We saw Logarh, a fortress which was captured by Sivaji from the Moguls in 1670, and the ruins of the hall, where the widow of Nana Farnavese, under the pretext of an English protectorate, became de facto the captive of General Wellesley in 1804, with a yearly pension of 12,000 rupees. We then started for the village of Vargaon, once fortified and still very rich. We were to spend the hottest hours of the day there, from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, and proceed afterwards to the historical caves of Birsa and Badjah, about three miles from Karli.
At about two P.M. when, in spite of the huge punkahs waving to and fro, we were grumbling at the heat, appeared our friend the Mahratta Brahman, whom we thought we had lost on the way. Accompanied by half-a-dozen Daknis (inhabitants of the Dekhan plateau) he was slowly advancing, seated almost on the ears of his horse, which snorted and seemed very unwilling to move. When he reached the verandah and jumped down, we saw the reason of his disappearance. Across the saddle was tied a huge tiger, whose tail dragged in the dust. There were traces of dark blood in his half opened mouth. He was taken from the horse and laid down by the doorstep.
Was it our visitor of the night before? I looked at Gulab-Sing. He lay on a rug in a corner, resting his head on his hand and reading. He knitted his brows slightly, but did not say a word. The Brahman who had just brought the tiger was very silent too, watching over certain preparations, as if making ready for some solemnity. We soon learned that, in the eyes of a superstitious people, what was about to happen was a solemnity indeed.
A bit of hair cut from the skin of a tiger that has been killed, neither by bullet, nor by knife, but by a «word,» is considered the best of all talismans against his tribe.
«This is a very rare opportunity,» explained the Mahratti. «It is very seldom that one meets with a man who possesses the word. Yogis and Sadhus do not generally kill wild animals, thinking it sinful to destroy any living creature, be it even a cobra or a tiger, so they simply keep out of the way of noxious animals. There exists only one brotherhood in India whose members possess all secrets, and from whom nothing in nature is concealed. Here is the body of the tiger to testify that the animal was not killed with a weapon of any kind, but simply by the word of Gulab-Lal-Sing. I found it, very easily, in the bushes exactly under our vihara, at the foot of the rock over which the tiger had rolled, already dead. Tigers never make false steps. Gulab-Lal-Sing, you are a Raj-Yogi, and I salute you!» added the proud Brahman, kneeling before the Takur.
«Do not use vain words, Krishna Rao!» interrupted Gulab-Sing. «Get up; do not play the part of a Shudra.»
«I obey you, Sahib, but, forgive me, I trust my own judgment. No Raj-Yogi ever yet acknowledged his connection with the brotherhood, since the time Mount Abu came into existence.»
And he began distributing bits of hair taken from the dead animal. No one spoke, I gazed curiously at the group of my fellow-travelers. The colonel, President of our Society, sat with downcast eyes, very pale. His secretary, Mr. Y——, lay on his back, smoking a cigar and looking straight above him, with no expression in his eyes. He silently accepted the hair and put it in his purse. The Hindus stood round the tiger, and the Sinhalese traced mysterious signs on its forehead. Gulab-Sing continued quietly reading his book.——
The Birza cave, about six miles from Vargaon, is constructed on the same plan as Karli. The vault-like ceiling of the temple rests upon twenty-six pillars, eighteen feet high, and the portico on four, twenty-eight feet high; over the portico are carved groups of horses, oxen, and elephants, of the most exquisite beauty. The «Hall of Initiation» is a spacious, oval room, with pillars, and eleven very deep cells cut in the rock. The Bajah caves are older and more beautiful. Inscriptions may still be seen showing that all these temples were built by Buddhists, or, rather, by Jainas. Modern Buddhists believe in one Buddha only, Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu (six centuries before Christ) whereas the Jainas recognize a Buddha in each of their twenty-four divine teachers (Tirthankaras) the last of whom was the Guru (teacher) of Gautama. This disagreement is very embarrassing when people try to conjecture the antiquity of this or that vihara or chaitya. The origin of the Jaina sect is lost in the remotest, unfathomed antiquity, so the name of Buddha, mentioned in the inscriptions, may be attributed to the last of the Buddhas as easily as to the first, who lived (see Tod’s genealogy) a long time before 2,200 B.C.
One of the inscriptions in the Baira cave, for instance, in cuneiform characters, says: «From an ascetic in Nassik to the one who is worthy, to the holy Buddha, purified from sins, heavenly and great.»
This tends to convince scientists that the cave was cut out by Buddhists.
Another inscription, in the same cave, but over an-other cell, contains the following: «An agreeable offering of a small gift to the moving force [life], to the mind principle [soul], the well-beloved material body, fruit of Manu, priceless treasure, to the highest and here present, Heavenly.»
Of course the conclusion is drawn that the building does not belong to the Buddhists, but to the Brahmans, who believe in Manu.
Here are two more inscriptions from Bajah caves.
«An agreeable gift of the symbol and vehicle of the purified Saka-Saka.»
«Gift of the vehicle of Radha [wife of Krishna, symbol of perfection] to Sugata who is gone for ever.»
Sugata, again, is one of the names of Buddha. A new contradiction!
It was somewhere here, in the neighborhood of Vargaon, that the Mahrattis seized Captain Vaughan and his brother, who were hanged after the battle of Khirki.
Next morning we drove to Chinchor, or, as it is called here, Chinchood. This place is celebrated in the annals of the Dekkan. Here one meets with a repetition in miniature of what takes place on a larger scale at L’hassa in Tibet. As Buddha incarnates in every new Dalai-Lama, so, here, Gunpati (Ganesha, the god of wisdom with the elephant’s head) is allowed by his father Shiva to incarnate in the eldest son of a certain Brahman family. There is a splendid temple erected in his honor, where the avatars (incarnations) of Gunpati have lived and received adoration for over two hundred years.
This is how it happened.
About 250 years ago a poor Brahman couple were promised, in sleep, by the god of wisdom that he would incarnate in their eldest son. The boy was named Maroba (one of the god’s titles) in honor of the deity. Maroba grew up, married, and begot several sons, after which he was commanded by the god to relinquish the world and finish his days in the desert. There, during twenty-two years, according to the legend, Maroba wrought miracles and his fame grew day by day. He lived in an impenetrable jungle, in a corner of the thick forest that covered Chinchood in those days. Gunpati appeared to him once more, and promised to incarnate in his descendants for seven generations. After this there was no limit to his miracles, so that the people began to worship him, and ended by building a splendid temple for him.
At last Maroba gave orders to the people to bury him alive, in a sitting posture, with an open book in his hands, and never to open his grave again under penalty of his wrath and maledictions. After the burial of Maroba, Gunpati incarnated in his first-born, who began a conjuring career in his turn. So that Maroba-Deo I, was replaced by Chintaman-Deo I. This latter god had eight wives and eight sons. The tricks of the eldest of these sons, Narayan-Deo I, became so celebrated that his fame reached the ears of the Emperor Alamgir. In order to test the extent of his «deification,» Alamgir sent him a piece of a cow’s tail wrapped in rich stuffs and coverings. Now, to touch the tail of a dead cow is the worst of all degradations for a Hindu. On receiving it Narayan sprinkled the parcel with water, and, when the stuffs were unfolded, there was found enclosed in them a nosegay of white syringa, instead of the ungodly tail. This transformation rejoiced the Emperor so much that he presented the god with eight villages, to cover his private expenses. Narayan’s social position and property were inherited by Chintaman-Deo II., whose heir was Dharmadhar, and, lastly, Narayan II came into power. He drew down the malediction of Gunpati by violating the grave of Maroba. That is why his son, the last of the gods, is to die without issue.
When we saw him he was an aged man, about ninety years old. He was seated on a kind of platform. His head shook and his eyes idiotically stared without seeing us, the result of his constant use of opium. On his neck, ears, and toes, shone precious stones, and all around were spread offerings. We had to take off our shoes before we were allowed to approach this half-ruined relic.——
On the evening of the same day we returned to Bombay. Two days later we were to start on our long journey to the North-West Provinces, and our route promised to be very attractive. We were to see Nassik, one of the few towns mentioned by Greek historians, its caves, and the tower of Rama; to visit Allahabad, the ancient Prayaga, the metropolis of the moon dynasty, built at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna; Benares, the town of five thousand temples and as many monkeys; Cawnpur, notorious for the bloody revenge of Nana Sahib; the remains of the city of the sun, destroyed, according to the computations of Colebrooke, six thousand years ago; Agra and Delhi; and then, having explored Rajistan with its thousand Takur castles, fortresses, ruins, and legends, we were to go to Lahore, the metropolis of the Punjab, and, lastly, to stay for a while in Amritsar. There, in the Golden Temple, built in the centre of the «Lake of Immortality,» was to be held the first meeting of the members of our Society, Brahmans, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc.—in a word, the representatives of the one thousand and one sects of India, who all sympathized, more or less, with the idea of the Brotherhood of Humanity of our Theosophical Society.