The Puranas on the Dynasty of the Moryas and on Koothoomi
Theosophist, January, 1883
Letter to the Editor, from R. Ragoonath Row | Reply by H.P.B.
It is stated in Matsya Puran, chapter cclxxii., that ten Moryas would reign over India, and would be succeeded by the Shoongas, and that Shata Dhanva will be the first of these ten Maureyas (or Moryas).
In Vishnu Purana (Book IV. chapter iv.) it is stated that there was in the Soorya dynasty a king called Moru, who through the power of devotion (Yoga) is said to be still living in the village called Katapa, in the Himalayas (vide vol. iii. p. 197, by Wilson), and who, in a future age, will be the restorer of the Kshatriya race, in the Solar dynasty, that is, many thousands of years hence. In another part of the same Purana (Book IV. chapter xxiv.) it is stated that, “upon the cessation of the race of Nanda, the Moryas1 will possess the earth, for Kautilya will place Chandragupta on the throne.” Col. Tod considers Morya, or Maurya, a corruption of Mori, the name of a Rajput tribe. The Commentary on the Mahavanso thinks that the princes of the town Mori were thence called Mauryas. Vachaspattya, a Sanskrit Encyclopædia, places the village of Katapa on the northern side of the Himalayas—hence in Tibet. The same is stated in chapter xii. (Skanda) of Bhagavat, vol. iii. p. 325. The Vayu Purana seems to declare that Moru will re-establish the Kshatriyas in the nineteenth coming Yuga. In chapter vi. Book III. of Vishnu Purana, a Rishi called Koothoomi is mentioned. Will any of our Brothers tell us how our Mahatmas stand to these revered personages?
R. RAGOONATH ROW.
In the Buddhist Mahavanso, Chandagatto, or Chandragupta, Asoka’s grandfather, is called a prince of the Moryan dynasty as he certainly was—or rather as they were, for there were several Chandraguptas. This dynasty, as said in the same book, began with certain Kshatriyas (warriors) of the Sakya line closely related to Gautama Buddha, who crossing the Himavanto (Himalayas) “discovered a delightful location, well watered, and situated in the midst of a forest of lofty bo and other trees. There they founded a town, which was called by its Sakya lords, Morya-Nagara.” Prof. Max Müller would see in this legend a made-up story for two reasons: (1) A desire on the part of Buddhists to connect their king Asoka, “the beloved of gods,” with Buddha, and thus nullify the slanders set up by the Brahmanical opponents of Buddhism to the effect that Asoka and Chandragupta were Sudras; and (2) because this document does not dovetail with his own theories and chronology based on the fanciful stories of the Greek-Megasthenes and others. It was not the princes of Morya-Nagara who received their name from the Rajput tribe of Mori, but the latter that became so well known as being composed of the descendants of the Moryan sovereign of Morya-Nagara. Some light is thrown on the subsequent destiny of that dynasty in “Replies to an English F. T. S.” (See ante.) The name of Rishi Koothoomi is mentioned in more than one Purana, and his Code is among the eighteen Codes written by various Rishis, and preserved at Calcutta in the library of the Asiatic Society. But we have not been told whether there is any connection between our Mahatma of that name and the Rishi, and we do not feel justified in speculating upon the subject. All we know is, that both are Northern Brahmans, while the Môryas are Kshatriyas. If any of our Brothers know more, or can discover anything relating to the subject in the Sacred Books, we shall hear of it with pleasure. The words: “The Moryas will possess the earth, for Kautilya will place Chandragupta on the throne,” have in our occult philosophy a dual meaning. In one sense they relate to the days of early Buddhism, when a Chandragupta (Morya) was the king “of all the earth,” i.e., of Brahmans, who believed themselves the highest and only representatives of humanity for whom earth was evolved. The second meaning is purely esoteric. Every adept or genuine Mahatma is said to “possess the earth,” by the power of his occult knowledge. Hence, a series of ten Moryas, all initiated adepts, would be regarded by the occultists, and referred to as “possessing all the earth,” or all its knowledge. The names of “Chandragupta” and “Kautilya” have also an esoteric significance. Let our Brother ponder over their Sanskrit meaning, and he will perhaps see what bearing the phrase—“for Kautilya will place Chandragupta upon the throne”—has upon the Moryas possessing the earth. We would also remind our Brother that the word Itihasa, ordinarily translated as “history,” is defined by Sanskrit authorities to be the narrative of the lives of some august personages, conveying at the same time meanings of the highest moral and occult importance.
1. The particulars of this legend are recorded in the Atthata kathâ of the Uttaravihâro priests.