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History of Bengali Language and Literature/Chapter 2

Pre-Mahomedan Literature.
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1. Aphorisms and wise-sayings,—Dāk and Khanā. 2. Dharma-cult—a form of Buddhism. 3. Ramāi Pandit and his Çuṅya Purāna. 4. Sahajiā-cult and its exponents. 5. Dharma-mañgal poems and the story related in them. 6. The ballads of the Pāl Kings. 7. The Çaiva-cult, how it faced Buddhism. 8. Genealogical records.

Before dealing with the literature of Bengal that grew up after the Mahomedan conquest, we propose to dwell here upon the fragments of literary works which have come down to us,—from a much earlier period. They consist of (1) Aphorisms and pithy sayings which served as a guide for domestic and agricultural purposes to the rural folk of Bengal. (2) Hand-books of mystic doctrines, based on Tāntrik forms of Buddhism. (3) Ballads and songs in honour of some of the Pāl Kings of Bengal. (4) Hymns, odes and songs describing the prowess of Dharma Thākur and other household deities. (5) Genealogical accounts of the Kulin families of Bengal.

1 Aphorisms and wise-sayings, Dāk and Khanā.

Dāker Vachana.Referring to the earliest literature of Bengal, which bears the stamp of Buddhistic influence, we light upon Dakārṅava,—a Tāntrik work of the Buddhists, containing aphorisms and wise-sayings in old Bengali regarding agriculture, astrology, medicine and other nmtters of interest to domestic life. Mahāmahopādhyāya Haraprasāda Çastri found a copy of Dakārṅava in the custody of the Buddhists of Nepal. Dakārṅava gives specimens of a very old form of Bengali which may be traced to the tenth century of the Christian era. Dāk-Tantra is also a book of authority with the rural folk of Bengal, but it is popularly known here as "Dāker-Vachana." The latter work gives a smoothed down version of its precursor and prototype preserved in Nepal; but there are numerous lines to be found in the editions of the book published by the Baṭtalā Presses of Calcutta[1] which retain their old and antiquated forms. It is impossible to get any clear sense out of such lines as:—

"আদি অন্ত ভুজসি৷
ইষ্টদেবে যেহ পুজসি॥
বুন্দা বুঝিয়া এড়িব লুণ্ড৷
আগল হৈলে নিবারিব তুণ্ড॥
আনহি বসতি আনহি গোয়ালি৷
হেন বসতের কি বাউলি॥
ভাষা বোল পাতে লিখি৷
বাটাহুব বোল পাড়ি সাখি॥
মধ্যস্থে যবে সমাধে ন্যায়৷
বলে ডাক বড় দুখ পায়॥
মধ্যস্থে যবে হেমাতি বুঝে৷
বলে ডাক নরকে পচে॥"

Probably the last portion refers to the rules for settling disputes by arbitration—a practice generally adopted in the old order of society. There are evident traces of Buddhistic views in these sayings. Buddhistic views.Buddhism, in its days of decline in India, became identical with scepticism. In Dāker-Bachana, we come across such views as these:—

"When we get a good palatable thing to eat, it is not wise to keep it for to-morrow. Enjoy curds and milk; if they bring on disease, get it cured by medicine. For, says Dāk, when one dies, there is an end of his connection with the world."[2] This is quite an un-Hindu idea. The pleasures of the present moment are condemned by the Hindu Çāstras and the views quoted above remind us of Chārvāka and other free-thinkers, and we have said that the Buddhists of the latter-day school had turned into free-thinkers like Chārvāka. The Buddhistic Dharma Çāstra lays special stress on charitable works. In the short epigrammatic sayings of Dāk, there are many passages calling on a house-holder to perform works of charity and public good.

"One who is anxious to do a virtuous act, should dig tanks and plant trees (for the benefit of the people). One who founds institutions for the distribution of rice and water, never goes to Hell."[3]

We miss in these sayings, the familiar injunctions for prayer and worship, indispensable in a book of rules for the guidance of a Hindu house-holder; and and here we can draw a clear line of demarcation between the state of society before and after the revival of Hinduism in Bengal. All rules and codes framed for the guidance of men and women in our society, after the downfall of Buddhism have a distinct and unmistakable reference to the metaphysical side of religion. In them a far greater stress is laid on devotion to gods than on principles of morality. The Hindu priests even go so far as to declare, that a man committing the worst of sins, may secure a place in Heaven by uttering the name of God, a single time. The Dāker Vachana evidently belongs to a period anterior to the acceptance of this ideal in society.

Khanār VachanDāker Vachana is not the only book of its kind in old Bengali. Khanār Vachana furnishes an equally old specimen of our vernacular. The latter is more popular with the masses and has, therefore undergone far greater changes than Dāker-Vachana. We, however often light upon old and antiquated forms of expressions in it, which remind us, that though simplified and altered, the sayings must also be traced to an early age. The sayings are mainly devoted to agricultural subjects.Though the subjects treated of, in the two books, cover a varied field, by far the greater portion of them is devoted to agricultural subjects. In Bengal, where the people are chiefly of the peasant class, these sayings are accepted as a guide by millions;—the wisdom they display is the result of acute observation of nature and has a special significance in regard to the soil and climate of Bengal. We quote some of them below:—[4]

"If it rains in the month of Agrahāyaṅa, the king goes a-begging.

"If it rains in the month of Pouṣa, money may be had even by selling the chaff.

"If it rains at the end of the month of Māgha, the king and his country become blessed.

"If it rains in Fālgun, the millet Chīnākāon (Peanicum miliaceum) grows abundantly."

"Khanā says, the paddy thrives in the sun and the betel in the shade."

"If the paddy gets profuse sunshine by day, and showers by night, it rapidly develops. Khanā says, the drizzling rain in the month of Kārtic, does immense good to the paddy."

"Hear, O son of ploughman, in the bamboo-bush put some smut of paddy, if you do so near the root of the shrubs, they will soon cover two Kuḍas of land (about 174 cubits square)."

"O son of ploughman, plant patol (Trichosanthes diœca) in a sandy soil, your expectations will be fulfilled."

"Sow the seeds of mustard close, but those of rye (Sinapis ramose) at some distance from one another. Cotton plants should be put at the distance of a leap from one another and jute should, by no means, be planted near them, for cotton plants will perish if they come in contact with the water from the jute-field.""

There are numerous rules of this nature laid down on agricultural matters, with special application to the products of the soil of Bengal. The books serve to this day as infallible agricultural manuals to the ploughmen of Bengal. The short sentences rhyming with one another are soon committed to memory; so every child and every woman knows them in rural Bengal.

On house-building.The following rule is enjoined for building a residential house:—

"On the east, let there be the ducks (i.e. there should be a tank); on the west, an avenue of bamboos; on the north, a garden of fruit-trees; and the south should be left open"[5]

On the properties of plants and on the culinary art.The chapter on medicine is not taken from any learned Sanskrit medical work. The indigenous plants and herbs of rural Bengal are prescribed as remedies, the effects of which seem to be infallible on the human system and were known by direct experiment. The discourse on the culinary art of Bengal in Dãker vachan has a particular interest to us, as it describes the simple but exceedingly delicious fare, cooked by our village women. In plainness and in delicacy of taste, these dishes bear a striking contrast with the rich preparations of meat, introduced in the later times by the Mahammadans.

Study of female character in Dāker Vachan.In Dāker-vachan we find an interesting study of female character which, I am afraid, will not be fully appreciated by people unacquainted with the life in our zenana. We give some extracts below:—[6]

"The husband is inside the house, the wife sits out-doors, and turns her head on all sides and smiles. With such a wife, says Dāk, the husband's life is not secure."

"The hearth is in the kitchen, but the wife cooks meals outside, she swells her small tresses and ties them into a large knot, and frequently turns back her head (as if to see somebody). She empties the pitcher, and goes to the pond for re-filling it, casts side-glances on the passers-by, and covertly glances at some stranger while talking with neighbours on the road, hums a tune while lighting the evening lamp. Such a woman should not be kept in the house."[7]

Vāra Masī or 'twelve months' a favourite subject.The sky of Bengal, clear and transparent in the early spring, foggy in winter, and full of frowning clouds and angry flashes of lightnings in the rainy months, ever changing its aspects from month to month, cannot fail to strike a keen observer of nature with the clearly defined lines of its varied weather. The various seasons produce different results on the human system, on the paddy-fields, and on the variegated flowers and leaves of trees with which the villages abound. Life here changes, as it were, from month to month and Nature picturesquely disports herself on the stage of this beautiful country through the twelve sub-divisions of the year. The "Vāramāsī" or a description of twelve months is a favourite subject with our old poets, who seem to be never weary of describing the peculiar pleasures and sorrows of each of the twelve months. Here, in these two manuals, there are frequent references to the conditions of weather foretelling the prospects of paddy during each month of the year. Food, peculiarly congenial to the human system in each season and month, is detailed in Dāker Vachana in strict accordance with the principles of health. I quote a portion below:—

"In the month of Kārtik, take the esculent root Ol (Arum campanulatum). In Agrāhayana the Bel fruit will prove congenial to health. In Pouṣ take Kanji (a kind of sour gruel or sowens made by steeping rice in water and letting the liquor ferment). In Māgh, a free use of mustard oil is recommended. In Fālgun take ginger and in Chaitra vegetables of a bitter taste (as Nim leaves) will do you good. In Vaiçakh Nalita (a pot herb), in Jyaiṣtha, butter milk,—in Āṣāḍa, curds, in Çrāvaṅa Khoi (a kind of fried-grain) in Bhādra, palm fruit and in Āçvina,—cucumber. This is the Vāramāsī, says Dāk."[8]

The later Vāramasis, of which there is quite a legion in our old literature, are mainly devoted to tender feelings experienced by lovers in the different months of the year, especially when separated from one another.

The popularity of the sayings.The popularity of the two books is not approached by any other writings that we know of, in the country, as even illiterate men have got the aphorisms by heart, and yet they have been handed down to us from a remote past,—it may be the tenth century A. D. as we have already said and as appears from the language in which their older versions are couched and from the spirit of the age which is stamped upon them.

The question of authorship.Our next point will be to discuss the authorship of these aphorisms. Khanā is believed to be a historical personage,—the reputed wife of Varāhamihira and a prodigy in astronomy, in the days of Vikramāditya, the King of Ujjayinī. Even accepting all these traditions about her to be true,—it is absurd to suppose, that she—a native of Rajputana, would compose the aphorisms in Bengali or dwell upon subjects which peculiarly apply to Bengal. The Dāker Vachana has similarly been ascribed by popular belief to a milk-man named Dāk. In the vaṅitā (signature) of these sayings, we occasionaly come across the words "Dāk goālā" (Dāk—the milkman.) We have, however, found that they formed a part of the Buddhistic work—Dākārṅava Tantra, so their origin is easily explained. In some of the sayings we find the vaṅitā of Rāvaṅa. This exceedingly purile notion is no doubt due to the belief amongst the people of this country that a knowledge of astrology has come down to us from the Rākṣasas. Inspite of all these traditions, we are inclined to believe, that these sayings contain the accumulated wisdom of the Bengal peasantry,—they are the heritage of an agricultural race to which the unassuming rural folk of Bengal have unconsciously contributed through ages, and that no particular person or persons should be credited with their authorship.

2. Dharma-cult—a form of Buddhism.

Buddhistic works recast by the Hindus.The Moslem conquerors often built Mosques with the materials of the Hindu temples they had destroyed. The sculptural representations of gods and goddesses and other carvings on bricks indicating the ancient decorative art of the Hindus have been lately discovered from dilapidated Mosques in various places in India,—as the plaster, which concealed them from view, crumbled down from the walls in course of time.

Such has also been the case with Buddhism in India. In the Buddhist temple, the image of Buddha is often worshipped as Çiva. Buddhistic religious books have been so recast and transformed by the Hindu priests, that they now pass for religious poems of the Hindus in the eyes of the people. Yet they were unmistakably Buddhistic works at first. Such for instance are the poems of Dharma-mangal. Dharma-thākur, in praise of whose might, the poems were originally composed, represents the popular idea of Buddha and occupies the second place in the Budhistic group comprised of Buddha, Dharma and Saṁgha. The third of the group সঙ্ঘ, changed into শঙ্খ, is also alluded to, in the Çuṅya Purāṅa, by Rāmāi Pandit. He mystically discourses on শঙ্খ,[9] which however, is as remote from সঙ্ঘ, as is the popular conception of Dharma-thākur, from that of the historical Buddha. Evidences of their Buddhistic origin.There are passages which distinctly prove the Buddhistic origin of the poems. In the Çunya Purāṅa, which lays down rules for Dharma worship, there is a line,—"ধর্ম্মরাজ যজ্ঞ নিন্দা করে"—(Dharma Rāj condemns sacrifices). This sounds like a translation of the well-known line in honour of Buddha by the poet Jaydeva—"নিন্দসি যজ্ঞ বিধিরঽহ শ্রুতি জাতং".

There are many other passages which clearly indicate the same truth; for instance "সিংহলে শ্রীধর্ম্মরাজ বহুত সম্মান"—(Dharma Rāj is held in high veneration in Ceylon). In another line we find "আগেতে ছিলেন প্রভু ললিত অবতার"—(In former times Dharma Rāj was the Lalita Avatāra). The most authoritative biography of Buddha is called the "Lalita Vistāra."

In the poems of Dharma-mangal itself, there are frequent references to Buddhist saints, such as Mīnanāth, Gorakṣanāth, Hāḍīpa and Kālupa. The words নিরঞ্জন and শূন্য মূর্ত্তি with which the readers of the poems are so familiar, are words taken from the Buddhistic Çāstras. The doctrine known as the Çunyabād, which explains the origin of the universe from nothing, became a popular theory with the later Buddhistic school; and this doctrine is detailed not only in the Çunya Purāṅa, but also in the poems of Dharma-mangal. The Hāḍīs, Domas and other low caste people are the priests in many of the Dharma temples. The Doma Pandits at one time occupied a prominent position in the Buddhistic temples, and when Buddhism was driven away from this country, all religious functions in many of these Dharma temples, still continued to be discharged by the descendants of the Doma priests, as the Hindus dared not oust a priestly class, revered by the people, from their duties in temples. We noticed, that the poems in honour of Dharma-thākur have been thoroughly recast by the Hindu priests, and Hindu ideas have been largely introduced into them; but even as late as 1640 A.D. the Brahmin priests would not venture to mix too closely with the worshippers of Dharma-thākur for fear of losing caste. In the above year, when Mānik Rām Gānguli, a Brahmin, was inspired by Dharma-thākur, who appeared to him in a dream for encouraging him to write a Dharma-mangal, our poet fell prostrate before him in dismay, and said "জাতি যায় প্রভু যদি ইহা করি গান।"—I shall be an outcast, if I sing a song in your praise). This distinctly proves that Dharma-thākur had originally no plaCe in the Hindu Pantheon.

The Brahmins gradually overcome their scruples.As the popularity of these songs amongst the masses continued unabated, the Brahmins gradually took them up, and later poems of Dharma-mangal have been so greatly transformed in their hands, that they look very much like works devoted to the Çākta-cult; but reading between the lines, the readers will be able to discover evident traces of Buddhism in them. It should however be noted here, that the Buddhism indicated in these works, has scarcely anything in common with the pure Buddhism of Açoka’s time; and both are even more unlike one another than the Pourāṅic Hindu religion of the present day and the pure religion of the Upaniṣadas.

Early Bengali works by the Buddhists.The Çunya Purāṅa by Rāmāi Pandit, Chāryāchāryaviniçchay by Kānu Bhatta, the poems known as Dharma-mangal, and ballads and songs in honour of some of the Pāl Kings of Bengal bear distinct stamps of Buddhism on them. The ballads of the Pāl Kings, who were great patrons of Buddhism, indicate the marvellous power wielded by Gorakṣanāth and Hāḍisiddha, the great Buddhistic saints. The latter belonged to one of the meanest castes of the Hindu society, yet his power is said to have been so great, that the gods of Heaven, trembled in fear, when the saint approached. In the songs of Govinda Chandra Pāl, revised by the poet Durlabha Mallik, the King is said to have asked his religious preceptor—the far-famed Hāḍisiddha, as to what was the true religion. Hāḍisiddha said:—

"হাড়িপা বলেন বাছা শুন গোবিন্দাই।
অহিংসা পরম ধর্ম্ম যার পর নাই॥"

(O Govinda, my son, the highest act of religion is to abstain from destruction of life).

The popular notion of Buddhism in India holds this doctrine of অহিংসা as the most essential point in the religion of Buddha, about whom the poet Joydeva has said:—

"সদয়-হৃদয়-দর্শিত পশুঘাতং।"

3. Rāmāi Pundit and his Çunya Purāṅa.

Rāmāi Pundit, born towards the end of the 10th Century A. D.The great exponent of the Dharma-cult in Bengal was, by general acceptance, Rāmāi Pandit—the reputed author of Çunya Purāṅa. The poems of Dharma-mangal also make mention of Rāmāi Pundit with great esteem. His hand-book of Darma Pujā, called the Çunya Purāṅa, has been edited by Babu Nagendranāth Vasu and lately published by the Sāhitya Pariṣada of Calcutta. Rāmāi Pandit was a contemporary of Dharmapāl II, who reigned in Gouḍa in the early part of the 11th century A.D. Rājendra Chol's rock-inscription (1012 A.D.), recently discovered at Tirumalaya, makes mention of this monarch. Rāmāi Pandit was born at Champāighāt—on the river Dwārakeçwar in the District of Bānkura. The year of his birth is not known, but he was born on the 5th day of the waxing moon, in the month of Vaiçākha, towards the end of the 10th Century A.D.

The question of his pedigree discussedBābu Nagendranāth Vasu, who edits the Çunya Purāṅa, accepts the account of Rāmāi's life furnished by his descendants, and takes him to be a Brahmin. The accnunt is full of fables and is scarcely entitled to credence. The descendants of Rāmāi Pandit, who still discharge the priestly function in the Dharma temple at Mainā, are known as Dom Pandits and not Brahmins; besides, there have been so many attempts in Bengal to raise a low-born saint to the rank and status of a Brahmin, evidently with a view to remove the stigma of humble origin laid on his descendants, that we can hardly accept this account of interested parties as true. Haridāsa, the great saint of the Vaiṣṅava community, was a Mahammadan; but he is now declared by some Vaiṣṅavas to have been originally a Brahmin. Even in the accounts furnished from the temple of Mainā by the descendants of Rāmāi Pundit, there are points to throw a doubt on the pretensions to a high pedigree advanced by them. Dharma-thākur therein is said to have cursed Rāmāi, saying that the people of higher castes would not touch water given by the Saint. Rāmāi Pandit himself is said to have cursed his son Dharmadās for a fault, not clearly stated, by which he lost his caste and turned a Dom Pandit. These stories are evidently got up to establish the point that they were originally Brahmins, though so degraded now. The writer of the sketch very forcibly states that the Dom Pandits do not belong to the Doma caste. His very enthusiasm in establishing this point betrays the weakness of his position; for the people of Bengal know Domas and Dom Pandits to belong to the same caste. The word দ্বিজ (twice-born) which occasionally occurs in the Bhanitā of Rāmāi Pandit, is a later interpolation and the Çunya Purāṅa, in its present shape, bears traces of many subsequent hands, as Nagendra Babu has himself admitted.

His descendants.Rāmāi Pandit was eighty years old when he married. His son Dharmadās had four sons,—Mādhava, Sanātana, Çridhara and Trilochana. The members of Rāmāi Pandit's family are authorised priests of Yātrāsiddhi Roy—as Dharma-thākur of the temple at Maina is called—and they are privileged to perform the copper-ceremony of the 36 castes.

The contents of the Çunya Purāṅa.The Çunya Purāṅa begins with a description of the origin of the universe on the lines of the Mahāyāna School of the Buddhists. It runs thus[10]:—

"There was no line, no form, no colour, and no sign.

"The sun and the moon were not, nor day, nor night.

"The earth was not, nor water, nor sky.

"The mounts Meru, Mandāra and Kailāsa were not.

"The creation was not, nor were there gods, nor men.

"Brahmā was not, nor was Viṣnu, nor the etherial regions.

"Heaven and earth were not, all was emptiness.

"The presiding gods of the ten directions were not, nor were there the clouds, nor the stars.

"Life was not, nor death, nor pangs of death.

"The Lord moved in the void, supporting Himself on the void."

From the Lord, says the Çunya Purāṅa, sprang air; and as He drew breath, Ulluk (owl), a bird sacred with the worshippers of Dharma-Thākur, was created. The owl is also sometimes called a Muni (sage). The next creation was tortoise, which is also sacred with the Dharma-worshippers. In the temple, dedicated to Dharma Thākur by Lāu Sen—King of Mainā, in the 11th century, Dharma is still worshipped as a tortoise. The other objects of creation were the serpent Ananta, and the earth; and then from the Lord came Çakti. known as Durgā.

We need not proceed further with this catalogue of theological reveries. The Çunya Purāṅa gives details about the method of worshipping Dharma. We find Çiva, Viṣṅu, Brahmā and a host of Paurānik gods mentioned in this book in a strange way. They discharge functions which have little in common with those attributed to them by the Hindus. Occasionally we come across the word বম্ভনিব্বান, which reminds us of the Nirvana of Buddha.

Çunya Purāṅa, published by the Sāhitya Pariṣad, contains altogether 56 chapters, of which 5 are devoted to an account of the creation of the universe. The rest detail the method of Dharma-worship with occasional references to the sacrifices made by Rājā Hari Chandra and other devout Specimens of passages from the original work.followers of Dharma, for the sake of religion. There are several passages in prose in the book which furnish curious specimens of very old Bengali mixed with later interpolations. Our readers will admit from the antique forms of words in the following lines that they formed a part of the original writings of Rāmāi Pandit.

"হে ভগবান বার ভাই বার আদিত্ত হাথ পাতি নেহ সেবকর অর্ঘ পুপ্প পানি সেবক হব সুখি ধামাৎ কন্নি গুরু পণ্ডিত দেউলা দান পতি সাংসুর ভোক্তা আমনি সন্ন্যাসী গতি জাইতি।" p. 70.

"সুনার কেতকী আনেন করন্তি আসিন্যা।
চারিদিকে নিরঞ্জন সারিন্যা ধম্ম কিন্যা॥ p. 24.
"রাতিত পাথর চারি পাতি কর।
কতে হল সুদ সুনার আড়া।"

"কাঞ্চন বাঁধিআ মেজে করিল কাট ডাল মণ্ডপে ফটিকর থাম লাগে চন্দন নাদন আর সাত ডকে লাগিল গজান। ইলা মণ্ডপে দপ্পন সভাকরে।" p. 59.

The book contains many passages of this nature, and the learned editor has, in an apologetic tone, avowed his inability to explain many of them.

The last chapter subsequently interpolated.The last chapter, which is headed "নিরঞ্জনের রুষ্মা" (the anger of Niranjan) and was evidently annexed, at least three centuries after the composition of the original work, refers to the revival of Hinduism,—the downfall of the followers of Sat-Dharma or pure religion (Buddhism), and to a free fight between the Mahammadans and the Brāhmins at Jājpur,—the Mahammadans being described as the incarnations of gods and goddesses who are said to have come down for wreaking vengeance on the Brāhmins for oppressing the Sat-Dharmis. We give a free and abridged translation of the curious passage below.[11] In all probability the passage was written by Sahadeva Chakravarti, one of the authors of Dharma-mangal, of whom we shall have to write at some length, hereafter.

The Brahmins and the Sat-Dharmis."In Jājpur and Māldah sixteen hundred families of Vedic Brāhmins mustered strong. Being assembled in groups of ten or twelve, they killed the Sat-Dharmis (Buddhists who would not pay them religious fees, by uttering incantations and curses. They recited Mantras from the Vedas and fire came out from their mouths, as they did so. The followers of Sat-Dharma trembled with fear at the sight thereof, and prayed to Dharma; for who else could give them succour in that crisis? Dharma comes as a Muhammadan to punish the Brahmins.The Brāhmins began to destroy the creation in the above manner, and acts of great violence were perpetrated on the earth. Dharma who resided in Baikunṭha was grieved to see all this. He came to the world as a Muhammadan. On his head he wore a black cap, and in his hand he held a cross-bow. He mounted a horse and was called Khodā. Niranjana incarnated himseli in Bhest (heaven). All the gods being of one mind, wore trousers. Brahmā incarnated himself as Muhammad, Viṣṅu as Paigamvar and Çiva became Ādamfa (Ādam). Ganeça came as a Gāzi, Kārtika as a Kāzi, Nārada became a Sekha and Indra a Moulana. The Riṣis of heaven became Fakirs. The sun, the moon and the other gods came in the capacity of foot-soldiers, and began to beat drums. The goddess Chandi incarnated herself as Hayā Bibi and Padmāvatī became Bibi Nur. The gods being all of one mind entered Jājpur. They broke the temples and Maṭhas and cried "seize," "seize." Falling at the feet of Dharma, Rāmāi Pandit sings, "O what a great confusion!"

The history of the fight unknown.What historical incident is referred to, in the description given above, is not clearly known. But it unmistakably points to a general feeling of gratification, with which the Buddhists watched the oppression of the Brāhmins by the Muhammadans at Jājpur, which they attributed to divine wrath, for atrocities committed upon themselves.

4. The Sahajiā-cult.

The Sahajiā creed started by the Buddhists.When Buddhism declined in India, and Hinduism had not yet risen on her horizon in the fulness of its glorious revival,—when the idea of a higher life inspired by a keen sense of morality and introspection, which was the dominant spirit of Buddhism, declined into scepticism and sensuality, and when devotion and absolute trust in God, which characterised the Paurānik Hinduism, was yet unknown—in the twilight of the transition-period, mystic rituals of Tāntrikism ruled Buddhistic and Hindu communities all over India. The Vāmāchārī Tāntriks perpetrated wanton crimes in the name of religion and the vast literature, they have left us, lays down codes for those initiated in the creed, which totally upset the moral fabric of society.

The Sahajiā-cult owed its origin to the Vāmāchārī Buddhists. Salvation was sought for by a process of rituals in which young and beautiful women were required to be loved and worshipped. In sexual love there is surely a higher side which points to love Divine. The Sahajiā-cult was originally based upon this idea.

Kāṅu Bhatta—a Buddhist scholar, who lived in the latter part of the 10th century. was the first apostle of love-songs of the Sahajiā-cult in Bengali. This love is not a legitimate affair sanctioned by society; with one's own wife it could not, according to this creed, reach a high stage of perfection. Charyyā-Charyya Viniçchaya and Bodhi Charyāvatāra.Kānu Bhatta's work in Bengali which formulates the creed of Vāmāchār is called Charyyā-Charyya Viniçchaya. It has been lately recovered from Nepāl by Mahāmahopādhyāya Hara Prasād Çāstrī. Another work of a similar kind is Bodhi-Charyyāvatāra, the MS. of which, as l have said elsewhere, is incomplete.

There are passages in the love-songs contained in the above two works which are obscene; but they are permeated by a mystic spiritual significance and are capable of a higher interpretation.

The doctrines promulgated by the Vāmāchārī Buddhists did not pass away with the overthrow of the Buddhistic influence in Bengal. In the Chaṅdī Dās as an exponent of Sahajiā.Sahajiā creed of the Vaiṣṅavas, the old doctrines re-appeared amongst the masses, and its great exponent Chaṅdīdās echoed the sentiments of Kāṅu Bhatta in his love-songs, giving it a far higher spiritual tone than they had ever received from the Buddhists. Chaṅdīdās lived in the 14th century, so his writings do not, properly speaking, belong to the pre-Mahammadan period to which we should have confined ourselves in this chapter. For an exposition of the Sahajiā doctrines, however, we find it necessary to refer to some of his songs which elucidate the essential principles of this curious creed. Says Chaṅdīdās:—

"Everyone speaks of Sahajiā,—alas, who knows its real meaning? One who has crossed the region of darkness (passions) can alone have the light of Sahajiā."[12]

Chaṅdīdās's writings on this point occasionally appear as riddles,—and indeed all writings of this class are so,—but they give sufficient glimpses of the purity of his faith.

[13]"The woman must remain chaste and never fall; she will sacrifice herself entirely to love, but outwordly the object of her love will be as nobody to her. Secret love must he indulged in secret; and thereby her mind should be purified; but she should not submit to desire. She must plunge herself headlong in the sea of abuse, but at the same time scrupulously avoid touching the forbidden stream and be quite indifferent to both pleasure and pain, (she will allow herself to be abused by others remaining true to herself)."

To play with passions,—to indulge freely in love, at the same time to guard oneself against a fall, is risky. The poet knows it well and says[14]

"To be a true lover, one must be able to make a frog dance in the mouth of a snake"—(which means, the lover while playing with dangerous passions,—nay, while apparently running even to the very mouth of destruction, must possess the self-control to return unhurt). "This love may be attained by one who can suspend the highest peak of Mount Sumeru with a thread, or bind an elephant with a cobweb;"[15]—implying that it is not in an ordinary man's power to control the surging passions of love and remain immaculate in his vow. The poet says, that by exercising restraint over feelings and desires and at the same time by running though great sacrifices for its cause, salvation through love may be obtained.

According to Chaṅdīdās, the initiated people must exercise great discretion in selecting their objects of love. The lovers should be both pure in heart, spiritually bent and immaculate in morals.

"If a young maiden (of a spiritual temperament) falls in love with a man of inferior quality, she shares the fate of a flower pierced by thorns and dies of a broken heart. If a youth happens to fall in love with a maiden of lower type, he becomes like one, who is under the influence of evil-spirits,—moves about in great unrest, and eventually succumbs to despair; says Chaṅdīdās. "Such a union between a good-natured person and one who bears an opposite character may be compared to love between the tooth and the tongue; they live together but the former does not let an opportunity slip to bite the latter."[16]

Chaṅdīdās himself loved a washer-woman following the rules of the Sahajiā cult, for according to Gupta Sādhan Tantra, a book of authority with the sect, a washer-woman amongst others, is a legitimate subject of such love for a Vāmāchārī Tāntrik. Here is the text of the above Tantra.[17]

"A dancing girl, a girl of the Kapali caste, a prostitute, a washer-woman, a barbar's daughter, a Brāhmin girl, a Çudra girl, a milk-maid, a girl of the Mālākar caste—these nine are recognised as the legitimate subjects for Tāntric practices; those that are most clever amongst these, should be held as pre-eminently fit; maidens endowed with beauty, good luck, youth and amiable disposition are to be worshipped with care and a man's salvation is attained thereby."

In purity and edifying influence, Chaṅdīdās's sentiments made a near approach to spiritual love; and he literally worshipped the washer-woman with the ardour of a devotee, though he himself was a good Brāhmin. Her name was Rāmī, and Chaṅdīdās says of her:—

"O my love, I have taken refuge at they feet, knowing, they have a cooling effect (on my burning heart). I adore your beauty beaming with holy maidenhood which inspires no carnal desire. When I do not see you, my mind becomes restless; and as I see you. my heart is soothed. O washerwoman. my lady, you are to me what parents are to helpless children. The three prayers that a Brāhmin offers daily to his God, I offer to you. You are to me as holy as Gāyatrī from which the Vedas originated. I know you to be the goddess Sarasvatī who inspires songs. I know you to be the goddess Pārvatī.—You are the garland of my neck,—my heaven and earth, my nether-worlds and my mountains—nay, my whole universe! you are the apple of my eyes. Without you all is dark to me. My eyes are soothed when I see you. The day I do not see your moonlike face, I remain like a dead man. I cannot, for a moment, forget your grace and beauty. O, tell me how I may deserve y0ur fayvour? You are my sacred hymns and the essence of my prayers. My love for your maidenly beauty has not any element of physical desire in it. Says Chaṅdīdās,—the love of the washerwoman is pure gold tested by touch-stone."[18] Chaṅdīdās was himself convinced that sexual love leads to love Divine. He says “Hear me. friends, how salvation may be attained through love for a woman: Reduce your body to a dry log (make it such as to be quite unmoved by passions). He that pervades the universe, unseen by all, is approachable only by him who knows the secret of pure love."[19]

So sang Chaṅdīdās—the great exponent of the Sahajiā cult in Bengal in the 14th century, more than 3 hundred years after Kāṅu Bhatta had composed his love songs. It goes without saying, that in their earnest efforts to attain salvation by worshipping young and beautiful damsels, many a youth turned moral wrecks in this country. Chaṅdīdās rightly says, that "in a million it would be difficult to find one"[20] who has the capacity for sell-restraint required by the Sahajiā preachers.

The dangers of Sahajiā, the harm it did to the Vaiṣṅava Society.From the earliest times the Hindu society does not seem to have offered any refuge to fallen women. The dangers of admlttlng fallen women to a society wlth a severe ideal of female purity were fully realised by the Hindus. The rite of Satī, and an uncompromising form of widowhood, sprang up in our social organisation, as natural alternatives for women on the death of their husbands. The Buddhists reserved a place in their nunneries for fallen women and for those who took the vow of life-long maidenhood. The Buddhist Bhikṣus and Bhikṣunīes (monks and nuns) who probably started the principles of salvation by sexual love with all the noble intentions of Dona-Julia in Don Juan, fell victims to their own snares and rightly earned the contemptuous title of নেড়া নেড়ী—the shaved couple. This epithet is now applied to the fallen men and women of the Vaiṣṅava society. But the women of that class do not get their heads shaved as the Buddhist Bhikṣunīes used to do. The Buddhist monks and nuns who formed improper relationship were the persons who were first called নেড়া নেড়ী। The Vaiṣṅavas who borrowed the Sahajiā cult from the Buddhists were not spared these nicknames. Chaṅdīdās himself knew the dangers of the creed and perhaps he stood the severe test. But latterly it became debased to the extreme and produced disastrous results on the Vaiṣṅava community.

For love, a little out of the way, if sanctioned by religion, offers temptations which the mass can hardly resist; and it is no wonder that taking advantage of a wicked interpretation of the love of Rādhā and Kriṣṅa, this cult of the Buddhist monks found favour in the lower stratum of Vaiṣṅava society, the degeneracy of which was mainly brought about by the immoral latitudes of the Sahajiā Vaiṣṅavas. The great Vaiṣṅava leaders were conscious of this drawback of their society and so condemned the creed. Chaitanya Deva would not allow any of his ascetic followers to mix with women, and Rupa, Sanātana and other devotees, who followed him, were unsparing in their hostile attitude to the Sahajiā Vaiṣṅavas.—Yet the creed numbered its votaries by hundreds amongst the Vaiṣṅavas, and we have come across about thirty authors in old Bengali literature who advocated the principles of Sahajiā.[21]

5. Dharmamangal-Poems.

Mayur Bhatta.The authors of Dharmamangal-poems, written in honour of the god Dharma, unanimously agree in declaring Mayura Bhatta to be the earliest writer on the subject. The poem which is said to have furnished inspiration to the succeeding poets of the Dhurma-cult was called the Hākanda Purāṅa. Babu Nagendranath Vasu considers the Çunya Purāṅa by Rāmāi Pandit to be identical with the Hākanda Purāṅa.[22] But we do not agree with this theory, as the subject treated in most of the Dharmamangal-poems is quite different from what we find in the Çunya Purāṅa. Besides. the name Hākanda Purāṅa, is evidently associated with the superhuman sacrifices of Lāu Sen at Hākanda, and of this song Rāmāi Pandit was not certainly the apostle.

Mayura Bhatta's time is not exactly known. In all probability he flourished a little before the Mahammadan conquest. Sītā Rām, the author of a Dharmamangal, who lived early in the fifteenth Century, refers to Mayur Bhatta's songs, as already having grown obsolete and partially lost by lapse of years, in his time. Mayura Bhatta who was admittedly the pioneer in the field and deservedly very popular, preceded Sitā Rām by at least 3 or 4 centuries. We learn from an account given in Mānik Gāṅgulī's poem that Mayura Bhatta belonged to a respectable Brāhman family of Bengal.

These poems were originally Buddhistic in spirit but they passed through great changes in the hands of the Hindu priests. Most of the Dharmamangal-poems give a description of the heroic achievements of Lāu Sen, the King of Maina who flourished in the 11th century. I briefly summarise the tale below:—

The story of Dharmamangal.In the reign of Gauḍeçvara, son of Dharmapal II, King of Gauḍa, there lived one Soma Ghoṣa, who was originally a menial servant in his palace. He ingratiated himself into the confidence of the Emperor and secured for himself a landed property at Dhākur on the river Ajay. The son of Soma Ghoṣa was Ichāi Ghoṣa who was a great warrior and a devout worshipper of the Goddess Kālī. He gradually asserted his independence and inspite of all remonstrance offered by his father, declared war against the Emperor of Gauḍa. The Emperor sent several expeditions to put down the revolt but all failed. Karṅa Sen, King of Maināgaḍa, a feudatory chief, was summoned to help the Emperor in this crisis. Karṅa Sen, accompanied by his four sons, went to the battle field, but was vanquished in war and all his sons were killed. He returned to his capital to witness the death of his queen who succumbed to grief owing to the loss of her sons. Karṅa Sen, who was now old, went to Gauḍa under these overwhelming bereavements, with a view to meet the monarch and acquaint him with the dire loss that had befallen him in his expedition. The Emperor of Gauḍa was naturally moved, to hear the sad tale, and tried to think how best he could soothe his friend in the despair thus brought upon him by his fidelity to the throne of Gauḍa. The Emperor had a sister-in-law, a young maiden of remarkable beauty. He asked Karṅa Sen to marry her. Karṅa Sen, as we have said, 'was already declined in the vale of years'; but he obeyed the royal command, and married the beautiful maiden, whose name was Rañjāvatī. Lāu Sen, the hero of Dharmamangal, was born to this married couple. It is said that his mother Rañjāvatī went through various ordeals and superhuman sacrifices in order to propitiate Dharma, one of these being self-destruction at the stake, when she was to be restored to life by the mercy of the god, who was pleased to grant her the boon of a son.

With the help of Lāu Sen, the Emperor of Gauḍa succeeded in putting down Karpurdhala King of Kāmrup (Assam) who had rebelled against him. He also sent Lāu Sen to punish King Haripāl who had refused the old Emperor's proposals to marry his young and beautiful daughter Kāneḍa. A battle ensued, in which the army was led to the field by the lovely princess herself. The encounter between her and our hero was sharp and animated, but she could not long withstand the superior skill and heroism of Lāu Sen, and King Haripāl was ultimately forced to submit. Kāneḍa was, however, given in marriage to Lāu Sen with the consent of the Emperor. But Lāu Sen's great achievement, was the conquest of Dhākur. Ichhāi Ghoṣa, who had baffled all attempts of the Emperor to bring him to submission, by destroying the vast armies sent at various times for the purpose, was killed by Lāu Sen in a pitched battle.

Besides these historical events, the poems give accounts of very mean plots and machinations to kill Lāu Sen, by Māhudya,—the brother-in-law and prime minister of the Emperor of Gauḍa. Lāu Sen was Māhudya's nephew, being his sister's son. The marriage of his sister Rañjāvatī with Karṅa Sen, who was old and decrepit, had not been approved of by him and though it had been celebrated under the orders of the Emperor, yet her brother tried his best to dissuade Rañjā from going to Maynā-gaḍa with her husband. Rañjā did not listen to her brother's counsel, but firmly told him, that as Karṅa Sen was now her lord,—young or old, it mattered not to her,—she was bound to follow him wherever he might go. In great anger Māhudya cursed his sister, saying that no child would be born to her. Hence when her son was actually born, and prince Lāu Sen grew to be a handsome young hero with courage and spirit for any enterprise, a deep seated rage rankled in his uncle's bosom. There are hundreds of incidents in the poems, describing the plots to assassinate Lāu Sen formed by Māhudya and last though not least was a command issued by the Emperor of Gauḍa at the instigation of the prime minister, calling upon Lāu-Sen to go to Hākanda and fulfil certain extraordinary conditions for the propitiation of the god Dharma. These involved a severe course of penances, and required that the prince should make the sun rise from the west. If he should not be able to satisfy the King by this, he was to lose his head. When Lāu Sen had gone to Hākanda on this strange mission, Māhudya led an army to Maynā-gaḍa and laid siege to his capital. The brave and heroic sacrifices of Lokhā Dumānī, wife of Kālu Doma, and those of his son Çaka, with the wonderful spirit of devotion to truth shown by Kālu in the sacrifice of his life at this crisis,—are graphically described by all the poets of Dharma-maṅgala. The trials and temptations which beset Lāu Sen in his early youth,—the court of Surikshya, the coquettish queen,—the manners of Nayānī, the lewd Vārui woman, are all full of interest for us as shedding light on various points of domestic and court-life as it prevailed in the Bengal of those days. Lāu Sen eventually comes out triumphant, by the favour of Dharma, and by dint of his wonderful devotion and strength of character.

The historical aspects of the poems.Such, briefly, is the subject-matter of the Dharmamaṅgal-poems. The subject is an historical one. The ruins of Lāu Sen's palace may still be seen at Maynā-gaḍa in Tamaluk. The fort of the great Ichhāi Ghoṣa, who offered a fierce resistance to the Emperor of Gauḍa in the 11th century, is also lying in ruins on the banks of the Ajay in the district of Bānkurā. The temple of Kāli called Çyāmrupā, worshipped by Ichhāi, is also to be seen in that place, which is still full of the tradition of the prowess and heroic deeds of the glorious rebel. The image of Dharma Thākur in the form of a tortoise, and a temp1e dedicated to it by Lāu Sen, may be seen in Maynā-gaḍa. In the list of the most prominent Indian Emperors of the Kali Yuga, furnished by our household almanacs, the name of Lāu Sen occurs along with those of Rājāh Yudhisṭhira, Mahīpāl and Ākbar. Haripāl, against whom Lāu Sen fought, lent his name to his capital in Simuliā on the river Brāhmanī. The ruins of the outer courts of his palace, called the Bāhir-Khanda, are still to be found in this village of Haripāl. The river Brāhmanī, on which it once stood, has, however, been completely silted up. Old Simuliā is now indicated by Simul-gaḍa, which represents the once-fortified portion of the capital of Haripāl.

That the names Lui Chandra, Māhudya, Lohatā, Jāllān-Çekar, Kaneḍā, Kalingā and Samolā are those of historical personages, appears from their very antiquated Prākrita forms. They could not have been invented by any poet within the last seven hundred years. The refined classical taste of the poets of the Renaissance period would not have permitted them to adopt these names in their poems if they had not been historical.

These rustic epics of Dharmamangala were recited and sung by rural folk in early times, and as such can not perhaps claim any high literary merit. But they are full of valuable references to the period before the Mahammadan conquest, and as our knowledge of that period is scanty, they possess an undoubted interest for the student of history.

The extent of the kingdom of the Emperors of Gauḍa.It appears from them that the Emperor of Gauḍa, styled 'পঞ্চগৌড়েশ্বর' King of the five Gauḍas, or 'lord of the five Indies,' as Beal has translated it, was the actual sovereign-head of Bengal, Orissa and Kāmrupa. The kings of Cooch Behār, Assam, Bārendra Deça, Shollipur, Kainjhorā, Simulyā, Maina-gaḍa, Doluipur and other places, were all his vassals, and assembled under his banner at his summons. The royal seat of the kings of Gauḍa, was at Ramāti, which is an abbreviation of the Ramāvātī mentioned in the copper-plate inscription of Madan Pāl. This was either an earlier name, or part of the city of Gauḍa. We also find, in the feudal organisation of the Empire, that Domas and Chandālas formed the main personal army of the emperors and their devotion to the King furnishes the poets with many extraordinary examples of courage and heroism.

Bara-bhuñas.We have read of the Bāra-bhuñās or twelve 'lords of the land' of Bengal, who wielded great power in the country during Mahammadan times. But the custom of having twelve sub-lords attached to a paramount court, did not originate in India during the Mahammadan period. It is one of the oldest institutions of the Aryans. In the codes of Manu and Çukrāchāryya, we find references to Dwādaça Mandaleçvara, which show that a great empire used to be divided into twelve subdivisions, or provinces each under its own chief, who was bound to serve the emperor, to attend his court and to acknowledge him as his feudal overlord. The Dodecapalis of the Greeks corresponds to this institution. During the reign of Darius, these twelve lords became so powerful as to assert their independence and cause considerable trouble to the State. The Custom of appointing twelve chiefs attached to the Darbār is even now prevalent in various States in Rājputnā, and this is also the practice in the court of the Mahārāja of Hill Tipperā, which retains some of the most ancient usages of early Hindu Kings.[23] In all the ballads of Dharmamangal we find frequent mention of these twelve lords, who are described as discharging important political functions in the court of the emperors of Gauḍa. They would appear to have been the pillars of the state, and in the confidence and honour with which they were treated at court, seem to have been second only to the Prime minister and to the feudatory chiefs. Certain functions were theirs which no one else could perform. At the time of the king's coronation, for instance, it was their privilege to pour on his head the sacramental water of the abhiseka. At the time of marriage of the emperor or his eldest son, they had the right of garlanding the newly-married couple.

The descriptions of the royal courts, with which these poems abound, give us glimpses of important administrative forms prevalent during the Hindu period of Indian history, though subsequent writers did not fail to introduce some features of the Mahammadan Durbâr in their descriptions.

The chief writers of Dharmamangal.Mayura Bhatta, as we said, was the earliest writer of Dharmamangal and probably lived in the twelfth century. After him, came Khelārām, Mānik Gāngulī, Ruprām, Rāmachanadra, Çyām Pandit, Rāmdās Ādaka, Sahadeva Chakravartī, Ghanarām and other writers, who gradually Hinduised the Buddhistic tales originally written to glorify Dharmaṭhākur. We shall notice their works in a subsequent chapter.

6. The ballads and songs in honour of some of the Pāl Kings.

The popularity of the Pāl Kings.In Chaitanya Bhāgabata, a Bengali work of great authority with the Vaiṣṅavas, the author Vrindāvan Dās (born 1507 A.D.) refers to the great favour in which the ballads in praise of some of the Pāl Kings were held in Bengal. The copperplate-inscription of Madan Pāl corroborates the truth of this statement so far as Mahīpāl was concerned. The inscription says that the valourous and chivalric career of Mahīpāl, who was like a second Çiva, formed a favourite theme for popular songs in Bengal. We have an old Bengali saying "For the husking of rice in the mortar, the songs of Mahīpāl!" Later, when Çaivaite ideas became fashionable, the name of Çiva was substituted for that of Mahīpāl. All these things go to show that the Buddhistic monarchs of Bengal, about whom no chronicler came forward to write biographical or historical accounts,—whom the Brāhmanic school, while eulogising a Ballāla Sen or a Lakṣmaṅa Sen beyond all measure, completely ignored,—must have left indelible marks on the popular mind by the greatness of their character and public works. Immense tanks, for instance, in the Districts of Dinajpur and Rungpur, still attest the philanthropic spirit by which the Pāl-Kings endeared themselves to the millions of subjects over whom they ruled.

The language of the songs greatly modernised.The popular songs in honour of the Pāl Kings were, no doubt, composed shortly after their death. The shape in which we find them now, however, is certainly not so old. The language has been considerably modernised, and here, as in the case of the Çuyna Purāṅa, we come, now and again, on traces of the ancient originals. The ballads used to be sung in chorus by professional ministrels amongst the admiring rural folk with whom they were so popular, and this fact accounts for the changes wrought in their versions from age to age, to suit the understanding of the people.

Manik-Chandra Rājār Gān.Mānik Chandra Rājār Gān or the song of Manik Chandra Rājā, was first published by Dr. G. A. Grierson in the Asiatic Society's Journal (Vol. I, Part III 1878). Mānik Chandra Pāl ruled in Northern Bengal during the first half of the 11th century, and the work in question must have been composed shortly after his death.

The crudeness of the song.There is not much that is intrinsically poetic in this ballad. It displays the unrestrained imagination of a rustic author. The miracles attributed to Haḍi Siddha remind one of the wonders performed by Danhas or some other dginn in the Arabian Nights. Gods and men alike seem to be subject to the influences of Tāntrik rites which awaken marvels at every step. But we occasionally catch glimpses of historical truth from incidental descriptions. The Government revenue of those days, was collected in cowries and trade was mainly conducted by a system of barter. The higher classes seem to have been immensely rich and we find frequent descriptions of food being served to them on heavy golden plates. Their dinners were considered incomplete without at least some fifty different dishes, the tradition of which is not altogether unknown to our housewives even to this day.

The similes and metaphors used in the descriptions are very commonplace, and show that these rural folk were completely ignorant of those classical standards which now permeate even the lower stratum of Hindu society. The beautiful teeth of Rājā Gopī Chandra's wife are compared to Solā (bark of the cork-plant). Nowadays, any peasant of the most backward of Bengali villages would compare them to the seeds of a pomegranate, after the classical style.

The redeeming feature. Queen Aduna's grief.But this perfectly artless song, in spite of its crudeness, is redeemed by the pathos which bursts forth in the cry of love of Adunā—the abandoned wife of Gopī Chānd. He turns ascetic and is about to leave her; she falls at his feet in tears, and with the devotion and loving entreaty of a gentle Hindu wife, says to her husband:—[24]

"Leave me not O King, for some distant exile.

"For whom have I built this cool house—this bungalow, spacious and beautiful beyond description! Will you desert me in my youth!—alas, vain is then my youth.

"How often shall I stretch out my hand and miss you, O jewel of my heart!

"In the homes of my neighbours, women young and old will have their husbands by their sides.

"My lot it will be to weep alone in an empty house.

"O king, let me go with you.

"If only I am with you, I can guard your precious life.

"I shall cook for you when you are hungry.

"I shall offer you water when you thirst.

"With laughter and gentle play, how many hours will pass!

"Walking in the open fields, we shall talk merrily and know no weariness.

"But when we approach the houses of men I shall declare you to be my guru—my master.

"When you desire to rest, I shall spread a cool mat for you, and you shall recline on a pillow, while I in happy mirthfulness slowly press with my hands your hands and feet.

"When the summer is hot, I shall gently fan you, and in the cold month of Māgha I shall cover you with warmth."

Gopī Chānd remonstrates, saying that an ascetic's lot is hard, and he will have to traverse forests infested with tigers and other wild beasts.

The queen says in reply[25]:—"These are false excuses to put me off.

"Who would believe in such nonsense as this?

"When was it ever heard of, that a woman was killed by a tiger while in the company of her husband?

"But even if a tiger kills me—I fear it not. I shall die without stain in the eyes of the people, and at the feet of my husband.

"You will be to me as a fig tree and I as a creeper unto you.

"I cling to your beautiful feet. O how can you desert me?

"While I was yet a maiden in my father's house, why did you not, O my pious prince, turn ascetic and renounce the world?

"Now I have attained to womanhood and am worthy of your love.

"If you leave me now, I shall kill myself with sorrow."

Govinda Chandra Rājār gān by Durlabha Mallik.In a similar ballad. which gives an account of Govinda Chandra Rājāh, whom we consider to be identical with Rājāh Gopī Chandra, the poet Durlabha Mallik, recasting the song in comparatively modern times, describes Queen Adunā's sorrows in somewhat the same way.

When all importunities had failed and the king could not be moved from his resolution to go alone[26]:—

"Queen Adunā fell on the earth, crying alas! alas!

"Her lamentations would have melted a stone.

"The citizens assembled and began to shed tears for their king's departure.

"Children, old men, youths, and women all began to weep.

"The very ocean seemed to move in surging waves, at the sight of the sorrow of the Queen.

"The horses and elephants wept silently in the stables.

"The birds 'Çārī' and 'Çuka' wept in their cages and would not touch their food.

"The maidens who attended on the Queen began loudly to lament.

"The Queen herself threw away her ornaments.

"In great affliction she threw away her jewels.

"She wiped away the sacred vermilion from her forehead.

"From her face she drew off the Besara, and from her feet she threw away the Nupura.

"In utter woe she fell at the king's feet, covering them with her dishevelled hair and, crying again and again 'O king let me go with you!'

The doctrine of Çunyabād.The Çūnyabāda, or doctrine of primeval nothingness, which, as we have said in a preceding paragraph, characterises the Mahāyāna school of Buddhists, is preached in this poem by the great sage Hāḍipā and there are numerous other evidences of Buddhistic influence in it.

The capital of Gopi Chand. His great renunciation—a subject of national interest.The capital of Govinda Chandra Rājāh is described as situated at the town of Patikā which has been identified with PāitkāPārā under the police-station of Jaldhākā in the District of Rungpur. The renunciation of Rājāh Gopī Chānd created a sensation all over India, which even at this distance of time, continues to be echoed in poems and dramas written in the Hindi and Maharātti languages. A recent picture, by Ravi Varma representing Gopī Chānd on the point of deserting his queen and palace commands a large sale all over India.

A promised edition of the songs.Babu Biçweçwara Bhattāchāryya B.A., sub-divisional Magistrate of Nilphamari in the District of Rungpur, is at present collecting and editing a number of old and rare songs in honour of the Pāl Kings from Northern Bengal.[27]

7. The Çaiva-cult, how it faced Buddhism.

Çiva as Rudra Deva.It was to the growing influence of the Çaiva religion that Buddhism eventually succumbed in India. The conception of Çiva, as we find it in the Purānas, is grand beyond all description. In the Vedic literature, he had been known as Rudra Deva. There he was the God of destruction, awe-inspiring, with four arms, each of which held a different weapon, and amongst which his trident and the Pināk carried at their points the grim terrors of death. The movements of this god, in infinite celestial space, made the great planets crush each other, and his trident pierced the elephants who supported the ten points of the compass. All other gods fell on their knees, and cried for protection, when Çiva danced in wild and destructive ecstacy at the time of the final dissolution of the universe.

The Paurāṅik conception borrowed from Buddhism.But the Purāṅas completely changed the Great God. We have heard of the fiery planets growing cold with lapse of time in the celestial regions, the pleasant verdure of shrubs and plants covering those orbs from which once emanated sparks of living fire. The God Çiva has passed through a similar transformation. In the Paurāṅik age he is represented as the very personification of calmness. The destructive elements have all been eliminated, and he is now quiet and dignified, absorbed in Samādhi. This Samādhi is akin to the Nirvāṅa of the Buddhists. The Great God is above all desire, as was Buddha. Çiva kills Madana, the God of Love, of whom another name is Mara; and Buddha's struggles with Māra and eventual conquest over him are well-known. He is represented as an ascetic with the beggar's bowl in his hand. He has a golden palace at Kailāsa; and Kuvera, the Lord of Wealth, is in charge of his store. But the Great God has nothing to do with wealth. He lives by begging, sleeps in the burning ground and remains absorbed in contemplation. In this respect also, he was verily like Buddha, who, though a prince, left the palace of Kapilāvastu to embrace the life of a bhikṣu. Çiva's company is sought for by the resplendent gods of heaven, but ghosts and goblins are his companions. Buddha, though a prince, mixed with the poor and the lowly, and thus showed that he scorned none.

Çiva drinks poison to save the world.When the ocean was churned by the gods, Lakṣmī, the Goddess of wealth, arose from it. Viṣṅu seized her as his prize; the great diamond Kaustuva, also fell to his share. The majestic elephant Airāvata, the incomparable horse Uchchaiḥçravā, and the celestial Pārijāta tree, which arose next from the ocean, were given to the God lndra. Last, though not least, appeared that ambrosia which had the effect of giving immortality to him who partook of it. This was divided amongst the assembled gods equally. Çiva meanwhile, remained in Kailāsa, absorbed in samādhi, caring not whether the universe were lost or gained by the other gods. But at a second churning of the ocean from which the gods had expected yet more prizes, streams of deadly poison issued from it in overwhelming quantities, with clouds of smoke that looked like curling snakes. This threatened to flood the universe and destroy it. The gods were awe-struck. They knew not how to protect the world from the destruction which seemed to be impending. In their despair, they called on Çiva to save creation. The Great God's heart was moved with compassion. He gathered the floods of poison in his out-stretched hands and drank it all up, in the presence of the wondering gods. But the poison he drank left a blue mark on his throat, and he is called Nīlakanṭha or the Blue-throated. This episode is narrated in such a manner in the Purāṅas, that it seems to me to be analogous to the story of pain and sacrifice undergone by Buddha, who suffered for the sake of suffering humanity.

His figure compared to Mount Himalaya.Let us picture to ourselves the image of the great Çiva. He is like a mountain of white marble, tranquilly seated in the posture of Samādhi. On his forehead is the crescent moon. From his matted locks flows the pure stream of the Ganges, that goddess whom his mercy melts into an unceasing fountain of white waters. In this attitude he may be compared very aptly to some mountains of the Himalayas, with the young moon shining above its cloudy height, and the perennial flow of the Ganges pouring over its steep regions. The heads of venomous snakes peep out of the locks of Çiva, as they do from the recesses of the great mountains. The image of Çiva, as made in clay and marble, in the villages shows the quietness and composure of Buddha, and both are now so like one another! Yet nothing could have been more dissimilar than the original conception of Rudradeva—the Çiva of the Vedas.

Myth and history confounded in India.The best points of Buddha's life are ascribed to Çiva. The Purāṅas represent him as embodying all the attributes of Buddha's greatness. One point may be urged in favour of Buddha. He was a living person of flesh and blood, and as such, the influence of his sternly real personality might be presumed to produce far greater results than that of a mythological God. In India, however, this matter is viewed in a different light. Here, when a saint or great religious teacher dies, he is at once deified. He becomes one of the glorious gods and in popular estimation he occupies a place not far remote from that ascribed to the celestials. On the other hand, thousands of men and women in India, believe in every word of the Purāṅnas. To them Çiva is as real as any historical personage. Buddha, though deified, could not claim the grandeur of the back-ground which sets forth the luminous figure of the great God of the Hindu Trinity. Infinite space, the whole of heaven and earth and the solar regions, are represented as the incidents of that back-ground. Çiva has no birth, no death; his eyes never close, they are raised heavenward, lost in celestial reverie, and they scarcely look down towards this mundane world of ours, except for the sake of mercy. Buddha, already divested of his original glory, and reduced to Dharma Thākur, became quite lustreless in the eyes of the people, before this great and resplendent divinity of the Hindus.

The domestic virtues extolled in the Çaiva religion.Çiva has one element, however, which is wanting in the conception of Buddha. This is the sanctity of the nuptial vow, which sheds glory on his abode at Kailās. Buddha's emancipation could not be complete without deserting a devoted and loving wife. But Çiva and Durgā, the ideal couple, cannot be dissociated from one another. Durgā, who is also called Satī and Annapurnā, is the goddess who distributes rice to the hungry. To the world she is as mother, who cares not for herself, but for her children only; and Çiva is the ideal of a Hindu householder, never ruffled in temper, immoveable, immaculate and merciful, their union representing the fulfilment of the spiritual vows given and accepted in marriage, that two will live for one another and for others. How perfect this mutual love was, is proved in the death of Satī. Her devotion to Çiva was so great that she could not bear to hear him abused by her father Dakṣa. Feeling that the blood of the defamer of her lord ran in her own veins, she considered her body itself as unholy, and gave it up in a flash, to be born again as a daughter of Himabat. In this new life she passed through severe penances and sacrifices to be worthy of being united in marriage to Çiva. In the stoical asceticism of Buddha, these domestic features find no place, and while assimilating the quintessence of Buddhism, the Çaiva religion has this point in addition, which at once appealed to the Hindus a people conspicuous for their strong domestic instincts.

Buddhism, as presented to us on the eve of its downfall, combined sceptical views with gross superstition. The light that it had given to India, had spent itself in ages gone by, and in the shape in which it existed latterly, could scarcely commend itself to the Indian people, accustomed as they were, to live in a highly spiritual atmosphere. Dharma and Çiva in the popular notions of the period, appeared as very humble deities, whose function suited the requirements of the rustic folk who worshipped them.

The oldest songs of Çiva.The oldest songs relating to Çiva, which fall within the scope of this chapter, shew nothing of that high conception of him which distinguished the period of the Paurāṅik Renaissance. They were meant for Bengali villagers, and Çiva figures in them as assisting in the work of the rice-fields, and even ploughing them himself like any peasant. Even in the Çuṅya Purāṅa, there is a song devoted to Çiva in his agricultural capacity, from which we may take the following extract[28]:—

Çiva figures as a peasant."The Lord is without any raiment.

"He begs from door to door.

"At dawn of day he rises, and goes out to beg.

"Some people give him alms; by others he is refused. Sometimes he lives on bayra[29] and haritaki[30] only. But Oh, how happy is he when they give him the begger's rice!

"I say unto you, O Lord, why don't you plough?

"By begging, you often have to fast, and you get rice only now and then.

"You must select a muddy soil for cultivation, but if you can't secure this, and dry lands fall to your share, you should water them well.

"When you have rice at home, how glad will you be to take your daily meal! How long will you, O Lord, suffer for want of food?

"Why not cultivate cotton, O Lord; How long will you wear a tiger's skin?

"You besmear your body with ashes (Bibhuti).

"Why not cultivate mustard and tila.[31] (So that yon may have oil to anoint yourself). And be sure to grow plenty of vegetables. Above all, don't forget banana plants, so that for the Dharma-puja nothing may be wanting."

The agricultural capacity of Çiva retained in the later Çivayanas.In the Çivāvana, or songs of Çiva by later writers, who were the exponents of the Çaiva cult in Bengal, we find a chapter devoted to Çiva's agricultural speculation and experiences. The traditions about Çiva related in the Purāṅas have no bearing whatever upon these. We shall here quote a passage from the Çivāyana of Rameçwar, a writer of the 18th century, which will at once recall the anecdotes of Çiva related in the Çunya-Purāṅa. Rāmesçwar, Kavichandra and other writers, though their own idea of Çiva was of the high classical type, could not help embodying these humble episodes in their descriptions. This shows how greatly the rural people of Bengal favoured them. A song in honour of Çiva, though noble in all respects, would not be perfect in the popular estimation unless it included these humbler aspects of his character, that had found favour in the country for centuries. In that chapter of the Çivayana to which we are referring, Bhima, who first appeared in the Çunya Purāṅa as a devoted servant of Çiva in the rice-fields, still retains the tradition of this character, co-operating with Çiva in his field-labour.[32]

"Çiva sits in the field and says to Bhima the ploughman:—

"Good. In four Danḍa's time[33] you must level the ground perfectly on all sides."

"The rice was planted in several places on the ridges between the furrows, and Çiva, kneeling, applied himself to work with a weeding hook.

"The grasses called Dala-durbā and Çyāma,[34] Triçirā[35] and Kesur[36] were weeded out with care, and the straw in the field was quickly cleared. The old fellow[37] would not leave the field for one moment, but kept watch over it like a tiger."

Altogether it is a long description, giving every detail of the field-work of the Bengali peasantry from which we have taken only the above short extract. Means are suggested for the destruction of the mosquitoes and leeches with which the marshy fields of Lower Bengal, are infested, and other precautions are given by which the peasant may secure a good harvest. From the language in which these episodes are couched, I an inclined to believe, that they formed part of some old song of Çiva which Rāmeçwar was incorporating in his poem without much revision. There are many passages such as—

"বারটি বারঠে চেকুড়ার ঝড়াউড়ি।
গুলামুখি পাতিমারে পুতে যার নুড়ি।"

which it is difficult to explain, because of the The story of the Bāgdini woman.antiquated words and provincialisms used—peculiar to the locality in which the author lived. The somewhat revolting story of the intrigue with Durga, in the guise of a Bāgdinī woman, which is told of Çiva by these writers must also be referred for its origin to the late Buddhistic age. They incorporated in their songs tales which had been prevalent amongst the rustic people of Bengal at that period when moral ideas become confused under Tāntrik influences.

Three elements are found in the later Çiva-poems. (1) There is the Paurāṅik element, with its grand conception of Çiva, which, as I have said in the foregoing pages, shews traces of the spiritual influence of Buddha's life (2) We have the humbler attributes of the divinity, ascribed to him by villagers and peasants under Tāntric influences. (3) and again, counteracting these last, we have the purity and perfection of family relationships, as represented in the ideal Hindu household. Here inspite of many conflicting interests of the undivided family, the prescence of its head brings harmony and peace, the result of that spirit of forbearance that he has gained by the long habit of viewing all mundane concerns from a lofty spiritual stand-point. Here the mistress of the house-hold lives entirely for her lord, for her children and for others, without a thought of personal comforts inspired only by holy love—a perfect picture of patient suffering and unflagging devotion.

The domestic elements develop in Bengali poems.In Bengali songs of Çiva, this last trait reaches a high stage of development, showing the peculiar bent of our vernacular genius in conceiving and idealising purely domestic subjects.

Kailas, the heaven of Çiva.Kailāsa, the City of Çiva, is the abode of bliss, where gold and lead have the same value, where the tiger and the lamb, the mongoose and the serpent are friends, and drink from the same fountain, forgetting their natural enmity. The love, harmony and tranquility which pervade Mount Kailāsa, are all inspired by Mahadeva himself, whose holy dwelling-place is thus strangely unlike the heavens of other gods, glittering with gold and making the impression of the aggrandised capital of some worldly monarch.

8. Genealogical records.

Achār.If I am asked as to what is the chief basis of that Paurāṅik Hinduism which triumphed over Buddhism and has since ruled supreme in India, I should say Āchāra. This word, I find difficult to translate into English. It means rules for the guidance of every day-life to which every Hindu should conform; yet this definition does not fully express the idea. The word Āchāra refers only to the details of daily life and must not be confounded with questions of morality. A man may not be very moral, and still his life may be Āchāra-puta, or pure as regards the observance of the rules laid down by the Çastras.

Raghunandan and his great work.The great compiler of these rules in the 16th century in Bengal was Raghunandan Bhattāchāryya and he is up to the present the greatest authority in the country with the orthodox community. To a superficial observer, the Herculean efforts made by Raghunandan in collating a vast body of ancient Sanskrit works, in order to settle very minor points in the every-day life of a Hindu, will appear like lost labour; but diving deeper into the subject, and applying the principles of historical evolution to it, the reader will find a rational explanation for the popularity of Aṣtāviṁsaṭi Ṭaṭṭva—the great work of Raghunandan, and have to admit that the age was in eminent need of such a scholar. If the country had not wanted him, why should his book have been accepted by the people of Bengal? He did not possess any arbitrary power to enforce his code upon the multitude. They submitted to his yoke willingly.

The contents of Aṣtaviṁsaṭi Ṭaṭṭva.On particular lunar days, particular foods prove uncongenial to the human system. This is the current belief of Indians. Raghunandan devotes an important chapter of his work to a consideration of this point.[38] The details of methods for performing Çrāddha and other religious ceremonies, for observing fasts and vigils, the restrictions against marriage between the people of the same caste, and against long journeys by sea or land,—such are the subjects which have been treated with patient scholarship in this celebrated work. He quotes chapter and verse from Manu, Yājñavalkya and a host of ancient sages in support of his views with regard to very small matters. A giant's labour was given to the raising of a mole-hill. The point that puzzles an enquirer, is how to account for the iron grip in which these rules, occasionally so puerile, have held the orthodox Hindu community for centuries. How is it that the book carries so great an authority?A devout Hindu would consult the Çāstras to know if on a particular day he could eat a certain vegetable. If in the month of Māgha a person takes radish, he will be pronounced a non-Hindu. What could be the reason that made people submit to such laws with religious veneration?

Free-thinking and its result on society.To answer this question, we must survey our social condition during the decline of Buddhism. The great vice, which undermined the unity and strength of our society in the last days of Buddhism, was that of free-thinking carried to excess. The Buddhists preached:—

"There is no heaven, no hell, no vice, no virtue. None created the world, none has the power to destroy it. No other evidence is to be recognised than what appeals directly to our senses. There is no soul, our body alone is subject to pleasure and pain—the result of good and bad actions. When we see that children are produced by the agency of parents, clay models by potters, and pictures by painters, such evidence is enough to shew how things come into existence. Then why should we ascribe them to an imaginary Creator? Don't give pain to yourself or to others. Not depending upon others, is salvation. Heaven lies in eating food of delicious taste."[39]

It is further preached that immorality is no vice, but this particular passage need not be quoted.

Now let us imagine the effect of such free-thinking on society. Indiscriminate food.The Tāntriks who were dominant all over India in the age of which we are speaking, were known to banquet on things so horrible as, for instance, a putrid corpse. They wanted to shew that in their eyes nothing in creation was unholy. Laxity of marriage laws.The marriage system had become lax. During the flourishing days of Buddhism, the different races of Asia had been brought into close touch with one another. The monasteries were filled with men and women of alien race, and when standards of morality sank low in Buddhistic society in course of time, a population, consisting of children disowned by the communities of both their parents came into existence, and the purity of the four original castes of the Hindus was lost. On an examination of skulls, the Mongolian type has been discovered in high-caste Hindus of various places in India. The Buddhists had no strict code of marriage-laws. In the Aṁbatto Sutta of the Buddhists we find that pratiloma—that reversal of ranks in marriage which is so highly condemned by Hindu law-givers—was at one time greatly in vogue in India. In the drama of Mrichchhakatika written by a Buddhist prince, we find Chāru Datta, a good Brāhmin, paying court to Vasanta Sena, a courtesan. In the Daçaratha Jātaka of the Buddhists, Sītā is represented as the sister of Rāma, who at the same time marries her. These and similar tales are told in a plain way without any comment, thus shewing that in Buddhistic society, rules of marriage were extremely loose.[40]

The revival of Hinduism in Bengal, between the 9th and the 13th century, meant war against these laxities brought by a set of free-thinkers who would submit to no leader, but would wreck the whole fabric of society on the quicksands of their own cynicism. The propaganda of the revivalists.To preserve the purity of the Aryan blood after the admixture and corruption it had already passed through, to counteract the influence of the Tāntrikism with its obnoxious idea of indiscriminate food, in a word, to undo the great evils of that age, strict rules regarding marriage and eating required to be enacted, if society was to be ordered and disciplined and led to accept a pure ideal.

When the Hindu revivalists began their task of reformation, they found the original caste-system shattered by the indiscriminate union of men and women. Society was in a thoroughly disorganised state. The origin of the sub-castes.The children born of couples who came from different castes, were not owned by either of the original castes. The new builders of society classified them, and admitted them into the new order, allotting to each a fixed status in society. This accounts for the origin of so many sub-castes in India. They came into existence by the breaking of marriage rules.

Hard and fast rules laid down by Raghunandan.Hindu society, after admitting this heterogeneous population, shut its portals against newcomers, and no breach of the hard-and-fast rules of marriage now enforced, was again to be tolerated. Regarding indiscriminate food, which had been taken in utter disregard of rules of health, minute details were now settled. But the vices to which human nature tends, cannot be checked by codes of law. A high ideal of spiritual life set before the people, keeps them in the right direction in these matters, and our society busied itself only in framing rules for the direction of the details of daily life. These rules hold their sway till now. If a person openly avows Jesus Christ to be the son of God, or Mahomet to be the only prophet of God, Hindu society will not war against him. Our toleration goes so far. But there are hundreds of petty rules in regard to eating—especially cooked foods the infringement of any one of which will render him liable to be excommunicated from society or make him undergo severe penances. Marriage rules again have been made so severe, that even in the narrow groove of one's own caste, the selection of a bride-groom has grown to be a serious problem with Hindu parents. The reactionary movement, as is natural in such cases, ran to excess, and small points took exaggerated proportions in the eyes of the people. Besides the Tantriks, there were other people near at hand, who disregarded prejudices of all kinds, in using meat as food. Buddhism, as I have said, had brought into India, a vast number of foreigners belonging to different Asiatic races. There were, amongst these, snake and cockroach eaters, not to speak of those whose daily food was ham and beef. The Hindu community had to be guarded against adopting the ways of such alien peoples, and as the Muhammoden conquerers could not be expected to take any interest in these matters, touching the well being of the people, the leaders of society became their natural guardians and dictated their actions. Raghunandan compiled a treatise which was much needed in an age of vice, resulting from unrestrained conduct.

Achār, an outcome of reactionery measures.I believe I have now explained what I understand by the word Āchāra, which, I said, is the chief basis of our modern Hindu society. Āchāra is a deliberate disavowal of this spirit of free-thinking. It is a reactionary step, taken to bring a loose and disorganised society into order and unity; and however absurd it may appear on a superficial view, it had a mission at the time when its stringent rules were first enacted and it cannot be declared with certainty that the good results which the revivalists had in view, are fully exhausted even now.

The topics discussed above should not be considered as a digression; for upon a knowledge of some of the essential features of the revival of Hinduism, will depend a right appreciation of the ideals set up by the succeeding literature.

Vallāla Sen who ruled from 1119 to 1169 A.D. conferred Kulinism upon people of various castes in Bengal. The qualities required of a Kulin.The qualities required Lo entitle one to the status of a Kulīna were nine: viz., (1) āchāra, (2) humility, (3) learning, (4) good repute, (5) the visiting of sacred places, (6) devotion, (7) good conduct, (8) religious austerity and penance, and (9) charity. Āchāra, of which we have spoken already, heads the list of these qualities.

Kulinism made hereditary.Vallāla Sen, while bestowing Kaulīnya, or the status of a Kulīna, on a few select people of the higher castes, enacted, that after a fixed period, new men endowed with the above qualifications, would be admitted into the grade of Kulīnas, and that these were to be the recognised heads of the different sections of the Hindu community in all social matters. But his son Lakṣmaṅa Sen afterwards ruled, that the descendants of the Kulīnas were to enherit Kulīnism irrespective of their personal qualifications, and thus the Kulīna classes, as they are now found, became stereotyped in society. Genealogical records.Many books have been preserved in Sanskrit and Bengali, shewing the genealogy of the higher classes of the Hindu community; and some of these may be traced to Vallāla Sen's time. These give a glimpse at the inside of our social organisation, and indicate the changes which it has undergone during the last one thousand years. The son of a Kulīna became by right a Kulīna. This contravenes the wholesome principle of rewarding the meritorious members of society, on which Vallāla Sen had wanted to base Kulinism. Kulinism thus became an artificial institution, but it had one aspect which still evoked the greatest sacrifices, by developing a peculiar instinct of family-honour. The Kulīnas and the non-Kulīnas of a community were often bound together by marriage-ties. The sacrifising spirit of the Kulīnas.There were, however, many orthodox families in Bengal who would on no account recognise such relationships. They were prepared to sacrifice every earthly consideration, even their lives, to guard the purity of their Kaulīnya status or Kulīnism. The lay men of different communities on the other hand never lacked patience in their efforts to persuade such orthodox Kulīnas to marry with them, by offering huge sums of money. We find that a scion of the Vaidya Gaṅa family of Tenāi in Faridpur was persuaded to marry a girl of the Dāsarā Dutt family on a dowry of sixty-four villages in the subdivision of Mānikgañja in the District of Dacca. The ancestors of the Naikaṣya Kulīnas amongst Brahmins of the present day passed through tests and sacrifices such as only martyrs in a great cause would be supposed capable of undergoing. We find one of the lay Vaidyas coming to Senhātī to induce a Kulīna of that caste to form a matrimonial alliance with him, and persevering in his attempts, inspite of repeated refusals, till some banyan trees, planted by him on the banks of the river Bhairava on his first landing at the place, grew so large as to give shade to travellers,—when at last the Kulīna agreed to give a daughter of his family in marriage. I find in the preface to a translation of Chandi by Rūpanārāyaṅa Ghoṣa (born, 1579 a. d.) that a lay Kāyastha named Jādavendra Rāy, Zemindar of Āmdālā, in the District of Dacca, took away two young men belonging to a Kulīna family in a boat on the river Padmā; and there he made a proposal of marriage between them and his two daughters. If they would not agree to his proposals, they were to be drowned in the river. The elder of the two, Vāṅīnātha, preferred death to the disgrace that would be brought upon his family by such a connection. He was drowned accordingly. But the younger, Rūparāma, succumbed to the fear of death and accepted the alternative. We find in the Kula-Pañjikā by Kavi Kaṇṭhahāra, that a Kulīna Vaidya died broken hearted, from having been obliged to marry a tyrant's daughter.[41] Such instances are numerous in the genealogical books. This goes to show to what excesses the reactionary movement in regard to marriage rules was carried. The genealogical books also show our keen desire to follow ideals of purity and truth in life, and they record the struggle that Hindu society made to ward off the harm that the overtures of an arbitrary Mahammadan aristocracy, were constantly making upon their quiet life. If any one wants to study the character of the people of this country, and to understand their aims and aspirations instead of summarily dismissing them as mysterious beings, he would do well to study these works carefully.

Kulīnism has often been abused; but the sacrifices and martyrdoms undergone for its sake in our society cannot but evoke feelings of wonder and admiration.

The object of such sacrifices may be considered trivial but the qualities of self-denial, of utter disregard for earthly prosperity, and of devotion to a cause which distinguished these Kulīnas are not to be despised. Just think of a man preferring to wear rags, to depend on a single meal a day, and to live in a hut of reeds, while his brother was made the owner of sixty-four villages and a palace, the same offer coming to him but being refused with indignation. Yet by marriage with a fellow caste-man's daughter, of non Kulina rank, he would not be excommunicated from society; only a very slight stain would be left on his family honour. Social prestige has in the past occupied the same place in popular estimation in India as a sense of political right does in western countries; and unless this difference is taken into consideration, the ideals of the Indian people cannot be fully realised.

Specimesn of early composition in the records.I said, that some of the genealogical treatises may be traced to Vallāla Sen's time. The following Bengali lines which occur in a Sanskrit work by Chaturbhuja, a Vaidya, written three hundred seventy-five years ago, were evidently already very old:—

"দুহি বিনায়ক ত্রিপুর চাঊ।
শিয়াল পন্থ থোবে কাউ।
গৈ লৈয়া কুলের বাস।
রাঢ়ে বঙ্গে সাত আট।"

There are many such lines to be found in other works of this class, which show in their style, a striking similarity to Dāker vachana and other early compositions.

Early genealogical records in Bengali.Early genealogical books in Bengali are mostly written in prose. The field has not yet been properly explored; yet the Sanskrit works, that have already come to light containing the genealogical records of the three upper classes of our community form a vast literature. It is not however within our scope to refer to Sanskrit works. Of Bengali books on the subject. which are also numerous, we name some below. A list of some.Though fragments of these writings seem to be ancient, yet their composition as a whole covers a period of not more than four hundred years, closing in the middle of 18th century.

A few of these Bengali works on our social history are as follows:—

  1. Melabandha by Devivar Ghatak.
  2. Prakriti Patal Nirṅaya by the same author.
  3. Kulārṅava by Vāchaspati Miçra.
  4. Mela-rahasya by Danujāri Miçra.
  5. Daçā Tantra Prakāça by Harihar Kavīndra.
  6. Melaprakriti Nirṅaya.
  7. Melamālā.
  8. Mela-chandrikā.
  9. Mela-prakāça.
  10. Daçāvaṭī.
  11. Kulataṭṭva Prakāçikā.
  12. Kula Sāra.
  13. Pirāli Kārikā by Nīlakaṅtha Bhatta.
  14. Goṣṭhikathā and Kārikā by Nula Paṇchanana.
  1. Rāḍhīya Samāj-nirṅaya.
  2. Kula Pañji by Rāmadeva Āchāryya.
  3. Rāḍhīya Graha Vipra Kārikā by Kulānanda.
  4. Graha Biprakula Bichāra by the same author.
  5. Ḍhākura by Çuka Deva.
  6. Kula Pañji by Ghataka Viçārad Kānti Rām.
  7. Dākuri by Çyāma.
  8. Dakṣin Rāḍhīya Kārikā by Mālādhar Ghataka.
  9. Kārikā by Ghataka Keçarī.
  10. Kārikā by Ghataka Churāmani.
  11. Kula Pañjikā by Ghataka Vāchaspati.
  12. Dhākuri by Sārvabhauma.
  13. Dhākuri by Vāchaspati.
  14. Dhākuri by Çambhu Vidyānidhi.
  15. Dhākuri by Kāçināth Vasu.
  16. Dhākuri by Mādhava Ghataka.
  17. Dhākuri by Nandarām Miçra.
  18. Dhākuri by Rādhāmohan Saraswatī.
  19. Maulika Vaṁça Kārikā by Dwija Rāmānanda.
  20. Dakṣin Rāḍhīya Kula Sarvasva.
  21. Ekjaya Kārikā.
  22. Vaṇgaja Kulaji Sāra Saṁgraha.
  23. Vaṇgaja Kulaji by Dwija Vāchaspati.
  24. Vaṇgaja Dhākuri by Dwija Rāmānanda.
  25. Maulik Dhākuri by Rāmnārāyaṅa Vasu.
  26. Dhākuri of Vārendra Kāyasthas by Kāçi Rām Dās.
  27. Vārendra Dhākur by Yadu Nandana.
  28. Kulaji of Gandha Vaṇiks by Tilak Rām.
  29. Do. by Paraçu Rām.
  30. Kulaji of Tāmvula Vaṇiks by Dwija Patra Paraçurām.
  1. Kulaji of the Tantu Bains (weavers) by Mādhava.
  2. Satdharmāchāra Kathā by Kiṇkar Dās.
  3. Sadgopa Kulāchāra by Mani Mādhāva.
  4. Tili Pañjikā by Rāmeçwar Datta.
  5. Suvarṇa Vaṇika Kārikā by Maṇgal.
  6. Rāja Mālā (completed in 1439 A.D.) by Çukreçwar and Vāṇeçwara.

This last is a genealogical history of the Rājāhs of Hill Tipperā.

Important to the student of history.These genealogical works preserve the traditions of an ancient race, and though the composition of many of them, as we have said, belongs to comparatively recent times, yet they embody facts regarding our social condition which have been transmitted from distant ages. They are therefore entitled to the consideration of those interested in the history of Bengal. Not only do they give accounts of our social movements, but they are full of incidental references to contemporary events.

An Example, Nalu Pañchānan on the question of the caste of the Sen-Kings of Bengal.I shall here refer in some detail to a genealogical account written by a Brāhmin named Nalu-Paṇchānana, who is an admitted authority on the subject. The style of writing and the description of the subject clearly show that the author, who lived about one hundred fifty years ago, had embodied facts in it found in older records. The book is called Gosthikathā Kārikā. It is chosen here for reference, because the genealogical accounts will not again be touched upon, and because the matter contained in the Kārikā is important, as giving the solution of a very knotty problem in the history of Bengal. The Sena Kings of Bengal were formerly believed to have belonged to the Vaidya or medical caste. In all the genealogical works written by the Brāhmins, Vaidyas and Kāyasṭhas, they were described as Vaidyas. In fact Rājā Rajendra Lal Mitra, who was the first to dispute the point of their caste, had to admit, "The universal belief in Bengal is that the Senas were of medical caste and families of Vaidyas are not wanting in the present day who trace their lineage from Vallāla Sen."[42] But in the copper-plate inscriptions of the Sena Kings, lately discovered in various parts of the country, they have been found to declare themselves as Brāhma-Kṣatriyas. In the face of their own declaration on this subject, the traditions and written accounts, which were formerly considered as perfectly reliable, lost all authority, and the Sena Kings were generally accepted by scholars as having been Kṣatriyas. Now the descendants of those Brāhmins, Kāyasṭhas and persons of other castes, on whom Vallāla Sen had bestowed Kaulinya, knew him to have belonged to the Vaidya caste, and they were in possession of written records substantiating this point. Yet nothing was now considered more reliable than a declaration on the part of the princes themselves as to the caste to which they belonged, preserved in the lasting impression borne by the copper-plates. The Kārikā, to which we have referred, however, unravels the history of these aspirations and proves them to have been mere pretensions. We quote a part of this interesting record below[43]:—

"One day the King asked the Brāhmins of five Gotras (families), some of whom were great Kulīnas, and other Çuddha Çrotriayas, "O Pandits who adorn my court, tell me why have you deserted the Vaidyas, whereas formerly you used to discharge priestly functions in their families?" Maheça and other learned men said in reply, "We are not prepared to do the daily work of priests in any house. We perform priestly offices for occasional ceremonies only. The Brāhmins, who discharge ten set functions in one house, and eat the rice offered to the dead in the Çrādh-ceremony are generally illiterate. We act as priests in the 'Homá'-ceremonies of the Brāhmins only, and do not act as priests in the houses of Çudras. King Ādiçūra was a Vaidya. He belonged to the Vaiçya caste. He was an emperor paramount, and therefore assumed the status of a Kṣatriya. Indra Dumna was a Buddhist King. He founded the Jagannāth Temple. He did not believe in castes, yet he called himself a Kṣatriya. Whoever becomes a king aspires to the status of a Kṣatriya without considering other points. Similar instances are to be found in the cases of out-castes like the Kambojias in Gauḍa. Bhupāl, Anaṇgapāl and Mohīpāl were not Kṣatriyas, they were out-castes. But they were great Kings, hence they could marry girls from the three highest classes. Look at the Sāt-Çati priests, they discharge priestly functions in all houses, hence they have lost all knowledge of the Vedas. They eat the rice offered to the dead in the Çrādh ceremony. When Vallāla Sen tried to pass into society a low-caste woman named Padmini, his son Lakṣmaṅa Sen informed the Brāhmins of his action and cried it down. Vallāla in great rage dismissed Lakṣmaṅa Sen from his court, and Lakṣmaṅa in order to protect the Vaidyas from his father's ire, made them give up the sacred thread. Thus the Vaidyas who belonged to the party of Vallāla Sen and those that belonged to that of his son, became Vrātyas (fallen).

Rājā Ādiçūra belonged to the Vaidya caste, but he adopted the ways of a Kṣatriya. Whoever becomes a king wants to be called a Kṣatriya, and, for his own glorification, declares himself as a Kṣatriya everywhere. Every one aspires to a higher position than he enjoys. The Devas[44] want the position of Brahmā the Great God. According to the Çāstras, Ādiçūra is a Brāhmin (since the Vaidyas are traceable to an original Brāhmin father), but by custom he was a Vaiçya."

The last lines account for the Sena Kings calling themselves Brāhma-Kṣatriyas in the copper-plate inscriptions.

An indefatigable worker in the field.These genealogical works give us, then, in terse and epigrammatic prose and poetry, the salient points in the social history of Bengal for the last one thousand years. The Bengali scholar whose indefatigable labour has brought to light hundreds of Mss. of genealogical works in Sanskrit and Bengali, and who has drawn the attention of his fellow-countrymen to an altogether unexplored field of literature, is Babu Nagendra Nath Vasu, the learned editor of the Bengali Encyclopedia, the Viçvakoṣa.



  1. Published by Beni Madhab De & Co., 318, Battala, Upper Chitpore Road, Calcutta.
  2. "ভাল দ্রব্য যখন পাব৷
    কালিকারে তুলিয়া না থোব॥
    দধি দুগ্ধ করিয়া ভোগ৷
    ঔষধ দিয়া খণ্ডাব রোগ॥
    বলে ডাক এই সংসার৷
    আপনে মইলে কিসের আর॥

  3. "ধর্ম্ম করিতে যবে জানি৷
    পাখরি দিয়া রাখিব পানি৷
    গাছ রুইলে বড় ধর্ম্ম৷
    যে দেই ভাতশালা পানিশালী৷
    সে না যায় যমের পুরী॥"
  4. "যদি বরে আগনে৷
    রাজা নামেন মাগনে॥
    যদি বরে পৌষে৷
    কড়ি হয় তুষে॥
    যদি বরে মাঘের শেষ৷
    ধন্য রাজার পুণ্য দেশ॥
    যদি বরে ফাগুনে৷
    চীনা কাওন হয় দ্বিগুণে॥"
    "খনা ডেকে বলে যান৷
    রোদে ধান ছায়ায় পান॥"
    "দিনে রোদ রাতে জল৷
    তাতে বাড়ে ধানের বল॥"
    "কার্তিকের ঊণ জলে৷
    খনা বলে দুনো ফলে॥"
    "শুন বাপু চাষার বেটা৷
    বাঁশ ঝাড়ে দিও ধানের চিটা॥
    চিটা দিলে বাঁশের গোড়ে৷
    দুই কুড়া ভূঁই বেড়বে ঝাড়ে॥"
    "শুনরে বাপু চাষার বেটা৷
    মাটির মধ্যে বেলে যেটা॥
    তাতে যদি বুনিস পটোল৷
    তাতেই তোর আশার সফল॥"
    "ঘন সরিষা পাতলা রাই৷
    নেঙ্গে নেঙ্গে কাপাস যাই॥
    কাপাস বলে কোটা ভাই৷
    জ্ঞাতি পানি যেন না পাই॥"

  5. "পূবে হাঁস।পশ্চিমে বাঁশ॥
    উত্তরে বাগ।দক্ষিণে ফাঁক॥"

  6. "ঘরে স্বামী বাইরে বইসে।
    চারি পানে চাহে মুচকি হাসে॥
    হেন স্ত্রীয়ে যাহার বাস।
    তাহার কেন জীবনের আশ॥"

  7. "ঘরে আখা বাইরে রান্ধে।
    অল্প কেশ ফুলাইয়া বান্ধে॥
    ঘন ঘন চাহে ঊলটি ঘাড়।
    বলে ডাক এ গৃহিণীতে ঘর উজাড়॥
    পানি ফেলিয়া পানিকে যায়।
    পথিক দেখিয়া আড় চক্ষে চায়॥
    বাতি বুলে গান গায়।
    পর পুরুষকে আড় চক্ষে চাহি।
    পর সম্ভাষে বাটে রহি॥
    এ নারী ঘরে না থুহি॥"

  8. কার্ত্তিকে ওল, মার্গে বেল।
    পৌষে কাঞ্জি মাঘে তেল॥
    ফাল্গুনে আদা চৈত্রে তিতা।
    বৈশাখেতে নিম নালিতা॥
    জ্যৈষ্ঠে ঘোল আষাঢ়ে দহি।
    শ্রাবনে খৈ ভাদ্রে তাল॥
    আশ্বিনে শশা।
    ডাক বলে এই বার মাসা॥"

  9. সংখ উপজিল সংখ সংখর বিচার।
    কহ কহ পণ্ডিত সংখর সার॥
    কোন সংখ জলে স্তান করেন অনাদ্দ করতার।
    আদ্দ সংখ জলার জুতি॥
    হরি হরি সংখ পাপ মুকতি॥
    কোন সংখে না ছোঁএ পানি।
    দখিন সংখে না ছোঁঞে পানি।
    দখিন সংখে না ছোঁঞে পানি॥
    দখিন সংখে আপ পঅমানি।
    কে সিরজিল গঙ্গা কে সিরজিল পঙ্ক।
    তাহে উপজিল দ্বাদশ অঙ্গুল সংখ।
    হে জঅ সঙ্খ হে বিজঅ সঙ্খ তুমি সংখ হইএ চিরাই॥
    তুম্মার জলে স্তান করেন শ্রীধর্ম্ম গোসাঞি॥

    Çunya Purān PP. 83-84.

  10. নহি রেক, নহি রূপ নহি ছিল বন্ন চিন।
    রবি সসী নহি ছিল নহি ছিল রাতি দিন॥
    নহি ছিল জল থল নহি ছিল আকাস।
    মেরু মন্দার না ছিল না কৈলাস॥ 2.
    নহি ছিষ্টি ছিল আর নহি সুর নর।
    বম্ভা বিষ্টু ন ছিল ন ছিল আঁবর॥ 7.
    সরগ মরত নহি ছিল সভি ধুন্দকার।
    দসদিক পাল নহি মেঘ তারাগণ॥ 10.
    আউ মিত্তু না ছিল জমর তাড়ন॥ 13.
    সুনুত ভরমন পরভুর সুন্নে করি ভর॥

    Çunya Puraṅ.

  11. জাজপুর পুয়বাদি সোলসয় ঘর বেদি
    কর লয় দুন।
    দখিন্যা মাগিতে জায়, জার ঘরে নাহি পায়
    সাঁপ দিয়া পুরায় ভুবন। ১
    মালদহে লাগে কর দিলঅ কন্ন দুন।
    দখিন্যা মাগিতে যায়, যার ঘরে নাঞি পায়
    সাঁপ দিয়া পুড়াএ ভুবন। ২
    বলিষ্ঠ হইল বড় দশবিস হয়্যা জড়
    সদ্ধর্ম্মিরে করএ বিনাস। ৩
    বেদকরে উচ্চারণ বের‌্যাঅ অগ্নি ঘনে ঘন
    দেখিয়া সভাই কম্পমান।
    মনেতে পাইয়া মর্ম্ম সভে বলে রাখ ধর্ম্ম
    তোমা বিনা কে করে পরিত্তান। ৪
    এইরূপে দ্বিজগণ করে সৃষ্টি সংহারণ
    ই বড় হোইল অবিচার।
    বৈকণ্ঠে থাকিয়া ধর্ম্ম মনেতে পাইয়া মর্ম্ম
    মায়াতে হোইল অন্ধকার। ৫
    ধর্ম্ম হৈল্যা জবন রূপী মাথাএ ত কাল টুপি
    হাতে সোভে ত্রিরূচ কামান।
    চাপিআ উত্তম হয় ত্রিভুবনে লাগে ভয়
    খোদায় বলিয়া এক নাম॥ ৬
    নিরঞ্জন নিরাকার হৈলা ভেস্ত অবতার
    মূখেতে বলেত দম্বদার।
    জতেক দেবতাগণ সভে হয়্যা একমন
    আনন্দেতে পরিল ইজার॥
    ব্রহ্মা হৈল মহাঁমদ বিষ্ণু হৈল পেকাম্বর
    আদম্ফ হৈল সুলপানি।

    গণেশ হইল গাজি কার্ত্তিক হৈল কাজি
    ফকির হইলা যত মুনি।
    তেজিয়া আপন ভেক, নারদ হইলা সেক
    পুরন্দর হইল মলনা।
    চন্দ্র সূর্য্য আদি দেবে পদাতিক হয়্যা সেবে
    সভে মিলে বাজায় বাজনা॥ ৯
    আপনি চণ্ডিকা দেবী, তিঁহু হৈলা হায়া বিবি
    পদ্মাবতী হল্ল্য বিবি নুর।
    জতেক দেবতাগণ হয়্যা সভে একমন
    প্রবেশ করিল জাজপুর॥
    দেউল দেহারা ভাঙ্গে ক্যাড়া ফিড়্যা খায় রঙ্গে
    পাখড় পাখড় বোলে বোল।
    ধরিয়া ধম্মের পায় রামাঞি পণ্ডিত গায়
    ই বড় বিসম গণ্ডগোল॥

    (I have changed the word ঘুন to দুন in the second line, as I consider the latter to be the correct reading)

    Çunya Purāṅ, p. 140.

  12. সহজ সহজ, সবাই কহয়
    সহজ জানিবে কে।
    তিমির অন্ধকার যে হৈয়াছে পার
    সহজ জেনেছে সে॥ Chaṅdīdās.

  13. "হইবি সতী, না হবি অসতী"
    "অন্তরে পরাণ বাটিয়া দেওবি
    বাহিরে বাসিবি পর।"

    "গোপন পীরিতি গোপনে রাখিবি
    সাধিবি মনের কাজ"
    "না হবি কাহার বস।"
    "কলঙ্ক সাগরে সিনান করিবি
    এলাঞা মাথার কেশ।
    "নীরে না ভিজিবি, জল না ছুঁইবি
    সম দুঃখ সম ক্লেশ।"

  14. "সাপের মুখেতে ভেকেরে নাচাবি
    তবেত রসিক-রাজ।
    "যে জন চতুর, সুমেরু শেখর
    সুতায় গাঁথিতে পারে।
    "মাকড়সার জালে, মাতঙ্গ বাঁধিলে
    এ রস মিলয়ে তারে॥"

  15. "যে জন চতুর, সুমেরু শেখর
    সুতায় গাঁথিতে পারে।
    "মাকড়সার জালে, মাতঙ্গ বাঁধিলে
    এ রস মিলয়ে তারে॥"

  16. যে জাতি যূবতি, সাধিতে সে রতি কুজাতি পুরুষে ধরে।
    কণ্টকে যেমতি পুষ্প হয় ক্ষত হৃদয় ফাটিয়া মরে॥
    পুরুষ তেমতি নারী হীন জাতি রতির আশ্রয় লয়।
    ভূতে ধরে তারে মরে ঘুরে ফিরে দ্বিজ চণ্ডীদাস কয়॥
    সুজনের সনে আনের পীরিতি কহিতে পরাণ ফাটে।
    জিহ্বার সহিত, দন্তের পীরিতি সময় পাইলে কাটে॥"

    (It should be noted here that the word রতি as used in the above extract, meant pure-love in Chaṅdīdās's time. Its meaning has since degraded and it now means a low carnal gratification).

  17. নটী কপালিকী বেশ্যা রজকী নাপিতাঙ্গনা।
    ব্রাহ্মণী শূদ্রকন্যা চ তথা গোপালকন্যকা॥
    মালাকরস্য কন্যা চ নব কন্যাঃ প্রকীর্ত্তিতাঃ।
    বিশেষবৈদগ্ধ্যযুতাঃ সর্ব্বা এব কুলাঙ্গনাঃ॥
    রূপযৌবনসম্পন্নাঃ শীলসৌভাগ্যশালিন্যাঃ।
    পূজনীয়াঃ প্রযত্নেন ততঃ সিদ্ধঃ ভবেন্নরঃ॥

    Gupta Sādhan Tantra.

  18. শুন রজকিনী রামি, ও দুটি চরণ, শীতল বলিয়া,
    শরণ লইলাম আমি।
    রজকিনী রূপ, কিশোরী স্বরূপ, কাম গন্ধ নাহি তায়।
    না দেখিলে মন, করে উচাটন, দেখিলে পরাণ জুড়ায়॥
    তুমি রজকিনী আমার রমণী, তুমি হও মাতৃ পিতৃ।
    ত্রিসন্ধ্যা যাজন, তোমার ভজন, তুমি বেদমাতা গায়ত্রী॥
    তুমি বাগ্বাদিনী, হরের রমণী, তুমি সে গলার হারা।
    তুমি স্বর্গ মর্ত্ত্য, পাতাল, পর্ব্বত, তুমি সে নয়ানের তারা॥

    তোমা বিনে মোর সকলই আঁধার, দেখিলে জুড়ায় আঁখি।
    যে দিন না দেখি ও চাঁদবদন মরমে মরিয়া থাকি॥
    ও রূপ মাধুরি পাশরিতে নারি, কি দিয়ে করিব বশ।
    তুমি সে মন্ত্র, তুমি সে তন্ত্র, তুমি উপাসনা বস॥
    রজকিনী রূপ, কিশোরী স্বরূপ কাম গন্ধ নাহি তায়।
    রজকিনী প্রেম, নিকষিত হেম বঢ়ু চণ্ডীদাস গায়॥

  19. "নায়িকা সাধন, শুনহ লক্ষণ,
    যেরূপে করিতে হয়।
    শুষ্ক কাষ্ঠের সম, আপনার দেহ
    করিতে হয়॥
    ব্রহ্মাণ্ড ব্যাপিয়া, আছয়ে যে জন
    কেহ না দেখয়ে তারে।
    প্রেমের পীরিতি, যে জন জানয়ে,
    সেই সে পাইতে পারে॥"

  20. "কোটিতে গোটিক হয়।"—Chaṅdīdās
  21. The following books, among others, give an exposition of the Sahajiā doctrines—some of them were written nearly 400 years ago, but all, before the British Conquest. Most of them contain prose-passages which may be taken as specimens of early Bengali prose.
    Svarupa Varṅan
    Vrindāban Dhyān
    Guruçiṣya Saṁbād
    Rasa Bhakti Laharī
    Rāga Ratnābalī
    Atma Sādhan
    by Kriṣṅadās.
    Amrita Rasa Chandrikā
    Prembhāba Chandrikā
    Sārāṭsār Kārikā
    Bhaktī Laṭikā
    Sadhya Prem Chandrikā
    Rāga Mālā
    Svarup Kalpa Latikā
    Prem Vilās
    Tatva Nirupan
    Rasa Bhakti Chandrikā
    attributed to
    Norottam Dās
    Upāsanā Paṭala
    Ānanda Bhairava
    by Premdās
    22. Ānanda Laharī   by Maṭhura Dās
    23. Dīnamani Chandrodaya   by Manharadās
    Siddhānta Chandrodaya
    Amrita Rasa Vallī
    Sārātsāra Kārikā
    Sādhan Opāya
    Rāga Ratnāvali
    by Mukunda Dās
    30. Toṭva Kaṭha   by Jodunaṭh Dās
    31. Yogāgama   by Jagat Kriṣṅa Dās
    32. Bhandaṭaṭva Sār   by Rasamaya Dās
    33. Rati Vilās   by Rasik Dās
    34. Sahajaṭaṭva   by Rādhā Ballav Dās
    Nikunja Rahasya
    by Vaṁçīdas
    Sidharati Kārika
    Vivarṭṭa Vilas
    attributed to Sanātana
    by one who subscribes
    himself as a desciple of
    Kriṣṅadās Kavirāj.
  22. See Preface to the Çunya Purāṅa.
  23. For example, it is customary with the Tippera Rajas to enquire if any person dwelling in the Raj, has not had his daily meal before the Raja breaks his own fast, which he does at a very late hour of the day. This practice which, no doubt, originated from highly humane principles, has been reduced to a mere formal observance.
  24. "না যাইও না যাইও রাজা দূর দেশান্তর।
    কারে লাগিয়া বান্দিলাম শীতল মন্দির ঘর॥
    বান্দিলাম বাঙ্গালা ঘর নাই পাড় কালি।
    এমন বয়সে ছাড়ি যাও আমার বৃথা গাবুরাণী॥
    নিন্দের স্বপনে রাজা হব দরিসন।
    পালঙ্কে ফেলাইব হস্ত নাই প্রাণের ধন॥
    দশ গিরির মাও বইন রবে শ্যামী লইবে কোলে।

    আমি নারী রোদন করিব খালি ঘর মন্দিরে॥
    আমাকে সঙ্গে করি লইয়া যাও।
    জীয়ব জীবন ধন আমি কন্যা সঙ্গে গেলে।
    রাঁধিয়া দিমু অন্ন ক্ষুধার কালে।
    পিপাসার কালে দিমু পানী।
    হাসিয়া খেলিয়া পোহামু রজনী।
    আইল পাতার দেখিলে কথা কহিয়া যামু।
    গিরি লোকের বাড়ী গেলে গুরুস্যাম বলিমু।
    শীতল পাটি বিছায়্যা দিমু বালীসে হেলান পাও।
    হাউস রঙ্গে যাতিমু হস্ত পাও।
    গ্রীসকালে বদনত দিমু দণ্ড পাখার বাও।
    মাঘ মাসি সিতে ঘেষিয়া রমু গাও।

  25. কে কয় এ গুলা কথা কে আর পইতায়।
    পুরুষের সঙ্গে গেলে কি স্ত্রীক বাঘে ধরে খায়॥
    ও গুলি কথা ঝুটমুট পালাবার উপায়।
    খায় না কেন বনের বাঘ তাক নাই ডর।
    নিত কলঙ্কে মরণ হউক স্যামীর পদতল॥
    তুমি হবু বটবৃক্ষ আমি তোমার লতা।
    রাঙ্গা চরণ বেড়িয়া লমু পালাইয়া যাবু কোথা।
    যখন আছিনু আমি মা বাপের ঘরে।
    তখন কেন ধর্ম্মি রাজা না গেলেন সন্নাসী হয়ে॥
    এখন হইনু রূপর নারী তোরে যোগ্যমান।
    মোক ছাড়িয়া হবু সন্ন্যাস মুই তেজিম পরাণ॥

  26. হায় হায় কর‌্যা রাণী ধুলায়ে লুটায়।
    উদুনার রোদনে পাষাণ গল্যা যায়॥
    কান্দয়ে নগরবাসী রাজা পানে চায়া।
    বাল বৃদ্ধ যুবা কান্দে আর শিশু ম্যায়া॥

    রাণীর ক্রন্দনে নদী উথলে সাগর।
    পাইসালে কান্দে অশ্ব যতেক কুঞ্জর॥
    শারি শুয়া পক্ষী কান্দে না করে আহার।
    দাসীগণ কান্দে রাজার করি হাহাকার॥
    খসাইয়া পেলে হার কেয়ূর কঙ্কণ।
    অভিমানে দূর করে যত আভরন॥
    পুঁছিয়া ফেলিল সব সিঁথার সিন্দুর।
    নাকের বেসর পেলে পায়ের নুপুর॥
    রাজার চরণে পড়ে জড়ায়ে কুন্তল।
    মোরা সঙ্গে যাব রাজা দেশান্তরে চল॥

  27. Very lately Babu Nagendranath Vasu has discovered several versions of songs about Govinda Chandra Raja, in the villages of Orissa. These versions appear to be more correct and reliable than their Bengali prototypes. The custodians of the songs there have been, as in Bengal, the Yogis who were doubtless an important class of men in the Buddhist society.
  28. জখন আছেন গোসাঞি হয়া দিগম্বর।
    ঘরে ঘরে ভিখা মাগিয়া বুলেন ঈসর॥
    রজনী পরভাতে ভিক্‌খার লাগি যাই।
    কুথাএ পাই কুথাএ না পাই॥
    হর্ত্তকী বএড়া তাহে করি দিনপাত।
    কত হরস গোসাঞি ভিক্‌খাএ ভাত॥
    আহ্মার বচনে গোসাঞি তুম্মি চস চাস।
    কখন অন্ন হএ গোসাঞি কখন উপবাস॥
    পুখরি কাঁদাএ লইব ভুম খানি।
    আরসা হইলে জেন ছিচএ দিব পানি॥
    ঘরে ধান থাকিলেক পরভু সুখে অন্ন খাব।
    অন্নর বিহনে পরভু কত দুঃখ পাব॥

    কাপাস চসহ পরভু পরিব কাপড়।
    কত না পরিব গোঁসাই কেওদা বাঘের ছড়॥
    তিল সরিসা চাষ কর গোঁসাই বলি তব পাএ।
    কত না মাখিব গোঁসাই বিভুতিগুলা গাএ॥
    সকল চাস চস পরভু আর রুইও কলা।
    সকল দব্ব পাই যেন ধম্ম পূজার বেলা॥

    Çunya Purāṅa.

  29. Terminalia Belerica.
  30. Terminalia Chabula.
  31. Sesamum Orentale.
  32. ক্ষেতে বসি কৃষাণে ঈশাণ বলে ভাল।
    চারিদণ্ডে চৌদিকে চৌরস করে চাল॥
    আড়ি তুলে ধারে ধারে ধরাইল ধান।
    হাটু পাড়ি ঈশানেতে আরম্ভে নিড়াণ॥
    দল দুব্বা সোলা শ্যামা ত্রিশিরা কেসুর।

    গড় খড় নানা খড় উপারে প্রচুর।
    বাদ নাহি বাঘ যেন বসি থাকে বুড়া॥

    Çivāyana by Rameçwar.

  33. A Danda is 24 minutes. 7 1/2 Dandas make a Prahara and 4 Praharas make a day (12 hours). Time is reckoned in Bengal-villages by this standard even now.
  34. Species of Cyperus.
  35. Grass with three blades.
  36. Scirpus kyseer.
  37. Çiva is here meant.
  38. For instance, one should not eat a pumpkin or its gourd (cucurbita pepo) on the 2nd day of a Lunation; Brihati (Solanum hirsatum) on the third; Patal (Trichosanthes dioeca) on the 4th; Radish (Raphanns Sativus) on the 5th; Nimba (Melia Azadirachta) on the 6th, and so on.
  39. The above is the translation of a passage from Vidyonmād-Ṭarañginī a well-known Sanskrit work by Chirañjiv Bhattāchāryya. The author gives an interesting description of religious controversies amongst the various sects of Hindus. The above arguments are put in the mouth of a Buddhist. Vidyonmād-Ṭarañginī was translated into English by the late Rājā Kālī Krisṅa Dev of Shobha Vāzār, Calcutta in 1834. The Sanskrit Text of the passage is given below:—

    "ন স্বর্গো নৈব জন্মান্যদপি ন নরকো নাপ্যধর্ম্মো ন ধর্ম্মঃ,
    কর্ত্তা নৈবাস্য কশ্চিৎ প্রভবতি জগতো নৈব ভর্ত্তা ন হর্ত্তা।
    প্রত্যক্ষান্যন্ন মানং ন সকলফলভুগ্ দেহভিন্নোঽস্তি,
    কশ্চিন্মিথ্যাভূতে সমস্তে ঽপ্যনুভবতি জনঃ সর্ব্বমেতদ্বিমোহং।
    অহিংসা পরমো ধর্ম্মঃ পাপমাত্ম প্রপীড়নম্।
    অপরাধীনতা মুক্তিঃ স্বর্গোঽভিলষিতাশনম্॥
    কা সৃষ্টৌ পরিদেবনা যদি পুনঃ পিত্রোরপত্যোদ্ভবঃ।
    কুম্ভাদ্যাঃ প্রভবন্তি সন্ততমমী তত্তৎকুলালাদিতঃ॥"

  40. Similarly in the history of Java, we find the Buddhist King Jayālankār marrying his own sister Chāndra-Sura in 675 A.D.
  41. "সংগ্রামসাহতনয়াপাণিপীড়নপীড়িতঃ।
    Kavi Kanṭhahār.

  42. Indo-Aryans, page 265.
  43. একদিন রাজা জিজ্ঞাসিল পঞ্চ গোত্রীয়ে।
    মহাবংশ কুলীন আর সিদ্ধ শ্রোত্রিয়ে॥
    কহ সভাসদ আছ যতেক পণ্ডিত।
    কি হেতু ত্যজিলে বৈদ্যে ছিলে পুরোহিত॥
    উত্তরিল মহেশাদি যতেক সুকৃতী।
    নিত যাজে রত নহি নৈমিত্তিকে ব্রতী॥
    অজ্ঞ হল দশকর্ম্মা শ্রাদ্ধে পিণ্ডভোজী।
    দ্বিজের স্থণ্ডিলে ঋত্বিক, নহি শূদ্র যাজী॥
    আদিশূর রাজা বৈদ্য বৈশ্য তার জাতি।
    একচ্ছত্রী রাজা ছিল ক্ষত্রবৎ ভাতি॥
    ইন্দ্রদুম্ন বৌদ্ধ রাজা জগন্নাথে কীর্ত্তি।
    সাম্যবাদী তবু বলায় ক্ষত্রিয়বৃত্তি॥
    রাজা হলে রাজন্য সে না ভাবে অন্যথা।
    পতিত কাম্বোজাদি গৌড়ে ক্ষত্র যথা॥
    ভূপাল অনঙ্গপাল আর মহীপাল।
    জাতি ভ্রষ্ট, ক্ষত্র নহে রাজন্য প্রবল॥
    তারাও বিভা করিত তিন জাতির মেয়ে।
    ব্রাহ্মণ পুরোধা সাতশতী দেখ চেয়ে॥
    তাই তারা ক্রিয়াকাণ্ডে বেদ জ্ঞানহীন।
    যাজক পিণ্ডভোজী প্রথা ত অপ্রাচীন॥
    বল্লাল লয় যবে পদ্মিনী জাতি হীনা।
    লক্ষ্মণ কহে দ্বিজে এ প্রথা ত দেখিনা॥
    ভাই বল্লাল ত্যজে কুপুত্র বলি সুতে।
    লক্ষ্মণ ত্যজে পৈতা বৈদ্যকুল রক্ষিতে॥
    ইথে উভয় পক্ষের বৈদ্য পতিত ব্রাত্য।

    ক্রমশঃ বৃষলে গণ্য অত্রত্য তত্রত্য॥


    ভূমিপ হইলে সবার ইচ্ছা হয় ক্ষত্র।
    গৌরব হেতু "রাজন্য" বলায় যত্র তত্র॥
    সবারি অভিলাষ সে উচ্চ হয় নিজে।
    দেবত্ব পেলেও ইচ্ছা ব্রহ্মত্ত্বে বিরাজে॥


    বৈদ্য রাজা আদিশূর ক্ষত্রিয় আচার।
    বেদে ব্রহ্মবৎ, কার্য্যে মাতৃ ব্যবহার॥

    Sambandha Nirṅaya, by Lālmohan
    Vidyānidhi (2nd Edition) pp. 584-89

  44. Minor Gods or angels.