Art. VI.—Remarks by Raja Radhakanta Deva, on Art. XI, Journal Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. XVI, p. 201;
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland
The sixteenth volume of the Journal of our Society, has given insertion to a communication made by me, on the supposed authority of the Vedas, for the burning of Hindu widows, in which I have shown that the passage quoted as enjoining the practice, and as published by Mr. Colebrooke, in his Paper in the Asiatic Researches, upon the "Duties of a Sati or Faithful Widow," had been either purposely or accidentally wrongly read, and that so far from authorizing the rite, its real purport was the
... purport was the reverse; and that it expected the widow to repress her affliction and return to her worldly duties. This view was entirely confirmed by the explanation of the passage given by the celebrated commentator, Sayana Acharya, and by the precepts of Aswalayana, cited by Professor Maximilian Miiller, published in continuation of my remarks on the same occasion. The revised reading has not proved acceptable to the Pandits of Calcutta, and the following letter is the expression of their sentiments. The writer, a friend of many years, Raja Radhakant Deb is well known as a leading member of the Native Society of Calcutta, who adds to the distinction of rank and station, that of a foremost place amongst Sanskrit scholars, as evinced by his great Lexicon or Literary Encyclopaedia of the Sanskrit language, in seven quarto volumes; the Sabdakalpadruma, which enjoys a European as well as Indian celebrity. Any opinion coming from him on subjects connected with the ancient literature of hia country is entitled to the greatest deference. The question of the authority for the Sati cremation is now, as he rightly observes, a matter merely for literary discussion, but as it is not without interest for the historian and antiquarian, his remarks will, I doubt not, be highly acceptable to those scholars who are engaged in the investigation of the ancient religion and history of the Hindus; and as he has no objection to their being laid before the public, I have thought it advisable to request a place for them in the Journal, although, as I shall subsequently explain, they have not induced me to modify in the least my opinions on the subject, as my esteemed correspondent seems t o anticipate.