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to Páli, I could offer no opinion which would be entitled to any weight. In abstaining, however, from engaging in this discussion, I must run no risk of being considered a participator in the views entertained by the Ceylon buddhists; nor of being consequently regarded in the light of a prejudiced advocate in the cause of buddhistical literature. Let me, therefore, at once avow, that, exclusive of all philological considerations, I am inclined, on primâ facie evidence-external as well as internal-to entertain an opinion adverse to the claims of the buddhists on this particular point. The general results of the researches hitherto made by Europeans, both historical and philological, unquestionably converge to prove the greater antiquity of the Sanscrit. Even in this island, all works on astronomy, medicine, and (such as they are) on chemistry and mathematics, are exclusively written in Sanscrit. While the books on buddhism, the histories subsequent to the advent of Gótamo Buddho, and certain philological works, alone, are composed in the Páli language.
The earliest notice taken of the Mágadhi or Páli by our countrymen, is contained, I believe, in Mr. Colebrooke's * essay on the Sanscrit and Prácrit languages, which commences in these words :— "In a treatise on rhetoric, compiled for the use of Maʼnicya Chandra, Rája of Tirabhucti or Tirhút, a brief enumeration of languages, used by hindu poets, is quoted from two writers on the art of poetry. The following is a literal translation of both passages.
'Sanscrita, Prácrita, Paisachí, and Mágad'hi, are in short the four paths of poetry. The gods, &c. speak Sanscrita ; benevolent genii, Prácrita; wicked demons, Paisáchí; and men of low tribes and the rest Magad'hi. But sages deem Sanscrita the chief of these four languages. It is used three ways, in prose, in verse, and in a mixture of both.'
'Language, again, the virtuous have declared to be fourfold: Sanscrita (or the polished dialect,) Prácrita (or the vulgar dialect), Apabhransá (or jargon), and Mis'ra (or mixed). Sanscrita is the speech of the celestials, framed in grammatical institutes. Prácrita is similar to it, but manifold as a provincial dialect, and otherwise; and those languages which are ungrammatical, are spoken in their respective districts." "
"The Paisáchí seems to be gibberish, which dramatic poets make the demons speak, when they bring these fantastic beings on the stage. The mixture of languages, noticed in the second quotation, is that which is employed in dramas, as is expressly said by the same author in a subsequent verse. It is not then a compound language, but a mixed dialogue, in which different persons of the drama employ different idioms. Both the passages above quoted are therefore easily reconciled. They in fact notice only three tongues: 1, Sanscrit, a polished dialect, the inflections of which, with all its numerous anomalies, are taught in grammatical institutes. This the dramatic poets put into the mouths of gods and of holy personages. 2, Prácrit, consisting of provincial dialects, which are less refined, and have a more imperfect grammar. In dramas it is spoken by women, benevolent genii, &c. 3, Mágadhi, or Apabhrans'a, a jargon destitute of regular grammar. It is used by the vulgar, and varies in different districts: the poets, accordingly, introduce it into the dialogue of plays as a provincial jargon spoken by the lowest persons of the drama.
Pánini, the father of Sanscrit grammar, lived in so remote an age, that he ranks among those ancient sages whose fabulous history occupies a conspicious place in the puránas, or Indian theogonies.
It must not be hence inferred, that Panini was unaided by the labours of earlier grammarians; in many of his precepts he cites the authority of his predecessors, sometimes for a deviation from a general rule, often for a grammatical canon which has universal cogency. He has even employed some technical terms without defining them, because, as his commentators remark: Those terms were already introduced by earlier grammarians. None of the more ancient works, however, seem to be now extant; being superseded by his, they have probably been disused for ages, and are now perhaps totally lost.
A performance such as the Pániniya grammar must inevitably contain many errors. The task of correcting its inaccuracies has been executed by Cátyayana, an inspired saint and lawgiver, whose history, like that of all the Indian sages, is involved in the impenetrable darkness of mythology. His annotations, entitled Várticas, restrict those among the Pániniya rules which are too vague, enlarge others which are too limited, and mark numerous exceptions which had escaped the notice of Panini himself.
A. R. vol, vii. p. 199.
The amended rules of grammar have been formed into memorial verses by Bhartri-hári, whose metrical aphorisms, entitled Cáricá, have almost equal authority with the precepts of Panini, and emendations of Cátyayana. If the popular traditions concerning Bhartri-hári be well founded, he lived in the century preceding the Christian era; for he is supposed to be the same with the brother of Vicramaditya, and the period when this prince reigned at Ujjayini is determined by the date of the samvat era."
It can be no matter of surprize, when so eminent a scholar as Mr. Colebrooke was led by prejudiced hindu authorities to confound Mágadhi with Apabhrans'a, and to describe it as "a jargon destitute of regular grammar, used by the vulgar, and spoken by the lowest persons of the drama;" that that language, and the literature recorded in it, should not have attracted the attention of subsequent orientalists. With the exception of the notice it has received in Ceylon, and from scholars on the continent of Europe, I apprehend, I may safely say, that it is not otherwise known, than as one of the several minor dialects emanating from the Sanscrit, and occasionally introduced into hindu works, avowedly for the purpose of marking the inferiority, or provinciality, of the characters who speak, or inscribe those Prácrit passages.
To an attentive observer of the progress made in oriental philological research, various literary notices will suggest themselves, subsequent to the publication of Mr. Colebrooke's essay, which must have the tendency of raising a doubt in his mind as to the justice of the criticisms of the hindu philologists, which imputes this inferiority to the Mágadhi language. Without any acknowledged advocacy of its cause, professor Wilson, by the notes appended to his translations of the Hindu Plays, has done much towards rescuing Magadhi from its unmerited degradation. Although in his introductory essay on "the Dramatic System of the Hindus" he expresses himself with great caution, in discussing the merits of the Prácrit generally, and the Mágadhi in particular; yet, in his introduction to "the Drama of Vikrama and Urvasi, one of the three plays attributed to Kálidás" he bears the following decided testimony in its favour:— "The richness of the Prácrit in this play, both in structure and in its metrical code, is very remarkable. A very great portion, especially of the fourth act, is in this language; and in that act also a considerable variety of metre is introduced : it is clear, therefore, that this form of Sanscrit must have been highly cultivated long before the play was written, and this might lead us to doubt whether the composition can bear so remote a date as the reign of Vicramaditya (56 B. c.) It is yet rather uncertain whether the classical language of hindu literature had at that time received so high a polish as appears in the present drama; and still less, therefore, could the descendants have been exquisitely refined, if the parent was comparatively rude. We can scarcely conceive that the cultivation of Prácrit preceded that of Sanscrit, when we advert to the principles on which the former seems to be evolved from the latter; but it must be confessed that the relation between Sanscrit and Prácrit has been hitherto very imperfectly investigated, and is yet far from being understood."
What the extent of the progress made may be by the savans of Europe, in attaining a proficiency in the Mágadhi language, I have had no other opportunities of ascertaining in this remote quarter of the globe, than by the occasional allusions made to their labours in the proceedings of our societies connected with Asiatic literature; and considering that so recently as 1827, the members of the Asiatic Society of Paris were so totally destitute of all acquaintance of the language, as not to have possessed themselves of a single elementary work connected with it, and that they were actually forming a grammar for themselves, the advancement made in the attainment of Páli on the continent of Europe surpasses the most sanguine expectation which could have been formed. In proof of this assertion, I cite a passage from an essay on the Páli language, published by Messieurs Burnouf and Lassen, members of the Asiatic Society of Paris in 1827.
"Et d'abord on peut se demander quel est le caractére de la langue pálie? Jusqu'a quel point s'éloigne-t-elle, ou se rapproche-t-elle du sanskrit ? Dans quelle contrée a-t-elle pris la forme que nous lui voyons maintenant dans l'Inde, ou dans
les pays dont le boudhisme est la loi religieuse? Le páli differe-t-il suivant les diverses contrées où il domine comme langue sacrée, où bein est-il patrout uniformément et invariablement le même ? Enfin, le páli présente-t-il quelques analogies avec les dialectes dérivés de la même source qui lui; et, s'il en presente, de quelle nature sont-elles? On conviendra sans peine que le seul moyen d'essayer de resoudre de pareilles questions, est de donner une analyse exacte de la structure grammaticale du páli: c'est ce que nous allons tenter de faire; mais, avant que nous commençions, qu'on nous permette quelques remarques sur les materiaux et les sources, où nous avons puiser la connaissance de cette langue.
Il y a deux moyens d'arriver à la connaissance d'un idiome auquel les travaux des grammairiens ont donné, pour ainsi dire, une constitution propre, et dont la culture est attestée par des compositions litteraires; c'est de l'apprendre dans les grammaires originales, c'est-à-dire, aller de l'inconnu au plus inconnu, ou d'en abstraire la connaissance des livres et de la litterature même. Les secours de la première espèce existent pour le páli, au moins Leyden affirme-t-il qu'on possede á Ceylan quelques vocabulaires et grammaires de cette langue, et Joinville donne en effet le titre de plusieurs ouvrages de ce genre, dans son Memoire citée plus haut. Pour nous, ce secours nous a completement manqué; il nous a donc fallu faire la grammaire nous-mêmes, mais les ouvrages qui nous ont servi pour ce dessein, quoi qu' extrêmement interessans sous un autre rapport, se sont malheureusement trouves les moins propres à faciliter un pareil travail. On verra par les notices, que nous avons donné dans l'appendice, des manuscrits dont nous avons fait usage, qu'ils sont presqu' exclusivement d'une nature philosophique et religieuse. Dans les compositions de ce genre, le style est peu varié, et il reproduit constamment, avec le retour des mêmes formules, la monotone repetition des mêmes inflexions grammaticales. Il eût été à desirer que nous eussions pu consulter un plus grand nobre d'ouvrages historiques, qui nous eussent donné une grande varieté de mots et de formes, et c'est pour n'avoir pas eu ce secours que nous n'avons pu determiner l'etendue réelle de la conjugaison pali.”
In no part of the world, perhaps, are there greater facilities for acquiring a knowledge of Páli afforded, than in Ceylon. Though the historical data contained in that language have hitherto been underrated, or imperfectly illustrated, the doctrinal and metaphysical works on buddhism are still extensively, and critically studied by the native priesthood; and several of our countrymen have acquired a considerable proficiency therein. The late Mr. W. Tolfrey, of the Ceylon civil service, projected the translation of the most practical and condensed Páli Grammar extant in Ceylon, called the Balávátaro, and of Moggallana's Páli vocabulary, both which, as well as the Singhalese dictionary, scarcely commenced, I understand, at that gentleman's death, have been successfully completed, and published by the Rev. B. Clough, a Wesleyan missionary, by whose labour and research, the study of both the ancient and the vernacular languages of this island has been facilitated in no trifling degree.
I might safely rest on this translation of the Báláwátáro, and on the Páli historical work I have now attempted to give to the public, the claims both of the Páli language for refinement and purity; and of the historical data its literature contains for authenticity. I shall, however, now proceed to give a brief, but more precise account of both.
The oldest Páli grammar noticed in the literature of Ceylon, is that of Kachcháyano. It is not now extant. The several works which pass under the name of Kachcháyano's grammars, are compilations from, or revisions of, the original; made at different periods, both within this island and in other parts of Asia. I have never waded through any of them, having only consulted the Báláwátéro.
The oldest version of the compilation from Kachcháyano's grammar is acknowledged to be the Rúpasiddhi. I quote three passages; two from the grammar, and the other from its commentary. The first of these extracts, without enabling me to fix (as the name of the reigning sovereign of Ceylon is not given) the precise date at which this version was compiled, proves the work to be of very considerable antiquity, from its having been composed in the Daksina, while buddhism prevailed there as the religion of the state. The second and third extracts, in my opinion, satisfactorily established the interesting and important point that Kachcháyano,* whose identity, Mr. Colebrooke says in his essay, is
"involved in the impenetrable darkness of mythology," was one of the eighty celebrated contemporary disciples of Gótamo Buddho, whose names are repeatedly mentioned in various portions of the Pitakattaya. He flourished therefore in the middle of the sixth century before the birth of Christ, and upwards of four hundred years before Bhatrihári, the brother of Vicramaditya, by whom, according to Mr. Colebrooke's essay, "the amended rules of grammar were formed into memorial verses;" as well as before Kálidas, on whose play professor Wilson comments."
The first quotation is from the conclusion of the Rúpasiddhi :
Wikl hyát ánan lathérawhaya waragurúnań Tambapanṇiddhajánań sissó Dípańkarákkhyo Damilawasumati dipalad thappakáso Balálichchadi wásaddwitayamadhiwasan, sásanań jótayi yó, soyam Buddhappi yawho yati; imamujukan Rupasiddhin akási.
A certain disciple of A'nando, a preceptor who was* (a rallying point) unto eminent preceptors like unto a standard, in + Tambapanni, named Dipankaro, renowned in the Damila kingdom (of Chola) and the resident-superior of two fraternities, there, the Báládichchá, (and the Chudamanikyo), caused the religion (of Buddho) to shine forth. He was the priest who obtained the appellation of Buddhappiyo (the delight of Buddho,) and compiled this perfect Rúpasiddhi. Buddhappiyo commences the Rúpasiddhi in these words :
Kachcháyanancháchariyań namitwá; nissáya Kachcháyanawan ṇandliń, bálappabódhatthamujuń karissań wyattan sukaṇḍań padarupasiddhin.
Reverentially bowing down to the Acha'rayo Kachcha'ano, and guided by the rules laid down by the said Kachcháyano, compose the Rúpasiddhi, in a perspicuous form, judiciously subdivided into sections, for the use of degenerated intellects (of the present age, which could not grasp the original).
In the commentary on the Rúpasiddhi, we find the following distinct and important particulars regarding Kachcháyano, purporting to be conveyed in his own words :
Kachchassa apachchań, Kachcháyanó. Kachchótikira, tasmiń gottė paṭhamapuriso, Tappahbhawantá tubbansik á sabb éwá Kachcháyaná játá. "Tubbańsi kócháyamiti Kachcháyano, Kochiyan Kachcháyanó náma ? Yó étadaggań, Bhik hawe! mama sáwakánań bhikk húnan sankhitténa bhasitassa wittháréṇa atthań wibbajantánań yadidań Mahákachcháyanóti' itadaggé thapito Bhagawa mań chatuparisamajjhé nisinnó, Suriyarasmisamphussawikasamánamiwa padumań sassirikan mukhań wiwaritwá, Brahmaghosan nichchhárentó. 'Gangáya wáluká khzyé; udakań khiyé mahannawé; mahiyá mrttiká khéyé ; lakkhéna mama buddhiya,' ádiná nána gajjanań gajjituń, samatthó makápany», bhikkhawé; Sáriputtóti ádidá; tésu tésu suttisu attanáwa ; Lókanáthań thapetwána yéchanne idhapáninó paṛṇáya Sáriputtassa kalań nágghanti solasanti ádiná; áchariychi wáṇnitaḥáné Sáriputtóchá; tadaṇnésucha pabhinnapaṭisambhidésu mahásáwakésu wijjamánésupi; Chakkawaltirájá wiyá rajjawahanasamatthań jetṭhaputtań parinayakattháné thapento, Tathagatawachanań wibhajant ánań éta laggé thapėsi. Handahań Tathagatassa pachchúpakárań karissámi. Dátabbaméwaṭhánantarań Bhagawá adási. Bhagawato yathábhuchchakathanań sadahápessámi. Ewań sati náná désa bhásá Sakkatádi khalitawachana manákárań jetwá, Tathágaténa wuttáya sabháwa niruttiyá, sukhéna Buddhawachanań uggaṇhissantiti :” attano balań dassento Niruttipiṭakań “atthó akkharasaṇn átóti” imassa wákkyassa yathá búthań saddalakkhanamakási. Só Muhákachcháyanatthéró idha Kachcháyanóti wutto.
Kachcháyano signifies the son of Kachcho. The said Kachcho was the first individual (who assumed that name as a patronymic) in that family. All who are descended from that stock are, by birth, Kachcháyaná.
"(If I am asked) Who is this Kachcháyano? Whence his name Kachcháyano ?" (I answer), It is he who was selected for the important office (of compiling the first Páli grammar, by Buddho himself; who said on that occasion): Bhikkhus from amongst my sanctified disciples, who are capable of elucidating in detail, that which is expressed in the abstract, the most eminent is this Mahákachcháyano." "
* The parenthetical additions are made from a commentary,
· Bhagawa (Buddho) seated in the midst of the four classes of devotees, of which his congregation was composed, (viz. priests and priestesses, male and female lay ascetics;)--opening his sacred mouth, like unto a flower expanding under the genial influence of Surio's rays, and pouring forth a stream of eloquence like unto that of Brahmo,--said: 'My disciples ! the profoundly wise Sariputto is competent to spread abroad the tidings of the wisdom (contained in my religion) by his having proclaimed of me that,'—' To define the bounds of his omniscience by a standa'd of measure, let the grains of sand in the Ganges be counted; let the water in the great ocean be measured: let the particles of matter in the great earth be numbered; as well as hy his various other discourses.'
- It has also been admitted that, .excepting the saviour of the world, there are no others in existence whose wisdom is equal to one sixteenth part of the profundity of Sáriputto. By the Achárayos also the wisdom of Sáriputto has been celebrated. Moreover, while the other great disciples also, who had overcome the dominion of sin and attained the four gifts of sanctification, were yet living; he (Buddho) allotted, from among those who were capable of illustrating the word of Tathagato, this important task to me,-in the same manner that a Chakkawatti rája confers on an eldest son, who is capable of sustaining the weight of empire, the office of Parinayako. I must therefore render unto Tathágato a service equivalent to the honor conferred. Bhagawa has assigned to me a most worthy commission. Let me place implicit faith in whatever Bhagaws has vouchsafed to propound.
This being achieved, men of various nations and tongues, rejecting the dialects which have become confused by its disorderly mixture with the Sanscrit and other languages, will, with facility, acquire, by conformity to the rules of grammar propounded by Tathagato, the knowledge of the word of Buddho." Thus the théro Mahákachcha'yano, who is here (in this work) called simply Kachcháyano, setting forth his qualification; pursuant to the declaration of Buddho, that represented by letters," composed the grammatical work called Niruttipitako.*
There are several other editions or revisions of Kachcháyano's grammar, each professing, according as its date is more modern, to be more condensed and methodized than the preceding one. In the version entitled the Payoghasiddhi alone (as far as my individual knowledge extends) is to be found the celebrated verse,
"Sá Mágadhi; múla bhasá, naráyéyadi kappiká, brahmánóchassuttálápá, Sambuddháchápi bhásaré. From these different grammars, the Báláwátáro, translated by the Rev. Mr. Clough, was compiled. The last Páli edition of that work brought to my notice, is reputed to have been revised at the commencement of the last century.
I am not aware that there is more than one edition of the vocabulary called the Abhídhánappadípika, a translation of which is annexed to Mr. Clough's grammar. The Páli copy in my possession was compiled by one Moggalláno, at the Jéto wiháro, in the reign of Parakkamo; whom I take to be the king Parakkamo, who reigned at Pulatthinagaro, between A. D. 1153, and 1186, and the work itself is almost a transcript of the Sanscrit Amerakósha; which is also extant in Ceylon. There is also another series of grammars called the Moggalláno, deriving their name from the author of the Abhidhanappadípiká, above mentioned.
The foregoing observations, coupled with the historical data, to which I shall now apply myself, will serve, I trust, to prove, that the Páli or Mágadhi language had already attained the refinement it now possesses, at the time of Gótamo Buddho's advent. No unprejudiced person, more especially an European who has gone through the ordinary course of a classical tuition, can consult the translation of the Báláwátáro, without recognizing in that elementary work, the rudiments of a precise and classically defined language, bearing no inconsiderable resemblance, as to its grammatical arrangement, to the Latin; nor without indeed admitting that little more is required than a copious and critical dictionary, to render the acquisition of that rich, refined, and poetical language, the Páli, as facile as the attainment of Latin.
Another name for the Rúpasiddhi.