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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.1
My primary object in this volume, as in its predecessor, has been to produce a work which may assist the researches of those Hindus who desire to investigate critically the origin and history of their nation, and of their national literature, religion, and institutions; and may facilitate the operations of those European teachers whose business it is to communicate to the Hindus the results of modern inquiry on the various subjects here examined. The book (as will at once be apparent to the Oriental scholar) is, for the most part, either a compilation, or, at the least, founded on the labours of others; but while my principal aim has been to furnish the reader with a summary of the results of preceding inquiries, my plan has, at the same time, rendered it necessary for me occasionally to institute fresh researches in different directions for the further elucidation of particular points which were touched upon in the course
[This Preface is now reprinted with hardly any alteration, excepting such as has been rendered necessary by the difference in the numbers of the pages in which the several topics are treated, and by some additions and omissions.]
* This peculiarity in the object of the treatise will account to the European scholar for the introduction of many details which would otherwise have been quite superfluous.
of my argument. In this way I may have succeeded in contributing a small proportion of original matter to the discussion of some of the interesting topics which have come under review.
The obligations under which I lie to the different authors, whose labours have furnished the chief materials of the volume, have been, in most instances, so fully acknowledged in detail in the following pages, that it is not necessary for me to allude to them here more particularly. I must, however, refer to the assistance which I have derived from the French version of the Rigveda by M. Langlois, which, with his index, has directed my attention to various important passages in the later books, which I was then enabled to study in the original.
Though a small portion only of the present volume consists of "Sanskrit texts," which in some parts are altogether wanting, and in others but thinly scattered, (apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto) I have not considered it necessary to abandon the old title, but it has been slightly modified.
Although some idea of the object and contents of the volume may be gained from a perusal of the introductory statement of its plan (in pp. 1–3), and from the table at the close of this Preface, it may conduce to the convenience of those readers who, before entering on a perusal of the work, desire to obtain a more precise conception of the course of the discussion, and of the process by which I have sought to establish my conclusions, if I subjoin here a brief concatenated summary of the principal topics in order,
The general object of the present Part is to prove
that the Hindus were not indigenous in India, but have immigrated into that country from Central Asia, where their ancestors at one time formed one community with the progenitors of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Germans, etc. In order to establish this result, I have sought to show that Sanskrit, the original language of the Hindus, exhibits undeniable marks of close affinity to the ancient languages of the other races just mentioned; and that the earliest religion, and mythology also, of India are connected with those of Persia by various points of contact and resemblance. Having adduced evidence on both these heads, and argued that these facts imply a common origin of the nations in question, and their subsequent dispersion from one common centre towards the different regions in which they ultimately settled; I endeavour to fortify the conclusions to which we are thus conducted by demonstrating that, in the earliest ages of their history, the ancestors of the Hindus appear to have occupied only the north-western corner of Hindustan; and that, while they were connected on the one hand by affinities of language and religion with the nations of the west, they were on the other hand distinguished, both by language and by institutions, from certain other tribes with whom they came into collision as they advanced across the north of India, and afterwards diffused themselves to the south of the peninsula: for if we find that the Hindus originally possessed only the Panjab, the presumption (derived from
[This proposition has been so far modified in the second edition that I now only insist on at least one of the elements in the ancestry of the Hindus having belonged to the Indo-European stock.]
other considerations) that they immigrated from the north-west, becomes strengthened; and if, again, on their advance to the south-east, they encountered tribes with a different language and religion, already in occupation of those tracts, the probability that they did not grow up in India, alongside of these alien tribes, acquires
In order to obtain a basis for carrying out the philological portion of this argument, viz., for comparing the original language of the Hindus with those of the Persians, Greeks, and Latins, it became necessary for me to prove that the Sanskrit, which is now a learned language only, was at one time spoken by the ancestors of the Hindus. This I have attempted to do in the First Chapter (pp. 4-214), by showing in detail that the original Sanskrit idiom has undergone a long series of gradual mutations, of which we now see the ultimate result in the modern vernacular dialects of the north of India. The method which I have adopted to exhibit this has been to begin (Section i., pp. 4–11) with the existing spoken dialects, Urdu, Hindi, Mahratti, etc., and to show what the elements are of which they are composed, viz., (1) pure Sanskrit, (2) modified Sanskrit, (3) Desya or aboriginal non-Sanskrit words, and (4) words derived from Arabic and Persian. The fourth element is the latest which they have acquired, and dates only from the Mahomedan invasion; while the second and third (in a more or less different form) are common to them with the Prakrits, or older vernacular dialects, out of which they grew.
In the succeeding sections (ii.-vii., pp. 11-128) an