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WEBB, Missionary of the A. B. C. F. M. in Southern India.
AMERICAN ORIENTAL SOCIETY :
Proceedings at New Haven, Oct. 17th and 18th, 1860.
In the fifteenth volume of the Asiatic Researches, pp. 437– 443, an English rendering will be found, executed by Captain Fell, and published posthumously, of the record here presented in its own terms and translated anew. But Captain Fell, it should appear, had not seen the first, thirty.ninth, and forty-fourth stan. zas, and that which follows the forty-eighth, agreeably to the numbering of the inscriptionist. As for the rest, his labors in connection with the monument under notice were manifestly cut short by his death. This inference is, indeed, fully authorized by the fact that his version of the original was left unaccompanied by any commentation ; whereas a land-grant, forming part of the same paper with that version, is annotated in copious detail. Except for the circumstance of his untimely decease, many of the laxities with which his interpretation of the ensuing text is justly chargeable, as it stands, would also, perhaps, have un. dergone redress.
Sir Henry Sleeman, in the August number of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for 1837, has discoursed at length on the bistorical, or postmythical, princes of Mandala, on the basis of native documents. These documents, as might be antici. pated, exhibit a liberal element of the incredible. They consist of two manuscript works in the Hindi language, of anonymous authorship. Copies of both are in my possession. One of them is considerably more specific than the other; and they are not seldom irreconcilable. As, however, we have to do so largely, in these accounts, with palpable fables, it matters little that they contradict each other. Solely with a view to bring forward a specimen of the manner in which the Hindus associate fact and
fiction, do I consent to dwell, for a few moments, on such a sorry substitute for sober chronicles.
According to my vouchers, the earliest among the modern rulers of Mandala were Haihaya Rajputs, of the lineage of the thousand-armed Arjuna. A story is current--all circumstantial- . ity discarded—that, in the days of Nizam Shah, a copper-plate patent, emanating from one of them, and bearing the date of Samvat 201, or A. D. 143, was exhumed and deciphered. Their seats of government were Manipura, Champávati, and Mahishmatí; now known as Ratnapura, Lánjí, and Mandala. This group of families having become extinct, the Gonds obtained the ascendant.
At the period when the Gonds predominated, the lord of Mahishmatí repaired to Amarakantaka for the purpose of ceremonial ablution. Attached to his train, in some ministerial quality, was one Yadava Raya, a Kachhwáhá Rajput of Khándesh. Once, at midnight, while the rest of the camp slumbered, Yadava was doing duty as sentry. Suddenly there passed by, in the darkness, without speaking, two Gond men and a woman of the same race, as they were in seeming. And then came a monkey, bear. ing in bis hand the feather of a peacock. This he threw down, and followed the wayfarers. Yádava's turn of watch having expired, he slept; when, in a vision, Narmada, the impersonation of the river so-called, stood before him. The men and the woman whom he had taken for Gonds were not so, she informed him, but Ráma, Lakshmaņa, and Sítá; and the supposed ordinary monkey was Hanumat. Yádava's fortune was to be most propitious; for those sacrosanct beings rarely show themselves in the Iron Age. On his pressing Narmadá for more definite indications, she reminded him of the feather dropped by the monkey. Peacock-feathers are worn on the head by Gonds; and the omen which he had witnessed was significant. Accession to the headship of the Gonds was destined as his lot. He was to visit Gadhá, the chieftain of which place was a Gond. Him he should succeed eventually, by voluntary demission of power. A Brahman of Rámanagara, cherisher of a perpetual fire, would aid him with counsel Yadava, his end achieved, was to entertain this Brahman as his premier.
In the course of a few days, Yadava resigned his place near his master and bent his steps to Gadhá. On conferring with the Brahman who had been designated, he was advised to engage himself, as an attendant, to the King of Gadhá. This he did, and by and bye insinuated himself into the entire confidence of his new lord. Arrived at the dignity of treasurer, he was joined by his family from Khandesh. The King, who had but one child, and that a daughter, proposed to contract her to Yádava, widower, on presumption. To this overture Yadava excepted, on