by Pandit N. Bhashyacharya (Published in 1915)
IT is well known that Patanjali was the author of the Mahãbhãshya, the great commentary on Pãnini's grammar; and the author of the Yoga Sûtras is also called by that name. Some scholars are in doubt as to the identity of these two authors, and several Orientalists [ Such as Bohtlingk, Max Müller, Weber and Goldstüker] fix the date of the Mahãbhãshya, each from his own standpoint, and varying from 250 B. C. to 60 after Christ. The object of this paper is therefore to enquire into: — (a) the probable date of Patanjali, the author of the Mahãbhãshya, and (b) the supposed identity of the author of the Mahãbhãshya with that of the Yoga Sûtras.
The name Patanjali is not of infrequent occurrence in Sanskrit literature. In Brihadãrãnyakõpanishad [5th Adhyãya, 3rd and 7th Brahmanas, or page 163 of the Madras Edition of 108 Upanishads] a Patanjala of Kapigõtra is mentioned: in Pãnini's Ganapãta [ 6th Adhyãya, under Vãrtika of Sûtra, I, i, 64: also II, iv, 69. Throughout the essay quotations like I, i, 64, refer to the Adhyãya, the Pãda and the number of the Sûtra – but never to Ânhikas — of the Mahãbbhãshya or the Ashtãdhyãyi of Pãnini, as the case may be] the names Patanjali and Patanjala occur: [Page 2]
and the same name (Patanjali) is also found in Siddhãnta Kaumudi [page 8, Nirnaya Sãgara’s Edition (Bombay)] under the Vãrtika of Vararuchi, (also called Kãtyãyana).
Patanjali, the author of the Mahãbhãshya, was born at Gõnarda, a tract of country in Cashmere, and his mother's name was Gõnika, [ page 8, Nirnaya Sãgara’s Edition (Bombay)] and he refers to himself as Gõnikãputra [ I, iv, 51] and Gõnardiya [ I, i, 21]; which the commentator (Kaiyata) explains as referring to Patanjali. In Purushõttamá's Lexicon [Trikãnda Sêsha, p 33 (Benares)] he is called Gõnardiya, Bhãshyakãra, Chûrnikrit and Patanjali. In Hêmachandrês Lexicon he is called Gõnardiya, and Patanjali. [page 131 Calcutta Edition]
Note I, page 1. — I may also include the name of Dr. Peterson of Bombay who thinks (in the Indian Antiquary, Vol. XII, p. 353) that the Mahãbhãshya might have been written in the 2nd century A.C., for he makes the Pushyamitra mentioned in that work identical with one Pushyamitra, who, he says, was defeated by Skandagupta. As Skandagupta reigned about the end of the 2nd century, it follows that Patanjali lived about that time. This is, however, replied to by Dr. Bhandarkar, in the same volume, saying that the inscription on which Dr. Peterson based his arguments mentions that Skandagupta defeated “ Pushiamitras” (and not Pushiamitran) — which means “the tribe of Pushiyamitra”. He supports his own date (144-142 B.C.) which he gave previously (in the Indian Antiquary, Vol. I, p. 299, et seq.), on his supposition that the Pushyamitra of the Mahãbhãshya is the same as Pushyamitra of the Sunga family who began to reign about 178 B.C
By the by, Dr Weber thinks (Indian Antiquary, Vol II, p 206) that Pushyamitra is the correct form of the word; and Dr Bhãndãrkar, too, thinks the same (Ibid, p 59). The former thinks so, because the Jain corruption is Pupphamitra, and thus the original Sanskrit word must be Pushpomitra. We regret we have to differ from both, on the ground that all the MSS of the Mahãbhãshya we have consulted invariably give Pushyamitra and not Pushpamitra.
Note 2 and 3, page 2. — Dr Kielhorn thinks (Indian Antiquary, Vol. XIV pp. 82-83) that Gõnardiya, and Gõnikaputra do not apply to Patanjali but to some other grammarians. In reply we should say that Kiyyata (already noticed) and his commentators explain that terms do refer to Patanjali.[Page 3]
From valuable and undisputed evidence furnished by Indian literature, we arrive at the conclusion that he also wrote the Yoga Sûtras and that he lived about the 10th century B.C.; the dates given by the Western Orientalists, [Bohtlingk (quoted by Weber) 250 B.C.; Max Müller about 200 B.C.— vide his History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, page 244; Weber 140 B.C. to A.C. 60 (Indian Literature, p 224); Goldstücker 140 B.C—120 B.C (Panini, p 234)] on the other hand, vary from 250 B.C. to A.C. 60; at any rate they have decided that from the internal evidence furnished by the Mahãbhãshya itself, Patanjali flourished after Buddha’s (Sãkyamuni’s) Nirvãna, which is fixed by them at 543 B.C.[Page 4]
The reasons assigned by them for such a conclusion are as below when expressed in the plainest language:
1. In the Mahabhashya [V, iii, 99 ] the Mouryas are mentioned; they were all Buddhists according to the Buddhistic records. This Mouryan dynasty and its founder Chandragupta are mentioned in the Vishnu and other Purãnas; and he is identical with Sandracottus who is said to have been, according to Megasthenes, Strabo, etc., a contemporary of Alexander and Seleucus. [Max Müller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp 297-298] Hence he lived about the time of Chandragupta.
2. In the Mahãbhãshya, [ III, ii, 101. Here Pãnini lays down that the imperfect should be used when the speaker relates a past action belonging to a time which precedes the present. Vararuchi observes that the imperfect is also used when the event related is out of sight, and at the same time famous but could be seen by the person who uses the verb. Patanjali adds to this Vãrtika of Vararuchi’s the following instances with remark — “Arunadyavana Sãkãtham”, “Arunãdyavano Mãdhyamikãn”. The “Yavanas besieged (imperfect) Sãketa“, the “Yavanas be sieged (imperfect) Mãdhyamikãs”. Here the commentators explain that Patanjali who uses these expression lived at that time, although not on the spot, when the Yavanas besieged Oudh and the Mãdhyamikãs] the invasions, by Yavanas, of Sãketa or Oudh, and of the Mãdhyamikãs, a Buddhist sect, are mentioned: although he was not an eye-witness, he could have seen them, as they took place at the time, of the composition of the great commentary. The term Yavana applies to the Grecians, and hence the Grecian invasion is alluded to. Hence the Mahãbhãshya was composed about [Page 5] 140 B.C., the date of the Grecian (or Graeco-Bactrian) invasion of Oudh by Menander. [Goldstücker’s Pãnini, etc, page 234]
Again, the Mãdhyamikãs were followers of Nãgãrjuna. This Nãgãrjuna lived, according to Northern Buddhists, 400 years after, and according to Southern Buddhists, 500 years after, Buddha's Nirvãna, which took place in 477 B.C. according to the former, and 543 B.C. according to the latter. This would place Nãgãrjuna between 77 — 43 B.C.. The invasion of Mãdhyamikãs having occurred during the time of Patanjali, his date would probably be about the time.
3. The Hall of one Chandragupta, [ I, i, 68. “Chandragupta-sabha, Pushyamitra-sabha”, the Hall of Chandragupta, the Hall of Pushyamitra] who is said to have lived about 327 B.C., and that of Pushyamitra (who was, according to Rãjatarangini, a history of Cashmere, a Buddhist prince), as well as a sacrifice by him [ III, i, 26; III, ii, 101] are mentioned in the Mahãbhãshya.
4. Rãjatarangini mentions the Mahãbhãshya and says that one Chandrãcharya, himself a grammarian, introduced its study into Cashmere when Abhimanyu [Page 6] reigned in that country, which was in A.D. 40 (according to coins). Hence we are not wrong in supposing that Pãnini and Kãtyãyana lived in the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., and Patanjali in the 3rd century B.C. [Max Müller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, page 244; also Weber’s History of Indian Literature pp 219-220 (Note)]
5. Hiouen Thsang says that Kãtyãyana lived 300 years after the time of Buddha, that is about 240 B.C. ; the Kãtyãyana referred to is, therefore, Kãtyãyana, author of the Vãrtika. If Kãtyãyana lived about 240 B.C., Patanjali, who quotes him, flourished about 200 B.C. [Bohtlingk ]
6. The Yoga Sûtras of Patanjali contain several Buddhistic views. Hence Patanjali flourished at any rate after Buddhism had sprung up.
7. Bãdarãyana refutes, in his Brahma Sûtras (II, ii, 3), the Yoga system of philosophy. Hence Patanjali, the founder of the system of Yoga, flourished before Bãdarãyana. Now as Pãnini [ IV, iii, 110,111 ] alludes to the Brahma Sûtras, and their author Pãrãsarya, it follows that Pãnini flourished after the time of Pãrãsarya or Bãdarãyana; and much more therefore Patanjali the author of the Mahãbhãshya. Thus we have two Patanjalis, one the author of the Mahãbhãshya, who flourished after the time of Bãdarãyana, and the [Page 7] other, before the time of Bãdarãyana. Their identity is therefore highly improbable.
Let us examine the Mahãbhãshya and the Yoga Sûtras themselves and find out how far these arguments are sound.
In reply to No. 1 of the arguments of the Western Orientalists:
1) The Mahãbhãshya says that the Mouryas [V, iii, 39. In India, at the present day, there are several wandering tribes known variously by the names Dãsaris (Tamil), Guduguduppãndy (Tamil), Budubudukalavãdu (Telugu), Langãris (Hindustani).They, just like the Mouryas, take on their heads a small almirah, in which are kept wooden images of certain deities which they call Poturãju, Polêramma, etc, and unknown to the Hindu Pantheon, coloured in divers ways, and varnished: some of them carry these images on their bosoms or hands. When they go a-begging, they recite certain prayers to the deities which the images represent, in a language which seems to be an admixture of Telugu, Hindustani and dialects of the Indian gypsies or Chenchus (a hill tribe belonging to Cuddapah and Kurnool Districts of the Madras Presidency). They do not belong to any of the Sudra classes, as the Velamas, Naidus, Modêliars, Vellalars, etc, and are by their habits and customs exclusively non-Âryans. These are known in India from a long time; perhaps these tribes are the remains of the Mouryas of Patanjali.] were makers and worshipers of idols, such as those of Siva, Skanda and Visãkha, and were begging from door to door, taking these idols with them. If, according to the Buddhist records, the Mouryas had belonged to a royal family instead of being beggars, then these Mouryas mentioned in the Buddhist records must be quite different from those mentioned in the Mahãbhãshya.[Page 8]
If they had been Buddhists, they would not have been worshipers of idols, and much less those of Siva, Skanda and Visãkha.
If the Aryans were worshipers of idols, he would have said so; on the contrary he alludes [Vide also Tandya Mahabrahmana, IV, 27, and Brihadranyaka 5th Adhyaya, 9th Brahmana, Rig Veda, 8, 4, 28, I, etc.] all along in his work to the Aryan worship of the 33 Vedic Gods . It is therefore conclusive that when he speaks of the idol worship of the Mouryas, a non-Aryan tribe is meant.
We also know that the descendants of Chandragupta, who were called Mouryas (from the fact that Chandragupta is called by the Purãnas, Mourya, being the illegitimate son of Nanda, by Mura, a slave girl) were very famous Buddhists, for under their influence Buddhism spread over India and foreign countries, such as Ceylon, etc.; and the Great Council by the name of Sangha convened, monasteries were built and edifices constructed. It is therefore absurd to imagine that they begged from door to door and made such idols as those of Siva, Skanda, Visãkha. Hence the Mouryas who were poor and who earned their livelihood by (making and) selling images, were not a tribe in any way connected with the Mouryas [Page 9] who were ruling princes, such as Chandragupta, Asôka, etc.
The old MSS. (of the Mahãbbãshya) of the South make the allusion of making and selling idols apply not to Mouryas but to Pouras, a peculiar tribe also mentioned in the Vishnu Purãna [Amsa, 4, ch xxiv or p 326 (Madras Edition). for example MSS. Nos. 31, 33 of the Adyar Library, which are, on palaeographical examination, found to be more than 3 and 4 centuries respectively, may be consulted. If Pouras be the right word, so much controversy about the allusion of Patanjali to the Mouryas will vanish at once.
2) Regarding argument No. 2, we must carefully examine the term Yavana. It is of frequent occurrence in Sanskrit literature; and every Western Orientalist, from the time of Sir William Jones to that of Professor Max Müller, says that it invariably implies the Greeks. This term is derived from the Sanskrit root yu = to mix or to be swift, implying a mixed or a swift race.
It occurs in Pãnini, [IV, i, 49] and Kãtyãyana says in his Vartikas, that when the “Alphabet of the Yavanas” is meant, the affix ãnuk should be added to the word Yavana, and this becomes Yavanãni. [Siddhanta Kaumudi, p 61, Bombay Edition] Even granting for argument's sake that Panini lived in the [Page 10] 6th century B.C. according to Professor Max Müller [ History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature] — and certainly he lived several centuries earlier — it is plain that neither Pãnini nor Kãtyãyana used the term Yavana in their works to mean the Grecian alphabet, for it would not have been introduced into India before the invasion of Alexander in the 4th century B.C. Dr. Goldstücker [Pãnini, page 16] thinks that Yavanani signifies the cuneiform writing, and being peculiar in its character when compared with Sanskrit, it must have been known during the time of Pãnini.
To show that the term is of frequent occurrence in Sanskrit literature, the following instances may be quoted :
Manu [ch. X, v, 144, 45] says that the Ayvanas, Kãmbhõjas, etc., were originally Kshatriyas, but became outcastes by neglecting their Vedic duties, etc.
In Gautama Dharma Sûtra, [Sacred Books of the East, Vol 2. Part 1, Ch IV, v 21. (page 196)] it is stated that the Yavanas are a mixed (Pratilõma) caste of Aryas.
In the Rãmãyana of Vãlmiki, [Bãlakãnda, canto 55, verse 3 (p 34 Madras Edition)] the term Yavana occurs indicating a tribe who fought during the war of Visvãmitra. The Mahãbhãrata, [Âdiparva, ch Ixxxv, 34 (page 119, Madras Edition)] while giving out [Page 11] the genealogy of the ancient kings, speaks of the Yavanas as the descendants of Durvasu, son of Yayãti.
In the Vishnu Pûrãna, [Amsa 2, ch III, v 8 (p 137, Madras Edition)] it is stated, while describing the Bharata Varsha or India, that the Yavanas live in the west, the Kirãtas in the east, and the four Indian castes in the middle, of India; and it is also said that [Amsa 4, ch VI, 20, 21, (p 287, ibid)] the Yavanas were driven out by Sagara, a descendant of Ikshvãku, to the countries lying beyond the borders of India, after having shaved their heads (under the advice of Vasishta), although they were Kshatriyas. Further, the same Parana, [Amsa 4, ch, XXIV, (page 326, ibid)] while giving details of the “future dynasties of Kali Yuga”, says that eight Yavanas will rule over India.
Kãlidãsa in his Raghuvamsa [Book IV, v, 61, 62] describes the victories of Raghu over the Pãrasikas: and in so doing he mentions the Yavanis or Parasika women.
Most of the Smritis denounce the association of the Aryans with the Yavanas at the table as highly sinful.
In Garga Samhita the Yavanas are highly spoken of, for their special knowledge of astronomy and astrology. [page 8 (Calcutta Edition) of the Brihat Samhita Chapter II, v, 15]
From Kãsikavritti and Vishnu Purãna we learn that it was the custom among the Yavanas to get [Page 12]
their heads wholly shaved — a statement which the national custom of the Greeks could never sanction; for when Demosthenes got his head shaved, he sought to conceal himself in a cell in order that he might not appear in public, and that he might not be therefore disturbed in his studies. [Lemprière’s Classical Dictionary. Art. Demosthenes]
With reference to Dr. Goldstücker's supposition [Goldstücker’s Pãnini, page 234] that the invasion of the Graeco-Bactrians under Menander (about 144 B.C.) is meant, when Patanjali used the expression “the Yavanas besieged Sãkêta (Oudh)”, we should say that, according to the latest researches, Menander never came to Oudh, but only up to the Jumna: and in order that he might come to Oudh he should have gone 300 miles eastward. [vide Dr Rãjêndralalã Mitra’s Indo-Âryans: Contributions towards the Elucidation of their Ancient and Mediaeval History. Vol II, page193]
That the Hindus apply the term Yavana to all foreigners, not only Greeks, who were living west of the Indus, is plain from the foregoing quotations and considerations: also that the event which took place during the time of Patanjali is not identical with any of the Grecian invasions; and that the identity of the Yavanas with the Greeks is purely imaginary, and to prove it no evidence is forthcoming from records, Indian or foreign. [As an example of the tendency of the Hindus to give an indefinite name to several foreign nations and tribes, I may say that at the present day, any European nation, the English, the French, or any other, is generally termed Hûna by the orthodox Brahmins. It also seems that this has been the case from a long time. The word Hûna is generally taken to mean “white-skinned people''.
The Bhãgavata Purãna mentions ''the Hûnas, Kirãtas, Andhras”, etc., as having followed the teachings of Krishna, and thus become pure. In the Raghuvamsa of Kãlidãsa (Canto 4, v, 69), “Hûna women”, are described. Vãmanãchãrya mentions the Hûnas in his Kãvyãlankãra Sûtravritti (written about the 12th century, according to Weber); and Appiah Dikshita, who lived about the 16th century, quotes in his Chitra-mimãmsa, a work on Rhetoric, the verses from Vãmanãchãrya's Kãvyãlankãra Sûtravritti, which mention the word “Hûnas''. Even Venkathcharya, who lived last century, mentions in his Visvagunãdarsa (vv, 411, 414, 415, or page 93, Madras Edition) the English and the French as living near the Vishnu temple at Triplicane (Madras); and elsewhere he uses the term (Yavana) to mean the Mussalman (vv, 253, 254, p. 57, Madras Edition). From all these one is naturally led to suppose that the meaning of the word Hûna, like that of the word Yavana, gradually changed from its original signification, and adapted itself to the times, meaning the particular nation or nations that each of these authors came in contact with.
We also come to the conclusion, that in the same way the several Sanskrit authors meant to describe — by the use of the term Yavana — the various foreigners they had known. It might have been applied to the Persians when they invaded India; after them to the Greeks, then to the Bactrians; and at last — also to the Pathans and the Moguls] [Page 13]
Regarding the Mãdhyamikãs, it is absurd to suppose that the Yavanas invaded and captured the individuals belonging to an idealistic philosophical sect called by that name — especially when we consider [Page 14]
that they had no footing in the country. On the contrary, one would naturally expect the Mãdhyamikãs to seek friendship with the Yavanas to make common cause against the Hindus.
Now the territory was bounded on the north by the Himãlayas, on the south by the Vindhya Mountains, on the east by Allahabad, and on the west, Vinasana, the place where the river Saraswati submerges underground, is called Madhyadêsa. [Manu, ch. II, 21] Madhya and Madhyama, being synonymous, the word “Mãdhyamika”, means the people of Madhyadêsa, and when Patanjali said “the Yavanas besieged the Madhyamikãs”, the expression would naturally imply that the foreign invaders who penetrated into India through the Panjab should first attack the country lying between Rajputana and Allahabad on their way to Sãkêta or Oudh; and this explanation of ours is greatly strengthened when we find Patanjali himself explaining [V, iii, 2 (Anhika)] the term Mãdhyamikã (Mãdhyamikãn) to mean “people or towns belong to Madhyadêsa”.
3) On carefully examining several old MSS. of the Mahãbhãshya, written in Telugu and Grantha characters, we do not find any mention of Chandragupta's Hall in I, i, 68; only Pushyamitra's Hall is mentioned here and his name given elsewhere. [ III, i, 26] [Page 15] Dr. Kielhorn's Edition of the Mahãbhãshya may, in this connection, be consulted with advantage. The Hall of Chandragupta occurs in Dr. Ballantyne's Edition (page 758).
It is highly improbable that the Greek Sandracottus, who is said to have been a contemporary of Alexander and Seleucus, was identical with a Chandragupta, for he was one of the many Chandraguptas in Indian literature. For example, there is one Chandragupta in the Gupta dynasty, and also one Chandrasri who lived long after the Chandragupta, son of Nunda, by Mura, and after whom foreigners, such as Yavanas and Sakas, were said to rule the country. [Vishnu Purana, Amsa, 4. ch XXIV]
Regarding Pushyamitra, Rajatarangini mentions a prince of that name as having ruled over the Bahlika country, which is identified by the Orientalists with the modern Balkh, the birth-place of Zoroaster; and in the Mahãbhãshya [ III, i, 26; III, ii, 101] we read that “Pushyamitra performed a sacrifice”, and several Brahmins attended the sacrifice and assisted the king.
Now the boundaries of the Âryãvarta during the time of Patanjali [II, iv, I: VI, iii, 109. The northern and southern boundaries were the Himãlayas and the Pãriyathra Mountains (Vindhya).] were fixed from the Aravalli Hills to the Black Forest in Behar, and the Aryans who [Page 16] lived in this tract were holy and superior. This Bãhlika country was therefore outside the Âryãvarta, and hence a Mlêchha country, and no Aryan would enter it. Even the king himself could not have performed a sacrifice in a Mlêchha country, such a thing being opposed to the Smritis; and the author of the Mahabhashya himself remarks that the goats of the Bhalika country are quite unfit for sacrificial purposes. [I, i, 15 (p 377 — Dr Ballantyne’s Edition)].
Or, if we suppose, according to the Western Orientalists, that he was a Buddhist prince, there is no reason to think that he ever performed a sacrifice, and still less a Vedic sacrifice. Pushyamitra is the name of several Aryan kings, like Dasaratha, Dilîpa, and Parikshit, as would appear from the Puranas. A Pushyamitra of Sunga family, who killed his master and established a throne, is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, and other Puranas; and his son, Agnimitra, is the hero of Kalidasa's drama, Malavikagnimitra. This Pushyamitra performed an Asvamedha sacrifice, according to the same drama. But we should not in any way be understood as identifying the Pushyamitra of the Mahãbhãshya with the Pushyamitra of either Mãlavikãgnimitra or Rãjatarangini.
Patanjali mentions in the Mahãbhãshya the Hall of Chandragupta as well as that of Pushyamitra. If, on this basis, Chandragupta be considered as the contemporary [Page 17] of Alexander and Seleucus, why should not Pushyamitra too be considered his (Alexander's) contemporary ? Or, if one is mentioned by the Grecians, why not the other ? Now it will be easy to think that the only solution of the difficulty possible, with our present knowledge of the subject, is that, as it is quite common among grammarians, while giving illustrations to the rules to use such names as Dêvadatta, Yagnadatta, and Vishnumitra, [These three names frequently occur in the illustrations of the Mahãbhãshya, something like John comes, John goes, where no reference is made to a particular John — much less King John of England or S. John the Apostle. Such names are called Yãthrichhika Sabdas ] and these being well known as Brahminical names, and that such common names of kings should be added to the expressions like “The Hall of ...........” and “.......... sacrifices”, such names as Chandragupta and Pushyamitra were chosen at random.
4) Rãtarangini is a work written by Kalhana Pandit in the 12th century after Christ, and is a compilation made by him from vague traditions current in his time. [pages 213-214, Weber’s History of Indian Literature] No reliance should therefore be placed on such a work as this, and much less should it be consulted for the solution of a historical problem. The fact of Chandracharya's having introduced the study of the Mahãbhashya into Cashmere in the 1st century A.C., does not necessarily lead us to the conclusion that Patanjali lived only three centuries [Page 18]
before that time. One may as well argue that by the introduction in the 19th century of the study of the Vedas into German and English Universities, it may be supposed that the Vedas were written or compiled only two or three centuries ago!
5) From Stanislaus Julien's translation of Hiouen Thsang's travels, [Max Müller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp, 305-9] it is clear (a) that the Kãtyãyana referred to by the Chinese traveler was a Buddhist, whereas the author of the Vartikas was a Brahmin, (b) that the Kãtyãyana of Hiouen Thsang was the author of a metaphysical work on Buddhism, which the traveler himself translated into Chinese, and (c) that, except in name, all the details given by Hiouen Thsang differ from those of Kãtyãyana, the grammarian.
Again, to one of the Sutras [VIII, ii, 50] of Pãnini, Kãtyãyana adds a Vãrtika to explain the term Nirvãna and says that it means “to blow out”. Thereupon Patanjali explains by giving various illustrations, “the fire is blown out by the wind”, “the lamp is blown out by the wind”, etc [M. Burnouf was the first to create the misconception that Nirvana meant annihilation. The Paranirvãna Sûtra does not give that meaning even. Prof. Max Müller laboured, until recently, under the same misconception. On the other hand Nirvãna means with them (1) Negatively, state of absolute exemption from the circle of transmigration, state of entire freedom from all forms of existence, etc. (2) Positively, Nirvãna is the highest state of spiritual bliss, absolute immortality through absorption of the soul into itself, but preserving individuality [so that e.g. Buddhas after entering Nirvãna may reappear on earth] For further particulars see Beal’s Catena of Chinese Scriptures, p 172 and Dr E.J. Eitel’s Handbook of Chinese Buddhism, being a Sanskrit Chinese Dictionary–(Hong-Kong, 1888)] If Kãtyãyana, or [Page 19] Patanjali, lived during or after the life-time of Sãkyamuni (as is supposed by some), surely they, as grammarians, would have noticed the Buddhistic interpretation of the word Nirvãna which is of the greatest importance in the Buddhistic philosophy; but as they did not, we are at liberty to say that neither of them lived after the introduction of Buddhism by Sãkyamuni, which carried this peculiar interpretation.
The name Kãtyãyana is also of frequent occurrence in Sanskrit literature. There is one Kãtyãyana, author of Kalpa, [Pãnini alludes to several Kalpa Sûtras in IV, iii, 106, Âsvalãyana was a disciple of Sounaka, and Kãtyãyana the author of Kalpa Sûtras, and as Prãtisãkhya was a disciple of Asvalãyana. All the Prãtisãkhyas differ in many respects from many of Pãnini’s rules. Hence the Kãtyãyana who was the author of a Prãtisãkhya, and Kalpa Sûtras, etc. was anterior to Pãnini] and Grihya Sûtras, and Sarvãnukramani who was a disciple of Âsvalãyana; and the same name is also that of the author of several Parisishtas and a Prãtisãkhya of Sukla Yajur Yeda, while the author [Page 20]
of the Vãrtika on Pãnini is also called by that name. [According to Kathãsãrit Sãgara of Somadêva, Kãtyãyana studied along with Pãnini, and with Vyãdi, the grammer of Indra under Upavarshopãdhyãya in Pãtaliputra; and he was born in Kousãmbi, a town on the banks of the Jumna, somewhere near Agra; his father's name was Sômadatta, of Sankriti Gôtra and his mother's name Sônôttara. The name Upavarsha is not only peculiar to Kathãsãrit Sãgara, but also to lexicographers; vide page 131, Hêmachandra's Lexicon (Calcutta Edition) and Purushôttama Deva's Trikãndasêsha, page 33 (Benares Edition). Upavarsha was a commentator on Jaimini's Pûrva Mimãmsa Sûtras, and Bãdarãyana's Brahma Sûtras; his works are quoted by Sabaraswami in his commentary on Jaimini's (page 12, Calcutta Edition, A. S. B.) and by Srî Sankarãcharya in his commentary on Brahma Sûtras (pp. 291, 953, Calcutta Edition of Asiatic Society of Bengal)] The Mahãbhãshya [IV, iii, 116]. mentions a poem of Kãtyãyana’s, and from it we find that he was also called Vararuchi. It may perhaps be the case that the several persons called by the name of Kãtyãyana [There is one Vararuchi, author of Lingônusâsana (rules of gender) who is said to have lived in the Court of one Vikramãditya as would appear from the last verses of his work (Benares Edition).
The Jyotirvidãbharana, the authorship of which is erroneously attributed to Kãlidãsa, mentions a Varararuchi as having lived in the Court of the said Vikramãditya. Vãkyaganita, otherwise called Girnasrêyadhivãkya, a work on Astronomical tables (according to the system of Aryabhãtta), and on which the calculations of Vãkyapunchãngam (calendar, according to the system of Vãkyaganita) of South India are based, is said to be the work of one Vararuchi who lived in the 6th century A.C. From these one may naturally conclude that the Kãtyãyana who was the author of the Vãrtika, etc, cannot be identified with any other Kãtyãyana or Vararuchi.] were descendants [Page 21] of one and the same Rishi, [According to a well known rule of grammar, all the descendants of a Kãtyãyana may be called by that name] and lived in different times and wrote different works: even Mahãkãtyãyana, a disciple of Buddha, and Kãtyãyana, the author of a work on Buddhist metaphysics (translated by Hiouen Thsang) might have been lineal descendants of one and the same original Kãtyãyana Rishi.
6) It is not necessary to dwell much in reply to the sixth, as several points involved were traversed in our reply to the fifth argument, by giving important quotations from Pãnini, Kãtyãyana, [Kãtyãyana, the author of the Vãrtika on Pãnini, of the poem Varaucha, and of the Slõkas called Bhrãja (Mahãbhãshya, 1st Anhika, pp 23-24, Ballantyne’s Edition is altogether different from the author of Kalpa Sûtras, Prãtisãkhya, etc, and who is also called Vararuchi (Trikãndasêsha, Slõka 85, page 33, Benares Edition); and the same person by the names of Medhãjit, and Punarvasu (page 131 of Hêmachandra’s Lexicon, Calcutta Edition)] and Patanjali, in which the word Nirvana is mentioned; and there we have shown that Patanjali was not aware of the Buddhistic interpretation of that word. Patanjali in his Yoga Sûtras mentions the Îsvara, [I, 23, 24, 26] and speaks of the necessity of the study of the Vedas, [II, I.] and uses a word Kaivalya [ IV, 25–33] different from Nirvana to signify the same idea. [Page 22]
The theories of Karma, Re-incarnation, etc., are quite common not only to the Buddhists, but to all the Asiatic philosophies, except, perhaps, the Jews; and hence there is no reason to suppose that these theories were only borrowed from the Buddhists and introduced into Hinduism.
It has been argued that the doctrine of Ahimsa or not killing, is peculiar to the Buddhists, and against the doctrine of the Vedas, and that this is found in the Yoga Sûtras, and hence that these Sûtras were written after Buddhism had sprung up. To this, we reply, that the performance of sacrifice — and hence killing of animals for sacrificial purposes — is enjoined only on Grihasthas (married men), but not on Brahmachãris (bachelors) or Yatis (ascetics). The rules laid down in the Yoga Sûtras do not apply to Grihasthas, but only to Naishtika Brahmachãris (those bachelors who wish to remain as such throughout their lives), Vãnaprasthãs (those that go to forests with their wives for the purpose of meditation), or Yatis (ascetics) — more especially the last named order; also those Vãnaprasthãs who practice Yoga should not perform sacrifices.
7) In reply to the seventh argument we should say that Patanjali was not the founder of the Yoga system of philosophy. Hiranyagarbha, a Maharishi, was the founder of this system [Vãchaspati Misra, a commentator on Vyãsadêva’s Bhãshya on Patanjali’s Yoga Sûtras, explains the word Anusasana in the 1st aphorism (Atha Yogãnusãsanam) thus: “The doctrine of Yoga had been founded by Hiranyagarbha and others, Patanjali simply promulgated it, by supplementing it, and hence it is called Anusãsanam] and it was promulgated [Page 23]
by his successors, Vãrshaganya, Yãjnavalkya, etc., as Âsuri, Panchasika and others did in the case of Sãnkhya founded by Kapila Neither the Brahma Sûtras nor the more famous of its commentators, such as Srî Sankarãchãrya and others mention by name any philosopher of the Yoga school. [S’rî Rãmãnujãchãrya mentions Hiranyagarbha by name in p 476, Madras Edition, of his Bhãshya] The expression in the Brahma Sûtras [II, ii, 3.] is: “The Yoga philosophy is condemned on the same reasons as are given in the previous Sûtra regarding Sãnkhya”. The Sãnkhya and Yoga philosophies are inadmissible for (a) the philosophies themselves are in contradiction with the doctrine of the Vedas (Upanishads); (b) the authority of the Vedas are superior to these philosophies; (c) the founders of these philosophies, viz., Kapila and Hiranyagarbha, are human beings, and hence their knowledge must be finite and subject to errors, and even opposed to reason in several points; and (d) on the other hand, the Sruti (Vedas) is invariably followed by the majority of the sages. Again, S'rî Sankarãchãrya in his commentary on the above Sûtra quotes an aphorism, which does not belong to Patanjali's Yoga Sûtras, as will be found to be [Page 24]
the case on an examination of that work: but it must either belong to Hiranyagarbha or Vãrshaganya. [Vedãnta Sûtra Bhãshya, Calcutta Edition (Asiatic Society of Bengal), page 496] The definition of Yoga given in the Sûtra quoted by S'rî Sankarãchãrya is that “it is the means of knowledge of the realities (or truth)”, whereas Patanjali defines it in his aphorisms [ I, 1, 2] as “the suspension of the action of the mind”. Two verses from Hiranyagarbha's work are quoted in the Vishnu Purãna [Amsa, 2, ch, xiii, vv 42-45 (p 195, Madras Edition)]; and Vãrshaganya is mentioned by Vãchaspati Misra in his Bhãmati, [page 332, Benares Edition] a commentary on S'rî Sankarãchãrya's Vedãnta Sûtra Bhãshya. Yãgnavãlkya promulgated the same system in his Yogãyãgnavalkyagîtã, from which various quotations appear in many philosophical and other treatises.
From these considerations it will be seen that the Yoga system was not founded by Patanjali [Vyãsadêva (also called Vyãsa or Vedavyãsa) author of a commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sûtras, is generally supposed to be identical with Vedavyãsa, the author of the Mahãbhãrata, the Brahma Sûtras, etc. ; and that he, therefore, alluded to his system in his Brahma Sûtras. If it had been written by Vedavyãsa (the author of Brahma Sûtras) it would have been mentioned in Rajamãrtãnda by Bbõjadêva who, every one knows, lived after him; nor would S'rî Sankarãchãrya or S'rî Rãmãnujãchãrya have neglected it without making any quotations from it. In Rãjamãrtanda there is no allusion to any former commentary or Patanjali’s Yoga Sûtras. Vãchaspati Misra mentions one Vedavyãsa, commentator on these Yoga Sûtras, and there can be no doubt that this Vedavyãsa was quite a modern author, and is in no way connected with the author of the Brahma Sûtras. For the name is of frequent occurrence. One Vayãsãcharya is the author of a gloss on S’rî Rãmãnujãchãrya’s Bhãshya on the Brahma Sûtras; also the name of a work called Chandrika, on the Dwaita philosophy of S’rî Madhavãchãrya is Vyãsa or Vyãsarã — besides the fact that a large number of the followers of S’rî Madhvãchãrya are called by that name] and that [Page 25] it (the Yoga system) existed from a long time before Patanjali, that he was simply an author of a work on that philosophical system; and that he lived after the times of Pãnini and Bãdarãyana.
It is argued that the systems of philosophy taught in the Yoga Sûtras and the Mahãbhãshya are in opposition with each other, and that one author could not write two such different works, inculcating two antagonistic philosophical systems. Even certain contradictory passages are brought forward to prove that such is the case; to give a few of such contradictions: — (a) That the Mahãbhãshya advocates sacrifices of animals, and even remarks that the goats of the Bãhlika country: [ I, i, 15, p 81 Benares Edition)] are not fit for sacrifice, and knows nothing of Buddhism: on the other hand the Yoga system inculcates the doctrine of Ahimsa in general, [II, 30, 31, 34, 35] which is the mainstay of Buddhism, and even the killing of animals for sacrificial purposes is prohibited, although sanctioned in the Vedas: (b) Yoga describes [Page 26] Îsvara [ I, i, 24–26] (God), and enumerates His attributes; whereas the Mahãbhãshya believes in a result produced by sacrifice, and considers that result to be the ultimate one, [1stAnhika] as advocated by Jaimini, in his Pûrvamimãmsa, and by several other Yãgnikas. It should be observed that Patanjali in his Mahãbhãshya followed the system of Pãnini, Kãtyãyana, and Vyãdi [page 43. Ballantyne’s Edition: Vyãdi was the author of Sangraha, the commentary, which contains 100,000 granthas of 32 syllables each] (their commentator); also one Kuni [Kiyyata on I, i, 175 (pp 87 88. Ballantyne’s Edition). with whom he agrees on several points. It would also seem that in his great commentary Pãtanjali followed the systems of several grammarians anterior to Pãnini, such as Âpisali, Bhãradwãja, and Gãrgya, as will be seen from his allusions to them. [ III, i, 81, 71 — Vide III, ii, 15, regarding the meaning of Parôksha (past time or behind the sight): III, i, 27, about Varthamãnakãla (present tense)] Further there are several questions regarding which he does not give any opinion whatever, but simply gives those of various grammarians, [ IV, ii, 105. Kãtyãyana in his Vãrtika on this Sûtra mentions Yãgnavalkya. Patanjali also does the same in his Mahãbhãshya. Hence Yãgnavalkya must be anterior to Patanjali. [Page 27]
One thing is certain, namely, that while he is the author of the Yoga Sûtras, he follows the system founded by Hiranyagarbha — Vãrshaganya and Yãgnavãlkyã: [Vignãnabhikshu and Mãdhãvãchãrya were also authors of several works on different philosophical systems, such as the Nyãya, the Mimãmsa, the Sãnkhya, and the Vedãnta] and while he is a commentator on a grammatical work, he cannot follow any philosophical system opposed to it; in other words, he simply works out the subject he writes upon as though he belonged to that system, and no other. This is the case with every Indian who writes treatises on different philosophies, and examples may be multiplied; for one, Vãchaspati Misra, was the author of a commentary on Yoga Sûtra Bhãshya, on Nyãya Sûtra Bhãshya of Pakshila Swami, and the Vãrtika of Udyõtakarãchãrya, and of Bhãmati on S'rî Sankarãchãrya's Vedãnta Sûtra Bhãshya. He never adopted in his works one uniform system of philosophy, and no one could generally do so. This practice continues to the present day, when we find the late Professor Tãrãnãtha Tarkavãchaspati as the author of “Notes on the Yoga Sûtra Bhãshya of Vyãsa, and the commentary thereon by Vãchaspati Misra”, “Notes on Vãchaspati Misra's commentary on Sãnkhyakãrika”, and of “Siddhãntabindusãra”, a work on Vedãnta. If we judge him from his work on Yoga, he will appear as a follower of that system; if we [Page 28] judge him only from his work on Sãnkhya, he will appear a Sãnkhya, and from his Siddhãntabindusãra will appear as a Vedãntin. Hence from the fact that two different systems of philosophy are taught, one in the Mahãbhãshya, and the other in the Yõga Sûtras, it is not right to say that the authors of these two works are not identical.
So far as the Hindu Pandits are concerned, they would not for a moment believe that there were two different persons known by the name of Patanjali, one of whom wrote the Mahãbhãshya, and the other the Yoga Sûtras; for if the tradition handed down from generation to generation in the line of teachers, and which is current among the Pandits, is to be believed, no one will hesitate to declare that the authors of these two works are identical. The Mahãbhãshya [Although the Mahãbhãshya is a grammatical work, it should be noticed that it also teaches a system of philosophy of grammar; and without the study of such a system, Pãnini could not be properly understood] cannot be read by a Brahmin without Sãnthi, a ceremony performed under the auspices of a proper teacher, just as in the case of the study of Vedãnta Sûtra Bhãshya and other sacred works. [A follower of the School of S’rî Sankarãchãrya will, be opening his Bhãshya, first chant a Vedic Mantra, then a Sanskrit verse in praise of the great philosopher (and such is the case with all the Sûtras and Gitãbhãshyas), followed by reciting verses in praise of the long line of teachers that succeeded him and ending with one of his own teachers. There is a similar custom among the Srivaishnavãs at the commencement of the study of S’rî Rãmãnujãchãrya’s Brahma Sûtrabhãshya and other sacred works] This principle is [Page 29] followed by every Brahmin throughout the length and breadth of Bhãratavarsha, from Travancore to the northern extremity of Cashmere and from Lahore to Dacca. During the performance of the Sãnthi of the Mãhabbãshya, the following verse should invariably be chanted by the student at the first opening of the book for the day, and in the presence of his teacher; and the study of the work is condemned when this Santhi is not performed.
This verse, viz., “Yogêna Chittasya padêna vãchãm, malam sarirasya cha vaidyakêna, Yopãkarõththam pravaram muninam, Patanjalim prãnjalirãnathõsmi , “means , “ I bow with folded hands to Patanjali who purified the mind of its impurities by (writing a work on) Yoga, the voice of its impurities, by his grammar (Mahãbhãshya), the physical body of its impurities by his work on Medicine, and who was superior to all the sages (of his time) [Bhõjadêva followed the example of Patanjali, by writing like him three works on three subjects. On Yoga, we have his Rãjamãrtãnda, a commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sûtras; on Grammar, Sabdaprakãsika; and on Medicine, Rãjamrigãnka]
Let us try to fix the date of Patanjali. During his time Sanskrit was the only language spoken in the Aryãvarta, and this is evident from the fact that in the Mahãbhãshya we find a conversation between a [Page 30] charioteer and his master, a Brahmin, [II, iv, 56] examples of different modes of pronunciation of some words by people living in different parts [In I, i, 75, the modes of pronunciation by the Easterns are given; for those of the Northerns see VII, iii, 46; and several other places besides] of the Aryãvarta, differences in giving meanings to roots [Vide 1st Anhika (p 62, Ballantyne’s Edition.)] by those that live in countries beyond Indus, such as the Kãmbhõjas, etc., and certain provincialisms which are strictly condemned in the Mahãbhãshya.
During the time of Sãkyamuni, on the other hand, the spoken language was Pãli — the language used by him in addressing his disciples. The tradition goes on to say that he first began his address in Sanskrit, but on one of his disciples reminding him of the fact that the previous Buddhas used in their addresses only the Pãli language, he too addressed them in the same tongue. [Dr. Mason’s Kachchyano’s Pãli Grammar, p 13]
Religion during the time of Patanjali was almost entirely Vedic. Vedic doctrines were followed, and we had the Yãgnikas and Brahmavãdins. In the Mahãbhãshya, we find the Âryãvarta described, [The country bounded on the north by the Himãlayas, on the south by the Vindhyas (Pãriyãtra), on the west by the Aravalli Hills, and on the east by the Black Forest in Behar, VI, iii, 109] the purity and wisdom of the Aryans extolled, and [Page 31]
drunkenness condemned; [2nd Ânhika, page 100, Ballantyne’s Edition, and in various other places.] sin included even wrong-pronunciation of words, [1st Ânhika, pp 12, 18 to 22 (Ballantyne’s Edition) although he admits that certain words had no regular way of pronunciation, but the general usage of the Aryans should be followed ,Sishtãchãra [ 2nd Ânhika, pp 122, 123 (Ballantyne’s Edition)] (usage or custom among the elders) described, and strongly recommended to be followed: purity and condition of the Brahmins delineated. [ II, ii, 6 “These (Brahmins) are devoid of ambition, of no motives, possess knowledge and are not too rich”’; also “One who is austere, of good education, of brown colour, and reddish hair.” In VI, ii, we find him describing a Brahmin of his times as one “who lives in the Aryãvarta, who lives without keeping anything for the next day, not covetous, and (practices) very good morals without any motives, and is pure”. He elsewhere says (IV, I and II, ii, 6) that all these qualities go to make up a real Brahmin, and every one else is a Brahmin only in name. The state of morality generally was so good that he condemns every now and then the practice of drinking (Surãpãna).] If all these points be considered, it is quite clear that the authority and customs of the Brahmins were in their full sway.
When Buddhism was preached by Sãkyamuni, the decline of Brahminical authority was so great, Brahminical customs, sacrifices, etc., so much neglected and even ridiculed, and Vedic authority so much defied, that there were 1,350 Buddhist Bhikshus in [Page 32] India. [Sukhãvativyûha in the Mahãyãna Sûtra. This number is only of learned Bhikshus. The work (Mahãyãna Sûtra) says that there were many more present (vide page I, Tokio Edition)] These changes in religion, and especially in a religion professed by those that are termed “the greatest conservatives” — these changes (which were of so destructive a character) would at the lowest estimation require 300 years to intervene. If Gautama, Buddha, and Buddha Bhikshus could be found in India about 570 B.C., there is nothing extraordinary in placing Patanjali three centuries earlier, that is, 870 B.C., in other words between the 9th and 10th centuries B.C. ; although the changes of language would necessitate our placing him even earlier.
Our argument is greatly strengthened if we base our reasoning on the chronology of the Chinese, who believe that the Nirvãna of Sãkyamuni took place in 949[Dr E. J Eitel’s Sanskrit-Chinese Dictionary – a handbook of Chinese Buddhism, p 139 (Hong-Kong 1888)] — or 973 [Beal’s Catena of Chinese Scriptures, p 116 (note)] B.C., instead of in 543 B.C., following the chronology of the southern Buddhists, who follow the Mahãvansa supposed to have been written about A.C. [Max Müller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, page 267] 459. If the Chinese chronology were again seriously considered in the light of a vast literature of the Chinese, now accessible to the Western Orientalists, [Page 33] the decisions of the various Orientalists, carefully reviewed, the dates of the Western Orientalists, which are considered to be final on the subject of the Nirvãna of Sãkyamuni, may fall to the ground. The discussion of the date of Nirvãna cannot find a place in a brief article to a monthly magazine, on the “Age of Patanjali” ; and a full treatment of the subject of the present paper with its allied questions, cannot receive any justice except in a volume.
To state our conclusions once more for the sake of clearness (a), Patanjali was the author of the Mahãbhãshya, a commentary on Pãnini's Ashtãdhyãyi, and also of the Yoga Sûtras, and (b) that he lived without any doubt between the 9th and 10th centuries B.C., [The arguments of Mr T Subba Row Garu relating to the age of Patanjali, which made Patanjali identical with Govindaswamy, the Guru of S’rî Sankarãchãya, are quite baseless, being in contradiction with the internal evidence delivered from original works, such as the Mahãbhãshya, S’rî Sankãrachãrya’s Vedanta Sûtrabhashya, etc (vide The Theosophist, Vol IV, page 309–312] that is, about the 10th century B.C.
General Remarks. — The mode of treatment of Oriental questions by the Western Orientalists is so unique, and so prejudiced, [We can give brilliant illustrations. Just imagine Dr Otto Böhtlingk, “while incapable of understanding even the easy rules of Pãnini, and much less those of Kãtyãyana, and still making use of them in the understanding of classical texts. The errors in his department of dictionary are so numerous and of so peculiar a kind — yet on the whole so thoroughly in accordance with the specimens I have adduced from his commentary, that it will fill every serious Sanskritist with dismay, when he calculates the mischievous influence which they must exercise on the study of Sanskrit Philology”. (Pãnini and his place in Sanskrit Literature, by Tho. Goldstücker, page 254)
Dr. Roth writing his Worterbuch (Sanskrit Dictionary), which is described by Goldstücker (Pãnini, p. 251) in this way: “I will merely here state that I know of no work which has come before the public with such unmeasured pretension of scholarship and critical ingenuity as this Worterbuch, and which has, at the same time, laid itself open to such serious reproaches of the profoundest grammatical ignorance” — explains Vedic words, and “has courage to pass sweeping condemnation on all those gigantic labours of the Hindu mind (e.g., Sãyanãcharya's Bhãshva) while ignorant of all but the merest fraction of them”.
Professor Kuhn, who is said to be “no proficient in Sanskrit”, was asked to give his own opinion of the Worterbuch, and of course praised the work very highly. Prof. Weber rushes into the stage at once, and warmly defends it against every one. A detailed criticism on the vain labours of these “Saturnalia of Sanskrit Philology” will be found in Groldstücker's Pãnini, His Place in Sanskrit Literature, pp. 241-268.
Prof. Weber himself acknowledges, although not in the plainest language, that he had, while lecturing on Indian Literature, made only a superficial study of the Mahãbhãshya (History of Indian Literature, p. 224, note)] that we cannot refrain from quoting the following: [Page 34]
“The writings of many of these Orientalists are often characterized by an imperfect knowledge of Indian literature, philosophy and religion and of Hindu traditions, and a contemptuous disregard for [Page 35] the opinions of Hindu writers and Pandits. Very often facts and dates are taken by these writers from the writings of their predecessors or contemporaries, on the assumption that they are correct, without any further investigation by themselves. Even when a writer gives a date with an expression of doubt as to its accuracy, his follower frequently quotes the same date as if it were absolutely correct”.
3). It is often assumed without reason that every passage in the Vedas containing philosophical or metaphysical ideas must be looked upon as a subsequent interpolation, and that every book treating of a philosophical subject must be considered as having been written after the time of Buddha or after the commencement of the Christian era. Civilisation, philosophy and scientific investigation had their origin, in the opinion of these writers, within the six or seven centuries preceding the Christian era, and mankind slowly emerged for the first time from ' the depths of animal brutality ' within the last four or five thousand years.
4) It is also assumed that Buddhism was brought into existence by Gautama Buddha. The previous existence of Buddhism, Jainism and Arhat philosophy is rejected as an absurd and ridiculous invention of the Buddhists and others, who attempted thereby to assign a very high antiquity to their own religion. In consequence of this erroneous impression every Hindu book referring to the doctrines of the Buddhists is [Page 36] declared to have been written subsequent to the time of Gautama Buddha. For instance, Mr. Weber is of opinion that Vyasa, the author of Brahma Sûtras, wrote them in the fifth century after Christ. This is indeed a startling revelation to the majority of Hindus.
5) Whenever several works treating of various subjects are attributed to one and the same author, by Hindu writings or traditions, it is often assumed, and apparently without any reason whatever in the majority of cases, that the said works should be considered as the productions of different writers. By this process of reasoning they have discovered two Bãdarãyanas (Vyãsas)......We do not mean to say that in every case identity of name is equivalent to identity of personality. But we cannot but protest against such assumptions when they are made without any evidence to support them, merely for the purpose of supporting a foregone conclusion or establishing a favourite hypothesis.
“We have enumerated these defects in the writings of European Orientalists for the purpose of showing to our readers that it is not always safe to rely upon the conclusions arrived at by these writers regarding the dates of ancient Indian History”[The Theosophist, Vol IV, p 304, et seq.]
Professor Bhandarkar, who was present in Vienna on the occasion of one of the International Congresses [Page 37]
of Orientalists, and who had therefore an opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with many Western Orientalists, says in his lecture delivered in Bombay in 1878 [Vide the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1887] after his return from Europe, that the so-called Sanskrit Professors of the West, possess only so much knowledge of Sanskrit as to enable them to translate into their own languages works written in Purãnic, but not in a more difficult style (e.g., that of Sãbara's Bhãshya on the Mimamsa Sûtras, S'rî Sankarãchãrya's Bhãshya on the Brahma Sûtras, Tatwachintãmani of Gangêsõpãdhyãya, or the works of Udayanãchãrya). Our own impression is that most of them (Western Orientalists) are acquainted only with the names of philosophical and other works, and if at all they have studied those works, it is only very superficially and hence it is quite natural that they should commit errors and fallacies in their writings. On the other hand, the Hindu Pandits study their own literature systematically under a well-trained teacher, who is one in the long line of teachers, each of whom transmits the doctrines and truths to his successor who is below him in the list. But unfortunately they do not possess any knowledge of any of the western languages, such as English, French and German, in which treatises and other publications relating to Sanskrit Literature and History are written. But if once the ideas and mode of thinking of the Orientalists [Page 38] are made known to them, they will produce wonderful results. It is a matter of deep regret that our Indian graduates do not generally possess an enterprising spirit, and are indifferent to furthering the progress of the study of Sanskrit, especially works like the Mahãbhãshya. They generally depend, owing to their ignorance of Sanskrit, for their information, on western translations, or western compilations from Sanskrit works. These unfortunate circumstances attendant on the Indian people can only be remedied by our University students continuing, with the aid of good Pandits, their Sanskrit studies — more especially of the Vedas, Srauta Sûtras, etc. — even after obtaining their degrees. Our Western Orientalists would do well, before becoming Professors of Sanskrit in the western Universities, to come to India, and systematically study [ Professor Max Müller feels this necessity more in the study of Purvamimãmsa than that of any other system of philosophy or subject, as may be seen by his letter to the late Mr. M. M. Kunte, dated 21st June 1877 :... “But to the scholar the Pûrvamimãmsa is of great interest, and I have always thought that we wanted a native Indian scholar to translate and properly interpret it. It is so full of allusions to Yãgnika matters which are familiar to your Srotriyas, but [of which] we in Europe have a very vague and indistinct conception”. Professor Bhandarkar, too advocated this step in his lecture in Bombay in 1887] the Sanskrit language, and its literature in all its branches under well-known Pandits or in the Sanskrit Colleges or institutions established in India, viz. those of Benares, Calcutta or Mysore.[Page 39]
One word more. Our European Orientalists will confer a great boon on Indian Pandits if they (Orientalists of Europe) would take the trouble of expressing in the Sanskrit language their views regarding Indian antiquity and literature in order that the Pandits may become more easily acquainted with their views; for it is a more difficult thing for Pandits to learn three European languages, viz., English, German and French, for knowing what the European Orientalists think about them and the Indian literature, than for the Orientalists themselves — who are mostly Professors of Sanskrit, teaching that language to many University students — to write in Sanskrit.
Purchase This TitleBrowse Titles
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry
Copyright © 1975-2020 Universal Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights, Inc. All Rights Reserved.