Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 10 - JUNE, 1880 (Section 2)
A Study in Vegetarianism
Soundings in the Ocean of Aryan Literature
Mysterious Stone-Throwing at Plumstend
The Mind is Material
The Spiritual Commandments
The Prarthana Samaj vs. Christianity
Brahmoism vs. Hinduism
The Hindu or Arya Question
Our Delegates in Ceylon
What the Press Has Said about The Theosophist
Return to Section 1
A STUDY IN VEGETARIANISM:
Being an Experiment Made by Dr. Eugene Bilfinger of Halle, Germany, upon Himself.
Translated from the German by M. L. Holbrook, M. D.
It is only very recently that we have had discussions upon the subject of vegetarianism. Medical men have usually taken sides against it. For this reason it may perhaps be interesting to a large number of persons, if I, who have experimented upon myself for a considerable length of time with this method of living, should give the results at which I have arrived. Formerly, I naturally shared with all other physicians the universal prejudice against a fleshless diet, believing that it had an effect to weaken the physical and intellectual powers and the capacity to endure; and that it robbed life of most of its gustatory enjoyments.
By way of preface I may state that a long personal acquaintance with a young vegetarian of cheerful disposition, in whose case I found none of the evil results I had looked for, gradually brought me to a position where I was able to lay aside my prejudices; and, furthermore, a desire was awakened to investigate the effects of this prescribed method of living in a scientific manner, by experiments made upon myself. And, being in a condition of perfect health, I hoped to be able to make a careful objective study.
In the first place, in spite of my unconquerable prejudice against the medical literature of the laity, I read the writings on vegetarianism of Hahn, Baltzer, Von Seefeld, and others. To my great surprise, I found these works to be of the highest interest. The opened my mind to perceive a multitude of causes of disease, concerning which a physician's knowledge is sadly deficient, for they showed me that improper eating and drinking were among the principal causes of disease and death in society. An old French proverb says, that "One-half of Paris dies from dining, the other half from supping."
As to what is best in the way of eating and drinking, physicians, as a rule, are quite as ignorant as non-medical men; and, indeed, their opinions upon these points are based upon what has been customary among the people from time immemorial. This is perfectly natural, since science, when it treads upon the domain of dietetics, has no certain foundation under its feet, and even up to the present time, only the chemical, and, therefore, one-sided and untenable view has been given. Virchow was honest enough to confess this, since, in his lecture on food and diet, he says: "A strictly scientific system of diet has been hitherto impossible; and it is, in fact, astonishing, that after so many thousands of years, neither experience nor science, as one would think, is able to bring this, first of all questions in which the interests of humanity are concerned, to a proper solution." Also, Prof. Voit, a special investigator in this department, in his most recent publication, declares that "What, and how much, a man under all the varying circumstances of his life, requires for his sustenance, should we, first of all, truly know; and yet is our knowledge herein, alas! very meagre, and not at all commensurate with the importance of the subject." According to this statement it is not difficult to understand how the present theories of diet have been influenced by custom, and why a flesh diet has been glorified as the self-evident and indispensable means of nourishment. Sang indeed, Prof. Bock in his time, in the Garten Laube, that flesh food increases the poetic fancy, and so he recommended to the Silesians to eat roast beef instead of potatoes. And so Prof. Moleschoff, a no less powerful champion of a flesh diet, says in his lectures: "To every meal belongs meat."
On the other hand, writers on vegetarianism have shown me by proofs drawn from the book of nature that the eating of meat is merely an acquired habit, and it needs but little consideration to discover that it may be wholly dispensed with, or that it is a food wasteful of the strength and vigor. And it is not to be denied, certainly, that about 300,000,000 Buddhists in India, China, and Japan, live almost exclusively without animal food, and are not on that account any the less strong and robust, and these reach for the most part a very advanced age. So is it indeed also a fact that the rural population of nearly every civilized country, from the earliest times, though perhaps not from choice, have been more or less vegetarians. Nevertheless, they have been the most healthy people; as, for example, the higher class of Italian laborers, who perform the most arduous duties. And who will deny that the possibility of obtaining our nourishment from sources which shall make the shedding of blood unnecessary would be gratifying to the humane and moral sense? So is it also well known that in all ages various persons — philosophers and poets, among the ancients, Pythagoras, Plato, and Plutarch; and in more recent times, Shelley, Leibnitz, Newton, and others, have, from esthetic considerations, for a considerable portion of their lives at least, eschewed animal food, nevertheless they have been the most beautiful examples of the intellectual life of our time.
In spite of these facts, which, at all events, are well worth considering, I was somewhat doubtful as to whether a fleshless diet would be suitable for us who, for generations, have been accustomed to the use of animal food; and as to whether, on account of climatic conditions, we could employ it without injury. In order to arrive at an independent opinion on this subject, I hold that an extended practical investigation by actual experiment in this manner of living, is indispensable. Alas! that so many, both professionals and non-professionals, speak and write against vegetarianism according to received prejudices, without having made any such experiment. A person accustomed to meat, who occasionally makes a dinner of pan-cakes and salad, cannot appreciate the value of vegetarianism, and is not, therefore, justified in speaking to its prejudice. In this way only a distorted judgment can originate; just as one school of medicine forms an opinion adverse to another school, upon what is merely hearsay evidence. The vegetarian experiment demands, indeed, from men of culture in modern times, some self-sacrifice, and the moral courage necessary to liberate themselves from the popular opinions of the day, for the sake of truth. Nor must they be afraid of ridicule. For myself, the experiment had few difficulties, since I had already made the foundations of modern hygienic science my own. So had I accustomed myself beforehand to think of beer, wine, coffee, and similar means of excitement as things seldom to be indulged in. I thought that smoking was to be avoided, as an unnecessary filling of the lungs with soot; and that pure fresh air was to be considered most important, as a means of nourishment by day and by night, together with much more that was essential.
The experiment now became to me an easy one, for, in addition, I had for a long time previously been accustomed to eat Graham bread, one of the principal articles of a vegetarian dietary. Thus prepared, I ventured to make the experiment scientifically, and resolved that for the period of one year, beginning January 1, 1876, I would abstain wholly from animal food in every form. Since I was vigorous, well-nourished, somewhat inclined indeed to corpulency, and temperate withal, I hoped to be able to venture a good deal. My food consisted now of uncooked milk and bread, of soups of all kinds without meat, but with butter only, wheat, corn, rice, and the like; of the many varieties of vegetables, as of fruits of every kind. To my great astonishment, a vegetarian table offered, without roast beef or steak, a more than abundant variety. This is shown indeed by the large cookbooks of Von Theodore Hahn, Von Ottilie Ebmeyer, and others, which contain over 1,200 recipes for the preparation of purely vegetable dishes. Since I entered upon this manner of living, neither after eight, nor after fourteen, nor after forty days, in spite of the most extreme hard work, protracted walks, and the practice of my profession, have I at any time become weary or felt fatigue; but, on the contrary, have felt fresher, more enduring, and more capable of hard work. So I lost the fears I had in the beginning as to whether or not I should obtain a sufficiency of albumen. Indeed, the longer I went on, the less did I fear this, and I therefore soon discontinued the use of eggs, since it gradually came about that the more simple the food, the better I liked it. But in spite of this change I could not perceive the least diminution of my powers of endurance. Indeed once, for four weeks during the heat of summer, half out of curiosity, I made trial of the cold food of the Swiss herd-maidens of the Alps, and during this time partook of no cooked food; and thus, at the same time, made a partial investigation of the question of abstinence from salt. Genuine Graham bread, as it is well known, contains the addition of no salt. Incredible as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that during this time I was most lively, cheerful, and happy, and felt myself to be in all respects at my best, and so was able to make in my own person a scientific experiment which completely disproves the popular dogma that man cannot exist without salt. Whoever does not, by discarding the skins and bran, remove from fruits and grains the mineral matter which nature has put there, requires the addition of no salt to his food. This little episode is given only as an example of the way in which vegetarianism in many respects rectifies science, and besides teaches each one how to distinguish between the essential and the non-essential requirements, and leads to the most simple and natural way of living.
As for the rest, I persevered in my experimental trial conscientiously, and during those 365 days, for only three times, in the first quarter of the year, did I, from social considerations, make some slight departures from my general way of living. At this period, at a general festival, I made some concession for the sake of society.
With the exception of the first eight days, during which time I missed the customary stimulation of flesh food, I enjoyed my repasts exceedingly. Hunger was a most excellent sauce, and I had indeed, as the experiment progressed, a constantly improving sense of taste and smell. I rejoiced in the best sleep, and there was a constant, undisturbed condition of good health. Corporeally, I decreased somewhat in weight; I weighed five kilogrammes less after the first six months. For mountain climbing and pedestrian tours my capacity to endure was greatly increased, and to these active exercises, rather than to my fleshless diet, was my loss in weight to be contributed. For during my year of experiment I was physically more active, and also more moderate in my eating and drinking than formerly. I soon observed that by this unstimulating manner of living the demand for spirituous liquors and similar means of excitement decreased, and likewise that I was completely satisfied on a much smaller quantity of food than before on a mixed diet. This latter observation was to me worthy of notice, since it disproved the formerly cherished opinion that vegetarians had to swallow an enormous quantity of food in order to be property nourished. Nothing can be more erroneous than this idea, and it originates from another mistaken opinion, namely, that vegetarians are mere vegetable and grass eaters and worshippers. Rightly regarded, however, the vegetarian takes vegetables and salads only as additions to his food, the nutritious grains and fruits forming the basis of his diet.
Just as unfounded is another objection which has been raised against vegetable food on the side of science; that is, that vegetables are more difficult of digestion than the flesh of animals, and that, therefore, a smaller portion of it is digested. Perhaps, many plants used for food are more difficult of digestion, especially to weakened digestive organs, as, for example, beans and peas cooked in the ordinary way; properly prepared, however, even these become easy of digestion, as is proved by the leguminous preparations of Hartenstein, well known as consisting of finely-grounded beans, peas, and lentils. They have great celebrity, are easily digested, and strengthening foods for invalids. On the other hand, nature does not offer to man his food in a concentrated form. A food containing nothing but pure nourishment would be like an atmosphere of pure oxygen, and would not contribute to man's welfare. A flesh diet is somewhat analogous to an atmosphere of pure oxygen, and wears out the body too rapidly. Vegetable food is, on the contrary, unexciting; it has neither a chemical nor a stimulating effect upon the organs, and offers to the vegetarian the not-to-be-despised advantage, that he has not, as the flesh-eater — for example, the Englishman with his enormous quantity of pills, aperient waters, and such like — to battle against habitual constipation.
During the latter part of my experimental year, I had a season of excessively hard labor, including much watching at night. In spite of my abstinence from meat and wine, my strength did not desert me; indeed I bore the severe trial cheerfully and with unbroken spirit.
To my discredit — the learned doctors will say; and I acknowledge it — in the course of my experiment, having been convinced of the advantages of the vegetarian manner of living upon the side of dietetics, and also upon the side of esthetics, economy, and morality, out of a Saul, I had become a Paul. I have since that time had no reason to change my views. My opinion agrees fully with that of Hufeland, who, in his "Art of Prolonging Life," says:
"Man in the selection of his food always leans more towards the vegetable kingdom. Animal food is always more exciting and heating; on the contrary, vegetables make a cool and wild blood. We also find that not the flesh-eaters, but those who live upon vegetables, fruit, grains, and milk, attain the greatest age." Also Niemeyer, of Leipsic, who a few years ago spoke of vegetarians as being wonderfully healthy, in his most recent work, which contains the kernel of the vegetarian theory, greets the friends of a natural manner of living (vegetarians), as a courageous minority, and as pioneers of a worthy reform in society. Indeed, he pictures the children of vegetarians as models of a natural nourishment, and allows to the adults the evidence of physical elasticity and endurance. From the fullest conviction, therefore, I give it as my deliberate opinion that vegetarianism is a justifiable reaction against Liebig's albuminous theories of diet, upon which the modern doctrine of meat-eating is built; and that it opposes and has a tendency to correct the pernicious theory everywhere prevalent, that meat and wine are the most strengthening articles of diet; and that on this account alone it deserves consideration and respect from science. Moreover, on account of its influence in the domain of national economy, is vegetarianism worthy of the attention of all who have the physical and moral welfare of the people at heart. To all the friends of man, therefore, is it to be personally recommended, and on every suitable opportunity a knowledge of vegetarianism should be imparted. Propagation of these ideas among our people is indeed of very recent date. Each one must begin with himself, for each has his own special difficulty. Vegetarianism is, however, in its whole nature so true, that in later centuries there will certainly be a conflict in its favor — (Phren. Jour.)
SOUNDINGS IN THE OCEAN OF ARYAN LITERATURE.
By K. Venkata Narasaya; of Bellary.
Under the title "Soundings in the Ocean of Aryan Literature," Mr. Nilakantha Chatre, B.A., publishes very useful and interesting information from the celebrated work of Varahamihira, called Bhrihat Samhita. It is the earnest desire of every one who wishes to get some insight into the ancient history of our country to see every month something from the pen of our learned friend.
In his article appearing at page 205 of the THEOSOPHIST, he presumes Bhrihat Samhita to have been written in the sixth century A. C. and gives two reasons. The first is that the elaborate commentary of Pandit Utpala bears date 888 of the era of Salivahana, and the second is that Varahamihira, the author of the Samhita, quotes from the work of Aryabhatta who, he says, was born in 470 A. C. To support him in his calculations, he gives extracts from the works of Utpala and Aryabhatta. The first extract shows that Utpala wrote his commentary in the year 880 of "the Era." Mr. Nilakantha supposes that the year is of the era of Salivahana. I do not think that the authority, quoted by him, supports him in such a supposition. The very name Utpala shows that he was a Gonda and not a Dravida, and, if so, he very probably resided beyond the Vindhya mountains. If such be the case, it is fair to presume that the era given by him is that of Vikramaditya. Whatever may be the era given by Utpala, it is quite plain that the date of his commentary helps us very little in fixing the time of the Samhita. All that it can show is that the work in question was not posterior to the year 880 (whether it be of the era of Vikrama or Salivhana).
The second reason, given by our friend, viz., that Varahamihira quotes from Aryabhatta is one which cannot be easily got over. It is quite clear from the second extract that Aryabhatta was born in the year 3,623 of Kali, corresponding to A.C. 521 and not to A.C. 470. In the "sloka" extracted, Aryabhatta says that sixty times sixty years plus twenty-three had elapsed from the beginning of the Kaliyug up to the date of his birth. So, it is quite evident that he was born in A.C. 521. Here I must confess that I am at a loss to know how Mr. Nilakantha, or Dr. Bhau Dajee got the figures 470. Laying aside the discrepancy of 51 years, we may safely assert that Aryabhatta flourished at the close of the 5th or beginning of the sixth century. If it be true as alleged by Mr. Nilakantha that Varahamhira quotes from Aryabhatta, we must accept that Varahamihira flourished after Aryabhatta. We have, however, a reliable authority from which it appears that the contrary is the fact. There is a work called Jytirvidabharanam, written by Kalidasa, (the well-known Sanskrit poet) and dated the year 3,068 of Kali. In the appendix to this work, the author says that he, and eight others, viz., Dhanwantari, Kshapanaka, Amara Simha, Sanku, Betalabhatta, Ghata Kharpara, Varahamihira, and Vararuchi were the nine gems of the court of Vikramaditya, that of them, Sanku and others were Pandits, some of them were poets, and Varahamihira and others were astronomers; and that after writing the three poems, Raghuvansa, Kumara Sambhava, and Meghaduta, and a treatise on Smritis, he wrote Jyotervidabharanam in the year 3,068 of Kali. If this is to be relied on, it carries the time of Varahamihira back to the beginning of the Christian era. Then there arises very naurally a question which of the two calculations is correct. In point of authority both appear equally supported. If both are true, it is quite clear that there lived at two different times two persons by the name of Varahamihira, and that one of them was a Pandit in Vikram's court, and the other was the author of Bhribat Samhita. Having no copy of this work with me, I beg that Mr. Nilakantha will in a future issue of the THEOSOPHIST furnish us with extracts from the Samhita showing the portions in which Aryabhatta's work is quoted, together with such remarks as bear on the subject.
MYSTERIOUS STONE-THROWING AT PLUMSTEAD.
The residents on the western side of Maxey-road, Plumstead, at the upper end, have during the last few days been alarmed by a singular bombardment of their houses. Stones of large size have been showered upon them by some unknown hand at the rear of the premises, destroying the windows to such an extent that in one house every pane of glass is broken. The inhabitants of Burrage-road, whose gardens meet those of the Maxey-road houses, have naturally been scandalised and vexed at the imputation. Nothing could be seen to justify a selection of the offending quarter, and the aid of twenty police-constables in plain clothes was obtained, and they were hidden about the gardens and houses, but failed to discover the offender, and although the stone-throwing continued from about six till ten o'clock every evening, its origin was still a puzzle. Indeed, for a day or two, the bombardment continued all through the day, and at intervals of five minutes smash went a pane of glass or the remains of one, and another large stone found its way into the parlour, bed-room, or kitchen. No. 200 Maxey-road has been an especial mark for attacks, and suggests the interior of a house after a siege. It has been recently whitened at the back to which may be attributed its being made a mark of assault by the assailants. The bedroom window is barricaded with boards and carpets, not to save it, for every pane of glass has gone, but for the protection of the inmates, one or two of whom have been injured. The same destruction is to be seen in all the other rear rooms: even the projecting scullery, whose window faces the south, has come in for its share of the assault, proving that the catapult or engine used must stand somewhere in that direction. Great stones lay about such as no human hand could have thrown for any great distance, some weighing nearly a pound. According to latest information the stone-throwing continues, but at more uncertain periods. A clue to the offender has been obtained, and there is every reason to believe the unoffending inhabitants of Burrage-road will be fully exonerated from any participation in the mischievous attack — Daily Chronicle.
THEMIND IS MATERIAL.
The following difficulties, propounded by one of our correspondents, are offered for consideration and solution by those who have studied or thought upon the subject.
"In the THEOSOPHIST for April, was an article headed 'The mind is material,' which was based on the reasons that its faculties are thinking, judging, knowing, &c., and they are affected by the affection of the material body. This philosophy is perfectly true, but what I want to know now is this — when the body is destroyed, the mind is also destroyed and the immaterial soul is left to itself without having the powers that were attached to the mind. This state of the soul is no better than nothing, because the qualities above enumerated are the only means by which it could feel, know, think, &c. How does it then suffer the consequences of good or bad actions it has done during the life-time and what becomes of it, and what is it?
There is another question. The ghosts are nothing but departed souls; it has been proved in your journal elsewhere that they perform acts just like living beings; they utter articulate sounds, express fear and all kinds of faculties that the mind possesses; how do they possess these faculties if the mind is destroyed with the body?
I am sure that the mind is material, because it is affected by bodily sicknesses and diseases. Besides in the state of sound sleep, it feels nothing excepting when dreaming, and hence it is deducible that the soul is also material and that after death there remains nothing."
THE SPIRITUAL C0MMANDMENTS.
We commend to our readers a little book, published under the auspices of the Samadarshi Sabha, Lahore, under the above title. The principles and rules of conduct are clearly and carefully announced, and a thoughtful reading of them will prove a powerful auxiliary to efforts for righteousness. We give them below and are sure that they will be read by all with interest and profit.
I. — Thou shalt search for Truth in every department of being, — test, prove, and try if what thou deemest is Truth, and accept it as the Word of God.
II. — Thou shalt continue the search for Truth all thy life, and never cease to test, prove and try all that thou deemest to be truth.
III. — Thou shalt search by every attainable means, for the laws that underlie all life and being; thou shalt strive to comprehend these laws, live in harmony with them, and make them the laws of thine own life, thy rule and guide in all thine actions.
IV. — Thou shalt not follow the example of any man or set of men, nor obey any teaching or accept of any theory as thy rule of life, that is not in strict accordance with thy highest sense of right.
V. — Thou shalt remember that a wrong done to the least of thy fellow-creatures is a wrong done to all; and thou shalt never commit a wrong wilfully and consciously to any of thy fellowman, nor connive at wrong done by others without striving to prevent or protesting against it.
VI. — Thou shalt acknowledge all men's right to do, think, or speak, to be exactly equal to thine own; and all right whatsoever that thou dost demand, thou shalt ever accord to others.
VII. — Thou shalt not hold thyself bound to love or associate with those that are distasteful or repulsive to thee, but thou shalt be held bound to treat such objects of dislike with gentleness, courtesy and justice; and never suffer thy antipathies to make thee ungentle or unjust to any living creature.
VIII. — Thou shalt ever regard the rights, interests and welfare of the many as superior to those of the one or the few, and in cases where thy welfare or that of thy friend is to be balanced against that of society, thou shalt sacrifice thyself or friend to the welfare of the many.
IX. — Thou shalt be obedient to the laws of the land in which thou dost reside, in all things which do not conflict with thy highest sense of right.
X. — Thy first and last duty upon earth, and all through thy life, shall be to seek for the principles of right, and to live them out to the utmost of thy power and whatever creed, precept or example conflicts with those principles, thou shalt shun and reject, ever remembering that the laws of right are — in morals, Justice; in science, Harmony; in religion, The Fatherhood of God, The Brotherhood of Man, the immortality of the human soul, and compensation and retribution for the good or evil done on earth.
TEN RULES OF RIGHT.
I. — Temperance in all things, whether physical, mental, affectional or religious.
II. — Justice to all creatures that be — justice being the exercise of precisely the same rules of life, conduct, thought or speech that we would desire to receive from others.
III. — Gentleness in speech and act — never needlessly wounding the feelings of others by harsh words or deeds; never hurting or destroying aught that breathes, save for the purposes of sustenance or self-defence.
IV. — Truth in every word or thought, spoken or acted, but reservation of harsh or unpleasing truths where they would needlessly wound the feelings of others.
V. — Charity — charity in thought striving to excuse the failings of others; charity in speech, veiling the failings of others; charity in deed, wherever, whenever,
and to whomsoever the opportunity offers.
VI. — Alms-giving — visiting the sick and comforting the afflicted in every shape that our means admit of, and the necessities of our fellow-creatures demand.
VII. — Self-sacrifice, wherever the interests of others are to be benefited by our endurance.
VIII. — Temperate yet firm defence of our views of right, and protest against wrong, whether in ourselves or others.
IX. — Industry in following our calling we may be engaged in, or in devoting some portion of our time, when otherwise not obliged to do so, to the service and benefit of others.
X. — Love — above and beyond all, seeking to cultivate in our own families, kindred, friends, and amongst all mankind generally the spirit of that true and tender love which can think, speak or act no wrong to any creature living; remembering always, that where love is, all the other principles of right are fulfilled beneath its influence and embodied in its monitions.
THE PRARTHANA SAMAJ vs. CHRISTIANITY.
By a Member of the Prarthana Samaj.
Some time back, after the Kirtan in the Prarthana Samaj had come off, it will be remembered that some tame sheep from the fold of Jesus wrote to the Dnanodaya taking exception to Tukaram, his doctrines, &c., &c. To this the Subodh Patrika replied in a sensible manner and at the same time incidentally remarked that the Holy Bible contained many contradictions. The remark galled the Revd. Editor of the Dnanodaya, who challenged the Patrika to point out any contradictions in the Bible. It seems that the Revd. Editor has not read the Bible very carefully, or else he would have found therein enough to satisfy his curiosity. For ready reference I shall place before him the following:
Genesis ch. I.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, &c.
26. And God said, Let us make man, &c.
27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
18. And the Lord said; It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him.
19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air, &c.
In the first chapter, beasts are said to have been created before man; in the second, after man. The first chapter says "male and female created he them": the second says that woman was created out of Adam's rib. In other words the first chapter seems to say that man and woman were created together; the second that woman was created after man. See Genesis, chapter V, v. 2. "Male and female created he them," and blessed them and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
And the time that David was made king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. II Samuel c. 2 v. 11.
And the days that David reigned over Israel, were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron. 1. Kings, c. 2., v. 11.
And again, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, &c. II Sam. c. 24, v. 1
And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. I. Chron. c. 21, v. 1.
In the first it is God who moves David; in the second, it is Satan. Which is true?
And Joab gave up the sum of the number of people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword: and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. II Sam. c 24 v. 9.
And Joab give the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew the sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew the sword. I. Chron. c. 21. v. 5.
So God came to David and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? &c. II. Sam. c. 24, v. 13.
So God came to David and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, choose thee either three, years' famine, &c, I. Chron. c. 21, v. 11, 12.
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. II Sam. c. 24, v. 24.
So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. I. Chron. c. 21, v. 25.
I shall not break the Revd. Editor's heart by citing more contradictions. I shall only assure him (if he does not read the Bible himself) that there are many more and even the few cited are sufficient to convict the Holy Bible of perjury.
The Christians laugh at Tukaram's ascent to Heaven in body, and believe in the same feat when achieved by Elijah.
I had thought that AEsop's Fables and similar books were the only works in which animals speak. But even in this respect the Bible is not to be outdone. It makes Balaam's ass talk. The idea of the God of the Old Testament can only be appreciated by those who have read the Old Testament, and yet the missionaries express pious astonishment at the perversity of the educated natives in rejecting this God. Surely the missionaries are either blind or will not see. Or is it that the powerful light of the Divine Revelation dazzles their vision and makes them blind to the follies and absurdities narrated in the Holy Bible.
Bombay, 23rd May 1880.
BRAHMOISM vs. HINDUISM
By a gentleman holding an important office in connection with the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
I am sorry to find that in your issue of April last, "No Humbug" has tried to humbug the public by misrepresentations through the columns of a journal like yours, whose object is the investigation of truth. Allow me, therefore, to undeceive your readers by the following facts.
The widow, alluded to by your correspondent, is not and was not when she voluntarily left the protection of her brother, a girl of immature age, so as to be in need of a "custodian." She was desirous of bettering her prospects in life and of being freed from the thraldom of widowhood and all its concomitant miseries well-known to those who are acquainted with the customs of the Hindu society, and the tyrannies of the orthodox members of that society to which the Hindu widows are usually subjected throughout their wretched lives. The house of her brother was virtually a jail to her, and her brother a jail-keeper — her position was hardly better than that of a slave in America, before the great American war. She was immured into this jail by the monster "custom" and not by any lawful authority, hence she had every right to free herself from it, and, this she did, and no more. She voluntarily left the house of her brother and went to a Brahmo of whom she asked shelter temporarily of his house. As the widow in a most helpless state and had done nothing wrong morally or legally in leaving the house of her brother, the Brahmo gentleman, alluded to by your correspondent, could not conscientiously refuse to give her the help she craved for, simply because his Hindu brethren were opposed to give her freedom in regard to her choice of remarriage. There is not the slightest evidence, that the Brahmo gentleman who gave shelter to the poor widow "enticed away" or became "an accomplice" in the widow's act of leaving her brother's house. But even if this were the case, he could not be held guilty by the tribunal of an impartial public, for, in that case, he could only be actuated by a noble motive of rescuing a human being from the thraldom of evil custom and practical slavery — not even the enemies of these Brahmos dare insinuate anything against his morality.
Now, I leave it to you and to your impartial readers to judge whether the act of the Brahmo, concerned in the above case, was culpable, or whether the illogical conclusion drawn therefrom, that the whole body of the Brahmos have adopted an "aggressive policy" or an "offending attitude" towards their Hindu brethren is justified by facts.
Lahore, 25th May 1880.
P.S. — the Brahmo Public Opinion of the 6th instant, announces that the widow referred to has been married to a bachelor Brahmo gentleman, aged 27, her age being 21.
By Mr. Chandan Gopal.
Having gone over your esteemed journal up to the latest number, I have come across most interesting articles devoted to different branches of philosophy, sciences and many other useful subjects, but, I am sorry to say, that I found none on the philosophy of Agni-hotra, and therefore, earnestly hope that the present subject will find a place in your world-renowned journal.
The problem, I am to discuss, is intended to prove the moral philosophy of Agni-hotra which is based upon nature. Without the perfect knowledge of both of these and a due performance of the former, man is unable to know the Supreme Being. The absence of this knowledge keeps a man immersed in worldly afflictions and prevents him from obtaining the highest position or salvation or for which every one should try with all his heart and soul.
Observing the rules of moral philosophy, a man must, to the best of his abilities, do good to others as well as to himself. But what does doing good mean? Never to lose sight of justice in all our actions. The chief of these are: — First, to preserve our health — the instrument of all actions — in good order, and to take steps to help others too for the same. Secondly to believe always in the Infinite Divine Power who embraces every thing within and without the limits of human senses.
But before I go on to solve the problem put forth, I must not omit to mention a fact which bears upon the subject in hand. What is death of an animate, or destruction of an inanimate, object? It is nothing more than the decomposition or analyzation, sooner or later as the case may be, of the five elements, and hence of its particles () which form the basis of the Universe. At the same time the characteristic qualities of the elements must also be stated to be as follows: — Of the fire to decompose particles of any substance, of the air to elevate them to different regions above the earth, of the water to compose the particles to form a solid body, of the earth to keep them in contact with itself and the evacuation () being the space wherein the other four play their part.
Now the demonstration and proof. — The climate has the greatest effect upon health in general, so we must try to make it healthy. When the sacrificial-mixture () composed of different substances forming three great classes, viz., first, the curatives or remedies against several diseases, secondly, tonic containing chiefly sugar, corn and butter, and thirdly, aromatics such as musk, &c., is thrown into the fire, little by little, so as to be thoroughly burnt, the particles of its essence, through the agency of the fire, go up into the air which elevates them to the regions of clouds () or more properly speaking, to the region where the clouds are condensed and changed into water. Though unable to explain all the innumerable benefits accruing from these particles to the whole world, I mention a few of them. In the beginning of the process, these particles, till they remain, though for a short time, in the lower regions of the atmosphere, exclude the unhealthy particles of air from the place where the sacrifice is performed, after which ascending higher through the aforesaid agencies they remove their defect through the chemical operations performed between them by nature. The animals inhaling this purified air get refreshed and healthy. Reaching the region of rain these particles purify the vapours forming clouds, and thereby make the water of rain pure and healthy. The purified air and water having great effect upon the mineral kingdom, too, improve it a great deal. The air, earth, and water, the basis of the vegetable kingdom, being this purified, make it healthy. The first part of our problem having been proved, we must now turn to the second, viz., to try at the time to know the Divine Being. How can this knowledge be obtained? For this purpose Vedic mantras are repeated during the performance, which also teach us the philosophy lying hidden under the mysterious veil of Agni-hotra sacrifice.
Owing to my limited capacity, I cannot possibly be expected to exhaust so grand a subject, but our advanced readers possessing high intellects who wish to know it more minutely and to satisfy themselves, will please draw fuller information from the Yajur Veda, in which several complete chapters are devoted to the same philosophy, the study of which has now been rendered much easier than ever through the favour of our revered leader Pundit Dayanand Saraswati Swami whom we should pay our warmest thanks for the trouble he has taken to expound the Vedas for the benefit of mankind.
It may fairly be concluded from the above-mentioned facts that the performance of Agni-hotra is not based on any prejudice or sectarianism, because the difference of language can have no effect on the philosophy and sciences throughout the different parts of the world. Agai-hotra may thus be expected to gain popularity among those who appreciate nothing but what is based on justice, especially among the Aryas, who rightly hold the Vedas as impersonal and divine, and whose ancestors never pronounced without a feeling of reverence and honor, the holy name of Agni-hotra, the philosophy of which is so beautifully expounded by the Rishis and sages of by-gone ages.
Lucknow, the 25th May 1880.
THE HINDU OR ARYA QUESTION.
By K. P. B.
Many abler and worthier hands have touched upon the point, interesting as it is, with better results. But since an ardent heart finds no satisfaction till its fulness is given vent to, many of our impartial readers have the sufferance of going once more over these lines on the same question. Of worth or merit claim they none, but only wish sympathy to the Indian commonalty and call attention of our more enlightened brethren to a rectification of the internal evils of the people.
In these days of patriot frenzy — frenzy I would call it, since among all a really patriotic soul is yet but scarce — when every Indian youth regards it a bounden duty to do his mite in the great works of national regeneration, a serious controversy most naturally undertakes to determine what must be the appropriate appellation for the country and its people. Thanks, no doubt, to the THEOSOPHIST and the Society, whose joint efforts could make so much of the Hindu idiocracy. But would, that these very many professions were not mere hollow sounds, that this patriot agitation emanated really from the bottom of the Hindu heart, from the inmost privy of the Indian soul. Many, no doubt, will frown. and ask — are these laboring reformers of India then no sincere patriots, — so many dissemblers only, mere pretenders to the cause? But, alas! sorry that we are to answer in the affirmative. There are now on the Indian soil, we grant, many who project chimeras in their minds, and fancy achievement of wonders at once; but who among all ever thinks of giving to their purposes, deeds, a reality?
The readers of the THEOSOPHIST must have noticed in the April number of the journal that more than one native patriot have expressed desires to change from the current name of the people for one more agreeable to them. "A very earnest Friend" complains that the term "Native" is used to designate the Indians from foreigners, and suggests that the word Bharatians be substituted instead. His patriotic soul cannot brook this nickname, he supposes put on him by the conquering, or rather ruling classes. But then, our Editor himself contradicts him with great vehemence; and the same we quote here for our own views. "The complaint," says he, "does not seem entirely well-grounded. In every country the original inhabitants are called Natives, to contrast them with all who are not born on the soil. In America, the freest country in the world, and where there is absolute equality before the law, we are proud to call ourselves Natives, when we wish to indicate that we are not immigrants, and some years ago, a great political party, calling itself the Native Americans, sprang into existence, at a time of excitement caused by the bare suspicion that foreigners were plotting to undermine our liberties. We do not see how the case of the Indians can be made an exception to a custom which seems to us unavoidable . . . . . . . For our part, we would feel very proud to be able to boast of such a country as this, and such an ancestry, even at the cost of being called 'Native,' with a fine flavor of scorn."
Another Aryan brother, B. P. Sankdhar, asks whether it is not advisable to begin our work of regeneration with changing the name "Hindu" — "a term," he explains, that means a liar, slave, a black, an infidel, in short a man possessed of every evil to be found in the world." We know not what lexicon, but his own (though most opportune) interpretation, could furnish such a sense for the word. Indeed, there is no such Sanskrit word as Hindu. We never come across it in any of our religious books. Neither Panini nor the latest grammarians determine its etymology; nor is it recognised anywhere in the great code of Manu. "You seek it in vain," says a distinguished graduate of Calcutta, "in the Puranas; nor do you get a clue to its etymology till you come in contact with foreign languages." The fact is that the word is really Persian, though essentially Sanskrit. "The science of language distinctly points out that the letter h in Persian is analogous to s in Sanskrit." Whoever has seen the pages of Professor Muller or Count Grimm, attests the veracity of the assertion. Hence do we get at the real derivation of the word. When our first Aryan ancestors, if we are to give credit to history, dwelt on the banks of the, Sindhu (or the Indus), the brother Persians who did as yet bear the same name, designated these emigrants Hindus in their language, which is according to the law analogous to the Sanskrit Sindhus, that is, those that lived along the course of the Sindhu river. Whether there was any degree of hatred or abhorrence mixed with this their designation, cannot now be known. If the Persians ever took it to mean "dark or black," as is shown in the last THEOSOPHIST, that is but a poetic interpretation of a more modern date. That the Greeks gave the name, is likewise groundless; since nowhere do we find in the whole Greek philology any such word as Hind or Hindu meaning as Sankdharjee does, nor are the older Grecians ever recognized to have even known the word. So, perhaps, it is the present degradation of the people, or rather the condition in which they are thought to be by some of the vain Europeans that led the honored contributor to a consideration such as is expressed by him.
Neither does the term "Arya" denote as Sankdharjee thinks. This word, if we are to accept the rendering given by Max Muller, meant "a cultivator" — a word which shows that when the term came into use, our ancestors had abandoned their nomadic modes of life and taken to the nobler occupation of ploughing. In process of time, it attained the noblest meaning which it is possible for a term to acquire; for it soon came to mean nothing less than the best Hindu distinguished for devotion, learning and piety. Alas! however, for human inconstancy the word is ultimately applied to all Hindus alike, — good, bad and indifferent, — as distinguished from the Mlechchas or Yabans of the heterodox persuasions.
However, from the above it is plain that we are at one with our brother in regarding Hindu but a foreign designation, which from the Persians soon began to be used for the Indians by all the other nations west of the Indus. In time, when these Western people chanced afterwards to obtain sovereignty over this country, they would not call us otherwise than by the name familiar to them, but never perhaps using it as a nickname; since, in that case, it is impossible, that it should have escaped the attention of such a kind and tolerant prince as Akbar, the Great, who would even bear slanders on his name rather than treat the subject Indians with any sort of unkindness. The Aryas became gradually accustomed to the term; degraded as they became, they took the rulers' word without hesitation and soon after got over their own old name. Hence, it was universally adopted in India, save by some retired recluses; and, owing to the degeneracy of the Arya-dharma, the modern religion of the people was also styled Hinduism, meaning the religion of the modern Hindus.
As shown above, the words imply nothing evil in themselves. Moreover, had the word truly meant as our brother supposes, it is impossible that a whole nation, — and one as the Indian, having for its members not only a few ignorant, but many learned and deep-thinking men, and existing not a day or year, but for ages and centuries, — would be so blinded or repressed as never at least to have perceived the universal error.
But what matters further argumentation? It is perhaps high time for us to conclude, and so a few words in the end. Notwithstanding the great importance attached to the subject, we think it might be as well dealt with far less prominence. Did ever Socrates or Valmiki — sages whose equals, perhaps, shall never be born — care whether he was called a Greek or an Indian, or by any other name whatsoever. Are not the Americans misnamed the Yankees, and the British, the Whites? Merits, not titles, are judged. Children and the rustics may be solicitous that they be not misnamed; but the wise care not a trifle for such things. So, far from arguing with so much diligence whether we be called Natives or Indians, Hindus or Aryas, we think it would be greatly more useful and advantageous to devote that amount of our attention to the real well-being of our countrymen, to the consideration of what proper steps should be taken to redress very many piteous grievances of our brethren, and to the careful investigation of wherein lie the original causes of many, almost natural, defects of the people. That would be a work really more desirable and even more weighty than volumes of such titulary discourses. There is one who has dropped fiery words for the reformation of India, even finding fault with the Aryan caste-system and other manners and habits of the people, in the last THEOSOPHIST. To these matters we hope to advert in our next, and the discussion of these may be considered to do a more desirable service. The regeneration of a nation is a task not to be achieved by mere bazaar gossip or fantastic schemes. We would, therefore, even join our brother to pray: "O, true sons of this once exalted Aryavarta the time has come, or is rather fast approaching, when we should show our spirits, act with vigour, and try our best towards the re-exaltation of our beloved mother-country! Arise from your long sleep, O, ye lovers of your once famous seat of learning and religion, look around you and see in what a hapless state your country lies! Arise, ye nobler brethren! devote your heart to the great cause! Tire not, and without weariness or disgust betake yourselves to arouse and enlighten even the most uncouth souls, — the low, illiterate hearts, that have parts which would act well with your aid. Spare no pains to unite all in one harmonious accord as into a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, using with one voice the unison in praise of our ancient glorious Aryavarta, Hindustan, or India. Om tat sat."
OURDELEGATES IN CEYLON.
It is a circumstance wholly unexpected that we have to depend upon secondary sources for an account of the movements of the Theosophical party in Ceylon. The fact is, however, that every delegate's time, and especially that of Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, is so occupied that they cannot find the smallest leisure to write for this magazine. Since the landing at Galle, on the 17th of May, when they were caught up by the inhabitants and made into popular heroes, they have been surrounded by crowds, and made the centre of exciting events. Colonel Olcott has delivered on the average at least one oration a day; to say nothing of lectures and expositions to select companies of hearers, and debates with Christian and other opponents of Theosophy. At every locality visited, the committees of reception have comprised the leading men of the community, their mission has been blessed by the priests, and the most pious and revered ladies have come in their richest attire to show their respect for Madame Blavatsky.
The best authorities say that since the word Christianity was first pronounced in Ceylon, there has never been anything like the excitement among the Buddhist people. Their gratitude to Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott for daring to stand up for their faith as against the Christians who have systematically derided it, is boundless. Branches of the Theosophical Society had, at latest advices, been formed at Galle, Panadure, Colombo and Kandy. Money has been contributed to their respective treasuries to carry out the plans submitted by our President. It is fully evident already that results of immense importance must follow the delegation's visit to the beautiful Island of Ceylon. The name of our Society has become a household word from one end of it to the other. Some say that the effects of the visit will last for generations. That the Christian party are alive to these facts is shown in the unscrupulous attacks of their secular press, the tone of the Lord Bishop's own organ, The Diocesan Calendar, and the unwonted activity of the Native Catechists and Bible-exhorters, and European missionaries and settled clergymen. The Theosophists now form the staple text for their preaching, and while our party were at Kandy, five preachers were busy, exhorting the Sinhalese not to hear them, but to listen to the Gospel! In that ancient city Colonel Olcott spoke first at the Dalada Maliga Temple, where the Tooth-Relic of Buddha is enshrined. The crowd was so dense as to pack all the corridors and courts and prevent the orator from being heard. An adjournment was accordingly had to the open Esplanade in front of the temple; and the speaker, with his interpreter, the delegates from the Bombay Theosophical Society, and the chief priests of the Kandyan temples, took their places upon a broad buttressed wall. The scene is described as having been most impressive.
In the absence of original material we take from the Pioneer of June 16 and 25, the narratives given by its special correspondent, which will be read with deep interest.
"The visit of the delegation of Theosophists to Ceylon has stirred the native society of the island to its depths. The local officers declare that they never saw such gatherings in the southern district before. The visitors were expected here on the 11th, on which day 4,000 people gathered at the landing-pier, the boats in the harbour were decorated with flags, a native committee boarded the P. and O. steamer as soon as she dropped anchor, and great preparations were made to give the delegates a popular welcome. But the public were disappointed, the Theosophists having decided to come by a British India boat so as to visit their members at Karwar, Mangalore, and Cochin. This change of programme was duly telegraphed, but owing to a break in the sea cable, the despatch was never forwarded. However, advices were telegraphed from Bombay on the 11th; and on the 17th, when the Ethiopia was signalled, a new crowd of nearly 6,000 was in waiting. A committee of twenty-five of the first native gentlemen of Galle had charge of all the arrangements; the Theosophists were taken ashore in a large boat, escorted by a fleet of the queer Cingalese canoes rigged out with flags and streamers; a carpet was laid on the landing-stage, and as the visitors stepped ashore, a roar of voices welcomed them. Placed in carriages, they were escorted to the handsome bungalow, specially fitted up for their occupancy, by a multitude that filled the road from side to side, and extended front to rear as far as one could see. On reaching the house they were met on the verandah by the High Priests Sumanatissa and Piyaratana, and a dozen or more subordinate priests, who chanted verses of salutation from the Pali sacred books. From that time to this their quarters have been besieged, and their time has been taken up in receiving visits, debating with priests, visiting temples, eating dinners, tiffens, and breakfasts of ceremony, and accepting invitations to pass from town to town throughout the southern district.
"Colonel Olcott has already spoken twice in public — last evening at the Fort Barracks, the largest room in Galle; and this afternoon in the compound of a gentleman's house, where fully 3,000 Buddhists listened to him. On the former occasion the chair was occupied by Priest Megittuwatte, the most renowned orator and controversialist in all Ceylon. The entire English colony was present last evening, and besides the barrack-room being crowded, there was a volunteer audience outside the building numbering many hundred. The lecturer's topic was "Theosophy and Buddhism," and his argument was to the effect that the universal yearning of humanity for some knowledge of divine things was satisfied pre-eminently in the system which Buddha bequeathed to the world. This faith, which is already professed by 470 millions — fully a third of the earth's population — was destined to attack thousands, if not millions, more from the great body of thinking men whom the statisticians classified as Christians, but who had lost all faith in their nominal creed. Within the past ten years, he said, and especially within the past two years, there has been a marked interest throughout the English-speaking countries to know what Buddha's doctrine really is. To satisfy this need a society of intelligent, zealous Buddhists should be organized; tracts and other publications should be disseminated broadcast; and if it could be brought about, learned Buddhist missionaries should be sent to Europe and America. The object of the present visit was to organize just such a society as a branch of the Theosophical Society, which is the representation of the principle of universal religious tolerance, and included in its fellowship Parsis, Hindus, Jains, Jews, and almost every other class of sectary. He was happy to say that this suggestion had received the entire approbation of the greatest Buddhist priests and the most respected laymen, whose presence at this time showed the state of their feelings. Megittuwatte fully corroborated Colonel Olcott's statements, and bespoke the good-will of every true Buddhist for the Theosophical Society, of which he himself had been a fellow for the last two years. His remarks were in Cinghalese, and were delivered with perfect fluency and impressive eloquence. The audience at to-day's lecture was a sight to be remembered. The Theosophists, with the High Priest Sumanatissa who had the chair, and Megittuwatte occupied a high balcony at the easterly side of a great grassy quadrangle, enclosed by the principal and lesser buildings of a private residence, and affording sitting-room for at least 3,000 people. It was all occupied, and crowds also swarmed on the steep sides of adjacent hills that overlooked the compound. This time the Colonel's address was interpreted in Cinghalese, sentence by sentence, as extemporaneously delivered. The Theosophical delegation comprises the following persons: — Colonel H. S. Olcott, President; Madame H. P. Blavatsky, Corresponding Secretary; Mr. Edward Wimbridge, Vice-President of the parent society; and Messrs. Damodar Mavalankar Panachand Anandji, and Parshotam Narayanji (Hindus), and Sorabji J. Padshah and Ferozshah Dhunjibhai Shroff (Parsis), a special committee to represent the Bombay Theosophical Society.
"On returning to their quarters from to-days' lecture, the delegation were honoured with a call from the Siamese Ambassador and suite, who are in Galle for one day en route to England.
"To-morrow evening a meeting is to be held to take the names of those who wish to join the Galle sub-section of the Ceylon Theosophical Society; Tuesday evening the initiation will take place; and on Wednesday the delegation takes up its itinerary to Dodanduwa, Kalatura, and Panadure, at each of which places bungalows, committees, and the audiences await them; and thence on to Colombo, the capital city, where, according to all accounts, there will be great goings-on.
"Nature clothes herself in Ceylon in her loveliest garb. The verdure is something splendid. Wherever the eye turns it sees an exuberant tropical vegetation with such variety of hue and such noble forms as one fancies cannot be found elsewhere. The paddy-fields are all a bright green; the clustering cocoanuts hang from a million trees; the monster jack-fruit, the betel-palm with its silver-ringed, smooth green trunks, the golden plaintain, the mango, pine-apple, bread-fruit, and bamboo are the choicest of their kinds; a grassy carpet borders every road and lane, and a multitude of flowers and coloured-leaf plants afford a bouquet of rich colours. Our table is loaded with fruit of a size and flavour unknown to us before coming here, and served up in garlanded platters, that make the board look like a garden bed in the early summer time. Ah, you who are parched by the furnace-heat of the plains of India take a month's holiday and come to Ceylon if you would form some idea of an Eden. And as for the people — Bishop Heber may say what he will about every prospect pleasing and only man being vile; but I, for my part, declare that a more hospitable, kind, and gentle people no one need care to encounter. As for their "vileness," statistics in the Queen Advocate's reports show that there is less crime among the natives of Ceylon than among any equal body of people in any Christian country that I can call to mind. In a population of about 21/2 millions there were 1,106 convictions for offences of any kind, great and small, in a whole year, and of these there were but 375 assaults against the person. What would Bow Street say to that? Of the whole number of convictions more than one-fourth (274) were for cattle-stealing. The table shows a total absence of whole groups of crimes that prevail among us; while of offences directly traceful to the use of liquor, the proportion is but 7 per cent. as against about 93 per cent. in London, or any other large Christian city."
The Pioneer of June 25 says: — "The first stage of the Theosophical tour through the Island of Spices has been completed, and the party are quartered in the large bungalow Redcliffe, the former residence of Sir C. G. MacCartney, Colonial Secretary. Their movements since leaving Galle have been attended with the greatest possible elect, the people gathering in. crowds at every halting-place providing them with quarters, committees of the most respectable men waiting upon them, the Buddhist priests welcoming them at their viharas, and reading addresses to them in Pali. At Piyagalle and Kalatura great processions were organized, with banners and music, and triumphal cars, drawn by flower-garlanded bullocks, in which the Theosophists were made to ride. In fact, the delegates are utterly confounded by all these popular demonstrations. They came expecting to pay their way like ordinary mortals, stop at the hotels, move about quietly, and after organizing the projected branch Society at Columbo, return to Bombay. But from the moment when they left their steamer in Galle harbour for the jetty, escorted by a flotilila of canoes, their fate was sealed, and they became public characters.
"Colonel Olcott's oratorical powers and physical endurance have been as severely tested as though he had been canvassing for a seat in Parliament, and discussions on religion, philosophy, and theology have kept Madame Blavatsky's hands equally full. The Buddhist women seem to regard her as a deity dropped from the clouds, and despite her energetic remonstrations, will insist on making puja to her. Much of this reverence is due to the circulation of a Cingalese pamphlet made up of translated extracts from her book, descriptive of the phenomena she witnessed among the Lamaic adepts of Tibet and Mongolia, and more to the spread of reports of certain wonderful things of the same sort she did at Galle, Panadure, Dodanduwa, and other places on her way here, as well as since the arrival of the party at Colombo.
"The eagerness manifested to join the Theosophical Society has caused an enlargement of the original plan. A branch Society was formed at Galle; members were admitted at various towns along the road; a separate branch is forming at Panadure; the Colombo branch will be organized on Tuesday next, and the indications point to Kandy following suit. The new membership already embraces the highest and most energetic class of Buddhists, irrespective of sect, and —always a prime consideration in any campaign — the best able to supply the sinews of war. These several branches will, of course, be ultimately brought into one general league, or Buddhistic section, of the parent Theosophical Society, and we may reasonably look for a thorough exposition of Gautama's doctrine. As in all other churches, corruptions and abuses have crept into the Buddhistic. The Cingalese priesthood is divided into two great sects — the Amarapoora and the Siamese, each deriving its authority from the place whose name it bears. The real differences between them are trifling and yet, as between our Christian sects, there is a good deal of petty rancour. Still the leaders of both sects perceive the advantages of the alliance offered by the Theosophists, and so vie with each other in tenders of co-operation. Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, have, in the plainest words, announced that their Society will not meddle in any of the internal questions of a theological or doctrinal nature, nor permit it to be made the organ for forcing these family differences upon the public attention. Nor will they propagate the idolatrous perversions of primitive Buddhism fastened upon the church in Ceylon by successive Tamil dynasties. The cornerstone of Sakya Muni's philosophy was the doctrine of Merit, its cap-stone that of Nirvana. These the Western world wishes expounded, and there is reason for every admirer of Gautama to look with a friendly eye upon the present movement.
"The Theosophists left Galle for their tour northward on the 26th instant, in carriages supplied by a committee at Dodanduwa. Colonel Olcott was obliged to speak twice on that day — at Ambalangoda and Dodanduwa. The party slept at the latter place, and the next morning moved forward in two mail-coaches, sent on by the fishermen of Galle, whose application to offer this courtesy was communicated, I believe, in my last letter. Four speeches were squeezed out of the Colonel on that day — two of them to tremendous crowds. One of these was gathered in and about the temple at Piyagalle, and, as is remarked above, there was a procession. One incident of the day created no little fun. Just after leaving Piyagalle the leading coach was stopped by a man who came running out of a house carrying a reflector-lamp in his hand. The party thought something serious must have happened — a bridge been carried away, or something of the sort. But the lamp-bearer only turned the blaze of the light upon the occupants of the coach, pointed out Madame Blavatsky and the Colonel to a few admiring friends, said he only wanted to have a look at them, told the coach to proceed, and asked whether the Parsees were in the next coach. Is it not Goethe who tells in his memoirs about the visit he received from a young fellow one day, who sent in his card, entered the room, refused Goethe's invitation to be seated, surveyed him carefully from a distance, walked around his chair and took a back view and, then without a word laid a gold piece upon Goethe's writing-table, and walked to the door. Upon being called back and asked the cause of his strange behaviour, and especially for leaving the money, he said that he had been most anxious to see the great man, had now been gratified, and thought it no more than fair to compensate him for the brief interruption of his work — for which he begged pardon. The story is a good one anyhow, and this one will almost serve as a pendant. The next day and night and Saturday morning were passed at Kalatura, where an address was delivered to some 2,000 people in a cocoanut-grove, and another at the adjoining village of Wehra, where resides the priest, Subhuti, whose erudition has been made known in Europe by Mr. Childers in his Pali dictionary. The party lunched at the house of Mr. Arunachalam, the Justice of Kalatura, a Cambridge graduate and a gentleman of high breeding and culture. The unfinished railway (Colombo and Galle Railway) is here reached, and the Theosophists were conveyed by train to Panadure, where the station and platform were found tastefully decorated with cocoanuts, flowers, and foliage, and both sides of the main street and the approach to the bungalow set apart for their use lined with strips of palm-leaves suspended from continuous cords. Their host at this town was the venerable and wealthy Mudeliar Andris Perera, a stately old man with a large family of stalwart sons and daughters. He had not allowed any committee to assist, but had supplied every thing — decoration, house, furniture, food, and servants — at his personal cost. As the guests neared the bungalow, they saw a triumphal arch. erected at the gate of the compound, and their host approaching them in the full uniform of his rank of Madeliar. A large shell comb — the comb is worn by all Cingalese gentlemen — was in his iron-gray hair; his dress comprised a blue frock-coat with gold frogs and jewelled buttons; the national skirt, or dhoti, worn as a simple wrapping without folds and confined at the waist by a gold-clasped belt; a satin waist-coat with two rows of large emeralds for buttons; and a magnificent sword with solid gold scabbard and hilt, both studded with gems, suspended from a solid gold baldric elaborately carved. He was attended by two stave-bearers in uniform, and followed by his family and a host of acquaintances. As he marched along in the full sunlight, he certainly presented a very gorgeous appearance. His sword and baldric alone are computed to be worth at least 2,500 Pounds."
After the above was put in type, the following letter was received from one of our delegates in Ceylon to a friend here. As it contains many details of great interest, we give it room here.
Colombo, June 15, 1880.
I have been almost afraid to put pen to paper, feeling how inadequately I should convey to you any idea of our doings here. We have, indeed, been paying the penalty of greatness. Followed, wherever we go, by enthusiastic thousands, not a moment to ourselves, our bungalow at all times surrounded by a crowd, which the utmost endeavours of two policemen can hardly prevent from making forcible entry. Our whole available time is taken up in receiving calls. We have just returned from Kandy, the ancient capital of Ceylon. It is a lovely place, its environs still lovelier — it is 6,000 feet above the sea level, and the climate magnificent. Words altogether fail me to do justice to the beauty of the scenery, exquisite both in form and color. We were permitted to see that sacred relic, the tooth of Buddha, which is very rarely shown, this being, I believe, the first time since the visit of the Prince of' Wales, five or six years ago. The scene was a most striking one — the courtyard of the temple filled with an eager crowd of devotees drawn to the spot by a double attraction — the sacred tooth and the Theosophists. The ante-room and the staircase leading to the chamber where the relic is kept, were filled by a crowd of Kandian chiefs and other gentlemen —the chiefs being conspicuous by reason of their extraordinary costumes costume which I am sure no words of mine call do justice to. I will simply say that it consists of velvet hat of tremendous size and of bright color, heavily embroidered with gold, a short jacket of the same material, the sleeves of which are padded, so as to make the shoulders apparently rise half way up the head. A white satin vest, embroidered with gold and silver, is worn under this, and the lower man is swathed in about fifteen petticoats secured at the waist by an embroidered and jewelled girdle — the ensemble being simply immense. The relic, when not on exhibition, is kept in a series of pagodas of gold and precious stones, each one fitting into the other, I don't know how many there are, but the first one is about three or four inches high, and the last one about two feet. One of the most interesting things we have seen since we came to Ceylon was the ceremony of ordination to the priesthood. We were invited while in Kandy to one such ceremony by Sumangala, the High Priest of Adam's Peak, and at the appointed time of 8 P. M. proceeded to the temple, a building of some 250 years old, the gift of one of the Kandian kings. It is a rectangular oblong structure, the roof supported on two rooms of square monolithic columns with carved and painted capitals; at one end is a niche in which is placed a large imago of Buddha, in the sitting posture, in front of this sit two rows of priests, the chief priest being in the centre of the front rank, all seated with their backs to the image. On either side of the hall were seated other rows of priests within the lines of columns leaving the aisles free. In one of these aisles, against walls were placed mats and cushions for our accommodation, and to which we were duly ushered on entering. Shortly after our arrival the proceedings commenced. A side door opened and the neophyte, dressed in the costume (previously described) of a Kandian chief, entered, attended by two sponsors, who introduced him to the chief priest before whom he knelt and bowed his head to the ground — this latter with considerable difficulty owing to the fifteen petticoats; he then repeated some lines in Pali and retired to the centre of the hall where his sponsors despoiled him of his finery, and endued him with the priestly robe, he was then led back to the priest, repeated more lines, retired walking backwards, returned, and said a few more lines: this with sundry genuflexions, bowings, &c., completed the ceremony. I must not forget to mention the fan held by the High Priest during the ceremony; it was about two feet in diameter with a perfect club of carved ivory by way of handle; I suppose the thing must have weighed ten pounds at least.
THE COLUMBO THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY WAS ORGANIZED and inaugurated by Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky on the 16th ultimo, and the following officers were elected for the current year: —
President: Andrew Parera; Vice-Presidents: Simon Silva and Sena Derage Tepanis Perera; Pandit of the Society: Pandit Don Andris de Silva Batuwantudawe; Secretary John James Thiedmail; Treasurer: Simon Perera Dharma Gunnawardhama; Councillors : John Robert de Silva; William D. Abrew; Charles Stephen Pereira; H. Ainaris Fernando; C. Mathew Fernandu.
WHAT THE PRESS HAS SAID ABOUT THE THEOSOPHIST
". . . It will supply a long-felt national want — that of some organ through which native scholars could make themselves felt in the European and American worlds of thought. No Hindu need shrink from comparing the intellectual monuments left by his ancestors with those left by the progenitors of any Western people. The world has never produced but one Vedic philosophy, and the first to fathom the nature of the human soul were the Rishis. Since the THEOSOPHIST carefully abstains from politics, and its plan is one of a Universal Brotherhood, it should be welcomed by every sect and people throughout the world. And, as it recognizes the Aryans as the fathers of all religions and sciences, Hindus owe it their enthusiastic support." — The Amrita Bazar Patrika (Calcutta), September 11, 1879.
". . . . . . Though it takes the reader off and far away from the beaten paths of Western classics, few can afford to underrate the indications of thorough scholarship and eclectic philosophy with which several articles of this number are replete." — Bombay Review and Indian Advertiser, October 4, 1879.
". . . . . . The present number is well got up and contains a number of excellent articles on the subjects of Theosophy, Spiritualism, &c. . . . . . . The journal promises to achieve much success and prosper." — Indu-Prakash (Bombay), October 6, 1879.
". . . . . . The new periodical will probably obtain an extensive circulation amongst the Natives." — Statesman (Calcutta), October 7, 1879.
". . . . . . We have no space to do justice to all the articles in the present number of the THEOSOPHIST. That it is a credit to its promoters, no one will be disposed to deny. The get-up is excellent for a Bombay press. The THEOSOPHIST should find many readers." — The Indian Spectator (Bombay), October 12, 1879.
". . . . . . It is needless to point out that a monthly magazine, under her (Mme. Blavatsky's) auspices, cannot but become a periodical of strong interest for the large and varied public lying between the two religious extremes — atheistic materialism on the one side and simple orthodoxy on the other." — The Pioneer (Allahabad), October 11, 1879.
". . . . . . We can only say this much here that the issue to hand fully meets the expectations that were formed of it as to the matter it would contain. We wish every success to the journal, it so richly deserves." — Native Opinion (Bombay), October 26, 1879.
The THEOSOPHIST made its appearance, as promised, on the 1st of this month, and any one, whose curiosity has been aroused by the mission of Madame Blavatsky and her friends from America, may find much to interest them in a perusal of the varied contents of the new magazine. . . . . ." — The Times of India, October 15, 1879.
". . . . . . . There is a tone of elegance and scholarship about the whole of this periodical, which almost leads European readers to envy it. The translations of the Indian sacred documents given, have the advantage of being revised by Hindus, and there is, accordingly, a decidedly Oriental aspect to the whole work, which contrasts with the attempts certain German speculators have made to see the Vedas through the spectacles of Vaterland if not of Vater. All students of Oriental lore, who have derived their ideas from the current philological treatises, which are, in fact, chiefly mere dilutions of Schleicher, must peruse this work for themselves, and, if they have patience, will be able to understand for themselves how some Hindus accept all the sacred writings of the East. A periodical of this nature, being published at the present moment, must attract some attention on the part of the intelligent Hindus, who (at least some of them) have not been altogether ground down under the Mahomedan religion of the East. Still there is not a word in this paper which is offensive to any class of theologians. To show that it is a thoroughly learned production, it is merely necessary to indicate that the name appearing on the cover as conductor, is that of H. P. Blavatsky, the erudite author of 'Isis Unveiled,' and one of the greatest living Orientalists. We wish that the THEOSOPH1ST did not come out as far off as Bombay." Public Opinion, London, November 1879.
". . . . . . It is somewhat strange that the Yoga Philosophy with its mysterious rites, which had almost died in India, and which every educated native was taught to ridicule, should receive help from this unexpected quarter, and promise to rise again to be a disputed question . . . . . . . . . But whatever success the journal might attain in arresting the progress of materialism, or in gaining over advocates to its cause, it is none the less certain that it shall prove, on other grounds, eminently useful to our countrymen. The large humanity it breathes in every column, the Universal Brotherhood it advocates, and the sympathy it extends to all classes of people, cannot but make it popular and at the same time useful . . . . . . . ." — Native Opinion, November 30, 1879.
". . . . . . It is a large, well printed journal, full of interesting reading, much of it contributed by natives of India, and affording an insight into the religious thought of the far East. . . ." — The Spiritualist (London), October 31, 1879.
". . . . . . We greet our contemporary as a noble foe, and wish it all success in the domain of utility . . . . . ." — The Philosophic Inquirer (Madras), January 11, 1880.
". . . . . . The THEOSOPHIST has now outlived the necessity for a friendly notice from its older contemporaries. But we have taken such interest in it from the beginning of its career, it has so well justified our interest, that we need no excuse for returning to it for the fourth time. The current (January) number is teeming with topics of peculiar value to the Indophile in science, art, and philosophy, while to him, who 'reads as he runs,' its columns open up fresh avenues of thought which, like so many new discoveries, fill him with glad surprises and tend to expand his narrow vision. In this respect, the establishment of the THEOSOPHIST marks a new era in the history of modern Aryavart; and every true Aryan heart will beat in unison with this expression of our sincere hope that the THEOSOPHIST may have a long, prosperous and useful career. . ." Bombay Review and Indian Advertiser, January 17, 1880.
"The February number of the THEOSOPHIST has just been published, and it is perhaps the most interesting for the lovers of mystical lore of any of the series. . . . . . ." The Bombay Gazette, February 3, 1880.
"Its list of 'additional subscribers,' throws a halo of golden health over the columns of this month's THEOSOPHIST. This is satisfactory. 'The feast of good things,' with which this lusty caterer monthly provides the public, has received accession of strength and savour from a Parsi and a Moslem contributor. This too is satisfactory. . . . . . Bombay Review and Indian Advertiser, February 7, 1880.
". . . . . The busy Theosophists have already created a wide interest in their doings. . ." — The Harbinger of Light (Melbourne), March 1, 1860.
". . . . . . As regards the object in view in coming to India, we cannot see that any other result but good can come of honest endeavours to bring about a better, a closer intimacy in thought, word and action, between the various races to be found in the East, especially between the governing and the governed. We believe most sincerely that by far the larger portion of the evil, that is at work in our possessions in the East, may be attributed to the wide gulf which separates the European from the Native." — The Ceylon, Times, June 5, 1880.
The THEOSOPHIST for May is rapidly increasing its merits as a high-class literary organ . . . . . . We marvel at the beauty and accuracy with which this magazine is edited." — Public Opinion, June 12, 1880.