Tekst
Onderstaande tekst is niet 100% betrouwbaar

Sürya, Qukra, Garutmat, Brhaspati, Vasistha, Qakra, Pitamaha, the Great Bear, it is so evident that few would deny it. But there is no difference of character between the sun, &c., and Garga, Paragara, Kagyapa, Vajra, &c. If to the generality of Hindus Garga, Paragara, Narada are persons, instead of personifications, it is because Stïrya, Indra and Pitamaha are persons in the same manner. They have the merit of being at least consistent. That there were historical persons bearing patronymics derived from Vasistha, Garga, Bharadvaja and tutti quanti, proves as little for the historical existence of those Rsis, as the undoubtedly historical existenceof the Heraclidze proves Hercules to have been a person, instead of the sun in his yearly course. Paragara, Garga and Vajra are, so far as I am able to see, nothing else but synonyms of Brhaspati. Whatever opinion one may entertain about their mythical or historical character, it is necessar) to keep in view that the books which profess to derive their authority from those Rsis are composed sundry thousands of years after the supposed age of the sages. For shortness sake one may say Garga instead of the book beaiing his name, where no ambiguity can be the result.

To begin with Parapara, he is a prominent figure is some Puranas. Some information about him is gathered in Wilson's translation of the Visnupurana (ed. F. E. Hall, p. 8.) In the Maha-Bharata (I. Ch. 176) his name is Qaktiputra 1 ; Varaha-mihira in the Brh. Jat. VII. I. calls him (^aktipurva. Both names convey the same meaning, £aktiputra being «the son of strength», the latter «originating in, or resulting from strength». Weber remarks that Paragara is considered to be the most ancient of Hindu astronomers, and that the second in order of time is Garga. Upon what this notice is based, I do not know, but he is certainly not generally so represented. All those mythical astronomers derive their knowledge immediately from Pitamaha or Brhaspati, and it is far from the intention of the epic poems, I dare say, to distinguish the Rsis in time. Where poets ascribe to their Rsis or other personifications a life of many thousand years, the\ think or care little about chronology. This much is certain, if one wishes to classify Paragara, Garga, the sun, & c., according to the time at which they are fancied to have lived, one must acknowledge Pitamaha as the first as-

attempt on tho part of destructive criticism. To those it seems perfectly natural that generations after generations of individuals and nations have quietly sat down to framo fables which would be most stupid, preposterous and immoral, unless their meaning is unriddled by destructive criticism. Happily criticism, whether right or wrong, lias the

merit of holding the more charitable view.

1 F. E. Iiall (1. c.) remarks that (Jakti is «hardly the name of a male». As if a male

were intended! Qakti is the heavenly power of Indra-Agni.

5 Indische Literaturgeschich'te (1852), p. 225.

Sluiten