-.-. 4-- ~


on the lotver slopes of the Himalayas, and its oflicials had to make themselves intelligible to the peoples throughout its vast domain. “Htntlering teachers travelled to and fro and discussed with the settled scholars and philosophers in the different local- ities all kinds of subjects of intellectual interest.

Now what was the language thus used for commercial, administrative and cultured intercourse? The natural reply xvould be: No doubt the Kosala dialect. But there is an alternative which requires explanation.

Whilst the living speech was passing through the develop- ment above sketched out, the sacrificing priests preserved, in their memories, the old Vedic hymns. Long before Buddhism arose, the living speech had moved on so lar that the Vedic dialect was no longer understood. The priests then composed commentaries-not, of course, For the use of the people (they were most jealous to keep all knowledge of the mysteries of the sacrifice concealed from the peoplc),—but for their own use. Some of these commentaries are still extant. They are written in a language as far removed from the vernacular on the one hand as it is from the dialect of the Rig Veda on the other. It is clearly a scholastic form of speech, intended for use only by the priests and their pupils. But it also, like the verna~ cular, bears evident traces of development. Its oldest portions are most nearly akin to those of the Vedic literature that are younger than the Rig Veda. And it is estimated that it was in use from about 80o to about 500 n. c. During the \\-'l1()lC of this period it was just as much a dead language as Latin was in the Middle Ages in Europe, or as Pali was in Ceylon when the commentaries were written there. But it was also just as much a living language as these others were, and it was probably spoken in conversation by the pupils in the schools, though those very same pupils used a sort of Pall in their (laily intercourse outside the schools, and a few of the most