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William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.
took place’; and I believe nine-tenths, perhaps ninety-nine in a hundred, of the Hindoo population believe implicitly that these accounts were also written.  It is now pretty clear that all these works are of comparatively recent date, that the great poem of the Mahabharata could not have been written before the year 786 of the Christian era, and was probably written so late as A.D. 1157; that Krishna, if born at all, must have been born on the 7th of August, A.D. 600, but was most likely a mere creation of the imagination to serve the purpose of the Brahmans of Ujain, in whom the fiction originated; that the other incarnations were invented about the same time, and for the same object, though the other persons described as incarnations were real princes, Parasu Rama, before Christ 1176, and Rama, born before Christ 961.  In the Mahabharata Krishna is described as fighting in the same army with Yudhishthira and his four brothers.  Yudhishthira was a real person, who ascended the throne at Delhi 575 B.C., or 1175 years before the birth of Krishna.[7] Bentley supposes that the incarnations, particularly that of Krishna, were invented by the Brahmans of Ujain with a view to check the progress of Christianity in that part of the world (see his historical view of the Hindoo astronomy).  That we find in no history any account of the alarming progress of Christianity about the time these fables were written is no proof that Bentley was wrong.[8]

When Monsieur Thevenot was at Agra [in] 1666, the Christian population was roughly estimated at twenty-five thousand families.  They had all passed away before it became one of our civil and military stations in the beginning of the present century, and we might search history in vain for any mention of them (see his Travels in India, Part III).  One single prince, well disposed to give Christians encouragement and employment, might, in a few years, get the same number around his capital; and it is probable that the early Christians in India occasionally found such princes, and gave just cause of alarm to the Brahman priests, who were then in the infancy of their despotic power.[9]

During the war with Nepal, in 1814 and 1815,[10] the division with which I served came upon an extremely interesting colony of about two thousand Christian families at Betiya in the Tirhut District, on the borders of the Tarai forest.  This colony had been created by one man, the Bishop, a Venetian by birth, under the protection of a small Hindoo prince, the Raja, of Betiya.[11] This holy man had been some fifty years among these people, with little or no support from Europe or from any other quarter.  The only aid he got from the Raja was a pledge that no member of his Church should be subject to the Purveyance system, under which the people everywhere suffered so much,[12] and this pledge the Raja, though a Hindoo, had never suffered to be violated.  There were men of all trades among them, and they formed one

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