The Indian poetry is full of instances of this strong desire for offspring. In the Ramayana, king Dasaratha performs the Aswamedha, or offering of a horse, to obtain a son. "To this magnanimous king, acquainted in every duty, pre-eminent in virtue, and performing sacred austerities for the sake of obtaining children, there was no son to perpetuate his family. At length in the anxious mind of this noble one the thought arose, 'Why do I not perform an Ushwamedha to obtain a son.'" CAREY and MARSHMAN's translation, sect. viii. p. 74. Compare the Raghu Vansa, canto i., and all that is done by king Dilipa to obtain a son: and the poem of the death of Hidimbha, published by Bopp.]
[Footnote 10: p. 3. l. 14. —in his hospitable hall. Hospitality to a Brahmin is of course one of the greatest virtues. "A Brahmin coming as a guest, and not received with just honour, takes to himself all the reward of the housekeeper's former virtue, even though he had been so temperate as to live on the gleanings of harvests, and so pious as to make oblations in five distinct fires." Sir W. JONES, Menu, iii. 100.]
[Footnote 11: p. 3. l. 22. —as around great Indra's queen. Sachi.
Sachi, soft as morning light, Blithe Sachi, from her lord Indrani hight.—Sir W. JONES's Hymn to Indra.]
[Footnote 12: p. 4. l. 2. Mid her handmaids, like the lightning. There are two words of similar signification in the original; one of them implies life-giving. Lightning in India being the forerunner of the rainy season, is looked on as an object of delight as much as terror. BOPP, from the Scholiast.]
[Footnote 13: p. 4. l. 2. —shone she with her faultless form. Sri, or Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty and abundance, at once the Ceres and the Alma Venus of India.
Daughter of ocean and primeval night, Who fed with moonbeams dropping silent dew, And cradled in a wild wave dancing light.—Sir W. JONES's Ode to Lacshmi.]
[Footnote 14: p. 4. l. 4. —never mid the Yaksha race. The Yakshas are demigods attendant on Kuvera, the god of wealth, descendants of Kasyapa by his wife Khasa. They inhabit mountains, and have intercourse with the Apsarasas, or heavenly nymphs. Sometimes they appear not altogether as good beings, sometimes entirely harmless. "The souls of men enslaved to their passions will rise no higher than the Yakshas." MENU, xii. 47. The subject of the Meghaduta, or Cloud-Messenger of Kalidasa, so elegantly translated by Mr. Wilson, is the regret of a Yaksha for his beloved wife. Compare Mr. Wilson's note on the Yakshas, Cloud Messenger, p. 69.]
[Footnote 15: p. 4. l. 7. Nala too, 'mong kings the tiger. Nara Sardula, the Tiger warrior. I have retained the literal meaning, though, according to Bopp, it means in fine compositi, Optimus, praestantissimus. Mr. Southey's Young Tlalala, in Madoc, is the "tiger of the war."]
[Footnote 16: p. 4. l. 8. Like Kandarpa in his beauty. Kandarpa is the god of love. Kama, Love, or Kam Deo, God of Love. Dipaka, the Inflamer. Manmatha, Heart-disturber. Ananga, the Incorporeal.
God of each lovely sight, each lovely sound. Soul-kindling, world-inflaming, star y-crowned, Eternal Cama! or doth Smara bright, Or proud Ananga give thee more delight—SIR W. JONES, Ode to Camdeo.]
[Footnote 17: p. 4. l. 12. Thus of each, O son of Kunti. Kunti was the mother of King Yudishthira, to whom the poem is related. I have usually omitted this address, which is sometimes made to Yudishthira under the title of Bharata, i. e. descendant of Bharata, or other appellations.]
[Footnote 18: p. 4. l. 15. There the swans he saw disporting. In the original this is a far less poetic bird, and the author must crave forgiveness for having turned his geese into swans. If, however, we are to believe Bohlen, in his learned work, Das Alte Indien, the translators are altogether mistaken; they have been misled by the similarity of the word Hansa to Gans—a goose. The original, he asserts, to mean a mythic bird, closely resembling the swan, or perhaps the tall and brilliant flamingo, which Southey has introduced with such effect in one of his rich descriptions in the Curse of Kehama. The goose, however, according to the general opinion, is so common in Indian mythology, that this must be received with much caution. In the modern Tamulic version of the story, translated by Mr. Kindersley, are substituted, "Milk white Aunnays, descending from the skies, like an undulating garland of pearls." The Aunnays are supposed to be a sort of birds of paradise. They are represented as milk white; remarkable for the gracefulness of their walk; and endowed with considerable gifts. Mr. Wilson, in his Meghaduta, has given me a precedent for the change of geese into swans; see p. 27, v. 71, with the note. And Mr. Ellis, Asiatic Researches, vol. xiv. p. 29, has the following note on the subject: "There are three distinctions of Hamsa; the Raja-hamsa, with a milk-white body and deep red beak and legs, this is the Phenicopteros, or flamingo; the Mallicacsha-hamsa, with brownish beak and legs; and the Dhartarashtra-hamsa, with black beak and legs: the latter is the European swan, the former a variety. The gait of an elegant woman is compared by the Hindu poets to the proud bearing of a swan in the water. Sonnerat, making a mistake similar to that in the text, translates a passage in which this allusion occurs, in words to the following purport, 'Her gait resembled that of a goose.' Other writers have fallen into the same error." The swans, ou Plutot les Genies ailes, play the same part in an extract from the Harivansa, translated by M. Langlois, in his Monumens Litteraires de l'Inde, Paris, 1827, p. 158. The first part of the Harivansa has just appeared, under the auspices of the Oriental Translation Committee.]
[Footnote 19: p. 5. l. 4. Like the Aswinas in beauty. See Asiatic Researches, i. 263; ix. 323. Ramayana, i. 226.]
[Footnote 20: p. 5. l. 7. Gandharvas. Celestial choristers, of beautiful forms and complexion, usually seen in Hindu sculptures attendant on the deities.
Celestial genii tow'rd their king advance (So called by men) in heaven Gandharvas named, For matchless music famed. Soon when the bands in lucid rows assemble, Flutes breathe, and citherns tremble.
SIR W. JONES, Ode to Indra.—See Ramayana, l. 125.]
[Footnote 21: p. 5. l. 7. the Serpents. The serpents are objects of reverence and veneration in India. They are called Naga, not going; Uragas—breast-going. Their residence is in Patala, though they are occasional visitants both of heaven and earth. See notes to book V. In the Bhagavat Gita, Arjun sees Brahma "sitting on his lotus-throne; all the Reshees and Ooragas (serpents)," Wilkins' translation, p. 91. According to Wilson, (Sanscrit Dict. voce Naga), the race of these beings is said to have sprung from Kadru, the wife of Kasyapa, in order to people Patala, or the regions below the earth.]
[Footnote 22: p. 5. l. 7. The Rakshasas. Demons who assume at will the forms of lions, tigers, horses, and other animals, as well as the human shape, with numerous heads and arms. They are represented as cannibals who devour their enemies. See Ramayana.]
[Footnote 23: p. 6. l. 6. —and with passion heart-possessed. It is, literally, her mind (or thought), being possessed by the heart-sleeper, (i. e. love, reposing or dwelling in the heart). WILSON.]
[Footnote 24: p. 6. l. 8. The Swayembara. The self-election. The princesses in India enjoyed this singular privilege. The festival was proclaimed, and from the assembled suitors the lady selected her future husband. The Swayembara is not among the eight kinds of marriages mentioned in the third book of Menu, as customary among the higher castes, in which the parents in general arrange such contracts. The provision in the ninth book (v. 90), appears to belong to the lower classes.—"Three years let a damsel wait, though she be marriageable; but after that term let her choose for herself a bridegroom of equal rank." In the Raghuvansa, a poem, parts of which the author of this translation, if he could command leisure to make himself better acquainted with Sanscrit, would consider well worthy of being introduced to the English reader, there is a very remarkable and beautiful book, describing a Swayembara. This is likewise held at Vidarbha by the daughter of the king. The Mahabharata also describes the Swayembara of the princess Draupadi.]
[Footnote 25: p. 6. l. 17. The lord of many peasants. Vaisya, the third caste, husbandmen and traders.]
[Footnote 26: p. 6. l. 22. All with rich and various garlands. The use of garlands in the decoration of the houses and temples of the Hindus, and of flowers in their offerings and festivals, furnishes employment to a particular tribe or caste, the malacaras, or wreath makers. WILSON, note 57, on Meghaduta or Cloud-messenger.]
[Footnote 27: p. 7. l. 2. Indra's world. Indra is the God of heaven, of the thunder and lightning, storm and rain: his dwelling is sometimes placed on mount Meru, as the heaven of the Greeks on Olympus. His city is called Amaravati; his palace Vaijayanti; his garden Nandana. (KOSEGARTEN.)
Hail, mountain of delight, Palace of glory, bless'd by glory's king. With prospering shade embower me, whilst I sing Thy wonders yet unreached by mortal flight. Sky-piercing mountain! in thy bowers of love, No tears are seen, save where medicinal stalks Weep drops balsamic o'er the silvered walks. No plaints are heard, save where the restless dove Of coy repulse, and mild reluctance talks. Mantled in woven gold, with gems inchas'd, With emerald hillocks graced, From whose fresh laps, in young fantastic mazes, Soft crystal bounds and blazes, Bathing the lithe convolvulus that winds Obsequious, and each flaunting arbour binds.—SIR W. JONES, Ode to Indra.]
[Footnote 28: p. 7. l. 3. Narada and Parvata. Two of the divine Munis or Rishis. Narada is the son of Brahma; a friend of Krishna, a celebrated lawgiver, and inventor of the vina, or lute. (WILSON, Dict. in voce.) Narada is mentioned as one of the "ten lords of created beings, eminent in holiness." MENU, i. 34, 35.]
[Footnote 29: p. 7. l. 5. Them salutes the cloud-compeller. 'Maghavan' is by some explained 'the cloudy.' I have adopted the word used by the translators of Homer.]
[Footnote 30: p. 7. l. 12. Theirs this everlasting kingdom. Kshetriyas, or warriors, slain in battle, are transported to Swerga, the heaven of Indra, by the Apsarasas or nymphs of heaven: hence they are his "ever-honoured guests." "Those rulers of the earth, who, desirous of defeating each other, exert their utmost strength in battle, without ever averting their faces, ascend after death directly to heaven." MENU, vii. 89. Indra means to say, "Why are none new-killed in battle now-a-days, that I see none arriving in my heaven, Swerga?"]
[Footnote 31: p. 7. l. 12. —even as Kamadhuk is mine. Kamadhuk, the cow of plenty. She was brought forth on churning the ocean to produce the amrita, or drink of immortality. The interpretation is doubtful; it may be that this realm is to them the cow of plenty, (as bestowing upon them all their wishes), as the cow of plenty is mine. See BOPP's and KOSEGARTEN's notes.]
[Footnote 32: p. 7. l. 15. Thus addressed by holy Sakra. Sakra, a name of Indra.
Hail, Dyapeter, dismay to Bala's pride, Or speaks Purander best thy martial fame, Or Sacra, mystic name.—SIR W. JONES, Hymn to Indra.
Bala and Vritra were the "giants" slain by Indra.]
[Footnote 33: p. 7. l. 23. As they spake, the world-protectors. The world-protectors are the eight gods next below the trine supreme, Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu. They are Indra, the god of heaven; Surya, the god of the sun; Soma or Chandra, the god of the moon; Agni, the god of fire; Pavana, the god of the wind; Kuvera, the god of wealth; Varuna, the god of water; Yama, the god of the infernal regions. At present four only of these gods are introduced; Indra, Yama, Agni, and Varuna. Compare, however, Mr. WILSON's note to Vikrama and Urvasi, Hindu Theatre, i. 219.]
[Footnote 34: p. 8. l. 8. —equal to the god of love. Manmatha, a name of Kandarpa, or Camdeo, the god of love.]
[Footnote 35: p. 11. l. 2. Pledge me to thy faith, O raja. Bopp has rendered 'pranayaswa,' uxorem duc, but this is questionable. The root 'ni,' with the preposition 'pari,' has that sense, but with 'pra' its usual acceptation is 'to love, to bear affection.' I have not met with it in the sense 'to marry.' Bopp is followed by Rosen in assigning this sense to 'prani.' WILSON.]
[Footnote 36: p. 7. l. 4. In full trust is thine. Bopp connects 'visrabdha' with 'pranaya,' and renders them speratas nuptias. I should rather join it adverbially with 'sarvam, all;' that is, 'yours in full trust or confidence: grant me your affection.' There is something indelicate, though inartificial, in Damayanti's urging matrimony so earnestly. WILSON.]
[Footnote 37: p. 11. l. 8. —the vile noose will I endure. Hanging was not considered by the Hindus an undignified mode of self-destruction. See Hindu Theatre, ii. 237 and 299.]
[Footnote 38: p. 11. l. 17. He, who all the world compressing. Nala here recites the separate pretensions and attributes of the great deities, first, of Hutasa, a name of Agni, the god of fire. The sense here is extremely obscure. Bopp renders it literally. 'Qui hanc terram totam contraxit,' seems ambiguous. It may refer to the agency of fire in compacting the world and again consuming it, or simply shrivelling it up, while in the act of consuming.]
[Footnote 39: p. 11. l. 19. He, in awe of whose dread sceptre. Yama: he is called the Dharma raja, king of justice. WILFORD in Asiatic Researches. Compare SOUTHEY's description in the Curse of Kehama, Canto xxii., with the note from Wilford on which it is founded; and his interview with Sawitri in BOPP's collection of Extracts from the Mahabharata.]
[Footnote 40: p. 11. l. 21. —slayer of the infernal host. Indra. He was the conqueror of the Danavas or daemons:
When through the waves of war thy charger sprang, Each rock rebellowed, and each forest rang, The vanquish'd Asurs felt avenging pains.—SIR W. JONES, Ode to Indra.]
[Footnote 41: p. 11. l. 23. —in thy mind if thou couldst choose. (At the close full stop misprinted for comma). Varuna, the god of waters. Schlegel and Rosen consider that a sloka, describing the attributes of Varuna, has been lost—that in this line 'varanam, seligendum' should be written instead of 'Varunam.' The Calcutta edition has the same reading, however, and the change is not necessary: if any alteration be made it should probably be in the first word, and 'Vriyatam' be read in place of 'Kriyatam.' WILSON.]
[Footnote 42: p. 14. l. 1. Came the day of happy omen. The Indians, like all other Asiatic nations, have their fortunate and unfortunate days. The month is divided into thirty lunar days (tithis), which are personified as nymphs. See the Dissertation on the lunar year by Sir W. JONES, Asiatic Researches, iii. 257. In the Laws of Menu are multifarious directions concerning the day of the moon fit or unfit for particular actions. "The dark lunar day destroys the spiritual teacher; the fourteenth destroys the learner; the eighth and the day of the full moon destroy all remembrance of Scripture; for which reason he must avoid reading on those lunar days."]
[Footnote 43: p. 14. l. 5. They, the court with golden columns, etc. The literal rendering is, 'they entered the hall (the stage, or place of exhibition, a spacious court or quadrangle) splendid with columns of gold, and brilliant with a portal; a temporary or triumphal arch (torana).' There is allusion to such a porch or portal in the Mudra Rakshasa (Hindu Theatre, ii. 181, 182), also in the Toy Cart, (i. 82). For gold pillars see CRAWFURD's description of the Hall of Audience at Ava.
"The roof is supported by a great number of pillars: with the exception of about fourteen or fifteen inches at the bottom of each pillar, painted of a bright red, the whole interior of the palace is one blaze of gilding—although little reconcilable to our notions of good taste in architecture, the building is unquestionably most splendid and brilliant, and I doubt whether so singular and imposing a royal edifice exists in any other country." Embassy to Ava, 133. WILSON.]
[Footnote 44: p. 14. l. 10. —delicate in shape and hue. Bopp's text is 'akaravantah suslakshnah, having forms and delicate.' The Calcutta edition reads 'akaraverna suslakshnah, elegant in figure and colour (complexion). Delicacy of colour, i. e. a lighter shade, scarcely amounting to blackness at all, is in general a mark of high caste. WILSON.]
[Footnote 45: p. 14. l. 13. As with serpents Bhogavati. Bhogavati, the capital of the serpents in the infernal world. In the Ramayana, Ayodhya is described as guarded by warriors, as Bhogavati by the serpents.]
[Footnote 46: p. 15. l. 22. Nala's form might not discern. The form of the gods, as it is here strikingly described by the poet, differs from that of men by the absence of those defects which constitute the inferiority of a mortal body to that of the inhabitants of the Indian heaven. The immortal body does not perspire, it is unsoiled by dust, the garlands which they wear stand erect, that is, the flowers are still blooming and fresh. The gods are further distinguished by their strong fixed gaze, and by floating on the earth without touching it. They have no shadow. Nala's form is the opposite of all these. KOSEGARTEN.]
[Footnote 47: p. 15. l. 23. —saw she, and with moveless eyes. "The gods are supposed to be exempt from the momentary elevation and depression of the upper eyelid, to which mortals are subject. Hence a deity is called 'Animisha' or 'Animesha,' one whose eyes do not twinkle." Mr. Wilson, in his note to Vikrama and Urvasi, (Hindu Theatre, i. 237. p. 60.), quotes this passage, and suggests that the "marble eyes of Venus, by which Helen knew the goddess, and which the commentators and translators seem to be much perplexed with, are probably the 'stabdha lochana,' the fixed eyes of the Hindus, full and unveiled for an instant, like the eyes of a marble statue." Mr. Wilson has, I think, been misled by the words [Greek: hommata marmaironta], which rather expresses the contrary. [Greek: Marmairo] is to glitter, and is applied in many places in Homer to the gleaming of armour. The [Greek: marmarigas theeito podon] of the Odyssey is well translated by Gray, "glance their many-twinkling feet." In Mr. Wilson's curious reference to Heliodorus (the passage is in the AEthiopica, iii. 13.) the author appears to write from Egyptian rather than Grecian notions. He extorts, somewhat violently, a meaning from Homer's words, [Greek: deino de ei esse phaanthen], which they by no means necessarily bear; but the analogy is as curious if Egyptian as if Grecian.]
[Footnote 48: p. 15. l. 25. On his shadow, garland drooping. According to the Zoroastrian religion, one of the distinctions of human beings after the restoration of all things and the final triumph of Ormuzd, shall be that they shall cast no shadow; [Greek: mete skian paiountas]. THEOPOMP. apud Plut. de Isid. et Osirid. Compare ANQUETIL DU PERRON and KLEUKER, Anhang zum Zendavesta, i. 140.]
[Footnote 49: p. 16. l. 14. And the happy pair devoutly. The devotion of the silent spirit, the purely mental worship, is the holiest and most acceptable service to the gods. Compare WILKINS, Bhagavat-Gita, p. 74; MENU, ii. 85; vi. 235.]
[Footnote 50: p. 16. l. 19. Agni gave his own bright presence. Agni gave him the command of fire whenever he willed. Hutasa is a name of Agni; hut-asa, 'qui sacrificium edit,' i. e. ignis. Bopp's explanation, 'mundos per Deum Agnem splendentes,' has been adopted as giving the clearest sense. Varuna gave the command of water.]
[Footnote 51: p. 16. l. 23. —each his double blessing gave. Bopp translates this, 'par liberorum dederunt,' but the original says, 'all (or each) gave a pair,' i. e. a couple of blessings; making eight, as stated above; each of the four gods giving two. WILSON.]
[Footnote 52: p. 17. l. 4. Lived in bliss, as with his Sachi. Indra, the giant-killer; Sachi, his spouse.]
[Footnote 53: p. 17. l. 7. Of the horse the famous offering. The reader will be best acquainted with the Aswamedha, or sacrifice of the horse, from the spirit and felicity with which it has been introduced by Southey in the Curse of Kehama. See also the Ramayana.]
[Footnote 54: p. 18. l. 2. As they parted thence, with Kali. Dwapara and Kali are the names of the third and fourth ages of the world. The latter is here personified as a male deity.]
[Footnote 55: p. 18. l. 17. —the Puranas too the fifth. In the original 'Akhyana, history, legend.' The four Vedas are the Rig-veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Atharvana. Akhyana is, as it were, tradition superadded to scripture.]
[Footnote 56: p. 20. l. 5. Nala in the dusky twilight, etc. This is rather an unmanageable passage; but the Latin translation has not rendered its purport correctly. 'Upaspris' can in no case mean 'calcare:' it implies touching, and especially touching or sipping water, as part of the ceremony of purification. As Menu; "Let each man sprinkle the cavities of his body, and taste water in due form, etc." In the text of this passage, 'upaspris' is used for touching or sprinkling. In others, it is used in the sense of ablution, bathing. In the lexicons it is explained 'upasparsa sparsamatre, snanachamanay-orapi, touch in general, ablution, sipping water.' In the Mitakshara, on the subject of personal purification, the direction is, after evacuations, 'Dwijo nityam upaspriset, Let the man of two births always perform the upaspersa,' i. e. says the commentator, 'achamet, let him sip water.' The sense of the passage of the text is, 'that Nala sat down to evening prayer; (as Menu directs, he who repeats it sitting at evening twilight, etc.,) after performing his purifications, and sipping water, but without having washed his feet, such ablution being necessary not because they had been soiled, but because such an act is also part of the rite of purification. As the Mitakshara, 'etasmat pada prakshalana prapti, after that purification, comes the washing of the feet,' especially prior to any religious act. So Colebrooke: "Having washed his hands and feet, and having sipped water, the priest sits down to worship." A. R. v. 363. WILSON.]
[Footnote 57: p. 20. l. 12. In the dice of dice embodied. 'Sicut taurus boum:' the literal translation of the phrase is explained by the commentator Nilakantha, as 'talus inter talos eximius.' I have adopted Schlegel's reading, which substitutes Dwapara for Kali, as possessing the dice.]
[Footnote 58: p. 20. l. 23. Then the charioteer advancing. The charioteer appears as one of the great officers of state: the master of the horse would convey as lofty a meaning to an English ear.]
[Footnote 59: p. 21. l. 1. Ill they brook this dire misfortune. Vyasana is a misfortune in a king: neglect of his duty for the pleasures of the chase, gambling, etc.]
[Footnote 60: p. 22. l. 1. Punyasloka, king of men. Punyasloka is a title applied to other kings celebrated in Hindu poetry, to Yudishthira, and also to Vishnu: it means, celebrated in sacred poems. WILSON, Dict. in voce.]
[Footnote 61: p. 23. l. 13. —to Cundina's city go. Cundina is the capital of the kingdom of Vidarbha.]
[Footnote 62: p. 23. l. 23. Thence departing, to Ayodhya. Ayodhya, or Oude, is famous in all the early poetry of India. "On the banks of the Suruyoo is a large country called Koshula, gay and happy, and abounding with cattle, corn, and wealth. In that country was a famous city called Ayodhya, built formerly by Munoo, the lord of men. A great city, twelve yojanas in extent, the houses of which stood in triple and long-extended rows. It was rich, and perpetually adorned with new improvements; the streets and valleys were admirably disposed, and the principal streets well watered. It was filled with merchants of various descriptions, and adorned with abundance of jewels; difficult of access, filled with spacious houses, beautified with gardens, and groves of mango trees, surrounded by a deep and impassable moat, and completely furnished with arms; was ornamented with stately gates and porticoes, and constantly guarded by archers, etc. etc." Ramayana, translated by CAREY and MARSHMAN, vol. i. p. 60.]
[Footnote 63: p. 25. l. 16. —to the region of the south. Dakshinaptha signifies properly the land on the right hand; as in the Semitic language the south is that which is on the right hand. It means here the land to the south of the Nerbudda. Dakshinapatha is very probably meant in the word used by Arrian, Dachinabades. KOSEGARTEN.]
[Footnote 64: p. 25. l. 17. Passing by Avanti's city. Avanti, which Bopp makes a mountain, according to Kosegarten and Mr. Wilson is a city, Oujein. Bopp draws a somewhat fanciful analogy between Avanti and the Aventine at Rome. He refers also to Himavan, qu. Mavanten, 'montem.' The philological student will do well to consult this note of Bopp. In the Meghaduta, Oujein is Aventi:
Behold the city, whose immortal fame, Glows in Avanti's or Visala's name. line 193.
The synonyms of Oujein are thus enumerated by Hemachandra: Ujjayini, Visala, Avanti, and Pashparavandini. Rikshavan, i. e. bear-having, the mount of bears, is part of the Vindhya chain, separating Malwa from Kandesh and Berar. WILSON.]
[Footnote 65: p. 25. l. 18. Vindhya here, the mighty mountain. See note to 'Cloud-Messenger,' page 92 to 94. Compare likewise Asiatic Researches, i. p. 380, where, in one of the famous inscriptions on the staff of Feroz Shah, it is named as one of the boundaries of Aryaverta, the land of virtue, or India. It is named also in the curious Indian grant of land found at Tanna. Asiatic Researches, i. 366.]
[Footnote 66: p. 25. l. 18. —and Payoshni's seaward stream. Payoshni, a river that flows from the Vindhya, mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana. Asiatic Researches, viii. 341.]
[Footnote 67: p. 25. l. 20. —this to Cosala away. Cosala, a city of Ayodhya, or Oude. Cosala is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana as beyond the Vindhya mountains. Asiatic Researches, viii. 343.]
[Footnote 68: p. 27. l. 7. Both together by one garment. The poet supposes that Damayanti had bestowed half her single garment upon Nala. BOPP. This, however, does not appear to be the case.]
[Footnote 69: p. 28. l. 4. From her virtue none dare harm her. Spenser's Una, and still more the lady in Comus, will recur to the remembrance of the English reader. See Quarterly Review, vol. xlv. p. 20.]
[Footnote 70: p. 28. l. 24. —may the genii of the woods. He calls on the Adityas, Vasavas, and Rudras, the Aswinas, the Maruts. This is the literal version. They are different orders of genii, each consisting of a definite number. The Adityas are twelve, and preside over the different months. They are called the children of Kasyapa and of Aditi his wife. According to Mr. Wilkins (notes to the Bhagavat-Gita, p. 144), they are no more than emblems of the sun for each month in the year. Mr. Wilkins gives their names:
The Vasavas, or Vasus, are eight. Indra is the first. They are the guardians of the world, and apparently the same with the eight gods mentioned in the early part of the poem.
The Rudras are eleven; according to some the eleven personifications of Siva, who bears the name of Rudra. Bhagavat-Gita, p. 85. note 144. "The lord of creation meditated profoundly on the earth, and created the gods, the Vasus, Rudras, and Adityas." COLEBROOKE, in Asiatic Researches, viii. 453.
For the Aswinas see former note.
The Maruts are forty-nine: they preside over the winds (MENU, iii. 88.) The chief god of the wind, Pavana, is called Marut. Their origin is described in the Ramayana, i. 420. See also the Hindu Pantheon, p. 92.]
[Footnote 71: p. 30. l. 14. Hence one moment, thus deserted. Conjugal duty is carried to a great height in the laws of Menu: "Though unobservant of approved usages, or enamoured of another woman, or devoid of good qualities, yet a husband must constantly be revered as a god by a virtuous wife." v. 154.]
[Footnote 72: p. 31. l. 11. —in the satyr-haunted wood. Swapada, dog-footed: the dog is an unclean animal in India. As the goat-footed, the 'capripedes satyri' in Greece, I have thought the satyr not so exclusively Greek but that it might be used for any "wild man of the woods." The word is also derived from 'swan, a dog,' and 'apad, to resemble,' and is explained by Mr. Wilson, ferocious, savage.]
[Footnote 73: p. 32. l. 21. —uttered loud her curse of wrath. The power of a curse, according to Indian belief, will be best illustrated to the reader of English poetry by "the Curse of Kehama." In the "Death of Yajnadatta," included in this volume, we find the effects of a Brahmin's curse described.]
[Footnote 74: p. 33. l. 5. Trees of every form and stature. I have omitted a long list of trees, the names of which, conveying no notion to an English ear, and wanting the characteristic epithets of Ovid's or of Spenser's well-known and picturesque forest description, would only perplex the reader with several lines of unintelligible words. To the Indian ear these names, pregnant with pleasing associations, and descriptive in their etymological meaning, would no doubt convey the same delight as those of the Latin or English poet.]
[Footnote 75: p. 33. l. 9. —serpents, elves, and giants saw. Kosegarten has translated this word 'elves:' they are a kind of evil spirit. In Menu, ii. 96, they are named with the Yakshas and Rakshasas as partaking of unclean food.]
[Footnote 76: p. 35. l. 22. All the trees of richest foliage. A general description has again been substituted in these two lines for the names of various trees.]
[Footnote 77: p. 36. l. 4. —of the regal sacrifice. The king's offering. See COLEBROOKE, in Asiatic Researches, viii. 430.]
[Footnote 78: p. 36. l. 15. —soma quaffing, fire adoring. Soma, the juice of the Asclepias acida, the moon plant. Drinking the expressed juice of this plant is a holy ceremony, used at the completion of a sacrifice, and sanctifies the drinker. "He alone is worthy to drink the juice of the moon plant who keep a provision of grain sufficient to supply those whom the law commands him to nourish, for the term of three years or more. But a twice-born man, who keeps a less provision of grain, yet presumes to taste the juice of the moon plant, shall gather no fruit from that sacrament, even though he taste it at the first or solemn, or much less at any occasional ceremony." MENU, iii. 197. All the ancestors of the Brahmins are 'Soma-pas, moon-plant drinkers.']
[Footnote 79: p. 36. l. 15. —fire adoring. Watching or maintaining the sacred fire is another duty: it peculiarly belongs to priests and hermits. The latter may watch the fire mentally: "Then having reposited his holy fires, as the law directs, in his mind, let him live without external fire, without a mansion, wholly silent, feeding on roots and fruit." MENU, vi. 25.]
[Footnote 80: p. 37. l. 2. —sweet as the amrita draught. For the amrita, the drink of immortality, see Curse of Kehama, the extract from the Mahabharata quoted by Mr. Wilkins in his notes to the Bhagavat-Gita, and Ramayana, I. 410.]
[Footnote 81: p. 37. l. 10. To the ancient famous hermits. These famous hermits, whose names I have omitted, were Bhrigu, Atri, and Vasishta.]
[Footnote 82: p. 37. l. 11. Self-denying, strict in diet. The sixth book of Menu is filled with instructions to those who are engaged in 'tapasa:' it is entitled, "On Devotion." "When the father of a family perceives his muscles become flaccid, and his hair gray, and sees the child of his child, let him then seek refuge in a forest. Abandoning all food eaten in towns, and all his household utensils, let him repair to the lonely wood, committing the care of his wife to her sons, or accompanied by her, if she choose to attend him. Let him take up his consecrated fire, and all his domestic implements of making oblations to it, and departing from the town to the forest, let him dwell in it with complete power over his organs of sense and of action. With many sorts of pure food, such as holy sages used to eat, with green herbs, roots, and fruit, let him perform the five great sacraments before mentioned, introducing them with due ceremonies. Let him wear a black antelope's hide, or a vesture of bark; let him suffer the hairs of his head, his beard, and his nails, to grow continually." MENU, vi. 2. et seqq.]
[Footnote 83: p. 37. l. 18. pulchris femoribus. Clausulam hanc prudens omisi.]
[Footnote 84: p. 37. l. 25. Take thy seat, they said, oh lady. The hospitality of the hermits to Damayanti is strictly according to law. "With presents of water, roots, and fruit, let him honour those who visit his hermitage."]
[Footnote 85: p. 37. l. 27. In your sacred fires, your worship. "Let him, as the law directs, make oblations on the hearth with three sacred fires." MENU, vi. 9. Compare iv. 25.]
[Footnote 86: p. 37. l. 27. —blameless, with your beasts and birds. Hermits were to have "a tender affection for all animated bodies," MENU, vi. 8.]
[Footnote 87: p. 38. l. 12. —twice-born Sages, know ye me. The three first castes are "twice-born." The first birth is from the natural mother; the second from the ligation of the zone; the third from the due performance of the sacrifice: such are the births of him who is usually called twice-born, according to the text of the Veda: among them his divine birth is that which is distinguished by the ligation of the zone and sacrificial cord, and in that birth the Gayatri is his mother, and the Acharya his father. MENU, ii. 169.]
[Footnote 88: p. 39. l. 15. Through devotion now we see him. The kind of prophetic trance, in which holy men, abstracted from all earthly thoughts, were enwrapt, enabled them to see things future.]
[Footnote 89: p. 40. l. 6. Best of trees, the Asoca blooming. The Asoca is a shrub consecrated to Mahadeva; men and women of all classes ought to bathe, on a particular day, in some holy stream, especially the Brahma-putra, and drink water with the buds of the Asoca floating in it. This shrub is planted near the temples of Siva, and grows abundantly on Ceylon. Sita is said to have been confined in a grove of it, while in captivity by Ravana; other relators say that she was confined in a place or house called Asocavan. The Asoca is a plant of the first order of the eighth class, of leguminous fructification, and bears flowers of exquisite beauty. Van Rheede (Hortus Malab. vol. v. tab. 59.) calls it Asjogam. See Asiatic Researches, iii. 254, 277. MOOR, Hindu Pantheon, 55.]
[Footnote 90: p. 40. l. 17. Truly be thou named Asoca. Asoca, from a, privative, and soka, grief: a play of words, as when Helen, in Euripides, is called '[Greek: 'Elenas], the destroyer of ships.' Many other instances will occur to the classical reader. In Malati and Madhava, the forlorn lover in turn addresses different objects of nature, the clouds, the birds, and the elephants, to inform him whether they have seen his lost mistress. ACT ix. See, however, Mr. WILSON's note, who seems to think that he addresses the sylvan deities.]
[Footnote 91: p. 42. l. 8. —Manibhadra, guard us well. Manibhadra, the tutelar deity of travellers and merchants: probably a name of Kuvera, the god of wealth.]
[Footnote 92: p. 42. l. 11. To the realm of Chedi's sovereign. Chedi is the name of the country now called Chandail. The country is perpetually named in the marriage of Roukmini, extracted from the Harivansa by Mons. LANGLOIS, Monumens de l'Inde, p. 96.]
[Footnote 93: p. 43. Compare the Raghuvansa, ch. v. 43 to 49.]
[Footnote 94: p. 43. l. 12.
—lo, a herd of elephants, Oozing moisture from their temples—
Where the wild elephant delights to shed The juice exuding fragrant from his head
WILSON's Cloud-Messenger, p. 127, and note.]
[Footnote 95: p. 44. l. 7. —the three worlds seemed all appalled. Swerga, heaven, Martya or Bhumi, the earth, and Patala, hell.]
[Footnote 96: p. 44. l. 21. And Vaisravana the holy. Vaisravana is another name of Kuvera, the god of wealth.]
[Footnote 97: p. 45. l. 13. In some former life committed. The soul, in its transmigration, expiates the sins committed in a former state of being. This necessary corollary from the doctrine of the metempsychosis appear to have prevailed among the pharisaic Jews in the time of our Saviour: "Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind." JOHN, ix. 2.]
[Footnote 98: p. 46. l. 15. —in their curious gamesome play. Kutuhalat, rendered by Bopp 'cum voluptate,' means, 'from curiosity.' WILSON.]
[Footnote 99: p. 47. l. 13. I with but one robe, him naked. Bopp's text is incorrect here. Instead of 'Tam. ekavasanam,' the accusative masculine, it should be 'Tam. ekavasana, I with one garment clad,' the nominative feminine, referring to Damayanti, not to Nala: "I with one garment following him naked and deprived of reason, like one crazed, had not slept for many nights." WILSON.]
[Footnote 100: p. 47. l. 28. That I eat not broken victuals. Among the kinds of food proscribed to a Brahmin are, "the food of a servile man and the orts of another."]
[Footnote 101: p. 47. l. 28. —wash not feet with menial hand. The Latin translation, 'ne faciam pedibus cursum,' is faulty: the sense is, "that I perform not washing of the feet." Damayanti means that she is not to perform menial offices appropriated to persons of low caste. Stipulating for a carriage would be rather extraordinary. WILSON.]
[Footnote 102: p. 49. l. 9. Narada, the famous hermit. One of the Devarshis, and a great prophet, who is supposed to be still wandering about the world. 'Nara' signifies a thread or clew, a precept, and 'da,' giver. Whenever he appears he is constantly employed in giving good counsel. WILKINS, note on Bhagavat-Gita.]
[Footnote 103: p. 49. l. 23. Ere the tenth step he had counted—him the sudden serpent bit. 'Dasa' means both 'bite' and 'ten.']
[Footnote 104: p. 50. l. 12. Neither Brahmin fear, nor Sages. In Indian poetry four classes of holy men, or Rishis, are distinguished, and rise, one above the other, in the following rank: Rajarshis, royal Rishis; Maharshis, great Rishis; Brahmarshis, Brahminical Rishis; and Dewarshis, divine Rishis. KOSEGARTEN. Another enumeration specifies seven grades. WILSON, in voce.]
[Footnote 105: p. 50. l. 26. Saying thus, of vests celestial—gave he to the king a pair. The dress of a Hindu consists of two pieces of cloth, one, the lower garment fastened round his waist, and one the upper garment thrown loosely and gracefully over the shoulders. WILSON.]
[Footnote 106: p. 51. l. 6. In the art of dressing viands. This, it will be remembered, was one of the gifts bestowed by the gods on Nala at his marriage.]
[Footnote 107: p. 51. l. 12. —hundred hundreds is thy pay. Suvarnas, a certain measure of gold. WILSON, Dict. in voce.]
[Footnote 108: p. 52. l. 2. There is in the text a second line, repeating the same sentiment. Bopp proposes to reject the first, I have omitted the second.]
[Footnote 109: p. 53. l. 7. And a royal grant for maintenance. See Bopp's note. I have adopted the second sense of the word Agraharah. Such grants were not uncommon in India, as throughout the east. See the grants on copper-plates found near Bombay, Asiatic Researches, i. 362. So the well-known gifts of the king of Persia to Themistocles.]
[Footnote 110: p. 53. l. 15. —on a royal holiday. A day proclaimed as fortunate by the king.]
[Footnote 111: p. 54. l. 1. —like Manmatha's queen divine. The bride of Kamadeva is Rati, pleasure.]
[Footnote 112: p. 54. ls. 4—10. This long train of similes, in which the images of the lotus flower and the moon so perpetually occur, is too characteristic to be omitted or compressed. I have here and there used the license of a paraphrase.]
[Footnote 113: p. 54. l. 5. Like the pallid night, when Rahu. This is a favourite simile of the Indian poets.
That snatched my love from the uplifted sword, Like the pale moon from Rahu's ravenous jaws.
WILSON'S Malati and Madhava, p. 62.
——————-and now thou fall'st, a prey To death, like the full moon to Rahu's jaws Consigned.
Ibid. p. 115.
In Indian mythology, eclipses are caused by the dragon Rahu attempting to swallow up the moon. The origin of their hostility is given in a passage quoted by Mr. Wilkins from the Mahabharata, in his notes to the Bhagavat-Gita:—"And so it fell out that when the Soors were quenching their thirst for immortality, Rahu, an Asoor, assumed the form of a Soor, and begun to drink also; and the water had but reached his throat, when the sun and moon, in friendship to the Soors, discovered the deceit, and instantly Narayan cut off his head as he was drinking, with his splendid weapon, chakra. And the gigantic head of the Asoor, emblem of a monstrous summit, being thus separated from his body by the chakra's edge, bounded into the heavens with a dreadful cry, whilst the ponderous trunk fell, cleaving the ground asunder, and shaking the whole earth unto its foundations, with all its islands, rocks, and forest. And from this time the head of Rahu resolved on eternal enmity, and continueth even unto this day at times to seize upon the sun and moon." p. 149.]
[Footnote 114: p. 54. l. 15. To the unadorned a husband. "Married women must be honoured and adorned by their fathers and brethren, by their husbands, and by the brethren of their husbands, if they seek abundant prosperity." MENU, iii, 55.]
[Footnote 115: p. 54. l. 22.—the moon's bride. Rohinia. The moon, as in the northern mythologies, is a male deity. See WILFORD, in Asiatic Researches, iii, 384. Rohinia is explained by Mr. Wilson, the fourth lunar asterism, figured by a wheeled carriage, and containing five stars, probably [Greek: a b g d e], Tauri. In mythology the asterism is personified as one of the daughters of Daksha, and wives of the moon.—Sanscrit Dict. in voce. Comp. Vikrama and Urvasi, p. 57.]
[Footnote 116: p. 57. Dasarna. Dasarna is mentioned in the Cloud Messenger of Kalidasa.
Dasarna's fields await the coming shower.
See likewise Mr. Wilson's note, p. 37.]
[Footnote 117: p. 59. l. 2. By the wind within the forest—fanned, intensely burns the fire. Kosegarten supposes this to mean, that as the incessant wind kindles the fire in the grove of bamboos, so their repeated words may fan the fire of pity in the heart of Nala.]
[Footnote 118: p. 63. l. 9. To desire this deed unholy. A second marriage in a woman is considered in India an inexpiable breach of conjugal fidelity. "A virtuous wife ascends to heaven, though she have no child, if after the decease of her lord she devotes herself to pious austerity. But a widow, who from a wish to bear children, slights her deceased husband by marrying again, brings disgrace on herself here below, and shall be excluded from the seat of her lord." MENU, v, 160-161. "She who neglects her former (purva) lord, though of a lower class, and takes another (para) of a higher, becomes despicable in this world, and is called para purva, or one who had a different husband before." Ibid. 163.]
[Footnote 119: p. 64. l. 4. With the ten good marks distinguished. Avarttas are "locks," curls, or twists of the hair in certain forms on different parts of the body—here they are apparently: forehead 1, head 2, chest 2, ribs 2, flanks 2, crupper 1. In the Magha, v. 9, we have the term Avarttina applied to horses; on which the commentator observes, "Avarttina signifies horses having the ten Avarttas, marks of excellence; they are, two on the breast, two on the head, two on the hollows of the ribs, two on the hollows of the flanks, and one on the crupper (Prapata); these are called the ten Avarttas. Avartta means an eddy, or whirlpool, and the name is applied to dispositions of the hair of a horse which resemble a whirlpool." WILSON.]
[Footnote 120: p. 64. l. 4. —born in Sindhu. The Sindhu is the Indian name for the Indus; the neighbouring territory is called Sind. See Asiatic Researches, viii. 336.]
[Footnote 121: p. 65. l. 7. Matali. The charioteer of Indra. See Rhaguvansa, xii, 86, and Sacontala.]
[Footnote 122: p. 66. l. 10. Ten miles, lo, it lies beyond us. A Yojana; according to some eleven, according to others five or six English miles. I have given a round number.]
[Footnote 123: p. 66. l. 12. Vibhitak. 'Beleric Myrobalan.' WILSON, Sanscrit Dict. in voce.]
[Footnote 124: p. 66. l. 21. Kotis. A Koti is ten millions.]
[Footnote 125: p. 68. l. 11. Kali. It must be remembered that Kali, while within the body of Nala, had been enchanted by the serpent Karkotaka.]
[Footnote 126: p. 68. l. 16. Damayanti; who had cursed in the forest all who had caused the misery of Nala.]
[Footnote 127: p. 68. l. 25. Compare Prospero's power in the Tempest.]
[Footnote 128: p. 70. l. 4. All the region round him echoing—with the thunders of his car. This scene rather reminds us of the watchman reporting the rapid approach of Jehu, "The driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." II Kings ix, 20.]
[Footnote 129: p. 70. l. 6. In their joy they pawed and trampled. The horses of Nala had been before conveyed to the city of king Bhima by Varshneya.]
[Footnote 130: p. 70. l. 16. —as at sound of coming rain. The rejoicing of the peacocks at the approach of rain is very sweetly described in the play of Malati and Madhava, translated by Mr. Wilson.
Ah Malati, how can I bear to contemplate The young Tamala, bowed beneath the weight Of the light rain; the quivering drops that dance Before the cooling gale; the joyful cry That echoes round, as pleased the pea-fowl hail The bow of heaven propitious to their loves.—p. 108.
In the Cloud Messenger, the Yaksha who addresses the cloud, fears lest it should be delayed by the cry of the peacock—
Or can the peacock's animated hail The bird with lucid eyes, to lure thee fail.—l. 147.
In another passage,
Pleased on each terrace, dancing with delight, The friendly peacock hails thy grateful flight.—l. 215.]
[Footnote 131: p. 76. l. 19. —much and various viands came. The reader must remember the various gifts bestowed on king Nala by the gods upon his marriage.]
[Footnote 132: p. 77. l. 22. —of her mouth ablution made. Washing the mouth after food, which Damayanti in her height of emotion does not forget, is a duty strictly enjoined in the Indian law, which so rigidly enforces personal cleanliness. "With a remnant of food in the mouth, or when the Sraddha has recently been eaten, let no man even meditate in his heart on the holy texts." MENU, iv, 109. "Having slumbered, having sneezed, having eaten, having spitten, having told untruths, having drunk water, and going to read sacred books, let him, though pure, wash his mouth." v. 145.]
[Footnote 133: p. 79. l. 17. —hair dishevelled, mire-defiled. As a sign of sorrow and mourning.]
[Footnote 134: p. 80. l. 4. I will be. "I will be," must be the commencement of the prayer uttered by the bridegroom at the time of marriage. It does not correspond with any of those cited by Mr. Colebrooke. It is probably analogous to that given by him, Asiatic Researches, viii, p. 301. WILSON.]
[Footnote 135: p. 81. l. 11. He through all the world that wanders—witness the all-seeing lord. See the curious Law of Ordeal, Asiatic Researches, vol. i, p. 402, "On the trial by fire, let both hands of the accused be rubbed with rice in the husk, and well examined: then let seven leaves of the Aswatha (the religious fig-tree) be placed on them, and bound with seven threads." Thou, O fire, pervadest all beings; O cause of purity, who givest evidence of virtue and of sin, declare the truth in this my hand.]
[Footnote 136: p. 81. l. 27. —flowers fell showering all around. These heavenly beings are ever ready, in the machinery of Hindu epics, to perform their pleasing office (of showering flowers on the head of the happy pair) on every important occasion: they are called Pushpa-vrishti, or flower-rainers. MOOR, Hindu Pantheon, 194. See in the Raghuvansa, ii, 60. No sooner has king Dilipa offered himself to die for the sacred cow of his Brahminical preceptor, than "a shower of flowers" falls upon him.]
[Footnote 137: p. 86. l. 3. —stands the Apsara in heaven. The birth of the Apsarasas is thus related in the Ramayana.
Then from the agitated deep upsprung The legion of Apsarasas, so named That to the watery element they owed Their being. Myriads were they born, and all In vesture heavenly clad, and heavenly gems; Yet more divine their native semblance, rich With all the gifts of grace and youth and beauty. A train innumerous followed, yet thus fair Nor god nor demon sought their widowed love; Thus Raghava they still remain, their charms The common treasure of the host of heaven.
—WILSON's Translation, Preface to the Drama of Vikrama and Urvasi, p. 13.]
[Footnote 138: p. 87. l. 16. Pushkara appeased. The Calcutta edition has a better reading than that of Bopp. Instead of Prasante Pushkare (Pushkara appeased), it is Prasante tu pure, (the city being tranquil, the rejoicings having ceased). WILSON.]
[Footnote 139: p. 87. l. 21. Nala sate, as in Nandana. Nandana is the garden of Indra.]
[Footnote 140: p. 87. l. 23. Ruled his realm in Jambudwipa. Sic in Puranis India nominatur. BOPP.]
THE DEATH OF YAJNADATTA.
[Footnote 141: p. 91. l. 15. So I the lovely Amra left. The Amra is the Mangifern Indica. This tree is not only valuable in the estimation of the Indians for the excellence of its fruits; the belief that the burning juice of its flowers is used to steep the darts of love, enhances their veneration for this beautiful tree. It is frequently mentioned in their poetry. M. CHEZY.]
[Footnote 142: p. 91. l. 15. —for the Palasa's barren bloom. The Palasa is the Butea Frondosa of Koenig. Its flowers, of great beauty, are papilionaceous; and its fruit, entirely without use in domestic economy, compared particularly with the Amra, may well be called barren. M. CHEZY. See Sir W. Jones's Essay on the Botany of India; and the Asiatic Researches, vol. iii.]
[Footnote 143: p. 91. l. 19. —hath fallen upon my fatal head. "Yes, iniquity once committed, fails not of producing fruit to him who wrought it; if not in his own person, yet in his son's; or if not in his son's, yet in his grandson's." MENU, iv. 173.]
[Footnote 144: p. 92. l. 2. —where haunt the spirits of the dead! The south; the realm of Yama, the judge of the dead.]
[Footnote 145: p. 92. l. 3. —on high the welcome clouds appeared. The beauty of nature after the rainy season has refreshed the earth, is a favourite topic in Indian poetry. The Cloud Messenger, so gracefully translated by Mr. Wilson, is full of allusions to the grateful progress of the cloud, welcomed as it passes along by the joy of animate and inanimate beings. Quote 61-70, 131-142. Compare, in the Hindu Drama, the Toy Cart, act v.]
[Footnote 146: p. 93. l. 2. As though a pupil's hand accursed. The offences of a pupil against a tutor, almost the holiest relation of life, are described in the Laws of Menu, ii. 191 to 218, 242, 8. "By censuring his preceptor, though justly, he will be born an ass; by falsely defaming him, a dog; by using his goods without leave, a small worm; by envying his merit, a larger insect or reptile." As the Roman law did not contemplate the possibility of parricide, that of Menu has no provision against the crime in the text.]
[Footnote 147: p. 93. l. 6. —to the five elements returned. A common Indian phrase for death. The ether is the fifth element.]
[Footnote 148: p. 93. l. 15. Kshatriya. The second, or warrior-caste. The kings in India were usually of this caste.]
[Footnote 149: p. 93. l. 25. Raghu. One of the famous ancestors of Dasaratha. The poem of the Raghu Vansa has recently appeared, edited by M. Stenzler.]
[Footnote 150: p. 94. l. 3. My sire, a Brahmin hermit he—my mother was of Sudra race. This seems inconsistent with Menu: "A Brahmin, if he take a Sudra to his bed as his first wife, sinks to the regions of torment; if he begets a child by her, he loses even his priestly rank." iii, 17; also 18, 19.]
[Footnote 151: p. 96. l. 14. The miserable father now. See in Menu, the penalties and expiation for killing a Brahmin undesignedly, xi, 74, 82; compare 90. An assaulter of a Brahman with intent to kill, shall remain in hell a hundred years; for actually striking him with like intent, a thousand; as many small pellets of dust as the blood of a Brahmin collects on the ground, for so many thousand years must the shedder of that blood be tormented in hell. xi. 207, 8.]
[Footnote 152: p. 97. l. 23. I've reached the wished for realms of joy. Among the acts which lead to eternal bliss are these: "Studying and comprehending the Veda—showing reverence to a natural or spiritual father." MENU, xii, 83.]
THE BRAHMIN'S LAMENT.
[Footnote 153: p. 104. l. 5.—a heaven-winning race may make. Literally: Whom Brahma has placed with me in trust for a future husband, and through whose offspring I may obtain with my progenitors the regions secured by ablutions made by a daughter's sons. WILSON.]
[Footnote 154: p. 104. l. 15. A line is omitted here, which seems to want a parallel to make up the sloka. Bopp has omitted it in his translation.]
[Footnote 155: p. 105. l. 21. —Sudra like. The lowest caste who are not privileged, and indeed have no disposition in the native barrenness of their minds to study the sacred Vedas.]
[Footnote 156: p. 105. l. 25. As the storks the rice of offering. We follow Bopp in refining these birds from birds of coarser prey.]
[Footnote 157: See the very valuable papers of this gentleman in the Bombay Transactions.]
[Footnote 158: The editor remarks, that the name Manuja, Man-born, as the appellative of the human race, is derived from Manu, as likewise Manawas, masc. Man—Manawi, fem. Woman: from thence the Gothic Mann, which we have preserved. Manu is thus the representative of Man.]
THE DESCENT OF THE GANGES.
FIRST PRINTED IN THE QUARTERLY REVIEW, VOL. XLV.
The descent of the Ganges is the sequel of another fiction still more monstrous, but perhaps one of the most singular of the cosmogonical notions of the ancient Indians. Sagara, the king of Ayodhya (Oude), was without offspring—in almost all eastern countries the most grievous calamity incident to man, more especially to those of noble or royal race. By the most surpassing penances he obtains an oracle from the wise Brighu, predicting that one of his wives will bring forth a single son, the other sixty thousand! Accordingly the fair Cesina gives birth to Asamanja; his other wife to a gourd, which, like the egg of Leda, is instinct with life. From the seeds of this gourd, preserved with great care, and fed with ghee, come forth in due time the sixty thousand boys. The son of Cesina was a youth of the most malicious and cruel disposition; his pastime was to throw little infants into the river, and solace himself with their cries. He is sent into exile by his just and humane father, where he has a son, Ansuman, as gentle and popular as Asamanja was malignant and odious. King Sagara prepares to offer the Aswameda, the famous sacrifice of the horse. The holy and untouched steed is led forth, as in the 'Curse of Kehama,' among the admiring multitude, by the youthful Ansuman, when on a sudden a monstrous serpent arises from the earth, and drags it into the abyss. Sagara, in wrath, commands his sixty thousand sons to undertake the recovery of the steed from the malignant demon who has thus interrupted the sacrifice. Having searched long in vain, they begin to dig into the bowels of the earth, until,—
'Cloven with shovel and with hoe, pierced by axes and by spades, Shrieked the earth in frantic woe; rose from out the yawning shades Yells of anguish, hideous roars from the expiring brood of hell— Serpents, giants, and Asoors, in the deep abyss that dwell. Sixty thousand leagues in length, all unweary, full of wrath, Through the centre, in their strength, clove they down their hellward path.'
The gods, expecting the whole frame of the world, thus undermined, to perish in total ruin, assemble around Brahma to implore his interposition. He informs them that Vishnu, in the form of Kapila, has been the robber of the horse, and that in due time the god will avenge himself. From Patala, the hell of Indian mythology, the Sagaridae recommence their impious and destructive work.
'And downward dug they many a rood, and downward till they saw aghast, Where the earth-bearing elephant stood, ev'n like a mountain tall and vast. 'Tis he whose head aloft sustains the broad earth's forest-clothed round, With all its vast and spreading plains, and many a stately city crown'd. If underneath the o'erbearing load bows down his weary head, 'tis then The mighty earthquakes are abroad, and shaking down the abodes of men. Around earth's pillar moved they slowly, and thus in humble accents blest Him the lofty and the holy, that bears the region of the East. And southward dug they many a rood, until before their shuddering sight, The next earth-bearing elephant stood, huge Mahapadmas' mountain height. Upon his head earth's southern bound, all full of wonder, saw they rest. Slow and awe-struck paced they round, and him, earth's southern pillar, blest. Westward then their work they urge, king Sagara's six myriad race, Unto the vast earth's western verge, and there in his appointed place The next earth-bearing elephant stood, huge Saumanasa's mountain crest; Around they paced in humble mood, and in like courteous phrase addrest, And still their weary toil endure, and onward dig until they see Last earth-bearing Himapandure, glorying in his majesty.'
At length they reach the place where Vishnu appears in the form of Kapila, with the horse feeding near him; a flame issues forth from the indignant deity, and the six myriad sons of Sagara become a heap of ashes.
The adventure devolves on the youthful Ansuman, who achieves it with perfect success; Vishnu permits him to lead away the steed, but the ashes of his brethren cannot be purified by earthly water; the goddess Ganga must first be brought to earth, and, having undergone lustration from that holy flood, the race of Sagara are to ascend to heaven. Yet a long period elapses; and it is not till the reign of the virtuous Bhagiratha, that Brahma is moved by his surpassing penance to grant the descent of Ganga from heaven. King Bhagiratha had taken his stand on the top of Gokarna, the sacred peak of the Himavan, (the Himalaya,) and here
'Stands with arms outstretch'd on high, amid five blazing fires, the one Towards each quarter of the sky, the fifth the full meridian sun. Mid fiercest frosts on snow he slept, the dry and withered leaves his food, Mid rains his roofless vigil kept, the soul and sense alike subdued.'
His prayers are irresistible; but Brahma forewarns him, that the unbroken descent of Ganga from heaven would be so overpowering, that the earth would be unable to sustain it, and Siva must be propitiated, in order that he may receive on his head the precipitous cataract. Under this wild and unwieldy allegory appears to lurk an obscure allusion to the course of the Ganges among the summits, and under the forests of the Himalaya, which are the locks of Siva.
'High on the top of Himavan the mighty Mashawara stood; And "Descend," he gave the word to the heaven-meandering water— Full of wrath, the mandate heard Himavan's majestic daughter. To a giant's stature soaring and intolerable speed, From heaven's height down rush'd she pouring upon Siva's sacred head. Him the goddess thought in scorn with her resistless might to sweep By her fierce waves o'erborne, down to hell's remotest deep.'
Siva, in his turn enraged, resists her fury.
'Down on Sankara's holy head, down the holy fell, and there Amid the entangling meshes spread, of his loose and flowing hair. Vast and boundless as the woods upon the Himalaya's brow, Nor ever may the struggling floods rush headlong to the earth below. Opening, egress was not there, amid those winding, long meanders. Within that labyrinthine hair, for many an age the goddess wanders.'
The king again has recourse to his penances, Siva is propitiated, and the stream by seven channels finds its way to the plains of India. The spirit and the luxuriance of the description which follows, of the king leading the way, and the obedient waters rolling after his car, appear to us of a high order of poetry.
'Up the raja at the sign upon his glittering chariot leaps, Instant Ganga the divine follows his majestic steps, From the high heaven burst she forth first on Siva's lofty crown, Headlong then and prone to earth thundering rushed the cataract down. Swarms of bright-hued fish came dashing; turtles, dolphins in their mirth, Fallen or falling, glancing, flashing, to the many gleaming earth. And all the host of heaven came down, spirits and genii, in amaze, And each forsook his heavenly throne, upon that glorious scene to gaze. On cars, like high tower'd cities, seen, with elephants and coursers, rode, Or on soft swinging palanquin, lay wondering each observant god. As met in bright divan each god, and flash'd their jewell'd vestures' rays, The coruscating aether glow'd, as with a hundred suns ablaze. And with the fish and dolphins gleaming, and scaly crocodiles and snakes, Glanc'd the air, as when fast streaming the blue lightning shoots and breaks: And in ten thousand sparkles bright went flashing up the cloudy spray, The snowy flocking swans less white, within its glittering mists at play. And headlong now poured down the flood, and now in silver circlets wound, Then lakelike spread all bright and broad, then gently, gently flowed around, Then 'neath the cavern'd earth descending, then spouted up the boiling tide, Then stream with stream harmonious blending, swell bubbling up or smooth subside. By that heaven-welling water's breast, the genii and the sages stood, Its sanctifying dews they blest, and plung'd within the lustral flood. Whoe'er beneath the curse of heaven from that immaculate world had fled, To th' impure earth in exile driven, to that all-holy baptism sped; And purified from every sin, to the bright spirit's bliss restor'd, Th' etherial sphere they entered in, and through th' empyreal mansions soar'd. The world in solemn jubilee behold these heavenly waves draw near, From sin and dark pollution free, bathed in the blameless waters clear. Swift king Bhagiratha drave upon his lofty glittering car, And swift with her obeisant wave bright Ganga followed him afar.'
[Footnote 159: Schlegel supposes the three western streams to be the Indus, which appears under its real name the Sind, the Iaxartes, and the Oxus; are not the Sareswatie, or perhaps the Sutlej, under the name of Sita, and the Jumna meant? Of the eastern branches, it is not difficult to fix the Burhampooter. Schlegel suggests the Irawaddy, and the Blue River of China. Why not the Alacananda and the Gogra? The main stream bears the name of the Bhaghiratha, till it joins the Alacananda and takes the name of the Ganges.]