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but probably many successive copies have been made since the original was thumbed to pieces. The first stanzas which are rather prettily worded, are, or at least profess to be, the composition of the famous blind poet Súr Das.
“ Thy ways are past knowing, full of compassion, Supreme Intelligence, unapproachable, unfathomable, beyond the cognizance of the senses, moving in fashion mysterious.
“ A lion, most mighty in strength and courage, dies of hunger ; a snake fills his belly without labour and without exertion.
" Now a straw sinks in the water, now a stone floats : he plants an ocean in the desert, a flood fills it all round.
" The empty is filled, the full is upset, by his grace it is filled again ; the lotus blossoms from the rock and fire burns in the water.
“A king becomes a beggar and again a beggar a ling, with umbrella over his head ; even the guiltiest (says Súr Dás) in an instant is saved, if the Lord helps him the least."
." The second piece, in a somewhat similar strain, is by Damodar Das.
Translation. “Come, my soul, adore Nand-lala (i. e. Krishna) whether living in the house or in the woods (i. e. whether a man of the world or a hermit) there is no other help to lay hold of.
“The Veda, the Puranas and the Law declare that nothing is better than this; every day honour increases four-fold, like the moon in its degrees.
" Who has wealth ? who has house and fortune ? who has son and wife ? says Damodar, nought will remain secure in the world, it is gone in a moment."
The third piece, an encomium of the blooming Spring, is too simple to require any translation.
राग वसंत ॥
The only divinities who are now popularly commemorated at the Holi Festival are Rádhá, Krishna and Balarama ; but its connection with them can only be of modern date. The institution of the Ban-játra and the
Rás-lílá and all the local legends that they involve is traceable to one of the Brindaban Gosáins at the beginning of the 17th century A. D., viz. Nárayan Bhatt, a disciple of Krishan Dás, Brahmáchári, whom Sanátan, the leader of the Bengali Vaishnavas in Upper India, appointed the first Pujári of his temple of Madan Mohan. The fact, though studiously ignored by the Hindus of Mathurá, is distinctly stated in the Bhakt-málá, the work which they admit to be of paramount authority on such matters.
But the scenes that I have described carry back the mind of the European spectator to a far earlier period and are clearly relics, perhaps the most unchanged that exist in any part of the world, of the primitive worship of the powers of nature on the return of Spring. Such were the old English merry-makings on May Day, and still more closely parallel the Phallic orgies of Imperial Rome as described by Juvenal. When I was listening to the din of the village band at Bathan, it appeared to be the very scene depicted in the lines
Plangebant aliæ proceris tympana palmis,
Barbaraque horribili stridebat tibia cantu.
Leve tympanum remugit, cava cymbala recrepant,
Quatiuntque terga tauri teneris cava digitis. While the actors in the chaupái, with dagger in hand, recalled the pictures of the Corybantes or Phrygian priests of Cybele, the very persons to whom the poet refers. In Greece the Indian Holi found its equivalent in the Dionysia, when the phallus, the symbol of the fertility of nature, was borne in procession, as it now is here, and when it was thought a disgrace to remain sober. In like manner the Gosáins and other actors in the Indian show are quite as much inspired in their frenzied action by their copious preliminary libations as by the excitement of the scene and the barbarous music of the drums, cymbals and timbrels that accompany them. Mathura, April 6th, 1877.
POSTSCRIPT. 1. Recent Archæological Discoveries. Since my transfer from the district, the mound adjoining the Magistrate's Court-house, which has often been explored before with valuable results, has been completely levelled as a Famine relief work. A large nuinber of miscellaneous sculptures have been discovered, of which I have received no definite description. But the more prominent object is a lifesize statue of Buddha, which is said to be very finely executed and also in
Yad atra punyam,
excellent preservation, though unfortunately it has been broken into two pieces by a fracture just above the ankles. On the base is an inscription in Pali characters, of which a transcript has been sent me by a clever native draughtsman. I decypher it as follows:
Deyadharmáyam Sákya-bhikshu Yasa-dittasya. tad bhavatu mátá-pitroh sukhá rya páddhya yatam cha sarvva-satv-ánuttarajnána-váptaye."
I have probably misread some of the letters printed in italics, for as they stand they yield no sense. (Vide Pl. XIX.) The remainder I translate as follows:
“This is the votive offering of the Buddhist monk Yasa-ditta. If there is any merit in it, may it work for the good of his father and mother and for the propagation of perfect knowledge throughout the world."
In Sanskrit the primary meaning of deya-dharma is the duty of giving ; but in Páli it ordinarily stands for “the gift' itself. The literal signification of the monk's name Yasa-ditta is ' Resplendent with glory '; ditta being the Páli, Prákrit, or Hindi form of the Sanskrit dipta, by a rule of Vararuchi's, under which the example given is sutta (the modern sotá) for supta. Vápti, 'the propagation' is from the root vap, to sow; from which also comes the Hindi word báp, a father, like the Latin sator, from sero.
A second inscription of some length commences with the words Mahárájasya Devaputrasya Huvish kasya Samvatsare 51 Hemanta masa 1 div...... but I have not been able to read further, as the only transcript that I have received is a very imperfect one. A great number of fragmentary sculptures of different kinds have also, as I understand, been discovered, and some of them have been photographed for General Cunningham, who spent several days at Mathurá for the purpose of examining them. His account will doubtless appear in some future volume of his Archæological Survey.
Since Gen. Cunningham's visit a third inscribed slab has been found. A transcript has been made and sent me and a facsimile of it is herewith given. I have not yet succeeded in decyphering it. It begins with the word siddham ; then apparently followed the date, but unfortunately there is here a flaw in the stone. After the flaw is the word etasya.*
The second line begins with the word Bhagavat. In the third line is the name Ma
* The word following ctasya begins with the letters pu the remainder being defaced, and was probably purvaye. This phrase etasya purvaye is of frequent occurrence in these inscriptions and is translated by Gen, Cunningham 'on this very date'. I do not think it can bear such a meaning. It might be literally rendered after this'; but it is really an expletive, like the Hindi óge, or occasionally the Sanskrit tad-ananta. ra:in, with which an Indian letter generally begins-after the stereotyped complimentary exordium—and which in the absence of full stops and capital letters serves to indicate a transition to a new subject.