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Page 378. Northern Kurus.

Professor Lassen remarks in the Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, ii. 62: "At the furthest accessible extremity of the earth appears Harivarsha with the northern Kurus. The region of Hari or Vishnu belongs to the system of mythical geography; but the case is different with the Uttara Kurus. Here there is a real basis of geographical fact; of which fable has only taken advantage, without creating it. The Uttara Kurus were formerly quite independent of the mythical system of dvípas, though they were included in it at an early date." Again the same writer says at p. 65: "That the conception of the Uttara Kurus is based upon an actual country and not on mere invention, is proved (1) by the way in which they are mentioned in the Vedas; (2) by the existence of Uttara Kuru in historical times as a real country; and (3) by the way in which the legend makes mention of that region as the home of primitive customs. To begin with the last point the Mahábhárata speaks as follows of the freer mode of life which women led in the early world, Book I. verses 4719-22: 'Women were formerly unconfined and roved about at their pleasure, independent. Though in their youthful innocence they abandoned their husbands, they were guilty of no offence; for such was the rule in early times. This ancient custom is even now the law for creatures born as brutes, which are free from lust and anger. This custom is supported by authority and is observed by great rishis, and it is still practiced among the northern Kurus.'

"The idea which is here conveyed is that of the continuance in one part of the world of that original blessedness which prevailed in the golden age. To afford a conception of the happy condition of the southern Kurus it is said in another place (M.-Bh, i. 4346.) 'The southern Kurus vied in happiness with the northern Kurus and with the divine rishis and bards.'

Professor Lassen goes on to say: 'Ptolemy (vi. 16.) is also acquainted with Uttara Kuru. He speaks of a mountain, a people, and a city called Ottorakorra. Most of the other ancient authors who elsewhere mention this name, have it from him. It is a part of the country which he calls Serica; according to him the city lies twelve degrees west from the metropolis of Sera, and the mountain extends from thence far to the eastward. As Ptolemy has misplaced the whole of eastern Asia beyond the Ganges, the relative position which he assigns will guide us better that the absolute one, which removes Ottorakorra so far to the east that a correction is inevitable. According to my opinion the Ottorakorra of Ptolemy must be sought for to the east of Kashgar.' Lassen also thinks that Magasthenes had the Uttara Kurus in view when he referred to the Hyperboreans who were fabled by Indian writers to live a thousand years. In his Indian antiquities, (Ind. Alterthumskunde, i. 511, 512. and note,) the same writer concludes that though the passages above cited relative to the Uttara Kurus indicate a belief in the existence of a really existing country of that name in the far north, yet that the descriptions there given are to be taken as pictures of an ideal paradise, and not as founded on any recollections of the northern origin of the Kurus. It is probable, he thinks, that some such reminiscences originally existed, and still survived in the Vedic era, though there is no trace of their existence in latter times." MUIR'S Sanskrit Texts, Vol. II. pp. 336, 337.