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II, XX, 30.
By Sir George Grierson, K.C.I.E., Ph.D., D.Litt., I.C.S. (Retd.)
I HAVE read Mr. Jackson's account of the two inscriptions discovered by him in the Barabar hills1 with great interest. It is evident that he has successfully identified the Gorathagiri.
May I suggest one point for reconsideration? It is his suggestion that the ruins at Ibrahimpur are the remains of the Magadha pura of Mahābhārata II, XX, 30.
On page 65 of the Journal, Mr. Jackson speaks of this town as, or the City of Magadha.' Is this translation मागधपुरम्, correct? ought to mean the City of the Magadha,' not 'the City of Magadha'. The latter, as a compound word, would be मगधपुरम् .
This, however, is not of great importance, for the passage in the Mahabharata does not use the expression as given by Mr. Jackson, but has two distinct words, not a compound. In this, the word is an adjective, and can, for our present purposes, be best translated' Magadhian', so that Māgadham puram means the Magadhian City'. The question is, what is the exact meaning here of 'Māgadhian?' In six places2 in the MBh. it means of or belonging to the country of Magadha'; in two places it is used with pura, one being the present passage and the other to be quoted later on; but generally, and this in some scores of instances, it means 'a man of Magadha' or 'of or belonging to a man of Magadha'. Indian authorities on this passage take the word here in the last meaning, and maintain that Magadham puram' means 'the City of the Man of Magadha',
1 See pages 159 ff. of Part II of this Journal.
2 II, xiv, 55; xx, 29; xxii, 20; VI, lxii, 34; VIII, xxxii, 18 XI, xxv, 7
i.e., of Jarasandha. For example, the Vacaspatya, s. v. ma says in so many words that in this passage मागघं पुरम् = जरासन्ध
Jarasandha's city was Girivraja (MBh. II, xiv, 73). This, as stated in the passage quoted by Mr. Jackson, was Old Rajagriha, and was surrounded by five hills. Therefore, it was not, as he rightly points out, visible from the Gōrathagiri, or from any other hill in the neighbourhood. The commentators are certainly right in saying that the Magadha pura was Jarāsandha's city, Girivraja, as would be plain if Mr. Jackson's quotation had been carried further on. As printed on page 161, it stops at the third verse of chapter xxi. Taking the same southern text, the 16th to 18th verses run :
एवमुक्त्वा ततः सर्वे भ्रातरो विपुलौजसः ॥ १६ ॥
16, 17. With these words all the mighty brethren, Vārsnēya and the two Pandavas, set out (pratasthuh) for the Magadha pura, 18, and reached (āsēduh) Girivraja filled with happy and well-fed citizens, crowded with men of all four castes, abounding in festivals, and impregnable. '
I do not think that in this passage pratasthuh and āsēduh can have any meanings other than those that I have assigned to them, and, therefore, the Magadha pura is the same as Girivraja.
We are thus reduced to one of two conclusions. Either the Gōrathagiri was not one of the Barabar hills, or else the writer of the passage in the Mahābhārata, not being acquainted with the local geography, has made a mistake.
As already stated, I think that it cannot be doubted that Mr. Jackson's identification of the Gōrathagiri is correct, and we are therefore driven to the second alternative. Perhaps the writer confused Girivraja with New Rajagriha which on a clear day would, so far as I remember, have been visible from the Barabar hills, or perhaps he was merely giving a poetical Pisgahview of the Promised Land of Girivraja, without troubling his head whether the details were possible or not,
I.-The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History.
By D. B. Spooner, B.A., Ph.D., in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (London), for January and July 1915.
DR. SPOONER in his paper on "The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History" essays to prove that Chandragupta was a Parsi: that the Mauryas were Zoroastrians (page 413); that they came originally from Persepolis and were perhaps of Achæmenian descent (page 410). This is the main thesis of his paper. But there are some subsidiary theses of no less importance, e.g., that the Buddha was also a Parsi by race and by religion (page 445), that the Nandas were Persians (page 418), and that the Mauryan Chancellor Chanakya was a Magian or a Parsi priest (pages 419-420).
I would here discuss the evidence as to the alleged Parsi origin of the Emperor Chandragupta and of the Nandas and Chanakya, the latter two being closely associated with the history of the former. The question of the ethnic origin of the Buddha, which by itself is a large subject, may be put off for the present, as it does not affect the problem of the Mauryas one way or the other.
It is now more than fifteen months that I had the privilege of discussing the question of Chandragupta's nationality with Dr. Spooner personally. Although when he disclosed to me his Persian theory I told him that the trend of the whole of historical evidence seemed to be against him, I kept my mind open to conversion if convincing proof were forthcoming; and I watched the progress of his theory with sympathy. I suggested
to Dr. Spooner that it would be worth his while to search, if possible, for an Avestic explanation of the word Maurya; and later on I pointed out the philological equation Maurva (Zend) Maurya to which Dr. Spooner refers at pages 407, 409.
Since the publication of his paper Dr. Spooner has kindly asked me to state my conclusion as to his theory. A careful examination of the data set forth was necessary and some time had to be allowed to get over the effect of the eloquence and rhetoric of the learned writer. It would have given me much satisfaction, if I could agree with Dr. Spooner in his conclusions. But a critical analysis of the data put forward by my friend compels me to say that his theory on the basis of the present evidence has to be rejected.
There are many points treated in the paper which do not stand the chance of obtaining a considerate hearing at the hands of specialists (e.g., the discussion about the Atharva-Veda being Persian in origin; the attempt at a new explanation of the grammatical note of Patanjali Mauryair hiranyarthibhir archāh prakalpitāh'; the discourse about the Vedic Prachyas and the Charanavyuha); but they may be overlooked as not affecting the main theory. Let us take the arguments which closely bear on the Mauryas. There is, for instance, the argument-more than once emphasized that Chandragupta "washed his royal hair according to the Persian calendar". A ceremonial of sacramental nature, absolutely alien, will, no doubt, suggest more than a mere borrowing. But on reference to the original authority I find nothing whatsoever about "the Persian calendar". The original passage is in Strabo, XV, 69, and runs as follows:
"The following particulars also are stated by the historians.
The Indians worship Zeus Ombrios (Indra), the river Ganges, and the indigenous deities of the country. When the King washes his hair they celebrate a great festival, and send him great presents, each person seeking to out-rival his neighbour in displaying his wealth" (M'Crindle).