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I could find nothing Buddhist at Mahásthán, and my impression is that Messrs. Westmacott and O'Donnell have been somewhat too ready to believe that Buddhism once prevailed in Bagurá. Bardankúțí is a comparatively recent place, and has nothing to do, I think, with the Pandra Varddhana of the Chinese pilgrim. There are two statues at Mahásthán. One appears to be Basudeb (Krishna), and the other is simply a mermaid. It has no theological signification at all, I think, and is just a fantastic figure such as are common in Hindu palaces. The "right hand clenched,” referred to by Mr. O'Donnell is, I think, a foot.
One curious remain at Mahásthán is a large brick well with rude stone steps leading down it. The steps are simply large stones jutting out from the brick work and look very awkward things to descend by. However I was told that many persons go down by them at the time of the fair. The well is called the Jiyat-kund, or well of life, and the tradition is, that Parasurám for a long time got the better of Sháh Sultán, because when any Hindu soldier was killed, Parasurám revived him by sprinkling water from this well over him. The sweeper Harpál told Sháh Sultán of this, and then he destroyed the efficacy of the water by throwing pieces of beef into it. The fortification of Mahásthán is quadrangular in shape,and is popularly said to be two miles square. There are four openings in it, and these are pointed out as the gates. One is called the Támár Darwázah, because it is said to have been sheathed with copper. Outside the rampart there is on one side a large lake, called the Kálidohá Ságar. There are islands in it, and a promontory on its banks is called Bish-Mathan, because it is said that on it the goddesses Lutta and Padya mixed the poison which destroyed Chánd Saudagar's family. Chánd Saudágar is, as is well known, the impious merchant who would not worship Manesha, or the Lady of the Snakes. He is said to have lived at Chándmoa, i. e., Chándmukh, near Mahásthán, and the foundations of the house he built for his son are still pointed out.
Another antiquity in Bagurá, the importance of which, however, is a good deal exaggerated by the people, is Jogir Bhaban, or the Ascetic's house. It lies some seven miles west of Bagurá. It appears to have been an early settlement of the Gosáins, or followers of Siva. The remains consist of some temples with elaborately carved wooden doors. One temple has the Bengali date 1089, and the name Meher Náth Sadak. One of the doors has the date 1119, and the name of Shukhal Náth Gosáin. There is one curious tomb with three monuments of different sizes. The largest is the guru's, the second is the disciple's, and the third and smallest is said to be that of the guru's dog ("his faithful dog shall bear him company"). There is a well of life here, too, but it is quadrangular in shape. The jogí in charge of the temples gave me a curious instance of faith. There are several images inside one temple, and the jogi candidly said that he
could not tell what god one of them represented. However, he said, as it was in the temple he accepted it and worshipped the unknown god. To the west of Jogir Bhaban, there are said to be the remains of the house of the Rájá Salbon (Sáliváhan ?) and to the north of it, the remains of the house of the Rájá Srí Náth. Perhaps they were ancestors of Parasurám.
Returning to Mahásthán, I have to say that Parasurám was evidently a devoted worshipper of Siva. Indeed, he seems to have meditated setting up a rival to Banáras. In and about Mahásthán, there are places called Káshí, Brindában, and Mathurá.
In 1862, or thereabouts, a number of gold coins were found at Bámanpárá, near Mahásthán. The most of them have disappeared, but I have seen two, and have sent them to the Asiatic Society for identification. The records of the case which is said to have taken place about them have been destroyed. In 1874, a pot of old rupees was found in the village of Mahásthán by a labourer who was digging a ditch in a pân garden. The owners of the pân garden wrested the coins from him, and were convicted, rather harshly I think, of robbery and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. On appeal, their sentence was reduced to three months. Some of the coins were bought from the owners by Major Hume and were afterwards sent to the Asiatic Society. One coin was lying in the Magistrate's Málkhánah, and has been sent by me to Professor H. Blochmann.* I have also sent down two other silver coins which are said to have been found at Mahásthán.
* The silver coins were described in Journal, Asiatic Society, Bengal, Part I, for 1875, p. 288. The coins now sent are five in number, viz., 2 gold coins, regarding which Dr. Rájendralála Mitra says:-"One of them, with the lion on the reverse, "belongs to Mahendra Gupta, or as given on the margin of the obverse, Sri Mahendra "Siñha; and the other to Chandra Gupta. Both have been figured in Thomas's Prinแ sep. The princes belong to the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Christian era."
The three silver coins are—(1) a silver tánkah of Shams-uddín Ilyás Sháh of Ben
gal, as published by Thomas in his 'Initial Coinage of Bengal.'
(2.) A silver tánkah, struck in 862 H., by Mahmúd Sháh I, of Bengal as figured in this Journal, for 1875, Pl. XI, No. 7. The reverse is the same as in Nos. 5 and 8, but the reading is still doubtful.
(3.) A silver tánkah by the same king, of coarse manufacture, similar to Nos. 2 and 3, of Pl. XI, loc. cit.
ASIATIC SOCIETY OF
Part I.-HISTORY, LITERATURE, &c.
Mathurá Notes.—By F. S. GROWse, M. A. Oxon., B. C. S.
The following scraps from my note-book have been hastily thrown together in the midst of the worry and confusion occasioned by my sudden and most unexpected transfer from a district, to which I had become greatly attached, and where I had confidently hoped to spend with much pleasure to myself and some slight advantage to the public the few years that yet remain of my career in the executive branch of the service. I cannot avoid this personal explanation, as it supplies the only adequate apology for the very unfinished state in which these fragments appear. I had intended to work up several of them into separate articles; but the opportunity of doing this has been denied me, and I have no choice but either to send them as they are, or else allow them to perish amidst the general wreck in which all my household gods are now involved.
1. Gosáin Hari Vans of Brindaban, and the sect of the Rádhá Vallabhis. One of my inchoate projects was the compilation of a series of notices illustrating the life and doctrine of the different Vaishnava Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries, who all made Brindaban their head centre. Though both the men themselves and their writings are scarcely known by name to European Orientalists, they have had an enormous influence on the tendencies of modern Hindu thought, and the sects which they founded still continue to gather converts from all parts of India. To last year's volume of the Society's Journal I contributed an article on Swami Hari
Dás and his descendants, the Gosains of the temple of Bánke Bihári ; and in the Introduction to the first Book of my translation of the Rámáyana I have given an account of Tulsi Dás, which I had intended to supplement, on the completion of the poem, with a disquisition on his theological system. But both translation and disquisition must now be indefinitely postponed; for a certain amount of quiet and composure is necessary for the adequate performance of so long and laborious an undertaking. I was under the impression that such a series, however dull and occasionally repulsive the separate articles might be, would still be of interest to the student and supply sound material, out of, which to construct one short chapter at least in the great book of the future, the History of Comparative Religion. This project however is very summarily disposed of, since it is only at Mathurá that MSS. are obtainable, nor would the Gosáins communicate them to any one, in whom they had not by long intercourse acquired confidence: so suspicious are they of European interference. The language moreover in which the poems are written is not without difficulty and requires some special study, even on the part of natives, before it is readily intelligible. These are probably the reasons why Prof. Wilson in his' Religious Sects', is able to give very full and accurate accounts of the great teachers of earlier times, who wrote in Sanskrit, while his notices of the more modern schools are meagre and apparently, as a rule, not derived from original sources. Thus, though he devotes five pages to the Rádhá Vallabhis, he does not mention the name even of the Chaurási Pada, which is their great authority, and to illustrate their doctrine, translates a passage from the Brahma Vaivarta Purána, which is rather the standard of the Vallabhacháris, a different sect, who have their head quarters at Gokul.
The founder of the Rádhá Vallabhis was by name Hari Vans. His father, Vyása, was a Gaur Bráhman of Deva-ban in the Saharanpur district, who had long been childless. He was in the service of the Emperor and on one occasion was attending him on the march from Agra, when at last his wife Tára gave birth to a son at the little village of Bád, near Mathurá, in the sambat year 1559. In grateful recognition of their answered prayers, the parents named the child after the god they had invoked, and called him Hari Vans, i. e., Hari's issue. When he had grown up, he took to himself a wife, by name Rukmini, and had by her two sons and one daughter. Of the sons the elder, Mohan Chand, died childless; the descendants of the younger, Gopinath, are still at Deva-ban. After settling his daughter in marriage he determined to abandon the world and lead the life of an ascetic. With this resolution he set out alone on the road to Brindaban, and had reached Charthával, near Hodal, when there met him a Bráhman, who presented him with his two daughters and insisted upon his marrying them, on the strength of a divine command, which he said he had received