The great development of the study of Sanskrit, during the later half of the 19th century, has necessitated a Reverse dictionary for all those scholars who devoted themselves to the social religious and intellectual study of India and Indians. Realizing this the author set to work on planning this dictionary (1843-51) based primarily on Amarakosa, Riddle English Latin dictionary Prof. Wilson's Sanskrit English dictionary Marathi dictionary of Captain Moles worth in addition to the code of Manu works of Kalidasa Ramayana and Mahabharata with the collaboration of other scholars. The main object of compiling the lexicon is to offer effectual help to the student in practising translation into the best Sanskrit for modern expressions and idioms with their several equivalents and with different shades of meaning. He has rightly endeavoured to include as many terms of religion literature mythology science etc. as would lead to a correct knowledge of oriental customs habits of thought religious tenets and ceremonial observances which ultimately enhance a reciprocal sympathy between the East and West.
ROGER ASORAM, in bearing testimony to the classical proficiency of his illustrious pupils, Edward and Elizabeth, said 'of them, that they not only understood but composed in Latin, skilfully and with ease. Such an assertion, made three centuries since by the great preceptor of the age, leads to the inference, that, even in that early period, the value of composition as a criterion of scholarship was duly appreciated. It would be needless to quote the more express statements of scholars and linguists of modern times, in proof of the estimation in which this accomplishment is now held as a test of sound proficiency. It is sufficient to know, that in these days of intellectual progress and competition, no classical examination is considered effectual in which a prominent place is not assigned to composition. Indeed, an increasingly high standard of excellence in this branch of education is now demanded by all collegiate tribunals.
In unison with these opinions, the framers of the Statutes of the East-India College have provided, that no student shall be pronounced qualified for Indian service until he can make an intelligible translation from an English passage into the Oriental languages in which he has been. instructed. And if this requirement bas been Wisely made, as a test of scholarship in the spoken dialects, much more has it so been made in regard to Sanskrit, the classical language of India, which bears a far closer relation to those dialects than Greek and Latin bear to the living languages of Europe. If at our Universities and Colleges, .where are educated many who are destined to fill the highest offices in our home government, the composition of Latin prose is demanded of all candidates for degrees, with much more reason may Sanskrit, composition be made an essential at this Institution, where are trained. the whole body of civilians to whom the government of our Indian Empire is to be trusted.
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that a student can hardly be expected to practice composition and translation in a difficult language if the usual aids are not placed at his disposal. That such aids have not hitherto been made available in Sanskrit has been owing to the great difficulty of compiling a good English and Sanskrit Dictionary. Reverse Dictionaries are sufficiently within the reach of the student of Greek and Latin. In truth. the time that has been spent in investigating these languages, during many centuries, by a succession of learned men, each improving upon the results of his predecessor's labours, has led to the production of such a variety of dictionaries, phrasebooks, and vocabularies, that the work of Greek and Latin lexicography, in the present day, has become a mere process of sifting and digesting the mass of existing materials. Yet, even in these languages, so great has been the difficulty of compiling a good Reverse Dictionary, that, after numerous incomplete attempts, it has only been within recent years that any really valuable English-Greek or English-Latin Dictionary has been published.
With reference to some of the spoken languages of the East, much has been done to facilitate translation and composition. In Hindustani, it will scarcely be necessary to allude to the labours of that eminent scholar, Dr Gilchrist, and in more recent times to the works of Mr Shakespear and Dr Duncan Forbes. In Bengali, great assistance is afforded to the student by the copious English- Bengali Dictionary of Ram Comul Sen: in Marathi, still greater, by the admirable English and Marathi Dictionary of Major Candy: in Telugu, by that of Mr Morris: in Carnation, or Canarese, by that of Mr Reeve. In Persian and Arabic, the dictionary of Professor Johnson, now passing through the press, will offer to the student a complete Persian, Arabic, and English Lexicon; but, although Reversed Dictionaries or English and Persian are procurable, a good lexicon in this form remains yet to be compiled. The English and Persian Dictionaries, or rather Vocabularies, of Meninski and Wilkins, are proofs of how little assistance is rendered to the student, in translating European ideas and phrases, by a mere supplementary vocabulary which is a reversed counterpart of the preceding lexicon. In most of the other spoken dialects of India, such vocabularies exist, and are, without doubt, useful aids in the absence of more complete works. But in Sanskrit, nothing of this description, deserving of notice, has hitherto been effected. The Sanskrit and English Dictionary of Professor H. H. Wilson is indeed, too well known as one of the best lexicons in any language to require comment in this place; and if the labours of that eminent Orient list had been directed to the composition of an English and Sanskrit Dictionary, the student would long Since have enjoyed the advantage of an aid to composition, far more 'effective than that which the present work can supply.
Such as it is, however, this Volume appears before the public as the result of the first attempt that has yet been made to meet a want, which the experience of every day renders increasingly felt. For it is not too much to allege, that the great development of the study of Sanskrit, during late years, has caused the absence of a Reverse Dictionary to be recognised as wanted by many very different and very important members of the community, both at home and abroad; by students and civilians, by scholars and philologists, by chaplains and missionaries; by all those zealous men who have devoted themselves to the social, religious, and intellectual improvement of the natives of our Indian Empire
. With missionaries, and other philanthropists and scholars, whose aim has been to communicate scriptural and scientific truth to the learned natives, through the medium of their classical language, and to the uneducated, through their vernacular tongues, the absence of aid to composition has doubtless enhanced the difficulties by which their labours have been retarded. It will be sufficient to mention the well-known names of Dr Carey and Dr Yates, whose translations of parts of the Bible are valued by all promoters of the cause of Christianity in the East; of Dr Mill, formerly Principal of Bishop's College at Calcutta, whose history of Christ in Sanskrit dialogue is still more acceptable to the natives of India, from its adaptation to their own system of teaching; of Mr John Muir, whose zeal for the welfare of the Hindus has been displayed by carrying out and improving the system of Dr Mill, in numerous excellent tracts; and lastly, of Dr James Ballantyne, the energetic Principal of the College at Benares, whose Sanskrit lectures on the elements of general knowledge, and another scholar like writings, prove him to be eminently fitted for the post to which he has been appointed.
The labours of these, and many other able and devoted men, are based upon the theory, that if the natives of India are to be effectively imbued with the principles of truth, whether religious or scientific, it must be through the medium of the only language through which they will be disposed to accept such information, Proficiency in English may be deemed indispensable to the liberal education of a native, but the attempt to .make English the sole vehicle of instilling sound ideas respecting religion and philosophy, is not likely to be successful. The learned natives will be averse to receiving any new truths which are not imparted by means of the language which they are accustomed to regard as the channel of all truth; and the more uneducated classes are found to be incapable of comprehending new ideas, excepting through their vernacular tongues. And since I found that no vernacular tongue is adequate to express the ideas of religion and science, without borrowing its terms from the Sanskrit, the utility of an English and Sanskrit Dictionary will be recognised by all who have to compose in these dialects, whether in Hindi, Bengali, Uriya, Telugu, Canarese, Ta.mil, Malayalam, or Marathi.
Among philological scholars, whether in Europe or the East, the need for a complete compendium of synonymous words and vocables, in a language which is the key to the solution of every problem in comparative philology, is too obvious to require demonstration.
With respect to the civil servants of India, there can be no doubt that the want of a Reverse Sanskrit Dictionary has contributed to rendering unpopular the study of a language which must force itself, however distastefully, on their observation, by the influence which it exercises on the spoken dialects of India-an influence far greater than that of Latin on English, Italian, or French. But it is by the candidates for the civil service who are educated at the East-India College that this want has been chiefly acknowledged. Here it has seriously affected the popularity of a study which, above all others, ought to be cultivated, if on no other grounds, at least on the score of its, adapting itself, more than any other, to the condition of students, who, being ignorant of their mercies destination in India, is undergoing that course of general training which is best suited to fit them for the special requirements of particular localities.
Such is the want, then, which the Compiler of this dictionary has attempted to supply. But not even his firm persuasion of its magnitude could have emboldened him to address himself to a task of so much difficulty, had he not been liberally encouraged by the Honorable Directors of the East- India Company, whom he has the honour to serve. The public does not require to be informed, that it is the desire of those generous Rulers to win the attachment of their Indian subjects, by furthering every undertaking which aims at improving the knowledge of their languages and literature. A long enumeration might be made of dictionaries, vocabularies, and Important publications, which have issued, and are now issuing, from the press, under the patronage of the Honourable Court. The present is but one out of numerous instances in which the authors of long and laborious works have had to record their gratitude for the countenance thus wisely extended.
It will not be necessary for the Compiler to dwell on the many difficulties he has had to encounter in pursuing his solitary labours, unassisted by the native Pandits and transcribers, who lighten the toil of the lexicographer in India. Those who understand what it is to be a pioneer in any work of lexicography, to be, as it were, the first to break and clear the ground over an untraded field of inquiry, will doubtless, in their candour, appreciate at its full value the labour he has undergone in carrying this Volume to its completion. They will also be prepared to expect inequality in the execution, especially of the earlier pages, and many defects and inconsistencies throughout the whole body of the dictionary, agreeably to the inevitable law of expansion and improvement to which such a work must be subject in its progress through the press. No apology need, therefore, be made for these imperfections. But a brief account of the method in which, during nearly eight years, the Compiler has prosecuted his labours would seem to be expected of him, and is, in fact, rendered necessary by the entire novelty of his work.
A sound and solid foundation of useful household words being thus laid, the Compiler commenced reversing the second edition .' Professor Wilson's Sanskrit and English Dictionary; incorporating in his thesaurus all the new words as they occurred, and omitting only those which represented ideas or things having no approximate equivalent in English. This was a process of much time and labour, requiring a very attentive -perusal of the dictionary, accompanied by much transcribing, collating, arranging, and inserting of words and phrases. It might be hastily inferred, that having accomplished thus much, the considerable advance had been made towards the completion of the work; and if the object of the Compiler had been to compose a good vocabulary, reversing the senses of the words in the Sanskrit and English Dictionary, and nothing more, such would have been the case. But a complete dictionary, which was intended to offer effectual help to the student in practising translation, was not merely to be compiled by collecting words and reversing meanings. It was to be continuously composed with a thoughtful consideration of the best Sanskrit equivalents for modern expressions and idioms, and a caring disposition, under each English word, of its several equivalents, in their proper order, and in their proper connection with its several shades of meaning. In fact, the real business of writing the Dictionary had now to be commenced. Having procured the latest edition of Webster's English Dictionary, which are contained all the words of Tod's edition of Dr Johnson, with many modern additions, as well as all the participles and adverbs, the Author proceeded to translate it systematically into Sanskrit, either gathering his materials from his own collection of classical works, or assisting his memory by suggestions from the Bengali Lexicon of Ram Comul Sen, and omitting only those expressions which seemed obsolete or obsolescent, or of which no classical equivalent could be found or suggested.
He commenced by transcribing carefully and then arranged in alphabetical order, all the English words, with their Sanskrit synonyms, contained in the Kosha of Amara Sinha, edited by the late Mr, Colebrooke. His next step was, to have copied, on nearly two thousand pages of large folio paper, with suitable intervals, all the English words in Riddle's English-Latin Dictionary, known to be very useful in Latin composition. Having thus prepared a kind of thesaurus, or repository for the collection of words and phrases, he proceeded to -insert therein, in their proper places, all the words of the Amara Kosha, above referred to, as well as all those contained in the Hitopadesa, the Selections from the Mahabharata, edited by Professor Johnson, the Meghaduta, the Anthology of Professor Lassen. and all the roots, with some of the examples, comprised in that most learned and admirable compilation, the Radices Lingure Sanskrit of Professor Westergaard.
Having thus progressed as far as the letter C, and the exigency of the case seems to require the speedy appearance of the work, even at the risk of incompleteness, the printing of it was commenced, the Compiler feeling confident that, by great diligence, he might keep in advance of the press. It was not till some progress had been made that the inexpediency of this step was manifested by various omissions, which, though overlooked in the manuscript, became gradually apparent in the printed pages of the work. As soon as this discovery was made, one of two courses remained to be pursued, either to cancel the earlier pages of the work or to supply their deficiencies by an Appendix. The latter of these .courses was adopted, and the process of printing was first suspended, and then retarded, until, by a more extensive course of reading and research, the stock of classical materials was enlarged. To effect this, the Compiler undertook a second and more minute perusal of Professor Wilson's Sanskrit and English Dictionary and noted numerous words and terms which had before escaped his observation. He also reversed the Sanskrit part of the excellent English and Marathi Dictionary of Captain Moles Worth, collecting from this source many valuable words, and much. useful information. He then read through the Code of Manu, and the Commentary of KuU6.ka Bhatta, with the view of obtaining there from a store of choice phrases and idioms. And lastly, he studied attentively, with the same object, the plays of Kalidasa, and parts of the Raghuvansa, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhatti Kavya. He moreover extracted some good words from the Glossaarium Sanskritum of Professor Bopp and made extracts also from some modern Sanskrit writings and translations of the Scriptures. Without detracting from the acknowledged merit of these translations, he believes that little value is to be accorded to suggestions adopted from a source which is not classical.
But he avail8 himself of this opportunity of gratefully acknowledging his obligation to his friend and colleague, Professor Johnson, for furnishing him with a list of words, collected by him in the course of his reading, chiefly from the following standard classical works:-The Text of Manu, with the Commentary of Kulhika; the two law-treatises of Jimutavahana, called Dayabhaga and Mitakshara; the Vikramorvasi, Sakuntala, Mrichchhakati, Malatimadhava, Mudrarakshasa, Ratnavali, Uttararamacharitra, and the Rajatarangini, published by Capt. Troyer.
Having enriched his store of materials with words and phrases from these approved sources, the composition and printing of his Dictionary gradually advanced to the end of the letter H. At this point a copy of Major Candy's English and Marathi. Dictionary came first to hand. Had an impression of this work been received earlier, it would have saved the Compiler the time and labour consumed by him in reversing Captain Moles worth: Marathi and English Dictionary, a task which he had not completed until three hundred pages of his own work had been printed off, and excluded from any improvement derivable from this source.
It is, however, right to acknowledge, that the Dictionary of Major Candy, although it often furnished little more than a repetition of what the Compiler had himself collected, either from the Sanskrit or Marathi Lexicons, provided him with numerous additional words, and much useful information, upon Hindu mythology and science, the value of which cannot be too highly estimated. Indeed, it would be difficult to make mention of Major Candy's work except in the highest terms of praise. By these aids, and with the addition of some happy renderings of scientific terms from Dr Ballantyne's Lectures, and of some classical words from the Appendix to the late Dr Yates' abridgement of Professor Wilson's Sanskrit Dictionary, the remainder of the present work, from the letter I to the end, was composed and printed in a comparatively short period.
The foregoing statement is the best apology for any want of uniformity discoverable in the plan of this Volume. A general uniformity, sufficient, it is hoped, for all the purposes of reference, has been sustained throughout. But perfect unity is hard to be maintained, at least in the first edition of a laborious work, compiled by gradual accretion from an increasing store of materials, and liable in its growth to occasional improvement and expansion.
If consistency has been sacrificed, it has only been in cases where improvements were admissible without endangering the facility of reference, which should be the paramount consideration. For the convenience, therefore, of all consulters of the Dictionary, the use of too many symbols or abbreviations has been avoided. Whenever a substantive or adjective is followed by the parts of speech in connexion with it or a verb by its participles and participial adjectives, and whenever. under each of these heads, separate gradations of meaning occur, the student will find the different meanings exhibited at full under the first word, and repeated at full under the others, the same relative order being generally preserved. For example, let him turn to the words Nobility, Noble, and Nobly. Under the substantive Nobility, the first meaning given is, 'antiquity of family;' the second, is 'greatness of mind;' the third, is 'distinction;' and the fourth, is 'magnificence.' Under the adjective, instead of referring back to the substantive by symbols as in some other dictionaries, the meanings have been repeated thus: 'of an ancient family;' 'great in mind,' 'distinguished,' magnificent;' and similarly under the adverb, thus: 'with the nobleness of birth,' 'with the greatness of mind The better to effect this clear exhibition of successive meanings, close printing has been employed, and no needless blanks admitted; so that the spaces occupied by the words Nobility, Noble, and Noble is not so large, in comparison to the number of equivalents given, as the spaces occupied by the same words in the Marathi Dictionary. If the order of the meanings has not always been preserved, it is because the object has been, under each word, to dispose of the gradations of senses according to what appeared to be the ratio of their commonness.
On the other hand, many meanings which appeared unusual or obsolete have been omitted; and under some words, references have been made to preceding or succeeding parts of the Dictionary; but in all such cases a few of the commonest equivalents are generally given, of which the student can avail himself if indisposed to follow out the reference. Thus under the word, vigilant two meanings are given viz. wakeful and wary. In connexion with the first of these, a few of the commonest Sanskrit words are specified with the sense wary after mentioning the most useful equivalent the student is referred back to the word circumspect for a more complete list. And in cases where no direct reference is made as under the substantive vigilance, the student will infer that the word wakefulness in brackets is intended not only to exhibit the variation of meaning but also to direct his attention to the quarter of the dictionary where additional synonyms may be found.
If an objection is raised to the multiplication of Sanskrit equivalents under each English word and the several meaning of which it is susceptible the compiler may state in explanation that in striving to render his work as complete as possible he has been forced at the risk of surplus age into a copious enumeration of words and significant terms. Whenever it has been possible to give a complete list of synonymous Sanskrit worlds it has been done. At the same time, for the attempt purposes of prose composition or translation, it will be advisable that the student should choose the Sanskrit word standing first in the list or at least should make his selection from the first few equivalents enumerated except in the case of such comprehensive terms as the sun, Moon, Earth, fire, water etc. where the number of Sanskrit words is so great that the selection may be fairly made from the first few lines. The remaining equivalents given under such examples would in any other language be regarded as epithets rather than words and would probably be restricted to poetical composition. And in fact, as regards their adaptation to plan Sanskrit prose it will be better for the student to treat them.