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death, having performed the funeral obsequies, he consulted with the officers of state, and asserting his authority over the capital, assumed the monarchy.
The rest of the fifth chapter, containing the account of Asóko's conversion-the history of Moggaliputtatisso, by whom the third convocation was held, as well as of that convocation, is full of interesting matter, detailed with peculiar distinctness, on which the comments of the Tíká throw no additional light.
At this stage of his work, being at the close of the third convocation, Mahanámo abruptly interrupts his history of India, and without assigning any reason in the sixth chapter for that interruption, resumes the history of Lanká, in continuation of the visits of Budho, given in the first chapter, commencing with the landing of Wijayo. His object in adopting this course is sufficiently manifest to his readers, when they come to the twelfth chapter. In the Tíká, however, he thus explains himself for following this course, at the opening of the sixth chapter.
As soon as the third convocation was closed, Maha Mahindo, who was selected for, and sent on, that mission, by his preceptor Moggaliputto, who was bent on establishing the religion of Buddho in the different countries (of Jambudípo) came to this island, which had been sanctified, and rescued from evil influences, by the three visits paid, in aforetime, by the supreme Buddho; and which had been rendered habitable from the very day on which Bhagawá attained parinibbánan, Accordingly, at the expiration of two hundred and thirty six years from that event, and in the reign of Déwananpiyatisso, (Mahindo) arrived. Therefore (the Mahawanso) arresting the narrative of the history (of Jambudipo) here, where it was requisite that it should be shown how the inhabitants of this island were established here; with that view, and with the intent of explaining the arrival of Wijayo, it enters (at this point), in detail, into the lineage of the said Wijayo, by commencing (the sixth chapter) with the words: "In the land of Wangu, in the capital of Wangu. &c."
The Tíká adds nothing to the information contained in the Mahawanso, as to the fabulous orign of the Síhala dynasty. There are two notes on the first verse, on the words " Wangésu” and “puré,” which should have informed us fully as to the geographical position of the country, and the age in which the Wangu princes lived. They are however unsatisfactorily laconic, and comprised in the following meagre
There were certain princes named Wangu. The country in which they dwelt becoming powerful, it was called "Wangu," from their appellation.
The word "pure" "formerly," signifies anterior to Bhagawa becoming Buddho."
All that can be safely advanced in regard to the contents of the sixth chapter is that Wijayo was descended, through the male branch, from the rájas of Wangu (Bengal proper), and, through the female line, from the royal family of Kálinga (Northern Circars); that his grand mother, the issue of the alliance above mentioned, connected herself or rather eloped with, some obscure individual named Siho (which word signifies "a lion"); that their son Sihabahu put his own father to death, and, established himself in Lala, a subdivision of Mágadha, the capital of which was Sihapura, probably the modern Synghaya on the Gunduck river; (in the vicinity of which the remains of buddhistical edifices are still to be found;) and that his son Wijayo, with his seven hundred followers, landed in Lanká, outlawed in their native land, from which they came to this island. I shall hereafter notice the probability of the date of his landing having been antidated by a considerable term, for the purpose of supporting a pretended revelation or command of Buddho, with which the seventh chapter opens.
It became a point of interesting inquiry to ascertain, whether the budhists of Ceylon had ventured to interpolate this injunction, as well as "the five resolves silently willed by Gótamo," mentioned in the seventeenth chapter, into the Pitakattaya, for the purpose of deluding the inhabitants of this island; as that imposition might, perhaps, have been detected by comparing those passages with the Pitakattaya of the Burmese empire, and the Sanscrit edition presented to the Bengal Asiatic Society, by Mr. Hodgson.
On referring, accordingly, to the Parinibbánasuttan in the Dighanikáyo, no trace whatever was to be found there of these passages. But the "five resolves" alone are contained in the Atthakatha to that Suttan; but even there the command to Sakko, predictive of Wijayo's landing in Ceylon, is not noticed. I took the opportunity of an official interview with the two high priests of the Malwatte and Asgiri establishments and their fraternity, to discuss this, apparently fatal, discrepancy, with them. They did not appear to be aware that the "five resolves" were only contained in the Atthakathá; nor did they attach any kind of importance to their absence from the text. They observed, that the Pitakattaya only embodied the essential portions of the discourses, revelations, and prophecies of Buddho. That his disciples for some centuries after his nibbánan, were endowed with inspiration; and that their supplements to the Pitakattaya were as sacred in their estimation as the text itself. On a slight hint being thrown out, whether this particular supplement might not have been "a pious fraud" on the part of Mahindo, with the view of accelerating the conversion of the ancient inhabitants of Ceylon ; the priests adroitly replied, if that had been his object, he would have accomplished it more effectually by altering the Pitakattaya itself. Nothing can exceed the good taste, the unreserved communicativeness, and even the tact, evinced by the heads of the buddhistical church in Ceylon, in their intercourse with Europeans, as long as they are treated with the courtesy, that is due to them.
The fabulous tone of the narrative in which the account of Wijayo's landing in Lanká is conveyed in the seventh chapter, bears, even in its details, so close a resemblance to the landing of Ulysses at the island of Circé, that it would have been difficult to defend Mahanámo from the imputation of plagiarism, had he lived in a country in which the works of Homer could, by possibility, be accessible to him. The seizure and imprisonment of Ulysses' men, and his own rencontre with Circé, are almost identical with the fate of Wijayo and his men, on their landing in Lanká, within the dominions of Kuwéni,
"We went, Ulysses! (such was thy cammand!)
A palace in a woody vale we found,
Brown with dark forests, and with shades around.
I only wait behind of all the train :
I waited long, and ey'd the doors in vain :
"Then sudden whirling, like a waving flame,
O more than human! tell thy race, thy name.
Amazing strength, these poisons to sustain !
Not mortal thou, nor mortal is thy brain.
Or art thou he? the man to come (foretold
Sheath thy bright sword, and join our hands in peace!
And love, and love-born confidence, be thine.'
Can love, and love-born confidence be mine!
O thou of fraudful heart, shall I be led
To share thy feast-rites, or ascend thy bed;
That, all unarm'd, that vengeance may have vent,
And magic bind me, cold and impotent?
Celestial as thou art, yet stand denied ;
Or swear that oath by which the gods are tied.
Swear, in thy soul no latent frauds remain,
Swear by the vow which never can be vain.'
The goddess swore then seiz'd my hand, and led
It would appear that the prevailing religion in Lanká, at that period, was the demon or yakkha worship. Buddhists have thence thought proper to represent that the inhabitants were yakkhos or demons themselves, and possessed of supernatural powers. Divested of the false colouring which is imparted to the whole of the early portion of the history of Lanká in the Mahawanso, by this fiction, the facts embodied in the narrative are perfectly consistent, and sustained by external evidence, as well as by surviving remnants of antiquity. No train of events can possibly bear a greater semblance of probability than that Wijayo, at his landing, should have connected himself with the daughter of some provincial chieftain or prince; by whose means he succeeded in overcoming the ruling powers of the island ;—and that he should have repudiated her, and allied himself with the sovereigns of Southern India, after his power was fully established in the island.
The narrative is too full and distinct in all requisite details, in the ensuing three chapters, to make any further remarks necessary from me.
The eleventh chapter possesses more extended interest, from the account it contains of the embassy sent to Asóko by Dewánanpiyatisso, and of the one deputed to Lanká in return.
The twelfth chapter contains the account of the dispersion of the buddhist missionaries, at the close of the third convocation, in B.c. 307, to foreign countries, for the purpose of propagating their faith. I had intended in this place to enter into a comparison of the data contained in professor Wilson's sketch of the Rája Taringiní, with the details furnished in this chapter of the Mahawanso, connected with the introduction of buddhism in Cashmir. The great length, however, of the preceding extracts from the Tíká, which has already swelled this introduction beyond the dimensions originally designed, deters me from undertaking the task in the present sketch. I shall, therefore, now only refer to the accordance between the two authorities (though of conflicting faiths) as to the facts of that conversion having taken place in the reign of Asóko; of the previous prevalence of the nága worship;
and of the visitation by tempests, which each sect attributed to the impiety of the opposite party; as evidences of both authorities concurring to prove the historical event here recorded, that this mission did take place during the reign of that supreme ruler of India.
As to the deputations to the Mahisamandala, Wanawása, and Aparantaka countries, I believe it has not been ascertained whether any of their ancient literature is still extant; nor, indeed, as far as I am aware, have their geographical limits even been clearly defined, Although we are equally without the guidance of literary records in regard to the ancient history of Mahárátta, also, the persevering progress of oriental research has of late furnished some decisive evidence, tending to prove that the stupendous works of antiquity on the western side of India, which had heretofore been considered of hindu origin, are connected with the buddhistical creed. The period is not remote, I hope, when the successful decyphering of the more ancient inscriptions will elicit inscribed evidence, calculated to afford explicit explanation of the pictorial or sculptural proofs on which the present conclusions are chiefly based. In regard to the geographical indentification of the Yóna country, I am of opinion we shall have to abandon past speculations, founded on the similarity of the names of "Yona" and "Yavana"; and the consequent inferences that the Yavanas were the Greeks of Bactriana ;-as Yóna is stated to be mentioned long anterior to Alexander's invasion, in the ancient Páli works. The term in that case can have no connection with the Greeks.
If in the "regions of Himawanto" are to be included Tibet and Nepal, the collection of Sanscrit and Tibetan buddhistical works, made by Mr. Hodgson,—cursorily as they have hitherto been analized,—has already furnished corroborative evidence of the deputation above-mentioned to Cashmir, and of the three convocations. When the contents of those works have been more carefully examined, that corroboration will probably be found to be still more specific and extensive.
As to the deputation into Sówanabhúmi; the Pitakattaya of the Burmese are, minutely and literally, identical with the buddhist scriptures of Ceylon. The translations which appeared in the Bengal Asiatic Journal for May, 1834, of the inscriptions found at Buddhaghya and Ramree island, are valuable collateral evidence, both confirmatory of the authenticity of the Pitakattaya, and explanatory of the deputation to Sówanabhúmi; the latter agreeing even in respect to the names of the théros employed in the mission, with the Mahawanso.
In entering upon the thirteenth chapter, a note is given in the Tíká, which I extract in this place, as containing further particulars of the personal history of Asóko; and I would take this opportunity of correcting a mistranslation, by altering the passage "she gave birth to the noble (twin) sons Ujjénio and Mahindo," into "she gave birth to the noble Ujjénian prince Mahindo." The other children born to Asóko at Ujjéni, alluded to in a former note, were probably the offspring of different mothers.
Prior to this period, prince Bindusáro, the son of Chandagutto of the Móriyan dynasty, on the demise of his father, had succeeded to the monarchy, at Pátiliputta. He had two sons who were brothers. Of them (the sons) there were, also, ninety other brothers, the issue of different mothers. This monarch conferred on Asóko, who was the eldest of all of them, the dignity of sub-king, and the government of Awanti. Subsequently, on a certain occasion, when he came to pay his respects to him (the monarch), addressing him, "Sub-king, my child! repairing to thy government, reside at Ujjéni," ordered him thither. He, who was on his way to Ujjéni, pursuant to his father's command, rested in his journey at the city of Chétiyagiri, at the house of one Déwo, a settho. Having met there the lovely and youthful daughter of the said settho, named Chétiya déwi and becoming enamoured of her; soliciting the consent of her parents, and obtaining her from them, he lived with her. By that connection she became pregnant; and being conveyed from thence to Ujjeni, she gave birth to
* This is at variance with a preceding note, which made Sumano the eldest of all Bindusáro's sons.
the prince Mahindo. At the termination of two years from that date, giving birth to her daughter Sanghamittá, she continued to dwell there. Bindusáro, the father of the sub-king, on his death bed, calling his son Asóko to his recollection sent messengers to require his attendance. They accordingly repaired to Ujjéni, and delivered their message to Asóko. Pursuant to those instructions, he hastened to his father by rapid stages, leaving his son and daughter, in his way, at Chétiyagiri; and hurrying to his father at Pátiliputta, performed the funeral obsequies of his parent, who died immediately on his arrival. Then putting to death the ninety nine brothers of different mothers, and extirpating all disaffected persons and raising the chhatta, he there solemnized his inauguration. The mother of the théro (Mahindo), sending her children to the king's court, continued to reside herself at the city of Chétiyagiri. It is from this circumstance (that the author of the Mahawanso has said), "While prince Asóko was ruling over the Awanti country."
The Tíka affords no new matter, as far as regards the interesting narrative contained in the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth chapters. The twentieth chapter contains a chronological summary of the reign of Dhammásóko, at the opening of which the Tíká gives the following note, affording another proof of the minute attention paid by the author to prevent any misapprehension in regard to the chronology of his history.
After describing the arrival of the bo-tree, and prepatory to entering upon the chapter on the subject of the théros obtaining "parinibbánan," the account of the death of the two monarchs, Dhammásóko and Dewánanpiyatisso, is set forth (in the Mahawanso in these words): "In the eighteenth year of the reign of Dhammásóko, the bo-tree was placed in the Mahaméghawanna pleasure garden."
(In the Mahawanso it is stated), "these years collectively amount to thirty seven." By that work it might appear that the total (term of his reign) amounted to forty one years. That reckoning would be erroneous; the last year of each period being again counted as the first of the next period. By avoiding that double appropriation, the period becomes thirty seven years. In the Atthakatha, avoiding this absurd (literally laughable) mistake, the period is correctly stated. It is there specified to be thirty seven years."
I have now rapidly gone through the first twenty chapters of the Mahawanso, making also extracts from the most interesting portions of the Tíká which comment on them. These chapters have been printed also in the form of a pamphlet to serve as a prospectus to this volume of the Mahawanso. That pamphlet has been already distributed among Literary Societies and Oriental scholars, whose criticism I invited, not on the translation (for the disadvantages or advantages under which this translation has been attempted will be undisguisedly stated) but on the work itself.
The chronological data of the Indian history herein contained, may be thus tabularized.