A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:16 am

A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language
by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed




Letter from Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor General of Fort-William, in Bengal, To the Court of Directors of the United Company of Merchants of England, Trading to the East-Indies.
Letter to the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the United East-India Company, dated at Calcutta, 6th August, 1775
To The Honorable Warren Hastings, Esq., Governor-General of the British Settlements in the East-Indies, &c. &c.
The Translator's Preface
Translation of a Pootee, or Compilation, of the Ordinations of the Pundits.
o Preliminary Discourse
Names of the Bramins, Who Compiled this Work
Glossary of Such Shascrit, Persian, and Bengal Words, As Occur In This Work.
Names of the Hindoo Months, With the corresponding Dates in the English Months, for the Bengal Year 1181, or the English Year 1774, and Part of 1775.
Names of Authors Quoted in this Compilation.
A List of the Books From whence this POOTEE was compiled, ranked in the Order of their several Dates, as nearly as could be ascertained.
Preface. Account of the Creation.
Account of the Qualities requisite for a Magistrate, and of his Employment.
Translation of a Pootee, or Compilation, of the Ordinations of the Pundits.
CHAP. I. Of Lending and Borrowing.
o Sect I. Of Interest.
o Sect. II. Of Pledges.
o Sect. III. Of Securities.
o Sect IV. Of Discharging Debts to whomsoever due.
o Sect. V. Of the Method of Recovering Debts.
CHAP. II. Of the Division of Inheritable Property.
o Sect. I. Of Inheritance from a Father, a Grandfather, a Great-Grandfather, and such Kind of Relations.
Sect. II. Of Dividing the Property of a Berhemcharry, a Sinassee and a Banperust.
o Sect. III. Of a Woman's Property.
o Sect. IV. Of the Inheritance of a Woman's Property.
o Sect. V. Of Persons incapable of Inheritance.
o Sect. VI. Of Property liable to Division.
o Sect. VII. Of Dividing Property earned by the Profession of any Art or Science.
o Sect. VIII. Of Dividing Property earned by a Man's Sons.
o Sect. IX. Of Possessions indivisible.
o Sect. X. Of a Father's Dividing among his Sons the Property earned by himself.
o Sect. XI. Of a Father's Dividing among his Sons the Property left by his Father and Grandfather.
o Sect. XII. Of Sons Dividing the Property lest by their Father.
o Sect. XIII. Of Dividing the Joint Stock of Persons, who agree to live together, after original Dispersion and Separation of the Family.
o Sect. XIV. Of a Partner's* [Partnership is of Two Sorts in the East: — First, Sherakut-i-braderee; Second, Sherakut-i-tejarutee. The First is a Partnership by Affinity, where all the Brothers or Members of a family live together, have a Joint Stock, and are Coheirs in all Inheritance left to the Family; this is the Partnership constantly alluded to in this Chapter. — Of the Second Sort, or Partnership in Trade, Nothing need be said.] receiving his Share of the Joint Stock, after a long Space of Time hath elapsed; also of the Inheritance of the Sons of a Woman of the Sooder Cast, by Two different Husbands; and also of adopted Sons.
o Sect. XV. Of Dividing concealed Effects, and of rectifying unequal Divisions; and of the Modes of settling the Disputed Shares of Partners.
o Sect. XVI. Of Acquiring Right of Possesion in the Property of another, by Usufruct.
CHAP. III. Of Justice.
o Sect I. Of the Forms of administering justice.
o Sect. II. Of Appointing a Vakeel or Attorney.
o Sect. III. Of not apprehending an accused Party.
o Sect. IV. Of Giving an immediate Answer to a Complaint.
o Sect. V. Of Plea and Answer.
o Sect. VI. Of Two Sorts of Answers, Proper and Improper.
o Sect. VII. Of Evidence.
o Sect. VIII. Of Proper and Improper Evidence.
o Sect. IX. Of the Modes of examining Witnesses.
o Sect. X. Of Appointing Arbitrators more than once; and of the Mode of drawing up the Statement of a Cause.
o Sect. XI. Of Giving Preference to a Claim.
CHAP. IV. Of Trust or Deposit.
CHAP. V. Of Selling a Stranger's Property.
CHAP. VI. Of Shares.
o Sect. I. Of Shares of Trade in Partnership.
o Sect. II. Of Shares of Artificers.
CHAP. VII. Of Gift.
CHAP. VIII. Of Servitude.
o Sect. I. Of Appellations of Apprentices, Servants, Slaves, &c.
o Sect. II. Of the Modes of enfranchising Slaves.
o Sea. III. Of such as are Slaves, and of such as are not Slaves.
CHAP. IX. Of Wages.
o Sect. I. Of the Wages of Servants.
o Sect. II. Of the Wages of dancing Women or Prostitutes.
CHAP. X. Of Rent and Hire.
CHAP. XI. Of Purchase and Sale.
o Sect. I. Of the Venders not delivering up to the Purchaser the Commodity sold, and of the Magistrates causing him to deliver it.
o Sect. II. Of Returning or not Returning Articles purchased.
CHAP. XII. Of Boundaries and Limits.
CHAP. XIII. Of Shares in the Cultivation of Lands.
CHAP. XIV. Of Cities and Towns, and of the Fines for Damaging a Crop.
CHAP. XV. Of Scandalous and Bitter Expressions.
o Sect. I. Of the Denominations of the Crime.
o Sect. II. Of the Punishment.
CHAP. XVI. Of Assault.
o Sect. I. Of Assault, and of Preparation to assault.
o Sect. II. Of Cases where no Fine is taken.
o Sect. III. Of the Fines for the Death of Animals.
CHAP. XVII. Of Theft.
o Sect. I. Of Theft open and concealed.
o Sect. II. Of the Fines for open Theft.
o Sect. III. Of the Fines for concealed Theft.
o Sect. IV. Of Apprehending Thieves.
o Sect. V. Of those Persons who are to be considered as Thieves.
o Sect. VI. Of the Chokeydars being unanswerable for Stolen Goods.
CHAP. XVIII. Of Violence.
CHAP. XIX. Of Adultery.
o Sect. I. Of the several Species of Adultery.
o Sect. II. Of the Fines for the several Species of Adultery.
o Sect. III. Of the Fines for Adultery.
o Sect. IV. Of Adultery with an unmarried Girl.
o Sect. V. Of Thrusting a Finger into the Pudendum of an unmarried Girl.
o Sect. VI. Of Stealing away an unmarried Girl.
o Sect. VII. Of Adultery with a Woman of bad Character, or a common Prostitute.
o Sect. VIII. Of the carnal Conjunction of a Man with any other Animal.
CHAP. XX. Of what concerns Women.
CHAP. XXI. Of Sundry Articles.
o Sect. I. Of Gaming.
o Sect. II. Of Finding any Thing that was lost.
o Sect. III. Of the Fines for cutting Trees.
o Sect. IV. Of the Tax upon buying and selling Goods.
o Sect. V. Of the Quarrels between a Father and Son.
o Sect. VI. Of Serving unclean Victuals.
o Sect. VII. Of the Punishment to be inflicted on a Sooder for reading the Beids.
o Sect. VIII. Of the Properties of Punishment.
o Sect. IX. Of Adoption.
o Sect. X. Of Sundries.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:16 am

Letter from Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor General of Fort-William, in Bengal, To the Court of Directors of the United Company of Merchants of England, Trading to the East-Indies.  

Honourable Sirs, I HAVE now the Satisfaction to transmit to you a complete and corrected Copy of a Translation of the Gentoo Code, executed with great Ability, Diligence and Fidelity, by Mr. Halhed, from a Persian Version of the original Shanscrit, which was undertaken under the immediate Inspection of the Pundits or Compilers of this Work.

I have not Time to offer any Observations upon these Productions; indeed they will best speak for themselves: I could have wished to have obtained an Omission or Amendment of some passages, to have rendered them more fit for the Public Eye; but the Pundits, when desired to revise them, could not be prevailed upon to make any Alterations, as they declared, they had the Sanction of their Shaster, and were therefore incapable of Amendment; possibly these may be considered as essential Parts of the Work, since they mark the Principles on which many of the Laws were formed, and bear the Stamp of a very remote Antiquity, in which the Refinements of Society were less known, and the Manners more influenced by the natural Impulse of the Passions.

I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Respect,

Honourable Sirs,

Your most obedient,
And most faithful humble Servant,

Warren Hastings.

27th March, 1775.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:16 am

Letter to the Chairman of the Court of Directors of the United East-India Company, dated at Calcutta, 6th August, 1775.


I HAVE too long served under Mr. Hastings not to be convinced, that he would never have suffered the accompanying Address to go home in his Enclosure; reduced therefore to the Necessity of eluding his Knowledge, I have taken the Liberty, by this only possible Method, to express my Gratitude for his Favours: and the peculiar Circumstances of the Case will, I hope, apologize to you, Sir, for the abruptness of this Intrusion. — I humbly request, that when the Code of Gentoo Laws, Preliminary Treatise, &c. shall come to be printed, you will also be pleased to permit the Publication of this Address.

I am, with the greatest Respect,


Your most obedient humble Servant,

Nathaniel Brassey Halhed
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:17 am

To The Honorable Warren Hastings, Esq., Governor-General of the British Settlements in the East-Indies, &c. &c.

Honourable SIR,

BY the Publication of the Collection of Gentoo Laws, made under your immediate Authority, I find myself involuntarily held forth to the Public as an Author, almost as soon as I have commenced to be a Man.

It is therefore with some Propriety that I claim to this Work the Continuation of your Patronage, which as it at first selected me from a Number of more worthy Competitors to undertake the Task, so it has by constant Assistance and Encouragement been the entire Instrument of its Completion. — Indeed, if all the Lights, which at different Periods have been thrown upon this Subject, by your happy Suggestions, had been with-held, there would have remained for my Share of the Performance nothing but a Mass of Obscurity and Confusion; so that in your own Right, the whole Result of the Execution is yours, as well as the entire Merit of the original Plan.  

It is my earnest Wish that you may long be the prime Administrator of an Establishment, to which you have so excellently paved the Way; as I am sure your extensive general Knowledge, joined to your particular Experience in the Affairs of India, give you Advantages which can scarcely fall to the Share of any other Subject of the British Empire.

I am, with the greatest Respect and Gratitude,

Honourable SIR,

Your most obliged,

And most obedient Servant,

Nathaniel Brassey Halhed.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:31 am

Part 1 of 3

The Translator's Preface

THE Importance of the Commerce of India, and the Advantages of a Territorial Establishment in Bengal, have at length awakened the Attention of the British Legislature to every Circumstance that may conciliate the Affections of the Natives, or ensure Stability to the Acquisition. Nothing can so favourably conduce to these two Points as a well-timed Toleration in Masters of Religion, and an Adoption of such original Institutes of the Country, as do not immediately clash with the Laws or Interests of the Conquerors.

To a steady Pursuance of this great Maxim, much of the Success of the Romans may be attributed, who not only allowed to their foreign Subjects the free Exercise of their own Religion, and the Administration of their own civil Jurisdiction, but sometimes by a Policy still more flattering, even naturalized such Parts of the Mythology of the Conquered, as were in any respect compatible with their own System.

With a View to the same political Advantages, and in Observance of so striking an Example, the following Compilation was set on foot; which must be considered as the only Work of the Kind, wherein the genuine Principles of the Gentoo Jurisprudence are made public, with the Sanction of their most respectable Pundits (or Lawyers) and which offers a complete Confutation of the Belief too common in Europe, that the Hindoos have no written Laws whatever, but such as relate to the ceremonious Peculiarities of their Superstition.

The Professors of the Ordinances here collected still speak the original Language in which they were composed, and which is entirely unknown to the Bulk of the People, who have settled upon those Professors several great Endowments and Benefactions in all Parts of Hindostan, and pay them besides a Degree of personal Respect little short of Idolatry, in return for the Advantages supposed to be derived from their Studies.
As the oldest Books, which contained a purer Doctrine, were writ in a very antient Language, they were insensibly neglected, and at last the Use of that Tongue was quite laid aside. This is certain, with regard to their sacred Book called the Vedam, which is not now understood by their Literati; they only reading and learning some Passages of it by Heart; and these they repeat with a mysterious Tone of Voice, the better to impose upon the Vulgar. (Father de la Lane) ...

What is surprising is that the majority of those who are its depositaries do not understand its meaning because it is written in a very ancient language, and the Samouscroutam [Sanskrit], which is as familiar to the scholars as Latin is among us, is not yet sufficient [for understanding] unless aided by a commentary both for the thought and for the words....

I think like you, reverend father, that it would have been appropriate to consult original texts of Indian religion with more care; but we did not have these books at hand until now, and for a long time they were considered impossible to find, especially the principal ones which are the four Vedan. It was only five or six years ago that, due to [the establishment of] an oriental library system for the King, I was asked to do research about Indian books that could form part of it. I then made discoveries that are important for [our] Religion, and among these I count the four Vedan or sacred books. But these books, which even the most able doctors only half understand and which a brahmin would not dare to explain to us for fear of a scandal in his caste, are written in a language for which Samscroutam [Sanskrit], the language of the learned, does not yet provide the key because they are written in a more ancient language. These books, I say, are in more than one way sealed for us. (Jean Calmette).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

In ancient India, the maintenance of the Veda’s exclusivity was largely dependent on two factors: first, that it was prohibited to commit the Vedic texts to writing; second, that Brahmins were the guardians not only of the Vedas, but also of Sanskrit. By excluding all except male Brahmins from learning Sanskrit, the Veda was kept out of the majority’s reach. However, after the Sanskrit of the Vedas had developed, in the last centuries BCE, into the distinct, post-Vedic “Classical Sanskrit”, the content of the Vedas became inaccessible even to many Brahmins. Already in the Mānavadharmaśāstra, a Brahminical text composed probably around the 2nd century CE (Olivelle 2004), there is a reference to Brahmins who recite the Veda but do not understand it, and ethnographies attest to the existence of such persons today. This neglect of the content of the Vedas, together with the sustained emphasis on their correct recitation, signals the prevalent belief that the sacredness of these texts is in their sounds rather than their meaning. Thus, to recite correctly, or to hear such a recital, is intrinsically efficacious.

-- A religion of the book? On sacred texts in Hinduism, by Robert Leach

[T]he Tranquebar missionaries gave a brief account of the Vedas. They report that despite their efforts to see the Vedas, they have been told that they are not written, but that boys (who can only be Brahmins) learn sections of them from a priest by repeating it constantly. The language in which they are recorded, which they call Grantha, is so old that no one can understand it without referring to the sastra...

The missionaries reported that most Brahmins knew little of the Vedas and often did not well understand even the little that they did know...

Azevedo’s brief account of the content of the four “origins” makes clear that he had no real access to the Vedas themselves...

The purāṇas, which are an interpretation and abridgement of the Vedas, which are very large, at least if they are those which were shown to me in Benares. They are also very rare, so much so that my agha could never find them for sale...

The Brahmins’ texts—and the teachings they contained—were kept secret...

When Jesuits first gained access to Vedic texts, in the early seventeenth century, this was through the personal mediation of converted Brahmins who may have known the texts—thus from memory rather than manuscripts...

Fenicio also mentions and names the four Vedas in connection with the mythology of Brahmā, but he does not otherwise show any knowledge of Vedic sources...

Nobili’s access to these texts was mediated by the Telugu Brahmin convert who taught him Sanskrit, Śivadharma or Bonifacio... Śivadharma who made the texts available to him, on the basis of Nobili’s orthography in his Responsio...

As Fernandes did not know Sanskrit, the texts were translated into Tamil by Śivadharma and only thence into Portuguese by Fernandes with his assistant Andrea Buccerio. This kind of mediated access to Sanskrit texts, likely the same method used by Azevedo and Rogerius, would be repeated in the following century by other missionaries...

It is clear, both from the fact that the works were being copied in Tamil and from Ziegenbalg’s later catalogue of his library, that these were not the Vedas. As he began reading Tamil texts, Ziegenbalg’s interest in the Vedas receded, and he even came to doubt their very existence...Ziegenbalg says that he doubts the “lawbooks” exist because none of the many thousands of Tamils to whom he has spoken had seen them. They have only been told by the Brahmins that they exist, but none of the Brahmins Ziegenbalg had spoken to had access to them either...

Some of these works, like others sent by the Jesuits, were not so much copies of actual Indian texts as verbal abstracts of the texts recited by scholars and recorded, on paper not palm-leaves, by converts who adorned them with Christian symbols...

the texts which had been obtained, although in Sanskrit, were mostly written in Telugu-Kannada script, and even someone who could read Vedic Sanskrit, and Devanāgarī script, would find them unintelligible without knowing Telugu-Kannada script...

The works of preparatio evangelica composed, probably in French, by the Carnatic Jesuits were labelled “Vedam”...

The Yajur Veda, the text that was published in the Hallesche Berichte had, according to Albrecht Weber, “not the slightest thing to do with the Yajurveda,” instead representing “an encyclopedic and systematically ordered representation of the modern Brahmanical world and life-view.”...

In 1847 the Jesuit Julien Bach commented wryly: No Indianist is tempted to make use of it, and it is from these books that we can say: Sacred they are, because no one touches them...

Pierre Sonnerat correctly identified the Ezour-Vedam as “definitely not one of the four Vedams” but rather “a book of controversy, written by a missionary”...

Although Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, w.ch are only Commentaries of the Baids.”

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

The Vedas themselves were so ignored that Father Paulinus of Saint-Barthélemy did not believe in their existence, and considered them mythical books...

[We see from a letter from Father Cœurdoux to Anquetil du Perron, which was addressed to him from the Indes in 1771, that the translation of the Vedas was then regarded as an almost impossible undertaking: The true Vedam, writes this missionary, is, in the opinion of Father Calmette, of a Sanserutan (Sanskrit) so old that it is almost unintelligible, and that what is cited is from Vedantam, that is to say introductions and comments made there.]

-- Histoire de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (1865), by Louis Ferdinand Alfred Maury

A Set of the most experienced of these Lawyers was selected from every Part of Bengal for the Purpose of compiling the present Work, which they picked out Sentence by Sentence from various Originals in the Shanscrit Language, neither adding  to nor diminishing any Part of the ancient Text. The Articles thus collected were next translated literally into Persian, under the Inspection of one of their own Body; and from that Translation were rendered into English with an equal Attention to the Closeness and Fidelity of the Version. Less studious of Elegance than of Accuracy, the Translator thought it more excusable to tire the Reader with the Flatness of a literal Interpretation, than to mislead him by a vague and devious Paraphrase; so that the entire Order of the Book, the several Divisions of its Contents, and the whole Turn of the Phrase, is in every Part the immediate Product of the Bramins. The English Dialect in which it is here offered to the Public, and that only, is not the Performance of a Gentoo. From hence therefore may be formed a precise Idea of the Customs and Manners of these People, which, to their great Injury, have long been misrepresented in the Western World. From hence also Materials may be collected towards the legal Accomplishment of a new System of Government in Bengal, wherein the British Laws may, in some Degree, be softened and tempered by a moderate Attention to the peculiar and national Prejudices of the Hindoo; some of whose Institutes, however fanciful and injudicious, may perhaps be preferable to any which could be substituted in their room. They are interwoven with the Religion of the Country, and are therefore revered as of the highest Authority: They are the Conditions by which they hold their Rank in Society, Long Usage has persuaded them of their Equity, and they will always gladly embrace the Permission to obey them; to be obliged to renounce their Obedience would probably be esteemed among them a real Hardship.

The Attention which the Translator was forced to bestow upon so uncommon a Subject, the Number of Enquiries necessary for the Elucidation of almost every Sentence, and the many Opportunities of most decisive Information, which the Course of the Work presented, give him in some Measure a Right to claim the Conviction of the World upon many dubious Points, which have long eluded the nicest Investigation. He is very far from wishing to establish his own Doctrines upon the Ruins of those which he found already erected; and when he opposes popular Opinion, or contradicts any ill-grounded Assertion, it is with the utmost Distrust of his own Abilities, and merely in Submission to the Authority of that Truth which the Candid will ever be glad to support, even in Prejudice to a System of their own Formation.  

In a Tract so untrodden as this, many Paths must be attempted before we can hit upon the right. We owe much to every Person, who in so troublesome a Road hath removed a single Obstacle, or opened the smallest Channel for Discovery; and the more difficult the Completion of the Adventure, the greater is the Merit of each Attempt. The present Work however is the only one of this Nature ever undertaken by Authority; the only Influence, in which the Bramins have ever been persuaded to give up a Part of their own Consequence for the general Benefit of the whole Community: And the Pen of the Translator must be considered as entirely the passive Instrument, by which the Laws of this singular Nation are ushered into the World from those Bramins themselves.

In this preliminary Treatise it is proposed, after a few general and introductory Observations, to attempt a short Account of the Shanscrit Language, and an Explanation of such passages in the Body of the Code, as may appear by their Peculiarity or Repugnance to our Sentiments  to lie most open to Objection.

Many conjectural Doctrines have been circulated by the Learned and Ingenious of Europe upon the Mythology of the Gentoos; and they have unanimously endeavoured to Construe the extravagant Fables with which it abounds into sublime and mystical Symbols of the most refined Morality. This Mode of Reasoning, however common, is not quite candid or equitable, because it sets out with supposing in those People a Deficiency of Faith with Respect to the Authenticity of their own Scriptures, which, although our better Information may convince us to be altogether false and erroneous, yet are by them literally esteemed as the immediate Revelations of the Almighty; and the same confidential Reliance, which we put in the Divine Text upon the Authority of its Divine Inspirer himself, is by their mistaken Prejudices implicitly transferred to the Beids of the Shaster. Hence we are not justified in grounding the Standard and Criterion of our Examination of the Hindoo Religion upon the known and infallible Truth of our own, because the opposite Party would either deny the first Principles of our Argument, or insist upon an equal Right on their Side to suppose the Veracity of their own Scriptures uncontrovertible.

It may possibly be owing to this Vanity of reconciling every other Mode of Worship to some Kind of Conformity with our own, that allegorical Constructions, and forced Allusions to a mystic Morality, have been constantly foisted in upon the plain and literal Context of every Pagan Mythology. But we should consider, that the Institution of a Religion has been in every Country the first Step towards an Emersion from Savage Barbarism, and the Establishment of Civil Society; that the human Mind at that Period, when Reason is just beginning to dawn, and Science is yet below the Horizon, has by no Means acquired that Facility of Invention, and those profound Habits of thinking, which are necessary to strike out, to arrange, and to complete a connected, confident Chain of abstruse Allegory. The Vulgar and Illiterate have always understood the Mythology of their Country in its most simple and literal Sense; and there was a Time to every Nation, when the highest Rank in it was equally vulgar and illiterate with the lowest. Surely then, we have no Right to suspect in Them a greater Propensity to, or Capability of the Composition of such subtle Mysteries in those Ages of Ignorance, than we find to exist in their legitimate Successors, the modern Vulgar and Illiterate at this Day.

We have seen frequent and unsuccessful Attempts among ourselves to sublimate into allusive and symbolical Meanings the Mosaic Account of the Creation: Such erratic Systems have risen but to be exploded; and their mutual Disagreement with each other, in these fanciful Interpretations, is to us an additional Argument for the literal Veracity of the Inspired Penman. The Faith of a Gentoo (misguided as it is, and groundless as it may be) is equally implicit with that of a Christian, and his Allegiance to his own supposed Revelations of the Divine Will altogether as firm. He therefore esteems the astonishing Miracles attributed to a Brihma, a Raam, or a Kishen, as Facts of the most indubitable Authenticity, and the Relation of them as most Strictly historical.

But not to interfere with such Parts of the Hindoo Mythology as have not been revealed or explained to him, the Translator can positively affirm, that the Doctrine of the Creation, as set forth in the prefatory Discourse to this Code, is there delivered as simple and plain Matter of Fact, and as a fundamental Article in every pious Gentoo's Creed; that it was so meant and understood by the Compilers of this Work unanimously, who bore the first Characters in Bengal, both for their natural and acquired Abilities; and that their Accounts have been corroborated by the Information of many other learned Bramins in the Course of a wide and laborious Enquiry; nor can it be otherwise, unless the Progress of Science, instead of being slow and gradual, were quick and instantaneous; unless Men could Start up at once into Divines and Philosophers from the very Cradle of Civilization, or could defer the Profession of any Religion at all, until progressive Centuries had ripened them into a Fitness for the most abstracted Speculations.

Yet it may fairly be presumed, that when the Manners of a People become polished, and their Ideas enlightened, Attempts will be made to revise and refit their Religious Creed into a Conformity with the Rest of their Improvements; and that those Doctrines, which the ignorant Ancestor received with Reverence and Conviction, as the literal Exposition of undoubted Fact, the philosophic Descendant will strive to gloss over by a posteriori Constructions of his own; and, in the Fury of Symbol and Allegory, obscure and distort that Text which the Simplicity of its Author never suspected as liable to the Possibility of such Mutilation. — These Innovations however have always been screened, with the most scrupulous Attention, from the general View of Mankind; and, if a hardy Sage hath at any Time ventured to remove the Veil, his Opinions have usually been received with Detestation, and his Person hath frequently paid the Forfeit of his Temerity.

The real Intention and Subject of the Eleusinian Mysteries are now well known; but it cannot, with much Plausibility, be pretended, that those Mysteries were coeval with the Mythology to whose Disproval they owed their Establishment: Probably, the Institution was formed at a more advanced Period of Science, when the Minds of the Learned were eager to pierce through the Obscurity of Superstition, and when the Vanity of superior Penetration made them ashamed literally to believe those Tenets, which popular Prejudice would not suffer them utterly to renounce.

Instances in Support of this Argument might perhaps, without a Strain, be drawn even from some Parts of the Holy Scriptures: And here the Account of the Scape-Goat, in the Laws of Moses, offers itself for that Purpose with the greater Propriety, as it is not altogether dissimilar to a particular Institute of the Gentoos. The inspired Author, after describing the preliminary Ceremonies of this Sacrifice, proceeds thus:

"And Aaron shall lay both his Hands upon the Head of the Scape-Goat, and confess over him all the Iniquities of the Children of Israel, and all their Transgressions in all their Sins, putting them upon the Head of the Goat, and shall send him away by the Hand of a fit Man into the Wilderness: And the Goat shall bear upon him all their Iniquities unto a Land not inhabited; and he shall let go the Goat in the Wilderness."

The Jews, at the Period when this Ceremony was ordained, were very little removed from a State of Barbarism: Gross in their Conceptions, illiterate in their Education, and uncultivated in their Manners; they were by no Means fit Subjects for the Comprehension of a Mystery; and doubtless, at that Time, believed that their Crimes were thus really and bona fide laid upon the Head of the Victim: Yet the more Wise, in succeeding Ages, might well start from such a Prejudice, and rightly conceive it to be a typical Representation of the Doctrine of Absolution.

Hence it may be understood, that what has been herein advanced does not mean to set aside the Improvements of Philosophy, or to deny the occasional Employment of Allegory, but merely to Establish one plain Position, that Religion, in general, at its Origin, is believed literally as it is professed, and that it is afterwards rather refined by the Learned than debased by the Ignorant.

The Gentoo Ceremony, which was hinted at as bearing a remote Likeness to the Sacrifice of the Scape-Goat, is the Ashummeed Jugg [Ashvamedha], of which a most absurd and fabulous Explanation may be found in the Body of the Code: Yet, unnatural as the Account there stands, it is seriously credited by the Hindoos of all Denominations, except perhaps a few Individuals, who, by the Variety and Contradictions of their several allegorical Interpretations, have mutually precluded each other from all Pretensions to Infallibility.

The Ashvamedha (Sanskrit: अश्वमेध aśvamedha) is a horse sacrifice ritual followed by the Śrauta tradition of Vedic religion. It was used by ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty: a horse accompanied by the king's warriors would be released to wander for a period of one year. In the territory traversed by the horse, any rival could dispute the king's authority by challenging the warriors accompanying it. After one year, if no enemy had managed to kill or capture the horse, the animal would be guided back to the king's capital. It would be then sacrificed, and the king would be declared as an undisputed sovereign.

-- Ashvamedha [Ashummeed Jugg], by Wikipedia

That the Curious may form some Idea of this Gentoo Sacrifice when reduced to a Symbol, as well as from the subsequent plain Account given of it in a Chapter of the Code, an Explanation of it is here inserted from Darul Shekuh's [Dara Shikoh's] famous Persian Translation of some Commentaries upon the Four Beids, or original Scriptures of Hindostan: The Work itself is extremely scarce, and perhaps of dubious Authenticity; and it was by mere Accident that this little Specimen was procured.

In the early progress of researches into Indian literature, it was doubted whether the Vedas were extant; or, if portions of them were still preserved, whether any person, however learned in other respects, might be capable of understanding their obsolete dialect. It was believed too, that, if a Brahmana really possessed the Indian scriptures, his religious prejudices would nevertheless prevent his imparting the holy knowledge to any but a regenerate Hindu. These notions, supported by popular tales, were cherished long after the Vedas had been communicated to Dara Shucoh [Shikoh], and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use. [Extracts have also been translated into the Hindi language; but it does not appear upon what occasion this version into the vulgar dialect was made.]

-- Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq.

Explanation of the Ashummeed Jugg.

The Ashummeed Jugg does not merely consist in the Performance of that Ceremony which is open to the Inspection of the World, namely, in bringing a Horse and sacrificing him; but Ashummeed is to be taken in a mystic Signification, as implying, that the Sacrificer must look upon himself to be typified in that Horse, such as he shall be described, because the religious Duty of the Ashummeed Jugg comprehends all those other religious Duties, to the Performance of which all the Wise and Holy direct all their Actions, and by which all the sincere Prosessors of every different Faith aim at Perfection: The mystic Signification thereof is as follows: The Head of that unblemished Horse is the Symbol of the Morning; his Eyes are the Sun; his Breath the Wind; his wide-opening Mouth is the Bishwaner, or that innate Warmth which invigorates all the World; his Body typifies one entire Year; his Back Paradise; his Belly the Plains; his Hoof this Earth; his Sides the four Quarters of the Heavens; the Bones thereof the intermediate Spaces between the four Quarters; the Rest of his Limbs represent all distinct Matter; the Places where those Limbs meet, or his Joints, imply the Months and Halves of the Months, which are called Peche (or Fortnights;) his Feet signify Night and Day; and Night and Day are of four Kinds: 1st. The Night and Day of Brihma; 2d. The Night and Day of Angels; 3d, The Night and Day of the World of the Spirits of deceased Ancestors; 4th. The Night and Day of Mortals: These four Kinds are typified in his four Feet. The Rest of his Bones are the Constellations of the fixed Stars, which are the twenty-eight Stages of the Moon's Course, called the Lunar Year; his Flesh is the Clouds; his Food the Sand; his Tendons the Rivers; his Spleen and Liver the Mountains; the Hair of his Body the Vegetables, and his long Hair the Trees; the Forepart of his Body typifies the first Half of the Day, and the hinder Part the latter Half; his Yawning is the Flash of the Lightning, and his turning himself is the Thunder of the Cloud; his Urine represents the Rain; and his mental Reflection is his only Speech. The golden Vessels which are prepared before the Horse is let loose are the Light of the Day, and the Place where those Vessels are kept is a Type of the Ocean of the East; the silver Vessels which are prepared after the Horse is let loose are the Light of the Night, and the Place where those Vessels are kept is a Type of the Ocean of the West: These two Sorts of Vessels are always before and after the Horse. — The Arabian Horse, which on Account of his Swiftness is called Hy, is the Performer of the Journies of Angels; the Tajee, which is of the Race of Persian Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of the Kundherps (or  good Spirits;) the Wazba, which is of the Race of the deformed Tazee Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of the Jins (or Demons;) and the Ashoo, which is of the Race of Turkish Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of Mankind: This one Horse, which performs these several Services, on Account of his four different Sorts of Riders, obtains the four different Appellations: The Place where this Horse remains is the great Ocean, which signifies the great Spirit of Perm-Atma, or the universal Soul, which proceeds also from that Perm-Atma, and is comprehended in the same Perm-Atma. The Intent of this Sacrifice is, that a Man should consider himself to be in the Place of that Horse, and look upon all these Articles as typified in himself; and, conceiving the Atma (or divine Soul) to be an Ocean, should let all Thought of Self be absorbed in that Atma."

This is the very Acme and Enthusiasm of Allegory, and wonderfully displays the picturesque Powers of Fancy in an Asiatic Genius. But it would not have been inserted at Length in this Place, if the Circumstance of letting loose the Horse had not seemed to bear a great Resemblance to the Ceremonies of the Scape-Goat; and perhaps the known Intention of this latter may plead for the like hidden Meaning in the former.
A somewhat droll and almost dramatic feast is the chase of the demon of ill-luck, evidently a relic of a former demonist cult. It is called "Chongju Sewang," and is held at Lhasa on the twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of the second month, though it sometimes lasts about a week. It starts after divine service. A priest represents a Grand Lama, and one of the multitude is masqueraded as the ghost-king. For a week previously he sits in the market-place with face painted half black and half white, and a coat of skin is put on his arm and he is called "King of the Years'" (? head). He helps himself to what he wants, and goes about shaking a black yak's tail over the heads of the people, who thus transfer to him their ill-luck.

This latter person then goes towards the priest in the neighbourhood of the cloister of La-brang and ridicules him, saying: "What we perceive through the five sources (the five senses) is no illusion. All you teach is untrue," etc., etc. The acting Grand Lama contradicts this; but both dispute for some time with one another; and ultimately agree to settle the contest by dice; the Lama consents to change places with the scape-goat if the dice should so decide. The Lama has a dice with six on all six sides and throws six-up three times, while the ghost-king has a dice which throws only one.

When the dice of the priest throws six six times in succession and that of the scape-goat throws only ones, this latter individual, or "Lojon" as he is called, is terrified and flees away upon a white horse, which, with a white dog, a white bird, salt, etc., he has been provided with by government. He is pursued with screams and blank shots as far as the mountains of Chetang, where he has to remain as an outcast for several months in a narrow haunt, which, however, has been previously provided for him with provisions.

We are told that, while en route to Chetang, he is detained for seven days in the great chamber of horrors at Sam-yas monastery filled with the monstrous images of devils and skins of huge serpents and wild animals, all calculated to excite feelings of terror. During his seven days' stay he exercises despotic authority over Sam-yas, and the same during the first seven days of his stay at Chetang. Both Lama and laity give him much alms, as he is believed to sacrifice himself for the welfare of the country. It is said that in former times the man who performed this duty died at Chetang in the course of the year from terror at the awful images he was associated with; but the present scape-goat survives and returns to re-enact his part the following year.
From Chetang, where he stays for seven days, he goes to Lho-ka, where he remains for several months.

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell

But to quit this Digression. — The real Appellations of the Country and of the Inhabitants of Hindostan, by which they are constantly denominated in the ancient Writings of the Natives, seem hitherto to have escaped the Notice of the Western World.

Hindostan is a Persian Word, equally unknown to the old and modern Shanscrit, compounded of Stan, a Region, and the Word Hind, or Hindoo: Probably Colonel Dow's elegant Translation of Ferishteh's History gives us the true Derivation, in that Author's Conjecture, that it is taken from Hind, a supposed Son of Ham, the Son of Noah; and, whatever Antiquity the Indians may assert for themselves (of which some Notice will subsequently be taken) the Persians, we believe, will rest contented to allow, that the first Intercourse between the two Nations commenced in the third Descent from the Deluge. But, if this Definition were rejected, the common Opinion, that India was so named by Foreigners after the River Indus, is by no Means repugnant to Probability: In the Shanscrit however, Hindostan is constantly denominated Bhertekhunt, or Jumboodeep (as it is hereafter called in the present Work, from Jumboo, or Jumbook, a Jackall, an Animal remarkably abundant in this Country, and Deep, any large Portion of Land surrounded by the Sea.) Khunt signifies a Continent, or wide Tract of Land, and Bherrut is the Name of one of the first Indian Rajahs, whose Name was adopted for that of the Kingdom: Hindoo therefore is not the Term by which the Inhabitants originally stiled themselves, but, according to the Idiom of their Language, Jumboodeepee, or Bhertekhuntee; and it is only since the AEra of the Tartar Government that they have assumed the Name of Hindoos, to distinguish themselves from their Conquerors, the Mussulmen.
Buddhist Theory of the Universe.

In sketching the Buddhist world-system, with its "antres vast and deserts idle," existing mostly on the map of the imagination, it is deemed advisable, in order to avoid needless repetition, to give at once the Lamaist version, even though this is slightly more "developed" than the cosmogony of Buddha's day; although it cannot be very different after all, for the Lamaist accounts of it are in close keeping with the Barhut lithic remains, and almost identical with the versions found among the Ceylonese and other Buddhists of the south, and the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists.

This, our human, world is only one of a series (the others being fabulous) which together form a universe or chiliocosm, of which there are many.

Each universe, set in unfathomable space, rests upon a warp and woof of "blue air" or wind, liked crossed thunderbolts (vajra), hard and imperishable as diamonds (vajra?), upon which is set "the body of the waters," upon which is a foundation of gold, on which is set the earth, from the axis of which towers up the great Olympus— Mt. Meru (Su-meru, Tib., Ri-rab) 84,000 miles a high, surmounted by the heavens, and overlying the hills.

In the ocean around this central mountain, the axis of the universe, are set (see figures) the four great continental worlds with their satellites, all with bases of solid gold in the form of a tortoise — as this is a familiar instance to the Hindu mind of a solid floating on the waters. And the continents are separated from Mt. Meru by seven concentric rings of golden mountains, the inmost being 40,000 miles high, and named "The Yoke" (Yugandara), alternating with seven oceans, of fragrant milk, curds, butter, blood or sugar-cane juice, poison or wine, fresh water and salt water. These oceans diminish in width and depth from within outwards from 20,000 to 625 miles, and in the outer ocean lie the so-called continental worlds. And the whole system is girdled externally by a double iron-wall (Cakravata) 312-1/2 miles high and 3,602,625 miles in circumference, — for the oriental mythologist is nothing if not precise. This wall shuts out the light of the sun and moon, whose orbit is the summit of the inmost ring of mountains, along which the sun, composed of "glazed fire" enshrined in a crystal palace, is driven in a chariot with ten (seven) horses; and the moon, of "glazed water," in a silver shrine drawn by seven horses, and between these two hang the jewelled umbrella of royalty and the banner of victory, as shown in the figure. And inhabiting the air, on a level with these, are the eight angelic or fairy mothers. Outside the investing wall of the universe all is void and in perpetual darkness until another universe is reached.

Of the four "continents" all except "Jambudvipa" are fabulous. They are placed exactly one in each of the four directions, and each has a smaller satellite on either side, thus bringing the total up to twelve. And the shapes given to these continents, namely, crescentic, triangular, round, and square, are evidently symbolic of the four elements.

These continents, shown in the annexed figure, are thus described: —

On the East is Videha, or "vast body" (P). This is shaped like the crescent moon, and is white in colour. It is 9,000 miles in diameter, and the inhabitants are described as tranquil and mild, and of excellent conduct, and with faces of same shape as this continent, i.e., crescentic like the moon.

On the South is Jamudvip (F), or our own world, and its centre is the Bodhi-tree at Budh Gaya. It is shaped like the shoulder-blade of a sheep, this idea being evidently suggested by the shape of the Indian peninsula which was the prototype of Jambudvipa, as Mt. Kailas in the Himalayas and N.E. of India was that of Mt. Meru. It is blue in colour; and it is the smallest of all, being only 7,000 miles in diameter. Here abound riches and sin as well as virtue. The inhabitants have faces of similar shape to that of their continent, i.e., somewhat triangular.

On the West is Godhanya,14 or "wealth of oxen" (I), which in shape is like the sun and red in colour. It is 8,000 miles in diameter. Its inhabitants are extremely powerful, and (as the name literally means, cow + ox + action) they are believed to be specially addicted to eating cattle, and their faces are round like the sun.

On the North is Uttara-Kuru, or "northern Kuru"-tribe (M), of square shape and green in colour, and the largest of all the continents, being 10,000 miles in diameter. Its inhabitants are extremely fierce and noisy. They have square faces like horses; and live on trees, which supply all their wants. They become tree-spirits on their death; and these trees afterwards emit "bad sounds" (this is evidently, like many of the other legends, due to a puerile and false interpretation of the etymology of the word).

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell

The Word Gentoo has been, and is still, equally mistaken to signify, in the proper Sense of the Term, the Professors of the Braminical Religion, whereas Gent, or Gentoo, means Animal in general, and in its more confined Sense, Mankind; but is never, in the Shanscrit Dialect, nor even in the modern Jargon of Bengal, appropriated particularly to such as follow the Doctrines of Brihma. The four great Tribes have each their own separate Appellation; but they have no common or collective Term that comprehends the whole Nation under the Idea affixed by Europeans to the Word Gentoo. Possibly the Portuguese on their first Arrival in India, hearing the Word frequently in the Mouths of the Natives as applied to Mankind in general, might adopt it for the domestic Appellation of the Indians themselves; perhaps also their Bigotry might force from the Word Gentoo a fanciful Allusion to Gentile, a Pagan.

The Shanscrit Language is very copious and nervous, but the Style of the best Authors wonderfully concise. It far exceeds the Greek and Arabick in the Regularity of its Etymology, and like them has a prodigious Number of Derivatives from each primary Root. The grammatical Rules also are numerous and difficult, though there are not many Anomalies. As one Instance of the Truth of this Assertion, it may be observed, that there are seven Declensions of Nouns, all used in the singular, the dual, and the plural Number, and all of them differently formed, according as they terminate with a Consonant, with a long or a short Vowel; and again different also as they are of different Genders: Not a Nominative Case can be formed to any one of these Nouns, without the Application of at least four Rules, which differ likewise with each particular Difference of the Nouns as above stated: Add to this, that every Word in the Language may be used through all the seven Declensions, and there needs no farther Proof of the Difficulty of the Idiom.

The Shanscrit Grammars
are called Beeakerun, of which there are many composed by different Authors; some too abstruse even for the Comprehension of most Bramins, and others too prolix to be ever used but as References. One of the shortest, named the Sarasootee, contains between two and three hundred Pages, and was compiled by Anoobhootee Seroopenam Acharige, with a Conciseness that can scarcely be parallelled in any other Language.

The Shanscrit Alphabet contains fifty Letters, and it is one Boast of the Bramins that it exceeds all other Alphabets in this Respect: But when we consider that of their thirty-four Consonants near Half carry combined Sounds, and that six of their Vowels are merely the correspondent long Ones to as many which are short, the Advantage seems to be little more than fanciful.

The Shanscrit Character, used in Upper Hindostan, is said to be the same original Letter that was first delivered to the People by Brihma, and is now called Diewnagur, or the Language of Angels; whereas the Character used by the Bramins of Bengal is by no Means so ancient, and though somewhat different is evidently a Corruption of the former, as will better appear upon Comparison, for which Reason the Alphabets of both are here inserted. See Plates No. 1, and No. 2.]  

Plate 1: Translator's preface page XXIV.
Shanscrit Alphabet.
Connected Vowels

Plate II. Translator's preface page XXIV.
Bengal Alphabet
Connected Vowels

To rank ree and lee among the Vowels may perhaps be censured as unnatural; we can only say, that being Liquids, they partake in some small Measure of the Vowel, and that to an European Ear it seems equally extraordinary to find the Persian and Arabic & ain to be a Consonant. It will also be observed in the preceding Alphabets, that the Vowels have different Forms when combined with Consonants from those they bear when unconnected.

In the Four Beids (the original and sacred Text of the great Hindoo Creator and Legislator Brihma) the Length of the Vowels is determined and pointed out by a musical Note or Sign, called Matrang (implying one whole Tone) which is placed over every Word; and in reading the Beids these Distinctions of Tone and Time must be nicely observed; the Account of this Modulation as given in the Shanscrit Grammar, called Sarafootee, is here translated.

"The Vowels are of three Sorts, short, long, and continued (cr to Use a more musical Term, holding.) "The Chash (a small Bird peculiar to Hindostan) utters one Matrang, the Crow two Matrangs, and the Peacock three Matrangs; the Mouse Half a Matrang. One Matrang is the short Vowel, two Matrangs the long Vowel, and three Matrangs the continued: A Consonant without a Vowel has the Half Matrang. These Vowels are again to be distinguished by a high Note for the one Matrang, a low Note for the two Matrangs, and an Intermediate or Tenor for the three Matrangs, either with Nasals or Gutturals, ee, ei, o, ou, are Dipthongs, and cannot be short; but these four, together with the other five, e, ee, oo, ree, lee, are to be taken as Vowels."

It has been mentioned that these Distinctions are all marked in the Beids, and must be modulated accordingly, so that they produce all the Effect of a laboured Recitative; but by an Attention to the Music of the Chant, the Sense of the Passage recited equally escapes the Reader and the Audience. It is remarkable, that the Jews in their Synagogues chant the Pentateuch in the same Kind of Melody, and it is supposed that this Usage has Descended to them from the remotest Ages.

To give some faint Idea of these arbitrary Notes, a Line is here inserted with the several Matrangs. [See Plate No 3. Line 1.]

Tese moondee Kreele bederoo bederoo bederoo.

The last Syllable of the Word bederoo with three Matrangs is held for near a Minute, gradually sinking, and then swelling out with a fresh Rinforza to mark each Matrang.

The Shanscrit Poetry comprehends a very great Variety of different Metres, of which the most common are these:

The Munnee hurreneh Chhund, or Line of twelve or nineteen Syllables, which is scanned by three Syllables in a Foot, and the most approved Foot is the Anapaest.

The Cabee Chhund, or Line of eleven Syllables.

The Anushtose Chhund, or Line of eight Syllables.

Plate III. Translator's preface page XXVI

The Poems are generally composed in Stanzas of four Lines, called Ashlogues, which are regular or irregular.

The most common Ashlogue is that of the Anushtose Chhund, or regular Stanza of eight Syllables in each Line. In this Measure greatest Part of the Mahabaret is composed. The Rhyme in this Kind of Stanza should be alternate; but the Poets do not seem to be very nice in the Observance of a strict Correspondence in the Sounds of the terminating Syllables, provided the Feet of the Verse are accurately kept.

This short Anushtose Ashlogue is generally written by two Verses in one Line, with a Pause between, so that the whole then assumes the Form of a long Distich.

The irregular Stanza is constantly called Aryachhund, of whatever Kind of Irregularity it may happen to consist. It is most commonly compounded of the long Line Cabee Chhund, and the short Anushtose Chhund alternately; in which Form it bears some Resemblance to the most common Lyrick Measure of the English.

It will in this Place be pardonable to quote a few Stanzas of Shanscrit Poetry, as Examples of the short Account here given of its Prosody. The Specimens give us no despicable Idea of the old Hindoo Bards. The Images are in general lively and pleasing, the Diction elegant and concise, and the Metre not inharmonious.

An Ashlogue Anushtose Chhund, or regular , of eight Syllables in each Line [See Plate No. 3.]  
Peeta che reenewan shetrooh
Mata shetroo resheeleenee
Bharya roopewetee shetrooh
Pootreh shetroo repundeeteh.

A Father in Debt is an Enemy (to his Son.)
A Mother of scandalous Behaviour is an Enemy (to her Son.)
A Wife of a beautiful Figure is an Enemy (to her Husband.)

A Son of no Learning is an Enemy (to his Parents.)

These Verses are regular dimeter Iambicks.

An Ashlogue Munnee hurreneh Chhund, or of nineteen Syllables. [Ibid.]

Ootkhatum needhee shungkeya khyeetee telum dhonata geereer dhatewo
Neesteerne ssereetam peteer nreepeteyor yetaene sungtomeetah
Muntr' aradhene tetperaene menesa nreta shmeshanae neeshah
Prapta kapee werateeka neche meya treeshnae sekama bhewe.

From the insatiable Desire of Riches, I have digged beneath the Earth; I have fought by Chymistry to Transmute the Metals of the Mountains.
I have traversed the Queen of the Oceans; I have toiled incessant for the Gratification of Monarchs.
I have renounced the World, to give up my whole Heart to the Study of Incantations; I have passed whole Nights on the Places where the Dead are burnt. --
I have not gained one Cowry. — Begone, O Avarice, thy Business is over.

Tibet contains considerable deposits of gold, but modern methods of mining are unknown. Since ancient times they have been scooping out the soil in the Changthang with gazelle horns. An Englishman once told me that it would probably pay to treat by modern methods soil that has already been sieved by the Tibetans. Many provinces must today pay their taxes in gold-dust. But there is no more digging than is absolutely necessary, for fear of disturbing the earth-gods and attracting reprisals, and thus once more progress is retarded.

Many of the great rivers of Asia have their source in Tibet and carry down with them the gold from the mountains. But not till the rivers have reached neighbouring countries is their gold exploited. Washing for gold is only practised in a few parts of Tibet where it is particularly profitable. There are rivers in Eastern Tibet where the stream has scooped out bath-shaped cavities. Gold-dust collects in these places by itself and one has only to go and get it from time to time. As a rule the district governor takes possession of these natural gold-washings for the Government.

I always wondered why no one had thought of exploiting these treasures for personal profit. When you swim under water in any of the streams round Lhasa, you can see the gold-dust glimmering in the sunlight. But as in so many other parts of the country this natural wealth remains unexploited, mainly because the Tibetans consider this comparatively easy work too laborious for them.

-- Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer

Mara denies the good deeds in this and former lives, which qualified Sakya Muni for the Buddhahood, and calls upon him to produce his witness. Whereupon the embryo Buddha touches the ground and instantly the old mother Earth, Dharitri or Dharti Mata, appears riding upon a tortoise (symbolic of the earth), bearing in her hand a "pantsa" garland, and she addresses the saint, saying, "I am your Witness," — hence the name of this attitude of Buddha, the "Earth-touching" or "Witness." The legend goes on to relate that the earth-spirit, wringing her hair, caused a huge river to issue therefrom, which swept away Mara and his hordes. This episode of wringing the hair and the destruction of Mara and his minions is frequently depicted in Burmese temples; and the custom amongst the Burmese of pouring water on the ground at the conclusion of a religious service is, I am informed by a Burmese monk, an appeal to the earth-spirit to remember and bear witness to the particular good deed when men have forgotten it...

The local earth-spirits are named "Master Earth'' or "Earth-Masters,"' and are comparable to the terrestrial Nagas of the Hindus. The most malignant are the "gnan" who infest certain trees and rocks, which are always studiously shunned and respected, and usually daubed with paint in adoration.

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell

An Ashlogue Munnee hurreneh Chhund, or of twelve Syllables. [See Plate No. 3.]

Shesheena che neesha neesheyache sheshee
Shesheena neesheya che weebhatee nebheh
Peyesa kemelum kemelsene peyeh
Peyesa kemelaene weebhatee sereh.

The Night is for the Moon, and the Moon is for the Night:
When the Moon and the Night are together, it is the Glory of the Heavens.
The Lotus, or Water-Lilly, is for the Stream, and the Stream is for the Water-Lilly:
When the Stream and the Water-Lilly meet, it is the Glory of the Canal.

This Species of Composition is called Koondelee Chhund, from Koondelee, a Circle, and answers nearly to the Word Rondeau, which Sort of Verse it exactly imitates.

Almost every Foot in this beautiful Stanza is a pure Anapaest.

Three Ashlogues Aryachhund, or irregular, from a Collection of Poems. [See Plate No. 4.]

Swejeno neyatee wirum
Pereheete booddneer weenashe kalaepee
Chhaedaepee chundene teroo
Soorebheyetee mookhum koot, haresye.

A good Man goes not upon Enmity,
But is well inclined towards another, even while he is ill-treated by him:
So, even while the Sandal-Tree is felling,
It imparts to the Edge of the Axe its aromatic Flavour.

Yedyepee ne bhewetee hanee
Perekeeyam cheretee rasebhee drakhyam
Esemunjese meetee metwa
Tethapee kheloo khadyetae chendreh.

So long as there is no Danger,
The Ass will eat a Stranger's Vine;
So, not conscious of receiving any Hurt,
The Dragon [Alluding to the Gentoos' Ideas of an Eclipse.] still attempts to devour the Moon.

Sejjenusye hreedeyum neweneetum
Yedweduntee weeboodha stedeleekum
Enyedaehe weeleset pereetapat
Sejjeno drewetee no neweneetum.

The good Man's Heart is like Butter,
The Poets say, but herein they are mistaken:
Upon beholding another's Life exposed to Calamities,
The good Man melts; — [That is, the Simile is not just, because it does not express the Powers of Sympathy, which are the characteristic Part of the good Man's Disposition.] but it is not so with Butter.

Plate IV. Translator's preface page XXX and XXXI
Three Ashlogues. This Stanza has been quoted in a former Publication as a Specimen of the Reig Beid.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:31 am

Part 2 of 3

The Four Beids are not in Verse, as has been hitherto erroneously imagined, but in a Kind of measured Prose, called Pungtee Chhund: The Translator is therefore obliged to observe, that an Author of much Merit has, by wrong Information, been induced to offer four Stanzas as Specimens of the several Beids, which have not the least Affinity or Similitude to those Books: His first Stanza is very faulty, and without an Interpretation; But, as a Proof that it cannot belong to the Beids, it has already been quoted in the Specimen of the Ashlogue Aryachhund, together with the Stanzas immediately preceding and following, which are taken from a Work called Kayaprekash (or a Collection of Poems) said to have been composed by one Kiyat, in the third Age of the World.

From the many obsolete Terms used in the Beids, from the Conciseness and Obscurity of their Dialect, and from the Particularity of the Modulation in which they must be recited, they are now hardly intelligible: Very few of the most learned Pundits, and those only who have employed many Years of painful Study upon this one Task, pretend to have the smallest Knowledge of the Originals, which are now also become extremely scarce and difficult to be found; but Comments have been written on them from the earliest Periods; whereof one of the most ancient and most orthodox was composed by Bisesht Mahamoonee, or the most Wise, a great Writer and Prophet, who is said to have lived in the Suttee Jogue, or first Age of the World, and from whom Beass, the celebrated Author of the heroic Poem Mahabaret, boasted his Descent.

The Style of this Writer is clear, but very concise; a Specimen of it is here offered, in his Explanation of the first Chapter of the Reig Beid, which contains a Description of the Wisdom and Powers of the Almighty.

Plate V. Translator's preface page XXXIII and XXXIV
Chapter of Bishesht Mahomonee

Plate VI. Translator's preface page XXXIII and XXXIV.
Chapter of Bisesht Continued.

Bisesht Mahamoonee upon the Reig Beid. [See Plates No. 5 and No. 6.]

Shhree Genaeihaye nemeh! semeste weesheye wasena veeneermook
teh se Peremehumse. Kaewelum neerweeshae she Brehme chingtene
matraewe teeshtetee se Peremehumseh. Yetre kootre cheetteesh-
tetee, tetr', adou Reegbaedusye Pregyaneshebdusye vyakhyanum
kreeyetae. aekemaew' adweeteeyum Brehmaetee seeddhangteh:
Pregyanum sweteshchitenyum tedweemaeshah enacke prekarah;
tenmedhyae yet, hawibbooddhy' anoosaraene vyakhyanumkreeyetae.
Prekreshtum ootkreshtum gyanum Pregyanum: oopad hee reheetum
sweteshchitenyum. Kale treye reheetum; ewest, ha treye reheetum;
prepunche veeneermooktum swetuntrum gyanum tet pregyanum
name dhaeyum Brehme bhewetee. Yeggyanaene too mayachitenyum
bhewetee, yegg yanaene chetoorving shetee tetwum chiteryum bhe-
wetee, keemeewe; sooryes chekhyoo reewe, egnee patre meewe,
choom beke lohe meewe, sootredhare cheetre meewe, kasht' agnee
reewe, poorooshe chhayaewe wate raenoo reewe, dnenoorddhere bane
eewe, breekye chhayaewe; emoona prekaraene chitenyum semeste
jeget prepunch' otpadekum kerotee, gyaneshektee, eechhashektee,
kreeyashektee, chitenyum jegetakarum bhewetee: ete aewe neer-
getangteh kerenaene shrotre ddharaene snebde grehenum kerotee,
neergetangteh kerenaene tweeha dwaraene spershe grehenum kero-
tee, neergetangteh kerenaene chekhyoo dwaraene roope grehenum
kerotee, neergetangteh kerenaene jeehwa dwaraene rese grehenum
kerotee, neergetangteh kerenaene naseeka dwaraene gangdhe
grehenum kerotee; ete aewe punche kermingdreeye praerekeh,
punche gyanidreeye praerekeh, punche mehabhoote praerekeh,
punche tenmatranee praerekeh, goone treye praerekeh eetyadee
semeste prepunch' otpetteeh preleyatmekum kerotee, jegetsa-
khyeetwaene peshyetee. Tet pregyanum name Brehme dhyaeyum
bhewetee, tesmat pregyane shebdaene ted Brehme weeshaeshaene
serwaeshereh ket, hyetae; tebre sootredhar' eeshereh maya weedhya
netee nreetyum kerotee ke-eewe nete-eewe, eetee reegwaedusye
pregyane shebdeneerneyeh.

Commentary of Bisesht Mahamoonee upon the 1st Chapter of the Reig Beid.

[An Invocation never omitted by a pious Gentoo upon the Commencement of any Business whatsoever.] GLORY be to Goneish! That which is exempt from all Desires of the Senses, the same is the mighty Lord. He is single, and than him there is Nothing greater. Brehm (the Spirit of God) is absorbed in Self-Contemplation: The same is the mighty Lord, who is present in every Part of Space, whose Omniscience, as expressed in the Reig Beid, I shall now explain. — Brehm is one, and to him there is no Second; such is truly Brehm. His Omniscience is self-inspired (or self-intelligent) and its Comprehension includes every possible Species. — To illustrate this as far as I am able. — The most comprehensive of all comprehensive Faculties is Omniscience; and being self-inspired, it is subject to no [Of which they reckon five, Conception, Birth, Growth, Decay and Death.] Accident of Mortality or passion; of Vice [In Number six, called Opadhee, viz. Lust, Anger, Avarice, Folly, Drunkenness and Pride.]; to it the [The past, present and future.] three Distinctions of Time are not; to it the three [To be awake, to sleep and to be absorbed in a State of Unconsciousness — a Kind of Trance.] Modes of Being are not; it is separated from the Universe, and independent of all. This Omniscience is named Brehm. By this Omniscient Spirit, the Operations of God are enlivened; by this Spirit also, the [Viz. The five Elements (for the Hindoos add to the four a subtile AEther, which they call Akash, and suppose to be the Medium of Sound); The five Members of Action, Hand, Foot, Tongue, Anus and Yard; The five Members of Perception, Ear, Eye, Nose, Mouth and Skin; The five Senses; The three Dispositions of the Mind, Desire, Passion and Tranquillity; Consciousness, or Self-Perception.] twenty-four Powers of Nature are animated. How is this? As the Eye by the Sun, as the Pot by the Fire, as Iron by the Magnet, as Variety of Imitations by the Mimic, as Fire by the Fuel, as the Shadow by the Man, as Dust by the Wind, as the Arrow by the Spring of the Bow, and as the Shade by the Tree; so by this Spirit the World is endued with the Powers of Intellect, the Powers of the Will, and the Powers of Action; so that, if it emanates from the Heart by the Channel of the Ear, it causes the Perception of Sounds; if it emanates from the Heart by the Channel of the Skin, it causes the Perception of the Touch; if it emanates from the Heart by the Channel of the Eye, it causes the Perception of visible Objects; if it emanates from the Heart by the Channel of the Tongue, it causes the Perception of Taste; if it emanates from the Heart by the Channel of the Nose, it causes the Perception of Smell. This also invigorating the five Members of Action, and invigorating the five Members of Perception, and invigorating the five Elements, and invigorating the five Senses, and invigorating the three Dispositions of the Mind, &c. causes the Creation or the Annihilation of the Universe; while itself beholds every Thing as an indifferent Spectator. Wherefore that Omniscience thus centered in Brehm is called Serwaesher (or the Lord of all;) and this Lord, as a Player doth, is perpetually shifting his Modes of Operation, by a Variety of Gradations, as the Dancer shifts his Steps. — Thus far the Doctrine of the Reig Beid.


The Translator is conscious, that this short Account of the Shanscrit is very defective and insufficient; but he must plead in his own Defence, that very lately only, and that altogether by Accident, he was enabled to procure even this slender Information; that the Pundits who compiled the Code were to a Man resolute in rejecting all his Solicitations for Instruction in this Dialect, and that the Persuasion and Influence of the Governor-General were in vain exerted to the same Purpose. However, since the Completion of his former Task he has been happy enough to become acquainted with a Bramin of more liberal Sentiments, and of a more communicative Disposition, joined to an extensive Knowledge acquired both by Study and Travel: He eagerly embraced the Opportunity of profiting by the Help of so able a Master, and means to exert all his Diligence upon so curious and uncommon a Subject.

The Hindoos as well as the Chinese have ever laid claim to an Antiquity infinitely more remote than is authorized by the Belief of the rest of Mankind. It is certain however, that these two Nations have been acquainted with Letters from the very earliest Period, and that their Annals have never been disturbed or destroyed by any known Revolution; and though we may come to the Perusal of their Records, armed with every Argument, and fortified even to Prejudice against the Admission of their Pretensions, at the same Time placing the most implicit Reliance upon the Mosaic Chronology as generally received, yet their plausible Accounts of those remote Ages, and their undeviating Confidence in their own Assertions, never can fail to make some Impression upon us, in proportion as we gain a clearer Insight to them. Suspicions of a like Nature are not totally without Foundation even in the Western World; and the conscientious Scruples [Brydone's Letters.] Publication) will always be of some Weight in the Scale of Philosophy. [

The Hindoos then reckon the Duration of the World by four Jogues, or distinct Ages.

1. The Suttee Jogue (or Age of Purity) is said to have lasted 3,200,000 Years; and they hold that the Life of Man was in that Age extended to 100,000 Years, and that his Stature was 21 Cubits.

2.The Tirtah Jogue (or Age in which one third of Mankind were reprobate) they suppose to have consisted of 2,400,000 Years, and that Men then lived to the Age of 10,000 Years.

3. The Dwapaar Jogue (in which Half of the human Race became depraved) endured 1,600,000 Years, and Men's Lives were reduced to 1000 Years.

4. The Collee Jogue (in which all Mankind are corrupted, or rather lessened, for that is the true Meaning of Collee) is the present AEra, which they suppose ordained to subsist for 400,000 Years, of which near 5000 are already past, and Man's Life in this Period is limited to 100 Years.

Computation is lost, and Conjecture overwhelmed in the Attempt to adjust such astonishing Spaces of Time to our own confined Notions of the World's Epoch: To such Antiquity the Mosaic Creation is but as Yesterday; and to such Ages the Life of Methuselah is no more than a Span! — Absurd as this Gentoo Doctrine may seem, mere human Reason, upon Consideration of the present contracted Measure of Mortality, can no more reconcile to itself the Idea of Patriarchal than of Braminical Longevity; and when the Line of implicit Faith is once extended, we can never ascertain the precise Limits beyond which it must not pass. One Circumstance must not be omitted, that the Ages allotted to Mankind in the several Jogues by the Bramins tally very exactly with those mentioned by Moses, as far as the Chronology of the latter reaches. For the last Part of the Dwapaar Jogue, in which Men are said to have attained to One Thousand Years of Life, corresponds with the Mosaic AEra of the Antediluvians: And in the Commencement of the Collee Jogue, which comes very near to the Period of the Deluge, the Portion of human Existence was contracted to One Hundred Years, and is seldom supposed even to go so far.  

We are not much advanced in our Inquiries, by allowing with some excellent Authors, that most of the Gentoo Shasters (or Scriptures) were composed about the Beginning of the Collee Jogue; for then we at once come to the immediate AEra of the Flood, which Calamity is never once mentioned in those Shasters, and which yet we must think infinitely too remarkable to have been even but slightly spoken of, much less to have been totally omitted, had it even been known in that Part of the World. The Bramins indeed remove this Objection by two Assertions; One, that all their Scriptures were written before the Time by us allotted to Noah; the Other, that the Deluge really never took place in Hindostan.

We shall not say much regarding the antiquity of these people; nor shall we amuse ourselves with the reveries of chronologers and historians; who have labored to fix with precision (though not two of them agree in opinion) the various migrations after the flood: it shall suffice for our purpose, that by their own showing, Indostan was as early peopled, as most other parts of the known world...

134. The mixture of good and evil in this world flowed naturally from the second angelic defection in the human form, as inevitable effects from adequate causes; for these beings were so struck with the unexpected mercy of their Creator, in affording them a trial and term of probation, in a world replete with every beauty and accommodation beyond their desert; that they continued truly sensible of that grace for a space, distinguished by the ancient poets and philosophers by the title of the golden age, by Bramah, as the age of truth and holiness; and it is reasonable to believe, that during that period, many of them regained their celestial habitations; and equally probable, that whilst they continued in this state of general contrition, neither natural or moral evil had a footing in this globe, but that the former commenced and kept pace with the latter; and it is a well grounded opinion of philosophers and divines, that during the primitive age, this globe was not subject to those convulsive vicissitudes of storms, earthquakes, deluges, &c. nor the animal forms to pestilential or other diseases, which moral evils produced at the beginning of the second age, when the second defection of the angelic beings under mortal forms took place as before noticed: then it was, that man began to kill and eat his brethren of the creation, the brute animals; and in process of time to kill and eat one another; -- then began contentions for property and power, which produced invasions, murders, and every species of cruelty amongst themselves; -- then began the contention between the elements by the designation of GOD, for the punishment of the ungrateful delinquents; and then also began the contention between the good and evil spiritual beings, the one laboring to recover them to their duty, the other to seduce them from it...

136. During the primitive age, it should seem that Satan and his associate leaders had small, if any influence in the world; he appears (like an able politician) only to wait for proper times and seasons to exert his abilities in: -- he could not but know that the delinquents were now as much stunned with the unhoped-for mercy of GOD, as they had been before by his vengeance, and therefore that this could be no favorable juncture to operate upon them: -- But he also knew (as is the case with all rebels) that mercy would have no long effect upon them; that the embers of rebellion in them were only smothered, but not extinguished; and that there was only wanting a proper period and occasion to blow them up, and make them blaze again with greater fury: he judged that they would in time (allured by the delicious enjoyments of their region of probation) forget both the torments and despairing anguish they had suffered in the region of utter darkness, as well as the mercy that had redeemed them from it; and he was perfectly right in his conclusion. -- The means this arch-traitor adopted to bring about his purposes of evil, both natural and moral, we have developed in our foregoing General Head, omitting one circumstance of encouragement as more properly applicable here -- Satan and his leaders, although sensible that the powers of the faithful angelic beings they had to contend with, were equal with their own, yet they were not dismayed; knowing that the propensity to evil in the objects on whom their efforts were to be tried, would turn the balance in their favor....

139. GOD, conscious that he has endowed us with sufficient powers of resistance, abandons us to ourselves; and it is by the neglect of those powers that still man goes on as the devil drives him, and must necessarily so continue, until he again, by the full exertion of his divine intellectual faculties, recovers that purity he possessed in the primitive age; the full exertion of those powers he can only acquire, by restoring the body, and its plastic juices, to their primitive natures, thereby freeing the soul from those impeding chains which he himself has forged for her...

140. By what has been said, and with a reference to the Metempsychosis, it need not appear strange, that the world has at all times been equally populous, respecting both man and beast, or very nearly so; for so few of the delinquent spirits in every age have transmigrated to heaven, that they have been hardly missed on earth. -- Here, we know, will be objected to us Moses's account of the deluge, and the new propagation of all the animal species, from the stock which Noah saved in the ark. -- To this we say, that there have been many solid arguments urged against the universality of Moses's deluge, which have never been refuted to the full satisfaction of inquisitive reason. -- It is true, we have Moses's ipse dixit for the destruction of all, in whose nostrils were the breath of life; but how came it to pass, that a race of animals, as numerous, if not more so, than those of the earth, escaped his notice so far, as not even to be worthy the mention, namely, the fishes of the seas and rivers? in their nostrils were surely the breath of life. But the cause of Moses's silence respecting them is obvious; he knew the difficulty of conceiving how their destruction could be accomplished in their proper element, on which the most tremendous storms and hurricanes are matters of sport and pastime to them; therefore he took the wiser part in passing them over in silence, as having no existence in the scale of beings. This consideration proves, that whatsoever the deluge might have been, the destruction of the animal creation was not universal; then suffer us to ask, in justice to the rest of the devoted animals, what exemption this peculiar race as entitled to, that they did not participate in the general wreck? -- GOD's justice, mercy, and providence are equal to all, "a sparrow falls not to the ground unnoticed of him" -- therefore it should seem, that the spirits animating the inhabitants of the waters, should at that period have been less guilty than the other terrestrial species; but that that might not have been the case, we shall show presently, and demonstrate, that the seeming partial favor of Providence for that race can be only accounted for from the doctrine of the Metempsychosis.

-- Interesting Historical Events, Relative to the Provinces of Bengal, and the Empire of Indostan. With a Seasonable Hint and Persuasive to the Honourable The Court of Directors of the East India Company. As Also The Mythology and Cosmogony, Fasts and Festivals of the Gentoo's, Followers of the Shastah. And a Dissertation on the Metempsychosis, commonly, though erroneously, called the Pythagorean Doctrine, by J.Z. Holwell, Esq.

But to wave these vague and indefinite Disquisitions, it will not here be superfluous to quote a passage or two from some of the most classical and authentic Shasters, which expressly determine and fix Dates of their respective AEras to the earliest Jogues.

The first Specimen here inserted is from the Book of Munnoo, which the Reader will observe stands foremost in the List of those which furnished the subsequent Code;...
The Manusmṛiti ... was one of the first Sanskrit texts to have been translated into English in 1776, by Sir William Jones, and was used to formulate the Hindu law by the British colonial government...

Over fifty manuscripts of the Manusmriti are now known, but the earliest discovered, most translated and presumed authentic version since the 18th century has been the "Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) manuscript with Kulluka Bhatta commentary". Modern scholarship states this presumed authenticity is false, and the various manuscripts of Manusmriti discovered in India are inconsistent with each other, and within themselves, raising concerns of its authenticity, insertions and interpolations made into the text in later times...

The verses 12.1, 12.2 and 12.82 are transitional verses. This section is in a different style than the rest of the text, raising questions whether this entire chapter was added later. While there is evidence that this chapter was extensively redacted over time, however it is unclear whether the entire chapter is of a later era....

Sinha, for example, states that less than half, or only 1,214 of the 2,685 verses in Manusmriti, may be authentic. Further, the verses are internally inconsistent. Verses such as 3.55-3.62 of Manusmriti, for example, glorify the position of women, while verse such as 9.3 and 9.17 do the opposite. Other passages found in Manusmriti, such as those relating to Ganesha, are modern era insertions and forgeries...

There are so many contradictions in the printed volume that, if you accept one part, you are bound to reject those parts that are wholly inconsistent with it. (...) Nobody is in possession of the original text...

Scholars doubt Manusmriti was ever administered as law text in ancient or medieval Hindu society. David Buxbaum states, "in the opinion of the best contemporary orientalists, it [Manusmriti] does not, as a whole, represent a set of rules ever actually administered in Hindustan. It is in great part an ideal picture of that which ... ought to be law".

Donald Davis writes, "there is no historical evidence for either an active propagation or implementation of Dharmasastra [Manusmriti] by a ruler or any state – as distinct from other forms of recognizing, respecting and using the text. Thinking of Dharmasastra as a legal code and of its authors as lawgivers is thus a serious misunderstanding of its history".

-- Manusmriti, by Wikipedia

The Gentoo Code ... is basically about the Hindu law of inheritance (Manusmriti).

-- Gentoo Code, by Wikipedia

and though the second Quotation is not so authoritative, as being the Production of a later Author (whole Name we do not recollect) in Testimony of the Date of another, yet Jage-Bulk is mentioned among the Legislators, and his Books are valued for their Antiquity as their Excellence.

An Ashlogue Munnee hurreneh Chhund, or of Nineteen Syllables, from Munnoo. [See Plate No. 7.]

Ebdanam deshekum sehesre deshekum yatum che setyae yoogae
Bhadrae masee kreetameyahee menoona brehma gyeya poorneemae
Shastrum neetee weechare dherme jenekum gyanepredum serweda
Bhoorlokae heetekamgeya menoopreja nama smreeteer deepeeka.

When ten Thousand and ten Years of the Suttee Jogue were past, on the Night of the Full Moon, in the Month Bhadun, I Munnoo, at the Command of Brehma, finished this Shaster, that speaks of Men's Duty, of justice, and of Religion, ever instructive.
This Treatise, called Munnoo Smistee [Manusmriti], will enlighten the World like a Torch.

Plate VII. Translator's preface page XL.
Two Ashlogues Anushtose Chhund, or of eight Syllables, upon Jage-Bulk. [See Plate No. 7.]

Traetayam yagyewelkaene
Vyetee tae nevve punchekae
Shrawenae masee shooklae chee
Punchemyam boodhewaserae
Yagyewelky' abheedum shastrum
Dherme nectee prekashekum
Rajeneetee preedum chiwe.
Neranam heetekamyeya.

In the Tirtah Jogue, the Author Jage-Balk, when ninety-five Years were past, in the Month of Sawun, on the Moon's Increase, on the Wednesday (or literally on the Day of [It is very remarkable, that the Days of the Week are named in the Shanscrit Language from the same Planets to which they were assigned by the Greeks and Romans.
Audeetye War / Solis Dies / Audeetye / The Sun
Rebee War / Solis Dies / Rebee / The Sun
Some War / Lunae Dies / Some / The Moon
Mungel War / Martis Dies / Mungele / Mars
Boodhe War / Mercurii Dies / Boodhe / Mercury
Breehespet War / Jovis Dies / Breehspet / Jupiter
Shookre War / Veneris Dies / Shookre / Venus
Shenischer War / Saturni Dies / Shenischer / Saturn]
Mercury) finished the Treatise, called Jage-Bulk, which sets forth the Offices of Religion, and also informs Men of the Duties of the Magistrate.

What Periods shall we possibly assign to these Writers, if we disallow the Authorities here quoted? If they are false, there must have been a Time when the Imposition would have been too palpable to have passed upon Mankind, and when the concurrent Testimony of the whole World would have risen up in Judgment against it; for if we grant Munnoo's Works to have been published during his own Life-Time, it is impossible that he should have ventured to utter so monstrous a Forgery; and if they were concealed till after his Death, could the Memory of his late Existence be so shortly obliterated through the whole Country? — But supposing so much of the Book as relates to the Date to have been foisted in by another, and afterwards produced as a Part of the original Text, which till that Time had lain undiscovered, Nobody surely would have believed him in Opposition to the universal Faith! for so miraculous a Fiction could never gain Credit but upon the Support of some Principle of religious Opinion, and every Religion has established a Chronology of its own: Besides, can it be possible, that none of Munnoo's Contemporaries, none of the succeeding Writers should have recorded so striking a Circumstance? for if the whole Indian World had till that Time believed with us in a Chronology nearly answering to that of Moses, so astonishing a Change in their Sentiments upon the Introduction of the Doctrine of the Jogues would have furnished ample Matter for a Thousand Volumes; but on the contrary, all the Parts of every Shaster (however different from each other on religious Subjects) are yet uniform and confident throughout upon this; the same Mode of computing their Annals has always obtained, and the same Belief of the Remoteness of Antiquity that now prevails may be proved to have been universally acknowledged, even at the Time in which some pretend to fix the first Appearance of Letters in Hindostan.

Rajah Prichutt, who though ranked as a modern on the Records of India, is yet known to have lived in the earliest Ages of the Collee Jogue, was no less anxious than modern Philosophers are to pierce through the Obscurity of Time, and to trace the Progress of the World from its Infancy; at his Instigation a Work was composed by Shukeh Diew, a learned Bramin (Son of Beass, the famous Author of the Mahabaret) containing the History of India through the three preceding Jogues, with the Succession of the several Rajahs, and the Duration of their Reigns. This curious History, called Shree Bhagbut, still subsists, divided into twelve Ascund or Books (literally Branches) and three Thousand and twenty Chapters.
What shall we say to a Work composed four Thousand Years ago, and from thence tracing Mankind upwards through several millions of Years? Must we answer, that the Earth was at that Time an uninhabited Marsh still slowly emerging from an universal Inundation?

Great surely and inexplicable must be the Doubts of mere human Reason upon such a Dilemma when unassisted and uninformed by Divine Revelation; but while we admit the former in our Argument, we profess a most unshaken Reliance upon the latter, before which every Suspicion must subside, and Scepticism be absorbed in Conviction: Yet from the Premises already Established, this Conclusion at least may fairly be deduced, that the World does not now contain Annals of more indisputable Antiquity than those delivered down by the ancient Bramins.

Collateral Proofs of this Antiquity may be drawn from every Page of the present Code of Laws, in its wonderful Correspondence with many Parts of the Institutes of Moses, one of the first of known Legislators; from whom we cannot possibly find Grounds to suppose the Hindoos received the smallest Article of their Religion or Jurisprudence, though it is not utterly impossible, that the Doctrines of Hindostan might have been early transplanted into Egypt, and thus have become familiar to Moses.

The Gentoos have in all Ages believed in the Transmigration of Souls, which they denominate Kayaprewaesh and Kayapelut: This latter literally answers to the Word Metempsychosis. — An ancient Shaster, called the Geeta, written by Adhae Doom, has a beautiful Stanza upon this System of the Transmigration, which he compares to a Change of Dress.

Plate VIII Translator's preface page X__

An Ashlogue Cabee Chhund, or of eleven Syllables in each Line. [See Plate No. 8.]

On the Transmigration of Souls.

Wesamsee jeernanee yet, ha weehaye
Newanee grehnatee nero peranee,
Tet, ha shereeranee weehaye jeernan
Enyanee sumyatee newanee daehee.

As throwing aside his old Habits,
A Man puts on others that are new,
So, our Lives quitting the Old,
Go to other newer Animals.

[Mr. Holwell.]An ingenious Author of our own has well explained their Ideas upon the Subject of a future State, though he laments at the same Time, that his Materials were too imperfect to afford complete Information.

Their Creed then is, that those Souls which have attained to a certain Degree of Purity, either by the Innocence of their Manners, or the Severity of their Mortifications, are removed to Regions of Happiness, proportioned to their respective Merits: But that those who cannot so far surmount the Prevalence of bad Example, and the forcible Degeneracy of the Times, as to deserve such a Promotion, are condemned to undergo continual Punishment in the Animation of successive animal Forms, until at the stated Period another Renovation of the four Jogues shall commence upon the Dissolution of the present.  

They suppose that there are fourteen Bhoobuns or Spheres, seven below and six above the Earth
; the seven inferior Worlds are said to be altogether inhabited by an infinite Variety of Serpents, described in every monstrous Figure that the Imagination can suggest; hence the Reason why such particular Mention is made of Serpents in the Account of the Creation prefixed to this Code. The Earth is called Bhoor, and Mankind who inhabit it Bhoor-logue; an Instance of which may be seen in the Stanza quoted from Munnoo: The Spheres gradually ascending from thence are,

1st. Bobur, whose Inhabitants are called the Bobur-logue. 2d. The Swergeh-logue. 3d. The Mahurr-logue. 4th. The Junneh-logue. 5th. The Tuppeh-logue. 6th. The Suttee-logue.

The Bobur is the immediate Vault of the visible Heavens, in which the Sun, Moon, and Stars are placed. The Swergeh is the first Paradise and general Receptacle for those who merit a Removal from the lower Earth. The Mahurr-logue are the Fakeers, and such Persons as by Dint of Prayer have acquired an extraordinary Degree of Sanctity. The Junneh-logue are also the Souls of pious and moral Men; and beyond this Sphere they are not supposed to pass without some uncommon Merits and Qualifications. The Sphere of Tuppeh is the Reward of those who have all their Lives performed some wonderful Act of Penance and Mortification, or who have died Martyrs for their Religion. The Suttee or highest Sphere is the Residence of Brihma and his particular Favourites, whence they are also called Brihma-logue: This is the Place of Destination for those Men who have never uttered a Falsehood during their whole Lives, and for those Women who have voluntarily burned themselves with their Husbands. How shall we reconcile so splendid and exalted a Benediction pronounced upon this spontaneous Martyrdom, with the Assertion of an Author, that the Custom for the Wives to burn themselves with their Husbands Bodies was never reckoned a religious Duty in India? This Circumstance will again present itself in the Remarks on the Chapter of Women.

But it is now Time to draw this Essay towards a Conclusion, by confining ourselves to the more immediate Explanation of such Parts of the Code as may not seem entirely consistent with European Opinions, or European justice.

The Work opens with a short Preliminary Discourse, written by the Bramins themselves, as well to set forth the Motives and Uses of the Compilation, as to gratify the honest Vanity of every sensible Mind, in giving some Account of itself and of its Labours. Nothing can be more remote from a superstitious Adherence to their own domestic Prejudices, or more truly elevated above the mean and selfish Principles of Priestcraft, than the genuine Dignity of Sentiment that breathes through this little Performance. Few Christians, with all the Advantages of enlightened Understandings, would have expressed themselves with a more becoming Reverence for the grand and impartial Designs of Providence in all its Works, or with a more extensive Charity towards all their fellow Creatures of every Profession. It is indeed an Article of Faith among the Bramins, that God's all merciful Power would not have permitted such a Number of different Religions, if he had not found a Pleasure in beholding their Varieties.

The first Section of the Preface contains an Account of the Creation, literally as the Gentoos believe it to have been performed: The four great and original Tribes are there said to have proceeded from the four different Members of Brihma, the supposed immediate Agent of the Creation under the Spirit of the Almighty. The Hindoos do not suppose that these several Parts of the Creator, assigned for their Production, are a symbolical Token or Description of the respective Duties of their Stations; but that the several Qualifications of each Cast, and the enjoined Exercise of those Qualifications, are the natural and unavoidable Result of the presiding Function in each of the Members of their first Parent.

The Bramin from the Mouth — (Wisdom) to pray, to read, to instruct.
The Chehteree from the Arms — (Strength) to draw the Bow, to fight, to govern.
The Bice from the Belly or Thighs — (Nourishment) to provide the Necessaries of Life by Agriculture and Traffic.
The Sooder from the Feet— (Subjection) to labour, to serve, to travel.

These four great Tribes comprehend the first grand Divisions of a well-regulated State. The Mechanic, or petty Dealer, as a Branch of less Importance, and administering rather to the Luxuries than to the Necessities of Life, is furnished from a fifth adventitious Tribe, called Burrun Sunker, which is again subdivided into almost as many separate Casts as there are Trades or Occupations to be exercised by its Members. The same Principle of Government, though under a different Modification, is said to prevail in China, where every Man is enjoined by Law to follow the Business of his Father, and forbidden to thrust himself into any other Profession.

But while we commend the Policy of the ancient Hindoos, we must lament their most deplorable Ignorance in some of the practical Sciences, particularly Geography, to which they must give up all Pretentions after their extravagant Description of the seven Deeps, which they suppose to be so many Continents separated from each other by an almost infinite Ocean, but yet all belonging to the same World which themselves inhabit.

The other Division of the Preface contains the requisite Qualifications for a Magistrate and the Duties of his Station; most of the Rules there laid down are very pertinent, and display an accurate Knowledge of the human Heart. — But as the necessary Limits of an Essay like this do not give Room or Opportunity for a general  and diffusive Criticism, it is here intended only to speak of such particular Parts and Passages of the Work as contain something peculiar, local, or characteristic.

Among the Qualities required for the proper Execution of publick Business, Mention is made, "That a Man must be able to keep in Subjection his Lust, his Anger, his Avarice, his Folly, and his Pride." These Vices are sometimes denominated in the Shanscrit under the general Term Opadhee, a Word which occurs in the quoted Specimen of the Comment upon the Reig Beid. The Folly there specified is not to be understood in the usual Sense of the Word in an European Idiom, as a negative Quality, or the mere Want of Sense, but as a Kind of obstinately stupid Lethargy, or perverse Absence of Mind, in which the Will is not altogether passive: It seems to be a Weakness peculiar to Asia, for we cannot find a Term by which to express the precise Idea in the European Languages; it operates somewhat like the violent Impulse of Fear, under which Men will utter Falsehoods totally incompatible with each other, and utterly contrary to their own Opinion, Knowledge, and Conviction; and it may be added Also, their Inclination and Intention. A very remarkable Instance of this temporary Frenzy happened lately in the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, where a Man (not an Idiot) swore upon a Trial, that he was no Kind of Relation to his own Brother who was then in Court, and who had constantly supported him from his Infancy; and that he lived in a House by himself, for which he paid the Rent from his own Pocket, when it was proved that he was not worth a Rupee, and when the Person in whose House he had always resided stood at the Bar close to him.

Whenever the Word Folly included among the Vices above-mentioned occurs in this Code, it must always be understood to carry the Meaning here described. — Another Conjecture, and that exceedingly acute and ingenious, has been started upon this Folly, that it may mean the Deception which a Man permits to be imposed on his Judgment by his Passions, as Acts of Rapacity and Avarice are often committed by Men who ascribe them to Prudence and a just Assertion of their own Right; Malice and Rancour pass for Justice, and Brutality for Spirit. This Opinion, when, thoroughly examined, will very nearly tally with the former; for all the Passions, as well as Fear, have an equal Efficacy to disturb and distort the Mind: But to account for the Folly here spoken of, as being the Offspring of the Passions, instead of drawing a Parallel between it and the Impulses of those Passions, we must suppose the Impulse to act with infinitely more Violence upon an Asiatic Mind than we can ever have seen exemplified in Europe. It is however something like the Madness so inimitably delineated in the Hero of Cervantes, sensible enough upon some Occasions, and at the same Time completely wild, and unconscious of itself upon others; and that too originally produced by an Effort of the Will, though in the End overpowering and superseding its Functions.

It will no doubt strike the Reader with Wonder, to find a Prohibition of Fire-Arms in Records of such unfathomable Antiquity; and he will probably from hence renew the Suspicion which has long been deemed absurd, that Alexander the Great did absolutely meet with some Weapons of that Kind in India, as a Passage in Quintus Curtius seems to ascertain. Gunpowder has been known in China, as well as in Hindostan, far beyond all Periods of Investigation. — The Word Fire-Arms is literally Shanscrit Agnee-aster, a Weapon of Fire; they describe the first Species of it to have been a Kind of Dart or Arrow tipt with Fire, and discharged upon the Enemy from a Bamboo. Among several extraordinary Properties of this Weapon, one was, that after it had taken its Flight, it divided into several separate Darts or Streams of Flame, each of which took effect, and which, when once kindled, could not be extinguished; [It seems exactly to agree with the Feu Gregeois of the Crusades.] but this Kind of Agnee-aster is now lost. — Cannon in the Shanscrit Idiom is called Shet-Aghnee, or the Weapon that kills a hundred Men at once, from (Shete) a Hundred, and gheneh to kill; and the Pooran Shasters, or Histories, ascribe the Invention of these destructive Engines to Beemookerma, the Artist, who is related to have forged all the Weapons for the War which was maintained in the Suttee Jogue between Dewta and Ossoor (or the good and bad Spirits) for the Space of one hundred Years. — Was it Chance or Inspiration that furnished our admirable Milton with exactly the same Idea, which had never before occurred to an European Imagination?

The Battles which are described in this Section, ridiculous as they may appear, when compared with the modern Art and Improvement of War, are the very Counterparts of Homer; for, in the early Ages of Mankind, a Battle appears to have been little more than a Set of distinct Duels between Man and Man; in which Case, every Circumstance pointed out in this Part of the Magistrate's Duty might naturally be expected to occur: And this is a forcible Argument to prove, that the Compilers have not foisted into the Code any novel Opinions of their own, when in this Place hardly one of the Principles of War, as stated by them, is applicable to the present System and Situation of Mankind.

There is a particular Charge to the Magistrate to forbid Fires in the Month Cheyt, or Part of March and April; this is an Institution most wisely and Usefully calculated for the Climate of Hindostan, where, for above four Months before that Time, there falls no Rain, and where the Wind always blows hard in that Month, and is very dry and parching, so that every Thing is in the most combustible Situation, and the accidental burning of a Handful of Straw may spread a Conflagration through a whole City. — It is observable in India to this Day, that Fires are more frequent and more dangerous in the Month Cheyt than in all the rest of the Year.

Upon the whole, the Scope and Master of this Section is excellent; and, divested of the peculiar Tinct it has received from the religious Tenets of its Authors, is not unworthy the Pen of the most celebrated Politicians, or Philosophers of ancient Greece.

CHAP. I. The Code begins with Regulations for that which is one of the first Cements of civil Society, the Mutuation of Property; which, though equally necessary and advantageous to the Public, must be confined within certain Limits, and conducted upon the Faith of known Laws, to render it safe, confidential, and equitable. The favourable Distinctions marked towards some Tribes, and apparent Severity with respect to others, in this Chapter, though perhaps not reconcileable to our Ideas of social Compact, must be supposed perfectly Consonant to the Maxims of the Gentoos, and familiar to their Comprehensions, as it may be observed, that the Compilers have been scrupulously exact, in pointing out all such Cases as have received different Decisions in the different Originals from whence the Abstract is selected. Indeed, the Bramins, indisputably persuaded that their Origin is from the Mouth, or superior Member, of their Creator, and consequently that the Superiority of their Tribe is interwoven with the very Essence of their Nature, esteem that to be a full and satisfactory Plea for every Advantage settled upon them, above the rest of the People, by the Laws of their Country; nor are the other Casts discontented with the Lot to which they have been accustomed from their earliest Infancy; if they blame any Thing, it is that original Turn of Chance which gave them rather to spring from the Belly or the Feet of Brihma, than from his Arms or Head.

The different Rate of Interest, established in this Chapter to be paid for the Use of different Articles, is perhaps an Institute peculiar to Hindostan; but it reflects a strong Light upon the Simplicity of ancient Manners, before Money was universally current as the Medium of Barter for all Commodities, and is at the same Time a weighty Proof of the great Antiquity of these Laws, which seem calculated for the crude Conceptions of an almost illiterate People upon their first Civilization.

CHAP. II. The Rights of Inheritance, in the second Chapter, are laid down with the utmost Precision, and with the strictest Attention to the natural Claim of the Inheritor, in the several Degrees of Affinity. A Man is herein considered but as Tenant for in his own Property; and, as all Opportunity of distributing his Effects by Will, after his Death, is precluded, hardly any Mention is made of such Kind of Bequest. By these Ordinances also, he is hindered from dispossessing his Children of his Property in Favour of Aliens, and from making a blind and partial Allotment in Behalf of a favourite Child, to the Prejudice of the rest; by which the Weakness of parental Affection, or of a misguided Mind in its Dotage, is admirably remedied. These Laws also strongly elucidate the Story of the Prodigal Son in the Scriptures; since it appears from hence to have been an immemorial Custom in the East, for Sons to demand their Portion of Inheritance during their Fathers Life-Time, and that the Parent, however aware of the dissipated Inclinations of his Child, could not legally refuse to comply with the Application.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

-- Luke 15:11-32

Though Polygamy has been constantly practised and universally allowed under all the Religions that have obtained in Asia, we meet with very few Instances of permitted Polyandry, or a Plurality of Husbands, such as mentioned in the fourteenth Section of this Chapter: But a Gentleman, who has lately visited the Kingdoms of Boutin and Thibet, has observed, that the same Custom is almost general to this Day in those Countries; where one Wife frequently serves all the Males of a whole Family, without being the Cause of any uncommon Jealousy or Disunion among them.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:18 am

Part 3 of 3

The characteristic Enthusiasm of the Gentoos is strongly marked in several Parts of this Chapter, where it appears, that the Property of a Bramin is considered as too sacred to fall into profane Hands, even those of the Magistrate; which proves also that the Magistrates are not Bramins. At the same Time, we cannot help noticing many Striking Instances of Moderation and Self-Denial in the Members of this Tribe, who, being at once the Priests and Legislators of the Country, have yet resigned all the secular and executive Power into the Hands of another Cast; for it appears, that no Bramin has been properly capable of the Magistracy since the Time of the Suttee Jogue. They have also in one Place ordained, that, "If a Widow should give all her Property and Estate to the Bramins for religious Purposes, the Gift indeed is valid;" that is, it comes within the Letter of the Law: "But the Act is improper, and the Woman blameable." Such a Censure, though not amounting to an absolute Prohibition, is surely a sufficient Warning to those whose weak Bigotry might thus lead them to Error, and an Argument that these Lawgivers were free from all the narrow Principles of self-interested Avidity. The only Privilege of Importance, which they seem to have appropriated to themselves in any Part of this Compilation, is an Exemption from all capital Punishment: They may be degraded, branded, imprisoned for Life, or sent into perpetual Exile; but it is everywhere expressly ordained, that a Bramin shall not be put to Death upon any Account whatsoever.  
The Brahmens among the Hindus have acquired and maintained an authority, more exalted, more commanding, and extensive, than the priests have been able to engross among any other portion of mankind. As great a distance as there is between the Brahmen and the Divinity, so great a distance is there between the Brahmen and the rest of his species. According to the sacred books of the Hindus, the Brahmen proceeded from the mouth of the Creator, which is the seat of wisdom; the Cshatriya proceeded from his arm; the Vaisya from his thigh, and the Sudra from his foot; therefore is the Brahmen infinitely superior in worth and dignity to all other human beings. The Brahmen is declared to be the Lord of all the classes. He alone, to a great degree, engrosses the regard and favour of the Deity; and it is through him, and at his intercession, that blessings are bestowed upon the rest of mankind. The sacred books are exclusively his; the highest of the other classes are barely tolerated to read the word of God; he alone is worthy to expound it. The first among the duties of the civil magistrate, supreme or subordinate, is to honour the Brahmens. The slightest disrespect to one of this sacred order is the most atrocious of crimes. “For contumelious language to a Brahmen,” says the law of Menu, “a Sudra must have an iron style, ten fingers long, thrust red hot into his mouth; and for offering to give instruction to priests, hot oil must be poured into his mouth and ears.” “If,” says Halhed's code of Gentoo laws, “a Sooder sits upon the carpet of a Brahmen, in that case the magistrate, having thrust a hot iron into his buttock, and branded him, shall banish him the kingdom; or else he shall cut off his buttock.” The following precept refers even to the most exalted classes: “For striking a Brahmen even with a blade of grass, or overpowering him in argument, the offender must soothe him by falling prostrate.” Mysterious and awful powers are ascribed to this wonderful being. “A priest, who well knows the law, needs not complain to the king of any grievous injury; since, even by his own power, he may chastise those who injure him: His own power is mightier than the royal power; by his own might therefore may a Brahmen coerce his foes. He may use without hesitation the powerful charms revealed to Atharvan and Angiras; for speech is the weapon of a Brahmen: with that he may destroy his oppressors.” “Let not the king, although in the greatest distress, provoke Brahmens to anger; for they, once enraged, could immediately destroy him with his troops, elephants, horses, and cars. Who without perishing could provoke those holy men, by whom the all-devouring flame was created, the sea with waters not drinkable, and the moon with its wane and increase? What prince could gain wealth by oppressing those, who, if angry, could frame other worlds and regents of worlds, could give being to other gods and mortals? What man, desirous of life, would injure those, by the aid of whom worlds and gods perpetually subsist; those who are rich in the knowledge of the Veda? A Brahmen, whether learned or ignorant, is a powerful Divinity; even as fire is a powerful Divinity, whether consecrated or popular. Thus, though Brahmens employ themselves in all sorts of mean occupations, they must invariably be honoured; for they are something transcendently divine.” Not only is this extraordinary respect and pre-eminence awarded to the Brahmens; they are allowed the most striking advantages over all other members of the social body, in almost every thing which regards the social state. In the scale of punishments for crimes, the penalty of the Brahmen, in almost all cases, is infinitely milder than that of the inferior castes. Although punishment is remarkably cruel and sanguinary for the other classes of the Hindus, neither the life nor even the property of a Brahmen can be brought into danger by the most atrocious offences. “Neither shall the king,” says one of the ordinances of Menu, “slay a Brahmen, though convicted of all possible crimes: Let him banish the offender from his realm, but with all his property secure, and his body unhurt.” In regulating the interest of money, the rate which may be taken from the Brahmens is less than what may be exacted from the other classes. This privileged order enjoy the advantage of being entirely exempt from taxes: “A king, even though dying with want, must not receive any tax from a Brahmen learned in the Vedas.” Their influence over the government is only bounded by their desires, since they have impressed the belief that all laws which a Hindu is bound to respect are contained in the sacred books; that it is lawful for them alone to interpret those books; that it is incumbent on the king to employ them as his chief counsellors and ministers, and to be governed by their advice. “Whatever order,” says the code of Hindu laws, “the Brahmens shall issue conformably to the Shaster, the magistrate shall take his measures accordingly.” These prerogatives and privileges, important and extraordinary as they may seem, afford, however, but an imperfect idea of the influence of the Brahmens in the intercourse of Hindu Society. As the greater part of life among the Hindus is engrossed by the performance of an infinite and burdensome ritual, which extends to almost every hour of the day, and every function of nature and society, the Brahmens, who are the sole judges and directors in these complicated and endless duties, are rendered the uncontrolable masters of human life. Thus elevated in power and privileges, the ceremonial of society is no less remarkably in their favour. They are so much superior to the king, that the meanest Brahmen would account himself polluted by eating with him, and death itself would appear to him less dreadful than the degradation of permitting his daughter to unite herself in marriage with his sovereign. With these advantages it would be extraordinary had the Brahmens neglected themselves in so important a circumstance as the command of property. It is an essential part of the religion of the Hindus, to confer gifts upon the Brahmens. This is a precept more frequently repeated than any other in the sacred books. Gifts to the Brahmens form always an important and essential part of expiation and sacrifice. When treasure is found, which, from the general practice of concealment, and the state of society, must have been a frequent event, the Brahmen may retain whatever his good fortune places in his hands; another man must surrender it to the king, who is bound to deliver one-half to the Brahmens. Another source of revenue at first view appears but ill assorted with the dignity and high rank of the Brahmens; by their influence it was converted into a fund, not only respectable but venerable, not merely useful but opulent. The noviciates to the sacerdotal office are commanded to find their subsistence by begging, and even to carry part of their earnings to their spiritual master. Begging is no inconsiderable source of priestly power...

To all but the Brahmens, the caste of Cshatriyas are an object of unbounded respect. They are as much elevated above the classes below them, as the Brahmens stand exalted above the rest of human kind. Nor is superiority of rank among the Hindus an unavailing ceremony. The most important advantages are attached to it. The distance between the different orders of men is immense and degrading. If a man of a superior class accuses a man of an inferior class, and his accusation proves to be unjust, he escapes not with impunity; but if a man of an inferior class accuses a man of a superior class, and fails in proving his accusation, a double punishment is allotted him. For all assaults, the penalty rises in proportion as the party offending is low, the party complaining high, in the order of the castes. It is, indeed, a general and a remarkable part of the jurisprudence of this singular people, that all crimes are more severely punished in the subordinate classes; the penalty ascending, by gradation, from the gentle correction of the venerable Brahmen to the harsh and sanguinary chastisement of the degraded Sudra. Even in such an affair as the interest of money on loan, where the Brahmen pays two per cent., three per cent. is exacted from the Cshatriya, four per cent. from the Vaisya, and five per cent. from the Sudra. The sovereign dignity, which usually follows the power of the sword, was originally appropriated to the military class, though in this particular it would appear that irregularity was pretty early introduced. To bear arms is the peculiar duty of the Cshatriya caste, and their maintenance is derived from the provision made by the sovereign for his soldiers...

As much as the Brahmen is an object of intense veneration, so much is the Sudra an object of contempt, and even of abhorrence, to the other classes of his countrymen. The business of the Sudras is servile labour, and their degradation inhuman. Not only is the most abject and grovelling submission imposed upon them as a religious duty, but they are driven from their just and equal share in all the advantages of the social institution. The crimes which they commit against others are more severely punished, than those of any other delinquents, while the crimes which others commit against them are more gently punished than those against any other sufferers. Even their persons and labour are not free. “A man of the servile caste, whether bought or unbought, a Brahmen may compel to perform servile duty; because such a man was created by the Self-existent for the purpose of serving Brahmens.” The law scarcely permits them to own property; for it is declared that “no collection of wealth must be made by a Sudra, even though he has power, since a servile man, who has amassed riches, gives pain even to Brahmens.” “A Brahmen may seize without hesitation the goods of his Sudra slave; for as that slave can have no property, his master may take his goods.” Any failure in the respect exacted of the Sudra towards the superior classes is avenged by the most dreadful punishments. Adultery with a woman of a higher caste is expiated by burning to death on a bed of iron. The degradation of the wretched Sudra extends not only to every thing in this life, but even to sacred instruction and his chance of favour with the superior powers. A Brahmen must never read the Veda in the presence of Sudras. “Let not a Brahmen,” says the law of Menu, “give advice to a Sudra; nor what remains from his table; nor clarified butter, of which part has been offered; nor let him give spiritual counsel to such a man, nor inform him of the legal expiation for his sin: surely he who declares the law to a servile man, and he who instructs him in the mode of expiating sin, sinks with that very man into the hell named Asamvrita.”...

At the head of this government stands the king, on whom the great lords of the empire immediately depend...A Brahmen ought always to be his prime minister. “To one learned Brahmen, distinguished among the rest, let the king impart his momentous counsel.”...

The Brahmens enjoy the undisputed prerogative of interpreting the divine oracles; for though it is allowed to the two classes next in degree to give advice to the king in the administration of justice, they must in no case presume to depart from the sense of the law which it has pleased the Brahmens to impose. The power of legislation, therefore, exclusively belongs to the priesthood. The exclusive right of interpreting the laws necessarily confers upon them, in the same unlimited manner, the judicial powers of government. The king, though ostensibly supreme judge, is commanded always to employ Brahmens as counsellors and assistants in the administration of justice; and whatever construction they put upon the law, to that his sentence must conform. Whenever the king in person discharges not the office of judge, it is a Brahmen, if possible, who must occupy his place. The king, therefore, is so far from possessing the judicial power, that he is rather the executive officer by whom the decisions of the Brahmens are carried into effect.

They who possess the power of making and interpreting the laws by which another person is bound to act, are by necessary consequence the masters of his actions. Possessing the legislative and judicative powers, the Brahmens were, also, masters of the executive power, to any extent, whatsoever, to which they wished to enjoy it. With influence over it they were not contented. They secured to themselves a direct, and no contemptible share of its immediate functions. On all occasions, the king was bound to employ Brahmens, as his counsellors and ministers; and, of course, to be governed by their judgment. “Let the king, having risen early,” says the law, “respectfully attend to Brahmens learned in the three Vedas, and by their decision let him abide.” It thus appears that, according to the original laws of the Hindus, the king was little more than an instrument in the hands of the Brahmens. He performed the laborious part of government, and sustained the responsibility, while they chiefly possessed the power...

The sacred character of the Brahmen, whose life it is the most dreadful of crimes either directly or indirectly to shorten, suggested to him a process for the recovery of debts, the most singular and extravagant that ever was found among men. He proceeds to the door of the person whom he means to coerce, or wherever else he can most conveniently intercept him, with poison or a poignard in his hand. If the person should attempt to pass, or make his escape, the Brahmen is prepared instantly to destroy himself. The prisoner is therefore bound in the strongest chains; for the blood of the self-murdered Brahmen would be charged upon his head, and no punishment could expiate his crime. The Brahmen setting himself down, (the action is called sitting in dherna) fasts; and the victim of his arrest, for whom it would be impious to eat, while a member of the sacred class is fasting at his door, must follow his example. It is now, however, not a mere contest between the resolution or strength of the parties; for if the obstinacy of the prisoner should exhaust the Brahmen, and occasion his death, he is answerable for that most atrocious of crimes—the murder of a priest; he becomes execrable to his countrymen; the horrors of remorse never fail to pursue him; he is shut out from the benefits of society, and life itself is a calamity. As the Brahmen who avails himself of this expedient is bound for his honour to persevere, he seldom fails to succeed, because the danger of pushing the experiment too far is, to his antagonist, tremendous. Nor is it in his own concerns alone that the Brahmen may turn to account the sacredness of his person: he may hire himself to enforce in the same manner the claims of any other man; and not claims of debt merely; he may employ this barbarous expedient in any suit. What is still more extraordinary, even after legal process, even when the magistrate has pronounced a decision against him, and in favour of the person upon whom his claim is made, he may still sit in dherna, and by this dreadful mode of appeal make good his demand...

“The property of a Brahmen shall never be taken as an escheat by the king; this is a fixed law; but the wealth of the other classes, on failure of all heirs, the king may take.”...

“If a man strikes a Bramin with his hand, the magistrate shall cut off that man's hand; if he strikes him with his foot, the magistrate shall cut off the foot; in the same manner, with whatever limb he strikes a Bramin, that limb shall be cut off; but if a Sooder strikes either of the three casts, Bramin, Chehteree, or Bice, with his hand or foot, the magistrate shall cut off such hand or foot.” “If a man has put out both the eyes of any person, the magistrate shall deprive that man of both his eyes, and condemn him to perpetual imprisonment, and fine him.” The punishment of murder is founded entirely upon the same principle. “If a man,” says the Gentoo code, “deprives another of life, the magistrate shall deprive that person of life.” “A once-born man, who insults the twice-born with gross invectives, ought to have his tongue slit. If he mention their names and classes with contumely, as if he say, ‘Oh thou refuse of Brahmens,’ an iron style, ten fingers long, shall be thrust red-hot into his mouth. Should he through pride give instruction to priests concerning their duty, let the king order some hot oil to be dropped into his mouth and his ear.”...

Among the Hindus, whatever be the crime committed, if it is by a Brahmen, the punishment is in general comparatively slight; if by a man of the military class, it is more severe; if by a man of the mercantile and agricultural class, it is still increased; if by a Sudra, it is violent and cruel. For defamation of a Brahmen, a man of the same class must be fined 12 panas; a man of the military class, 100; a merchant, 150 or 200; but a mechanic or servile man is whipped...

For perjury, it is only in favor of the Brahmen, that any distinction seems to be admitted. “Let a just prince,” says the ordinance of Menu, “banish men of the three lower classes, if they give false evidence, having first levied the fine; but a Brahmen let him only banish.” The punishment of adultery, which on the Brahmens is light, descends with intolerable weight on the lowest classes. In regard to the inferior cases of theft, for which a fine only is the punishment, we meet with a curious exception, the degree of punishment ascending with the class. “The fine of a Sudra for theft, shall be eight fold; that of a Vaisya, sixteen fold; that of a Cshatriya, two and thirty fold; that of a Brahmen, four and sixty fold, or a hundred fold complete, or even twice four and sixty fold.” No corporal punishment, much less death, can be inflicted on the Brahmen for any crime. “Menu, son of the Self-existent, has named ten places of punishment, which are appropriated to the three lower classes; the part of generation, the belly, the tongue, the two hands; and fifthly, the two feet, the eye, the nose, both ears, the property; and in a capital case, the whole body; but a Brahmen must depart from the realm unhurt in any one of them.”

-- The History of British India, vol. 1 of 6, by James Mill

CHAP. III. The Chapter of justice, in its general Tendency, seems to be one of the best in the whole Code. The necessary Qualifications for the Arbitrator, the Rules for the Examination of Witnesses, and the Requisites for Propriety of Evidence, are stated with as much Accuracy and Depth of Judgment as the Generality of those in our own Courts. In this Chapter Mention is made of the Purrekeh, or Trial by Ordeal, which is one of the most ancient Institutes for the distinguishing Criterion of Guilt and Innocence that hath been handed down to us by sacred or profane History: Fire or Water were the usual Resources upon these Occasions, and they were constantly prepared and sanctified by the Solemnities of a religious Ceremonial. The Modes of this Ordeal are various in India, according to the Choice of the Parties or the Nature of the Offence; but the Infallibility of the Result is to this Day as implicitly believed as it could have been in the darkest Ages of Antiquity.

We find a particular Injunction and Description of a certain Water Ordeal among the first Laws dictated to Moses by God himself; it is contained in the fifth Chapter of Numbers, from the twelfth to the thirtieth Verse, and is for the Satisfaction of jealous Husbands, in the immediate Detection or Acquittal of their Wives.

CHAP. IV. V. arid VI. In the two succeeding Chapters no unusual Matter occurs, but such as good Sense and a Freedom from Prejudice will easily develope: But, in the second Section of the sixth Chapter, a Passage appears, which, upon a slight Examination, might give the Reader a very indifferent Opinion of the Gentoo System of Government, viz. "A Law to regulate the Shares of Robbers." This Ordinance by no Means respects the domestic Disturbers of the Tranquillity of their own Countrymen, or Violators of the first Principles of Society, but only such bold and hardy Adventurers as sally forth to levy Contributions in a foreign Province. Unjust as this Behaviour may appear in the Eye of Equity, it bears the most genuine Stamp of Antiquity, and corresponds entirely with the Manners of the early Grecians, at or before the Period of the Trojan War, and of the Western Nations, before their Emersion from Barbarism; a Practice still kept up among the pyratic States of Barbary to its fullest Extent by Sea, and probably among many Herds of Tartars and Arabian Banditti by Land. However, the known Exigence and Originality of this savage System will justify the Gentoo Magistrate of those ancient Periods in assisting the Freebooters with his Advice, and participating in their Plunder, when, at that Time, such Expeditions were esteemed both legal and honourable.

It is not necessary, in an Essay like this, to attempt an Investigation of every local Anomaly, or national Peculiarity, that may arise in the Course of this Work; but merely to speak of such as seem to contradict the general Opinions of Mankind, and to round off those harsher Features of the Picture which appear unnatural or distorted, as well as uncommon.

CHAP. VII. and VIII. Omitting therefore the Modes of Gift in the seventh Chapter, and the particular Ordinances respecting Slaves in the eighth, let us proceed to the second Section of the ninth Chapter, "Of the Wages of Dancing Women or Prostitutes."
The culture of the performing art of nautch, an alluring style of popular dance, rose to prominence during the later period of Mughal Empire and the British East India Company Rule. During the period of Company rule in India by the British East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and during the subsequent British Raj, the British military established and maintained brothels for its troops across India. Women and girls were recruited from poor rural Indian families and paid directly by the military. The red-light districts of cities such as Mumbai developed at this time. The governments of many Indian princely states had regulated prostitution in India prior to the 1860s. The British Raj enacted the Cantonment Act of 1864 to regulate Prostitution in colonial India as a matter of accepting a necessary evil. The Cantonment Acts regulated and structured prostitution in the British military bases which provided for about twelve to fifteen Indian women kept in brothels called chaklas for each regiment of thousand British soldiers. They were licensed by military officials and were allowed to consort with soldiers only. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of women and girls from continental Europe and Japan were trafficked into British India, where they worked as prostitutes servicing British soldiers and local Indian men.

-- Prostitution in India, by Wikipedia

CHAP. IX. From the most distant Ages the Asiatic World has observed the Custom of employing Women trained up, and hired for the Purpose to sing and dance at the public Festivals and religious Ceremonies. We find that, "When David was returned from the Slaughter of the Philistines, the Women came out of all the Cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul, with Tabrets, with Joy, and with Instruments of Music."

It is still an universal Practice among the Gentoos, to entertain a Number of such Women for the Celebration of their solemn Festivals; and in many Parts of the Deccan, a Band of them is kept in every Village at the public Charge, and they are frequently dispatched to meet any Person passing in a public Character, exactly conformable to the Reception of Saul by the Women of Israel. Probably their being exposed to general View and to a free Conversation with Men (so contrary to the Reserve and Privacy of the rest of their Sex in Asia) first betrayed them into Prostitution: And in former Ages, a Prostitute seems to have been by no Means so despicable a Character as at present, since one of the first Acts of King Solomon's Government that was thought worthy to be recorded was a Decision from the Throne, upon the Suit of two Harlots. Many States, even among the Moderns, have found the Necessity as well as Utility of tolerated Prostitution; they have discovered it to be one of the most effectual Methods for preserving the Peace of Families and the Health of Individuals; and Publick Stews have accordingly been licensed under every Regulation that could be devised to obviate their probable ill Effects, and to secure all their Advantages; so, in Asia, the Profession of Singing and Dancing by distinct Sets or Companies naturally formed these Women into a Kind of Community. And as the Policy of a good Government will always look with an Eye of Regard upon every Branch of Society, it was but just and proper to enact Laws for the Security and Protection of this Publick Body, as well as of the rest of the State, particularly as the Sex and Employment of those who composed it rendered them more than usually liable to Insult and ill Usage.

The rupajiva was not accomplished in the arts like the ganika; her only stock in trade as the name signifies was her beauty and charm. She owed the state two days' income for a month. If a man forcibly enjoyed her he was fined 12 panas, but in times of crisis half her monthly income could be forfeited to the state...A vandhaki too had to pay part of her income to the state coffers in times of national crisis...

We have seen that the ganika, rupajiva, vesya and vandhaki had to pay taxes to the state but a careful study leads to the conclusion that almost all categories had an actual or potential obligation for paying taxes; the collection, however, depended on the degree and nature of the organization. Organized red light areas paid taxes regularly, at a fixed rate, while it was much more difficult to ascertain the income of the women 'kept' in seclusion by a man or of the unorganized individual women plying the trade in isolated pockets or even, like the vandhaki, at home. Similarly, organized brothels enjoyed greater security from the state in lieu of the taxes they paid while individuals who paid 'hush-money' to extortionist officers could hardly demand any protection from injustice, manhandling, coercion and cheating. The Nammayasundarikatha, a twelfth century text says that the state received 25% to 30% of the prostitute's income...

The ganika, says Kautilya, was also paid a monthly salary from the royal treasury and the pratiganika, her short-time substitute, received half the amount. The ganika, however, did not enjoy property rights. "There is every likelihood that their palatial establishments and gardens were state property with life interest." On her death, her daughter inherited her property but only for use; she could not sell, mortgage, exchange or donate them. This, of course, is true of the ordinary prostitute living in an organized brothel; many outstanding ganikas were mistresses of their own property...A ganika could be bought out by a sympathetic customer; her redemption money (niskraya) was 24,000 panas, a very high sum in view of the fact that her annual salary paid by the state was between 1000 and 3000 panas...

Foreign customers had to pay 5 panas extra tariff duty to the state apart from the courtesan's regular fees. The pumscali (a common whore) did not have any fixed fees; she could only demand fees on marks of cohabitation, if she tried to extort money from her customers her fees were liable to be forfeited to the state -- also if she threw temper tantrums or refused to oblige the customer in any way. The Kuttanimmata says that the temple prostitute (tridasalayajivika) got paid by the temple authorities and that her income was fixed by tradition. Ksemendra's Samayamatrka says that they were paid in grain as remuneration and that they were employed in rotation.

If after receiving her fees a prostitute refused to oblige her customer she paid a fine of double her fees; if she refused him before accepting the fees she paid her fees as fine...

Courtesans sometimes did perform several other functions. In the Mahabharata they participated in the victory celebrations.65 They even played a political role as spies whose duty it was to seduce important men who were potential sources of vital political information, to collect such information and supply it to the relevant officers through the superintendent (ganikadhyaksa)...

The retired temple prostitute was employed by the state for spinning cotton, wool and flax...The keepers of brothels...were adept in bringing about and resolving quarrels between rival suitors as and when needed by them or by political agents of the state...

Institutionalized prostitution, however, offered somewhat better prospects for old and retired courtesans. Kautilya lays down the rule that ganikas, pratiganikas, (short term substitutes for the ganikas), rupajivas, vesyas, dasis, devadasis, pumscalis, silpakarikas, kausikastri (woman artisan) are to be given pension by the state in old age. Since Kautilya was written for a prince it is to be assumed that these women were employed by the state and had earlier paid taxes to the state which the state regarded partially as provident fund contribution against old age, disability, retirement and penury. We are not told what the pension was in terms of money, whether it was adequate for sustenance. But a steady income, however small, must have meant some measure of security to elderly women who would otherwise be wholly destitute. But since women and their labour was exploited in most spheres of life, we may assume that this rule was not strictly observed, because such women were totally powerless to sue the state for non-payment. Yet the few who actually received some pension were lucky to have it. Retired prostitutes were employed as cooks, store-keepers, cotton-wool and flax spinners, and in various other manual jobs, so the state did not have to pay the pension until they were too old and weak to work any more. In old age some prostitutes became matrkas, i.e., matrons-in-charge of a brothel...

We have just seen that their clients also maltreated and manhandled them and these were not isolated incidents or exceptions or there would be no need to frame laws against crimes and stipulate the exact amount of fines for the several kinds of assault. She was often used and then cheated, robbed, thrashed, mutilated and murdered. If the institution was for society a necessary evil and the state had a vested interest in extracting revenue and espionage service from this 'evil', then it could not afford to ignore a situation when the source of such revenue was harmed so that she could not multiply the revenue. Hence the laws. But the attitude of society was clearly against the prostitute and not against her client...

What was the prostitute's social status? Strangely enough, prostitution is recognized as a profession with laws to regulate it because it served its specific purpose by catering to men's needs of extramarital sexual gratification and also the state's needs by bringing in considerable revenues and secret political information through espionage. As townships sprang up along trade routes and as rich men long away from home frequented these brothels these became a regular feature with the chief courtesans, beauty queens, being regarded as ornaments of the town or city, magarasobhani or nagaramandana. Because she was in high demand and because she would fetch a rich revenue if she was accomplished and attractive, the state undertook to supervise her education (with quite a heavy and rigorous syllabus) at its own expense, provided she remitted part of her income to the state...

Kautilya says that the superintendent of prostitutes conferred the title of ganika to the pretty, young and cultured hetaira;101 she drew 1000 panas from the state presumably for her establishment, and her teachers in the various arts were also paid by the state. She had a measure of social security in the sense that those who harmed her physically, financially and socially were liable to be punished heavily by the state. Needless to say that such a coveted position was not accorded to many; only a handful of the prostitutes were made ganikas whose favours were enjoyed by kings, princes and the richest of the merchants...The devadasis were a class by themselves who, because they were attached to institutions (i.e., temples) governed directly or indirectly by the state, enjoyed some degree of protection.

It is common knowledge that in most centres of ancient urban civilization temple prostitution was a common feature. Whether in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Babylon in temples of Badl and Astarte, or in Chaldea, Phoenicia or India and in the Far East it flourished under the dual patronage of the state and the church. Temple priests frequently got paid from the royal treasury, the temple prostitute was an extra allowance to them...

Once inside the temple and under the thumb of the priests they became like slaves with no clear definition of their rights and duties...

What happened to the devadasi when she grew old? Presumably not all of them enjoyed royal patronage. Those who did were employed in the state textile factory as we find in the solitary mention of the devadasi in Kautilya.105 Dancing was the only art she had learned and she could not practice it in old age, so that if she was one of those who did not enjoy royal care she would be reduced to destitution. Her profession prevented her from having a family and her long stay in the temple isolated her from society; therefore, even if she worked in a textile factory for a time she would face penury in real old age when both the temple and the community cut her off as wholly redundant. Thus at the end of a long career of double exploitation -- as a temple dancer and as the priests' concubine -- she faced complete destitution, for neither the state nor the temple had any obligation to look after her.

-- Prostitution in Ancient India, by Sukumari Bhattacharji

It can be no Objection to the Rules laid down in this Place, that the Language in which they are delivered is plain even to Grossness; it is well known that the Ancients, even in their most refined Ages, admitted a Freedom of Speech utterly incompatible with the Delicacy of modern Conversation, and that we are on that Account frequently much embarrassed in translating even the most classical Authors of Greece and Rome. —

It were absurd to pretend that this Translation is perfectly literal: the very genius of prose and verse forbid it; and the learned Reader, who shall consult the Original, will find many reasons for the impropriety as well as difficulty of following the Author's expressions too closely. Some things there were, which it was scarce possible to handle in verse; and they are entirely omitted, or paraphrastically imitated: many passages have been softened as indelicate, some suppressed as indecent...The only apology which can be offered for this, is an avowal that the object of this Translation was not so much to bring to light the merit of an undistinguished and almost unknown Ancient, as to endeavour to introduce into our language a species of poetry not frequently attempted, and but very seldom with success — that species which has been called the simplex munditiis in writing, where the thoughts are spirited and fanciful without quaintness, and the style simple, yet not inelegant.

-- The Love Epistles of Aristaenetus, Translated by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Indecency too seems to be a Word unknown to the Law, which ever insists upon a simple Definition of Fact. The English Courts, upon Trials for Rape or Adultery, are full as little modest and equivocal in their Language as any Part of this or some of the succeeding Chapters; neither Rank nor Sex, nor Innocence can protect a Woman who is unfortunate enough to be called in as a Witness, even upon the most trivial Points of such a Cause, from being obliged to hear, and even to utter the most indecent and shocking Expressions, which are necessarily urged upon her, so far as to authenticate every Circumstance in Question, without the least Disguise of Circumlocution or Reserve in Favour of Modesty: Yet Trials of this Nature are published at length among us, and read with Eagerness, as much perhaps to the Scandal of the Law as to the Corruption of our Imaginations, and the Debasement of our Manners.

But a Work upon so diffusive a Plan as that of this Code is calculated for the Perusal of the Judge and of the Philosopher, and is far above the Cavil of narrow Understandings and selfish Prejudices. These indeed will sometimes feel, or pretend to feel, a greater Shock at the Mention of certain Crimes, than it is to be suspected they would undergo in the Commission of them; but for the Warning of the Subject, and for the Guidance of the Magistrate, no Delineation of Offences can be too minute, and no Discrimination too particular.

Alone of Hindu writers the author of the MNT [Mahānirvāṇatantraṃ] gives details of incest. The English law being part of the canon law of the Church was well armed on this subject: the Hindu law much less so. At XI. 31 the death penalty for incest appears. Perhaps this was severe by any standard. Then in vv. 32-4, 35 the relations are listed with whom intercourse amounts to incest. But a lesser (and Hindu) penalty is provided for those who have intercourse with women not within the strictest limits of incest. Here an amalgam of Hindu and English ideas is to be found. Nullity of marriage is provided in clear terms (a notion wanting in the smrti literature) when the marriage is between close relations (XI. 36), and on account of impotence (XI. 66).

--A Juridical Fabrication of Early British India: The Mahanirvana-Tantra, by J. Duncan M. Derrett

CHAP. XVI. From hence, in Conformity to the Intention of this Treatise, we shall at once proceed to the sixteenth Chapter of Assault, and of Preparation to Assault; which seems entirely founded upon the peculiar Tenderness of a Gentoo's Conscience, with respect to the Purity of his Cast. Here we see almost every Uncleanness that can be practised accurately specified, and Strongly prohibited; and the Penalty is constantly enhanced in Proportion to the Rank or Circumstances of the Parties. The same Notions of Defilement from Contact with any unclean Article appear to have been diligently inculcated into the Jews by their inspired Legislator; and the nineteenth Chapter of Numbers bears an evident Relation to the Spirit and Meaning of the Chapter here, though it differs in the Statement of the several Objects from whence the Defilement is supposed to proceed. The Regulations before us were entirely necessary for a People, whose very Degree and Place in Society were conditionally dependant upon a scrupulous Avoidance of all Uncleanness. Hence even the Preparation or Attempt to Assault was forbidden, as well as the Act itself; and the tautological Enumeration of every possible Mode of this Assault, by the most minute Gradations, needs no other Plea to reconcile it to our Ideas.

CHAP. XVII. The Chapter upon Theft contains a complete Answer to every Objection that might be brought against a former Expression in the Code, "Of the Magistrates sharing in the Plunder of Robbers," as almost every possible Species of Fraud or Robbery is in this Place impartially condemned. Among other Punishments, those of "Cutting off the Hair, Shaving with the Urine of an Ass, & c.'' are several Times mentioned. These are like the Stocks and Pillory among ourselves, intended to operate upon the Feelings of the Mind, rather than those of the Body, and, by awakening the Sense of Shame and Disgrace, to obviate the Necessity of Corporal Chastisement. They are constantly considered among the Hindoos as the most complete Degradation they can undergo, next to the absolute Loss of Cast. And some imagine, though without Foundation, that they are by this Punishment really expelled from their Tribe; that however is not the Case, they are meant merely as temporary Humiliations, and as a Kind of Warning, that upon the next Offence the Sword of justice will be aimed at the Head itself.

The Fines or Penalties enjoined for concealed Theft, in the third Section of this Chapter, comprehend most of the Modes of Capital Punishment prescribed by ancient or modern Tribunals. Hanging and Crucifixion seem to have been the usual Kinds of Death inflicted by the Jews; but their Laws were also no Strangers to the Practice of Burning, as we find by the twenty-first Chapter of Leviticus: "The Daughter of any Priest, if she profane herself by playing the Whore, she profaneth her Father, she shall be burned with Fire."

The Crime of Men-stealing, mentioned in this Part of the Code, however repugnant to every Principle of Humanity, is not by any Means peculiar to the Gentoos, for it is likewise forbidden, under Pain of Death, in Deuteronomy, Chapter twenty-fourth:
"If a Man be found stealing any of his Brethren of the Children of Israel, and maketh Merchandize of him, then that Thief shall die, and thou shalt put away Evil from among you."

This Part of the Compilation exhibits a Variety of Crimes punishable by various Modes of capital Retribution, contrary to the general Opinion adopted in Europe, that the Gentoo Administration was wonderfully mild, and averse to the Deprivation of Life. One Cause for this Opinion might be, that, since the Tartar Empire became absolute in India, the Hindoos (like the Jews in the Captivity) though in some Respects permitted to live by their own Rules and Laws, have for Reasons of Government been in most Cases prohibited from dying by them. This Chapter however displays Instances of what might seem unjustifiable Severity, did not the Jewish Dispensation afford us a Number of Examples to the same Purpose. The Ordinance in Moses for Stoning a Rebellious Son, or a Girl found not to be a Virgin: Samuel's hewing Agag to Pieces before the Lord in Gilgal: Whole Nations cut off at once by unlimitted Proscription: David's harrassing his Enemies with Harrows of Iron; and a Thousand other passages of the same Tendency, prove that the Laws of most Nations of Antiquity were written in Letters of Blood; and if in England (as it is said) we have near eighty Kinds of Felonies, all liable to capital Punishment, the Gentoos need not think their own Legislature uncommonly fertile in Employments for the Executioner.

The latter Part of this Section is particularly set apart to treat of Thefts committed by the Bramin Tribe; and the many dreadful Penalties there enjoined leave the Delinquents but a slender Satisfaction in their Exemption from capital Punishment: Add too, that from these Circumstances it may be collected, that this Exemption is really founded upon a reverential Regard to the Sanctity of their Function and Character, rather than upon the unjust Preference of self-interested Partiality.

CHAP. XIX. The nineteenth and twentieth Chapters present us a lively Picture of Asiatic Manners, and in them a strong Proof of their own Originality. To Men of liberal and candid Sentiments, neither the Grossness of the Portrait nor the Harshness of the Colouring will seem improper or indecent, while they are convinced of the Truth of the Resemblance; and if this Compilation does not exhibit Mankind as they might have been, or as they ought to have been, the Answer is plain, "Because it paints them as they were." — Vices, as well as Fashions, have their Spring and their Fall, not with Individuals only, but in whole Nations, where one reigning Foible for awhile swallows up the rest, and then retires in its Turn to make room for the epidemic Influence of a newer Passion. Wherefore, if any Opinions not reconcileable to our Modes of thinking, or any Crimes not practised, and so not prohibited among us, should occur in these Chapters, they must be imputed to the different Effects produced on the Human Mind by a Difference of Climates, Customs and Manners which will constantly give a particular Turn and Bias to the National Vices. — Hence it would be a weak and frivolous Argument for censuring the fifth Section of this nineteenth Chapter, to object that it was levelled at an Offence absurd in itself, not likely to be frequent, or supposing it frequent, still to be deemed of trivial Consequence; and to make this Objection merely in Consideration that the Offence may not be usual among us, and has certainly never been forbidden by our Legislature, such Cavils would betray a great Ignorance of the general System of Human Nature, as well as of the common Principles of Legislation for Penal Laws (except for the most ordinary Crimes) are not enacted until particular Instances of Offence have pointed out their absolute Necessity; for which Reason Parricide was not specified among the original Institutes of the celebrated Lawgiver of Sparta. Hence we may with Safety conclude, that the several Prohibitions and Penalties of this fifth Section were subsequent to and in consequence of the Commission of every Species of Enormity therein described.

In Asia, the indubitable Virginity of the Bride has ever been a requisite and most necessary Condition of a Marriage; and indeed the Warmth of Constitution in either Sex, and the universal Jealousy of the Men in those Climates, give great Propriety to the Caution; for in Women the first Breach of Chastity was always esteemed decisive; and Moses considered the Offence in at least as serious a Light as the Gentoos have done, since he ordained, that, if the Tokens of Virginity were not found upon a Girl at her Marriage, she should be stoned: A hard Fate surely, if we reflect to how many Accidents so frail an Article is liable, without any Intention or Fault of its Possessor! And if a Hindoo's Conscience is equally nice with a Jew's, upon this Point it cannot be judged extraordinary, that a particular Section of this Code should be appropriated to the Condemnation of such Practices as may violate Virginity, and destroy its Tokens, even without actual Copulation, since the Disgrace and other unhappy Consequences to the Woman are equally inevitable, to what Cause soever it be owing that the Proofs of her Chastity are deficient.

The best Security for Female Virtue is the total Absence of Temptation, and consequently, to endeavour to remove the one is a prudent Caution for the Preservation of the other. We find therefore the several Modes and Gradations of Asiatic Gallantry separately forbidden at the Beginning of this Chapter, which, by slightly punishing the first Preparatives and leading Steps to an Offence, shews a tender Concern for the Offender's Welfare, to whom it thus gives a monitory Check at the very Commencement of his Design, and before the Execution of it has subjected him to the extreme Rigour of the Law.

CHAP. XX. It may not be improper to mention upon this Chapter, that the Bramins who compiled the Code were Men far advanced in Years, as one of them above eighty, and only one under thirty-five, by way of Apology for the Observations they have selected, and the Censures they have passed upon the Conduct and Merits of the Fair Sex. Solomon however, who probably had as much Experience in Women as any Pundit in any of the Four Jogues, was nearly of the same Sentiments, as we may collect from numerous Passages in his Proverbs, one of which, in the thirtieth Chapter, so exactly corresponds with a Sentence in this Part of the Code, that the one almost seems a literal Transcript from the other. "There are," says Solomon, "Three Things that are never satisfied; yea, four Things say not, it is enough: The Grave and the Barren Womb; the Earth that is filled not with Water, and the Fire that saith not, it is enough."

The Passage in the Code will speak for itself; — so striking a Resemblance needs neither Quotation nor Comment: — Yet neither the Royal Author of the Proverbs, nor the Composers of the Shasters, are by any Means so censorious or so unjust as to deny the possibility of Excellence in the Female Sex, though they allow the Instances to be somewhat scarce, and that Wives of this Quality are only to be obtained by many and great Acts of Piety, or, as Solomon expresses it, "A Prudent Wife is from the Lord."
The many Rules laid down in this Chapter, for the Preservation of domestic Authority to the Husband, are Relicks of that characteristic Discipline of Asia, which sacred and profane Writers testify to have existed from all Antiquity; where Women have ever been the Subjects, not the Partners of their Lords, confined within the Walls of a Haram, or busied without Doors in Drudgeries little becoming their Delicacy. The Trojan Princesses were employed in washing Linen; and Rebecca was first discovered by Abraham's Servant with a Pitcher upon her Shoulder to water Camels. "Two Women shall be grinding at the Mill," says the Prophet; but the Notoriety of this Fact obviates the Necessity of Quotations: It may just be observed, that Solomon in praising a good Wife mentions, that "She rises while it is yet Night," which we must suppose to be before her Husband; and we find this to be one of the Qualifications for a good Gentoo Wife also.

The latter Part of this Chapter relates to the extraordinary Circumstance of Women's burning themselves with their deceased Husbands: — The Terms of the Injunction as there set forth are plain, moderate and conditional: "It is proper for a Woman to burn with her Husband's Corps;" and a proportionate Reward is offered in Compensation for her Sufferings. Notwithstanding the Ordinance is not in the absolute Style of a Command, it is surely sufficiently direct to stand for a Religious Duty; the only Proof that it is not positive is the Proposal of inviolable Chastity as an Alternative, though it is not to be taken for an Equivalent. The Bramins seem to look upon this Sacrifice as one of the first Principles of their Religion, the Cause of which it would hardly be orthodox to investigate.
There are however several Restrictions with respect to it, as that a Woman must not burn herself if she is with Child, nor if her Husband died at a Distance from her, unless she can procure his Turban and Girdle to put on at the Pile, with other Exceptions of the same Nature, which they closely conceal from the Eyes of the World, among the other Mysteries of their Faith: But we are convinced equally by Information and Experience, that the Custom has not for the most Part fallen into Desuetude in India, as a celebrated Writer has supposed.

CHAP. XXI. The twenty-first Chapter comprehends a Number of unconnected Articles, of which the last Section is a Kind of Peroration to the whole Work. But of such Parts of these Ordinances as relate merely to the Religious Opinions of the Hindoos we certainly are not authorized to judge; they were instituted in Conformity to their Prejudices; and the Consciences of the People, as well as the Penalties of the Law, enforce their Obedience. Hence little Observation need be made upon the accountable Prohibitions of the second Section, but that the Commission of such ridiculous Crimes, for which no possible Temptation can be pleaded, may be severely punished, without much Danger to the Generality of Mankind.

The Article of the third Section is of a more serious Nature, and contains an Injunction not unnecessary for the general Peace and good Order of every Community. The Vulgar in all Nations are tied down to the continual Exercise of bodily Labour for their own immediate Subsistence; and their Employments are as incompatible with the Leisure requisite for Religious Speculations, as their Ideas are too Gross for the Comprehension of their Subtilty; add to this, that illiterate Minds are usually so apt to kindle at the least Touch of Enthusiastic Zeal, as to make their headstrong Superstition the most dangerous of all Weapons in the Hands of a designing Partizan; like Agnee-aster, it rages with unquenchable Violence, and Separating into a Thousand Flames, all equally destructive, subsides not but with the Exaltation of a Cromwell, or a Massacre of Saint Bartholomew. Moses observed a like Severity with this Code, in prohibiting the rest of the People from any Interference with the Profession of the Priesthood; the Ordinance is issued from the Mouth of God himself: "Thou shalt appoint Aaron and his Sons, and they shall wait on their Priest's Office, and the Stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to Death."

Indeed the whole Office, as well as the sacred Preeminence of the Braminical Tribe, is almost an exact Counterpart of that of the Levitical: The Levites were particularly forbidden Wine; so are the Bramins: The Levites were more than others enjoined to avoid the Contact of all Uncleanness; so are the Bramins: The Levites were to assist the Magistrate's Judgment in difficult Cases; so are the Bramins: And, in every other Respect, the Resemblance might well authorize a Suspicion, that they had originally some remote Affinity to each other
, though Conjecture cannot possibly trace the Source of the Connexion.

The Patience of the Publick has now been sufficiently exercised and trespassed upon in this Essay, which was but designed to obviate some of the most plausible Objections, which are likely to be stated against so uncommon a Compilation. We have every where produced Instances of a Similitude between the Mosaical and the Hindoo Dispensation, though without attempting to insert the hundredth Part of what occurred upon so fruitful a Subject.

But it is not only to the Laws of Moses that this Code bears a striking Likeness; many other Parts of the Holy Scriptures may from hence be elucidated or confirmed: Thus in the Book of Genesis we find Laban excusing himself for having substituted Leah in the Place of Rachel to Jacob, in these Words: "It must not be so done in our Country, to give the Youngest (Daughter) before the First-Born:" This was long before Moses was born.— So in this Compilation it is made criminal for a Man to give his Younger Daughter in Marriage before the Elder, or for a Younger Son to marry while his Elder Brother remains unmarried.

Comparisons of this Nature will illustrate many doubtful Passages, and explain many obsolete Customs and Usages alluded to throughout the Bible; so that should no Part of these Laws be thought worthy of Adoption into the System of a British Government in Asia, they will yet well deserve the Consideration of the Politician, the Judge, the Divine, and the Philosopher, as they contain the genuine Sentiments of a great and flourishing People, at a Time when it was impossible for them to have any Connexion or Communication with the European World, upon Subjects in which all Mankind have a common Interest; as they abound with Maxims of general Policy and justice, which no Particularity of Manners, or Diversity of Religious Opinions can alter; as they may become Useful References for a Number of National and local Distinctions in our own Sacred Writings, and as the several Powers of the Mind, in the gradual Progress of Civilization, may by judicious Comparisons from hence be investigated almost to their first Principles.

The End of the Translator's Preface.
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:41 am

Translation of a Pootee, or Compilation, of the Ordinations of the Pundits.

Preliminary Discourse

FROM Men of enlightened Understandings and sound Judgment, who, in their Researches after Truth, have swept from their Hearts the Dust of Malice and Opposition, it is not concealed, that the Contrarieties of Religion, and Diversities of Belief, which are Causes of Envy, and of Enmity to the Ignorant, are in fact a manifest Demonstration of the Power of the Supreme Being: For it is evident, that a Painter, by sketching a multiplicity of Figures, and by arranging a Variety of Colours, procures a Reputation among Men; and a Gardener, for planting a Diversity of Shrubs, and for producing a Number of different Flowers, gains Credit and Commendation; wherefore it is Absurdity and Ignorance to view, in an inferior Light, him who created both the Painter and the Gardener. The truly Intelligent well know, that the Differences and Varieties of created Things are a Ray of His glorious Essence, and that the Contrarieties of Constitutions are a Type of His wonderful Attributes; whose complete Power formed all Creatures of the animal, vegetable and material World, from the four Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, to be an Ornament to the Magazine of Creation; and whose comprehensive Benevolence selected Man, the Center of Knowledge, to have the Dominion and Authority over the rest; and, having bestowed, upon this favourite Object, Judgment and Understanding, gave him Supremacy over the Corners of the World; and, when he had put into his hand the free Control and arbitrary Disposal of all Affairs, He appointed to each Tribe its own Faith, and to every Sect its own Religion; and having introduced a numerous Variety of Casts, and a multiplicity of different Customs, He views in each particular Place the Mode of Worship respectively appointed to it; sometimes He is employed with the Attendants upon the Mosque, in counting the sacred Beads; sometimes He is in the Temple, at the Adoration of Idols; the Intimate of the Mussulman, and the Friend of the Hindoo; the Companion of the Christian, and the Confidant of the Jew. Wherefore Men of exalted Notions, not being bent upon Hatred and Opposition, but considering the collected Body of Creatures as an Object of the Power of the Almighty, by investigating the Contrarieties of Sect, and the different Customs of Religion, have stamped to themselves a lasting Reputation upon the Page of the World; particularly in the extensive Empire of Hindostan, which is a most delightful Country, and wherein are collected great Numbers of Turks, of Persians, of Tartars, of Scythians, of Europeans, of Armenians, and of Abyssinians. And whereas, this Kingdom was the long Residence of Hindoos, and was governed by many powerful Roys and Rajahs, the Gentoo Religion became catholick and universal here; but when it was afterwards ravaged, in several Parts, by the Armies of Mahomedanism, a Change of Religion took place, and a Contrariety of Customs arose, and all Affairs were Transacted, according to the Principles of Faith in the conquering Party, upon which perpetual Oppositions were engendered, and continual Differences in the Decrees of justice; so that in every Place the immediate Magistrate decided all Causes according to his own Religion; and the Laws of Mahomed were the Standard of Judgment for the Hindoos. Hence Terror and Confusion found a Way to all the People, and justice was not impartially administered; wherefore a Thought suggested itself to the Governor General, the Honourable Warren Hastings, to investigate the Principles of the Gentoo Religion, and to explore the Customs of the Hindoos, and to procure a Translation of them in the Persian Language, that they might become universally known by the Perspicuity of that Idiom, and that a Book might be compiled to preclude all such contradictory Decrees in future, and that, by a proper Attention to each Religion, justice might take place impartially, according to the Tenets of every Sect. Wherefore Bramins, learned in the Shaster (whose Names are here subjoined) were invited from all Parts of the Kingdom to Fort-William, in Calcutta, which is the Capital of Bengal and Bahar, and the most authentick Books, both ancient and modern, were collected, and the original Text, delivered in the Hindoo Language, was faithfully translated by the Interpreters into the Persian Idiom. They began their Work in May, 1773, answering to the Month Jeyt, 1180 (Bengal Style) and finished it by the End of February, 1775, answering to the Month Phaugoon, 1182 (Bengal Style.)
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:42 am

Names of the Bramins, Who Compiled this Work  

Ram Gopaul Neeayalunkar
Beereeshur Punchanun
Kidhen Juin Neeayalunkar
Baneeshur Beedyalunkar
Kerpa Ram Terk Siedhaut
Kidhen Chund Sareb Bhoom
Goree Kunt Terk Siedhaut
Kishen Keisub Terkalungkar
Seeta Ram Bhet
Kalee Sunker Beedyabagees
Sham Sunder Neeay Siedhaut
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Re: A Code of Gentoo Laws, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:45 am

Glossary of Such Shascrit, Persian, and Bengal Words, As Occur In This Work.


Abkoorun, Preparation to assault.

Acharige, A Teacher of the Goiteree.

Adew, Property that may not be given away.

Adhegeerun Gerrut, A Man who performs Service to his Relations.

Adhuk, A small Weight or Measure.

Affus, Astringent.

Agbun, One of the Bengal Months, answering to Part of November and December.

Ahut, A Man pledged for a Loan.

Anoo Patuk, Imposture, Petty Crimes.

Antee Bashee, An Apprentice.

Apateree Kurrun, A Species of trifling Offences.

Arde Kheel, Land half Waste.

Arsh, One of the Five Superior Modes of Marriage.

Arteh Bherut, A Servant for pecuniary Wages.

Arzal, An inferior Tribe of the Hindoos.

Arzeez, Tin.

Ashnaw, Purification by Bathing.

Ashore, One of the Three Inferior Modes of Marriage.

Ashrufie, The most valuable Gold Coin.

Ashummeed Jugg, A religious Ceremony, in which a Horse is let loose, with certain Hindoo Texts written upon him.

Ashwamee Peikeree, One who disposes of another Person's Property without a Right so to do.

Assen, One of the Bengal Months, answering to Part of September and October.

Atee Patuk, Incest.

Ayammi Shadee, A Number of Festival Days on a Marriage.


Ban Peruft, A Hermit.

Bazar, A Market.

Beejeshukta, A Public or Common Bull.

Beekreet, A Man who voluntarily sells his own Liberty.

Beena, A Species of long Grass.

Beet, A Species of prickly Grass.

Beheerreh, An astringent Drug.

Beid, The most ancient and venerable of the Gentoo Scriptures. There are Four Beids, the Rug Beid, the Huchur Beid, the Sam Beid, and the Ahtrebun Beid.

Beopary, A travelling Merchant, or Pedlar, who carries his Goods upon Bullocks.

Berameh, One of the Five Superior Modes of Marriage.

Berayut, A Bramin's Son who is a Minor.

Berbakrut, A Man become a Slave for the Sake of a Female Slave.

Bereesocherg, A consecrated Bull suffered to go loose.

Berenge-arook, Rice cleansed without boiling.

Berhemcharry, A Man who has studied Divinity Twelve Years.

Bhadun, One of the Bengal Months, answering to Part of August and September.

Bhekut, A Slave for a Livelihood.

Bherooah, A Pimp or Attendant upon Dancing Women.

Bhertuk, A Servant.

Bhook Bherut, A Man who serves for his Subsistence.

Bhook Labbeh, Interest produced by Usufruct of any Articles pledged.

Bice, The Third original Gentoo Tribe.

Bramin, The First original Tribe of Gentoos.

Bubhar, Justice.

Bundareh, Magazines and other Offices for the Magistrate.

Bundhoo, A Bank.

Burmah, The secondary Deity and immediate Creator of all Things.

Burrun, The peculiar Mode or constitutive Particularity of each Tribe.

Burrun Sunker, The general Denomination of all Tribes, produced by the Intermixture of Two different Tribes.

Burrut, A religious Foundation.

Butkarah, A Weight of Stone.


Cahawun, A Measure of Cowries, being Sixteen Pun.

Chat-her, An Umbrella.

Chehteree, The Second original Gentoo Tribe.

Chendal, A mean Tribe of Gentoos.

Cheyt, One of the Bengal Months, answering to Part of March and April.

Chickerberdehee, Compound Interest.

Chokey, A Toll Gate.

Chokeydar, A Watchman or Guard; sometimes a Toll Gatherer.

Choperbazee, A Game of Hazard played with Three oblong Dice.

Chuckreh, A small Carriage for Burthens, a Cart.

Coin, As Gold Coin, &c. is here meant for a small Grain, or Bead of Gold current in the Country, whereof Eight make one Masheh; it is called Surkh in Persian, and Ruttee in Bengal.

Cooly, A common Porter or Carrier of Burthens.

Cose, A Measure of Two Miles nearly.

Cossid, A Messenger or Postman.

Cutcherry, A Court of justice.


Date, Inheritable Property.

Dam, A small Coin.

Dan, A religious Ceremony.

Dayavaupakut, A Slave by long Descent.

Daye Bhag, Inheritable Property.

Deep, The World; of which they, reckon Seven:
Jumboo Deep, The Hindoos say, that this habitable World, or Deep,
Pulkhoo Deep, is surrounded on every Side by the Sumooder, or main
Shoolmeloo Deep, Ocean, to the Breadth of Four Hundred Thousand
Kooshud Deep, Cose; after which commences the Second Deep, and
Keroonchud Deep, so in order.
Shakud Deep,
Pooshkerud Deep,

Deeyb, One of the Five Superior Modes of Marriage.

Deiool, A mean and adventitious Tribe among the Gentoos.

Derban, A Porter or Doorkeeper.

Dercon, A Weight or Measure.

Deu, Property which it is lawful to alienate.

Dewtah, That Deity to whom Prayers are to be offered.

Doll, Any Pulse broken.

Doob, Fine Grass.

Doot, An Agent or Hircarrah.

Doss, A Slave.

Dote, All Games of Hazard.

Duchneh, Certain Fees paid to a Bramin for performingWorship for any Person.

Dunr Parish, Assault.

Dutt, Gifts unapproved, or which may be taken back.

Dutta, Things given away, which may not be taken back.


Eenakul Bebrut, A Slave whose Life has been saved in Famine.

Enahut, A Second Deposit of Articles deposited in Trust to any Person.


Fateheh Buzurgwar, An Offering made for the Souls of deceased Ancestors.


Gansee Jikkheh, A Consumption, or Spitting of Blood and Phlegm.

Gehennum, Hell.

Gerhejat, A Child born to a Master, by a Female Slave.

Ghee, Clarified Butter.

Gheerus, A voluntary Slave for a certain Time.

Gherbut, A City of the smallest Size.

Ghurrie, A Measure of Time, comprehending Twenty-four Minutes.

Goiteree, A Gentoo Incantation.

Gomastah, An Agent.

Gram, Is a Word used by the English for a Kind of Tare; in the Bengal Language, it means a Village.

Gundae, Four Cowries.


Hackery, An Indian Carriage.

Haram, A Seraglio.

Haut, A Weekly Market for various Goods.

Hejamut, The Profession of Barber, which consists in Shaving, Paring the Nails, &c.

Hircarrah, A Spy, or Messenger.

Howaleh, A Deposit of Property in full Confidence.

Hurreh, An astringent Drug.


Ihtimamdar, A Superintendant, or Lieutenant Governor.

Inderjo, A Drug of no Estimation, that grows wild, in the Woods.

Istrum, Orders or Ranks of Men.


Jatee Bherun Kushker, A Species of petty Offences.

Jee Potr, A Statement and Decree.

Jeyt, A Bengal Month, answering to Part of May and June.

Joodeh Perraput, A Slave taken in War.

Joojun, A Measure of Four Cose.

Jootese, The Book of Gentoo Astronomy.

Jugg, A religious Ceremony.

Jungle, Lands wholly uncultivated.


Kandehrub, One of the Five Superior Modes of Marriage.

Kartee-au, A voluntary Offer of Increase of Interest.

Kaseh, A Mixture of Tin and Copper.

Kau-ee-kau, Interest paid Yearly.

Kauleekau, Interest paid Monthly.

Keereeut, A purchased Slave.

Keheet Dershen, Assault and Bloodshed.

Kehta, A Son of a Sooder begotten upon a Chehteree.

Keroor, A fabulous Bird.

Kheel, Waste Land.

Kheet, A City of the Second Size.

Khieu, A Bridge.

Kombeh, A large Weight or Measure.

Koodup, A smaller Weight or Measure.

Kooloo, The Cocoa Tree.

Koonchy, A smaller Weight or Measure.

Koosm, A Sort of Flowers used in Dying.

Kose, A Species of Herb or Grass.

Kunjud, Rape Seed.

Kureelah, A small Vegetable of a very bitter Taste.


Leekbuk, A Secretary or Writer.

Lubdehee, A Slave found by Accident.

Lut, A creeping Tree; also the Name of a Bird.

Lutta, The Name of a large Tree.


Maasiser, A Species of Flowers used in Dying.

Maha Patuk, Murder, and other heinous Crimes. Masheh of Silver, 1/10 of a Silver Rupee.

Masheh of Gold, 1/12 of an Ashrusie.

Meet-hul, An Inhabitant of Methilla, a famous Town for Bramins of Learning, in the West, near the Soubab of Oude, about 15 Days Journey from Benares.

Melabhoo, A Species of lesser Offences.

Mookhud, A Debtor who has given himself up as a Slave to his Creditor.

Moonshi, A Writer or Secretary.

Muluch, The general Name for Tribes who have no Prohibition with respect to Food.

Muntur, A Text of the Shaster.

Musnud, A Throne, or Seat of Dignity.

Mut-hooter, A Denial.


Nandee Mookheh, A Ceremony preparative to a Marriage.

Neeash, A Deposit to prevent the Seizure of Effects.

Needee, To find any lost Article.

Neekbeep, A Deposit in Confidence.

Neemtuk-kerm, Occasional Worship for Holidays.

Neeshungpat, Assault without Bloodshed.

Nigher, A large City.

Nullah, A Brook.

Nut-kerm, Daily Worship.


Opookut, A voluntary Slave.

Opoo-Patuk, Small Offences.

Oulah, A Drug which when beaten up with Oil is used as an Ointment for the Hair, by the vulgar Women in Bengal.


Paan, The Beetle Plant.

Paddee, Rice unprepared.

Pak-Parish, False Accusation.

Paus, 1/4 of a Day, or Six Hours.

Peepul, A bitter Drug.

Pehteck, A White Stone, Chrystal.

Peiadac, A Guard to accompany a Prisoner at large.

Peishach, One of the Three Inferior Modes of Marriage.

Perajapat, One of the Five Superior Modes of Marriage.

Perashchut, Expiation, Recovery.

Perberja-besheet, A Sinassee made a Slave for Apostacy.

Perkernukka, A Species of petty Offences.

Perranek Neeay, Appeal to a former Decision.

Pertubbish Gunden, Acknowledgment of a Claim without Ability to pay it.

Perusht, A small Weight or Measure.

Phaugoon, One of the Bengal Months, answering to Part of February and March.

Plass, The Name of a Tree.

Poojeh, Worship.

Poojeh Sershuttee, Worihip to Sershuttee, who is the Goddess of Letters.

Pooran, One of the Gentoo Scriptures upon History.

Pooshtee-kerm, Prayers for Health and Prosperity.

Pooshteh-bundee, Embankments of Rivers.

Pooskul, A small Weight or Measure.

Pootee, A Book, or Compilation.

Pul, A small Weight or Measure.

Pun, Twenty Gundaes of Cowries.

Pundit, A learned Bramin.

Punjeet, A Slave who has lost his Liberty, as a Stake at some Game.

Puntubbee-baden, A Salute or Reverence paid by a Bride to the Bridegroom.

Purrickhay, Assay of Metals.

Purrikeh, Trial by Ordeal.


Rajah, A Hindoo Prince or Monarch.

Rakhus, One of the Three Inferior Modes of Marriage.

Roy, A Hindoo Prince.

Rozidus-harch, Certain Holidays in the Month Assen, in which Period the pompous Worship and Burial of the Hindoo Deities are celebrated.

Ryot, A Tenant, a Subject.


Sadheh, Certain Food and Treatment for Women in the last State of Pregnancy.

Sagh, Vegetables, Greens.

Santee-kerm, Extraordinary Prayers upon any Calamity.

Saul, A large Timber Tree.

Seboos, Bran.

Seekhauberdehee, Interest to be paid daily.

Seemul, A Species of Cotton.

Sejjah, A fenced Terras. Ser, An Herb.

Seradeh, Feasts in Honour of the Dead.

Seradeh Amawus, A Festival at the End of every Month.

Seradeh aperpukh, A preparatory Festival to the Rozidus-hareh.

Seradeh Buzurgwar, A Festival of deceased Ancestors.

Seradeh-nowann, An Offering made once a Year in the Month Aghun.

Serwutteree, A Bramin learned in the Beids.

Sesamum, Mustard.

Sewarree, All necessary travelling Equipage, the Suit of a Person of Distinction, &c.

Shaghur, A Deity of the Gentoos.

Shahesh, Violence.

Shait, Bridges or Embankments of Rivers.

Shallee, Rice unprepared, the same as Paddee.

Shanscrit, The Language of the Gentoo Scriptures.

Shaster, The Gentoo Scriptures in general.

Shebbi Deijore, Nights whereon the Moon does not appear.

Shebbi Tareckee, The same as Shebbi Deijore.

Sheertee, A certain Part of the Gentoo Scriptures, containing the Legislation of the Hindoos.

Shemabhee, Games of fighting Animals, &c.

Shepak, A Son of a Kehta and a Wokree.

Shish, A Student in Divinity and Science.
Shumpertee-putt, Confession, Acknowledgment.

Shunkeree kurrun, A Species of petty Crimes.

Sinassee, A Bramin under Vows of Pilgrimage.

Sooder, The Fourth or lowest original Tribe of Gentoos.

Sooradhuch, A Mark of Infamy, to be branded in the Forehead of a Bramin, for drinking Wine.

Sumooder, The Sea or main Ocean.

Sungsersut-heh, The Connexion of a Family formed after the First Separation.

Sunkha, A Sea Shell, commonly called Chank.

Sunnud, A Title Deed, a Grant.


Tagur, The domestick Idol of Gentoo Adoration.

Terkarree, The Species of Gourds.

Tokerie, A Basket.

Tolecheh, A Weight, containing Ten Mashehs of Silver and Twelve of Gold.

Turb, Radishes.

Turreh, Vegetables.

Tyor, Sour Cream.


Vakeel, An Attorney, or Agent.


Wokree, The Daughter of a Chehteree, begotten upon a Sooder Woman.


Zeearut, A consecrated Spot of Ground.

Zukkoom, The Name of a Tree.
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