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ors set aside a rich language, such as the Pali* or Sanscrit, and substituted for it a less perfect dialect, the Singhalese; and also the direct testimony contained in the Mahawanso, that the Singhalese was “the language of the land;” it appears by no means unreasonable to suppose, that the original inhabitants of Ceylon had derived their language (now denominated the Singhalese) from the same source whence the Sanscrit and the Pali have been derived; and that the conquerors, finding no difficulty in adopting the same, and permitting its universal use, rendered it “the language of the land.”
And that the Singhalese was not the language of the conquerors, may further appear on considering our remaining inquiry:
4thly, Whether the language now denominated the Singhalese was the language of the original inhabitants of the Island? If it were not, and if, further, the Pali was the language of the conquerors, then how the Singhalese tongue started into existence, especially in so short a period after the Wijeyan æra, is a matter which we cannot satisfactorily account for. Indeed the Mabawanso speaks of the Singhalese as 'the language of the land' (Lanka) in contra-distinction to the Pali; and at a time, too, when the Yakhos had not merged into one people with their conquerors, under the general appellation of the Singhalese—a circumstance which establishes our hypothesis.
wanso refers to numerous "ancient authors in the Singhalese language; for he says (vide Turnour's Introduction, p. sxxii.), “In case it should be asked in this particular place Why, while there are Mahawansos composed by ancient authors in the Singhalese language, this author has written this Palapadoru-wanso? In resutation of such an inmeaning objection, I thus explain ” &c. Add to this the probable fact that the Wijeyan æra is antedated; and we find the interval of time much less than we have stated in the text. But assuming that the interval was only 307 years, that period (to use the language of the Rer. S. Hardy) " was too short in the then state of the country, to have allowed of the formation of a language from crude materials of dissimilar origin, sufficiently copious in its terms and regular in its structure to have been capable of the enunciation in it of discourses so varied ard abstract as the Aluwas.”
* Indeed the Mahawanso furnishes us with evidence to the contrary, viz., that the attempt of the conquerors was to set aside the pre-existing Singhalese language. “For," says the author of Mahawanso (see Turnour's Introduction p. xxxi.), “in this work the object aimed at, is setting aside the Singhalese language, in which the former history is composed, that I should sign in the Magadhi. Whatever the matters may be, wbich were contained in the Atthakatha, without suppressing any part thereof, rejecting the dialect only, I compose my work in the supreme Magadhi, which is thoroughly purified from all imperfections."
“This thero (Mahindo), by having propounded the doctrines (of Budhism) in the language of the land, at two of the places rendered sacred by the presence of Budha, insured for the inhabitants of Lanka (the attainment of the termination of transmigration) within the period of seven kappos (by their having arrived at the first stage of salvation.) Mahawanso, p. 83.
“ Réwato théro then observing that he (Buddhaghòsò) was desirous of undertaking the compilation of a “ Parittatthakathan,” (a general commentary on the Pitakattaya), thus addressed him: The text (of the Pitakattaya) has been preserved in this land: the Atthakathá are not extant here, nor is there any version to be found of the wádá (schisms) complete. The Singhalese atthakathá are genuine. They were composed in the Singhalese language by the inspired and profoundly wise Mahindo, who had previously consulted the discourses of Budha, authenticated at the convocations, and the dissertations and arguments of Sáriputto and others, and they are extant among the Singhalese. Repairing thither, and studying the same,* translate (them) according to the rules of the grammar of the Mágadhas. It will be an act conducive to the welfare of the whole world,
This passage may also support the belief that Singhalese was not in existence in India.
Having been thus advised, this eminently wise personage, rejoicing therein, departed from thence, and visited this Island in the reign of this monarch (Mahanámo.)
“Thereupon, paying reverential respect to the priesthood, he thus petitioned; “I am desirous of translating the atthakathá, give me access to all your books. The priesthood, for the purpose of testing his qualifications, gave only two gáthá, saying 'Hence prove thy qualifications; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books.' From these (taking these gáthá for his text) and consulting the Pitakattaya, together with the Atthakathá, and condensing them into an abridged form, he composed the commentary called the 'Wibiuddsmaggan.'
Thereupon the priesthood, rejoicing, again and again fervently shouted forth, saying, "Most assuredly this is Metteyyo(Budha) himself,' and made over to him the books in which the Pitakattaya were recorded, together with the Atthakatha. Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganthákaro wiharo at Anurádapura, he translated according to the grammatical rules of the Magadhas, which is the root of all languages spoken by the human race.' Mahawanso, p. 251-3.
Again, supposing that the Pali was the language of the conqueror, (for all the reasoning on the subject favours such a supposition in preference to one that it was the Sanscrit), it is not a little startling to find, that the chief ingredient in the constitution of the Singhalese language as we now find it, is the Sanscrit, and not Pali. This would render a belief that the Singhalese language is a dialect of the Sanscrit, reasonable.
But this is not the case, for we shall find that the farther in point of time we go back in search of the Singhalese, the purer the language is, without that amalgamation with the Sanscrit which we perceive at the present day; a state of things which certainly supports us in the belief that the Singhalese language is not that of the conquerors.
Whilst therefore, on the one hand, our theory establishes the fact, that the natives of Ceylon whom Wijeyo conquered had a language of their own; the language of the Singhalese, from its radical difference from that of the conquering nation (supposing the latter to be either the Sanscrit or Pali), proves, on the other hand, the correctness of our hypothesis—that the language now denominated the Singhalese was the languageof the aborigines. And that we are not singular in this belief appears from the following passage in a paper read before the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society by the Rev. Spence Hardy of the Wesleyan Mission. He says; “I have stated the probability that the Singhalese language was spoken long before the arrival of Wijeya. Either this Prince imposed his own language upon the people whom he conquered, or his descendants adopted the language previously spoken in the Island, or there was an amalgamation of the two languages in the course of time. The first supposition is the most improbable, as history furnishes us with no similar example; and if the third be correct, there must originally have been a great resemblance between the two languages, as the mere fact that nine-tenths of the words composing the Singhalese can be traced to one common origin, is itself a proof that, as a dialect, it is singularly uniform in the character of its etymology. The second of these hypotheses seems to be the most probable, as I am far from thinking that the ancient race of the Island was so rude and ignorant as it is generally regarded."
From the conquest of Lanka by Wijeyo, it is reasonable to believe, the name of the Island itself underwent a change with the received appellation of the original language, by the adoption of the designation given to the conquering hero, a Sinhala.
For, says Gurulugome, the celebrated author of the Pradeepikàwa;
සිහිලසායනතරාගී, සිංහලභාෂානම්කවරයත්සහ බාහුනරින්දොසා සිහම. දිනනවා.ඉහි සිහනදාතන සබන් ධාතුහු සමබ සිහළ යූබැවින්, කාලිගහවක්රවර්තතිහුගේ අශ්වයෙහි උපන් රාජ කහවබඔහොත් සිංහයාහට දාසිහබාහු නම් රජකුමරසිoහසér.ය ආදානමකස්සුයි පහල නම් විය.,
යසේ, සමයා මහා වි භගිරථාන, යනතරාගී භගිරථශයෙන් භගිරථය අත්වයහිවූ කපිලවස්තුපුර වාසි රජදරුවෝ කියනලද හුද, එසෙයින් මේ සිoහලයෑපිත් පක්ෂමථයකට ලක් දිවිගත් විජයරජහුදබදු මල් සිහපුර බයහි රජකලසුමිත් රජදඔහු පිත් සීගහපුරයෙන් අවුලක් දිවේ රජ වූ පඬුවස් දෙව්රජදබැදුම දරුමුනුබුරහුද සිහලවති උසස් ශක්රයාහට නිවාසභුතරය ශකපුරවිද
ගසයිම සිංහලයනටනිවාසසුනටිපය සිහළචිපනම්විට යන්සේ මඬ ස්ථවුජන 3 මචශබ්දයන් කියනුලං බෙද, පසයින් මේ සිංහල සංස්ථ ජනයෝ සිහශබ්දයෙකිය හුල ශබත්, ඔවුන් භාෂා සිoහල භාෂානම්වේ.
“At the place where mention is made of the Sinhala language, what can ‘Sinhala language' mean? As it is said (in one
of the Atooras) සීහබාහුහරි දොසා සිනමාදිනනව ඉති සීහළාතෙනසඹධා ආහුසබබපීසීහළ 'since King Sinhabahu took the Sinha (lion) captive, he was (called) Sinhala; and his descendants were (thence also called) Sinhala:' 80 (therefore) the name Sinhala
is derived from the circumstance of the lion's being taken captive by Sinhabahu—who was begotten by a lion, and was conceived in the womb of a Royal Princess, the daughter of Kalinga Chakrawartee. As in the passage (in the Sanyoot Sangiya) və c7080 830.8.0' O powerful ! the time of the Bagèèrathas'-the expression ‘Bageerathas' means the Royal offspring begotten in the family of Bagèèratha, who were resident in the City of Kapilawasthoo; 80 likewise king Wijeyo, the son of the Sinhala (lion-taker), who having subdued the Yakhos took Lanka, his brother king Sumith, who reigned in Sinhapura; his son Panduwas Dawu, who having left Sinhapura, became king of Lanka; and his