In 1784 the “Asiatic Society of Bengal” (Calcutta)
was founded by Sir William Jones under the patronage of Warren Hastings. The Society was
formed with thirty Europeans assembled on the invitation of Sir William
Jones. In his inaugural speech he told the aims of the Society in the
following words, “The bounds of its (Society’s) investigation will be
the geographical limits of Asia, and within these limits its enquiries
will be extended to whatever is performed by man or produced by nature.”
All the thirty European men accepted the membership of the new Society.
This included Sir Robert Chambers (1737-1803), Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court and Sir John Shore (1771-1834) a high official of the
government, H.H. Wilson, J.D. Peterson, H.T. Colebrooke, and F. Wilford,
Inspired by the establishment and success of the
Asiatic Society in Calcutta, Societie Asiatique was formed in Paris in
1822. A year later in 1823, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and
Ireland was formed in London. In 1842 the American Oriental Society was
founded in the USA. In 1844 the German Oriental Society was formed.
Branches of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland were
also formed in Bombay, Ceylon, China and Malaysia.
Jones was made the President of the Asiatic Society of
Bengal (Calcutta). He held the post until he died. The Society’s
general meeting was held every year in the month of February. Jones used
to deliver a speech on some topic. From 1784 -1793 he gave ten lectures.
One of the main activities of the Asiatic Society was
to collect the old manuscripts of India. There was an enormous collection
of Sanskrit manuscripts with the Society. By 1849 the Society had its own
museum consisting of inscriptions in stone and metal, icons, old coins and
manuscripts etc. The Society’s new building was inaugurated by S.
Radhakrishnan, the President of India on February 2, 1965.
In 55 years a total of 20 volumes were published that
contained the essays of its writers. Apart from that, since 1832
‘Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal’ was published every year,
and the Society has also published well-edited old texts of Sanskrit and
Bengali etc. The Society’s Library today contains more than 200,000
volumes related to Indology.
Behind all those amazingly voluminous activities of the Asiatic Society
there was a hidden aim of the English people which was expressed by Jones
himself in the writings of his first essay of 1784. Accordingly, in that
essay he condemned the Divinity of all the forms of Hindu God and tried to
his fullest to destroy Their religious image. In his presidential speech
of 1786 he tried to destroy the ancient supremacy of the Sanskrit
language, and in his tenth speech of 1793 he tried to destroy the
authenticity of the ancient history of the Puranas. Thus, trying to
paralyze the total structure of the Hindu religion, he established
certain fallacies which were made the guidelines for the activities of the
Asiatic Society, its members and its associates. They wrote and worked in
that specified direction while keeping an outside image that they were
doing some kind of geographical and religious research.
A review of the translation of Vishnu Puran by H.H. Wilson
First published 1832. Printed in India by Nag
Publishers, Delhi, in 1980, and reprinted in 1989.
In the preface of the Vishnu Puran, written by Mr. Wilson, he releases
the stress of his heart by using all of his favorite words like, absurd,
thieves, imposters, myth, fiction, barbarous, degraded, outcast, puerile
and speculations etc., for all the Puranas, and all the scriptures. These
are all the words of an English gentleman according to the standard of
those days where Wilson criticizes the supreme Divinity of Krishn,
disregards all the Puranas by calling them absurd, puerile and
imaginative, and condemns the entire history by crushing and cutting the
reigning period of all the dynasties of this manvantar (before the
Mahabharat war and after the Mahabharat war) into a period of only 4,600
years which is actually 120.5331 million years. It is like cutting an
extra large shirt and fitting it to a tiny doll and throwing the rest into
the trash can. Now you can see what he writes.
He condemns the authenticity of all the Puranas.
“The facility with which any
tract may be thus attached to the nonexistent original, and the
advantage that has been taken of its absence to compile a variety of
unauthentic fragments, have given to the Brahmanda, Skanda, and Padma,
according to Wilford, the character of being the Puranas of thieves
or imposters. Original copies don’t exist, thus all of them are made
up and unauthentic.”
“There is nothing in all this to
justify the application of the name. Whether a genuine Garuda Purana
exists is doubtful.” (p. lii)
“The documents (the manuscripts
of the Puranas) to which Wilford trusted proved to be in great part
fabrications, and where genuine, were mixed up with so much loose and
unauthenticated matter, and so overwhelmed with extravagance of
speculation, that his citations need to be carefully and skillfully
sifted, before they can be serviceably employed… legends apparently
invented for the occasion renders the publication worse than
useless.” (p. lxx)
“The Brahm Vaivart, as it now exists… the
great mass of it is taken up with tiresome descriptions of Vrindavana
and Goloka, the dwellings of Krshna on earth and in heaven; with endless
repetitions of prayers and invocations addressed to him; and with
insipid descriptions of his person and sports, and the love of the
Gopis… the stories, absurd as they are, are much compressed to
make room for the original matter, still more puerile and tiresome. The
Brahmavaivartta has not the slightest title to be regarded as a Purana.”
(p. xl, xli)
Condemns the description of brahmand as
detailed in the Bhagwatam.
“Mount Meru, the seven
circular continents, and their surrounding oceans, to the limits of the
world; all of which are mythological fictions, in which there is little
reason to imagine that any topographical truths are concealed.” (p. lx)
Criticizes the supreme Divinity of Krishn.
“The fifth book of the Vishnu
Purana is exclusively occupied with the life of Krshna. They are the creations of a
puerile taste, and grovelling imagination. These chapters of the
Vishnu Purana offer some difficulties as to their originality.” (p.
History: On p. lxii he describes that only 1,100 years passed between the Great War and
Chandragupt (Maurya) whereas in the same book (Volume No. IV pp. 643-646)
he relates a difference of 1,600 years. Moreover, he randomly fixes the
date of Mahabharat war at 1400 BC, disregards all of our Divine records by
calling them absurd, and crushes the entire history of all the dynasties
of this manvantar (which is 120.5331 million years) into a period
of about 4,600 years (1200 + 1400 BC + 1999 AD).
We will now take two verses, the very first one and the
very last one, of the Vishnu Puran to show the shortcomings of Wilson’s
The first verse starts like this: