Chapter II

The Clans and Nations

IT is much the same with the clans. We have a good deal of information, which is, however, at the best only fragmentary, about three or four of them. Of the rest we have little more than the bare names.

More details are given, very naturally, of the Sākiya clan than of the others. The general position of their country is intimated by the distances given from other places.[1] It must have been just on the border of Nepalese and English territory, as is now finally settled by the recent discoveries of the tope or burial-mound put up by the Sākiyas over the portion they retained of the relics from the Buddha's funeral pyre, and of Asoka's inscription, in situ, recording his visit to the Lumbini garden in which the Buddha was born.[2] Which of the numerous ruins in the immediate vicinity [18] of these discoveries are those of Kapilavastu, the chief town of the clan, and which are the remains of the other townships belonging to them, will be one of the questions to be solved by future exploration.[3] Names of such townships mentioned in the most ancient texts are Cātumā, Sāmagāma, Khomadussa, Silāvatī, Metalupa Ulumpa, Sakkara, and Devadaha.

It was at the last-mentioned place that the mother of the Buddha was born. And the name of her father is expressly given as Añjana the Sākiyan.[4] When, therefore, we find in much later records the statements that she was of Koliyan family; and that Prince Devadaha, after whom the town was so named, was a Koliyan chief, the explanation may well be that the Koliyans were a sort of subordinate subdivision of the Sākiya clan.

The existence of so considerable a number of market towns implies, in an agricultural community, a rather extensive territory. Buddhaghosa has preserved for us an old tradition that the Buddha had eighty thousand families of relatives on the father's side and the same on the mother's side.[5] Allowing six or seven to a family, including the dependents, this would make a total of about a million persons in the Sākiya territory. And though the figure is purely traditional, and at best a round [19] number (and not uninfluenced by the mystic value attached to it), it is, perhaps, not so very far from what we might expect.

The administrative and judicial business of the clan was carried out in public assembly, at which young and old were alike present, in their common Mote Hall (santhāgāra) at Kapilavastu. It was at such a parliament, or palaver, that King Pasenadi's proposition (above, p. 11) was discussed. When Ambaṭṭha goes to Kapilavastu on business, he goes to the Mote Hall where the Sākiyas were then in session.[6] And it is to the Mote Hall of the Mallas that Ānanda goes to announce the death of the Buddha, they being then in session there to consider that very matter.[7]

A single chief — how, and for what period chosen, we do not know — was elected as office-holder, presiding over the sessions, and, if no sessions were sitting, over the State. He bore the title of rāja, which must have meant something like the Roman consul, or the Greek archon. We hear nowhere of such a triumvirate as bore corresponding office among the Licchavis, nor of such acts of kingly sovereignty as are ascribed to the real kings mentioned above. But we hear at one time[8] that Bhaddiya, a young cousin of the Buddha's, was the rāja; and in another passage, Suddhodana, the Buddha's father (who is elsewhere spoken of as a simple citizen, Suddhodana the Sākiyan), is called the rāja.

A new Mote Hall, built at Kapilavastu, was [20] finished whilst the Buddha was staying at the Nigrodhārāma (the pleasaunce under the Banyan Grove) in the Great Wood (the Mahāvana) near by. There was a residence there, provided by the community, for recluses of all schools. Gotama was asked to inaugurate the new hall, and he did so by a series of ethical discourses, lasting through the night, delivered by himself, Ānanda, and Moggallāna. They are preserved for us in full at M. 1. 353, foll., and S. 4. 182, foll.

Besides this Mote Hall at the principal town we hear of others at some of the other towns above referred to. And no doubt all the more important places had such a hall, or pavilion, covered with a roof, but with no walls, in which to conduct their business. And the local affairs of each village were carried on in open assembly of the householders, held in the groves which, then as now, formed so distinctive a feature of each village in the long and level alluvial plain. It was no doubt in this plain, stretching about fifty miles from east to west, and thirty or forty miles to the southward from the foot of Himalaya Hills, that the majority of the clan were resident.

The clan subsisted on the produce of their rice-fields and their cattle. The villages were grouped round the rice-fields, and the cattle wandered through the outlying forest, over which the peasantry, all Sākiyas by birth, had rights of common. There were artisans, probably not Sākiyas, in each village; and men of certain special trades of a higher standing; the carpenters, smiths, and potters for instance, had villages of their own. So also had the brahmins, [21] whose services were in request at every domestic event. Khomadussa, for instance, was a brahmin settlement. There were a few shops in the bazaars, but we do not hear of any merchants and bankers such as are mentioned as dwelling at the great capitals of the adjoining kingdoms. The villages were separated one from another by forest jungle, the remains of the Great Wood (the Mahā Vana), portions of which are so frequently mentioned as still surviving throughout the clanships, and which must originally (not so very long, probably, before the time under discussion) have stretched over practically the whole level country between the foot of the mountains and the Great River, the Ganges. After the destruction of the clans by the neighbouring monarchies this jungle again spread over the country. From the fourth century onwards, down to our own days, the forest covered over the remains of the ancient civilisation.

This jungle was infested from time to time by robbers, sometimes runaway slaves.[9] But we hear of no crime, and there was not probably very much, in the villages themselves — each of them a tiny self-governed republic. The Koliyan central authorities were served by a special body of peons, or police, distinguished, as by a kind of uniform, from which they took their name, by a special headdress. These particular men had a bad reputation for extortion and violence.[10] The Mallas had similar officials,[11] and it is not improbable that each of the clans had a somewhat similar set of subordinate servants.

[22] A late tradition tells us how the criminal law was administered in the adjoining powerful confederate clan of the Vajjians, by a succession of regularly appointed officers, — "Justices, lawyers, rehearsers of the law-maxims, the council of representatives of the eight clans, the general, the vice-consul, and the consul himself." Each of these could acquit the accused. But if they considered him guilty, each had to refer the case to the next in order above them, the consul finally awarding the penalty according to the Book of Precedents. We hear of no such intermediate officials in the smaller clans; and even among the Vajjians (who, by the by, are all called "rājas" in this passage), it is not likely that so complicated a procedure was actually followed.[12] But a book of legal precedents is referred to elsewhere,[13] and tables of the law also.[14] It is therefore not improbable that written notes on the subject were actually in use.

The names of other clans, besides the Sākiyas, are:
2. The Bhaggas of Sumsumāra Hill.
3. The Bulis of Allakappa.
4. Kālāmas of Kesaputta.
5. The Koliyas of Rāma-gāma.
6. The Mallas of Kusinārā.
7. The Mallas of Pāvā.
8. The Moriyas of Pipphalivana.
9. The Videhas of Mithilā. } Vajjians.
10. The Licchavis of Vesāli. } Vajjians.

[23] There are several other names of tribes of which it is not yet known whether they were clans or under monarchical government. We have only one instance of any tribe, once under a monarchy, reverting to the independent state. And whenever the supreme power in a clan became hereditary, the result seems always to have been an absolute monarchy, without legal limitations of any kind.

The political divisions of India at or shortly before the time when Buddhism arose are well exemplified by the stock list of the Sixteen Great Countries, the Sixteen Powers, which is found in several places in the books.[15] It is interesting to notice that the names are names, not of countries, but of peoples, as we might say Italians or Turks. This shows that the main idea in the minds of those who drew up, or used, this old list was still tribal and not geographical. The list is as follows:

1. Angā
2. Magadhā
3. Kāsī
4. Kosalā
5. Vajjī
6. Mallā
7. Cetī
8. Vaṃsā
9. Kurū
10. Pañcālā
11. Macchā
12. Sūrasenā
13. Assakā
14. Avantī
15. Gandhārā
16. Kambojā

1. The Angas dwelt in the country to the east of Magadhā, having their capital at Champā, near the [24] modern Bhagalpur. Its boundaries are unknown. In the Buddha's time it was subject to Magadhā, and we never hear of its having regained independence. But in former times[16] it was independent, and there are traditions of wars between these neighbouring countries. The Angā rāja in the Buddha's time was simply a wealthy nobleman, and we only know of him as the grantor of a pension to a particular brahmin.[17]

2. The Magadhas, as is well known, occupied the district now called Behar. It was probably then bounded to the north by the Ganges, to the east by the river Champā, on the south by the Vindhya Mountains, and on the west by the river Soṇa. In the Buddha's time (that is, inclusive of Angā) it is said to have had eighty thousand villages[18] and to have been three hundred leagues (about twenty-three hundred miles) in circumference.[19]

3. The Kāsis are of course the people settled in the district round Benares. In the time of the Buddha this famous old kingdom of the Bhāratas had fallen to so low a political level that the revenues of the township had become a bone of con-tension between Kosalā and Magadhā, and the kingdom itself was incorporated into Kosalā. Its mention in this list is historically important, as we must conclude that the memory of it as an independent state was still fresh in men's minds. This is confirmed by the very frequent mention of it as such in the Jātakas, where it is said to have been over two [25] thousand miles in circuit.[20] But it never regained independence; and its boundaries are unknown.

4. The Kosalas were the ruling clan in the kingdom whose capital was Sāvatthi, in what is now Nepal, seventy miles north-west of the modern Gorakhpur. It included Benares and Sāketa; and probably had the Ganges for its southern boundary, the Gandhak for its eastern boundary, and the mountains for its northern boundary. The Sākiyas already acknowledged, in the seventh century B.C., the suzerainty of Kosalā.

It was the rapid rise of this kingdom of Kosalā, and the inevitable struggle in the immediate future between it and Magadhā, which was the leading point in the politics of the Buddha's time. These hardy mountaineers had swept into their net all the tribes between the mountains and the Ganges. Their progress was arrested on the east by the free clans. And the struggle between Kosalā and Magadhā for the paramount power in all India was, in fact, probably decided when the powerful confederation of the Licchavis became arrayed on the side of Magadhā. Several successful invasions of Kāsī by the Kosalans under their kings, Vanka, Dabbasena, and Kaṃsa, are referred to a date before the Buddha's time. And the final conquest would seem to be ascribed to Kaṃsa, as the epithet "Conqueror of Benares" is a standing addition to his name.[21]

5. The Vajjians included eight confederate clans, [26] of whom the Licchavis and the Videhans were the most important. It is very interesting to notice that while tradition makes Videha a kingdom in earlier times, it describes it in the Buddha's time as a republic. Its size, as a separate kingdom, is said to have been three hundred leagues (about twenty-three hundred miles) in circumference.[22] Its capital, Mithilā, was about thirty-five miles north-west from Vesāli, the capital of the Licchavis. There it was that the great King Janaka ruled a little while before the rise of Buddhism.[23] And it is probable that the modern town of Janak-pur preserves in its name a memory of this famous rajput scholar and philosopher of olden time.

6. The Mallas of Kusinārā and Pāvā were also independent clans, whose territory, if we may trust the Chinese pilgrims, was on the mountain slopes to the east of the Sākiya land, and to the north of the Vajjian confederation. But some would place it south of the Sākiyas and east of the Vajjians.

7. The Cetis were probably the same tribe as that called Cedi in older documents, and had two distinct settlements. One, probably the older, was in the mountains, in what is now called Nepal.[24] The other, probably a later colony, was near Kosambī to the east[25] and has been even confused with the land of the Vaṃsā, from which this list makes them distinct.[26]

[27] 8. Vaṃsā is the country of the Vacchas, of which Kosambī, properly only the name of the capital, is the more familiar name. It lay immediately to the north of Avantī, and along the banks of the Jumna.

9. The Kurus occupied the country of which In-draprastha, close to the modern Delhi, was the capital; and had the Panchalas to the east, and the Matsyas to the south. Tradition gives the kingdom a circumference of two thousand miles.[27] They had very little political importance in the Buddha's time. It was at Kammāssa-dhamma in the Kurū country that several of the most important Suttantas — the Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna, for instance, and the Mahā Nidāna — were delivered. And Raṭṭhapāla was a Kurū noble.[28]

10. The two Pañcālas occupied the country to the east of the Kurus, between the mountains and the Ganges. Their capitals were Kampilla and Kanoj.

11. The Macchas, or Matsyas, were to the south of the Kurus and west of the Jumna, which separated them from the Southern Pañcālas.

12. The Sūrasenas, whose capital was Madhurā, were immediately south-west of the Macchas, and west of the Jumna.

13. The Assakas had, in the Buddha's time, a settlement on the banks of the Godhāvari.[29] Their capital was Potana, or Potali.[30] The country is mentioned with Avantī in the same way as Angā is with Magadhā,[31] and its position on this list, between Sūrasenā and Avantī, makes it probable that, when [28] the list was drawn up, its position was immediately north-west of Avantī. In that case the settlement on the Godhāvari was a later colony; and this is confirmed by the fact that there is no mention of Potana (or Potali) there. The name of the tribe is also ambiguous. Sanskrit authors speak both of A.smakā and of A.svakā. Each of these would be Assakā, both in the local vernacular and in Pāli. And either there were two distinct tribes so called, or the Sanskrit form A.svakā is a wrong reading, or a blunder in the Sanskritisation of Assakā.

14. Avantī, the capital of which was Ujjeni, was ruled over by King Caṇḍa Pajjota (Pajjota the Fierce) referred to above. The country, much of which is rich land, had been colonised or conquered by Aryan tribes who came down the Indian valley, and turned west from the Gulf of Kach. It was called Avantī at least as late as the second century A.D.,[32] but from the seventh or eighth century onwards it was called Mālava.

15. Gandhārā, modern Kandahar, was the district of Eastern Afghanistan, and it probably included the north-west of the Panjab. Its capital was Takkāsīla. The King of Gandhārā in the Buddha's time, Pukkusāti, is said to have sent an embassy and a letter to King Bimbisāra of Magadhā.[33]

16. Kambojā was the adjoining country in the extreme north-west, with Dvāraka as its capital.

From the political point of view this list is curious. Some names we should expect to find — Sivi, for in- [29] stance, and Madda and Sovīra, and Udyāna and Virāta — are not there. The Mallas and the Cetis occupy a position much more important than they actually held in the early years of Buddhism. Vesāli, soon to become a "Magadhā town,"[34] is still independent. And Angā and Kāsī, then incorporated in neighbouring kingdoms, arc apparently looked upon as of equal rank with the others. It is evident that this was an old list, corresponding to a state of things existent some time before, and handed on by tradition in the Buddhist schools. But this only adds to its interest and importance.

Geographically also the list is very suggestive. No place south of Avantī (about 23ḥ N.) occurs in it; and it is only at one place that the list goes even so far to the south as that. Not only is the whole of South India and Ceylon ignored in it, but there is also no mention of Orissa, of Bengal east of the Ganges, or even of the Dekkan. The horizon of those who drew up the list is strictly bounded on the north by the Himālayas, and on the south (except at this one point) by the Vindhya range, on the west by the mountains beyond the Indus, and on the east by the Ganges as it turns to the south.

The books in which the list has been preserved have preserved also abundant evidence of a further stage of political movement. And in geographical knowledge they look at things from an advanced point of view. They know a very little farther south at the one point where the old list goes farthest in that direction.

[30] The expression Dakkhiṇāpatha which occurs in an isolated passage in one of our oldest documents[35] cannot indeed possibly mean the whole country comprised in our modern phrase the Dekkan. But it is used, in the very passage in question, as descriptive of a remote settlement or colony on the banks of the upper Godhāvari.[36] The expression does not occur in any one of the Four Nikāyas. When it appears again, in a later stage,[37] it seems still to refer only, in a vague way, to the same limited district, on the banks of the Godhāvari. And it is coupled with Avantī, the Avantī of the ancient list.

The expression, in its form, is curious. It means "the Southern Road," a strange name to apply to any fixed locality. Already in a Vedic hymn[38] though it is one of the latest, we hear of a banished man going along the "path of the South." No doubt at different times different points on that path had been reached. In the Buddha's time the most southerly town is given (at S. N. 1011) as Patiṭṭhāna, the place afterwards called Paithana, and Baithana by the Greeks (73ḥ 2 E. by 21ḥ 42' N.). And the extreme southerly point reached at all is the hermitage on the Godhāvari, about 20ḥ N.[39] [31] One place still farther south may possibly be referred to incidentally as known in the Buddha's time. A teacher of olden time named Tagara-sikhin, is several times mentioned.[40] Sikhin is otherwise known as a name, and the distinctive epithet Tagara may possibly be local, and mean "of Tagara," the modern Ter, 76ḥ 12' E. by 18ḥ, 19' N.[41] But the point is very doubtful, the place is not mentioned elsewhere, and I think another explanation of the name is more likely.

Besides this extension in the Dekkan, the Nikāyas speak also of sea voyages out of sight of land[42] and they mention the Kalinga forest,[43] and the settlement on the coast there, with its capital Dantapura.[44] The Vinaya has a probable reference to Bharukaccha,[45] and the Udāna one to Suppāraka.[46] These points, taken together (and no doubt others can be traced), show a marked advance in geographical knowledge. But it is suggestive to notice that the advance is limited, and that there is still no reference whatever either to South India or to Ceylon, which play so great a part in the story of the Rāmāyaṇa.[47]

These geographical considerations are of very considerable importance for the history of later [32] Vedic and early Sanskrit literature. They go far to confirm Professor Bhandarkar's recent views as to the wholesale recasting of brahmin literature in the Gupta period. If Āpastamba, for instance, as Hofrath Dr. Bühler thought, and Hiranya-Kesin, wrote in the south, below the Godhāvari, then they must be later than the books whose evidence we have been considering.

The consideration of this question has been hindered by a generally accepted hypothesis which does not fit the facts. It is supposed that the course of Aryan migration lay along the valleys of the Ganges and the Jumna. It cannot have been so simple. We must postulate at least two other lines of equal importance — one down the Indus, round the Gulf of Cutch, and so up to Avantī; and another along the foot of the mountains from Kashmīr, by way of Kosalā, to the Sākiya country, and so on through Tirhut to Magadhā and Angā. There is a great deal more evidence available, both in literature and in the conclusions to be drawn from language, as to tribal migration in India than has yet been collected or analysed. Mr. Grierson, for instance, has only just recently pointed out the important fact that, even now, the dialects of rājasthan have a close resemblance to the dialects spoken along the Himālayas not only in Nepal but as far west, at least, as Chambā. This would tend [33] to show that their ancestors must have been living close together when they began their wanderings to the east and the south respectively. Both started from the Northern Panjab, and probably neither migration followed the Ganges route.[48]

These children of hillmen tended to cleave to the hills; and, like mountaineers all the world over, were generally distinguished by a sturdy independence, both in politics and religion. Widely separated, they were always sympathetic; and any forward movement, such as Buddhism, readily found supporters among them.

Another point on which this geographical evidence throws light is the date of the colonisation of Ceylon. That cannot have taken place in any considerable degree before the period in which the Nikāyas were composed. We know it had become a well-established fact at the time of Asoka. It must have happened, therefore, between these two dates; and no doubt nearer to the earlier of the two. The Ceylon chronicles, therefore, in dating the first colony in the very year of the Buddha's death (a wrong synchronism which is the cause of much confusion in their early chronology) must be in error.

It would be of great assistance on several questions if we could form some conclusion as to the number of inhabitants in Northern India in the seventh century, B.C.; though any such conclusion would necessarily be of the vaguest description. To judge from the small numbers of the great cities, and from the wide extent of forest and wilderness, [34] mentioned in the books, it cannot have been very-large. Perhaps the whole territory may have contained fifteen to twenty millions. In the fourth century, B.C., the confederation formed to oppose Alexander was able to muster an army of four hundred thousand. And in the third century, B.C., Megasthenes describes the army of Magadhā as then consisting, in peace time, of two hundred thousand foot, three hundred elephants, and ten thousand chariots.

The following is a list of the principal cities existing in India in the seventh century B.C.

Ayojjhā (from which the Anglo-Indian word Oudh is derived) was a town in Kosalā on the river Sarayu. The city owes all its fame to the fact that the author of the Rāmāyaṇa makes it the capital at the date of the events in his story. It is not even mentioned in the Mahābhārata; and was quite unimportant in the Buddha's time. There is another Ayojjhā in the extreme west; and a third is said (wrongly, I think) to have been situate on the Ganges.[49]

Bārāṇasi (Benares) on the north bank of the Ganges, at the junction between it and the river Baraṇa. The city proper included the land between the Baraṇa and a stream called the Asi, as its name suggests. Its extent, including the suburbs, is often stated to have been, at the time when it was the capital of an independent kingdom (that is, some [35] time before the rise of Buddhism) twelve leagues, or about eighty-five miles. Seeing that Megasthenes gives the circuit of the walls of Pāṭaliputta, where he himself lived, as 220 stadia (or about twenty-five miles), this tradition as to the size of the city, or rather county, Benares at the height of its prosperity seems by no means devoid of credit. Its Town Hall was then no longer used as a parliament chamber for the transaction of public business. Public discussions on religious and philosophical questions were carried on in it.[50]

Champā, on the river of the same name, was the ancient capital of Angā. Its site has been identified by Cunningham with the modern villages of similar names twenty-four miles east of Bhagalpur; and is stated to have been sixty leagues from Mithilā.[51] It was celebrated for its beautiful lake, named after Queen Gaggarā, who had had it excavated. On its banks was a grove of Champaka trees, well known for the fragrant odour of their beautiful white flowers. And there, in the Buddha's time, wandering teachers were wont to lodge.[52] The Indian colonists in Cochin China named one of the most important of their settlements after this famous old town.[53] And the Champā in Angā was again, in its turn, so named after the still older Champā in Kashmīr.

Kampilla, the capital of the Northern Pañcālas. It was on the northern bank of the Ganges, about long. 79ḥ W., but its exact site has not yet been decided with certainty.

[36] Kosambī, the capital of the Vatsas or Vaṃsas.[54] It was on the Jumna, and thirty leagues, say 230 miles, by river from Benares.[55] It was the most important entrepôt for both goods and passengers coming to Kosalā and Magadhā from the south and west.[56] In the Sutta Nipāta (1010-1013) the whole route is given from a place south of Ujjen, through Kosambī to Kusinārā, with the stopping-places on the way. The route from Kosambī to Rājagaha was down the river.[57] In the Buddha's time there were already four distinct establishments of his Order in the suburbs of Kosambī — the Badarika, Kukkuṭa, and Ghosita Parks, and the Mango Grove of Pāvāriya.[58] The Buddha was often there, at one or other of these residences; and many of his discourses there have been handed down in the books.

Madhurā, on the Jumna, the capital of the Sūrasenas. It is tempting to identify it with the site of the modern Mathura, in spite of the difference in spelling. Very ancient remains have been found there. The king of Madhurā in the Buddha's time bore the title of Avanti-putto,[59] and was therefore related to the royal family at Ujjeni. Madhurā was visited by the Buddha,[60] and was the residence of Mahā Kaccāna,[61] one of his most influential disciples, to whom tradition attributes the first grammatical treatment of the Pāli language, and after whom the oldest Pāli grammar is accordingly named. As Mad- [37] hurā is mentioned in the Milinda (331) as one of the most famous places in India, whereas in the Buddha's time it is barely mentioned, the time of its greatest growth must have been between these dates. It was sufficiently famous for the other Madhurā, in Tinnevelly, first mentioned in the Mahāvansa,[62] to be named after it. A third Madhurā, in the extreme north, is mentioned at Jāt. 4. 79, and Peta Vatthu Vaṇṇanā, 111.

Mithilā, the capital of Videha, and the capital therefore of the kings Janaka and Makhādeva, was in the district now called Tirhut. Its size is frequently given as seven leagues, about fifty miles, in circumference.[63]

Rājagaha, the capital of Magadhā, the modern Rajgir. There were two distinct towns; the older one, a hill fortress, more properly Giribbaja, was very ancient, and is said to have been laid out by Mahā Govinda the architect.[64] The later town, at the foot of the hills, was built by Bimbisāra, the contemporary of the Buddha, and is Rājagaha proper. It was at the height of its prosperity during, and immediately after, the Buddha's time. But it was abandoned by Sisunāga, who transferred the capital to Vesāli; his son Kāḷāsoka transferring it to Pāṭaliputta, near the site of the modern Patna.[65] The fortifications of both Giribbaja and Rājagaha are still extant, 4Ñ and .3 miles respectively in circumference; the most southerly point of the walls of [38] Giribbaja, the "Mountain Stronghold," being one mile north of the most northerly point of the walls of the new town of Rājagaha, the "King's House." The stone walls of Giribbaja are the oldest extant stone buildings in India.

Roruka, or in later times Roruva, the capital of Sovīra, from which the modern name Surat is derived, was an important centre of the coasting trade.[66] Caravans arrived there from all parts of India, even from Magadhā.[67] As Ophir is spelt by Josephus and in the Septuagint Sophir, and the names of the ivory, apes, and peacocks imported thence into Palestine are Indian names, it is not improbable that Roruka was the seaport to which the authors of the Hebrew chronicles supposed that Solomon's vessels had traded. For though the more precise name of the port was Roruka, we know from such expressions as that used in the Milinda, p. 29, that the Indians talked about sailing to Sovīra. The exact site has not yet been rediscovered, but it was almost certainly on the Gulf of Kach, somewhere near the modern Kharragoa. When its prosperity declined, its place was taken by Bharukaccha, the modern Bharoch, or by Suppāraka, both on the opposite, the southern, side of the Kathiawad peninsula.

Sāgala. There were three cities of this name. But the two in the far East[68] were doubtless named (even if the readings in the MSS. are correct, and I doubt them in both cases) after the famous Sāgala [39] in the extreme north-west, which offered so brave a resistance to Alexander, and where King Milanda afterwards reigned. It lay about 32ḥ N. by 74ḥ E., and was the capital of the Maddas. Cunningham thought he had found the ruins of it; but no excavations have been carried out, and the exact site is still therefore uncertain.

Sāketa, the site of which has been indentified with the ruins, as yet unexplored, at Sujān Kot, on the Sai River, in the Unao district of the modern province of Audh.[69] In ancient times it was an important city in Kosalā, and sometimes the capital.[70] In the Buddha's time the capital was Sāvatthi. Sāketa is often supposed to be the same as Ayojjhā (Oudh),[71] but both cities are mentioned as existing in the Buddha's time. They were possibly adjoining, like London and Westminster. But it is Sāketa, and not Ayojjhā, that is called one of the six great cities of India.[72] The Añjana Wood near by Sāketa is the place at which many of the Buddhist Suttas are said to have been spoken. The distance from Sāketa northwards,to Sāvatthi was six leagues, about forty-five miles,[73] and could be covered in one day with seven relays of horses.[74] But there was a broad river on the way, only to be crossed by ferry; and there are constant references to the dangers of the journey on foot.

[40] Sāvatthi, or Srāvasti, was the capital of Northern Kosalā, the residence of King Pasenadi, and one of the six great cities in India during the lifetime of the Buddha. Archaeologists differ as to its position; and the decision of this vexed point is one of the first importance for the early history of India, as there must be many inscriptions there. It was six leagues north of Sāketa,[75] forty-five leagues north-west of Rājagaha,[76] more than one hundred north-east of Suppāraka,[77] thirty leagues from Sankassa[78] and on the bank of the Achiravatī.[79]

Ujjeni, the capital of Avantī, the Greek Ozēnē, about 77ḥ E. and 23ḥ N. There Kaccāna, one of the leading disciples of the Buddha, and also Asoka's son Mahinda, the famous apostle to Ceylon, were born. In later times there was a famous monastery there called the Southern Mount; and in earlier times the capital had been Māhissati.[80] Vedisa, where the famous Bhilsa Topes were lately found, and Erakaccha, another well-known site, were in the vicinity. Vedisa was fifty leagues from Pāṭaliputta.[81]

Vesāli. This was the capital of the Licchavi clan, already closely related by marriage to the kings of Magadhā, and the ancestors of the kings of Nepal, of the Mauryas, and of the dynasty of the Guptas. It was the headquarters of the powerful Vajjian con- [41] federacy, afterwards defeated, but not broken up, by Ajātasattu. It was the only great city in all the territories of the free clans who formed so important a factor in the social and political life of the sixth century B.C. It must have been a great and flourishing place. But though different guesses have been made as to its site, no one of them has yet been proved to be true by excavation. It was somewhere in Tirhut; and just three leagues, or, say, twenty-five miles, north of the Ganges, reckoned from a spot on the bank of that river, five leagues, say thirty-eight miles, from Rājagaha.[82] Behind it lay the Great Forest, the Mahāvana, which stretched northwards to the Himālayas. In that wood a hermitage had been built by the community for the Buddha, and there many of his discourses were delivered. And in an adjoining suburb, the founder of the Jains, who was closely related to some of the leading chiefs, was born. We hear of its three walls,[83] each of them a gāvuta, a cow's call, distant from the next[84]; and of the 7707 rājas, that is Licchavi chiefs, who dwelt there[85]; and of the sacred pool in which they received their consecration.[86] There were many shrines of pre-Buddhistic worship in and around the city, and the discovery and excavation of the site is most desirable.

The same may indeed be said of all these ancient cities. Not one of them has been properly excavated. The archeeology of India is, at present, an almost unworked field.


[1] 60 yojanas = 450 miles, from Rājagaha; 50 yojanas = 375 miles, from Vesāli; 6 or 7 yojanas = 50 or 60 miles, from Sāvatthi; and so on. Compare the passages quoted in Rh. D., Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, p. 16.

[2] J.R.A.S. 1897, 618, and 1898, 588.

[3] The old Kapilavastu was probably at Tilaura Kot. But Mr. Peppé's important discoveries at the Sākiya Tope may be on the site of a new Kapilavastu, built after the old city was destroyed by Viḍūḍabha (see above, p. 11).

[4] Apadāna, quoted in Therig. Cy. p. 152.

[5] See Dialogues of the Buddha, i. 147, note.

[6] Ambaṭṭha Suttanta, translated in my Dialogues of the Buddha, i. 113.

[7] M.P.S. 6. 23.

[8] Vin. 2. 181.

[9] Vin. 4. 81.

[10] S. 4. 341.

[11] D. 2. 159, 161.

[12] James Alwis, Introduction to Pāli Grammar, p. 99; and Geo. Turnour, J.B.A.S. vii. 991.

[13] Jāt. 3. 292.

[14] Jāt. 5. 125.

[15] E.g., Aṅguttara, 1. 213; 4. 252, 256, 260; Vinaya Texts, 2. 146.

[16] J. v. 316, vi. 271.

[17] M. 2. 163.

[18] Vin. i. 179.

[19] Sum. 148.

[20] Jāt. 4. 442, 5. 41.

[21] Vin. 1. 342; Jāt. 1. 262, 2. 403, 3. 13, 168, 211, 5. 112.

[22] Jāt. 3. 365, 4. 316.

[23] Satap. Brah. xi. 6. 2, 1, etc.; Jāt. 6. 30-68, etc.

[24] Jāt. 5. 514, 518.

[25] Vin. 1. 108; Jāt. 1. 360; Divy. 184-191.

[26] Baden-Powell in the J.R.A.S., 1898, p. 321.

[27] Jāt. 5. 57, 484.

[28] M. 2. 55.

[29] S.N. 977.

[30] Jāt. 3. 3; D. 2, 235.

[31] Jāt. 5. 319.

[32] See Rudradāman's Inscription at Junagadh.

[33] Alwis, Introduction, etc., p. 78.

[34] Sutta Nipāta, 1013.

[35] Sutta Nipāta, 976.

[36] The spelling of the word Alakassa, the name of this remote settlement, is doubtful. See verse 997. Spence Hardy's Manual, p. 334, confirms the various reading Mulakassa.

[37] Vin. 1. 195, 196; 2. 298.

[38] Rig Veda, x. 61. 8.

[39] There was an older and more famous Patiṭṭhāna, also a ferry, more generally known as Payāga, on the site of the Allahabad of today. Perhaps this more southern one was named after it.

[40] M. 3. 69; S. 1. 92; Ud. 5. 3; Jāt. 3. 299.

[41] See Mr. Fleet's article in the J.R.A.S., 1901, p. 542; and compare Burgess, Cave Temples of India, p. 248.

[42] D. 1. 222; A. 3. 368; compare Jāt. 3. 267.

[43] M. 1. 378.

[44] D. 19. 36.

[45] Vin. 3. 38.

[46] Ud. 1. 10.

[47] We must accept Professor Jacobi's happy suggestion as to the mythological basis of the latter part of the Rāmāyaṇa. Vālmīki, in transplanting the ancient myth of the atmospheric battles from the heavens to the earth, in turning the deities of the ancient poetry into, human heroes, in raising up to the level of those heroes the local deities of agriculture, naturally chose as the district where he localises so revolutionary a story a land, Lankā, with all the charm of mystery. Mystery involves knowledge, but not too much knowledge.

[48] J.R.A.S., 1901, p. 808.

[49] See Jāt. 4. 82; Saṅyutta 3. 140, 4. 179 (but the reading must be corrected).

[50] Jāt. 4. 74.

[51] Jāt. 6. 32.

[52] Dialogues of the Buddha, 1. 144.

[53] I-Tsing's Travels, p. 58.

[54] Jāt. 4. 28; 6. 236.

[55] Com. on Aṅguttara, 1. 25.

[56] Vinaya Texts, 2. 189; 3. 67, 224, 233.

[57] Vinaya Texts, 3. 382.

[58] Vin. 4. 16; Sum. 319.

[59] M. 2. 83.

[60] A. 2. 57.

[61] M. 2. 83.

[62] Turnour's edition, p. 51.

[63] Jāt. 3. 365; 4. 315; 6. 246, etc.

[64] Vimana Vatthu Commentary, p. 82. But compare Digha, xix. 36.

[65] Bigandet, 2. 115.

[66] Digha, xix. 36; Jāt. 3. 470.

[67] Vimāna, V. A. 370; Divy. 544.

[68] Jāt. 5. 337, and Com. on Therī Gatha, p. 127.

[69] Führer, Monumental Antiquities of N.W. Provinces and Oudh, p. 275.

[70] Mahāvastu, 1. 348; Jāt. 3. 270.

[71] E.g. Cunningham's Ancient Geography, p. 405.

[72] Rh. D., Buddhist Suttas, p. 99.

[73] Vinaya Texts, 2. 147.

[74] Majjhima, 1. 149.

[75] Vinaya Texts, 2. 147.

[76] Rh. D., Buddhist Birth Stories, p. 130.

[77] Divyāvadāna, 43.

[78] Jātaka, 4. 265.

[79] Vinaya Texts, 2. 24, 222.

[80] Digha, xix. 36.

[81] Mahā Bodhi Vaṃsā, 98.

[82] Dhammapāla on S. N., 2. 1.

[83] Jātaka, 1. 389.

[84] Ib. 1. 504.

[85] Ib. 1. 504, 3. 1.

[86] Ib. 4. 148.




Next: Chapter III: The Village
Previous: Chapter I: The Kings

[Preface]  [Table of Contents][1. The Kings]  [2. The Clans and Nations]  [3. The Village]  [4. Social Grades]  [5. In the Town]  [6. Economic Conditions]  [7. Writing — The Beginnings]  [8. Writing — It's Development]  [9. Language and Literature. I. General View]  [10. Literature. II. The Pāḷi Books]  [11. The Jataka Book]  [12. Religion — Animism]  [13. The Brahmin Position]  [14. Chandragupta]  [15. Asoka]  [16. Kanishka]  [Appendix]  [Index]

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