an acquisition, where the family is in other 
respects an undivided family ? 

The first of these questions, the judgment of the Judicial Committee 
of the Privy Council answered in the sense that the deceased Raja and 
his brother were undivided in estate ; and this being a question of fact, 
we have simply to accept their Lordships' finding. 

In regard to the second question, the judgment held that the Zemin- 
dary was not the ancestral, but the self-acquired and separate property 
of the late Raja ; and this, too, being a question of fact, no remark has 
to be added to it. 

Concerning the third, however, which is a question of law, the judg- 
ment went on to say, that according to the law in the south of India, as 
affecting members of an undivided family, the Zemindary would have 
passed to the nephew had it been ancestral property, but being self- 
acquired property, the daughter of one of the widows the appellant in 
the case was entitled to it. 

Now, in the first place, I must here observe that this judgment is 
exclusively based on what their Lordships consider to be the law of the 
Mitakshara. That the Mitakshara is one of the law authorities in the 
south of India is unquestionable ; but it is likewise an undisputed fact 
that it is not the primary authority in that part of India. As before 
stated, the Mitakshara, which is merely a running commentary on the 
text of Yajnavalkya, is incomplete in many respects ; and amongst the 
later works which enlarged on it and supplied its defects, the digests 
called Smr'itichandrikd and Vyavahdra Mddhaviya became the chief 
authorities in the south. At the time when the Sivaganga case was 
pending, Mr. Burnett's translation of the Madhaviya did not exist f 
nor even the imperfect version of the Smr'itichandrika by Mr. Kristna- 
sawmy Iyer. These works were then accessible only in Sanskrit MSS. 
Hence not so much as an allusion to them occurs in the judgment of the 


Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ; and while it is not denied 
that the respondent had a right to have his claims dealt with according 
to the recognised primary law of his country, we here meet with the 
anomalous circumstance that they were decided upon according to what 
in the south of India is only considered as a secondary source of law. 

And that this distinction is not merely a fortuitous one is proved by 
the case itself. For there is no text in the Mitakshara which clearly 
provides for it, whereas there are passages in the Smr'itichandrikd and 
the Mddhaviya which, I have no doubt, would have proved to their 
Lordships' minds that the second question they had raised was irre- 
levant to the case, and that their final decision was even contrary to the 
very spirit of the law of the Mitakshara. 

But as they were not acquainted with the two Digests which, while 
in perfect accordance with the Mitakshara, elucidate its obscurities, 
their Lordships supplied the apparent defect of the Mitakshara with 
arguments which, from a European point of reasoning, might bear out 
the conclusion at which they arrived, but from a Hindu point of view 
do not. 

I have already mentioned that the family of the appellant and the 
respondent were admittedly undivided in estate. Yet in a family of 
this description the judgment of the Judicial Committee raised the 
question as to what was in it ancestral, and what was self -acquired, 
property. Such a question, however, cannot judicially occur in an 
undivided family, so long as it remains undivided, which was here the 
case. The translated text of the Mitakshara itself is silent on the law 
of succession in reference to an undivided family, for the text of Yajiia- 
valkya, which this commentary follows verse by verse, does not deal 
with it ; and in the first section of its second chapter, which treats of 
the right of widows to inherit in default of male issue, and on which 
the judgment in this case is exclusively based, nothing is stated affect- 


ing the rights of any member of an undivided family. On the other 
hand, the Vyavahdra-Mddhaviya, and especially the Smr'itichandrikd, 
very distinctly regulate the succession rights in an undivided family : 
it results from them that only a male member of such a family can be 
heir, and that so long as the family remains undivided, the whole of the 
property, whether ancestral or self-acquired, is vested in him.* The 
reasons of such a law are likewise clear. In an undivided family the 
principal religious duties are undivided, and the benefits, therefore, to 
be bestowed on the soul of the deceased ancestor benefits on which 
the right of succession rests can be conferred only by one single 
member of the family, its actual head.f 

Not having before them this distinct law, which is quite in harmony 
with the law of Manu and all other legislators, and being left in doubt 
by a section of the Mitakshara, which having nothing whatever to do 
with the case in question could of course not enlighten them, the Lords 
of the Judicial Committee laid down a perfectly novel proposition which, 
if adopted, would alter the basis of the whole Hindu law. 

" There are two principles," the judgment says.J " on which the rule 
of succession, according to the Hindu law, appears to depend : the first 
is that which determines the right to offer the funeral oblation, and the 
degree in which the person making the offering is supposed to minister 
to the spiritual benefit of the deceased ; the other is an assumed right 
of survivorship." 

But the fact is, that there is only one principle, that stated by the 
Report in the first proposition, and that the second does not exist at all. 
Of the first, Sir W. Jones had already said that it contains the key to 
the whole Hindu law of inheritance ; and even the single text which 

* The question, therefore, what is ancestral and what is self -acquired property 
can judicially only occur at the time when division takes place, 
t See Appendix. J Page 18. 


the judgment adduces in support of its theory of a right of survivorship, 
had it been quoted in full, and with the remarks attached to it by the 
Smr'itichandrika, would have shown that no such right can be inferred 
from it.* 

* After the words above quoted ("there are two principles .... right of 
survivorship ") the Eeport continues : " Most of the authorities rest the uncon- 
tested right of widows to inherit the estates of their husbands, dying separated 
from their kindred, on the first of these principles (1 Strange, 135). But some 
ancient authorities also invoke the other principle (viz. that of survivorship). 
"vYihaspati (3 Dig. 458, tit. cccxcix ; see also Sir W. Jones' paper cited 2 Strange, 
250) says : ' Of him whose wife is not deceased half the body survives ; how 
should another take the property, while half the body of the owner lives ? ' " The 
text here quoted by the judgment reads, however, in full, as quoted by the Smr'iti- 
chandrika, thus : " In Scripture, in the traditional code, and in popular practice, 
a wife (patni) is declared by the wise to be half the body (of her husband), equally 
sharing the fruit of (his) pure and impure acts (i.e. of virtue and vice). Of him 
whose wife is not deceased, half the body lives ; how then should another take his 
property while half the body of the owner lives ? Although Sakulyas (distant 
kinsmen), although his father, his mother, and uterine brothers be present, the wife 
of him who died, leaving no male issue, shall take his share." (The same passage 
also occurs in Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga, XL, 1, 2, and in Sir W. Jones' paper, 
2 Strange, 250, mentioned by the Eeport). The Smr'itichandrika (Calc. ed., p. 58) 
introduces this passage with the following words : " Accordingly, after having 
pronounced that compared to other (relatives) a wife has a nearer claim on account 
of the circumstance that she has the property of conferring visible and spiritual 
benefits (on the deceased), Vr'ihaspati has shown that the wife has the share of her 
husband's property, if there are no secondary (or adopted) sons, though father 
and other heirs as far downwards as the Sakulyas may be alive." Again, after 
having explained the import of the word " wife (patnfy " in the passage quoted, 
the same law authority says: " Accordingly, the term patni gives us to under- 
stand that her fitness to perform sack religious acts, as the rites in honour of the 
manes, is the reason that she is entitled to take the share of her husband" It is 
clear, therefore, that though " acting upon our notions derived from English law," 
we might feel induced to infer from the word " lives," in the alleged passage, a 
right of survivorship, the Hindu mind, and especially the very law authority on 
which the judgment should have been based, was far from following such a course 
of reasoning. It looked, on the contrary, upon this passage as confirming the 
spiritual principle, and this principle alone. 


The judgment further asks : " If the first of these principles (the 
spiritual principle) were the only one involved, it would not be easy to 
see why the widow's right of inheritance should not extend to her 
husband's share in an undivided estate." 

This question is perfectly pertinent, but it is one of the great points 
of difference between the Dayabhaga- and the Mitakshara schools. The 
former assuming that under any conditions the widow would confer the 
greatest spiritual benefits on the soul of a deceased husband, provided 
he leaves no male issue, in consequence rules that, in such an emer- 
gency, she is always entitled to succeed to the property of the husband 
whether the latter be divided or not. The Mitakshara school, on the 
contrary, not admitting this superior spiritual power of a widow in an 
undivided family, excludes her from the position she holds in the 
Dayabhaga school. But the Sivaganga case fell under the law of the 
Mitakshara school, and it is not for us to decide whether the view of 
the latter regarding the spiritual power of a wife is, or is not, more 
correct than that of the Dayabhaga school. 

In short, " there being no positive text governing the case before the 
Judicial Committee "* simply because their Lordships could not refer 
to the very law authorities conformably to which alone the case should 
have been decided they relied on an irrelevant text of the Mitakshara, 
and in applying the law of succession which is applicable only to a 
divided family, to an undivided one, even mistook this text itself. 

That this judgment, if accepted as an authoritative interpretation of 
the Hindu law, would introduce a second principle, hitherto unknown, 
into the Hindu right of inheritance, and would entirely alter this law so 
far as undivided Hindu families are concerned, requires no further re- 
mark. But it seems equally clear that such a result could never have 

* Page 16. 


occurred if the Lords of the Judicial Committee had been in possession 
of more law texts than at the time were accessible to them.* 

Another instance of the insufficiency of the law texts as hitherto 
translated, is afforded by the judgment of the High Court of Calcutta in 
the matter Gridhari Lall Roy v. the Government of Bengal, to which 
I have already had occasion to refer. And as it implies a large class 
of cases which may equally suffer from the same cause, it will not be 
deemed superfluous to draw attention to it. 

I have just pointed out the great principle on which the Hindu law 
of inheritance is based. A kind of spiritual bargain is at the root of it. 
For the direct or indirect benefit of his future life, a person requires 
after his death certain religious ceremonies the S'raddha to be per- 
formed for him ; and since these ceremonies entail expense, his property 
is supposed to be the equivalent for such expense. A direct benefit 
from the S'raddha is derived, for instance, by a father, grandfather, and 
great-grandfather, to whom the funeral cakes are offered by a son, grand- 
son, or great-grandson ; and an indirect benefit, by a deceased whose 
relatives present the funeral cakes to his maternal, grandfather, great- 
grandfather, and great-great-grandfather; for by doing so, they perform 
for him that duty which, when alive, he would have been bound to per- 
form .f Since, however, the nearer a person is related to the deceased, 
the greater is the direct or indirect benefit which he is able to confer on 
the latter's soul, the nearer, too, are his claims to the inheritance- 
But in the same degree as a person owes the S'raddha to a relative, the 
purity of his body is also affected by the death of that relative ; and 
the time within which the impurity he suffers in consequence can be 
removed by certain religious acts, depends therefore on the degree of 
relationship in which he stood to the deceased. Again, the right of 

* Burnell, 1.1., p. vii. 

f See e. g. Jtmdtavdhana , XL, 1, 34 ; XI., 6, 13. 


marriage is affected by the degree of relationship, for within certain 
degrees marriage is strictly forbidden by the Hindu law. 

To obtain, therefore, an authoritative explanation of what, to a Hindu, 
are the degrees of relationship and on these degrees, again, depends 
the order of succession we have especially to look to those portions of 
the codes of law, and those separate treatises, which relate to the per- 
formance of the S'raddha, to the laws concerning impurity and the 
removal of it, and to the laws of marriage. All that occurs in regard 
to these important topics under the head of inheritance is but inciden- 
tally stated there, as serving the argument in point, but not with a 
view of being an exhaustive treatment of the matter. On the whole, 
there is but little to be gathered from the chapter of inheritance regard- 
ing the relative rights of heirs ; and if the number of such heirs is large, 
and the degrees of their affinity are intricate, there would be a consider- 
able difficulty in deducing, from the general argument merely, the 
precise right of a particular heir. 

Now, in a complete code of law like that of Manu or Yajnavalkya, 
the subject of S'raddha, impurity and marriage, is dealt with in the 
dchdra and prdyas'chitta (the first and third) portions of the work, not 
in the second, a portion of which is devoted to inheritance. But as of 
the cominentatorial works on Manu, of the whole Mitakshara on the 
first and third books of Yajnavalkya, of the great work of Raghunan- 
dana, and of the numerous important works and treatises dealing with 
these topics, such as the Nirnayasindhu, Dharmasindhusara, S'raddha- 
viveka, S'raddhanirnaya, Acharadars'a, and many others, nothing what- 
ever as yet exists in translation, it may easily be surmised that judges 
unable to read these works in the original language are deprived of a 
very important means of deciding on the relative rights of claimants to 
successions, and that in many instances their decisions may be at fault ; 
for I do not think that, without a positive knowledge of the Hindu 


religion in its greatest detail, any European could undertake to say 
whether, for instance, a brother confers more or less benefit on the soul 
of a brother than his daughter's son; or whether a maternal grand- 
mother on the father's side enjoys that privilege in a higher or lower 
degree than a paternal grandmother on the mother's side. In the 
judgment of the High Court at Calcutta, on the case to which I am 
about to attach some remarks, the learned judges indeed say ; " It 
would be difficult for a person at the present day to give a clear and in- 
telligible reason for many of the eccentricities and anomalies which 
characterize Hindu law of all schools, and this notwithstanding the 
encomium of the Pleader on its stern logic and uncompromising 
adherence to principles once laid down."* But what in this passage is 
called " eccentricities and anomalies," is nothing but the consequence 
of the religious views on which the S'raddha ceremonies rest. It is 
certainly difficult nay, impossible to understand this consequence 
without a knowledge of its cause, but the latter once mastered in its 
detail, I believe that " the encomium of the Pleader " would not be 
found an exaggerated one. 

The case in question is the one already alluded to, and the judg- 
ment which the High Court at Calcutta passed on it is highly instruc- 
tive in several respects, for it tells us that a maternal uncle is to a 
Hindu no heir at all, even if no other relatives of the deceased dispute 
his claim. To understand this extraordinary finding, it is necessary to 
see from what premises it was deduced. 

According to the degrees of relationship, the old lawgivers divided 
heirs into three categories, the first being that of the Sapin'd'as, or 
kindred connected by the Pin'd'a or the funeral cake offered at the 
S'raddha, and extending to the seventh degree (including the survivor) 

* Gridhari Lall Eoy v. the Bengal Government. ' Becord,' p. 98. 


in the ascending and descending male line ; the second, consisting of 
the SamdnodaJcas, or kindred connected by the libation of (udaka) water 
only offered at the S'raddha, who extend to the fourteenth degree ; and 
the third comprising the so-called Bandhus or Bdndhavas, who, in the 
chapter of the Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga treating of them, Cole- 
brooke generally renders cognates. It was as one of the last category that 
Gridhari claimed as the maternal uncle of the father of a deceased 
Zemindar. But the judges of the High Court of Bengal did not allow 
the claim, on the ground that he was excluded from the right of inherit- 
ance by the definition given of the term bandhu, in the sixth section of 
the second chapter of the Mitakshara. The passage on which the 
judgment relied runs thus : 

" Bandhus (cognates) are of three kinds ; related to the person him- 
self, to his father, or to his mother : as is declared by the following text. 
' The sons of his own father's sister, the sons of his own mother's sister, 
and the sons of his own maternal uncle, must be considered as his own 
Bandhus. The sons of his father's paternal aunt, the sons of his 
father's maternal aunt, and the sons of his father's maternal uncle, 
must be deemed his father's Bandhus. The sons of his mother's 
paternal aunt, the sons of his mother's maternal aunt, and the sons of 
his mother's maternal uncle, must be reckoned his mother's Bandhus.' "* 

Now, as in this list the sons of a father's maternal uncle are called 
Bandhu, bat not the father's maternal uncle himself, and as Gridhari 
did not pretend that he was either a Sapin'aa or a Samdnodaka, he was 

His plea was, that the enumeration contained in the quoted text was 
not an exhaustive one, but merely an illustration of the line in which 
relatives called Bandhu must be sought for ; that a father's maternal 

* Two Treatises, &c., p. 352. Burnell, 1.1., p. 37. Mayr, 1.1., p. 140. 


uncle stood in the same position to Ms son (named in that list) as a 
maternal uncle to his (also named there) : and since a maternal uncle, 
he argued, was clearly intended to be included in the list, a father's 
maternal uncle belonged to the relatives of the Bandhu category. The 
correctness of the analogy was admitted by the judgment,* but it still 
denied that a maternal uncle was intended to be included in the list. 
The Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, admitting 
the appellant's plea, reinstated him in his right, and there can be no 
question that they did justice to his claim ; but as the arguments on 
which their judgment was based would have been stronger, and would 
have been less hypothetical, than they now are, had their Lordships 
been able to avail themselves" of more and of safer texts than were at 
their disposal, and as neither the Bengal Government could ever have 
claimed the inheritance of Woopendro, nr the High Court of Calcutta 
pronounced against the Bandhu quality of a " maternal uncle," had 
they possessed the same advantage, it falls within the scope of this 
paper to illustrate by this case the serious deficiencies which in the 
present administration of the Hindu law must be unavoidable. 

There were several ways of ascertaining whether the list of Bandhus 
relied upon by the Bengal Government, was an exhaustive one or not ; 
or in other words, whether a father's maternal uncle and a maternal 
uncle were included in, or excluded from, it. 

The first was to consult any of the works authoritatively treating of 
the duty of persons to perform the S'raddha, or of impurity which would 
affect relatives in consequence of a death, for as all such persons 'are 
eventually heirs, it would have been seen at once whether the few indi- 
viduals named in the quoted text could possibly have been intended for 
an exhaustive definition of the Bandhu category. Now, in all such 
works, e. g. the Dharmasindhusara, the Nirnayasindhu, Raghunandana's 
* Record, p. 96, line 62. 


S'uddhitattva, &c,, this category comprises all the connections on the 
mother's side up to the seventh degree in the ascending and descending 
line ; and I may almost say, as a matter of course, the maternal uncle 
is distinctly mentioned by them. Even the passage from Jimutava- 
hana's Dayabhaga, adduced above, might of itself have proved that in the 
absence of nearer relatives the " maternal uncle " has the right of per- 
forming the funeral rites for a sister's son, and it would have confirmed 
a similar conclusion resulting from the same Digest,* for in regard to a 
question like this there is no difference between the various schools. 
The judgment of the Judicial Committee says :f " Mr. Forsyth, indeed, 
argued strongly against the right of the appellant to inherit, on the 
assumption that he was not entitled to offer the funeral oblations. 
But is this assumption well founded ? There is evidence, the uncon- 
tradicted evidence of the family priest and others, that the appellant 
did, in point of fact, perform the shradh of Woopendro ; and he seems, 
in the judgment of the priest, properly to have performed that function 
in the absence of any nearer kinsman." But the judgment adds : 
" It is, however, unnecessary to determine whether this act of the 
appellant was regular or not. The issue in this case is not between 
two competing kinsmen, but between a kinsman of the deceased and 
the Crown." Yet on the regularity of this act all really depends, since 
the right of performing the S'raddha and that of succeeding are con- 
vertible terms, and, in the extreme case of an escheat to the Crown, 
even the king inherits on the condition that he provides for the 
funeral rites of the person to whom he succeeds, and the king is 
debarred from succession to a Brahman's property, because a man of 
the second or an inferior caste cannot minister to the soul of one of the 
first. That the family priest allowed the appellant to perform the 

* XI., 6, 12 and 13. f P. 3. 


S'raddha for his nephew, certainly raised a strong presumption in favour 
of the maternal uncle's right to do so ; but the certainty whether he 
really possessed this right could be established only on the ground of 
authoritative texts, 

The second mode of settling the doubt consisted in referring to the 
decision of other authorities of the Mitakshara school ; and of these, it 
would have been found that, for instance, the Vivddachintdmani, after 
quoting the same passage describing the three categories of Bandhus, 
as the Mitakshara, sums up its discussion by giving a list of heirs, 
amongst whom " the maternal uncle and the rest " correspond with the 
Bandhus of the Mitakshara.* The Lords of the Judicial Committee 
had the advantage of being able to resort to this method, since an im- 
portant passage from the Viramitrodaya a digest which, as already 
observed, is often a full commentary on the Mitakshara was accessible 
to them in a translation given at p. 15 of the Record ; and they very 
justly referred to it in order to show that this authority included " the 
maternal uncle " in the Bandhu list alleged by the Mitakshara. But 
it so happened that they had ground to suspect the correctness of the 
translation of this passage in one particular, and in consequence 
amended it hypothetically where it appeared to them to be at fault. 
Their conjecture was perfectly right ; but as this was the only passage 
of the kind from works of the Mitakshara school, on which they had to 
rely for this argument, it would doubtless have been much more satis- 
factory had they been in possession of an authoritative translation of the 
work to which the passage belongs.! 

* SeeTagore, pp. 298, 299; Sanskrit text, Calc. 1837, pp. 155, 156 : ... 
vyavahitasakulyas tadabhave matuladih'. 

f The judgment says (p. 7) : " After stating that the term ' Sakulya ' or 
distant kinsman found in the text of Manu, comprehends the three kinds of cog- 
nates, the commentator goes on to say,' The term cognates (Bandhus) in the 
text of Jogishwara must comprehend also the maternal uncles and the rest, other- 


The third and most accurate course of all was to ascertain whether 
the author of the Mitakshara himself, by whose law the case was 
governed, elsewhere gave a definition of the term used by him, since, 
according to the first principle of interpretation, such a definition 
would necessarily remove all deubts. That the Lords of the Judicial 
Committee and the learned judges below endeavoured to adopt this 
course also, it is needless to say : but for the reasons already explained, 
the materials at their disposal did not enable them to arrive at any- 
thing like a safe conclusion. 

One obstacle that lay in their way arose from the fact, that Cole- 
brooke in his ' Two Treatises ' had accidentally varied the translation of 
the term Bandhu, and therefore made its identification in several places 
impossible. Thus in the Mitakshara, II., 1, 2 ; 5, 3 ; 6, 1 and 2, and 
in Jimutavdhana, XL, 1,4; and 6, 12, he had rendered bandhu 
4 cognate," or 'cognate kindred ': but in Mitakshara, II., 7, J, ' T 3la- 
tions'; and in Jimutavdhana, XI., 1, 5, ' kinsmen.' Had he not done 
so, the learned judges at Calcutta and the Lords of the Judicial Corn- 
wise the maternal uncles and the rest would be omitted, and their sons would be 
entitled to inherit, and not tbey themselves, though nearer in the degree of affinity, 
a doctrine highly objectionable.' The passage as translated at p. 15 of the Kecord 
has 'then they themselves,' in place of c not they themselves.' If this be the correct 
reading, it would follow that even if the exclusion of the maternal unele and others 
not mentioned in the text relied upon by the respondents from the list of 
Bandhua were established, they would still, as relations, be heirs, whose title 
would be preferable to that of a king." But oddly enough, at p. 24 of the Record 
where a translation of the same passage from the Viramitrodaya occurs, the last 
words read : " and then they themselves, though never in the degree of affinity. 
A doctrine highly objectionable. Quoted from the Beermithodoya." According 
to the Sanskrit text of the Viramitrodaya (C'alc, 1815, 209, b. 1. 8) there can be no 
doubt that "not they themselves" is the correct rendering; and that "never" 
is probably a misprint for " nearer" ; yet as it is a common occurrence in the 
Indian courts that Pan'd'its consulted by the litigants differ in their rendering of 
the same text (compare also the note to p. 178) how is a judge, not knowing 
Sanskrit, to decide which rendering is legitimate ? 


mittee would have fouud that in its commentary on the verse where 
Yajnavalkya says that " in a case of disputed partition the truth should 
be ascertained by the evidence of relatives called jndti, relatives called 
bandhu, by (other) witnesses, written proof or separate possession of 
house or field," the Mitakshara* explains relatives called jnati, 
" bandhus on the father's side " ; relatives called bandhu, " bandhus on 
the mother's side, viz. the maternal uncle and the rest."f And this 

* II., 12, 2. 

f Ydjn., II., 150: vibhaganihnave jnatibandhusakshyabhilekhitaih', vibhaga- 
bhavana jneya gr'ihakshetrais' cha yautukaih'; whereupon the Mit. in both Calcutta 
editions (1815 and 1829) remarks : vibhagasya nihnave 'palape, jnatibhih' pitr'i- 
bandhubh.ih' sakshibhir matuladibhir matr'ibandhubhih' purvoktalakshan'aih', &c. ; 
in the Benares ed. (1853), vibhagasya nihnave 'palape, jnatibhih' pitr'ibandlmbhir 
matuladibhih' sakshibhih' purvoktalakshan'aih', &c. ; in the Bombay ed. (1863), 
vibhagasya nihnave 'palape jnatibhih' pitr'ibandhubhir matr'ibandhubhir matula- 
dibhih' sakshibhih' purvoktalakshan'aih', &c. In the Benares edition the word 
mdtr'ibandhubhih' is evidently by mistake omitted before matuladibhih'j and in the 
Bombay edition the order of the text-words of Y&jnav., ./<&*, bandhu, sdlcshin, ia 
more closely followed than in the Calcutta editions, where the order is jndti, 
sdkshin, bandhu. But unless in the latter editions this inversion is the printer's 
mistake only which is very possible on account of the severing of sakshibhih' and 
purvoktalakshan'aih' it may have been intended to show that pitr'ibandhubMh' is 
the explanation of jndtibhiti, and mdtulddibhih', mdtr'ibandhubhih' y that of ban- 
dhuWiih', whereas otherwise it might be supposed (as Colebrooke did), th&t jndtibhih' 
had been left unexplained, and pitr'ibandhubhir matuladibhir matr'ibandhubhih' 
were the words explaining bandJiubhiJi' '. That the former view, however, is the 
correct one, results from the following parallel passages in which the text of Yajn. 
is commented upon : Viramitrodaya (p. 223 a, 1. 4, 5), vibh&gaaya nihnave 
'pal&pe vibhaktamadhye kenachit kr'ite jnatibhih 7 pitr'ibandhubhih' bandhubhir, 
matuladibhih', sakshibhih', &c. , VyavaMra-Mddhaviya (MSS), jnatayah' pitr'i- 
bandhavah', bandhavas tu matuladayab/ (v. I. matr'ibandhaTas cha ; or without 
cha) ; Jimiitavdhana(p.359), prathamam' jnatayah' sapin'd'ah' sakshin'ah', tada- 
bhave bandbupadopanitah' sambandhinah', tadabhava udasind api sakshin'ah' (comp. 
'Two Treatises,' p. 237; ch. xiv., 3). Hence Colebrooke's rendering of Mit. II., 
12 2, " if partition be denied or disputed, the fact may be known and certainty 
be obtained by the testimony of kinsmen, relatives of the father or of the mother 
such as maternal uncles and the rest, being competent witnesses as before 

VOL. II. 12 


definition of bandhu is substantially therefore the same as that given 
by the Mitakshara,* where it defines bandhu as " a Sapin'd'a of a 
different family,! that is a Sapin'd'a on the mother's side. Nor does 
Jimutavahana differ on this point from the Mitakshara school, for when 
speaking of the sense in which Yajnavalkya understood the word 
bandhu, he says.J " to intimate that the maternal uncle shall inherit in 
consequence of the proximity of oblations, as presenting offerings to the 
maternal grandfather and the rest, which the deceased was bound to 
offer, Yajnavalkya employs the term bandhu." 

But there are other passages, also, in the Mitakshara which clearly 
show that its author did not intend to quote the list of the three cate- 
gories of Bandhus as an exhaustire one. They are contained, however, 
in that portion of the Mitakshara not translated by Colebrooke. One 
of these had been supplied to the High Court at Calcutta for the 
purposes of the suit, but was singularly misunderstood by it. In 
Book II., v. 264, Yajnavalkya where speaking of co-traders lays down 
this rule ; " if one (of them) having gone to a foreign country, dies, 
let the heirs, the bdndhavas, jndtis, or those who have come, take the 
property ; and in their default the king." Whereupon the Mitakshara 
comments : " When of partners ' one who has gone to a foreign country 
dies,' then let ' the heirs,' that is, his son or other lineal descendants ; 
' the bdndhavas,' that is, the relatives on the motJier's side, viz. the 
maternal uncle and the rest ; ' the jndtis,' that is Sapiu'd'as, except the 

described " has to be altered into : " if partition be denied or disputed, the fact 
may be known and certainty be obtained by (the testimony of) relatives called 
jndti, viz. the bmidhus on the father's side j or (that of) relatives called bandhu, 
viz. the bandhus on the mother's side, such as maternal uncles and the rest, or 
(other) witnesses, as before described." 

* IT., 5, 3. 

t Bhinnagotran4m' sapin'd'anam bandhus abdena grahan'at. 


lineal descendants ; * or those who have come,' that is, the partners in 
business who have come from the foreign country, take his share ; and 
' in their default,' that is in default of ' the heirs,' &c , let the king 
take it."* 

* The translation of this passage as given by me above differs from that which 
the Bengal Government had laid before the High. Court, and it also differs from 
that tendered by the Appellant to the Court. The Record (p. 97) says : 

" The words are, as translated by the Defendant, Eespondent [i.e. the Bengal 
Government] : 

" Text. ' When one dies in a foreign country, let the descendants (Bundhoos), 
cognates, gentiles, or his companions, take the goods, or, in their default, the 

" Commentary. ' When he who is gone to a foreign country, of those who are 
associated in trade, dies, then his share should be inherited by his heirs, i. e. the 
son and other descendants, viz. (Bundhoos) cognates, i.e., those on the mother's 
side, the maternal uncle, and others, viz., the gentiles, i.e. the Sapindahs, besides 
the son and other descendants, and those who are come, i.e., those among them 
associated in trade, from a foreign country, or in their default, the king shall 
take.' " 

No wonder that the Appellant objected to this jumble of words, where in the 
' Text,' ' Bundhoos ' would be an explanation of ' descendants,' instead of 
'cognates' ; and in the Commentary, too, 'Bundhoos' and 'gentiles' are made to 
explain the same word ' descendants ' ; and the word ' besides ' is intended for 
* except.' But neither is the Appellant's version unobjectionable. It is given 
after the foregoing quotation, by the Record, in these words : 

" Text. A perron having gone to a foreign country, his goods would be taken 
by his heir, and those related through a Bundhoo, or to a Bundhoo or agnatic 
relation, or person returning from that country. In default of heirs, the king will 
take." And his translation of the Commentary of the Mituhshara is as follows : 

" When a person from amongst the persons trading in fellowship, or common 
stock, goes to a foreign country and dies there, his share will be taken by his heir, 
i. e. offspring, i. e. son and other offspring, Bundhoos, relations on the mother's 
side, maternal uncles, and the rest, or others, agnatic relations, that is to say, 
Sapindas, other than offspring, or by those coming back. Those who amongst the 
co-traders return from a foreign country, shall take ; in default of them, the 

If this version were correct (I am not here alluding to the last sentence which 
is perhaps misprinted for " .... coming back ; viz. those who . . . ."), the 


In this passage the High Court at Calcutta declared " The words, 
maternal uncle and the rest," to be " an insertion over and above what 
is contained in the principal text as to Bundhoos "; and added : 
" Under these circumstances, as the translated passage refers to an ex- 
ceptional state of things, it may be that the ordinary succession has 
been interfered with in a particular other than that above suggested, 
though the succession professes to follow the ordinary course in all 
particulars save one."* 

It need scarcely be observed that there is not the slightest ground 
for such a theory ; and the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council very justly remarks (p. 7) : " Their Lordships cannot 
admit the reasonableness of this hypothesis, and think that even on 
the Mitakshara the question under consideration is at least uncertain." 
Yet instead of affording absolute proof that the definition here given by 
the Mitakshara of the term bdndhava or-bandhu is in accordance with 
the definition which the same work everywhere gives when it thinks 
proper to paraphrase the word bandhu, and that consequently no new 
definition was here intended for an " exceptional state of things," the 

text of Yajaavalkya would treat of persons who are " related through a Bandhu y or 
to a Bandhu" while the commentary of the Mitakshara would speak of Bandhus 
only ; and as the words "related through a Bandhu, or to a Bandhu" are meant 
for Yajnavalkya's word bdndhava, it would follow that relatives called bdndhava 
are more distant heirs than those called bandhu. Nor should I feel surprised if 
possibly a doubt of this kind had some influence on the High Court, when, as we 
shall see, it founded a very strange theory on this passage. But bdndhava, 
though a derivative of bandhu, has absolutely the same sense as the latter, as 
results, not only from all the law-commentaries, but also from the grammatical 
Gan'a prajnadi to Pdn'ini V. 4, 38. Here then are two litigants, both differently 
rendering the same important text to which they appeal ; and a Law Court, unable 
to examine this text in the original, is to decide which of them is right, or whether 
both are wrong ! 

* Record, p. 98. 


judgment of the Judicial Committee proceeds to fortify its position l>y 
the passage, above alleged, from the Viramitrodaya, and therefore does 
not remove the doubt whether the Mitakshara itself countenanced the 
theory objected to or not. 

Yet one such definition of bandhu, literally agreeing with that in the 
passage just quoted, might have been found in the passage mentioned 
before ;* and another, occurring in another, untranslated portion of the 
Mitakshara, is still more explicit : for it distinctly refers to the very 
passage in question, which contains the Bandhu list, and settles there- 
fore even the last remnant of uncertainty. 

In Book III., v. 24, Yajnavalkya, treating of the season of impurity 
caused by the death of friends, says : " Purification lasts a day when a 
guru dies, or a boarder, a vedic teacher, a maternal uncle or a Brahman 
versed in one vedic school." On which words the Mitakshara remarks : 
" ' Guru' means a spiritual teacher ; * boarder/ a pupil ; vedic teacher,' 
him who explains the Vedangas. By the word ' maternal uncle,' the 
relatives on the female side, viz. the bandhus of one's self, the mother's 
bandhus, and the father's bandhus are implied ; and who these are has 
been shown in (the commentary on) the verse of Yajnavalkya, which 
begins with the words, ' the wife and the daughters,' "f that is, on the 
very same verse, II., 135 (Coleb., p. 324), to which the whole com- 
mentary of Sects. 1-7 of ch. ii. of the Mitakshara, and consequently 
also that of Sect. 6 (Coleb., p. 352) belongs. 

In short, the maternal uncle, so far from being excluded from the 
Bandhus, is almost invariably named as the very type of the whole 
category ; and what relative indeed on the mother's side could have a 
nearer claim to that title than he ? 

* P. 27, 1. 7. 

t Matulagrahan'enatmabandhavo matr'ibandhavab.' pitr'ibandhavas' elm yoni- 
sambaddha upalakshyante, te cha patni duliitara ity atra dars'itah'. 


Now that in spite of such overwhelming evidence, even in one of 
the clearest cases possible, any law-court could nonsuit a claimant 
simply because the mass of proof which could have supported his right, 
was not accessible in English to the judge, appears to involve BO 
anomalous a state of things that its continuance must be thought to be 
very undesirable. 

The best and most efficient means of remedying it would of course 
be a thorough acquaintance of the Indian judges with the original text 
of the Hindu law literature, and their ability to examine for them- 
selves in- the original language all the texts which may have a bearing 
on a case before them. Nor need such a remedy be looked upon as 
chimerical ; for the study of Sanskrit required for a legal training to 
this end would not imply more than the labour of a few years. 

But as some time might have to elapse before this object could be 
attained, it is at least to be hoped that the most immediate wants 
pointed out in this paper will be provided for by the competent 

A thorough revision of all the translations of Hindu law texts hitherto 
used in the Indian Courts should be undertaken at once, not in order 
to set them completely aside, but with a view of correcting their 
mistakes while preserving all that is good in them, and of harmonising 
their quotation of the same texts so as to render the identification of 
the latter possible. 

And, besides, the most important works, as yet accessible only in 
Sanskrit, should be translated into English, so that at least the whole 
of Yajnavalkya's Code, with the Mitakshara, the Viramitrodaya, some 
commentaries of Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga, some of Raghunandana's 
Tattvas, the Nirnayasindhu, the Dharmasindhusara, the principal 
treatises on S'raddha, impurity, and marriage, and those on adoption, 
should soon be within the reach of an English judge. 


The study of Sanskrit is now so successfully pursued in India, and 
native scholarship has already given such excellent proof of its mastery 
both of Sanskrit and English, that with united efforts in India itself, 
there would be no difficulty, within a few years' time, in accomplishing 
this greatly needed work. 


The oldest Hindu lawgivers lay do\vn the rule that members of a 
united family have a joint community of worldly and spiritual interests. 
Hence, according to them, their income and expenditure is conjoint ; 
they cannot individually accept or bestow gifts, or make loans ; nor can 
they reciprocally beaf testimony, or become sureties for one another ; 
moreover, certain of their religious duties being undivided, one member 
of the family only is entitled and obliged to perform them for the rest. 
Accordingly, in doubtful cases it was held that partition of a family 
was proved, if it could be shown that all or any of these criteria of 
union were wanting. The requirements of an advancing civilization, 
however, led to a more definite explanation of this general rule. Trade, 
commerce, or similar causes, often compelling co-parceners to live away 
from home, or in different houses, the whole of their affairs could not 
be managed conjointly, nor could all their religious duties be performed 
in common. The difficulties, therefore, of determining from the criteria 
already alluded to whether a family was a divided or a united one, 
multiplied in time, and the works of Colebrooke, Strange, Macnaghten, 
and Grady very justly dwell on them.* A more recent work, however, 

* See Mr. Standish Grove Grady's * Treatise on the Hindu Law of Inheritance ' 
(1869), where, in Sec. ix., pp. 415 ff., on ' Evidence of Partition,' all that relates 
to this subject is very carefully collected. See also the ' Manual of Hindu Law,' 
by the same learned author (1871), Sec. ix., pp, 273 ff. 


that by Mr. R. West and Dr. J. G. Buhler,* is not satisfied with 
admitting, as its predecessors had done, that there are difficulties 
which must be dealt with according to their merits and as they arise ; it 
summarily rejects all the criteria or ' signs of separation,' mentioned by 
the native authorities, as inconclusive, and consequently as devoid of 
value in a legal sense. 

" The will of the united co-parceners to effect a separation," the 
Editors of this Digest say,f "may be(l) stated explicitly ; (2) or im- 
plied. As to express will it may be evidenced by documents or by 
declarations before witnesses . . . ." And " as to implied will," they 
continue,]; " the Hindu authors are prolix in their discussions of the 
circumstances, from which separation or union may be inferred. 
According to them the ' signs' of separation are: (a) the possession of 
separate shares ; (b) living and dining apart; (c) commission of acts in- 
compatible with a state of union, such as trading with or lending money 
to each other, or separately to third parties, mutual gifts or suretyship, 
They add also giving evidence for each other, but from this in the 
present day no inference can be deduced, (d) The separate performance 
of religious ceremonies, i. e. of the daily Vais'vadeva, or food-oblation in 
the fire preceding the morning meal ; of the Naivedya, or food-oblation 
placed before the tutelary deity ; of the two daily morning and 
evening burnt-offerings ; of the S'raddhas, or funeral oblations to the 
parent's manes, &c." The Editors then add : " None of these signs of 

* A Digest of Hindu Law j from the replies of the Shastris in the several 
Courts of the Bombay Presidency. Book II. Partition, Bombay, 1869. As 
this work reached me after the foregoing paper had been read to the East India 
Association, the translation of the chapter of the Viramitrodaya " On a woman's 
separate property," contained in its Appendix (pp. 67 ff.), was then unknown to 
me, and has to be added to the translations of Hindu Law Texts enumerated at 
pp. 5 and 6. 

t Introduction, p. xii. J P. xiii. 


separation can be regarded as, by itself, conclusive " ; and again they 
say :* " As no one of the marks of partition above enumerated can be 
considered conclusive, so nether can it be said that any particular 
assemblage of these alone will prove partition. It is in every case a 
question of fact to be determined like other questions of fact, upon the 
whole of the evidence adduced, circumstantial evidence being 

But here it must first be asked what the Editors of this Digest call 
" evidence " in addition to that admitted by them as such under the head 
of " express will "? For, if none of the evidence afforded by the " signs 
of separation," whether this evidence be taken by itself or combined, 
can, as they assert, establish a proof of partition, what evidence is 
there left but " documents " or " declarations before witnesses "?f Yet 
as denial of separation, and litigation ensuing on it, will rarely occur 
when the party interested in the denial knows that his opponent is in 
possession of a partition deed, or can produce witnesses before whom 
the intention to separate has been formally declared, and as under such 
circumstances it will offer no difficulty to a judge, while, on the other 
hand, the cases presenting a real difficulty will just be those in which no 
documentary or other evidence of a similar nature exists, it is hard to 
appreciate the value of the advice which the Editors afford in their last 
quoted words. But as the most striking part of their statement con- 
sists in the summary rejection, as legal proof, of all and each of the 
" signs of separation," whereas some of these are so strongly relied 
upon by the native authorities, and have been so cautiously spoken of 
by Colebrooke, Strange, Grady, and other European writers of 
eminence, it will not be inexpedient to inquire whether in this 
matter a judge may henceforth feel entitled to dispense with a know- 
ledge of all that is stated on^this point in Hindu works, and simply 

* Introduction, p. xv. f P. xii. 


content himself with endorsing the opinion of the Editors of the 
Bombay Digest. 

One of the most prominent " signs of separation," as we havy seen, 
is based on religious grounds. It concerns the joint or separate per- 
formance of certain religious rites, some of which are mentioned in the 
quotation just given from the Eombay Digest. In regard to the legal 
irrelevance of these, the Editors of this Digest even grow emphatic. 
" The separate performance of the Vais'vadeva sacrifice, of S'raddhas 
and other religious rites," they say,* " is still less conclusive," viz. than 
the "living and dining apart" previously spoken of and declared by them 
to be "not conclusive of the fact " of separation. They seem to arrive 
at this inference from the interrogatory connected with a case to which 
they refer, and from a passage of a native authority to which they point, 
as forming part of their remarks on this case. 

The case is that reported by them at p. 58. It gave rise, on the 
part of the Court, to the following amongst other questions : "He [viz. 
the son of an elder wife] was in the habit of performing the sacrifice 
called Vais'vadeva on his own account. Should he be considered a 
separated member of the family ? and can any man whose food is cooked 
separately perform the ceremony, or is it a sign of separation ?" Upon 
which the Pan'd'it so questioned replied : "Those members of a family 
who individually perform the ceremonies of Vais'vadeva and Kuladharma, 
and have signed a Farikhat, may be considered separated. It does not 
appear from the Shastras that the elder son of a person is obliged to 
perform the Vais'vadeva on his own account, although his father and 
step-brother are united in interests and he himself lives and cooks his 
food separately in the same town without receiving the share of his 
ancestral property. A person may, however, perform the ceremony by 
the permision of his father." 

* P. xiv. t P. 59. 


On this reply of the Pan'd'it the Editors again observe : * " The 
Shastri is right in not considering the separate performance of the 
Vais'vadeva as a certain sign of ' partition,' though it is enumerated in 
the Smr'itis among these signs. The general custom is, in the present 
day, that even undivided coparceners, who take their meals separately, 
perform this ceremony, at least once every day, each for himself, 
because it is considered to purify the food." But here it may be 
observed that all the Pan'd'it really said was, that when a man lives 
and cooks his food apart from his father and stepbrother who are united, 
it does not appear from the Shastras that he is obliged to perform the 
Vais'vadeva on his own account ; and what follows therefore from his 
words is, that if, living apart from his relatives, he were obliged to 
perform the Vais'vadeva, such an obligation would prove that there was 
no union between him and the relatives named. The real drift of his 
answer, therefore, was not to show, as the Editors suppose, that the 
separate performance of the Vais'vadeva was in no case a " certain sign 
of partition," but to recommend to the Court the investigation of the 
fact whether the person in question was or was not " obliged " to perform 
this ceremony separately from his relatives. 

In a note on the word Vais'vadeva the Editors had previously saidf 
that " this ceremony is performed for the sanctification of food before 
dinner," and after the words above quoted (".... because it is con- 
sidered to purify the food "), they continue : " We subjoin a passage on 
this point from the Dharmasindhuil (Dharm. f. 90, p. 2, 1. 3 and 6 
Bombay lith. ed.) : juhuydt sarpishdbhyaktair gr'ihye 'gnau laukike 'pi 
vd, yasminn agnaupached annam' tasmin homo vidMyate. Avibhaktdndm 
pdkabhede pr'ithag vais'vadevah' kr'itdkr'ita iti bhat't'ojiye ; * Rice mixed 

* P. 60. f P. 59. 

J An abbreviation, by tha Editors, of Dliarmasindhusdra t which is the full 
name of the work meant, by Kdt'indtha. 


with clarified butter should be offered in the sacred domestic fire, or in 
a common fire. The oblations (at the Vais'vadeva) should be made in 

that fire with which the food is cooked Bhat't'ojidikshita 

declares that, if members of an undivided family prepare their food 
separately, the Vais'vadeva-offering may be performed separately (in 
each household) or not." 

Their remark, however, regarding the purpose of the Vais'vadeva, as 
well as their quotation from the Dharmasindhusara and their transla- 
tion of it, are very inaccurate. For, as will presently be seen, the Dhar- 
masindhusara states that the object of the Vais'vadeva is the consecra- 
tion of one's self and of the food ; whereas the Mitakshara, in com- 
menting on Yajnavalkya, I., v. 103, altogether contests the doctrine 
that the V. is intended for the consecration of the food, and after some 
discussion on this theory, arrives at the conclusion that it solely con- 
cerns the (spiritual) benefit of the person performing it. And as in 
quoting from the Dharmasindhusara the Editors in the beginning of 
the passage alleged have left out half a verse which essentially belongs 
to it, while before the words ascribed to Bhat't'oji they have omitted 
another material portion of the text, their translation is not only in. 
correct, but the very ground on which the author of the Dharma- 
sindhusara adduced Bhat't'oji, has been misunderstood by them.* But 
even supposing that all the remarks of the Editors on the Vais'vadeva 
were correct, they would still not prove anything in respect of the legal 
inconclusiveness of " S'raddhas and other religious rites," all of which 

* The essential words omitted before 'juhuydt ' are : gr'ihapakvahavishyannaiB 
tailaksharadivarjitaih', (juhuydt, &c.) ; and those which should have preceded 
and are absolutely required at the quotation ' avibhaktdndm y &c,,' from Bhat't'oji, 
read : sa chayam' vais'vadeva atmasam'skarartho 'nnasam'skararthas' cha ; tena- 
vibhaktanam pakaikye pr'ithag vais'vadevo na, vibhaktanam' tu pakaikye' pi 
havishyantaren'a pr'ithag eva, (avibhaktdndm. &c.) For the translation of the 
whole passage, see p. 191, 11. 7 ff. 


are included in their sweeping assertion which sets these rights aside 
for the purpose of legal evidence. 

As the object of this paper, however, is not to correet the mistakes 
of an individual writer, but to show how necessary it is that a judge 
should examine for himself all that the native authorities teach in 
regard to questions that may come before him, and how the very 
replies of even the most learned Pand'its may be conducive to fallacies 
since the correctness of a reply mainly depends on the correctness 
arid pertinence of the question put, I will, as an illustration of the 
difficulties which beset this subject, add a translation of a few passages 
from three works only, since even these will clearly prove that the 
bearing of the performance of certain religious ceremonies on the 
question of union or division cannot be dispatched in the offhand 
manner implied in the ruling of the Bombay Digest. 

In treating of the daily religious duties of a Hindu the Dharmasin- 
dhusdra under the heading ' on the duty of the fifth division ' (of a day 
divided into eight parts) contains the following passage : * 

" The Vais'vadeva is to be performed for the removal of (sins com- 
mitted in) the five Siinds. The five Sunds are the five places where 
injury may be done (to living beings) ; viz. the wooden mortar in which 
grain is threshed; the stone slab on which condiments, &c., are ground 
with a muljer; a fire-place ; a water-jar, and a broom.f The com- 
mencement of the Vais'vadeva is early (i. e. in the morning), not like 
that of the Agnihotra, late (i.e. in the evening) ; accordingly they resolve 
to perform it, as expressed in the words : " early and late, the Vais'va- 

* Dharmas., ed. Bombay (1861), III., A., fol. 95 I, 11. 7ff. 

f The object of the Vais'vadeva is similarly defined in a passage of S'atatapa 
quoted in Kaghunandana's Ahnikatattva (ed. Calc. 1834, vol. i., 251) ; and the 
five Sunas are frequently alluded to, e. g. in Manu, III., 61, S'ankaracharya's 
comm. on the Bhagavadgita, III., 13, and they are also defined in Anandagiri's 
and S'ridharasvamin's gloss on the latter. 


deva (should be performed ").* The five great sacraments are to be 
performed day by day ; and these are the sacrament of the Veda, that 
of the gods, that of created beings, that of the manes, and that of men.f 
The sacrament of the Veda has been already explained. | Those who 
follow the ritual of the Rigveda consider that the Vais'vadeva consists 
of the three sacraments of the gods, created beings, and manes. The 
sacrament of men is the giving food to men. An oblation of food 
cooked in the house and fit for sacrificial purposes, free from sesamum- 

* From Raghunandana (vol. i. p. 250) and similar works it results that the 
proper time for the performance of the V. is always during the day, and that the 
evening performance of this ceremony is permitted only under special conditions, 
as for instance when ' cooking ' takes place for the entertainment of a guest. 
Some authorities, moreover, absolutely forbid the repetition of the ceremony on 
the same day, whether by day time or in the evening. But compare p. 193. 

f These five mahdyajnds, ' great sacrifices ' or ' great sacraments,' are mentioned 
in the oldest works, e.g. in the S'atapatha-Brahman'a (XI., 5, 6, 1) also quoted 
from this Brahman'ain S'ridatta's Acharadars'a ; in Manu, I., 112, &c., Yajna- 
valkya, I., 102, &c. Manu (III., 70) defines them as follows : " teaching (which, 
according to Kulluka, includes reading, viz. the Yedas) is the sacrament of the 
Veda ; offering rice, &c., or water is the sacrament of the manes ; an oblation (of 
food) in fire is the sacrament of the gods j presentation of food (viz. throwing 
ghee or rice, or the like, in the open air) to created beings, is the sacrament of 
created beings ; hospitality is the sacrament of men." 

J Viz. in the preceding portion of the text, here not translated. 

Substances, called Tiamsliya, or fit for sacrificial purposes, are frequently 
mentioned in ritual works, as in the Katyayana S'rauta Sutras (VII., 2, 2), or in 
works dealing with ritual matters, as in Manu, Yajnavalkya, &c. The Mitah shard 
in its comment on Ydjn., L, 239, names as such : rice of different varirties, 
barley, wheat, kidney-beans of two varieties (phaseolus mungo and phaseolus 
radiatus), wild grain (wild roots, or in general such food as forms the uiot >! an 
ascetic), a black potherb kdlas'dka, mahds'alka [explained as a kind offish; Wil.-. ; 
a prawn or shrimp], cardamons, ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, molasses, candied 
sugar, camphor, rock-salt, sea-salt, bread fruit, cocoanut, the plants called kadali 
and badara, the produce of a cow, viz. milk, curds, butter, or other preparations 
made of her milk, honey, flesh, &c. On the other hand, as substances uufit for, 
sacrificial oblations the Mitukshard names : kodrava (paspalum kora), masura 


oil, factitious salt, and such like (unsacrificial substances), and dressed 
with ghee, one should make in the (sacred) domestic fire, or the 
ordinary fire , (for) the law ordains that such an oblation (should be 
made) in the fire with which a man cooks his food.* Since the S'raddha 
occurring at fixed periods, is performed by (performing) the sacrament 
of the manes included in the Vais'vadeva ceremony, no entertainment 
of Brahmans takes place (as it would) on behalf of the S'raddha 
occurring at fixed periods. And since aW the S'raddha, (due) on the 
day of new-moon, is performed by (performing) it (viz. the sacrament 
of the manes), Bhattoji says, that those who are unable to perform the 
Sraddha, due on the day of new-moon (regularly), should do so once 
(at least) in the course of a year. In the case of (impurity arising 
from) childbirth, the rule is that the five great sacraments are dropped. 
And this Vais'vadeva is performed for the sake of one's own consecra- 
tion and that of the food.f Therefore amongst members of a united 
family when they cook (their food) in common, a separate performance 
of the Vais'vadeva (by each member) is not (allowed); but amongst 
members of a divided family, even when they cook (their food in com- 

(ervum hirsutum), chick-pea, Jculattha (dolichos biflorus), pulaka, a legume called 
nishpdva. a kind of bean called rdjamdsJia (dolichos catjang), the white pumpkin 
gourd, two kinds of the egg-plan i\(vdrttdJcu and vr'ihati), upodiM (basella rubra), 
the shoot of a bamboo, longpepper, orris root, 8'atapushpa (anethum sowa), saline 
earth, ordure, factitious salt, a buffalo's-chounri, her milk, curds, butter, or 
other produce of buffalo's milk j &c. Compare also on the same subject Manu, 
III., vv. 226 ff., the Vishn'u-Puran'a, Book III., ch. 16 ; the Nirn'ayasindhu, I., 
fol. 13 ; Raghunaridana, vol. i., pp. 70, 142 and 250 ; S'ridatta's AcMrddars'a 
(Benares, 1864), fol. 56 a; &c. 

* The Acharadars'a (fol. 56 a) which quotes a passage to the same effect from 
Angiras, regarding the sacred and ordinary fire, adds : " the sense of this passage 
is : a man who maintains a sacred fire should cook his food and make the oblation, 
in this (sacred) domestic fire ; one who does not maintain such a fire, in the 
ordinary fire." 

t See p. 189, 11. 15 ff. 


mon, the Vais'vadeva (must be performed) separately (by each of them) 
with some sort of substance fit for sacrificial purposes. According to 
Bhat't'oji, amongst members of a united family, when the cooking (of 
their food) does not take place in common, the Vais'vadeva may be per- 
formed separately or not.* When no cooking (of food) takes place on 
the eleventh and similar days (of abstinence), the Vais'vadeva should be 
performed with grain (esp. of rice), milk, curds, ghee, fruits, water, and 
the like substances. Let a man perform it with rice and so on, 
(throwing such substances) with his hand, or with water, (throwing 
the latter) with his hollowed palms, into water ; but let him at the 
performance of the Vais'vadeva avoid kodrava (paspalum kora), chick- 
pea, the kidney-bean (phaseolus radiatus), masura (ervum hirsutum), 
kulattha (dolichos biflorus), and all factitious salt called kshdra and 
lavana. When a man lives abroad, the Vais'vadeva [should be per- 
formed at his house by the instrumentality of his son, priest, or other 
(proper substitute) ; and should there not be at his house such other 
(proper) agent he himself must perform it abroad. Those who conform 
to the ritual of the R'ig- and Black- Yajur-Vedas should perform it 

* The words " an oblation of food cooked in the house, &c." (p. 191, 11. 7 ff.) 
to "performed separately or not? are the complete passage, represented in the 
Bombay Digest by the words " rice mixed " to " performed separately (in each 
household} or not" (see above, p. 188, last 1. ff). The correctness of the last 
words "performed separately or not" might at first sight seem doubtful, since 
their value in Sanskrit is the compound kr'itdkr'ita, and this word (according to 
Pan'., II., 1, 60, not a Dvandva, but a Karmadharaya) would literally mean ' done 

no t done,' i.e. ' imperfectly done,' or ' done as if not done,' i.e. ' done in vain.' 

That in the quotation from Bhat't'oji, however, the word has not this sense, but 
the one given it in the translation of the Bombay Digest, and in that above, 
follows not only from the sense in which the word kr'itdkr'lta is unmistakably 
used in other passages of the Dharmasindhusdra and Nirn'ayasindhu, (since its 
meaning there becomes clear from the interpretations following it), but also from 
the injunction of As'valdyana, which is analogous to that of Bhat't'oji (see p. 196, 
U. 24 ff.). 

VOL. II. 13 


twice (a-day), according to the text which says : ' it should be performed 
by day and by night.' But if unable to do so, they may, at the same 
time, repeat it or perform (the day and night Vais'vadeva) together.* 
The usual practice of followers of these two Vedas is to cook their food 
and perform the Vais'vadeva, in the ordinary fire. "I 

In the chapter treating of the religious duties of the sons whose 
father is alive, the same work contains the following statement : | 

" Sons not separated from their father should not perform the Vais'va- 
deva separately ; for it is stated that * one who lives upon the cooking 
of (i. e. the food cooked by) his brother, is (like) one who lives upon the 
cooking of (i.e. the food cooked by) his father.' Hence, if the father 
maintains a sacred fire, even when the cooking and the Vais'vadeva are 
effected with the sacred fire, his unseparated sons, although they, too, 
maintain a sacred fire, should not perform the Vais'vadeva separately. 
Those who think that, in the absence of cooking, a fire becomes an 
ordinary one, may cook merely in order to consecrate their fire. But 
by members of a divided family the Vais'vadeva should be performed 
separately (by each of them). And since (according to the followers of 
the R/igveda-ritual) the Vais'vadeva consists of the three daily sacra- 
ments, viz, those of the gods, created beings and manes, those (who 
entertain this doctrine regarding the Vais'vadeva), even if their father is 
alive, will perform the (daily) sacrament of the manes, forming part of 
the five great (daily) sacraments. To the followers of the Black- 
Yajurveda, however, the five great (daily) sacraments are distinct from 
the Vais'vadeva : they (consequently) perform the (daily) sacrament of 

* See note * of page 191. 

f There follows a description of the manner in which the V. is performed by 
members of the Yaishn'ava and other sects, of the rules relating to the Naivedya 
ceremony, and other detail which it is not requisite here to enter into. 

J Bombay ed. (1801) III. B., fol. 3 a, 11. 8 ff. 

See p. 194, U. 4 ff. 


the manes, if their father is alive, (only) when they are members of a 
divided family." 

In the chapter treating of those entitled to perform the S'rdddha, the 
same work says ; * 

" The son of one's own body has the preferential duty (and right) to 
perform the annual and other S'racldhas and the funeral ceremonies 
which take place immediately after death. If there are several such 
sons, the eldest has this duty (and right); on failure of him, or if he is 
not present, or if his right has lapsed through having become an outcast 
or similar (disqualifications), the eldest after him. The statement, how- 
ever, (made elsewhere) that in the absence of the eldest the youngest 
has always this right, not the sons between them, is without authority. 
Hence, if sons live in a state of division, the eldest, after having received 
from the younger (brother) the (necessary) property, should perform all 
the funeral rites up to that called Sapin'd'ana.f But the annual and 
other S'raddhas each of them must perform separately. If, however, 
sons live in a state of union, even the annual and other S'raddhas must 
be performed by one of them only. (Still) since what is done by one 
(member of a united family) accrues to the benefit of the rest, all the 
sons should keep such rules as the observance of chastity, the not 
touching another person's food,J and similar ones. If sons do not live 
in the same place, whether they stay in different countries or in 
different houses, each of them should perform the annual and other 

* III. B.,fol. 4, a, 11. 10 ff. 

f That is, inclusive of the first sixteen S'r&ddhas which end with the Sapin'd'ana, 
also called Sapirid'ikaran'a. 

J TdjnavalJcya, III., 241, classes * feeding on others ' amongst the crimes, called 
wpapdtdkA, which are only a degree less than the mahdpdtaka, or most heinous 
offences. Manu, III, 104, foretells parasites that, after death, they will become 
the cattle of their hosts. 


S'raddhas separately, even if they are members of an undivided 

In the important chapter on the S'raddha itself, under the head of 
"settled rides relating to members of a divided and an undivided family," 
the same work, after a general reference to previous statements, has the 
following : f 

" Of brothers and other members of a family, divided in property, all 
the (religious) duties are separate. But that the funeral ceremonies 
and the sixteen S'raddhas up to the Sapin'd'ana (which are performed 
during the first year after a death) should be performed by one of them 
only, has been already stated. J Yet if members of a family are undivided, 
all such acts as may be done without (spending any) property, e. g. 
bathing, the Sandhya-devotion, the sacrament (i.e. reading) of the 
Vedas, muttering of prayers, fasting, reading the Puran'as, are done (by 
each of them) separately ; whether such acts recur at regular periods, 
or are occasional, or (purely) voluntary ; separately, also, such ceremonies 
of regular recurrence, enjoined by vedic or traditional works, as are 
performed with fire. Another view founded on the teaching of 
Katyayana and others is, that ' one who lives on the cooking of a brother 
is (like) one who lives on that of a father.' Of the five great (daily) 
sacraments those of the gods, created beings, manes, and men should be 
performed by the eldest (brother) only. If the cooking is done separately 
(by members of a united family) those who conform to the rules of 
As'valayana, say that the separate performance of the Vais'vadeva (by 

* The rest of this chapter regulates the rights of younger sons in the absence 
of the eldest, and in their absence those of other members of a family successively 
to perform the S'raddhas. Its importance regarding the rights of inheritance, 
requires no remark ; but as these rights do not concern the present paper, no 
further extract on this point is here given. 

t III. B., fol. 37 ft, 11. 5 ff. J See p. 195, 11. 13 ff. 

See p. 191, 11. 1 ff. 


each member of such a family) is optional.* Since, if the eldest 
(brother) does not perform the Vais'vadeva, it is (the duty) of a younger 
(brother) to perfect the cooking (of the food by means of this ceremony), 
some enjoin that before eating, some of the food should be thrown by him 
into the fire, and some given to a Brahman. The worship of the 
(tutelary) gods may be performed (by each of them) separately, or (by 
all of them) conjointly. The annual S'raddhas, those performed on the 
day of new-moon, at the sun's entrance into a new sign, eclipses and 
similar S'raddhas should be performed by the eldest only. The 
S'raddhas, also, performed in holy places (e. g. of the Ganges) and those 
of the same category should be performed by one member only of an 
undivided family, if all the members happen to be together (in the 
place), but separately, (by each member) if they happen to be in different 
places. The same rule applies to the S'raddha, which is performed at 
(the holy city of) Gay a (in Behar). As regards sacrificial ceremonies, 
at which voluntary gifts are made, and which can be effected only by 
means of (spending some of the family) property, the right of perform- 
ing them depends on the assent of the brothers and other (members of 
the united family). The S'raddha on the 13th day of the dark fortnight 
of the month Bhadra, which is under the asterism Magha, it is stated, 
should be performed separately by each member (of an undivided 

* Compare p. 193, 11. 3 ff. 

f Compare for the S'raddhas to be performed at holy places and on the 13th of 
the dark fortnight of the month Bhadra, also the following passages from Wilson's 
translation of the Fishnu-Pitrdna (III., 14, vv. 17-19). "He who, after having 
offered food and libations to the Pitrts, [manes] bathes in the Ganges, Satlaj, 
Yipas'a (Beas), Sarasvati, or the Gomati at Naimisha, expiates all his Bins. The 
Pitr'is also say: 'after having received satisfaction for a twelvemonth, we shall 
further derive gratification by libations offered, by our descendants, at some place 
of pilgrimage, at the end of the dark fortnight of Magha' " ; and (ibid., III., 16, 
vv. 17 ff ) : "In former times, O king of the earth, this song of the Pitr'is was 


The work from which these passages are taken is a compilation from 
other works, among which it prominently names the Nirn'ayasindhu, 
composed by Kamaldkara, in the year 1611, A. D.* As the latter is 
held in especial esteem by the Mahrattas for whose benefit, it seems, 
the Bombay Digest was chiefly intended, I will add a translation of its 
chapter : " On the settled rules relating to members of a divided and 
undivided family," which likewise forms part of its section on the 
S'raddha.f It runs thus : 

heard by Ikshwaku, the son of Maim, in the groves of Kalapa : { Those of our 
descendants shall follow a righteous path, who shall reverently present us with 
cakes at Q-aya. May he be born in our race who shall give us, on the thirteenth 
of Bhadrapada and Maglia, milk, honey, and clarified butter." (Wilson's Works 
vol. viii., pp. 170 and 197.) As pointed out by the editor, the phrase " for a 
twelvemonth " is in the Sanskrit text represented by varshdmaghd ; and the 

phrase "on the thirteenth of Bhadrapada and Maglia " by trayodas'im 

varsMsu cha maghdsu cha. But the former being rendered by S'riratnagarbha : 
aparapalcshamaglidtrayodas'i, and the latter : varshdsu^ bliddrapade^magJidnaJcsTiatre 
trayodas'im, it would be better to substitute for them : "on the 13th day of the 
dark fortnight of the month Bhadra, which is under the asterism Magha." 
The sanctity of this day and its appropriateness for the performance of the 
S'raddha already result from Manu, III., 273 and 274, where the same expression 

trayodas'im varsMsu cha maglidsu cha' occurs, and is interpreted by Kulluka 

to v. 273 : varshdkdle maghdtrayodas'ydm. and to v. 274 bhddrabr'ishn'atrayodas'i; 
also from YdjnavalJcya, I., v. 260 : where the words varsMtrayodas'ydm magMsu 
are explained in the same manner by Vijnanes'vara : bhddrapadalcr'ishn'atrayo- 
das'ydm magfidyuktdydm. Compare also Sir W. Jones, on the lunar year of the 
Hindus, As. Res., vol. iii. p. 292. Besides these verses, other quotations relating 
to the same subject, from S'anJcha, 8'dtdtapa t and others, occur in Jimut., III., 
1, 18, in Eaghunandana's Tithitattva (Calc. ed. 1834, vol. i. pp. 75, 160), in the 
Nirnayasindhu (II., fol. 42 a, J), Dharmas. (II., fol- 31 .), &c., which also show 
that each member of a family, whether divided or undivided, must for himself 
perform this particular S'raddha. 

* This date is given by the author himself at the end of his work, in the words : 
vasu (= 8) ritu (= 6) ritu (= 6) bhu (1) i.e. 1668 of the era of Yikramaditya. 

t Ed. Bombay (1857) III. B., fol. 65 , 11. 4 ff. 


:< The Pr'ithvichandrodaya quotes these words ofMartchi: ' If there 
are many sons of a father who live together, all that is done with the 
undivided (family-) property, by the eldest, the rest consenting, must be 
(considered as) done by all of them.' These words mean that, though 
the eldest is the agent, all of them share in the result (of his acts). 
Therefore such religious rules, as the observance of chastity, &c., must 
be kept by every one of them, since they consecrate the persons who 
obtain the result. And this applies also to re-united members of a 
family, on account of the analogy (that exists between them and members 
of a united family).* 

The Mitd'tshard quotes these words of Ndrada : 'The religious 
duty of unseparated brethren is single; when partition has been made, 
even the religious duties become separate for each of them. 'f Vr'ihaspati 
also says : ' Of members of a family who live (together and) cook (their 
food) in common, the sacraments of the manes, gods and twice-born 
should be single ; of those who are divided, they should be performed 
in each house separately,']: Though in this last text, no exception being 
mentioned, the prohibition of a separate performance (of religious acts) 
in an undivided family would also (seem to) obtain for such acts as the 
reading of the Vedas, the Sandhya devotion and the like, it (neverthe- 
less) merely relates to the performance of the S'raddha, Vais'vadeva and 
the ceremonies which can be effected only by (spending some of the 

* This passage also occurs in the same chapter, fol. 8 b, 11. 11 ff. 

t Mit. ch. ii., sec. xii., 3. The same quotation also occurs in the Viramit- 
rodaya, Calc. ed., p. 169 b, 223 a ; the Vivadachintdmarii (ed. Calc. 1837), p. 162 
(Colebrooke's translation of this passage in the Mit., and of Tagore p. 311 in the 
Viv. materially differ from one another) ; in the Smfitichandrilca (Calc. 1107) p. 
8, VyavaMramayuJcha t ch. iv., sec. vii., 28 (Borradaile's translation being the 
same as Colebrooke's), and in other Digests. 

J This quotation also occurs in the VivddacTi,, p. 125 (Tagore, p. 227) ; 
Viramitrodaya, f. 172 a, 222 b ; KulliiJca to Mawi, IX, 111 ; DAyalcav 
(Calc. 1827), ff. 28 ; Smr'itichandrikd, p. 8 ; &c. 


family) property ; for such property having more'thau one owner, one 
(member of the family alone) would not be entitled to spend it. All 
such acts, however, as may be done without (spending any) property, 
e. g. muttering prayers, fasting, the Sandhya devotion, reading the 
Vedas and Puran'as, whether such acts recur at regular periods, or are 
occasional, or (purely) voluntary, each member is competent to perform 
separately (for himself). For there being no expenditure of property, 
no consent (of the rest) is required ; and consequently the words (before 
quoted) ' with the undivided (family-) property' cannot apply to such 
acts. And this conclusion also results from the following text of 
As'valdyana as quoted in the Prayogapdrijdta : ' Amongst twice-born 
men who cook (their food) in common there should always be separate 
the sacrament (or reading) of the Vedas, the Agnihotra, the worship of 
the gods, and the Sandhya devotion.' (In this passage) Agnihotra 
signifies such ceremonies of regular recurrence, enjoined by vedic or 
traditional works, as are performed with fire. For (the right of each 
member of a family to fulfil) these duties (separately) is logically 
analogous to the right acquired by the consent of the rest. The 
S'raddha of the father, and other acts of regular recurrence which have 
the same consequence (for all the members of a family) a single (member) 
is entitled to perform even without the consent of the rest ; for it is 
said : * l Even a single (member) of a family may conclude a donation, 
mortgage, or sale, of immovable property, during a season of distress 
for the sake of the family, and especially for pious purposes/ For 
pious purposes,' means, according to Vijnanes'vara,f for the performance 
of indispensable duties, viz. the S'raddha of the father, or the like. 
" But some maintain that even of members of an undivided family, if 

* By Vr'ihaspati, according to the Katnakara (as quoted by Colebrooke) on the 
Mit., ch. i., sec. i., 28. Comp. also the Viram., f. 181 a ; Vivddach., p. 161. 
t Mit, ch. L, sec. i., 29. 


they cook (their food) separately, and if they stay in different countries, 
each has to perform separately (for himself) the S'raddhas on the day of 
new-moon and the annual S'raddhas; for Hdrita has said: 'If 
undivided brethren cook their food separately, each of them should also 
perform separately the Vais'vadeva and the other S'raddhas'; and 
Yama : ' If a son who is not separated (from the family) stays in a 
foreign country, he should perform (for himself) separately the S'raddha 
of the father on the anniversary of his death, and the S'raddha on the 
day of new-moon.' 

" If (the drift of) these texts is properly considered, their sense (will 
be found to be) this : Of the five great (daily) sacraments, the eldest 
should with the consent of the other (members) of the family perform 
the sacraments of the gods, created beings, manes and men; for also 
Vydsa has said : ' Food should never be eaten without previously 
making a sacrificial offering, and presenting a first (portion) of it (to a 
Brahman) ; amongst members of an undivided or re-united family what 
is done even by a single (member) is done (by all).' But if one's food 
has been prepared without the eldest (member) having performed the 
Vais'vadeva, he may eat it after having silently thrown some of it into 
the fire. For, where treating of the rights of members of an undivided 
family the Pr'ithvichandrodaya quotes this passage from Gobhila: 
1 Whose food in the family is first ready, he may eat it after having put 
a certain portion of it into the fire, and given a first (portion) of it to a 
Brahman.' Again, As'valdyana mentions the ceremonies which (members 
of a divided family) should perform separately when they cook their 
food separately ; and also separately when they cook it in common ; (his 
words are) :* * Of members even of a divided family, if they live 
(together and) cook (their food) in common, one, the master (of the 

* Compare the same passage in the subsequent extract from tho Vyavahara- 
mayuklia ; p. 205, 11. 6 if. 


household), should perform the four (daily) sacraments which (in the 
order of the five*) are preceded by the sacrament of speech. But men 
of the twice-born classes, whether members of an undivided or a divided 
family, if they cook (their food) separately, should, previous to taking 
it, each separately perform these sacraments day by day.' The sacra- 
ment of the Veda, the Sandhya devotion, bathing, the sacrament of the 
manes, and the like ceremonies are for the reason stated, performed 
separately (by each member); but on account of the two texts quoted, 
the worship of the gods either in common (by one) or separately (by 
each member) ; the S'raddhas on the day of new moon, at eclipses, &c., 
by one member only ; the S'raddha at hcly places, and similar S'raddhas 
by one only, if all the members of the undivided family happen to be 
together (in the place), but separately (by each member), if they happen 
to be in different places. And so likewise the S'raddha which is 
performed at Gaya. For Hemddri quotes this passage from the Kimna- 
Purdn'a : ' Many well conducted and excellent sons must be wished for ; 
(for) if one of their number goes to Gaya, we are saved by him, and he 
enters upon the highest path.'f 

" As regards voluntary acts, such as sacrificial offerings connected 
with the making of gifts, and the like, the right of performing them 
depends on the assent of the other (members of the family); that of 
muttering prayers and performing similar acts which entail no expen- 
diture of property exists without (such) assent. Apardrka quotes these 
words of Pait'hinasi , ' The annual and similar S'raddhas should be 
performed separately by each member of a divided family; but if 
performed by one member of an undivided family, it is as good as if 

* See p. 191, 11. 1 ff. 

t The first portion of this quotation ( { many ' to ' Gaya ') occurs with some 
variation in theRamayan'a (ed. Bombay, 1861), II. 107, v. 13 ; and is quoted also by 
several treatises on adoption, the Dattakakaumudi, Dattakasiddhantamanjarl, &c. 


they were performed by all of them.' That the monthly S'raddhas, 
which precede the annual S'raddha, must be performed conjointly (by 
the whole family), Laghu-Harita has declared in these words ; ' The 
sixteen S'raddhas, which end with the Sapin'd'ana, sonsshouldnot perform 
(each of them) separately ; nor ever, even when divided in property.' 
The Sapin'd'ana here implies a monthly S'raddha; for this results from 
the words of Vydsa : ' After the year (following the death of the father) 
the eldest (son) should perform the S'raddha before the assembled family ; 
but after the Sapin'd'ana (has been accomplished) each son should perform 
it separately.' And Us' anas says : 'The 'new' S'raddha* the Sapin'd'ana, 
aud the sixteen S'raddhas should be performed by one member of the 
family only, even if the latter is divided in property ; but the S'raddha 
on the 1 3th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra, which is under the 
asterism Maghaf should be performed separately by each member even 
of an undivided family' ; as has been already mentioned. \ But when 
V'riddha-Vasisht'ha says, 'the monthly S'raddha, the ceremony of setting 
a bull free, and the Sapin'd'ana should be performed by the eldest, as 
well as the first annual S'raddha', his injunction is without authority. 
In the Paris'isht'ha of the R'igveda ritual (it is said that members of a 
family) should perform the ' new ' S'raddha conjointly." 

With these extracts from the Dharmasindhusara and its predecessor, 
the Nirn'ayasindhu, it will now be expedient to compare the law on this 
matter as laid down by the principal authority of the Mahrattas, the 
Vyavaliaramayukha. It is contained in the following passage. 

* The ' new ' S'raddha (navas'raddha) is the collective name of the ceremonies 
which begin on the first day after a death, and end on the tenth (comp. Dharrnas. 
III. B., fol. 7 5, 1, 9). 

f MagJidtrayodas'i ; see f of page 197. 

J Viz. III. B., f. 8 b, and f. 9 a, where the same quotations from Laghu-Harita 
and Us' anas occurs. 

Ch. iv., sec. vii., 28- 33. Consistently with the opinion expressed at p. 182, 


" Ndrada says : * ' The religious duty of unseparated brethren is 
single ; when partition has been made, even the religious duties become 
separated for each of them/ Here the term ' unseparated ' is intended 
to denote the chief topic (treated of), whilst ' brethren,' on account of its 
(merely) qualifying the former, is not to be taken in its literal sense. 
Therefore in an unseparated family, even if it consists of a father, grand- 
father, son, son's son, paternal uncle, brother, brother's son or other 
(relatives), their religious duty is single. 

" Here again, though conjointness of an act, in regard to its various 
stages, follows as a logical consequence if there is sameness of place, 
time, agency, and so on, an express text would cause such conjointness 
to cease, if the agency is not the same, though (it is) that of members of 
an undivided family. Hence all those religious duties, enjoined by vedic 
and traditional works, which are fulfilled by means of fire, even of 
unseparated (brethren) are separate for each (of them), since they are 
different according as different kinds of fire would be connected (with the 
ceremony). Even so the S'raddha of the paternal uncle, brother's son, 
&c., at the day of new moon and other (seasons) is separate by reason 
of the separation of the deified person (from the pdrvan'a rite) ; but the 
S'raddha of brothers (dying) without (maintenance of) a sacred fire 
is performed by one and the same act, because all the deified persons 
are conjoint. Again, by residence abroad and the like (causes), there 
being a difference in the places (where members of a family live, the 
S'raddhas are to be performed) separately (by each member) ; the 
ceremonies also performed with fire are separate for those who maintain 
a sacred fire. But the worship of the household deities, the Vais'vadeva 
and similar ceremonies are performed (conjointly) by one and the same 

in the translation that follows, as much as possible has been retained of 
Borradaile's version ; several portions of the latter, however, had necessarily to be 
altered, as not correctly rendering the sense of the original. 
* See p. 199, 11. 11 ff. 


act. Hence S'dkala says : ' Of those who live (together and) cook 
(their food) in common, there is but one worshipping of the deity in the 
house, and but one Vais'vadeva ; in a family of divided brethren these 
acts are performed in each house separately.' 

" As for the text, however, of As'valayana, as quoted in the Parijata, 
which says : ' Of members even of a divided family, if they live 
(together and) cook (their food) in common, one, the master (of the 
household), should perform the four (daily) sacraments, which (in the 
order of the five) are preceded by the sacrament of speech ; but men of 
the twice-born classes whether members of an undivided or a divided 
family, if they cook (their food) separately, should, previous to taking it, 
each separately perform these sacraments day by day' ;* this text has 
reference to members of a re-united family ; for that such is its import, 
follows from the words ' of members even of a divided family, if they li ve 
(together and) cook (their food) in common,' and from the words 
* whether members of an undivided or a divided family.' 

" Therefore if there be a separate cooking of food, as is sometimes 
the case, amongst members of a re-united family, their great (daily) 
sacraments are separate. ' Sacrament of speech ' is ' the sacrament 
(i.e. the reading) of the Veda.' The phrase ' those (sacraments) which 
are preceded by the sacrament of speech ' is represented (in Sanskrit) 
by (one word which is) a Bahuvrihi (or possessive) compound of the 
class where the quality expressed by it (as the predicate of something 
else) is not intended for the (i.e. the essential) quality (of the latter) ; 
for were this compound meant to convey such an (essential) quality, the 
words * preceded by the sacrament of speech ' would yield no sense, 
since there would then be no cause for excluding the first (sacra- 
ment) ; whereas it logically follows that the four (sacraments only) are 

* See p. 201, U. 27 ff. 


here meant.* Hence the sacrament of the Veda should be performed 
separately (by each member of the family). But (after all) these two 
texts are not much respected by the learned. 

"As regards, however, the following sentences in the Dharma- 
pravr'itti : 

* Sons unseparated must (conjointly) celebrate one anniversary 
S'raddha for both parents ; if they be in different countries they must 

* The grammatical observation in this passage, relating to Bahuvrihi com- 
pounds, is an allusion to a paribhdshd or interpretation-rule which occurs in 
PatanjaWs MahdbMsJiya on Pdn'ini, I., 1, 27 (viz. the par. bahuvrihau tadguria- 
sam'vijndnam api; on which Nagojibhat't'a in the ParilMsJiendus'elcTiara observes 
that, on account of the word api, it also implies atadgun'asam'mjndnam). The 
drift of this paribMsM, as Patanjali explains it, is to show that Bahuvrihi com- 
pounds (in English comparable to adjective compounds like lightfoot i. e. one 
who possesses light feet, or blue eye-d, &c.) are of two kinds, the one expressing 
a quality or an attribute which is essential, and the other expressing a quality or 
an attribute which is not essential, to the subject so predicated by the compound. 
Thus, as Patanjali illustrates, if you say : * there march the priests having red 
turbans on, the Bahuvrihi lohitoshnishati { having red turbans on ' implies here 
an essential quality of the priests, since this quality cannot be disconnected from 
their appearance as they march. But if you say : ( bring hither the man who 
possesses brindled cows (chitragu)] you want the man to be brought, but not his 
cows ; hence the quality of ' possessing brindled cows ' would in this case be dis- 
connected from the appearance of the man, and therefore would not be essential 
to it. In the first instance the quality expressed by the compound was the charac- 
teristic feature, in the second it is merely the descriptive mark, of the subject 
predicated by it ; and this, as Ndgoji in his commentary observes, depends on the 
sense. The application, then, regarding the compound vdgyajnaptirvaka, ' pre- 
ceded by the sacrament of speech,' which our text makes of this paribhash& 
is that if this predicate of the c four sacraments ' spoken of had been considered 
by the writer as essential to them, the four sacraments would have been represented 
by him as accompanied and headed by c the sacrament of speech ' which would 
be nonsense. If, however, this predicate was understood by him as being merely 
a descriptive one, the sense would be, as it should be, that the four sacraments are 
those which in their usual order come after the sacrament of speech, but are not 
accompanied by it. 


(each of them) separately perform the S'raddha on the day of new moon 
and the monthly S'raddhas. If they go to (reside in) different villages, 
unseparated brethren should always (each of them) separately perform 
the S'raddha on the day of new moon and the monthly S'raddhas of both 
parents. When uuseparated, but residing in different villages, each 
living upon the wealth acquired by himself, these brothers should 
celebrate the Parvan'a-S'raddha separately ; ' 

" And as regards the following passage in the Smr'itisamuchchaya ; 

1 The Vais'vadeva, the anniversary S'raddha, as well as the Mahalaya 
rite, in case the members of a family reside in different countries, are 
to be celebrated separately (by each of them), and in like manner the 
S'raddha on the day of new moon,' 

"These (two) texts, some say, have reference to members of a 
re-united family residing in different countries. But the fact is that 
they have no authority. 

" Or, to sum up : if there be sameness of place, time, agency and so 
on, conjointness (in the performance of the act) follows as a matter of 
logical reasoning. If the agency is not the same, such conjointness 
(only exists if it) is established by an express text. If the place is not 
the same, some base (the rule concerning) the separate performance of 
S'raddhas and other ceremonies on circumstantial reasoning, since in 
such a case there is neither a logical necessity nor an express text 
(which would establish conjointness)." 

Even from these few extracts it will be seen that commensality or 
the reverse of it has not been regarded as a proof of either union or 
division of a family ; for without any restriction whatever, as we find, 
members of a united family are spoken of as residing and ' cooking ' 
apart from one another, and members of a divided family as living and 
messing together. 

And I may add at once that I know of no Hindu law-authority which 


distinctly declares that ' living or dining apart ' is a legal test of partition. 
Manu, Vydsa, and other lawgivers, it is true, sometimes say that sons 
and parents should ' live together,' but, in the first place, the words they 
use to this effect, do not imply an obligation ; they merely convey a 
recommendation or permission ; and secondly, their expression ' living 
together ' does not intimate a particular mode of life which would be a 
test of union, but is used synonymously with ' union' in general. 

Hence, when Manu says : * " Either let them thus live together, or 
let them live apart (Kulluka: i.e. let them separate), if they have a 
desire of performing religious duties, &c." his words merely express 
the lawfulness of both union and separation, but not a criterion of 
either. Or, when Vydsa writes, " It is lawful that brothers and their 
parents, if the latter are alive, should live together," the Smriti. 
chandrikd, after quoting these words, adds : " even after the demise of 
the father brothers live together for the sake of increasing mutually their 
property; for S'ankha and Likhita have said, 'Let them willingly live 
together, for being in harmony and united they will become 
prosperous.' "f Here again, therefore, * living together ' does not 
imply a particular mode of domestic life, without which union could 
not exist, but simply a state of union in general as contrasted with 
a state of separation in general. And consequently, passages of 
this kind are not alleged by the Digests under the head of 
"evidence of partition," but in the chapter treating of the periods of 
partition ; a distinction which, from a Hindu point of view, is very 

There is indeed one text which might seem to imply that " cooking 
apart " (not living apart) was considered by a native authority as a sign 

* IX., Ill; in the VyavaMra-Madhaviya quoted as a verse of Prajdpati. 
Compare also Jimutav. Day abb., I., 37. 
t Ed. Calc,, p. 8. 


of partition, viz., a passage in Narada's Dharmas'astra,* for it occurs 
there under the head of " ascertainment of a contested partition," and 
being quoted in Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga under the same head, has 
been translated by Colebrooke thus : 

" Gift and acceptance of gift, cattle, grain, house, land and attendants 
must be considered as distinct among separated brethren, as also diet, 
religious duties, income and expenditure."! 

But, in consulting the explanation given by the best commentators of 
this passage, and in comparing it with the sense put upon it in other 
Digests, it will be found that instead of "as also diet, religious duties, 
income and expenditure," the translation should most probably run : 
" as also the religious duties connected with the cooking (of food), income 
and expenditure " when the very omission of ' cooking apart * in this 
passage would strongly confirm the opinion just expressed. \ 

* I. (India) O. MS. No. 1300, fol. 38, 1: danagrahan'apas'vannagr'ihakshetra- 
parigrahah' vibhaktanam pr'ithag jneyah' pakadharmaganiavyayah'. [xiii., 38. 

t XIV., 7. The italics of diet are mine. In Colebrooke's " Digest of Hindu 
Law," vol. iii., p. 407 and p. 417, this passage is translated thus : " When co-heirs 
have made a partition (distribution) the acts of giving and receiving cattle, grain, 
houses, land, household establishments, dressing victuals, religious duties, income 
and expenses are to be considered as separate, and (conversely) as proofs of a 
partition ;" whereupon Jagannatha observes (p. 407) : " c dressing victuals ' [here 
means] for the service of guests and the like, and for the food of the family ; 
* religious duties' the aggregate of constant and occasional acts of religion." It 
will be seen, however, from the next note, that his interpretation of pdkadharma 
is not borne out by the principal commentators of Jim. Dayabh. and the other 

J On the first part of the compound paTcadJia/rmagamavyayah'^ Achyutananda, 
in Bharatachandras'iroman'i's edition of Jimutav. Dayabh. (p. 357) comments : 
pdJcadharmd vais'vadevadharmddayah', when pakadharma, therefore, would not be 
a Dvandva, but a Tatpurusha compound ; and similarly S'rikr'ishn'at. : (as also in 
the previous Calc. editions) pdJcadharmo vais'vadevddiJcarma^ i.e., " religious duties 
connected with cooking, that is, the Vais'vadeva duties (or ceremonies), and similar 
ones;" Rdmdbhadra in the edition named merely comments on dharma (not on 

VOL. II. 14 


It is to be presumed that on the strength of this passage, as trans- 
lated by Colebrooke, Strange, Macnaghten, and other modern authors, 
even though rejecting non-commensality as a 'sign' of separation, 
allowed it a place amongst the different kinds of ' evidence of partition ; ' * 

pdJcadharma), viz., dharmo daivapitrddikarma ; but daiva is as frequently used 
synonymously with vais'vadeva, the meaning of his words would be : " the Vai- 
s'vadeva, the sacrament of the manes, and similar ceremonies ;" when it becomes 
probable that the proper reading should be pdkadharmo daiva , or that dharma is 
abbreviated by the commentator for pakadharma ; in the Viramitrodaya also, 
(p. 223, a, 1. 12) where the same passage of Narada is quoted, Mitramis'ra explains 
(1. 14) dharmo vais'vadevddih' , ekapdkena vasatdm iti prdguktavachandt, i.e. t 
" religious duty means the Vais'vadeva, and so on, on account of the previous 
quotation (from Narada) which says : ' of those who live (together and) cook (in 
common*) (the worship of the manes, gods and twice-born should be single, &c.) ;'" 
where dharma is therefore used in the sense of pdJcadharma, and the ' sign ' in 
qtiestion is not the ' cooking,' but the religious rites connected with the cooking. 
Again, in the Vivddachintdman'i, where the same passage occurs (p. 162) 
Vdchaspatimis' ra likewise takes pakadharma for a Tatpurusha ; ^f\z.,pdkadharmah f 
pdrvan'ddih', " the religious duties connected with cooking, i.e., the Parvan'a and 
other ceremonies." In the Ddyakaumudi, too (p. 278) S'rikr'ishn'a? s commentary 
on this passage, as already mentioned, is quoted and adopted by Ramajayatarka- 
lankara. On the other hand, in the Vyavahdramddhaviya and Vyavahdramayukha 
(IY.. 7, 34), instead of pdkadharmdgama the text reads ddnadharmdgama 
when Nilakan't'ha explains ddnadharmo lekhyddih' , " the duties connected with 
gifts, i.e. written deeds, and the like." The word grain, which occurs in Cole- 
brooke's translation, represents the Sanskrit anna ; and lest any inference be drawn 
from it regarding ' diet/ or lest it be doubted that this is the proper sense of the 
word as here used, I may mention that the DdyaJcaumudi, on the authority of the 
Vivddabhangdrn'ava, says : " anna here means ' the getting of grain,' " and adds : 
" but some say anna here means ' buying corn, grain, &c., for the sake of food 
(anndrtham*)? " But even for anna, the Yivadach. has the v. 1. artha and explains 
it with arthotpddana, ' producing wealth.' Whatever view, therefore, we may take 
of this passage, it is clear that the balance of probability is in favour of S'rikr'ish- 
n'atarkalankara's, Achyutananda's, and Vachaspatimis'ra's gloss, and that Narada 
if he really wrote pakadharma and not ddnadharma, did not make * cooking,' but 
the religious duties connected with it, ' a sign of partition.' 

* Macnaghten, for instance, in his ' Principles of Hindu Law ' (Madras, 1865, 
53, says : " It (viz. partition) cannot always be inferred from the manner iu 


but, with the aid of the printed texts and commentaries we now possess, 
there can be no doubt that we should not be justified in stating for 
certain, as the Bombay Digest does, that according to Hindu authors, 
living and dining apart is a sign of separation.* 

But, though the extracts already adduced merely confirm the negative 
inference derivable from the ancient law authorities, that commensality, 
taken by itself, affords no legal evidence regarding the state of a family, 
they show us that a different view must be entertained of the value 
which some ceremonies at least possess for testing doubtful cases of this 

Some religious -acts, as we see, must, according to all authorities, 
be performed separately by each member of a family, and others in 
common, whether the members of such a family live in a state of union 
or separation. Thus, the reading of the Vedas, muttering prayers, and 
in general all religious acts which entail no expenditure, must be 
performed separately by each member even of a united family ; on the 
other hand, the sixteen S'raddhas which occur during the first year after 
a father's death, must be performed in common, that is, as a rule, by 
the eldest son on behalf of the whole family even if the latter is a 
divided one. Hence the performance of acts or ceremonies like these 
is no criterion either way, whether of union or separation. Yet we find 
that if members of a united family ' cook ' their food in common, they are 
bound to perform, conjointly, the four daily sacraments of the gods, 

which the brethren live, as they may reside apparently in a state of union, and yet, 
in matters of property, each may be separate ; while, on the other hand, they may 
reside apart, and yet may be in a state of union with respect to property : though 
it undoubtedly is one among the presumptive proofs to which recourse may be had, 
in a case of uncertainty, to determine whether a family be united or separate in 
regard to acquisitions and property." Similarly, 'Strange, Hindu Law,' vol. i., 
p. 229. 

* See p 187, 11. 13 f. 


manes, created beings and men, the anniversary S'raddha, the S'raddha 
on the day of new moon, and the S'ra'ddhas of this category, the Tirtha-, 
Gaya-, and S'raddhas of this nature, whilst, if messing apart or if 
separated, they would be bound to perform these rites separately, eacli 
for himself. The Vais'vadeva also, members of a separated family must, 
and members of a united family, if not messing together, may perform 
separately ; but members of a united family, if messing together, must 
perform it conjointly. Hence, if it can be shown that relatives mess 
together, and yet perform all or any of these ceremonies separately, each 
for himself, it is clear that, on the ground of all authoritative texts, a 
case of division is made out. 

Again, it is expressly enjoined that a voluntary religious ceremony 
entailing expenditure can be performed by a single member of a united 
family only on the condition that the rest of the family allow him to do 
BO ; and to this clause no restriction is attached regarding commensality 
or living apart. Hence if it can be shown that a person performed 
such a ceremony without any protest on the part of his relatives, yet 
without having obtained their consent, such evidence wonld prove that 
he was divided from them ; or, conversely, if it can be shown that he 
asked and obtained the consent of his family to perform such a 
ceremony, proof is afforded that at that time he was a member of a 
united family.* 

Some statements, therefore, of Sir T. Strange on this subject are 
liable to objection. For, though he was right in dividing the religious 
duties of a Hindu into such as are " indispensable," and others which 

* How great the amount of evidence available on this purely religious ground 
is, can be fully ascertained only from the ritual works ; but an inference to this 
end may be obtained from Colebrooke's Essays * On the Eeligious Ceremonies of 
the Hindus,' and particularly from that relating to the S'raddha (Miscellaneous 
Essays, vol. i. pp. 123 ff.) ; also from H. H. Wilson's c Eeligious Practices and 
Opinions of the Hindus' (Works, vol. ii.. pp. 40 ff.; edited by Dr. B. Eost). 


" in their nature are voluntary,"* he was mistaken in assigning to the 
latter class "consecrations, the stated oblations at noon or evening 
with whatever else there may be of a similar kind, the performance or 
non-performance of which respects the individual merely." And he 
was likewise mistaken when he said that " the proof in question [viz. of 
partition] results from the separate solemnization of such [rites], the 
acquittal or neglect of which is attended with consequences beneficial, 
or otherwise, to the individual, in his capacity as housekeeper (gr'ihastha), 
or master of a family, the third and most important order among the 
Hindoos ; of this kind are among others, the five great sacraments, in 
favour of " the divine sages, the manes, the gods, the spirits, and 
guests. "f For we have seen that each member even of a united 
family must for himself perform several such ceremonies if the members 
of that family ' cook ' apart from one another. And when he added, 
" Still such separate performance is not conclusive ; it is a circumstance 
merely," we must point to the cases above mentioned, in which it is 
conclusive, provided the members of a family mess together. Again, 
exception must also be taken to the remark which the same learned 
author appended to a Pandit's answer touching the same question. J 
"Had the division been doubtful," he said, "then certainly the joint 
performance of the ceremonies would be a conclusion against it; a 
conclusion merely, however; or, as it has been appositely called in 
another case, ' a token ' (adyuharana, I suppose, in the original) not a 
proof." For, one of the ceremonies here alluded to is " the annual 
ceremony for a father," and the joint performance of such a ceremony, 
as we have seen, can only take place in a united family. The usual 
words for ' token,' moreover, from which he inferred that it implied 

* Hindu Law (1830), vol. i., pp. 227 ff. 

f Those explained in note * of p. 191 are here meant. 

J Hindu Law, vol. ii., p. 392. 


a conclusion only, are in Sanskrit chihna and laksharia, and each is often 
used in the sense of "characteristic or essential mark," when it is 
tantamount to proof. 

The Editors of the Digest, however, not merely repeat, as we have 
seen, the general and, on account of its generality, objectionable state- 
ment of Strange, but after the words above quoted* add: "In the 
present condition of Hindu society, the performance of all religious 
rites has become so lax and irregular as to afford no safe ground for 
inference." I do not know on what authority this sweeping assertion 
is made, for the Editors do not at all indicate the source whence it has been 
derived. Hitherto the most reliable accounts of the present religious 
condition of India seem to lead to the conclusion, supported also by the 
writings of Colebrooke, Wilson, Haug, and others, that there is still 
in the country a very large proportion of the community which very 
tenaciously clings to what it considers its orthodox faith, and that this 
community is extremely jealous of allowing any European to pry into 
its devotions and to become acquainted with the detail of them. Nor 
is it clear what the Editors call * lax and irregular;' for compared to 
the vedic ritual, for instance, that taught by the Puran'as may be so 
qualified, and judged by the standard of the latter, doubtless more re- 
cent ceremonies may likewise be thus termed. A statement so vague and 
general is in reality therefore meaningless, for it neither specifies the 
ceremonies to which it relates, nor the period or the standard by which 
to obtain a medium of comparison between the present and past. Yet 
even if the Editors had afforded us the information required, and if their 
statement concerning the quality of the actual worship of the Hindus 

* P. xiv. " The separate performance of the Yais'vadeva sacrifice, of S'raddhas 
and other religious rites, is still less conclusive. At Dig. chapter iv., Q. 4, infra, 
a passage of Bhat't' ojtdikshita is quoted, according to which coparceners, living 
apart, may or may not perform the Vais'vadeva each for himself, and, in the present 
condition of Hindu society, &c." See p. 187, 1L 8 ff. 


were in some sense correct, it still appears that the conclusion 
would not be borne out by it. For in so far as the Hindu law of in- 
heritance appeals to evidence based on religious grounds, it is quite 
immaterial whether the detail in the performance of this or any other 
ceremony concerned by it, agrees with the teaching of the ancient or 
mediaeval, or even modern ritual provided such a performance is held, 
rightly or wrongly, to be in the spirit of the orthodox faith. Whether, 
therefore, the S'raddhas or Vais'vadeva, for instance, are now per- 
formed in strict accordance with the ritual relied upon by Colebrooke in 
his ' Essay on the Eeligious Ceremonies of the Hindus,' or not, is for 
legal purposes absolutely irrelevant, so long as the popular mind still 
believes that the S'raddha benefits the soul of the deceased relative, or 
that the Vais'vadeva removes the sins which a man may have committed 
in preparing his daily meals. And that this belief no longer exists, the 
Editors would still have to prove. It is certain, moreover, that the 
Law Courts of the Bombay Presidency and the Pandits can entertain 
no doubts in this respect, for otherwise it would be unintelligible why 
in suits relating to inheritance, the judges should address questions to 
the Pandits about the performance of S'raddha and other rites, and that 
the Pandits should strengthen their replies by a reference to their 
doctrinal works ; and even the Bombay Digest reports three instances, 
at least, of such interrogatories, at pp. 48, 57, and 58. It would be a 
mistake, therefore, on the part of an Indian judge were he to adopt the 
inference suggested to him by the Bombay Digest that no performance 
of any religious ceremony whatever can afford conclusive evidence 
regarding the union or division of a Hindu family, and in con- 
sequence, that henceforth he may dispense with a study of the native 
authoritative works concerned in this matter. Even the few data here 
collected, by way of illustration, will sufficiently show that in doubtful 
cases these works will still be his safest guide. 





1. It is a maxim of Hindu law, admitted by all the schools, that 
there are four sources of Hindu law, viz., 'Sruti (i.e. the Vedas), Smr'iti 
(i.e. the Dharma-'Sastras, or the codes of law by Manu, Yajnavalkya, 
and other ancient law-givers), custom, and (in all indifferent cases) 
"self-satisfaction" (i.e. one's own pleasure); but where these are at 
variance with one another, that weight and authority attaches to them 
according to their precedence ; i.e. that where they clash, 'Sruti would 
supersede Smr'iti, either of these custom, and either of the former 

* Manu II., 6. " The roots of law are the whole Veda, the Smr'iti and moral 
practices of such as perfectly understand it, the (immemorial) customs of good 
men, and (in cases quite indifferent) self-satisfaction." 

Manu II., 12. "The scripture (i.e. S'ruti or Yedas), the codes of law (Smr'iti), 
approved usage, and (in all indifferent cases) self-satisfaction, the wise have openly 
declared to be the quadruple description of the juridical system." 

Yajnavalkya^ I., 7. " The S'ruti, the Smr'iti, the practice of good men, what 
seems good to one's self, and a desire maturely considered, these are declared to 
be the root of law." [The Sanskrit words for the first three sources in Yajna- 
valkya are the same as in Manu. The difference in translation is therefore merely 


2. Hence if the kuldchitr or custom which prevailed or prevails in 
the family of the Maharajas of Tipperah regarding the succession of 
an heir to the throne and possessions of Tipperah, is at variance with 
the Hindu law as current in Bengal, either this custom is devoid of 
authority, or the law as current in Bengal is not the law by which the 
succession in the royal family of Tipperah has to be regulated. And 
that the latter contingency is possible, again results from the fact that 
the law regarding succession as current in Bengal, is not in itself Smr'tii, 
but only a commentary on Smr'iti (viz. the Dayabhaga of Jimutavuhana), 
and that there are other commentaries on the same Smr'iti, which in 
essential points differ from that commentary, and actually are the law 
prevailing in other parts of India (e.g* the Milakshara, the Vyavahara- 
Mayukha, the Smr'iiicbandrika, <fcc.) 

3. That the Tipperah Kulachar or custom is materially at variance- 
with the Hindu law of succession as current in Bengal, follows from the 
fact that the former excludes from succession the widow, and that it can 
give preference to a brother or other member of the family before the 
son of a deceased king.* 

4. Since, however, the exclusion of the widow from the Tipperah 
succession, and the precedence of a brother or other relative before a 

accidental, that of Manu belonging to Sir W. Jones, and [that of Yajnavalkya to 

The Mitakshara on this passage from Yajnavalkya explains that, where^they 
clash* they .have a right and authority according to the order in which thej are 

* Exclusion of the widow : Record, p. 406, line 22 ; p. 139, line 48. 
of sons in favour of brothers : Kecord, p. 407, line 47. 
of sons in favour of a nephew : Kecord, p. 135, line 30. 
of a son in favour of the eldest member of the family: Kecord,. 

p. 134, lines 54, 55. 

of a son in favour of a brother : Kecord, p. 290, line 36. 
of a son in favour>f a nephew ; Record, p. 31, line 13. 


son, have been declared legal and valid by former decisions of the 
Courts,* it results that the law of Bengal cannot be invoked in the 
present case to settle the respective claims of the Respondent and 

5. It remains, therefore, to be seen whether the Tipperah Kulachar, 
and if so to what extent, is in conformity with a higher authority than 
the law of Bengal, and what that authority is. 

6. The highest law authority of India, that from which no other law- 
code is supposed to differ, is the code of Manu. That portion of this 
code which relates to inheritance, treats of inheritance under a twofold 
aspect, viz , inheritance as succession to an undivided estate, and 
inheritance as succession to family property when division had taken 
place. The law relating to the former category of inheritance is 
extremely simple, and scarcely admitting of litigation : that relating to 
the latter is complex. 

Hence other law-codes, all of which admit the supreme authority of 
Manu, e.g. Ydjnavalkya, who is the primary source of the present law 
of succession in India, passes entirely over in silence the first category 
of succession,! and merely deals with the second category, which is a 
fruitful ground for litigation. 

And it is only the digests or commentaries, as that of Jimutavahana 
or the Mitakshara of Vijnanes'wara, which here and there endeavour to 
bring in the question of non-division,f though they properly only have to 

* The same as above ; especially in the case of the widow ; Record, p. 406, 
line 22. 

f See the beginning of Co] v>rooke's translation of the Mitakshara., p. 241 
(2nd ed., p. 364) : " The partition of heritage is now propounded by the sage of 
holiness," &c. (which words belong to the author ot the Mitakshara), and the 
beginning of Ydjnavalkycts chapter on inheritance : ib. t p. 258, last line but one 
(2nd ed., p. 377) : " When the father makes a partition," &c. 

J Thus the quotations from Manu given in the next notes occur in Jttnuta- 


deal with questions of division. And on that ground, too, they in 
consequence arrive at sometimes opposite conclusions. Thus, since the 
chapter of Yajnavalkya as translated by Colebrooke strictly speaking, 
only relates to division (" Daya-vibhaga," or "Daya-Bhaga," meaning 
division of inheritance), the Mitakshara concludes, that the widow 
where mentioned by Yajnavalkya, can only mean the widow of a divided 
husband, whereas the Daya-Bhaga of Jimutavahana obviously striving 
to fill up what may appear as a defect in Yajnavalkya, concludes that 
widow also means the widow of an undivided husband. But the very 
possibility of such a fundamental difference in the interpretation of the 
same text, proves that Yajnavalkya's text did not deal with the 
succession to an undivided estate as a separate topic, and that those 
like the Maharajas of Tipperah who do not consider the widow as 
entitled to succeed, resort for the law regulating the succession to an 
undivided estate, not to Yajnavalkya and the Daya Bhaga of Jimuta- 
vahana, as current in Bengal, but to the code of Manu. 

7. Regarding the succession to an undivided estate (and it is admitted 
on all hands that the throne and the possessions of a Maharaja of 
Tipperah are in the nature of an undivided and indivisible property), 
the code of Manu* rules that after the death of a father " the eldest 

vahana (Colebrooke's "Two Treatises," pp, 16, 17, 2nd ed., p. 193), and the 
"Mitakshara" (Colebrooke, p. 263, 2nd ed., p, 381), not to explain the law of 
succession to undivided property, but merely to prove the period at which, 
according to Manu, division could take place. 

* Manu IX., 104 (quoted in Colebrooke, p. 8, 2nd ed., p. 186 :) 

" After the death of the father and mother, the brethren being assembled 

" must divide equally the paternal estate, for they have not power over it while 

"their parents live." 
IX., 105 (quoted in Colebrooke, p. 16, 2nd ed., p. 193 :) 

"But the eldest ['brother' is not in the text] may take the patrimony 

" entire, and the rest may live under him as under their father." 
IX., 185 (quoted in Colebrooke, pp. 199 and 346, 2nd ed., pp. 334 and 443 does 
not apply here : 


[brother] takes the entire patrimony," and that the " rest of the family 
depend on him for their maintenance, as on a father." 

8. The word for "eldest" in Manu isjyesht'ha; hut as "jyesht'ha" has a 
double meaning, viz., that of " eldest" and " best," all the commentators 
also borne out by another passage of Manu agree in deciding, that 
the "eldest" must also imply the "best;" hence, if the "eldest" is an 
unworthy person, or otherwise unfit to manage the family property, 
even the "youngest" maybe declared " jyesht'ha," that is, any other 
member of the family, if considered worthier than the eldest. But in 
such a case they also stipulate that the consent of all the members of the 
family is required to exclude the eldest, and to invest another member 
of the family with the right of succession and the privileges pertaining 
to it.* 

" Of him who leaves no son, the father shall take the inheritance, or the 

For this last paragraph can only refer to a divided family where each member has 
property of his own, as brothers occur in the plural, and as the son could never be 
in possession of the ancestral estate if the father were still alive. 

* Jimutavahana, where showing that non-division can only take place if ALL the 
members of the family consent, quotes Manu, IX., 105, and comments on it as 
follows (Colebrooke, p. 16 ; 2nd ed., p. 193 :) 

"Is not the eldest son alone entitled to the estate on the demise of the 
" co-heirs, and not the rest of the brethren ? for Manu says : ' The eldest 
" ' brother may take the patrimony entire, and the rest may live under him, as 
" 'under their father.' And here c eldest' intends him who rescues his father 
" from the hell called Put, and not the senior survivor. * By the eldest, as soon 
" ' as born, a man becomes father of male issue, and is exonerated from debt to 
" * his ancestors ; such a son, therefore, is entitled to take the heritage. That 
" c son alone on whom he devolves his debt, and through whom he tasted 
" c immortality, was begotten from a sense of duty ; others are considered as 
" ' begotten from love or pleasure.' " 

" Not so ; for the right of the eldest [to take charge of the whole] is pronounced 
" dependent on the will of the rest. Thus Narada says : ' Let the eldest brother, 
"like a father, support all the others who are willing to live together without 


They also rule likewise on the authority of another passage from 
Manu that if there are sons by different mothers, seniority belongs to 
birth, if the mothers are of the same caste; but that it belongs not to 
birth, but to rank, if the mothers are of different castes. Thus, if al, 
the mothers are of the Kshattriya caste, the first-born son would be the 
eldest, even if he were the son of the youngest wife ; but if there are 
three wives of the Vais'ya, or third caste, and one wife of the Kshattriya, 
or second caste, the son of the latter would be the " eldest (best)," 
though he may be younger than the sons by the Vais'ya mothers. 

9. It follows, therefore, that the right of succession to an undivided 
estate is in the first place a right by seniority seniority also implying 
rank ; that this right is forfeited only in consequence of uuworthiness 

" partition ; or even the youngest brother, if all assent, and if he be capable of 
" business : capacity for business is the best rule in a family.' [Colebrooke, p. 17, 
2nd ed., p. 194, translates this passage from Narada thus : ' Let the eldest brother 
* by consent support the rest, like a father, or let a younger brother who is capable 
'do so ; the prosperity of the family depends on ability.' This translation, 
however, is not so correct as that in Prasannakumar Tagore's Yivadachintaman'i, 
p. 227, from which the former is taken.] "By consent of all" (Jimutavahana 
continues) "even the youngest brother being capable, may support the rest. 
Primogeniture is 'not a positive rule' [i.e. is not absolutely meant in the quoted 
passage from Manu]". 
Manu, IX., 213 (quoted in Colebrooke, p. 294, 2nd ed., p. 404) : 

" An eldest brother who from avarice shall defraud his younger brother, shall 

forfeit the honour of his primogeniture, be deprived of his additional share, and 

be chastised by the king." 

This passage, though relating to division, shows that an "eldest" son can forfeit 
his primogeniture through unworthy conduct. 

Kulluka^ the celebrated commentator of Manu, also, where explaining Manu 
IX., 105 (quoted before) says : " If the eldest is virtuous, then he is the eldest," 
and where commenting on Manu, IX., 109 " : The eldest exalts the family or 
destroys it ; the eldest is in this world the most respected, and the good never treat 
him with disdain," gays :"The eldest in an undivided family, if he is virtuous, 
then he is the eldest, for on account of his virtuous conduct the younger brothers 
follow him 5 he exalts then the family, but if he is vicious he destroys it," &c. 


or unfitness on the part of the person entitled to succeed ; but that this 
forfeit must be the result of a unanimous decision taken by all the 
members of the family interested in the preservation of the estate. 

10. The so-called custom of the royal family of Tipperah, as results 
from the Record, consisted in the following particulars : 

(a) The reigning Maharaja designated, while alive, or could designate, 

his successor to the throne and the estates. 

(b) The person so designated was called Yuvaraja, and his instal- 

lation was performed with great solemnity. 

(c) The person so installed was always a male, never a female or an 

infant, these being excluded on account of their " unfitness," 
and as is contended by the appellant, always the eldest member 
of the family; but the Respondent asserts that he was not 
always the eldest member, though he admits that such a person 
was never a female or an infant. 

1 1 . This custom agrees in all its particulars with the law of Maim as 
explained before. For, though Manu does not speak of the installation 
of a Yuvaraja, such a " custom" the third source of Hindu law would 
not be at variance with Manu or any other " Smr'iti or S'ruti" It is 
on the contrary borne out by precedents recorded in the Mahdbhdrata, 
the Ramayatia and the Purdfias, and therefore legal.* And even if 
the assertion of the Respondent were correct, the inference to be drawn 
from it would only be that the predecessors of the deceased Maharaja 
chose a junior member of their family as their successor in preference 
to the eldest member, because the latter was deemed by them unworthy 
or unfit to succeed, and because their decision met with the unanimous 
consent of the rest of the family. 

12. But the unanimous consent of the whole family is implied by 
the fact that the installation of a Yuvaraja is not a private, but a public 

* See Goldstucker's "Sanskrit Dictionary" (vol. I.) pp. 275285. 


act ; that it must take place in the presence of the whole family ; and 
that its validity is subject to the performance of a number of cerenn 
which are laid down with great detail by the Puran'as the funda- 
mental source of the present religion of the Hindus and by works on 
astrology. The Record, moreover, shows that the installation of former 
Yuvarajas of Tipperah conformed to this public and solemn character 
of the ceremony. 

13. It has been asserted by the late Maharaja, and the Respondent 
asserts, that the Maharajas of Tipperah chose, at their own pleasure 
and without any restriction, the Yuvaraja from amongst the members of 
their family. But, in the first place, their assertion is unproved ; 
secondly, it could be proved only if they showed that the choice made 
by a previous Maharaja did not meet with the unanimous consent of 
the rest of the family, but nevertheless was upheld ; thirdly, even if 
they proved that such consent was wanting, the conclusion could only 
be, that such a choice was then illegal, since custom cannot supersede 

14. But it results, on the contrary, from the Record, that the late 
Maharaja Essauchunder himself must not have looked upon his right 
of choosing a Yuvaraja as absolutely vested in his pleasure. For, when 
it appears that the Appellant was charged by the witnesses with having 
made a hostile and criminal attack on the possessions of the Tipperah 
family, it would seem that this charge, otherwise utterly irrelevant to 
the question of succession, was merely raised in order to establish his 
unworthiness to succeed. Had the witnesses been able to substantiate 
it, it would doubtless have gone far to show that the Maharaja had 
grounds for declaring the "seniority" of the Appellant as forfeited. 
But the charge entirely failed ; and it has not been shown that the 
Maharaja, with the consent of his whole family, proclaimed the 
Appellant's unworthiness or uiifitness to succeed. 


15. It is not denied by the Respondent that the installation of a 
Yuvaraja required for its validity the performance in public of certain 
ceremonies, as laid down by the sacred books of the Hindus. But the 
evidence afforded by his witnesses shows, in the first place, that there 
is the strongest probability of his pretended Yuvarajaship never having 
been solemnly celebrated at all ; and, secondly, even if the late Maha- 
raja performed some ceremony in order to install him as Yuvaraja, that 
such a ceremony was devoid of the essential characteristics by which 
alone the title and rights of a Yuvaraja could be conferred on a non- 
senior member of the royal family. 

16. This results from the following facts, as proved by the deposi- 
tions of the Respondent's witnesses : 

(a) This pretended installation, as is stated by all his witnesses, took 

place on the same day when the late Maharaja consecrated a 
new building. It is extremely unlikely, however, that two such 
ceremonies, so utterly different in their character, should be 
performed by any Hindu simultaneously, and the much more 
important ceremony actually as a mere appendage to the far 
inferior one. 

(b) It is stated by all the witnesses of the Respondent that the late 

Maharaja consecrated the new building which he was going to 
inhabit, on the 16th S'rdvana, this being a lucky day for the 
performance of such a ceremony. And unquestionably the late 
Maharaja, as every Hindu would, took care that, according to 
the astrological works, the day for the performance of such a 
ceremony should be a lucky one. These works also bear out the 
fact that the month of S'ravana would be a lucky time for the 
consecration of a new house. But the same works likewise say 
that the month of S'ravana is not one of those in which a 
Yuvaraja-ceremony should be performed. It becomes, therefore, 


extremely improbable that a king so particular in conforming to 
the astrological rules, where the consecration of a new building 
was concerned, should have been quite indifferent to these rules 
when the proper time for the performance of a much more 
important ceremony, that of the installation of a Yuvariija, nad 
to be chosen. 

(c) It is stated by all the witnesses of the Respondent that the 

Yuvaraja-ceremony, which, as they assert, had been performed, 
did not come to the cognizance of all the members of the Maha- 
raja's family, and much less to that of the public at large. It 
was consequently deficient in that very characteristic which is its 
essential feature, in that publicity, which is also to imply the 
consent of the whole family to the choice made by the king. 

(d) It is further stated by all the witnesses of the Respondent that 

the late Maharaja for the first time designated the name of his 
successor on the very day when the installation of the latter, as 
is asserted, took place. But, according to all authorities, it is 
an essential feature of this ceremony that the person whose 
appointment as Yuvaraja was intended, should on the day pre- 
ceding the public ceremony, hold a fast and undergo purification 
so as to make himself fit for the solemnity of the succeeding day. 
According to Hindu notions, it is therefore impossible that a 
proceeding as that described by the witnesses should be a valid 
ceremony of the installation of a Yuvaraja. 

17. Hence: Since the law of the Dayabhaga as current in Bengal 
does not apply to the Tipperah succession ; 

Since the latter is regulated by the highest law authority of the 
Hindus, the Code of Manu ; 

Since the custom of the Maharajas of Tipperah is in conformity 
with the law of Mauu ; 
VOL II. 16 


Since the Appellant is acknowledged by all the parties as the eldest 
claiming member of the present Tipperah family ; 

Since it has not been shown that by the late Maharaja and the rest 
of his family he has been unanimously declared to be unworthy 
or unfit to succeed ; 

Since it is highly improbable that the Respondent ever was installed 
Juvaraja by the late Maharaja ; 

And since the ceremony of his installation, if it ever took place, was, 
according to the deposition of the Respondent's witnesses, 
devoid of the essential characteristics which are required to 
make the Yuvaraja ceremony a legally valid ceremony, 
my opinion is that the Appellant has a valid claim to succeed to the 
possessions of the late Maharaja of Tipperah. 



IN the law of Bengal there occurs no distinct statement relating to the 
theory of perpetuity as applicable to the right of inheritance. But 
from the philosophical basis on which the law of Bengal rests, it must 
be inferred that it discountenances such a theory. 

For, this basis is the Nyaya, and more especially that division of it 
called the Vais'eshika philosophy, and some discussions raised by the 
chief authorities of the Bengal school must therefore be understood in 
the light of that system of philosophy. This also results from the 
sameness of the philosophical terms used by both.* 

" The written law, whether it be s'ruti or smr'iti, direct revelation or tradition, 
is subject to the same rules of interpretation. Those rules are collected in the 
Mimansa, which is a disquisition on proof and authority of precepts. It ifl 
considered as a branch of philosophy ; and is properly the logic of the law." 

" In the eastern part of India, viz. Bengal and Bahar, where the Vedas are less 
read, and the Mimarisa less studied than in the south, the dialectic philosophy, or 
Nyaya, is more consulted, and is there relied on for rules of reasoning and inter- 
pretation upon questions of law, as well as upon metaphysical topics." Account 
by H. T. Colebrooke of the Hindu Schools of Law, in Strange's Hindu Law, 
vol. i., p. 316. 


Now the Vais'eshika lays down the proposition that there are seven 
paddrthas, or categories, under which all material objects (such as earth, 
water, &c.,) and all ideal existences (such as cause, effect, &c.) are 
comprised. Beside these, it maintains, there are none ; and it rejects 
therefore any explanation, for instance, of cause and effect, which, 
instead of being evolved from any of these seven categories, would 
resort to the assumption of another principle not contained in them. 

The following passage from the Bhdshd-Parichchheda, one of the 
fundamental works of the Vais'eshika, together with its commentary as 
given in the Siddhdnta-Muktdvali, will corroborate this statement.* 

TEXT. " Substance, Quality, and in like manner Action, Genus, with 
Difference, and Concretion, and in like manner Non-existence, these 
seven are called the categories (paddrtha.)" 

COMMENTARY. " Thereupon [i.e. on its being laid down that the 
Categories are seven] the author of the Upamdna-Chintdman'i raises the 
doubt whether a right to be treated as separate categories does not 
belong to Power and Resemblance, seeing that these differ from all the 
seven Categories. ' How is it [he asks] that these [seven] alone are 
Categories when there is a separate categoric nature in Power, 
Resemblance, &c. ?' To explain: A burn is not produced by fire 
when attended by a gem [of the kind which is regarded as possessing 
the power to neutralize the operation of fire] or the like ; but, by that 
devoid thereof, it is produced. In this case I infer that a cauterizing 
Power in the fire is destroyed by the gem or the like, and is reproduced 
by the removal of the gem, or the like, which acted as a neutralizer. 
So, too, Resemblance is a separate Category for it is not included 
under any one of the [first] six Categories, seeing that [unlike any of 
these] it exists even in Genus for we recognise Resemblance in the 

* The translation is that by Dr. Ballantyne, in " the Bhasha-Parichchheda, 
and its commentary the Siddhanta-Muktavali," Calcutta, 1851, page 8, flf. 


instance that, as the generic nature of cows is eternal, so in like manner 
is that of horses also. Further, it cannot fall within the Category of 
Non-existence : because, that such a thing [as Resemblance] exists, is 
believed [by everyone.] 

" But, if all this be asserted, it is not so for, as regards the burning 
effect of the fire, &c., in the absence of the gem, &c., it is improper to 
postulate an endless (ananta) set of Powers, together with the previous 
Non-existence (prdgabhdva) and also the Annihilation thereof, when the 
result may be properly accounted for, either by the independent action 
[of the fire], or by assuming as the cause the absence of the [neutral- 
izing] gem, &c. And you need not say, ' How then does burning take 
place when both the neutralizer is present and also a neutralizer of the 
[fire-neutralizing] gem?' for, what I regard as the cause is the 
absence of the genus gem [or of all gems whatsoever] , which implies 
the absence of [those gems that are] neutralizers. Resemblance also is 
not another Category, but it consists in the possession of rarious 
characters belonging to any given thing, whilst being at the same time 
something other than the thing ; as, for example, there is a resemblance 
to the Moon in a face, which being something not the Moon, yet 
possesses the pleasing character, &c., which the Moon possesses." 

In other words, as regards the rejection of a category (paddriha) 
Power : since the independent action of fire is sufficient to account for 
the producing of a burn according to the Vais'eshika, it would not be 
allowed in a special case to resort to an assumption of the non-existence 
of the action of fire and the subsequent annihilation of that non-exist- 
ence, since this would be assuming causes which are remote, and 
arbitrarily creating "endless" (ananta} categories. 

This reasoning, and in the very terms of the Vais'eshika, is applied 
by S'rikr'ishn'a Tarkalankara, the great authority of the Bengal school, 
to the following passage of Jimutavahana's Dayabhaga (ch. 1, 7) 
which says : 


"Nor can it be affirmed, that partition is the distribution to 
particular chattels, of a right vested in all the coheirs, through the 
sameness of their relation, over all the goods. For, relation, opposed 
by the co-existent claim of another relative, produces a right, 
figuratively implied by [the term] 'partition' (vibhdgavyangya),* 
to portions only of the estate : since it would be burdensome to infer 
the vestings and divestingsf of rights to the whole of the paternal 
estate ; and it would be useless, as there would not result a power of 
aliening at pleasure." 

For, in regard to this passage, S'rikr'ishn'a Tarkdlankdra argues as 
follows : 

" Now, if [you say] the co-existence of one relative, on account of 
the sameness [of the rights of all the relatives] being a bar to the 
proprietary right of another relative, none of them has a right to any 
portion [of the inheritance], since this bar exists my answer is : 

" Since property depending on relation and [the fact of] the right to 
such property having a previous Non-existence (prdgabhava) are 
[notions] closely connected, the proprietary right of one relative bara 
the right to property depending on relation, when belonging to another 
relative. [For,] since you must admit that after division there is a 
proprietary right in a special portion [of the property], and since [from 
your admission it would follow that] this right had a previous Non- 
existence prdgabhava), there is no incongruity [in my reply]. 

* Colebrooke's rendering of vibTiagavyangya t " detenninable by partition," ia 
loss literal than that given above : " figuratively implied by [the term] partition." 

f Vestings and divestings is in Sanskrit : utpdda-vinds' a ; lit., producings and 
anuihilatings. In the Sanskrit text these words are part of the compound utpdda* 
vinds' 'a-Jcalpand-gauravdt t when it may be doubtful whether they are to be under- 
etood in the singular or plural number. Colebrooke rendered them in the singular, 
c< vesting and divesting , " but it results from the context, the discussion of the 
commentator, and his express statement that they must be understood in the 
plural ; on account of the objection to " endlessness." 


11 He [viz. Jimutavahana] shows that the coexistence of one relative 
sufficiently accounts for opposing [the claim of another relative] in the 
words ' Since it would be burdensome to infer the vestings, &c.' Their 
sense is this : The collective sum of the proprietary rights is equal to 
the number of all the relatives concerned in the property left by a 
father, or other [relative]. [There would be] vestings and di vestings 
of these [rights]. [But such an assumption would be burdensome, 
for considering that it would then be necessary to assume such " end- 
less " (ananta) categories, [as a series of vestings and divestings] the 
assumption of opposition [of one right by another co-existent right] is 
more easy [i. e. less remote, and therefore the only one consistent with 
the notions of the Vais'eshika.]." 

On the theory of perpetuity the right of an heir would not be derived 
from his relationship to the owner of the property who immediately 
predeceased him, but from the title conferred on him by the testamen- 
tary or other disposition of a remote ancestor. In such a case, then, 
the effect of inheritance, instead of being accounted for from an im- 
mediate cause, would depend on a remote cause, or a series of remote 
causes, and these the Vais'eshika would reject as belonging to the 
category of " endless powers." 

In my opinion, therefore, it results from the alleged words of Jimu- 
tavahana and S'rikr'ishn'a-Tarkalankara that these authorities not only 
do not admit a mode of inheritance which would prevent the alienation 
on the part of the inheritor of the property inherited ; but also do not 
recognise a title to inheritance which would be derived from a remote 
cause such as the principle of perpetuitythe latter being contrary 
to the spirit and a proper construction of the Bengal law. 



The Heritable right of Bundhoos, according to the Western School, 
by the late Honourable P. C. Tagore. See Preface, pages ii , in., iv., 
and v. 

" Hence these institutes of the sages, such as Menu, Yagnyavalkya, 
Ushana, Gautama, and others, confirmed as they are by the revealed 
authority, are held in high veneration by the general consent of the 
Hindu community of all ages. Ancient and modern commentators, 
compilers and other writers, could never presume to alter or amend 
them. But to provide for the wants and necessities of society in its 
progressive state, and to suit the constitution of the provinces, where 
their works were intended to be in operation, the commentators have 
recorded constructions, made logical inferences, and attempted explana- 
tions to make passages more intelligible, and reconcile the differences 
of opinion among the sages, preserving in essence the object and intent 
of the original texts. 

Such are the restricted functions of the commentators and compilers 
from ancient times down to the present day, unlike the nations of 
Europe, governed by Parliaments and other national Assemblies, 
These alter, amend, or add to their ancient canons of inheritance. By 
the 22nd and 23rd Vic., Ch. 35, Sec. 90, the English Parliament 
made further alterations in the enactment of the 3rd and 4th William 
IV., Ch. 106, Sec. 20. As long as such a remedy exists, the nation 
can never suffer any inconvenience from omissions and obscurities of 
the old canons of inheritance. In the absence of this privilege, the 
compilers, commentators, and other writers of modern days, meet the 
wants and necessities of society, which is always progressive, by supply- 
ing omissions by logical inference, or by explaining the inconsistency of 


any part of the law, but not without preserving the spirit and reason 
of the old law. The propriety of adopting so rational a method, after 
the examples of the commentators, &c., cannot be questioned. The 
wants and necessities of society are daily increasing, undergoing altera- 
tions, and developing new points for solution. If the privilege of 
supplying omissions, by the reason of the law, be not allowed, while the 
restriction on the enactment of new laws for altering, amending, or 
adding to the old law, remains in full force, society will remain unpro- 
vided with adequate rules." 


There are few words the affinity of which is less doubtful, while the 
etymology is more obscure, than the words jecur, ^-irap, Sanskrit qgyif 
(yakr'it), and the words stercus, CTKW/>, Sanskrit -s^gnr (s'akr'it.} The 
peculiar interest they convey, as an instance of the different products, 
borne by the same linguistic stem in its various branches, and the light 
they throw on some other words of a kindred formation, induce me to 
offer the following remarks as to their etymological meaning, and the 
apparent irregularity of their declension. 

I do not dwell upon the linguistic identity which exists between the 
first letters of jecur and qgycf (yakr'ify on the one side, and rj-n-ap on 
the other v since the mutual correspondence of the Sanskrit ^ (y) with 
the Greek spiritus asper in the beginning of words, (for instance in ^j^ 
(t/as), and os), and that of the Sanskrit or Latin gutturals with the 
Greek labials, and vice versa, (for instance in ^qpu (as'wa}, equus, ITTTTOS; 
(panchan), quinque, ircVre), is so well established, that I need 


merely remind you of the fact, and of the instances given by Dopp, 
Pott, Kuhn, and others, to be relieved from the necessity of further 

The phonetic diversities, however, between stercus, tr/cwp, and fj^ri 
(s'akr'it), are of a more complicated kind, as the t in stercus cannot be 
explained as the result of any inter-linguistic law, nor the s in the same 
word and the <r in crKwp, be held to be the regular representatives of 
the palatial "^ (s') in TTOTT (s'akr'it), JOT the latter in Sanskrit almost 
invariably corresponds with a guttural sound in Latin and Greek ; as, 
for instance, in -^f-sf (s'wan), can (-is), KV (-<ov) ; -^if (s'ata), cent (-um), 
(c)KaT(-oV) ; fzrf^frT (vins'ati), viginti, CIKOCTI, &c. 

But even supposing that there were no phonetic difficulty in establish- 
ing the original identity of both sets of words, we should still be at a 
loss how to account for the diversity they show when their thematic 
form becomes a real word, in assuming the declension-suffixes of the 
genitive, dative, and other cases. Jecur, for instance, appears in the 
genitive, as jecor-is or jecin-or-is, rj-rrap and o-Kwp, as rJTrai-os, o-Kar-os, 
while q$^ (ydkr'it), and ngyq (s'akr'it) become *rgr?T^ (yakr 1 it-as), or 
iHTiq (yak(a)n-as) and TOnt^f (s'akr'it-as), or ^-if^ (s'tik(a}n-as). 
Or, in other words, jecur conceals the crude forms jecor- and jecin- (or, 
as a variety, joan-); y-rrap, the crude form of rjTrapr- ; 11^^ (yakr'it) 
the crude forms -qw<( (yakr'it-) and qar (yakan-) ; while those of 
stercus, <TKup and y^ad (s'akr'it) are stercor-, wapr-, j^Wf[ (s'akr'it-) 
and vj,^H (s'akan-). 

If I attempt to give a solution of these irregularities, which, as we 
have seen, concern 1. the terminating letters of these words, or, in, 
apr, r'it and an; 2. the appearance of the t in stercus, and the s of that 
and <r/co>/>, as compared with the s' of -s^r[ (s'akr'it); and 3. the 
diversity of crude forms represented by jecur, *rcn{ (yakrit) and -jr^r^ 
(s'akr'it) 1 may consider it as conceded that the only way of dealing 


with them is that of examining the etymological meaning of these 
words ; and further, that the means we possess in Latin or Greek will 
not allow us to ascertain this meaning satisfactorily. I begin, there- 
fore, with the Sanskrit words. And first, with ?$&-*[ (s'akr'it), the 
general meaning of which is "faces, excrements." 

The native authorities derive it from the radical ^5 (s'ak) " to be 
able," with the suffix ^j-ff (*''^) or technically ^?frrr (r'itin), of the 
un'ddi class. As this affix, however, occurs, so far as I know, only in 
this single instance, and as the meaning of the radical countenances 
neither literally nor metaphorically, the sense of its would be derivative, 
I do not hesitate to reject this explanation, as has been done already 
by Kuhn, and, after him, by Benfey. The former proposes to derive 
vi ^ ^ (s'akr'it) from the radical & (kr'i) " to scatter about, "and believes 
that the palatal initial stands in the place of a dental s (^) the vowel 
a being inserted for convenience' sake, as the combination -^ (sk) 
would be one not particularly agreeable in Sanskrit pronunciation. 
The dental s, again, which would be the original one in this word, 
according to Kuhn, is explained by him as the letter originally inherent 
in eff (kr'i), and reappearing in its derivatives, as ^q^^ (apaskara\ 
and ^TT^PC (uvaskara), so that the radical -^ (kr'i) itself would have 
originally sounded -^ (skr'i). 

I apprehend that Kuhn, whose usual cautiousness and accuracy in 
etymological researches entitle his assertions to the fullest credit, has 
been betrayed, in this case, into a wrong theory. For, the change of 
the Sanskrit palatal s' to the dental s is, in general, of such infrequent 
occurrence, and in almost all instances where it is met with, so clearly 
traceable to some mistake, that I cannot accede to such an assumption, 
unless it be confirmed by other and indisputable cases ; of which none, 
I confess, have as yet come under my own observation. Nor is the 
" insertion" of an a between this supposititious s and the k following it, 


proved, in my opinion ; since I cannot admit that the combination sk 
(which is not unusual in the middle of words, and though not frequent, 
yet not unheard-of in the beginning of them), is so unpalatable to the 
Hindu tongue as to cause in this word a disruption in sak, which does 
not occur in other words of a similar kind. Another exception must 
be taken to what Kuhn considers as the original form of the radical 
qf (kr'i) ; because the ^ (s) in 4|m$hT (apaskara) and ^cn^ (avasltcira) 
is more likely to belong to apa and ava, as undoubtedly it does not 
belong to -gj- (kr'i) " to do," in ^-^ (sans-kr'i), sgq^ (upas-kr'i), and as 
it does not appear in cer-n-o, Kpt-v-to, Kcp-av-vvfju, the kindred forms of 
the Sanskrit radical ^ (kr'i). But last, not least, a theme like via d 
(s'akr'it) could not be derived from a radical terminating in the long 
vowel ^f (r'i), as no grammatical rule allows a similar formation, and 
the only word so derived by the native authorities, namely, ^7? 
(dadr'it), is better referred to another origin. 

Before I offer my own explanation of this word, may I be allowed to 
state a principle, the application of which I have found useful in many 
instances ? This is, whenever the etymon of a word cannot be laid 
open by a clear grammatical process, and the different modes of 
analysis which may suggest themselves rather enhance than remove 
the doubts as to what may be the true etymology, then consult the 
synonyms of the word, and, if I may say so, the imaginative idea which 
is expressed by them. Applying this principle to the words meaning 
'excrements," in Sanskrit, you will find that some of them proceed 
from the idea of filling, others from that of evacuating, and others from 
the aspect of the matter to be extruded, while one word, namely -jj^r^r 
(s'amala) distinctly involves the meaning of " calming, (jivimj ease" 
whether we derive it, with the native authorities, from -^ (s'am) " to 
calm," with the suffix ala ; or whether we consider it as a compound 
of ^ (s'a), and ^ ("*&*) "dirt;" the former from the same radical 


jEfir (s'am), meaning " happy " or " happiness," and occurring usually 
in compounds, such as "yfa (s'ambhu), jj.TfrT ( s ' am ^ ara ^ "8OTT (sampa), 
but probably being also the thematic form of fspsr (s'ivd), the euphe- 
mistic name of the Terrific God. 

If then there existed the intention of combining this notion with 
words meaning " excrements," and I refer to those also the word 
mentioned before, viz. ^q^^ (avaskara), which I derive from vqqu 
(avas) and qnc (kara), I am led to suppose that -^IHT (s'akr'it) is a 
compound, the former part of which is the word -jj; (s'), which we have 
seen in gi^^ (s'amala), and the latter -^-^ (kr'it) " doing," " pro- 
ducing," from sr (&'*) " ^ do." 

For those, however, who are not conversant with Sanskrit, a few 
remarks with respect to ^nj (kr'it), and formations of a similar kind, 
will be required on behalf of the conclusions I have to draw. Every 
Sanskrit radical is allowed, in general, to appear in its crude shape at 
the end of certain compounds, without assuming any visible suffix, 
jnr (vr'itra), " a demon," for instance, and ^^ (han) " to kill," may 
form a word gvq^r (vr'itrahan) " the killer of Vr'itra." But if the 
radical terminates in a short vowel, a ^ (t) is added to it, as it were to 
protect the radical vowel against such changes as would arise from its 
meeting with other vowels, according to the phonetic laws of Sanskrit. 
Vr'itra, for instance, and ji "to conquer," would form vr'itra-jit " the 
conqueror of Vr'itra." This precaution belongs particularly to Sanskrit, 
and (as I conclude from other instances in which this language has 
proceeded in a different way) is one which must have originated in a 
time comparatively recent, as is generally the case with all additional 
elements, which are to prevent the collision of letters, and produce 
what we call regular conjugations, declensions, &c., though, from a 
logical point of view, they are the most irregular phenomena of 
language, because they introduce into its living organism dead 


mechanical matter. Whether such additional elements, which agree 
with the predilections of one people, and which, though constituting 
the individuality of a language, are productions extraneous to the 
common stem, appear, or do not appear, in its kindred branches, is 
therefore merely a matter of chance, not one of necessity. The form 
jr^nr (s'akr'it), a compound of -5^ (s'a) and & (kr'i), may therefore 
reappear with its extraneous t peculiar to Sanskrit, in Latin, in 
Greek, or in other kindred languages, but the organic elements of 
which this word is composed are complete in the form -gr^f (s'akr'i), or, 
according to the change to which the- r'i vowel is subject in Sanskrit 
as soon as the thematic form becomes a real one, in the form vm< 

If we return to the Greek and Latin forms of this word, it will now 
be seen why, in the declension of stercus, which represents a theme 
stercor-, the disappearance of the final t of s'akr'it has nothing irregular 
in itself ; and why in <r/op, which supposes a theme o-Kapr-, the T has 
been retained in or/car-os, &c., while the presence of the radical p is still 
manifest in the nominative ovaop. A real difficulty would seem to exist 
in the Greek and Latin forms beginning with a dental s, as a guttural 
sound would have been the legitimate representative of the palatal 
Sanskrit s'. Be it, however, that the beginning of two successive 
syllables with a guttural sound has been distasteful to these languages ; 
be it that the elision of the vowel of s'a in the Greek word <TKO>P, and 
the transposition of the t in the Latin stercus originates in another 
motive than that of avoiding the repetition of the gutturals ; then, 
the latter expedient once adopted, it is clear that before t or K, the 
palatal sibilant could not have a nearer representative than the dental *. 
With respect to the vowels of these words, it is obvious that in tterciu, 
where the final t never existed in the thematic form, the terminating 
vowel has remained short, while the long vowel of the nominative 


must be considered as a compensation for the loss of the T, which was 
preserved in the theme of the Greek word. 

It remains for us to inquire into one point, which concerns at first 
only the Sanskrit forms v^d (s'akr'it), and y&r( (yakr'it), but is 
essential also for the Latin jecur. I mean the fact, that -y^sr^ (s'akr'it) 
shows in some of its cases another theme TC^nr (s'akan), and qiffiT 
(yakr'it) another theme q<< (yakan). The locative and genitive, in 
the singular of these words, for instance, are of the following kind : 
^grfri (s'akr'iti) or ^^sf (s'akani), ^irrHJ (s'akr'itas) or -^^^ 
(s'aknas) ; ij^jfif (yakr'iti) or ^jcjffsr (yakani), qacj^ (yakr'itas) or 
q<ftf^ (yaknas). The interchange of these forms may be explained in 
a different way. Benfey supposes that there existed an original form 
s'akarnt and yakarnt ; an hypothesis warranted neither by etymology 
nor by the laws of grammar ; and Kuhn, that in words of a similar 
formation there was an original form in ant, the offspring of which are 
the thematic forms in an and ar. Adjectives in -3^ (tvan), for 
instance, and several words in -q-r (van), with a feminine in ^fj- (ri), as 
^TpN^T (atitvan), fern. ^?ft<nft (atitvari), -^^ (yajvau), fern. -^^^ 
(yajvari), Tftr[ (pivan, TrtW), fern, ift^ft (pwari, TrUupa), &c., would; 
according to him, originate in themes, such as atitvant yajvant, 
pivant, &c. A natural consequence, in our case, would be, to suppose 
original themes, s'akant and yakant, to explain the forms s'akan and 
s'akar, yakan, and yakar. The derivation I have given above precludes 
this assumption. For, as the form ^nc (Jcar) of -s^r^ (s'akar), repre- 
sents the organic elements of the radical ^ (kr'i), itself, s'akan could, 
if my view is correct, only result from s'akar, in consequence of a 
change which, in Sanskrit, must be considered irregular, but may be 
accounted for, if we suppose that TR^nc (s'akar) became yi^i-i (s'akas), 
and then -jr^r: (sakah'), and that between this and vi4>*i (s'akan), there 
was a form -j^' (sakarn 1 ), forming a transitory passage from 


(sakah'), leading to ^r^rsT (s'akan). Though this process is a hypo- 
thetical one, and not capahle of strict proof, and may therefore be con- 
sidered objectionable, it seems to me more congenial with the lan^i' 
itself to suppose in this case, as well as in those alleged from Kuhn, a 
change from r (or s) to n, than to imagine the existence of a theme in 
ant, no direct trace of which is left in either of these formations. ThU 
view seems confirmed by the existence of thematic forms, which Kuhn 
has himself pointed out, as ^rgr 1 ^ (yajus), and ^rsf^ (udhas), together 
with ^T5T (yajvan), fern, ij^nft (yajvari), and ^nT5[ (udhna), ^rsn 
(udhar) ; but still more by the themes ^^^ (asr'ij ) and ^^r (asan), 
the latter of which can only be explained by the elision of f (j) in a 
transitory form nqqaf (asarj], the corresponding intermediate form 
being safely preserved in the Latin 'sang-uis. The theme i^r-T (s'akan j, 
is not represented in the declension of stercus or O-KW/D, but it exists in 
two words, the close etymological affinity of which with stercus and cr/cwp 
might scarcely be guessed without recourse being had to the kindred 
Sanskrit word. 

ITO^ (s'akan) admits, in Sanskrit, a regular denominative i{<*\y 
(s'akdy), stercus facere, which is conjugated according to the tenth class 
of verbs, a class corresponding in its formation with the Greek 
contracted verbs in aw, ew, ow, and in Latin with those of the first, 
second and fourth conjugations. The Sanskrit palatal s' being 
regularly represented in Latin and Greek by k, gicf>l*j (s'akdy), has its 
Latin and Greek representatives in cac-are KCLK-<UO, which, therefore, are 
denominatives of stercus and ovcw/>, though referable to the Sanskrit 
form s'akr'it. 

In the words jecur, rjirap and spgnr (yakr'it), we perceive the same 
phenomena as in those we have been considering, and I have merely to 
refer to the preceding remarks to account for their apparent diversity. 
(yakr'it) has been already correctly understood by the Hindu 
VOL. II. ] 6 


grammarians as being a compound of % (ya) and -gpa (kr'it), though, 
strange to say, they have mistaken the original bearing of the form 
"3T?Tfr (s'akr'it). The theme ^T^T (yakan), of which I have spoken 
before, is preserved in jecin-or of jecur, which has affirmed the suffix or 
(not to be confounded with the radical or in jecor-) ; fjimp shows its 
radical p only in the nominative of the singular, like <TKW/>, while it has 
the -t of yakr'it in the other cases. But less clear is the etymological 
meaning of these words, for which we must again have recourse to the 
Sanskrit form y& ri (yakr'it), as composed of -3 (ya), which, amongst 
other things, means " union," and ^j-ff (krit), " doing, producing," and 
which is explained in native dictionaries as " that which makes the 
union (sc. of the parts of the body.)" To understand what they may 
mean by this, it would be necessary to know the function ascribed to 
the liver by the old Hindu medical works. As yet, however, I have 
not been able to ascertain their theory on this point, as neither 
Sus'ruta, nor Charaka and A'treya, their most renowned authors on 
Medicine, contain any hint as to their notions on it. Nor do the other 
four synonymes of this word in Sanskrit afford any aid, as they merely 
refer to the black and fleshy substance of the liver. It may be 
considered, however, as a curious coincidence, that the German word 
Leber (which, like the whole Germanic branch of this word, presents 
the only instance perhaps in which the semi-vowel y of the Sanskrit 
idiom corresponds with the semi-vowel I) does originally mean, not the 
part of the body we call "liver," but every substance which is 
" prominent and firmly united in its parts," as opposed to substances 
which are low and soft. The notion of joining or uniting is still 
prevalent in the word Leber or Leberstein (liver or liver-stone), which 
in an Austrian dialect means a boundary stone, i.e. a stone put where 
two fields join. It would seem, therefore, that this meaning of 
"joining or making union," as expressed by the component parts of 


(yakr'it), was also the primitive meaning of this word in Sanskrit, 
but became lost, and has only been preserved in some German dialects. 
Before I conclude I may be allowed to point out two other words, 
which, from what I have said above, will derive a more correct expla- 
nation than they have hitherto obtained. 1 mean the Latin word 
secus, and the Greek word e/cas. These I connect with the Sanskrit 
word q$d (sakr'it), (written with a dental s in the beginning, and 
therefore not to be mistaken for the word s'akr'it, stercus). ^gfTf 
(sakr'it), is composed of sa, an abbreviated form of ^ (sam), which 
in composition with verbs either means " with," " together," or 
"thoroughly," and kr'it "doing;'* the original meaning of sakr'it is, 
therefore, " doing thoroughly," " doing so as not to require doing 
again:" this got lost, however, and was superseded by the meaning 
" once," " always." The meanings of secus and e/cas do not correspond 
with those of 4j$H (sakr'it), but the notion of exclusiveness which is 
implied by " once," and " always " is logically connected with the notion 
of " distance " and "separation," expressed by secus and 4/cas; and if 
we consider that in the Sanskrit word, the etymon of which has 
remained clear, the literal meaning had already made room for the 
figurative one, a further step in this direction will much less appear 
strange in languages where the consciousness of the original value of 
the word was entirely lost. Having shown how -gr?! (kr'it), which is 
originally ^ (kr'i), or ^3 (kar), becomes cor and Kwp or Kar, I have 
only to observe that, in my opinion, secus and ocas represent the nomi- 
natives of the themes secor- and CKCM--, and that these, nominatives have 
become indeclinable. Se in secus and e in e/xs are interesting forms, 
moreover, in as far as they exactly represent the Sanskrit ^ (sa), which 
in its full form ^ (sam), is the Greek ow, but appears more changed 
in the Latin cum. Whether a7ra may be safely referred to ^fri 
(sakr'it), with which it corresponds in meaning "once," I do not 


attempt to say ; though I do not consider it unlikely that the form 
sakar (the organic form of sakr'ii), changed to sakdh\ might appear 
with IT instead of K, and with a full guttural sound in the Greek era-cue ; 
a7ra representing, if this assumption be correct, the nominative of this 
theme, which then became indeclinable, just as the themes secor and 
K<XT have become indeclinable nominatives, secus and 

Win. H. Allen & Co., Printers, 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, S.W. 


Abhidhanaratiiamala, 187. 

Abhimanyu, ii. 115. 

Abhisheka, 35, 38 f . 

Achara, ii. 148. 

Achit, 239. 

Achchhavaka, 6. 

Adhikaran'amala, 289. 

Adhwaryu, 5 ff., 10, 31, 38, 265. 

Adhyatman, 15. 

Adhyaya, 11, 32, 34, 45, 271. 

Aditi, 17. 

Adityas, 17, 255, 290. 

Adwaitanand, 251. 

Aghorins, 162. 

Agni, 12, 14, 16, 23, 70, 259, 272. 

Agnibhuti, 106. 

Agnidhra, 6. 

Agni-puran'a, 146, 149. 

Agnisht'oma, 26, 275. 

Ahankara, 170; ii. 17. 

AMsmukhins, 162. 

Aitareya-aran'yaka, 49 ff. 

Aitareya-brahman'a, 2, 34 f., 49, 

84, 273. 
Ajigarta, 43 f . 
Amarakosha, 187. 
Amara-Sinha, 143. 
Amaru- sataka, 181. 
Amr'ita, 79, 151, 196, 293. 
Anandagiri, 160, 237. 
Ananda-Tirtha, 248. 
Angiras, 12, 200. 

j Ansumat, 64 f. 
Anukraman'i, 14 f., 62,281. 
Anupada-sutra, 60. 
Anuvaka, 11,32,272. 
Apavarga, 112. 
Apri, 16. 
Apsarasas, 84. 
Aptoryama, 26. 
Aran'yaka, 3, 49 ff., 55, 225. 
Aran'ya/gana, 27. 
Archika, 27. 
Ardhaprapat'haka, 27. 
Arhat, 88. 
Arhatas, 85 ff . 
Arjuna, ii. 103, 123. 
Arsheya-brahinan'a, 46. 
Artha, 116. 
Arthasastra, 281. 
Aryabhat't'a, 189. 
Aryaman, 18. 
Asana, 322. 
Asanaiid, 240. 
AsLit'aka, 11, 271. 
Aswalayana, 6 ; ii. 200. 
Aswamedha, 31, 278 ; ii. 117. 
Aswatthaman, ii. 134. 
Aswins, 19,317. 
Atharvangiras, 1, 270. 
Atharvan'araliasya, 263. 
Atharvaveda, 1, 3ff., 32 ff., 50, 

260, 279 ; ii. 45, 65. 
Atiratra, 26. 


Atman, 116. 
Atreya, 191. 
Atri, 12, 23, 272. 
Atyagnisht'oma, 26. 
Avatara, 19, 291. 
Ayatayama, 30. 
Ayurveda, 191, 281. 

Badarayan'a, 288. 

Bahwr'ichas, 34. 

Balarama, 305 ; ii. 102. 

Bali, 20, 296. 

Bandhus, ii. 172. 

Banerjea, ii. 6. 

Bhaga, 232. 

Bhagavadgita, 79, 326 ; ii. 122. 

Bhagavata-puran'a, 4, 81, 245. 

Bhagiratha, 65 f . 

Bhaktas, 160. 

Bhakti, 252. 

Bhaminivilasa, 181. 

Bharadwaja, 12, 272. 

Bharata, 102, 167, 301 ; ii. 97. 

Bhartr'ihari, 182. 

Bhat't'ikavya, 180. 

Bhashaparichchheda, 236; ii. 


Bhavananda, 241. 
Bhishma, ii. 102 ff. 7 114. 
Bhr'igu-Angiras, 270. 
Bhujyu, 20. 
Bodhisattwa, 95, 136. 
Brahman (the priest), 6, 7, 10, 

Brahman (>.), 77, 112, 225, 

283 f.; ii. 30. 
Brahman or Brahma (god), 4, 77, 

80, 194, 204, 225. 
Brahmagupta, 189. 
Brahman'a (m.), 6, 38, 212 ; ii. 

Brahman'a (%.), 2 f., 30 ff., 45 ft., 

60, 75 ft 2 ., 139, 238, 260 f., 
^ 276 ; ii. 10, 62, 64. 
Brahman'achchhansin, 6, 265. 
Brahma- purar 'a, 200. 

Brahma- sutra, 288. 
Brahma-veda, 280. 
Br'ihadaran'yaka, 49, 51, 261. 
Br'ihadaran'yaka - upanishad, 


Buddha,' 95 ff., 136. 
Buddhi, 116, 170, 235, 286. 
Buddhism, 94 if. 

Chaitanya, 250. 
Chan'akya, 182. 
Chan'd'ika, 92 f. 
Chandrika, ii. 208. 
Charan'a, 3, 4. 
Charan'avyiiha, 3, 263. 
Charaka, 46, 191. 
Charakadhwaryu, 30. 
Chhala, 118. 
Chhandas, 57. 
Chhandogas, 263. 
Chhandograntha, 27, 275. 
Chhandogya-upanishad, 46, 49, 

227, 229, 276 ; ii. 21, 48. 
Chit, 239. 
Chitrangada, ii. 108. 

Daityas, 151. 
Daivata, 111. 
Daksha, 91, 194. 
Dakshm'acharins, ] 64. 
Damodaradas, 244. 
Dan'd'ins, 160. 
Darsanas, ii. 11, 13. 
Darsapurn'amasa, 278. 
Dasakumaracharitra, 186. 
Dasra, 19. 
Dasaratha, 300. 
Dattakachandrika, ii. 146. 
Dattakadarpan'a, ii. 146. 
Dattakadidhiti, ii. 146. 
Dattakakaumudi, ii. 146. 
Dattakamimansa, ii. 146. 
Dattakanirn'aya, ii. 146, 158. 
Dattakasiddhantamanjari, ii. 

Dattakatilaka, ii. 146. 



Dayabhaga, ii. 146, 219. 
Dayakramasangraha, ii. 146. 
Dayakaumudi, ii. 158. 
Dayatattwa, ii. 146. 
Devata, 2. 

Devatadhyaya-brahman'a, 46. 
Devimahatmya, 220. 
Dhanurveda, 281. 
Dharan'a, 324. 
Dharma, 91 ; ii. 31. 
Dharmasastra, 179. 
Dharrnasmdhusara, ii. 188. 
Dhavana, 241. 
Dhyana, 324. 
Dhyam-Buddhas, 95. 
Dhr'itarasht'ra, ii. 103, 123. 
Digambaras, 88. 
Dosha, 117. 
Draupadi, ii. 105. 
Dr'isht'anta, 117. 
Dron'a, ii. 105, 115. 
Dron'a-kalasa, 25. 
Durga, 194, 219. 
Durgapuja, 221. 
Duryodhana, ii. 103. 

Gana, 276. 
G-andharvas, 84. 
Gandharvaveda, 281. 
Gan'esa, 221. 
Ganga, 63 ff. 
Garud'a, 64. 
Gautama, 89. 
Gitagovinda, 182. 
Gobhila, ii. 201. 
Gokunath, ii. 56. 
Gopatha-brahman'a, 46 f ., 280. 
Gorakhnath, 161. 
Gotama, 120 ; ii. 15, 25. 
Gravastut, 6. 
Gr'ihya-sutra, 62. 
Gr'itsamada, 12, 23, 272. 
Gun'a, 173. 

Haimakosha, 187. 
Harischandra, 42 ff . 

Harivan^a, 102. 
Havishya, ii. 191. 
Hetu, 119. 
Hetwabhasa, 118. 
Hiran'yakasipu, 296. 
Hitopadesa, 185. 
Hotr'i, 6 f., 31,35,265. 

Indra, 12 ff. f 70 ff., 82 ff., 232, 

259, 272, 290. 
Indrabhuti, 106. 
Indriya, 116. 
Isa-upanishad, 53. 
Iswara, 174, 239, 320 ; ii. 17. 

Jaimini, 3, 29, 109 ; ii. 13. 
Jaiminiya-aswamedha, ii. 96. 
Jaiminiyanyayamalavistara, 2, 


Jainas, 85 fit. 
Jalpa, 118. 
Janaka, 51. 
Jangamas, 160, 162. 
Janmasht'ami, 247. 
Jatavedas, 23. 
Jati, 119. 
Jayadeva, 241. 
Jayadratha, ii. 110. 
Jimutavahana, ii. 156. 
Jina, 88. 
Jivatman, 249. 
Jnana, 116. 
Jnati, ii. 177. 
Jyotisha, 59 f . 
Jyotisht'oma, 26, 275. 

Kabir, 240. 
Kabir-panthis, 241. 
Kadambari, 186. 
Kailasa, 194. 
Kaivalya, 326. 
Kaiyyat'a, 132. 
Kala, 193. 
Kali, 219. 
Kalidasa, 91 f . 



Kalipuja, 222. 
Kalpasiitra, 3, 60, 105. 
Kalpa works, 7, 60 ; ii. 73 ff . 
Kama, 91 f . 
Kama-sutra, 189. 
Kan'ada, 233, 235 ; ii. 16. 
Kan'd'a, 32, 34, 45. 
Kan'd'ika, 32, 45. 
Kan'wa, 12, 45. 
Kapila, 175; ii. 16. 
Kama, ii. 103, 115. 
Karta-bhajas, 254. 
Karttikeya, 221. 
Kasikavr'itti, 128. 
Kat'ha-upanishad, 123. 
Kat'haka-upanishad, 227. 
Kauravas, 103 ; ii. 97. 
Kaushitaki-brahman'a, 4, 35, 


Kauthuma, 275. 
Kena-upanishad, 229. 
Ketu, 151. 
Kichaka, ii. 112. 
Kiratarjuniya, 181. 
Kr'ipa, ii. 102. 
Kr'ishn'a, 84, 91, 221, 251, 305 ; 

ii. 102, 123. 
Kr'ishn'a, ii. 123. 
Kr'ishn'a - Dwaipayana, 3 ; ii. 


Kshatriya, 30 ; ii. 98, 130. 
Kulachara, ii. 217. 
Kumarasambhava, 181. 
Kunti, ii. 102. 
Kuru, ii. 102. 
Kusa, 12. 
Kutsa, 12. 
Kuvera, 154. 

Lakshan'a, 143. 
Lakshmi, 92 ff., 309. 
Lamaism, 94 ft'. 
Linga, 193. 

Madhavacharya, 2, 6, 7, 100 

Madhusudana, 7. 
Madhwacharyas, 248. 
Madhyandina, 32, 45, 278. 
Mahabharata, 78, 102 ff.; ii.89ff. 
Mahabhashya, 129, 132 ; ii. 206. 
Mahakavya, 181. 
^lahanand, 241. 
Maharajas, ii. 52. 
Mahat, 204; ii. 17. 
Mahavira, 89, 105 ff. 
Mahavira-charitra, 105. 
Mahayana, 136. 
Mahayajnas, ii. 191. 
Maitravamn'a, 6. 
Makara, 92. 

Manas, 116, 171, 233, 286. 
Manasara, 192. 
Man'd'ala, life., 272. 
Man'd'ukya-upanishad, 124. 
Mantra, 2, 11, 33, 47, 202, 260 ; 

ii. 10. 
Mami, 1, 4, 23, 107, 122, 210 ; ii. 

21, 145, 148, 218. 
Manobhadra, 67 f. 
Manwantara, 22. 
Markan'd'eya-puran'a, 200. 
Marriage, ii. 138. 
Maruts, 16 ft., 70 f., 158. 
Matsya-puran'a, 144, 204, 293. 
Maya, 174, 288. 
Meghaduta, 181. 
Metempsychosis, 80. 
Mimansa, 1, 2, 29, 108 ; ii. 13. 
Mitakshara, ii. 110, 146, 160, 


Mitra, 18. 
Moksha, 86, 112. 
Mun'd'aka-upanishad, 228, 230. 

Nabhaji, 241. 
Nachiketas, 227. 
Nagojibhat't'a, 132. 
Naigama, 111. 
Naighan't'uka, 111. 
Naivedya, ii. 185. 
Nakula, ii. 103. 
Nalodaya, 181. 


Nandi, 194. 

Mrada, 42 ff. ; ii. 199, 204, 209. 

Nasatya, 19. 

Nesht'r'i, 6. 

Nigamana, 119. 

Nighan't'u, 59. 

Nigraha-sthana, 119. 

Nilakan't'ha S'astri, ii. 7. 

Nirn'aya, 118. 

Nirn'ayasin'dhu, ii. 198. 

Nirukta, 58 f., 111. 

Nirvan'a, 112, 213. 

Nityanand, 251. 

Niyama, 322. 

Nyaya, 77, 115, 284; ii. 13, 25. 

Om, 14. 

Padarthas, 233. 

Paila, 3. 

Pali, 138, 176. 

Pancharatra, 239. 

Panchatantra, 185. 

Panchavinsa-brahman'a, 46. 

Pan'd'avas, 103 ; ii. 97. 

Pan'd'u, ii. 103, 123. 

Pan'i, 16. 

Pan'ini, 49, 56 ff., 126, 224 ; ii. 


Panchika, 34. 
Paramahansas, 162. 
Paramanand, 241. 
Paramatman, 249, 284. 
Parasara, 3, 129. 
Parswanatra, 89. 
Parwati, 202, 219. 
Paryaya, 52. 
Pasupatas, 160. 
Patala, 130. 
Patanjali, 58, 128, 131, 320 ; ii. 


Pavamanya, 34. 
Phala, 117. 
Pingalanaga, 57. 
Pipa, 241. 
Pitr'i, 133. 

Pitr'imedha, 32. 
Pitr'is, 197. 
Polyandry, ii. 131. 
Potr'i, 6. 

Prabodhachandrodaya, 185. 
Pradyumna, 91. 
Prajapati, 14, 135, 265. 
Prajna-paramita, 136. 
Prakr'it, 137, 176. 
Prakr'iti, 170, 325; ii. 17. 
Pralaya, 22. 
Praman'a, 166, 235. 
Prameya, 116. 
Pran'ava, 124. 
Pran'ayama, 322. 
Prapat'haka, 27, 32, 45. 
Prasna-upanishad, 123. 
Prastotr'i, (5. 
Pratihartr'i, 6. 
Pratijna, 119. 
Pratiprasthatr'i, 6. 
Pratisakhya, 58. 
Pratyahara, 323. 
Pratyeka-Buddhas, 95. 
Praud'ha-brahman'a, 46. 
Pravr'itti, 116. 
Prayaschitta, 179; ii. 149. 
Prayojana, 117. 
Pr'itha, ii. 102. 
Pr'ithu, 141. 
Puran'as, 19, 21, 130, 142 ; ii. 

7, 74 ff., 100. 
Purohita, 41. 
Pururavas, ii. 102. 
Purusha, 6, 171, 228, 320; ii. 


Purushamedha, 31, 278, 278A. 
Purushasukta, 1, 4. 
Purva-mimansca, 108, 283 ; ii. 24. 

Eadha, 307. 

Eaghava-pan'd'aviya, 181. 
Kaghuvansa, 181. 
Ejthu, 151. 
Raidas, 241. 
Efijasuya, 35. 
Efijatarangin'!, 152. 


Eakshasas, 13, 33, 154. 

Kama, 156, 300. 

Bamanandas, 239. 

Bamanujas, 237,288. 

Eamayan'a, 63 ff., 77, 155, 220. 

Earn Mohun Boy, ii. 64. 

Ban'ayaniya, 275. 

Bas-yatra, 247. 

Batnakara, ii. 146. 

Eath-yatra, 247. 

Eati, 91. 

Eaudras, 160. 

Bavan'a, 299. 

E'ibhu, 13. 

E'ich, 11 ff., 272. 

E'igveda, Iff., 70 E., 212, 260; 

ii. 46, 66 fE., 78 fE. 
B'ishabha, 89. 
E'ishi, 2,12, 22 fE., 157, 261; ii. 

11, 46, 67. 
B'itusanhara, 181. 
E'itwij, 6, 7, 264. 
Eohita, 43 fE. 
Eudra, 17, 158. 
Budra-sampradaya, 244. 
Eupa, 251. 
Biipaka, 183. 

Sacrifices, 26. 
Sadasya, 6. 
Sagara, 63 fE. 
Sahadeva, ii. 103. 
Sahujas, 254. 
S'aivas, 159. 
S'akala School, 11, 271. 
S'akat'ayana, 128. 
S'akha, 3 ff., 263. 
S'akra, 84. 
S'aktas, 163. 
S'akti, 147. 
S'akuntala, 166. 
S'akyanmni, ii. 12. 
S'alya, ii. 115. 
Saman, 261. 
Samadhi, 324. 
Samanodakas, ii. 172. 

i Samaveda, 1 ff., 27 ff., 46, 260 f ., 

275; ii. 66 ff. 
Samavidhi-brahman'a, 46. 
Samayacliarika-sutra, 61. 
Sam'saya, 117. 
Sam'yama, 325. 
Sanatana, 251. 
Sanhita, 2, 4, 5, 10 ff., 24 ff., 

30 ff. 

Saiihitopanishad, 46. 
S'ankara, 47, 79, 169, 289, 159, 


S'ankaracMrya, 248, 288 ; ii. 8. 
S'ankara- dig vi jay a, 160, 237. 
S'ankhayana-brahman'a, 34 ., 

Sankhya, 77, 170, 226, 284; ii. 

13, 25. 

Sansara, 113. 
Sanskara, 86,175. 
Sanskr'it, 176. 
Saran'yu, 317. 
S'ariraka-mimansa, 284. 
S'arirakamimansa-bhashya, 288. 
S'arngadharapaddhati, 180. 
Sarvamedha, 32. 
Sarvanukraman'i, 62, 281. 
S'atapatha-brahman'a, 4, 45, 49, 

78 f., 196, 261,279; ii. 21,63. 
Sati, 199. 
Sattwa, 172, 211. 
S'aunaka, 60 ff ., 263, 280. 
S'aunaka-brahman'a, 265, 280. 
Savitr'i, 18. 

Sayan'a, 4, 5, 28, 46, 59, 145, 267. 
Sena, 241. 
Seswara, ii. 17. 
Siddhanta, 117,189. 
Siddhanta-kaumudi, 128. 
Siddhantamuktavali, 236 ; ii. 


S'iksha, 56. 
S'ilpasastra, 191, 281. 
Sinhasanadwatrin^ati, 186. 
S'isupalabadha, 181. 
S'iva, 19, 32, 80, 159, 192, 204, 
219, 226. 


S'iva-puran'a, 193. 
Smarta-sutra, 61. 
Smr'iti, 61 ; ii. 216, 227. 
Smr'itichandrika, ii. 146, 162, 


Smr'itisanruchchaya, ii. 207. 
Soma, 10, 12, 16, 19, 24 ff., 46, 

72 f., 195, 265, 273; ii.66. 
Spasht'a-dayakas, 254. 
Spinoza, ii. 33 ff. 
S'raddha, 197 ; ii. 197. 
S'raddha, 91 ; ii. 185. 
S'rauta-siitra, 62. 
S'ravaka, 86 f . 
S'ri, 36, 92, 309. 
S'ri-Anand, 241. 
S'ruti, 47, 61, 229, 262 ; ii. 18, 

Staubhika,27, 275. 
Subrahman'ya, 6. 
S'ukasaptati, 186. 
Sukkanand, 241. 
Sukta, 11 ff., 272. 
Sumantu, 3. 

S'unah'sepha, 42 ft., 314. 
Sunas, ii. 190. 
Surdas, 241. 
Sursuranand, 241. 
Surya, 14,17,259. 
Suryasiddhanta, 190. 
Susruta, 191. 
Suta, ii. 98. 
Sutra, 198. 
Suttee, 199. 
Swarga, 84. 
Swayamvara, ii. 137. 
S'wetambaras, 88. 

Taittiriya, 5, 46 f . 
Taittiriya-aran'yaka, 219. 
Taittiriya-brahman'a, 279, 46. 
Taittiriya-sanhita, 28 ff. 
Talavakara-upanishad, 229. 
Tanias, 172, 211. 
Tan'd'ya-brahman'a, 46. 
Tanmatra, 170, 277 ; ii. 17. 
Tantra, 164, 202. 

Tarka, 118. 
Tarkasangraha, 236. 
Tattwa, 86, 170. 
Tirthakara, 88 f. 
Tittiri, 31. 

Transmigration, 117, 205. 
Trimurti, 204. 
Trivikrama, 19. 
Tugra, 20. 
Tulasidas, 241. 

Udaharan'a, 119. 

Udgatr'i, 6, 7, 31, 265. 

Ugras, 160. 

tThagana, 27. 

Uhyag.aua, 27. 

Ukthya, 26. 

Uma, 194, 219. 

Unnetr'i, 6. 

Upalabdhi, 116. 

Upanishad, 3, 47 ff., 76 f., 224 ; 

ii. 10, 63, 83. 
Upapuran'as, 149. 
Uparupaka, 183. 
Upavedas, 281. 
tTrdhabahus, 162. 
Urvasi, 258 ; ii. 102. 
Ushas, 18, 70, 230. 
Uttaragrantha, 27. 
Uttara-mimansa, 108, 284. 

Vach, 273. 
Vada, 118. 
Vaidic sacrifice, 6 ff. 
Vaisampayana, 3, 276. 
Vaiseshika, 233 ; ii. 16, 228. 
Vaishn'avas, 237. 
Vaishn'avas of Bengal, 250. 
Vaisvadeva, ii. 185. 
Vajapeya, 27. 
Vajasaneyi-sanhita, 32, 46. 
Vajasaneyin, 46. 
Vajin, 30. 
Vala, 16. 

Vallabhacharyas, 243, 253; ii. 



Vamacliarins, 164. 
Vamadeva, 12, 272. 
Vanaprastha, 212. 
Vansa-braliinan'a, 46. 
Varahamihira, 189. 
Vararuchi, 139. 
Vardharnana, 105. 
Varga, 11, 271. 
Varttikas, 132. 
Varun'a, 18, 43 f ., 232, 255. 
Vasavadatta, 186. 
Vasisht'ha, 12, 129, 257, 263, 

272, 311. 

Vasudeva, ii. 102. 
Vayu, 14, 23, 259. 
Vayubhuti, 106. 
Vayu-puran'a, 29. 
Veda, 1, 62, 109, 260, 283 ; ii. 

7ff., 44ff.,87. 
Vedanga, 47, 56 ff . 
Vedanta, 3, 47 f., 77, 81, 161, 

226, 239 ; ii. 8, 19, 25, 64, 


Vedantasara, 288 ; ii. 28. 
Vedanta-sutras, 239, 283. 
Vedi, 36. 

Vetalapanchavinsati, 186. 
Veyagana, 27. 
Vichitravirya, ii. 139, 
Vidushaka, 184. 
Vidyaran'ya, 101. 
Vijnaneswara, 110 ; ii. 160. 
Vira, 105. 
Virat'a, ii. 111. 
Yiramitrodaya, ii. 146, 162. 
Vishn'-u, 18, 77, 80, 83, 92 ff., 

193, 204, 226, 289 ; ii. 102. 
Vishn'u-naradiya, 239. 
Vishn'u-puran'a, 4, 29, 144. 
Vishn'u-Swamin, ii. 51. 

Viswamitra, 12, 258, 272, 311. 
Viswe devas, 12, 272. 
Vit'a, 184. 
Vitan'd'a, 118. 
Vivadacliandra, ii. 146. 
Vivadachintaman'i, ii. 146. 
Vivas wat, 317. 
Vr'iddha-S'atatapa, ii. 157. 
Vr'ihaspati, 196 ; ii. 156, 199. 
Vr'itra, 16 ff., 82. 
Vr'ihatkatM, 186. 
Vyasa,3, 103, 130, 142, 200, 315; 

ii. 13, 98. 
Vyakaran'a, 57. 
Vyavahara, 179 ; ii. 149. 
Vyavahara-Madhaviya, ii. 146, 

Vyavaharamayukha, ii. 146, 


Yadu, ii. 102. 

Yajamana, 6, 25. 

Yajurveda, 1 ff ., 28 ff., 260, 276 ; 

ii. 46, 66 ff. 
Yajnavalkya, 29 f., 45, 110, 277 ; 

ii. 218, 145, 148. 
Yajnavedi, 25. 
Yaksha, 154, 211. 
Yama, 13, 227, 317, 322. 
Yami, 317. 
Yaska, 2, 14 f., 17 f., 58 f., Ill, 

289 ; ii. 83. 
Yati, 86 f. 

Yoga, 79, 161, 320 ; ii. 25. 
Yoni, 25, 27. 
Yogins, 161. 
Yudhisht'hira, ii. 103. 
Yuga, 328. 

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