« PoprzedniaDalej »
although not unknown to the other Puránas, are most lavishly multiplied in the work under review.
Although assuming a royal character, this work. describes Krishna as resigning the supremacy to Ugraséna, and directing. Dwaraká to be built for him by the divine architect Viswaséna—a wide departure from the account every where else given of the circumstances under which Dwaraká became the capital of Krishna. He having been driven from Mathurá by Jarasandha, the father-inlaw of Kansa, whom Krishna had deposed and slain, Krishna and his tribe, on their expulsion from Mathurá, fled to the west coast of the peninsula, and there founded a new city. No notice whatever is taken of these revolutions in this work, although they are told at some length in the Mahábhárat, Vishnu Purána, and Bhagavat. In a subsequent chapter, indeed, this Furána refers to the same events, although it does not particularise them; and Rukmi, the brother of Rukminí, reproaches Krishna with having fled to Dwáraká through fear of Jarasandha.
Krishna's marriage with Rukmini is next narrated, but he does not carry her off, as in other authorities. Her brother opposes his entrance into the city, but is defeated by Baladeva, and then Krishna enters, and is duly married to the princess in her father's presence. Every where else, he runs away with her before the marriage, and Baladeva checks the pursuit.
In the next chapters, a conversation between Rádhá and Yasodá expounds the purport of eleven names of Krishna, and these are succeeded by an account of the birth of Rukmini's son Pradyumna, his being carried off by a demon, and his recovery, the birth of other sons of Krishna, and marriage of the sage
Durvásas to a daughter of Ugraséna. Krishna's share in the war of the Mahábhárat is very briefly despatched, except a long hymn to him by Sisupála, whom he slew.
The intrigue of Aniruddha, Krishna's grandson, with Ushá, the daughter of Vána, is narrated at some length, in the usual style, and the unsuccessful contest waged by that prince against Krishna is protracted by the episodical insertion of a variety of stale legends to a disproportionate extent; these stories are related alternately by Aniruddha and Vána, as they stand prepared to engage in single combat for the purpose of proclaiming the respective might of Krishna and Siva, Vána being devoted to the worship of the latter divinity. Siva, however, after vainly attempting to dissuade him from the conflict, is obliged to witness his votary's defeat, with that of Skanda and Bhadrakáli, who had gone to his succour; and Vána, becoming sensible of Krishna's supremaey, consents to his daughter's union with Aniruddha.
The next chapters relate to the origin of the Bindusára Tirtha, from the tears of Krishna; the reason why it is sinful to look at the moon on the fourth day of Bhadra, and Satrajit's obtaining that gem, whose presence in a country insures its fertility. The adoration of Ganesa by Rádhá, in the presence of the assembled deities, is the subject of the 122d and 123d chapters, and, as acknowledged in the text, is one rarely treated of in other Puránas. Ganesa, not to be outdone, eulogises Rádhá in his turn, and is followed by Brahma and Ananta. The worship of Ganesa by Rádhá marked the termination of the curse which had sentenced her to a mortal existence; and she was then restored to her celestial nature, in which Durga is made to declare that there is no difference between Rádhá and herself, and whoever speaks in a depreciating manner of either, is equally punished in hell.
Krishna, having also offered worship to Ganésa, returns to Dwáraká, and resumes his lessons to Nanda and his family; he also prophesies the depravity of the world in the succeeding or Kali age, in which men will abstain from venerating Sálagrám stones and Tulasi plants, and attach themselves assiduously to the service of Mlechhas, barbarians, and outcasts, who, it is said also, shall become the rulers of the country :-expressions indicative of the prevalence of the Mohammedan authority, when the Purúna was compiled.
Rádhá after this returns to Goloka, with all the Gopas and Gopis of divine origin, Krishna creating others to supply their place at Vrindávan. The circumstances of Krishna's death, by a wound from a hunter, the destruction of his tribe, and the submersion of Dwaraká by the sea, are next alluded to, in so brief and obscure a manner that, without a previous knowledge of what is intended, the notice would be quite unintelligible; and these events are lost sight of amidst the much more detailed addresses of the gods and goddesses, the ocean, the rivers, and particularly the Ganges, in which the sufferings of the earth, in consequence of Krishna's departure, are most pathetically lamented. After Krishna's death, the form that proceeded from his person went to the Sweta Dwipa, where it became two: one-half was Nárayana, the lord of Vaikuntha; the other was Krishna, the deity of Goloka, the supreme indescribable source of all, who ascended to his original seat, and was reunited to Rádhá.
The Purána properly closes here, at the end of the 128th chapter ; but Náreda, who has been its auditor, now hears from the narrator Narayana, that he, Náreda, was in his former life a Gandharva, the husband of fifty wives, one of whom is reborn as well as himself, and by the boon of Siva is to be once more his bride. Náreda submits rather reluctantly, and shortly after his marriage with the daughter of Srinjaya, who is declared to be one with Máyá, run away from his wife to perform penance, through which he is united with Hari.
A supplementary chapter, the 130th, follows, in which Súta, the ordinary narrator or recapitulator of the Puránas, relates two legends, explaining the birth of fire from Brahmá, and of gold from fire. Chapter 131 is a short index to the Puranas. The last chapter, 132, enumerates the different Puránas and Upapuránas, the five works called Pancharútra, and the five Sanhitás, or compendia of the Vaishnava faith. It is also remarkable for its definition of the Mahábhárat and the Rámáyana ; the former of which it terms a Itihasa, or history, and the latter a Kávya, or poem : the work terminates with a eulogium on itself; the attentively hearing of one quarter of a verse of which is equal in merit to the gift of the heaven of Krishna.
The preceding sketch of the contents and character of this work will probably have furnished sufficient evidence of its modern origin. It is clearly subsequent to the great body of Hindú literature, not only by the enumeration just noticed, but by reference to the several philosophical systems, the Terka, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Patanjala, Memánsa, and Vedanta, which occurs in a preceding passage. Its being the latest of the Puránas is also apparent from its own avowal of its being intended to clear up the discrepancies observable in those works, and by the frequent assertion that the legends it gives, particularly those respecting Ganésa, are not to be met with in the other Puránas. That it was compiled subsequent to the Mohammedan invasion, is very probable, from the allusions it contains to the supremacy of Mlechha rulers; and the particular branch of the Hindú system which it advocates, renders it likely to have emanated from a sect which there is reason to imagine originated, about four centuries ago, with Vallabháchárya and the Gosains of Gokula.*
* From the Journal of the Asiatic Society.
MR, ROYLE ON THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE HIMALAYA.
A few years since, the botany of British India was almost unknown, except so far as it can be said to have been illustrated by the costly but unscientific publications of the Dutch. But with the prosperity of the EastIndia Company advanced the labours and discoveries of the botanists in its service. The “ Plants of the Coast of Coromandel" of the late Dr. Roxburgh threw much light upon the vegetation of continental India; the laborious researches of Dr. Hamilton contributed a mass of materials relating to Nipal and the northern provinces to a few English botanists, and finally the additions made by many others, especially by Dr. Wallich, from time to time, by permission of the Court of Directors, continued to shew how inexhaustible are the vegetable riches of India. At length, the immense distributions of dried specimens made by the last-mentioned botanist, and the splendid work which may be said to have given rise to them, so much increased our knowledge of the vegetation of all parts of the British dominions in India, that the Flora of our eastern possessions is probably now as well known as that of any other part of the world out of Europe.
But while the illustration of the plants of India has thus been advancing with rapid strides, no attempt, unfortunately, has been made to shew, in a connected manner, the relation which the different forms of vegetation bear to climate and soil, or how far the laws which are found to govern the development of plants in other parts of the world are confirmed or the contrary by what occurs in Asia. Neither bave we to this moment any
clear explanation of the limits of the different zones of vegetation, which characterize the numerous well-defined districts that intervene between the peaks of the Himalaya and the jungles of Ceylon.
Connected as this subject is with such interesting and highly important considerations as the probability of introducing with advantage the valuable plants of other countries into India, or of transferring thence, either to the mother country or to our dispersed colonies, what is peculiar to her soil, to say nothing of the necessity of filling up so material a chasm in science as must exist so long as the physical geography of India remained behind that of other tropical countries,—such a work as that now before us is of infinite value and importance. It must be a gratification to scientific men to find that the undertaking has fallen into such able hands as those of Mr. Royle, whose accurate and comprehensive knowledge of this department of science he has sufficiently demonstrated by his contributions to it whilst in India, but who has accumulated a vast abundance of rich materials. A skilful naturalist, a good geologist, and a careful and scientific meteorological observer, obliged by his medical duties to pay close attention' to the phenomena attendant upon diversities of climate, and placed officially at the head of a great botanical establishment, in the heart of one of the most interesting districts of the north of India,—with Cashmere, as it were,
. Mustrations of the Botany and other branches of Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains, and of the Flora of Cashmere. By John Forbes Royle, F.L.S., &c., of the Honourable East-India Company's Medical Establishment. Part I. 4to. Parbury, Allen and Co.
on the right hand and Tibet on his left, the snowy pinnacles of the Himalaya at his back, and before him the boundless plains and rivers of India, it is scarcely possible to conceive that a person could command circumstances more favourable or a position better adapted for his purpose.
The plan of Mr. Royle's great work is fourfold ; first, to shew the geological structure of such districts as he had personal means of examining; secondly, to illustrate the atmospheric phenomena which prevail in the various climates of northern India, and to shew how far these are capable of explaining apparent exceptions to the general laws of botanical geography; thirdly, to point out what plants and animals are most characteristic of the plains, the lower hills, the mountain-vallies, and the most elevated ridges of the Indian Alps, contrasting them with what occurs in other countries, in similar latitudes; and lastly, to describe such of the more remarkable new or useful plants as he had the good fortune to discover : it is to the latter part of the work that the coloured plates by which it is accompanied principally relate,
For the views taken by Mr. Royle of such of these topics as he has touched upon in this his first number, we must refer to the work itself. The following extracts will illustrate bis style and manner of treating his subject.
Mr. Royle remarks that," to shew the effects of protection and culture, Xanthochymus dulcis may be adduced as a remarkable instance. This tree, which is found only in the southern parts of India, and which would not live in the more exposed climate of Saharunpore, exists as a large tree in the garden of the king of Delhi; but here, surrounded by the numerous buildings within the lofty palace-wall, in the midst of almost a forest of trees, with perpetual irrigation from a branch of the canal which flows through the garden, an artificial climate is produced, which enables a plant so sensitive of cold as one of the Guttiferæ, to flourish in the open air at Delhi, where it is highly prized, and reported to have milk thrown over its roots, as well as its fruit protected from plunder by a guard of soldiers."
Speaking of the singular nature of the climate of some of the more elevated parts of Kunawur, we are told that, at the commencement of winter in those regions, the sun's rays dart with such fierceness through the rarified air, as to produce a feeling of scorching in the midst of almost unbearable cold. “At Rangreek, elevated 12,500 feet, the thermometer fell to 6o during the night, and rose at 11 in the forenoon only to 20°; and yet the greatest inconvenience was experienced, as well from the dazzling reflection from the snow as from the great power of the sun's rays, the latter made more sensible by the sharp chill of the air, which was never heated beyond 25°. Towards evening, a sudden gust of piercingly cold wind destroyed several of their followers; the breath of the travellers congealed upon their beards and their clothes grew stiff on their backs.” And yet in such a climate as this are not only fields of beans and of other pulse, but poplar trees measuring twelve feet in girth, and orchards of apricots : a most singular fact, if compared with the kind of vegetation found at a similar elevation in the New World. Birch trees at 14,000 feet, orchards of apricots beyond 10,000 feet, and large poplars at 13,500 feet, must give the mountains of India a singularly rich appearance, when compared with those of America; for Humboldt states that on Chimborazo, 21° south of the line, even grasses disappear at 13,325: feet of elevation; while on Popocayan, 19° 20' N. lat., oaks do not reach much above 10,000 feet, and even the hardy alder bush is lost between 11,000 and 12,000 feet.
Such are some of the facts Mr. Royle notices; and we might fill our pages
with similar extracts, for the work is a rich mine of information relating to every branch of inquiry to which the sciences it embraces are susceptible of being applied. The plates are executed by the same artists as were engaged in Dr. Wallich's extensive work, and are fully equal to them in execution.
We heartily concur in the sentiment expressed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, announcing the approaching publication of this work :
we trust that it will meet with a full portion of the public patronage, without which it would be ruinous to attempt the publication."
TRANSLATION FROM HAFIZ.
GHUZUL IN V
میدمد صبح گل
See, the dawn is up,
Bright with roseate veil ;
Fill, its beams to hail.
Pearly dew-drops roll;
Comrades of my soul !
Breathes o'er every flower;
Pure as nature's hour.
Spreads her emerald throne;
Bright as ruby-stone,
Night is waxing late ;
Keeper of the gate !
Coming day retard ?
Thus thy door is barred !
Thou that dream'st of love;
Offer prayer above.
of thy loved one's lip,
Nectared kisses sip.