Sandor Csoma De Koros (Korosi Csoma), a Hungarian traveller and orientalist, born at Koros, in Transylvania, about 1790, died at Darjeeling, in India, April 11, 1842. Of a noble but poor family, he studied gratis at the school of Nagy-Enyed, where at an early age he avowed his intention to make the discovery of the original home of his race, the Magyars, the task of his life. The researches of Klaproth led him to seek the traces of the Uigurs, a people of central Asia mentioned by Arabian writers. In 1815 he went to Gottingen, where he studied medicine and oriental languages, and on his return finally started in 1820 for his great journey of discovery, with scanty means furnished by the liberality of a friend. He passed through the Balkan to Constantinople, visited Egypt and Syria, and wrote his first letter to his friends from Teheran, dated Dec. 21, 1820. The resemblance of a number of Thibetan words to Magyar incited him to acquire the language and to visit the country of Thibet. He traversed Little Bokhara and the desert of Gobi, reached the region of the Himalaya, wandered through its valleys, partly with the English traveller Moorcroft, partly alone, and spent four years (1827-'30) in a Buddhist monastery at Kanam, on a high mountain on the confines of Thibet and India. For his maintenance on his travels he relied upon his medical knowledge and the hospitality of the Asiatic people.
But his taciturnity and modesty prevented him from communicating the particulars of his travels and extraordinary sojourn among the Buddhists when he arrived at Calcutta with immense philological collections, gathered in the narrow cells of the snow-bound monastery, and comprising 40,000 Thibetan words. A severe disappointment awaited him here. He had already given up the illusion in regard to the Magyar and Thibetan languages; he now learned with deep grief that his collections, made for the purpose of tracing the Uigurs, were all superfluous, as his discovered sources were translations of well known Sanskrit works. But in the eyes of British scholars in India he had discovered incomparably more than was the object of his patriotic researches. He became the oracle of Thibetan literature and Buddhistic science, before him almost unknown. He was the object of general attention in Calcutta, and Hungary and Transylvania learned from England the fame of their countryman. But he modestly withdrew from society, and destined the money which he received from home (the diet of Transylvania having voted him an ample pension) for works of science for the institutions of his country.
When ottered a remuneration by the Asiatic society of Bengal for an elaborate catalogue of the 1,100 Thibetan works of their library, which before had been like sealed books, he declared that if he were rich he would willingly pay for the pleasure of the work. With unabated zeal he continued his profound studies of the languages and religions of the East,' until he again started in 1842 for the prosecution of his originally intended discovery; but on his journey he was suddenly overtaken by illness and died. His works are: "Essay toward a Dictionary Thibetan and English" (Calcutta, 1834); "Grammar of the Thibetan Language" (1834); an "Analysis of the Kahgyur," the great sacred book of the Buddhists, published in vol. xx. of the "Asiatic Researches;" and numerous articles on Thibetan literature in the "Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal".