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Megasthenes and Indian Religion
Megasthenes and Indian Religion
Description
Preface

The preparations for this work extend over rather a long period. It was as early as in 1949 that I asked my teacher, Professor Geo Widengren, for a theme, and he proposed "The figure of Krishna" or "The Siva ascetics". I am most thankful to him for giving me considerable freedom in defining more exactly the scope of my task, since my investigation has brought me far from the original subject proposed. On his advice I got in touch with Professor Stig Wikander, who showed such great interest and kindness that he treated Krishna texts in his Sanskrit lessons for several years afterwards. I have often had the benefit of discussing actual problems with him and have received a great many suggestions from him. Professor Helmer Ringgren and Professor Nils Simonsson have been of the greatest value of me, stimulating and interested as they have been. Other friends to whom I have the pleasure of expressing my hearty thanks for discussing my problems and giving me suggestions are Professors Carl-Martin Edsman, Docent Carl-Gustaf Diehl, Docent Sven Hartman, Docent Bengt Lofstedt, Docent Harry Tegnaeus, and Rev. Teol kand., Fil. mag. Jan Bergman.

Previously I had translated the Greek text into my own language. This translation has been examined, corrected and improved by fil. lie. Gunnar Baarnhielm and Fil. lie. Kerstin Bergman. For their help I thank them. It seemed to me pointless to have my own Swedish translation rendered into English, considering there was already a very good English translation by MeCrindle. Therefore I have used this existing translation, only stressing at a few point my own differing opinion.

Teol. Lie Eric Sharpe, B.A., has translated my Swedish manuscript. I have written only a few sentences myself. For the most part I have the impression that the translation is a good rendering of what I want to say. The exceptions are generally of little importance. I thank him for his pains.

As to the last labours with printing and proof-reading I extend my most hearty thanks to Mr. A. Eriksson, Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri AB. The Liberians of the University Library in Uppsala have always shows extraordinary kindness and obligingness. In particular, I want to express my gratitude to Fil. Dr. A Melvinger.

I wish also to take the opportunity to extend my special thanks to the Archbishop of Sweden, Gunnar Hultgren, for his inspiring interest. At least once his word alone was the necessary stimulation which enabled me to complete my work.

My clerical colleagues have also shown interest and kindness, for which I thank them most heartily.

Finally, I should like to express my warm thanks to my wife and children for their patience and self-denial, without I could not have continued my research.

From the Jacket

This work deals at length with various theories about religion prevalent a the time when Megasthenes visited India (C 300 B.C.). Very interesting and scholarly views have been put forth regarding investigations of Megasthenes their reliability and the reliability of his reporters.

Undoubtedly, Culture of India lacks historical aspect inasmuch – as does no provide as to when an event took place or certain concept was first used. It is here that the importance of Megasthenes is felt. But for his records we should never have believed Krishnaism to be so ancient at least as a significant religion.

This book is documented with introduction, Bibliography, three indexes, list of abbreviations and rules of pronunciation of Indian words.

Contents

Preface 5
Introduction 9
A.The Subject 9
B.Discussion of the Relation between Christianity and Krishnaism 11
1. Before Weber 11
2. Weber and the Advocates of the "Borrowing" Theory 13
3. Opponents of the "Borrowing" Theory 16
4. Panini's Vasudeva-sutra (IV.3.98) 23
C.Megasthenes Reliability 26
(as a historian of religion) 29
The Greek Dionysos 31
The Greek Heracles 33
D.The Reliability of Megasthenes Reporters 35
E.Method and Disposition 36
Part One. Greek and Latin Texts with Translation 41
Passages in Classical Authors Quoting Megasthenes on Indian Religion 42
Greek and Latin Texts 46
MeCrindle's English Translation 47
Frg. A 1-10 On Dionysos 46, 47
Frg. B 1-12 On Heracles 56, 57
Part two. Megasthenes on Heracles 69
Summary of Passages 71
Who is Heracles? 73
Earlier interpretations and criticism 73
1. Heracles - Siva 73
2. Heracles - Krishna 77
3. Heracles - Indra 88
Megasthenes Heracles Passages in the light of the older Indian literature on Indra 94
1. Historical Passages 94
a. H. born/migrated - India 94
b. H.S. date96
c. many wives 97
d. many sons but 97
e. only one daughter 97
f. his sons kings 100
g. his daughter queen in 100
h. Pandaie, which was her name, too100
i. H. committed incest with her 100
i. She, then, was seven years old 112
j. The women in Pandaie mature at the age of seven 112
k. H., hen, was near to death 112
l. H.s' descendants were kings 113
2. Geographical Passages 120
a. Aornos 120
b. Iomanes-Yamuna 130
c. Caucasus 131
d. Kleisobora 131
e. Mathura 133
f. Palibothra-Pataliputra-Patna 135
g. Pandaie-Pandya 137
h. Parapamisos-Paropamisade 142
i. Sibi 143
j. Surasena 144
3. Heracles Exploits 146
a. H. had wandered through earth and sea 146
b. and had rid them of monster 146
c. H. divided India among his children 147
d. found a jewel in the sea, gave it to his daughter 147
e. founded towns, e.g. Pataliputra 150
f. surrounded P. with moats 151
g. built palaces in it, but 151
h. left few memorials 151
i. H was distinguished by a club 152
j. The Sibi branded their cattle with the mark of a club 155
k. H. wore a (lion-) skin 157
l. H. was renowned for his courage 159
m. his physical strength 159
n. Deified after his death 159
o. worshipped particularly by dwellers on the plains 159
Summary of results and conclusions164
Part Three. Megasthenes on Dionysos 175
Summary of passage 177
The Identity of Dionysos in earlier Interpretations Motivations and Criticism. 180
1. Suryadeva 180
2. The Holi festival 180
3. Krishna 181
4. Manu 184
5. Siva 184
D. is a Culture-hero with a primitive people 190
Meg. Dionysos Passages in the light of Aryan and Dravidian Literature and the Ethnography of the Mundas 193
1. Historical Passages 193
a. D. born from his father's thigh and nursed in a cave 193
b. D. came in prehistoric times from the west 194
c. or had his origin among the Indians 198
d. he came with a great army, including women 199
e. He reigned for 52 years. Hereditary monarchy 201
f. Left India, attacked bactria, died at an advanced age 203
2. Functional passages: D. a culture hero 206
I. D.s "social" contribution 206
a. He healed the sick army 206
b. gave weapons to the Indians 209
c. Dionysos built towns 211
d. D. made laws, set up courts 212
II. D-s agricultural contribution 214
e. He passed on all manner of inventions 214
f. D. made the Indians into farmers 215
g. D. taught harnessing of oxen to the plough 222
h. D. gave the Indians seed and 223
i. taught them to sow 223
j. introduced Ivy 227
k. laurel 228
l. myrtle 228
m. box 228
n. fig 228
o. all manner of fruits 228
p. principally the grapevine which D. taught the Indians to grow, gather in and store 228
q. D. was called Lenaios 239
III. Dionysos Religious contribution 240
r. D. Founded a religious cult 240
s. D. was accounted a god (during his lifetime) 243
t. D. worshipped by dwellers in the mountains 245
u. The dance formed part of the cult of Dionysos 249
v. And so did the music of cymbals 251
x. kettledrums and drums and 251
y. processions 251
z. Clothes 255
aa. Girdle (or turban) 255
bb. Perfumes, characterizing the worshippers of D 255
cc. D. taught the Indians to wear their hair long in his honour 259
dd. And to care for the beard 259
ee. He was called Katapogon 259
3. Geographical Passages 263
a. D. three persons at different times: 263
b. Indus 263
c. Lenaios and 263
d. Katapogon 263
e. D. saved his army on a mountain having three peaks 267
f. Kondaske 267
g. Korasibie, and 267
h. Meros 267
i. D. founded towns, e,g, Nysa 271
j. The Oxydrakai were regarded as descended from Dionysos and his men 275
k. Before the coming of D. the Indians ate the bark of a tree called tala 277
Summary and conclusion 278
Bibliography290
Index One. Sanskrit texts quoted in Introduction and Part II and III 307
Index Two. Modern and classical authors quoted in Introduction and Part II and III 309
Index Three. General index to introduction Part II and III 311
List of Abreviations 313
Rules for pronunciation of Indian words 315

Megasthenes and Indian Religion

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Edition:
1977
ISBN:
8120813235
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8.7" X 6.0"
Pages:
323
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Preface

The preparations for this work extend over rather a long period. It was as early as in 1949 that I asked my teacher, Professor Geo Widengren, for a theme, and he proposed "The figure of Krishna" or "The Siva ascetics". I am most thankful to him for giving me considerable freedom in defining more exactly the scope of my task, since my investigation has brought me far from the original subject proposed. On his advice I got in touch with Professor Stig Wikander, who showed such great interest and kindness that he treated Krishna texts in his Sanskrit lessons for several years afterwards. I have often had the benefit of discussing actual problems with him and have received a great many suggestions from him. Professor Helmer Ringgren and Professor Nils Simonsson have been of the greatest value of me, stimulating and interested as they have been. Other friends to whom I have the pleasure of expressing my hearty thanks for discussing my problems and giving me suggestions are Professors Carl-Martin Edsman, Docent Carl-Gustaf Diehl, Docent Sven Hartman, Docent Bengt Lofstedt, Docent Harry Tegnaeus, and Rev. Teol kand., Fil. mag. Jan Bergman.

Previously I had translated the Greek text into my own language. This translation has been examined, corrected and improved by fil. lie. Gunnar Baarnhielm and Fil. lie. Kerstin Bergman. For their help I thank them. It seemed to me pointless to have my own Swedish translation rendered into English, considering there was already a very good English translation by MeCrindle. Therefore I have used this existing translation, only stressing at a few point my own differing opinion.

Teol. Lie Eric Sharpe, B.A., has translated my Swedish manuscript. I have written only a few sentences myself. For the most part I have the impression that the translation is a good rendering of what I want to say. The exceptions are generally of little importance. I thank him for his pains.

As to the last labours with printing and proof-reading I extend my most hearty thanks to Mr. A. Eriksson, Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri AB. The Liberians of the University Library in Uppsala have always shows extraordinary kindness and obligingness. In particular, I want to express my gratitude to Fil. Dr. A Melvinger.

I wish also to take the opportunity to extend my special thanks to the Archbishop of Sweden, Gunnar Hultgren, for his inspiring interest. At least once his word alone was the necessary stimulation which enabled me to complete my work.

My clerical colleagues have also shown interest and kindness, for which I thank them most heartily.

Finally, I should like to express my warm thanks to my wife and children for their patience and self-denial, without I could not have continued my research.

From the Jacket

This work deals at length with various theories about religion prevalent a the time when Megasthenes visited India (C 300 B.C.). Very interesting and scholarly views have been put forth regarding investigations of Megasthenes their reliability and the reliability of his reporters.

Undoubtedly, Culture of India lacks historical aspect inasmuch – as does no provide as to when an event took place or certain concept was first used. It is here that the importance of Megasthenes is felt. But for his records we should never have believed Krishnaism to be so ancient at least as a significant religion.

This book is documented with introduction, Bibliography, three indexes, list of abbreviations and rules of pronunciation of Indian words.

Contents

Preface 5
Introduction 9
A.The Subject 9
B.Discussion of the Relation between Christianity and Krishnaism 11
1. Before Weber 11
2. Weber and the Advocates of the "Borrowing" Theory 13
3. Opponents of the "Borrowing" Theory 16
4. Panini's Vasudeva-sutra (IV.3.98) 23
C.Megasthenes Reliability 26
(as a historian of religion) 29
The Greek Dionysos 31
The Greek Heracles 33
D.The Reliability of Megasthenes Reporters 35
E.Method and Disposition 36
Part One. Greek and Latin Texts with Translation 41
Passages in Classical Authors Quoting Megasthenes on Indian Religion 42
Greek and Latin Texts 46
MeCrindle's English Translation 47
Frg. A 1-10 On Dionysos 46, 47
Frg. B 1-12 On Heracles 56, 57
Part two. Megasthenes on Heracles 69
Summary of Passages 71
Who is Heracles? 73
Earlier interpretations and criticism 73
1. Heracles - Siva 73
2. Heracles - Krishna 77
3. Heracles - Indra 88
Megasthenes Heracles Passages in the light of the older Indian literature on Indra 94
1. Historical Passages 94
a. H. born/migrated - India 94
b. H.S. date96
c. many wives 97
d. many sons but 97
e. only one daughter 97
f. his sons kings 100
g. his daughter queen in 100
h. Pandaie, which was her name, too100
i. H. committed incest with her 100
i. She, then, was seven years old 112
j. The women in Pandaie mature at the age of seven 112
k. H., hen, was near to death 112
l. H.s' descendants were kings 113
2. Geographical Passages 120
a. Aornos 120
b. Iomanes-Yamuna 130
c. Caucasus 131
d. Kleisobora 131
e. Mathura 133
f. Palibothra-Pataliputra-Patna 135
g. Pandaie-Pandya 137
h. Parapamisos-Paropamisade 142
i. Sibi 143
j. Surasena 144
3. Heracles Exploits 146
a. H. had wandered through earth and sea 146
b. and had rid them of monster 146
c. H. divided India among his children 147
d. found a jewel in the sea, gave it to his daughter 147
e. founded towns, e.g. Pataliputra 150
f. surrounded P. with moats 151
g. built palaces in it, but 151
h. left few memorials 151
i. H was distinguished by a club 152
j. The Sibi branded their cattle with the mark of a club 155
k. H. wore a (lion-) skin 157
l. H. was renowned for his courage 159
m. his physical strength 159
n. Deified after his death 159
o. worshipped particularly by dwellers on the plains 159
Summary of results and conclusions164
Part Three. Megasthenes on Dionysos 175
Summary of passage 177
The Identity of Dionysos in earlier Interpretations Motivations and Criticism. 180
1. Suryadeva 180
2. The Holi festival 180
3. Krishna 181
4. Manu 184
5. Siva 184
D. is a Culture-hero with a primitive people 190
Meg. Dionysos Passages in the light of Aryan and Dravidian Literature and the Ethnography of the Mundas 193
1. Historical Passages 193
a. D. born from his father's thigh and nursed in a cave 193
b. D. came in prehistoric times from the west 194
c. or had his origin among the Indians 198
d. he came with a great army, including women 199
e. He reigned for 52 years. Hereditary monarchy 201
f. Left India, attacked bactria, died at an advanced age 203
2. Functional passages: D. a culture hero 206
I. D.s "social" contribution 206
a. He healed the sick army 206
b. gave weapons to the Indians 209
c. Dionysos built towns 211
d. D. made laws, set up courts 212
II. D-s agricultural contribution 214
e. He passed on all manner of inventions 214
f. D. made the Indians into farmers 215
g. D. taught harnessing of oxen to the plough 222
h. D. gave the Indians seed and 223
i. taught them to sow 223
j. introduced Ivy 227
k. laurel 228
l. myrtle 228
m. box 228
n. fig 228
o. all manner of fruits 228
p. principally the grapevine which D. taught the Indians to grow, gather in and store 228
q. D. was called Lenaios 239
III. Dionysos Religious contribution 240
r. D. Founded a religious cult 240
s. D. was accounted a god (during his lifetime) 243
t. D. worshipped by dwellers in the mountains 245
u. The dance formed part of the cult of Dionysos 249
v. And so did the music of cymbals 251
x. kettledrums and drums and 251
y. processions 251
z. Clothes 255
aa. Girdle (or turban) 255
bb. Perfumes, characterizing the worshippers of D 255
cc. D. taught the Indians to wear their hair long in his honour 259
dd. And to care for the beard 259
ee. He was called Katapogon 259
3. Geographical Passages 263
a. D. three persons at different times: 263
b. Indus 263
c. Lenaios and 263
d. Katapogon 263
e. D. saved his army on a mountain having three peaks 267
f. Kondaske 267
g. Korasibie, and 267
h. Meros 267
i. D. founded towns, e,g, Nysa 271
j. The Oxydrakai were regarded as descended from Dionysos and his men 275
k. Before the coming of D. the Indians ate the bark of a tree called tala 277
Summary and conclusion 278
Bibliography290
Index One. Sanskrit texts quoted in Introduction and Part II and III 307
Index Two. Modern and classical authors quoted in Introduction and Part II and III 309
Index Three. General index to introduction Part II and III 311
List of Abreviations 313
Rules for pronunciation of Indian words 315
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