Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle/Alexander Csoma de Körös

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Narratives of the mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa by Clements Robert Markham
Alexander Csoma de Körös

Alexander Csoma de Körös, the eminent Tibetan scholar, worked in the same field of research as Mr. Hodgson, and at the same time. A Siculo-Hungarian of Transylvania, and without means, this devoted student made his way to India by land, with the object of investigating Eastern languages and literature, and of ascertaining their relation to his own Magyar tongue. It is much to the credit of the Government and officials of British India that Csoma de Körös should have been cordially welcomed and liberally assisted. He first went to Ladak and Zanskar, and studied the Tibetan language and literature in the Buddhist monastery of Pugdal, from 1827 to 1830; and he then proceeded to Calcutta, for the purpose of giving some of the results of his labours to the world, where he was very kindly received by Mr. Wilson and Mr. James Prinsep.

Csoma de Körös ascertained that the literature of Tibet was entirely of Indian origin, the immense volumes being translations from Sanscrit. His teacher in the Tibetan language was a learned Lama of Zanskar, named Bandé Sangs-rgyas Phun-tshogs; and when his grammar and dictionary were completed, the Government of India very properly sanctioned its being brought out at the public expense. He also published several valuable papers in the 'Asiatic Researches,' and in the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.'

In 1842, M. Csoma de Körös set out on an adventurous journey in the footsteps of Mr. Manning, with the intention of making his way to Lhasa, in order to gain access to the stores of Tibetan literature which he believed, from his reading in Ladak, were still extant there. But this indefatigable scholar died, of fever, in 1842, in Dr. Campbell's house at Darjíling.[1]

  1. See 'J. A. S. B.,' xi. p. 303 (1842).

    The works of Csoma de Koros were:
    'Essay towards a Dictionary, Tibetan and English.' (Calcutta, 1834.)
    'A Grammar of the Tibetan Language in English.' (Calcutta, 1884.)
    "Notices on the Life of Sakya," and of some Tibetan works, in the 'Asiatic Researches,' vol. xx. pp. 285, 893, and 553.
    In the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal' there are "Geographical Notice of Tibet," i. p. 121; "Note on
    the Origin of the Käla-Chakra and the Adi-Buddha Systems," ii. p. 57; "Translation of a Tibetan Passport," ii. p. 201; "Origin of the Shakya Race," ii. p. 385; "Extracts from Tibetan Works," iii. p. 57;" Analysis of a Tibetan Medical Work," iv. p. 1;
    "Different Systems of Buddhism, from Tibetan Authorities," vii. parti, p. 142;
    "Enumeration of Tibetan Works," vii. p. 147; also ix. part ii. p. 905; v. pp. 264 and 384.