Theosophical University Press Online Edition
Vol. I., No. 6 - March, 1880
Section 2 (pp. 147 - 163)
The Society's Fourth Anniversary
Our "American" Pandit"
Shraddha and Pinda
A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam
The Aryan Revival
The Vedant Darsana
A Land of Mystery
Puzzles for the Philologists
Which First — The Egg or the Bird?
Return to Section 1
Though frequently requested to furnish manuscript notes of their addresses at the late anniversary celebration, for publication in the pamphlet promised in our January number, Messrs. Nowrozji Furdoonji, K.T. Telang, Shantaram Narayen and Narmadasankar, have failed to do so, and the pamphlet will now be dispensed with. Subscribers who have remitted money for the same will receive it back, and must exonerate the officers of the Society from all blame for their disappointment. The President's address is herewith published, since its theme is one that has lost no interest by the enforced delay.
The introductory remarks of the learned chairman, Rao Bahadur Goplarao Hurry Deshmukh, who is President of the Bombay Arya Samaj, express the good feelings which exist between the Samaj and our Society, and were as follows: —
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
As chairman of this meeting, I am very glad to welcome you all on this occasion of the 4th anniversary of the Theosophical Society. I am glad to see here the different members of the great Aryan family assembled at this headquarters of the Society. One branch of it is represented by Hindus, another by Parsis, and the third by Americans and Europeans, whom I see around us. According to the usage, I must speak to you a few words regarding the establishment of the Society which we have met here to felicitate. This Society was established in America four years ago, and its object is to enquire into the philosophies of the East, to announce the brotherhood of man, and to create the bonds of fellowship among nations and sects of different denominations. The leaders of this Society heard there the name of the great Pandit Swami Dayanand Saraswati, who is working zealously and energetically in India, and preaching doctrines and philosophies contained in the Veda, which is the most ancient book in possession of the Aryans and perhaps of the whole world. His labours have kindled, in all parts of this great country, a spirit of enquiry and interest in the interpretation and conntents of the Veda, and these are now making a rapid progress. There are at present two interpretations of this ancient book of knowledge being published in India. The one professes to give its meaning according to the tradition and has for its basis the work of Sayanacharya. The other is being published by the Swami himself according to the more ancient authorities as they are understood by him and by the Aryas before the time of Mahabharata. The Swami was in Bombay four years ago and many here have heard him. He is a great scholar, an earnest reformer, and a zealous worker. The chiefs of this Society had a great curiosity to see the Swami in person, and after their arrival here, they proceeded to Meerut to meet him and have found him a worthy man in all respects. It is by the labours of such a man as this that India will be elevated to its proper rank among the nations of the Earth. This was the first nation which made a rapid progress in civilization, but by revolution of fortune it has come like a caterpillar into a larval condition. But I think the time is not distant when the caterpillar will be reproduced as a beautiful and floating butterfly, to the astonishment of those who in their utter despondency considered the regeneration of this nation as hopeless. Thirty years ago, Educational road was felt as a great want, but now this want has been pretty well supplied by the aid of Government, and we now earnestly look to the new industries and machinery as a means of maintaining increasing population. On this and other subjects Colonel Olcott, the President of the Society, will now address you at length with his usual power of oratory and eloquence.
The President then said: —
On the evening of the 17th day of November 1875, I had the honor of delivering, in the city of New York, my inaugural address as President of the Theosophical Society. That was the first regular meeting of this body, and here in my hand I hold the printed notice sent to the members to attend the same. During the four years that have since come and gone, we have experienced those changes which time always brings to societies as well as to individuals. Of the thirteen officers and councillors elected at the meeting above referred to, only three remain; the rest have dropped off for one reason or another and left us to carry on our work with new associates who replaced them. But the work has gone on, day by day, month by month, year by year, without one moment's interruption, and always growing more important. Our field has widened so as to embrace almost the whole world. The little company of one score of men and women has increased to thousands. Instead of my remarks being addressed, as then, to Americans alone, I am now, at this fourth annual celebration, confronted by Hindus, Parsis, Mohammedans, Jains and Buddhists, besides many English representatives of Her Gracious Majesty's Imperial Government in India. Committees to represent our twin sister society, the Arya Samaj, — whose anniversary this is, as well as ours — and the Poona Gayan Samaj, honor us with their presence. Here are great merchants and bankers, some titled, some untitled; here the executive officers of native princes. From others at the North, the South, the East and the West, who could not be present, we have letters of affection and encouragement. Instead of occupying the platform of a hall in the Metropolis of the Western Hemisphere, I stand to-night in an Indian bungalow, dedicated to the use of our Library, to celebrate the opening of that Library in the commercial Metropolis of Western India, and to commemorate the foundation of the Society's new magazine, the THEOSOPHIST, which has proved an unprecedented success from the very start, and within the first two months of its existence been called for by subscribers all over India and Ceylon, and in every quarter of Christendom, as well. Friends, one and all, brothers of every race, complexion, creed and tongue, I give you the right hand of fellowship and bid you welcome. Written in letters of fire, on this arch over my head, is that word of friendship, WELCOME; let their name typify that purer light of Truth, which burns for every man who seeks it. Here, at the door of this Library, it most eloquently speaks in the language of symbols, to bid all enter and search with the help of books after that hidden glory of spiritual knowledge which the ancient sages and mystic saw, but which this sceptical generation falsely supposes to have been long since extinguished. This fact that we deny that the sun of Aryan Wisdom has set to rise no more, is the one memorable feature of this evening's festivity. Brothers, that glorious sun will again shine over the world through the gloom of this Kali-Yug. Already, the patient watchers see the first golden gleam of its coming. From afar, as though it were whisper borne on the breeze, the voice of the Past murmurs the promise of a revival of spiritual learning. Our ears have caught the welcome sound, and our souls are refreshed and made strong to continue our efforts. As, at the first streak of dawn, one, standing at some distance from a camp, first hears the confused rustle of arms, of stamping steeds, and the calls of the relieving sentries, before the sleeping army awake us to the day's march and battle, so we may now perceive the premonitions of the active struggle that is coming between the Old and the New in the domain of thought. The touch of the magician has been laid upon the lips of the sleeping Aryan Mother, and she is ready to instruct her willing descendants in the knowledge which her immediate sons learned at her knees.
How often since we came to India have I heard it said by Natives, that it was a strange anomaly that white men had to journey from the antipodes — from Patal — to tell them about their forefathers' religion! And yet it ought not to surprise you so very much, after all. Have we not all looked from a height upon the plain and noticed how much more we could see of the movements of people there than could the people themselves? It is so as regards all human affairs — the distant observer can often take a more correct view of a national question than the people most immediately interested. Our late civil war looked very different to you than it did to us, and so we are in a position to get a quicker glimpse of this question of Aryan learning, than you who have long got out of the habit of consulting your ancient literature, and must break through many prejudices and fixed habits of thought before you will be ready to resume the study of the Veda. And, moreover, is not our coming like the reflux of the wave which casts up upon the beach that which in its flux it bore away at the last turn of the tide? We bring no new doctrine to you, teach no new thing; we only remind you of the facts of your own history, expound but the philosophy and science which your own wise men taught. In the far distant Past — so far removed from the present that our modern books of history contain no records of it, but which the archaeologists and philologists vouch for upon the strength of intrinsic probabilities — the Aryan wisdom was carried from these shores to the other side of the globe. Among the remains of the prehistoric nations of North and South America, the explorer finds vestiges of this trans-mundane outflow of Aryan ideas, in the religious symbolism of their lithic remains, and the lingering traditions of degenerate tribes. If the Zoroastrian Magi fed the sacred fire on their Chaldean towers, so did the priests of the Sun in Mexico and Peru. Nay, so, to-day do the wretched Zuni Indians of Arizona and New Mexico, who go out every morning to greet the rising sun with reverential prayers and prostrations. I cannot enlarge upon this most wonderful theme in the few minutes during which I shall now speak, but it will be treated, as occasion offers, in our journal where you may all read it.
You will see then, in view of the above facts, that — as I remarked before — the coming of our party to India for the purpose of studying the Aryan philosophy is but a natural result of events occurring thousands of years ago — ages before my own people or any other white race of the West existed. I wish I might say that we find you as a body willing to help our studies, or even capable. It is a melancholy fact that modern India knows so little of the Veda that its contents are not even suspected; while the Rishis, and even the founders of the several philosophical schools, were long ago turned into gods or, made incarnations of the Supreme Power, set up as images to worship. Your young men, totally uneducated in Hindu literature, and stuffed with the hot-spiced scraps of guessing Western Science, turn away from the superstitious stories of Sankaracharya's miracles, and pronounce Patanjali's "aphorisms of the Yoga philosophy" as the ravings of a credulous mind. And when we tell the modern Parsi the secret meaning of his Dasatar, or show the modern Hindu that every so-called supernatural phenomenon, ascribed to the old Yogis, can be explained and proved possible by scientific rules, they reply in one breath: "Show us a miracle and we will believe; let one of these adepts, that you say still live, come forth from his hiding-place, and do wonders before us, and we will be willing to admit that you are speaking the truth." We have had a score of messages sent us by rich men to the effect that if we would show them one of these pretended magical feats, they would make us rich presents and join our Society. Poor, ignorant men, they imagine that their money gives them importance in the eyes of a student, and that the divine powers of the soul can be made the subject of barter and traffic! If they have any desire to learn the secrets of nature and of man, let them throw all their vanity and conceit behind them, and humbly, and in the spirit of truth, set to work to study. If they would enjoy the presence and counsel of the Yogis, let them wash off the dirt of the world, and then seek the feet of those holy men, in the presence of whose purity and learning even kings are unfit to stand with covered feet.
The best friends of India, her most patriotic sons, have deplored to me the moral darkness and degradation of her people. Native judges, who have sat on the bench for many years to administer justice, have bowed their white heads in shame when they said that the vice of lying and the crime of perjury prevailed to a fearful extent. And the worst part of it was that the moral sense was so far gone, that people confessed their falsehoods without a blush, and without an idea that they were to be pitied. Has it indeed come to this, that modern India has lost the power to discriminate between truth and falsehood? Are the descendants of the Aryas fallen so low? Forbid it, O Thou Infinite and Inexorable Law of Compensation, the Embodiment of Justice and Law! For, when a nation plunges to the very bottom of the mire of immorality, its doom is written. When falsehood is set above truth, when man loses his confidence in man, when respectability counts in proportion to success, and villainy is not reproved if it
only pour wealth into the hungry coffer, then do the pillars of a nation rock and totter, and the building that took so long to rear crumbles to its fall. But, for my part, I do not believe things are come to this pass in this India of my love, this land of my adoption. Falsehood there is, a dulled moral sense, a failing to keep promises, lack of patriotic fervor, treachery and mutual over-reaching. These are too painfully evident for us even to attempt to deny or conceal the fact. But I tell you, and I fling into the teeth of all India's slanderers, that these are but the ulcers on a strong body, and that they will pass away. I say that India has touched bottom and already is beginning to rise. I see the elements of a great revival of learning, of national health, gathering together. These influences are streaming out from every school, college, and university, that a wise and humane Government has established in this land. They are diffused broadcast by every newspaper, whether English or vernacular,
that is circulating. They come from every reforming samaj, society and league. They are pouring in by every mail-steamer that brings Western thought, ideas, and enterprising suggestions. Our Native youth enrolled at English universities, are fitting themselves to become the apostles of national reform, the heralds of a new dispensation. Ideas of political economy are slowly but surely infusing themselves throughout the nation, through the agency of the Native clerks who drudge in public offices
where these grave questions are discussed, and who, insensibly to themselves, are being gradually educated in practical affairs. How can this change, so desirable for both governors and governed, so auspicious for the world at large, be hastened? Let this be the theme of my closing remarks.
First, then, we must all promote education to the utmost of our united powers. That is the key-stone of the arch of a nation, the foundation of true national greatness. And this education must be given to both sexes. An educated wife is the real companion and comforter of her husband, the worthy mother of great sons. It is not shallow ornamental education that is needed by the Indian youth, but that kind of education which will fit them for the active pursuits of life, and help them to earn an independent livelihood. The first, most imperative demand of the hour, is for technical schools. Not great empty palaces that serve only as monuments to a rich man's vanity, but institutions where the industrial and ornamental arts are taught by capable teachers in a thoroughly practical way. Schools which can turn out young carpenters, blacksmiths, carvers, builders, jewellers, printers, lithographers and other artisans who can do work so much better and more ingeniously than others that they will never lack employment at the highest prices paid to skilled labor. My talented colleague, Mr. Wimbridge, has written upon this theme in our journal, and shown that, in the present low state of Indian art, the apprenticeship system is only perpetuating bad workmanship, and that technological schools are a prime necessity. You will find in the exhibition of products of native industry, that will be thrown open to you as soon as the speeches are concluded, some specimens sent for this exhibition by the Pandharpur School of Industry. I hope you will examine them closely, for you will in them practically see what Mr. Wimbridge means. Their workmanship is not perfect, yet I venture to say that you will search through the whole of the Bombay bazaar and not find a lock, a key, a steel box, or a hand device, of Native workmanship, to be compared with these Pandharpur samples for quality of finish. Now why cannot such schools be established everywhere? Think of the crores of rupees as good as flung into the fire every year, on paltry shows and foolishness, only to put men's names and sweetmeats into their neighbours' mouths for a day, at the cost of a week's subsequent dyspepsia — when one-fourth of the money would set all these schools in operation! People tell me the nation is starving for want of grain, that their industries are rooted out, their workmen selling their tools for bread! Well, charge it upon Native millionaires who have the money to waste upon the gratification of their own vanity and greediness, but not a pice to give for education. What does the starving agriculturist know of the law of rainfall or the ultimate poverty and famine that has befallen his district because the faggot-gatherers and lumbermen have stripped the hills and mountain slopes of their forest growths? If any of them have sons in town at schools ten to one they are being taught hard Greek names for alleged scientific discoveries, and not a word their will be of use to them outside the public offices. Charge this upon the rich men who stint themselves to get up showy feasts to unsympathetic strangers, but can spare nothing for schools. And charge it all the more upon them when they will screw the wages of skilled Native artisans down to the last point, and import foreigners to do the very same work, and pay them three times or five times as much for their services. Why should we import skilled labor except to help and found technological schools? Answer me that, you capitalists of India. Was there ever turned out of Western looms a fabric so fine as the muslin of Dacca? Have European weavers produced a shawl to rival the shawls of Cashmere? Are there any better swords than those blades of the Indian temperers, which would cleave through an iron bar and then slit a veil of lace floating on the air? Are the mosaics of Florence finer than those of Surat, Ahmedabad, and Bombay, that you will see in our present exhibition; the carvings of the Swiss mountaineers more cunning than those that lie in those cases there in all their beauty? Where, in all the Western world, can you point me to more titanic engineering feats than the ancient hydraulic works of this country, or the rock-temples of Elephanta, Karli and Ellora? And where is there an edifice to rival the Taj Mahal? Shame, then, upon the Aryan who talks of the ignorance or incapacity of his countrymen. The men are here, and the talent; all that is needed is education and patronage.
My friend and Brother, Lalla Mulraj of the Lahore Arya Samaj, has just sent me a most valuable pamphlet of his upon the science of sanitation. I wish it might be read and pondered over by every intelligent Native, for the laws of health are universally ignored and violated here, and the welfare of the nation correspondingly suffers. And among other causes of national degeneration is one that has entered upon its fatal work. I refer to the use of intoxicating liquors and stupefying drugs. Those accursed pest-holes, the toddy-shops, are multiplying on every side, the maxims of the good old religion are being forgotten, even priests are becoming drinkers. This should be stopped at once. The whole influence of the Brahmins should be at once thrown on the side of temperance. Total Abstinence Societies should be organized by them everywhere, and they should be first to take pledge. I know it will be said that their very religion forbids their touching liquor and so there is no need to for them to sign; that, in fact, their signing would be a lowering of their prestige, But this is all argument of no weight. It matters not what any religion forbids, the real question is whether its commands are obeyed. Christianity forbids many things — adultery, hypocrisy, lying, murder, false-witness, for instance — yet this does not prevent the whole Christendom from being filled with divorce-suits, perjury, manslaughters and every other mentionable and unmentionable crime. Are the Hindus falling into habits of drunkenness? If so, the Brahmins should be the first to rescue them. Believing this to be the common-sense view to take, my Brahman friend, who occupies the chair of this meeting, has accepted the presidency of the Aryan Temperance Society, a body organized this very day under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, and himself was first to sign the pledge. People have asked what practical good we would do for India: let them have a partial answer in this beginning of a crusade against intemperance. As we have made our Theosophical Society a success, despite a thousand obstacles, and just founded a paying journal in the face of difficulties which Indian journalists painted to us in blackest colors, so we mean to help to make a success for this Aryan Temperance Society, until there shall be branches of it working for the regeneration of the people in the four quarters of India. Why should we leave to Christians a work that we call do far better ourselves; why leave Temperance to be used by the American Methodist cat to pull the heathen chestnuts out of the everlasting fire?
Besides our library, our journal, and this Temperance Society, we have begun another practical work for India. In that bungalow across the compound is a work-shop in which we have placed a lathe for metal turning, a lithographic press, a drill, saw and other machines for doing various kinds of work. It is not a school of technology but our private work-shop, where we have begun hourly manufacturing certain articles for export. The money, realized from their sale in foreign countries, will come back here and be spent here in useful ways. You may judge whether it is likely to be of any practical use to the country, when I tell you that a large number of the beautiful invitation cards issued for this occasion, were printed in that shop by a young Parsi who has entirely learned his art from Mr. Wimbridge within the past few weeks. I venture to challenge every lithographer in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, to produce a specimen of Native work to compare with it. And yet, work equally as good ought to be turned out of every one of them, and would be, if the proper kind of technical education had been accessible. You will see at work this evening a number of machines and working models of machines made by Native artisans. Compared with the number which ought to be here, they are few, but there was no time for us to make known our intention to hold this exhibition and induce artisans to contribute. But it is at least, you will admit, a fair beginning: when the Native workmen discover that we are their friends they will come to us — self-interest will compel them. We have called you here to look at what they have brought; I hope we may often call you again, and that good results will come — as they have in my own country and everywhere else — from the bringing together of capital and skilled labor.
I must give place to other and more able speakers to address you in your own vernacular tongues, and testify to their love of the country and hopes for its resuscitation. I thank you for your presence to-night, I trust that you may go away feeling an interest in us and our work. That work is one in which you have a deep interest. We aim, with the help of the Arya Samaj and others, to revive the study of the Veda, the formation of Sanskrit classes, and an enquiry into the alleged latent powers of the human soul, stated by the ancient Aryas to exist and affirmed by thousands of experimentalists since their time and even in our own days. We would call in the aid of modern science to help us to understand that ancient mystical philosophy. For the debased forms of religion that so widely prevail we would substitute the noble faiths of the olden time. We would teach India the useful arts, and thus assist in reviving Indian prosperity and greatness. We would help to abolish vicious habits, and to form habits of temperance, manliness and self-respect. We call upon every man of you, and every lover of India to rally around us. We do not ask you to be our followers but our allies. Our ambition is not to be considered leaders, or teachers; not to make money, or gain power, or fame. Choose any man here, of either of the old races represented, and show us that he is the right man to lead in either branch of this reformatory movement and I will most gladly enlist as a common soldier under him, just as I have under my brother Gopalrao Hurry Deshmukh in this Temperance Society. Come, let us labor together like brothers for the welfare of our Motherland.
There is one regret that comes to mar the pleasure of this evening, and somewhat dim the lustre of all these lamps — our Buddhist brothers of Ceylon are absent. And absent too, is that most beloved Teacher of ours, that elder brother, so wise, so good, so courageous, — Swamiji Dayanund Sarasvati. Were he and those others but here, nothing would be left to desire — nothing but that the Theosophists of our branch societies of Europe and America might at least have reflected by some magician's skill, upon the sky above them, the picture of the joyful scene that we are witnessing. From afar their lodging eyes are turned toward India, and they are waiting to catch the words of instruction and good cheer that our Eastern teachers may utter. This is a novel thing, is it not, that Western men of high position — authors, journalists, university professors, physicians, lawyers, merchants; Russian princes, English lords, German barons and counts — people of high birth and low birth should be looking to India for instruction in religion and science? Yet this is the very fact, for all these are Fellows of the Theosophical Society, and disposed to listen to Dayanund Swami in his saffron robe and puggaree, and to all your other bright minds, rather than to the paid ministers who occupy Western pulpits, and to the guessing scientists who so often pretend to a knowledge of man and nature they do not possess.
The following are the names of the Exhibitors and their Articles, alluded to in the foregoing speech.
FROM MESHRIDAS JUGGANNATH, ESQ., — Mamadevi.
1 Green gold embroidered Shawl. 1 Red do. 2 Silk embroidered fancy Cashmere Shawls. 3 Benares gold embroidered lace Scarfs. 7 Silk embroidered fancy Handkerchiefs. 4 Do. Togas. 1 Benares gold embroidered Royal Toga. 2 Cashmere silk embroidered Waistcoats 1 Delhi silk embroidered table-cover.
FROM RANGILAL JULLANATH, ESQ. — Mamadevi.
9 Benares silk fancy Cloaks. 7 Silk embroidered Dressing Gowns. 4 Benares fancy Frocks. A lot of fancy Madras Borders. A lot of fancy Madras Collars. A lot of Delhi fancy Bottlestands. A lot of Chair Covers embroidered in gold and silk. A lot of Hyderabad and Madras fancy Cushions. A lot of Cutch do. A lot of Cutch and Delhi silk embroidered Table Cloths. A lot of Delhi Shawls embroidered in silk. A lot of ladies' Handkerchiefs. A lot of fancy Cashmere Gowns and Cloaks.
FROM SOORJEE LUDHA, Esq., — Khadak.
A lot of Flower Vases. A lot of Flower Pots. A lot of Goblets. A lot of Bowls. A lot of Plates. A lot of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. A lot of Pansopari Plates. A lot of Hookas. A lot of Glasses with plates. A lot of Sugar Boxes. 2 Tea Sets.
A lot of Plates, large and small. A lot of Glasses. A lot of Flower Vases. A lot of Flower Pots. A lot of Bowls. A lot of Hindu Gods and Goddesses holding candles in their hands.
FROM SITARAM PRAGJI, ESQ., — Bhooleshwar.
2 Marble Hindu Gods — Gunesh. 1 Do. do. Krishna.
FROM ATMARAM VISHVANATH, ESQ., — Panjrapole.
POONA BRASS WORKS.
1 Brass Tree, 1 Pan Dan. 1 Sopari Dan. A lot of all Toys of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. A lot of animals, Elephants, Horses.
FROM GIRDHARLAL MAHESHLAL, ESQ., — Market.
A large and splendid lot of Surat Wood Ware. 1 Dozen Animals. 1 Dozen Birds. 2 Celestial Cars.
MISCELLANEOUS: Palanquin in pith, with Sahib, bearers, &c.; a pith temple; buttons, studs, paper-cutters, etc., in agate, cornelian, onyx, etc.
FROM THE PANDHARPUR SCHOOL OF INDUSTRY: Lock, knife, steel box, and rings in gold; from Baroda, through the kindness of J. S. Gadgil, Esq., a knife, scalpel, ring, and chained studs; from Vishram Jetha, of Cutch, working model of steam-engine, circular saw, grist mill, drill, force-pump and automatic perfume-fountain; from a Native carpenter, whose name the Exhibition Committee unfortunately did not receive for registration, a highly ingenious impenetrable writing-desk; from the girls of the Adarji Cowasji School, through Mr. Jugmohundas Samuldas, a large exhibit of fancy needle-work; and from the wife of Mr. Purshotam Narayanji, specimens of embroidery.
Besides the above there was received, too late for the exhibition, the splendid collection of Cutchee hunting and military weapons, kindly forwarded by the patriotic Dewan of His Highness the Rao of Cutch-Bhuj, which has been so admired since it was displayed in the Library building.
THE NATURAL OR RATHER AVERAGE AGE OF MAN is from three-score-and-ten to four-score-and-ten. It may, however, be cut short by accident or by disease, and often is prolonged to twice the average or more. There are many well authenticated cases on record of men and women who have attained the age of 100, and some 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, or even as much as 185, the age of a Hungarian peasant, Peter Czartan, who was born in 1587 and died 1772. The latter is vouched for by the New American Cyclopoedia, Vol. 1. p. 192. Pliny, giving instances of longevity, as found in the record of the census taken by Vespasian, shows among 208 persons who reached from 110 to 140 years, one, in the town of Valciatium, near Placentia, who lived 152 years. Dr. Van Oven gives seventeen examples of age exceeding 150 years; and Mr. Bailey, in his Records of Longevity, gives a catalogue of about 4,000 cases in which not a few are shown as having reached 150 years. After this, the stories of extreme longevity among Hindu ascetics appear less improbable.
An allusion was made last month to the perfect understanding which, during the recent visit of our party to Benares, had been brought about between the learned orthodox Pandits of that Holy City and ourselves. The impression had until then been entertained that all Theosophists held to the views of Swamiji Dayanund Saraswati, and no alliance was sought by us with any but his followers. This entire misconception of the platform of Theosophy having been removed, the most friendly relations were at once formed with the orthodox party, and an address, signed by Pandits, Bala Shastri, Rama Misra and others, was presented to our President, and he was elected, as was last month stated, an Honorary Member of the Society of Benares Pandits, or Brahmamrita Varshini Sabha. The formal certificate, under the seal of the Sabha, has since then been received, and we take pleasure in laying its text before our readers. It is as follows: —
BRAHMAMRITA VARSHINI SABHA; OR, LITERARY
SOCIETY OF THE BENARES PANDITS.
We, the Pandits of Benares, certify that Col. H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society, has come to India with the view of trying his best to aid in reviving our Science and Philosophy. His acceptance of the Honorary Membership of our Literary Society, the due consideration paid by him towards Oriental Science and Philosophy, and his just and unaffected inclination towards the Vedic truths and principles, have encouraged us to present him a certificate stating the close ties of union which he has formed with our Society. We think his journal, the THEOSOPHIST, has the true merit of presenting to our view the exact measures which should be taken for the revival and perfect development of our Philosophy for the good of our country.
We have been taken by surprise at the daring enterprise of a foreigner, solicitous to receive the outrageous darts of his fellow-countrymen at this grand and noble undertaking. As a matter of fact, men generally say that the grand impulse to such a befitting revival of the much neglected Science and Philosophy of the Aryans, is the work of several master minds, and could not be produced by the meditated effort of a single man. Being overpowered with this exaggerated opinion, men are in general not willing to risk their individual efforts from the fear of their ending in smoke. In addition to all these, his unaffected love towards our countrymen, as brothers and friends, has produced such a deep and permanent effect on our minds that we cannot forbear mentioning it in these few lines.
[[RAMA MISRA SHASTRI, Manager,
BALKRISHNA ACHARAYA, M. A.,
Considerations of delicacy would have prevented the recipient of this highly honourable testimonial from permitting its publication; but the General Council thought it best that it should appear, since it is important that our whole Society should see that the benign principles, which we profess, are winning a way for us into the hearts of our Eastern brothers, and thus ensuring success for our efforts.
One collateral reason for the publication of the above document is that it turns the laugh upon certain Western assailants of Theosophy, who enjoyed a brief merriment at our expense. Shortly before our Committee sailed from America, the New York Sun, a very able and influential newspaper, in an editorial entitled "A Mission against Christianity," ironically bewailed the meagre results of missionary work in India, and announced the speedy departure of the Theosophists to ally themselves with the "heathens." This intelligence, the editor said jestingly, "is the more startling because the Hierophant (meaning our President) has lately been received into the Brahmanical sect, and is now Pandit of New York, and Madame Blavatsky, who has long been an out-and-out Brahmanist, with a contemptuous opinion of Christianity, has set her heart on overthrowing the Bible and substituting the Vedas in the United States. . . . . . . . We are not informed as to the exact plan of campaign of the Pandit, nor do we know the means he intends to use to get the missionaries into a defensive position; but both he and Mme. Blavatsky are full of resources and we doubt not they have carefully considered their strategy." Speculating upon the reception we would probably receive on our arrival, the Sun remarks: "They ought to be received with great pomp, for they are the first allies the United States have sent out to the heathens and Hierophant Olcott is the first and only American Pandit."
Our sarcastic friend may now, if these pages should meet his eye, recall with profit the old adage, "He laughs best who laughs last!"
A letter was received by us recently which was forwarded to Swamiji Dayanand Saraswati with a request that he would answer it. The following is the letter and Swamiji's reply, which also expresses our own views: —
Bombay, 8th February 1880.
Will you oblige a section of your readers by inserting in the next issue of the THEOSOPHIST a paragraph explaining your views on the Hindu custom of performing Shraddha to departed ancestors?
The points requiring notice are (a) how such a custom arose, i.e., its philosophical origin; (b) whether the offering of pinda benefits in any way the persons for whom they are offered, in the sense that their non-offering would subject the manes to any suffering or privation in the other world; and, if so, (c) why no Shraddha is performed to children who have died young.
I shall be thankful if you could also give the views of Swami Dayanand Saraswati on this question.
(Translation: —) The original meaning of the word Shraddha is Shraddha, "devotion." It is the duty of every son to serve his parents with all possible devotion while they are living. But the performance of Shraddha in honor of the dead does not bear out the original idea at all. Shraddha really signifies to serve the living parents with all devotion, not the dead. And it is, therefore, useless to offer Pinda (rice balls) in honor of the dead, as it results in no good. DAYANAND SARASWATI.
The Saturday evening lectures at the Library, upon the Western discoveries in the department of occult science and their connection with Oriental philosophy, have reached the second stage. The first six lectures were devoted to Magnetism and its experimental proofs of the existence of a middle principle in Nature, variously termed Ether, Astral Light, Akasa, etc.; its relation to the human soul, or inner self; and the possibility of concentrating and directing its currents at will. Numerous practical experiments were made on members of the class, proving the points taken. The seventh lecture was upon Crystallomancy, and the several forms of cups, crystals, mirrors, and liquids, used for the purpose of divination, were described. Among these were the divining-cup of Joseph, spoken of in the Bible; the crystals of Dr. Dee, Cagliostro, and many others; the black mirrors, formerly prepared at Agra; the Arab conjuror's drop of ink; and the water-glasses used in our own times.
In the suburb of one of the most romantically situated towns in Asia Minor there lives the most remarkable oriental whom it has ever been my fortune to meet. Travelling through that interesting country a few months ago, with the view of assisting the British Government reintroduce some much-needed reforms, I arrived at -----. I purposely abstain from mentioning the name of the place, as my Eastern friend, to whom I am indebted for the following paper, desires his incognito to be observed, for reasons which the reader will easily understand on its perusal. I remained there some weeks examining the state of the surrounding country, at that time a good deal disturbed, and giving the local authorities the benefit of a little wholesome counsel and advice, which, I need scarcely say, they wholly disregarded. My officious interference in their affairs not unnaturally procured me some notoriety; and I received, in consequence, numerous visits from members of all classes of the community detailing their grievances, and anxious to know what chance there might be of a forcible intervention on the part of England by which these should be redressed. In my intercourse with them, I was struck by their constant allusion to an apparently mysterious individual, who evidently enjoyed a reputation for an almost supernatural sagacity, and whose name they never mentioned except in terms of the of the greatest reverence, and indeed, I might almost say, of awe. My curiosity at last became excited, and I made special inquiries in regard to this unknown sage. I found that he lived about a mile and a half out of the town, on a farm which he had purchased about five years ago; that no one knew from whence he had come; that he spoke both Turkish and Arabic as his native tongues; but that some supposed him to be a Frank, owing to his entire neglect of all the ceremonial observances of a good Moslem, and to a certain foreign mode of thought; while others maintained that no man who had not been born an oriental could adapt himself so naturally to the domestic life of the East, and acquire its social habits with such ease and perfection. His erudition was said to be extraordinary, and his life seemed passed in studying the literature of many languages — his agent, for the purchase and forwarding of such books and papers as he needed, being a foreign merchant at the nearest sea-port. He seemed possessed of considerable wealth, but his mode of life was simple in the extreme; and he employed large sums in relieving the distress by which he was surrounded, and in protecting by the necessary bribes those who were unable to protect themselves from oppression. The result was, that he was adored by the country people for miles round, while he was rather respected and feared than disliked by the Turkish officials — for he was extremely tolerant of their financial necessities, and quite understood that they were compelled to squeeze money out of the peasantry, because, as they received no pay, they would starve themselves unless they did.
To this gentleman I sent my card, with a note in French, stating that I was travelling Englishman, with a seat in the House of Commons in immediate prospect at the coming election, consumed with a desire to reform Asia Minor, or, at all events, to enlighten my countrymen as to how it should be done. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that I actually put all this in my note, but it was couched in the usual tone of members of Parliament, who are cramming political questions abroad which are likely to come up next session. I know the style, because I have been in the House myself. The note I received in reply was in English, and ran as follows: —
"DEAR SIR, — If you are not otherwise engaged, it will give me great pleasure if you will do me the honour of dining with me to-morrow evening at seven. I trust you will excuse the preliminary formality of a visit, but I have an appointment at some distance in the country, which will detain me until too late an hour to call.--
Believe me, yours very truly,
"P.S. — As you may have some difficulty in finding your way, my servant will be with you at half-past six to serve as a guide."
"Dear me" I thought, as I read this civilised epistle with amazement, "I wonder whether he expects me to dress;" for I need scarcely say I had come utterly unprovided for any such contingency, my wearing apparel, out of regard for my baggage-mule, having been limited to the smallest allowance consistent with cleanliness. Punctually at the hour named, my dragoman informed me that —-— Effendi's servant was in attendance; and, arrayed in the shooting-coat, knee-breeches, and riding-boots, which formed my only costume, I followed him on foot through the narrow winding streets of the town, until we emerged into its gardens, and following a charming path between orchards of fruit-trees, gradually reached its extreme outskirts, when it turned into a narrow glen, down which foamed a brawling torrent. A steep ascent for about ten minutes brought us to a large gate in a wall. This was immediately opened by a porter who lived in a lodge outside, and I found myself in grounds that were half park, half flower-garden, in the centre of which, on a terrace commanding a magnificent view, stood the house of my host — a Turkish mansion with projecting latticed windows, and a courtyard with it colonnade round it and a fountain in the middle. A broad flight of steps led to the principal entrance, and at the top of it stood a tall figure in the flowing Turkish costume of fifty years ago, now, alas! becoming very rare among the upper classes. I wondered whether this could be the writer of the invitation to dinner; but my doubts were speedily solved by the empressement with which this turbaned individual, who seemed a man of about fifty years of age, descended the steps, and with the most consummate ease and grace of manner, advanced to shake hands and give me a welcome of unaffected cordiality. He spoke English with the greatest fluency, though with a slight accent, and in appearance was of the fair type not uncommonly seen in Turkey; the eyes dark-blue, mild in repose, but, when animated, expanding and flashing with the brilliancy of the intelligence which lay behind them. The beard was silky and slightly auburn. The whole expression of the face was inexpressibly winning and attractive, and I instinctively felt that if it only depended upon me, we should soon become fast friends. Such in fact proved to be the case. We had a perfect little dinner, cooked in Turkish style, but served in European fashion; and afterwards talked so far into the night, that my host would not hear of my returning, and put me into a bedroom as nicely furnished as if it had been in a country-house in England. Next morning I found that my dragoman and baggage had all been transferred from the house of the family with whom I had been lodging in town, and I was politely given to understand that I was forcibly taken possession of during the remainder of my stay at -----. At the expiration of a week I was so much struck by the entirely novel view, as it seemed to me, which my host took of the conflict between Christendom and Islam, and by the philosophic aspect under which he presented the Eastern Question generally, that I asked him whether he would object to putting his ideas in writing, and allowing me to publish them — prefacing his remarks by any explanation in regard to his own personality, which he might feel disposed to give. He was extremely reluctant to comply with this request, his native modesty and shrinking from notoriety of an sort presenting an almost insurmountable obstacle to his rushing into print, even in the strictest incoqnito. However, by dint of persistent importunity, I at last succeeded in breaking through his reserve, and he consented to throw into the form of a personal communication addressed to me whatever he had to say, and to allow me to make any use of it I liked.
"I confess that when I came to read his letter, I was somewhat taken aback by the uncompromising manner in which the Effendi had stated his case; and I should have asked him to modify the language in which he had couched his views, but I felt convinced that, had I done so, he would have withdrawn it altogether. I was, moreover, ashamed to admit that I doubted whether I should find a magazine in England with sufficient courage to publish it. I need not say that I differ from it entirely, and, in our numerous conversations, gave my reasons for doing so. But I have thought it well that it should, if possible, be made public in England, for many reasons. In the first place, the question of reform, especially in Asiatic Turkey, occupies a dominant position in English politics; and it is of great importance that we should know, not only that many intelligent Turks consider a reform of the Government hopeless, but to what causes they attribute the present decrepit and corrupt condition of the empire. We can gather from the views here expressed, though stated in a most uncomplimentary manner, why many of the most enlightened Moslems, while lamenting the vices which have brought their country to ruin, refuse to co-operate in an attempt, on the part of the Western Powers, which, in their opinion, would only be going from bad to worse. However much we may differ from those whom we wish to benefit, it would be folly to shut our ears to their opinions in regard to ourselves or our religion, simply because they are distasteful to us. We can best achieve our end by candidly listening to what they may have to say. And this must be my apology, as well as that of the magazine in which it appears, for the publication of a letter so hostile in tone to our cherished convictions and beliefs. At the same time, I cannot disguise from myself that, while many of its statements are prejudiced and highly coloured, others are not altogether devoid of some foundation in truth: it never can do us any harm to see ourselves sometimes as others see us. The tendency of mankind, and perhaps especially of Englishmen, is so very much that of the ostrich, which is satisfied to keep its head in the sand and see nothing that is disturbing to its self-complacency, that a little rough handling occasionally does no harm.
"These considerations have induced me to do my best to make "the bark of the distant Effendi" be heard, to use the fine imagery of Bon Gaultier;* and with these few words of introduction, I will leave him to tell his own tale, and state his opinions on the burning questions of the day.
* "Say, is it the glance of the haughty vizier,
Or the bark of the distant Effendi, you fear?"— "Eastern Serenade;" BON GAULTIER's 'BOOK of BALLADS.'
[The following letter, together with what precedes, was originally published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for January. — ED. THEOS.]
"MY DEAR FRIEND, —
"I proceed, in compliance with your request, to put in writing a resume in a condensed form of the views which I have expressed in our various conversations together on the Eastern Question, premising only that I have yielded to it under strong pressure, because I fear they may wound the sensibilities or shock the prejudices of your countrymen. As, however, you assure me that they are sufficiently tolerant to have the question, in which they are so much interested, presented to them from an Oriental point of view, I shall write with perfect frankness, and in the conviction that opinions, however unpalatable they may be, which are only offered to the public in the earnest desire to advance the cause of truth, will meet with some response in the breasts of those who are animated with an equally earnest desire to find it. In order to explain how I have come to form these opinions, I must, at the cost of seeming egoistic, make a few prefatory remarks about myself. My father was an official of high rank and old Turkish family, resident for some time in Constantinople, and afterwards in an important sea-port in the Levant. An unusually enlightened and well-educated man, he associated much with Europeans; and from early life I have been familiar with the Greek, French, and Italian languages. He died when I was about twenty years of age; and I determined to make use of the affluence to which I fell heir, by travelling in foreign countries. I had already read largely the literature of both France and Italy, and had to a certain extent become emancipated from the modes of thought, and I may even say from the religious ideas, prevalent among my countrymen. I went in the first instance to Rome, and, after a year's sojourn there, proceeded to England, where I assumed an Italian name, and devoted myself to the study of the language, institutions, literature, and religion of the country. I was at all times extremely fond of philosophical speculation, and this led me to a study of German. My pursuits were so engrossing that I saw little of society, and the few friends I made were among a comparatively humble class. I remained in England ten years, travelling occasionally on the Continent, and visiting Turkey twice during that time. I then proceeded to America, where I passed a year, and thence went to India by way of Japan and China. In India I remained two years, resuming during this period an Oriental garb, and living principally among my co-religionists. I was chiefly occupied, however, in studying the religious movement among the Hindoos, known as the Brahmo Samaj. From India I went to Ceylon, where I lived in great retirement, and became deeply immersed in the more occult knowledge of Buddhism. Indeed, these mystical studies so intensely interested me, that it was with difficulty, after a stay of three years, that I succeeded in tearing myself away from them. I then passed, by way of the Persian Gulf, into Persia, remained a year in Teheran, whence I went to Damascus, where I lived for five years, during which time I performed the Hadj, more out of curiosity than as an act of devotion. Five years ago I arrived here on my way to Constantinople, and was so attracted by the beauty of the spot and the repose which it seemed to offer me, that I determined to pitch my tent here for the remainder of my days, and to spend them in doing what I could do to improve the lot of those amidst whom Providence had thrown me.
"I am aware that this record of my travels will be received with considerable surprise by those acquainted with the habits of life of Turks generally. I have given it, however, to account for the train of thought into which I have been led, and the conclusions at which I have arrived, and to explain the exceptional and isolated position in which I find myself among my own countrymen, who, as a rule, have no sympathy with the motives which have actuated me through life, or with their results. I have hitherto observed, therefore, a complete reticence in regard to both. Should, however, these pages fall under the eye of any member of the Theosophical Society, either in America, Europe, or Asia, they will at once recognise the writer as one of their number, and will, I feel sure, respect that reserve as to my personality which I wish to maintain.
"I have already said that in early life I became thoroughly dissatisfied with the religion in which I was born and brought up; and, determined to discard all early prejudices, I resolved to travel over the world, visiting the various centres of religious thought, with the view of making a comparative study of the value of its religions, and of arriving at some conclusion as to the one I ought myself to adopt. As, however, they each claimed to be derived from an inspired source, I very soon became overwhelmed with the presumption of the task which I had undertaken; for I was not conscious of the possession of any verifying faculty which would warrant my deciding between the claims of different revelations, or of judging of the merits of rival forms of inspiration. Nor did it seem possible to me that any evidence in favour of a revelation, which was in all instances offered by human beings like myself, could be of such a nature that another human being should dare to assert that it could have none other
than a divine origin; the more especially as the author of it was in all instances in external appearance also a human being. At the same time, I am far from being so daring as to maintain that no divine revelation, claiming to be such, is not pervaded with a divine afflatus. On the contrary, it would seem that to a greater or less extent they must all be so. Their relative values must depend, so far as our own earth is concerned, upon the amount of moral truth of a curative kind, in regard to this world's moral disease, which they contain, and upon their practical influence upon the lives and conduct of men. I was therefore led to institute a comparison between the objects which were proposed by various religions; and I found that just in the degree in which they had been diverted from their original design of world-regeneration, were the results unsatisfactory, so far as human righteousness was concerned; and that the concentration of the mind of the devotee upon a future state of life, and the
salvation of his soul after he left this world, tended to produce an enlightened selfishness in his daily life, which has culminated in its extreme form under the influence of one religion, and finally resulted in what is commonly known as Western Civilization. For it is only logical, if a man be taught to consider his highest religious duty to be the salvation of his own soul, while the salvation of his neigbour's occupies a secondary place, that he should instructively feel his highest earthly duty is the welfare of his own human personality and those belonging to it in this world. It matters not whether this future salvation is to be attained by an act of faith, or by merit through good works — the effort is none the less a selfish one. The religion to which I am now referring will be at once recognised as the popular form of Christianity. After
a careful study of the teaching of the founder of this religion, I am amazed at the distorted character it has assumed under the influence of the three great sects into which it has become divided — to wit, the Greek, Catholic, and Protestant Christians. There is no teaching so thoroughly altruistic in its character, and which, if it could be literally applied, would, I believe, exercise so direct and beneficial an influence on the human race, as the teaching of Christ; but there is none, it seems to me as an impartial student, the spirit of whose revelation has been more perverted and degraded by His followers of all denominations. The Buddhist, the Hindoo, and the Mohamadan, though they have all more or less lost the influence of the afflatus which pervades their sacred writings, have not actually constructed a theology based upon the inversion of the original principles of their religion. Their light has died away till but a faint flicker remains; but Christians have developed their social and political morality out of the very blackness of its shadow thrown by 'The light of the World.' Hence it is that where ever modern Christendom — which I will, for the sake of distinguishing it from the Christendom proposed by Christ, style, Anti-Chistendom* — comes into contact with the races who live under the dim religious light of their respective revelations, the feeble rays of the latter become extitiguished by the gross darkness of this Anti Christendom, and they lie crushed and mangled under the iron heel of its organised and sanctified selfishness. The real God of Anti-Christendom is Mammon; in Catholic Anti-Christendom, tempered by a lust of spiritual and temporal power; in Greek Anti-Christendom, tempered by a lust of race aggrandisement; but in Protestant Anti-Christendom, reigning supreme. The cultivation of the selfish instinct has unnaturally developed the purely intellectual
faculties at the expense of the moral; has stimulated competition; and has produced a combination of mechanical inventions, political institutions, and an individual force of character, against which so-called 'heathen' nations, whose cupidities and covetous propensities lie comparatively dormant, are unable to prevail.
* I here remarked to the Effendi that there was something very offensive to Christians in the term Anti-Christendom, as it possesses a peculiar signification in their religious belief; and I requested him to substitute for it some other word. This he declined to do most positively; and he pointed to passages in the Koran, in which Mahomet prophesies the coming of Antichrist. As he said it was an article of his faith that the Antichrist alluded to by the Prophet was the culmination of the inverted Christianity professed in these latter days, he could not so far compromise with his conscience as to change the term, and rather than do so he would withdraw the letter. I have therefore been constrained to let it remain.
"This overpowering love of 'the root of all evil,' — with the mechanical inventions in the shape of railroads, telegraphs, ironclads, and other appliances which it has discovered for the accumulation of wealth and the destruction of those who impede its accumulation, — constitutes what is called 'Western Civilization.'
"Countries in which there are no gigantic swindling corporations, no financial crises by which millions are ruined, or Gatling guns by which they may be slain, are said to be in a state of barbarism. When the civilization of Anti-Christendom comes into contact with barbarisim of this sort, instead of lifting it out of its moral error, which would be the case if it were true Christendom, it almost invariably shivers it to pieces. The consequence of the arrival of the so-called Christian in a heathen country is, not to bring immortal life, but physical and moral death. Either the native races die out before him — as in the case of the Red Indian of America and the Australian and New Zealander — or they save themselves from physical decay by worshipping, with all the ardour of perverts to a new religion, at the shrine of Mammon — as in the case of Japan — and fortify themselves against dissolution by such a rapid development of the mental faculties and the avaricious instincts, as
may enable them to cope successfully with the formidable invading influence of Anti-Christendom. The disastrous moral tendencies and disintegrating effects of inverted Christianity upon a race professing a religion which was far inferior in its origin and conception, but which has been practised by its professors with more fidelity and devotion, has been strikingly illustrated in the history of my own country. One of the most corrupt forms, which Christianity has ever assumed, was to be found organised in the Byzantine empire at the time of its conquest by the Turks. Had the so-called Christian races, which fell under their sway in Europe during their victorious progress westward, been compelled, without exception, to adopt the filter of Islam, it is certain, to any mind, that their moral condition would have been immensely improved. Indeed, you who have travelled among the Moslem Slavs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are the descendants of converts to Islam at that epoch, will bear testimony to the
fact that they contrast most favourably in true Christian virtues with the descendants of their countrymen who remained Christians; and I fearlessly appeal to the Austrian authorities now governing those provinces to bear me out in this assertion. Unfortunately, a sufficiently large nominally Christian population was allowed by the Turks to remain in their newly-acquired possessions, to taint the conquering race itself. The vices of Byzantinism speedily made themselves felt in the body politic of Turkey. The subservient races — intensely superstitious in the form of their religious belief, which had been degraded into a passport system, by which the believer in the efficacy of certain
dogmas and ceremonials might attain heaven, irrespective of his moral character on earth — were unrestrained by religious principles from giving free rein to their natural propensities, which were dishonest and covetous in the extreme. They thus revenged themselves on their conquerors, by undermining them financially, politically, and morally; they insidiously plundered those who were too indifferent to wealth to learn how to preserve it, and infected others with the contagion of their own cupidity, until release became as vicious and corrupt in their means of acquiring riches as they were themselves. This process has been going on for the last five hundred years, until the very fanaticism of the race, which was its best protection against inverted Christianity, has begun to die out, and the governing class of Turks has with rare exceptions become as dishonest and degraded as the Ghiaours they despise. Still they would have been able, for many years yet to come, to hold their own in Europe, but for the enormously increased facilities for the accumulation of wealth, and therefore for the gratification of covetous propensities, created within the last half-century by the discoveries of steam and electricity. Not only was Turkey protected formerly from the sordid and contaminating influence of Anti-Christendom by the difficulties of communication, but the mania of developing the resources of foreign countries, for the purpose of appropriating the wealth which they might contain, became proportionately augmented with increased facilities of transport — so that now the very habits of thought in regard to countries styled barbarous have become changed. As an example of this, I would again refer to my own country. I can remember the day when British tourists visited it with a view to the gratification of their aesthetic tastes. They delighted to contrast what they were then pleased to term 'oriental civilization' with their own. Our very backwardness in the mechanical arts was an attraction to them. They went home delighted with the picturesqueness and the indolence of the East. Its bazaars, its costumes, its primitive old-world cachet, invested it in their eyes with an indescribable charm; and books were written which fascinated the Western reader with pictures of our manners and customs, because they were so different from those with which he was familiar. Now all this is changed; the modern traveller is in nine cases out of ten a railroad speculator, or a mining engineer, or a financial promoter, or a concession hunter, or perchance a would-be member of Parliament like yourself, coming to see how pecuniary or political capital can be made out of us, and how he can best exploiter the resources of the country to his own profit. This he calls 'reforming' it. His idea is, not how to make the people morally better, but how best to develop their predatory instincts, and teach them to prey upon each other's pockets. For he knows that by encouraging a rivalry in the pursuits of wealth amongst a people comparatively unskilled in the art of money-grubbing, his superior talent and experience in that occupation will enable him to turn their efforts to his own advantage. He disguises from himself the immorality of the proceeding by the reflection that the introduction of foreign capital will add to the wealth of the country, and increase the material well-being and happiness of the people. But apart from the fallacy that wealth and happiness are synoymous terms, reform of this kind rests on the assumption that natural temperament and religious tendencies of the race will lend themselves to a keen commercial rivalry of this description; and if it does not, they, like the Australian and the Red Indian, must disappear before it. Already the process has begun in Europe. The Moslem is rapidly being reformed out of existence altogether. Between the upper and the nether millstone of Russian greed for territory and of British greed for money, and behind the mask of a prostituted Christianity, the Moslem in Europe has been ground to powder: hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children have either perished by violence or starvation, or, driven from their homes, are now struggling to keep body and soul together as best they can in misery and desolation, crushed beneath the wheels of the Jaggernauth of 'Progress' — their only crime, like that of the poor crossing-sweeper, I think, in one of your own novels, that they did not 'move on.' This is called in modern parlance 'the civilizing influence of Christianity.' At this moment the Russians are pushing roads through their newly-acquired territory towards Kars. I am informed by an intelligent Moslem gentleman, who has just arrived from that district, that the effect of their 'civilizing' influence upon the inhabitants of the villages, through which these roads pass, is to convert the women into prostitutes and the men into drunkards. No wonder the Mohammedan population is flocking in thousands across the frontier into Turkish territory, abandoning their homes and landed possessions in order to escape the contamination of Anti-Christendom.
"In these days of steam and electricity, not only has the traveller no eye for the moral virtues of a people, but his aesthetic faculties have become blunted; he regards them only as money-making machines, and he esteems them just in the degree in which they excel in the art of wealth-accumulation. Blinded by a selfish utilitarianism, he can now see only barbarism in a country where no landscape is not obscured by the black smoke of factory-chimneys, and the ear deafened by the scream of the locomotive. For him a people who cling to the manners and customs of a bygone epoch, with which their own most glorious traditions are associated, have no charm. He sees in a race, which still endeavours to follow the faith of their forefathers with simplicity and devotion, nothing but ignorant fanaticism, for he has long since substituted hypocrisy for sincerity in his own belief. He despises a peasantry whose instincts of submission and obedience induce them to suffer rather than rise in revolt against a Government which oppresses them, because the head of it is invested in their eyes with a sacred character. He can no longer find anything to adjure or to interest in the contrast between the East and West, but everything to condemn; and his only sympathy is with that section of the population in Turkey, who, called Christians like himself, like him, devote themselves to the study of how much can be made, by fair means or foul, out of their Moslem neighbours.
"While I observe that this change has come over the Western traveller of late years — a change which I attribute to the mechanical appliances of the age — a corresponding effect, owing to the same cause, has, I regret to say, been produced upon my own countrymen. A gradual assimilation has been for some time in progress in the East with the habits and customs of the rest of Europe. We are abandoning our distinctive costume, and adapting ourselves to a Western mode of life in many ways. We are becoming lax in the observances of our religion; and it is now the fashion for our women to get their high-heeled boots and bonnets from Paris, and for our youths of good family to go to that city of pleasure, or to one of the large capitals of Europe, for their education. Here they adopt all the vices of Anti-Christendom, for the attractions of a civilization based upon enlightened selfishness are overpoweringly seductive; and they return without religion of any sort — shallow, sceptical, egoistical, and thoroughly demoralised. It is next to impossible for a Moslem youth, as I myself experienced, to come out of that fire uncontaminated. His religion fits him to live with simple and primitive races, and even to acquire a moral control over them; but he is fascinated and overpowered by the mighty influence of the glamour of the West. He returns to Turkey with his principles thoroughly undermined, and, if he has sufficient ability, adds one to the number of those who misgovern it.
"The two dominate vices, which characterise Anti-Christendom, are cupidity and hypocrisy. That which chiefly revolts the Turk in this disguised attack upon the morals of his people, no less than upon the very existence of his empire, is, that it should be made under the pretext of morality, and behind the flimsy veil of humanitarianism. It is in the nature of the religious idea that just in proportion as it was originally penetrated with a divine truth, which has become perverted, does it engender hypocrisy. This was so true of Judaism, that when the founder of Christianity came, though himself a Jew, he scorchingly denounced the class which most loudly professed the religion which they profaned. But the Phariseeism which has made war upon Turkey is far more intense in degree than that which he attacked, for the religion which it profanes contains the most divine truth which the world ever received. Mahomet divided the nether world into seven hells, and in the lowest he placed the hypocrites of all religions. I have now carefully examined into many religions, but as none of them demanded so high a standard from its followers as Christianity, there has not been any development of hypocrisy out of them at all corresponding to that which is peculiar to Anti-Christianity. For that reason I am constrained to think that its contributions to the region assigned to hypocrites by the prophet will be out of all proportion to the hypocrites of other religions.
"In illustration of this, see how the principles of morality and justice are at this moment being hypocritically outraged in Albania, where, on the moral ground that a nationality has an inherent right to the property of its neighbour, if it can make a claim of similarity of race, a southern district of the country is to be forcibly given to Greece; while, in violation of the same moral principle, a northern district is to be taken from the Albanian nationality, to which by right of race it belongs, and violently and against the will of the people, who are in no way consulted as to their fate, is to be handed over for annexation to the Montenegrians — a race whom the population to be annexed traditionally hate and detest.
"When Anti-Christian nations, sitting in solemn congress, can be guilty of such a prostitution of the most sacred principles in the name of morality, and construct an international code of ethics to be applicable to Turkey alone, and which they would one and all refuse to admit or be controlled by, themselves, — when we know that the internal corruption, the administrative abuses, and the oppressive misgovernment of the Power which has just made war against us in the name of humanity, have driven the population to despair, and the authorities to the most cruel excesses in order to repress them, — and when, in the face of all this most transparent humbug, these Anti-Christian nations arrogate to themselves, on the ground of their superior civilization and morality, the right to impose reform upon Turkey, — we neither admit their pretensions, covet their civilization, believe in their good faith, nor respect their morality.
"Thus it is that, from first to last, the woes of Turkey have been due to its contact with Anti-Christendom. The race is now paying the penalty for that lust of dominion and power, which tempted them in the first instance to cross the Bosphorus. From the day on which the tree of empire was planted in Europe, the canker, in the shape of the opposing religion, began to gnaw at its roots. When the Christians within had thoroughly eaten out its vitals, they called on the Christians without for assistance; and it is morally impossible that the decayed trunk can much longer withstand their combined efforts. But as I commenced by saying, had the invading Moslems in the first instance converted the entire population to their creed, Turkey might have even now withstood the assaults of 'progress.' Nay, more, it is not impossible that her victorious armies might have overrun Europe, and that the faith of Islam might have extended over the whole of what is now termed the civilized world. I have often thought how much happier it would have been for Europe, and unquestionably for the rest of the world, had such been the case. That wars and national antagonisms would have continued, is doubtless true; but we should have been saved the violent political and social changes which have resulted from steam and electricity, and have continued to live the simple and primitive life which satisfied the aspirations of our ancestors, and in which they found contentment and happiness, while millions of barbarians would to this day have remained in ignorance of the gigantic vices peculiar to Anti-Christian civilization. The West would then have been spared the terrible consequences, which are even now impending, as the inevitable result of an intellectual progress to which there has been no corresponding moral advance. The persistent violation for eighteen centuries of the great altruistic law, propounded and enjoined by the great founder of the Christian religion, must inevitably produce a corresponding catastrophe; and the day is not far distant when modern civilization will find that in its great scientific discoveries and inventions, devised for the purpose of ministering to its own extravagant necessities, it has forged the weapons by which it will itself be destroyed. No better evidence of the truth of this can be found than in the fact that Anti-Christendom alone is menaced with the danger of a great class revolution: already in every so-called Christian country we hear the mutterings of the coming storm when labour and capital will find themselves arrayed against each other, — when rich and poor will meet in deadly antagonism, and the spoilers and the spoiled solve, by means of the most recently invented artillery, the economic problems of modern 'progress.' It is surely a remarkable fact, that this struggle between rich and poor is specially reserved for those whose religion inculcates upon them, as the highest law — the love of their neighbour — and most strongly denounces the love of money. No country, which does not bear the name of Christian, is thus threatened. Even in Turkey, in spite of its bad government and the many Christians who live in it, socialism, communism, nihilism, internationalism, and all kindred forms of class revolution, are unknown, for the simple reason that Turkey has so far, at least, successfully resisted the influence of 'Anti-Christian civilization.'
"In the degree in which the State depends for its political, commercial, and social well-being and prosperity, not upon a moral but a mechanical basis, is its foundation perilous. When the life-blood of a nation is its wealth, and the existence of that wealth depends upon the regularity with which railroads and telegraphs perform their functions, it is in the power of a few skilled artisans, by means of a combined operation, to strangle it. Only the other day the engineers and firemen of a few railroads in the United States struck for a week; nearly a thousand men were killed and wounded before the trains could be set running again; millions of dollars' worth property was destroyed. The contagion spread to the mines and factories, and, had the movement been more skillfully organised, the whole country would have been in revolution; and it is impossible to tell what the results might have been. Combinations among the working classes are now rendered practicable by rail and wire, which formerly were impossible; and the facilities, which exist for secret conspiracy, have turned Europe into a slumbering volcano, an eruption of which is rapidly approaching.
"Thus it is that the laws of retribution run their course, and that the injuries — that Anti-Christendom has inflicted upon the more primitive and simple races of the world, which, under the pretext of civilizing them, it has explored to its own profit — will be amply avenged. Believe me, my dear friend, that it is under no invictive impulse or spirit of religious intolerance that I write thus: on the contrary, though I consider Mussulmans generally to be far more religious than Christians, inasmuch as they practise more conscientiously the teaching of their prophet, I feel that teaching, from an ethical point of view, to be infinitely inferior to that of Christ. I have written, therefore, without prejudice, in this attempt philosophically to analyse the nature and causes of the collision which has at last culminated between the East and the West, between the so-called Christendom and Islam. And I should only be too thankful if it could be proved to me that I had done the form of religion
you profess, or the nation to which you belong, an injustice. I am far from wishing to insinuate that among Christians, even as Christianity is at present professed and practised, there are not as good men as among nations called heathen and barbarians. I am even prepared to admit there are better — for some struggle to practise the higher virtues of Christianity, not unsuccessfully, considering the manner in which these are conventionally travestied; while others, who reject the popular theology altogether, have risen higher than ordinary modern Christian practice by force of reaction against the hypocrisy and shams by which they are surrounded, — but these are in a feeble minority, and unable to affect the popular standard. Such men existed among the Jews at the time of Christ, but they did not prevent Him from denouncing the moral iniquities of His day, or the Church which countenanced them. At the same time, I must remind you that I shrank from the task which you imposed upon me, and
only consented at last to undertake it on your repeated assurances that by some, at all events, of your countrymen, the spirit by which I have been animated in writing thus frankly will not be misconceived. — Believe me, my dear friend, yours very sincerely,
"A TURKISH EFFENDI"
Mr. Ed. Wimbridge, F.T.S., has just etched a large map of the railway system of India for the G. I. P. Railway Company, to accompany the Guide they are about publishing.
A public meeting was held at 3 P. M. on Sunday, the 11th January, at Natya Mandir of the late Sir Rajah Radha Kant Deb Bahadur, K.C.S.I. More than three hundred Hindu gentlemen were present.
Proposed by Babu Jibun Kissen Ghose, seconded by Babu Shoshi Bhoosun Mookerjee, and carried unanimously, that Rajah Rajender Narain Deb Bahadur take the chair.
The chairman requested Pandit Kally Prossuno Vedarutna to deliver his lecture on the "Superiority of the Aryan Religion and the necessity of the diffusion of its knowledge by public preaching."
After the lecturer had finished his lecture, the chairman proposed "that a society be formed for the diffusion of the Aryan faith, and that steps be taken for that purpose on the spot. The proposal was carried nem con.
Proposed by Babu Girinder Chunder Ghose, seconded by Babu Mohendra Nath Bose, and carried unanimously, that a society be formed for the above purpose and be called the BHARATVARSA ARYA DHARMA PROCHARINI SABHA.
Proposed by Babu Koilash Chunder Mookerjee, seconded by Babu Obboy Churun Mittra, and carried unanimously, that Rajah Komul Krishna Deb Bahadur and Rajah Rajendra Narain Deb Bahadur be elected Presidents of the Sabha.
Fifty gentlemen were elected members, and Babu Shooshee Bhoosun Mookerjee was appointed Secretary to the Sabha.
Proposed by Babu Herra Laul Rukhit, seconded by Babu Nilcomul Banerjee, and carried unanimously, that Pandit Kally Prossuno Vedarutna and Gocul Chunder Gossawmi be appointed both as Acharyas and Procharaks, (missionary) of the Sabha.
With a vote of thanks to the chairman, the meeting broke up at 7 P. M.
SHOOSHEE BHOOSUN MOOKERJI,
Secretary of the Bharatvarsa Arya Dharma Procharini Sabha.
No. 5, Ram Kissen Baugchee's Lane.
Observations on the Sign Language of the North American Indians.
Anxious to avail of the first opportunity ever offered for making a close collation of the language, superstitions, customs and traditions of the Aryans and those strange nomads of the North American prairies mis-termed "Indians," Col. Olcott, some time ago, called the attention of Col. G. Mallery and Major J. W. Powell, of the United States Army, the chiefs of the Ethnological Bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, to the subject. Subjoined is Col. Mallery's reply and the report of his recent lecture, at Washington, D. C., which he has kindly revised for our magazine. — ED. THEOS.
Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology.
Washington, D. C., Nov. 18, 1879.
COL. H. S. OLCOTT, United States, Commr.
MY DEAR COLONEL,
The subject you suggest is highly interesting, and it will be most useful to collate in the THEOSOPHIST (gratefully received) the parallels between the N. A. Indians and the real Indians, in psychology, philosophy, &c. I delivered last winter a popular lecture under the title "The comparative mythology of the two Indies." I will look it over and see what may be excerpted. Major Powell is in Oregon, and cannot have received your letter yet. I feel confident that he as well as myself will gladly give you "notes," if not carefully prepared papers. Neither of us will have much leisure during the impending session of the Congress, as we are mixed up in the Public Land Commission, Change of Laws Adapted for the Arid Region, Irrigation, &c. . . . I enclose a newspaper slip about some of my recent works. Perhaps I may get from your observers in India materials to collate the native gestures of Indian races with those of the N. A. I. and the deaf mutes. It is a new but important field in evolution. I will print in a month or so my preliminary paper and send it to you. It will not be exhaustive even of materials already gathered, but will serve to draw fire and induce correspondence for a complete monogram, in which the THEOSOPHIST and its corps of contributors can greatly aid.
Before the American Association for the advancement of Science, at its late meeting in Saratoga, Colonel Garrick Mallery of the United States Army, and attached to the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, read an elaborate paper on "The Sign Language of the North American Indians," presenting points both of novel, scientific interest as illustrating the gesture speech of mankind, and, of practical value. After tracing the history of gesture speech, so far as known in other parts of the world, the theory was controverted that the power of the visible gesture relative to, and its influence upon, the audible word was inversely proportioned to the development of the oral language. The traveller's tales of people unable to understand their mother tongue in the dark because not then able to see gestures, were of doubtful truth anywhere, and certainly false as regards the American tribes, many of those that gesture most freely having a copious vocabulary with highly differentiated parts of speech. The true distinction is that where the number of men speaking the same dialect is small, and when they are thrown into contact on equal terms with others of different tongues, gesture is necessarily resorted to for converse, while large bodies enjoying a common language, and either isolated from foreigners, or, if in contact with them, so dominant as to compel the learning and adoption of their own tongue, become impassive in its delivery. Instances of this from the old world were presented. But nowhere as on our continent was there spread over so vast a space so small a number of individuals divided by so many linguistic boundaries. The general use of signs originating from the necessity for extra tribal communication became also convenient from the habits of hunters and the military tactics of surprise. So, naturally, the practice of a sign language among our Indians is noticed by all travellers, and the assertion has been current that it was a single, universal and absolute code. To test this remarkable statement a number of sign vocabularies, taken in different parts of the country at several dates from the last century to the last month, were collected by the writer, comprising together more than eight hundred signs. The result is that there is often an entire discrepancy between the signs made by different bodies of Indians to express the same idea. Very few of the limited number of gestures that are in general use are at all conventional, being only portions more or less elaborate of obvious natural pantomime; and those proving to be the fittest expressions of the several ideas became the most widely adopted. In some cases the original air pictures of an outline or action have become abbreviated — and even if both the original conception and delineation were the same, the two or more abbreviations became unlike. The first conceptions were also often diverse, because all objects have several characteristics, and what struck one set of people as the most distinctive would not always so impress another. Col. Mallery then gave from the collected lists, or vocabulary, a large number of examples where either the conception or execution or both, to express the same idea, were widely diverse. Also a numbers of typical cases of agreement, followed by illustrations of others not remarkable either for general or limited acceptance, but for the philosophy or poetry suggested by their picturesque figuration. Some of these were compared with the gestures of savage and civilized people in the world, with those of deaf mutes, with the code of the Cistercian monks who were vowed to silence, and with the picture writing on buffalo robes and on Egyptian pyramids. The general result proved that there was no uniformity in detail, but the variety in expression was in itself of great psychological interest. While the assertion of a single universal sign language among the tribes is, therefore, one of the popular errors about our aborigines, it is nevertheless true that the attempt to convey meaning by signs is universal among them, and so is its successful execution, not by arbitrary semaphoric motions, but in a cultivated art which is founded upon principles that can readily be applied by travellers and officials so as to give them much independence of professed interpreters. Two intelligent pantomimists, whether Indian or Caucasian, deaf or without common tongue, will seldom fail of mutual understanding when their attention is exclusively directed to expressing thoughts by means of comprehension and reply equally possessed by both, without the mental confusion of conventional sounds only intelligible to one.
Whether or not gesture utterance preceded articulate study of the art in its high development will, by a return to early principles, tend to solve the old problem of universal communication among men. In spite of their dialectic divisions. A main object of the paper was to invite suggestions and contributions to perfect a comprehensive monograph on the subject now in preparation, to be published with illustrations under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.
Translation of the above made by V. R. Patvardhan, F. T. S.
for the Theosophist, from the Sanskrit original.
Here, in the land of Benares, fragrant as it were with the stores of knowledge, arrived Colonel Olcott, with a mind earnestly desirous of acquiring the knowledge of the manners, customs, mechanical and other arts and sciences, of the ancient Aryas and having formed friendship with the members of the Brahmamritavarshini Association, showed at a meeting of that assembly a very great liking for the Indian Philosophies, (the Darsana Shastras).
Methinks that although he is born in a foreign land, yet he is assuredly a native of India, inasmuch as in him the effect of the original antecedent relationship has shown life afresh, and he has made not infrequent efforts towards the good of India. Nevertheless enough with such series of conjectures. The fact, however, still remains that he longs to know the philosophy (the Darsanas) of our country, and being desirous of spreading in foreign countries the knowledge of the Vedant Darsana invited earnestly and not infrequently Vedantic contributions to their famous Journal which, as it were, acts the part of the Moon in expanding the lotus of Indian Wisdom.
Now, the Vedant Philosophy, owing to the variety of human thought, is made up of the several doctrines or views, namely, Suddhadvaita, Dvaita, Advaita, Visistadvita and others based on a variety of distinct positions; and it is not possible to receive any one of the doctrines as the principal exponent of the whole Vedant philosophy by distinguishing any one of them from its fellows.
Seeing, however, that some introduction should be made regarding the Advita doctrine alone, which is being followed by hundreds of famous learned men, who, though divided by hundreds of shades and differences of opinions, do yet coincide in substance in the pith of the Advaita doctrine, namely, the unity and universality of soul, we shall accordingly first introduce the Advaita doctrine.
Now, following the gist of the rule implied in the saying of the Glorious One (Bhagavan,) namely "One should not create an unsettled or divided state of mind in the ignorant who are given up to outward acts and ceremonies," the teachers of Advaita doctrine, to attract to themselves the respect and attention of their respective pupils of varying calibre, have written on the Advaita doctrine the Siddhantalesa and other treatices, which, over and above the substance of the doctrine, naturally contain futile and noisy controversies produced by marshalling together conflicting and polemical hypotheses. In illustration of the above, the one instance of Bhaskaracharya would suffice.
Though himself a strict follower of Advaita doctrine, Bhaskaracharya makes scornful strictures on the exposition of Advaita doctrine by Sankaracharya, which, nevertheless, forms the vital support of the followers of that doctrine; for, so says Bhaskaracharya in the beginning of his commentary on the Vedant Aphorisms (Sutra) that he undertook to comment on the Vedant philosophy, which by the way is a fit subject for commentaries, in order to neutralise the pernicious effects of the works of those scholiastics who have concealed the real meaning of the Aphorisms and made commentaries to suit their own views on the subject. Further, Bhaskaracharya thus animadverts also on the conflict of the Aphorisms that, in commenting and discovering (Adhikarana) on the Aphorism beginning with the word Anandamaya the great and revered Sankaracharya, sticking fast always to his own views and using not infrequently such artifices in construing the Aphorisms as would favour his own views on the subject, says that the words of the Aphorism must be construed in such and such a way, and could show only a forced manner after all that the words of the Aphorism supported his contention and view on the subject. But, such reflections apart, it is certain that Sankaracharya's view of the Advaita doctrine is very ancient, and its high antiquity is established by the fact that Sankaracharya's view of the Advaita doctrine (nirvisshadvaita) has been found controverted in the ancient philosophies of Kapila, and others who have controverted Vedant doctrines.
Now, according to all the doctrines of Vedant, "Final Emancipation" (moksha) is the attainment of one's own original state of existence (svasvarupavapti), which is corroborated and affirmed by both the smriti and the sutra; for, the smriti says, "Final Emancipation (muktih) is nothing else than existence in the original state of one's self," and the sutra says, "having attained original self." The real nature and essence of the spirit is eternal and unchangeable (nitya), pure (suddha), essentially knowing (buddha), and emancipated (mukta). Soul's evolution — the visible universe — is but the effect of Illusion (Bhrama). Illusion is without a beginning (Anadi) and is the result of the negation of knowledge (Avidya), which is equally without a beginning. Negation of knowledge is eternal and unchangeable also; for the ancients say that, 1— The "Encased soul" (Jiva); 2— The "Creative Power" (Isa); 3— "Unalloyed Energy" (Visuddha chit); 4— The relative difference between Jiva and Isa; 5— "The negation of knowledge;" and 6— The relative difference between the energy and "negation of knowledge; —" are eternal and unchangeable.
Benares College, Feb. 1880.
[To be continued]
Whether one surveys the imposing ruins of Memphis or Palmyra; stands at the foot of the great pyramid of Ghize; wanders along the shores of the Nile; or ponders amid the desolate fastnesses of the long-lost and mysterious Petra; however clouded and misty the original of these prehistoric relics may appear, one nevertheless finds at least certain fragments of firm ground upon which to build conjecture. Thick as may be the curtain behind which the history of these antiquities is hidden, still there are rents here and there through which one may catch glimpses of light. We are acquainted with the descendants of the builders. And, however superficially, we also know the story of the nations whose vestiges are scattered around us. Not so with the antiquities of the New World of the two Americas. There, all along the coast of Peru, all over the Isthmus and North America, in the canyons of the Cordilleras, in the impassable gorges of the Andes, and, especially beyond the valley of Mexico, lie, ruined and desolate, hundreds of once mighty cities, lost to the memory of men, and having themselves lost even a name. Buried in dense forests, entombed in inaccessible valleys, sometimes sixty feet under-ground, from the day of their discovery until now they have ever remained a riddle to science, baffling all inquiry, and they have been muter than the Egyptian Sphinx herself. We know nothing of America prior to the Conquest — positively nothing. No chronicles, not even comparatively modern ones survive; there are no traditions, even among the aboriginal tribes, as to its past events. We are as ignorant of the races that built these cyclopean structures, as of the strange worship that inspired the antediluvian sculptors who carved upon hundreds of miles of walls, of monuments, monoliths and altars, these weird hieroglyphics, these groups of animals and men, pictures of an unknown life and lost arts — scenes so fantastic and wild, at times, that they involuntarily suggest the idea of a feverish dream, whose phantasmagoria at the wave of some mighty magician's hand suddenly crystalized into granite, to bewilder the coming generations for ever and ever. So late as the beginning of the present century, the very existence of such a wealth of antiquities was unknown. The petty, suspicious jealousy of the Spaniards had, from the first, created a sort of Chinese wall between their American possessions and the too curious travellers: and the ignorance and fanaticism of the conquerors, and their carelessness as to all but the satisfaction of their insatiable greediness, had precluded scientific research. Even the enthusiastic accounts of Cortez and his army of brigands and priests, and of Pizarro and his robbers and monks, as to the splendour of the temples, palaces, and cities of Mexico and Peru, were long discredited. In his History of America, Dr. Robertson goes so far as to inform his reader that the houses of the ancient Mexicans were "mere huts, built with turf, or mud, or the branches of trees, like those of the rudest Indians;"* and, upon the testimony of some Spaniards he even risked the assertion that "in all the extent of that vast empire," there was not "a single monument or vestige of any building more ancient than the Conquest"! It was reserved to the great Alexander Humboldt to vindicate the truth. In 1803 a new flood of light was poured into the world of archaeology by this eminent and learned traveller. In this he luckily proved but the pioneer of future discoverers. He then described but Mitla, or the Vale of the Dead, Xoxichalco, and the great pyramidal Temple of Cholula. But, after him came Stephens, Catherwood, and Squier; and, in Peru, D'Orbigny and Dr.Tschuddi. Since then, numerous travellers have visited and given us accurate details of many of the antiquities. But, how many more yet remain not only unexplored, but even unknown, no one can tell. As regards prehistoric buildings, both Peru and Mexico are rivals of Egypt. Equalling the latter in the immensity of her cyclopean structures, Peru surpasses her in their number; while Cholula exceeds the grand pyramid of Cheops in breadth, if not in height. Works of public utility, such as walls, fortifications, terraces, water-courses, aqueducts, bridges, temples, burial-grounds, whole cities, and exquisitely paved roads, hundreds of miles in length, stretch in an unbroken line, almost covering the land as with a net. On the coast, they are built of sun-dried bricks; in the mountains, of porphyritic lime, granite and silicated sand-stones. Of the long generations of peoples who built them, history knows nothing, and even tradition is silent. As a matter of course, most of these lithic remains are covered with a dense vegetation. Whole forests have grown out of the broken hearts of the cities, and, with a few exceptions, every thing is in ruin. But one may judge of what once was by that which yet remains.
* See Stephens' Central America.
With a most flippant unconcern, the Spanish historians refer nearly every ruin to Incal times. No greater mistake can be made. The hieroglyphics which sometimes cover from top to bottom whole walls and monoliths are, as they were from the first, a dead letter to modern science. But they were equally a dead letter to the Incas, though the history of the latter can be traced to the eleventh century. They had no clue to the meaning of these inscriptions, but attributed all such to their unknown predecessors; thus barrng the presumption of their own descent from the first civilizers of their country. Briefly, the Incal histoy runs thus: —
Inca is the Quichua title for chief or emperor, and the name of the ruling and most aristocratic race or rather caste of the land which was governed by them for an unknown period, prior to, and until, the Spanish Conquest. Some place their first appearance in Peru from regions unknown in 1021; others, also, or conjecture, at five centuries after the Biblical "flood," and according to the modest notions of Christian theology. Still the latter theory is undoubtedly nearer truth than the former. The Incas, judged by their exclusive privileges, power and "infallibility," are the antipodal counterpart of the Brahminical caste of India. Like the latter, the Incas claimed direct descent from the Deity, which, as in the case of the Suryavansa dynasty of India, was the Sun. According to the sole but general tradition, there was a time when the whole of the population of the now New World was broken up into independent, warring and barbarian tribes. At last, the "Highest" deity — the Sun — took pity upon them, and, in order to rescue the people from ignorance, sent down upon earth, to teach them, his two children Manco Capac, and his sister and wife, Mama Ocollo Huaco — the counterparts, again, of the Egyptain Osiris, and his sister and wife, Isis, as well as of the several Hindu gods and demi-gods and their wives. These two made their appearance on a beautiful island in Lake Titicaca — of which we will speak further on — and thence proceeded northward to Cuzco, later on the capital of the Incas, where they at once began to dissemiate civilization. Collecting together the various races from all parts of Peru, the divine couple then divided their labour. Manco Capac taught men agriculture, legislation, architecture and arts; while Mama Ocollo instructed the women in weaving, spinning, embroidery and house-keeping. It is from this celestial pair that the Incas claimed their descent; and yet, they were utterly ignorant of the people who built the stupendous and now ruined cities which cover the whole area of their empire, and which then extended from the Equator to over 37 degrees of Latitude, and included not only the western slope of the Andes, but the whole mountain chain with its eastern declivities to the Amazon and Orinoco. As the direct descendants of the Sun, they were exclusively the high priests of the state religion, and at the same time emperors and the highest statesmen in the land: in virtue of which, they, again like the Brahmans, arrogated to themselves a divine superiority over the ordinary mortals, thus founding like the "twice-born" an exclusive and aristocratic caste — the Inca race. Considered as the son of the Sun, every reigning Inca was the high priest, the oracle, chief captain in war, and absolute sovereign; thus realizing the double office of Pope and King, and so long anticipating the dream of the Roman Pontiffs. To his command the blindest obedience was exacted; his person was sacred; and he was the object of divine honours. The highest officers of the land could not appear shod in his presence; this mark of respect pointing again to an Oriental origin; while the custom of boring the ears of the youths of royal blood and inserting in them golden rings "which were increased in size as they advanced in rank, until the distention of the cartilage became a positive deformity," suggests a strange resemblance between the sculptured portraits of many of them that we find in the more modern ruins, and the images of Buddha and of some Hindu deites, not to mention our contemporary dandies of Siam, Burmah, and Southern India. In that, once more like in India, in the palmy days of the Brahmin power, no one had the right to either receive an education or study religion except the young men of the privileged Inca caste. And, when the reigning Inca died, or as it was termed, "was called home to the mansion of his father," a very large number of his attendants and his wives were made to die with him, during the ceremony of his obsequies, just as we find in the old annals of Rajesthan, and down to the but just abolished custom of Sutti. Taking all this into consideration, the archeologist cannot remain satisfied with the brief remark of certain historians that "in this tradition we trace only another version of the story of the civilization common to all primitive nations, and that imposture of a celestial relationship whereby designing rulers and cunning priests have sought to secure their ascendency among men." No more is it an explanation to say that "Manco Capac is the almost exact counterpart of the Chinese Fohi, the Hindu Buddha, the terrestrial Osiris of Egypt, the Quetzacoatl of Mexico, and Votan of Central America"; for all this is but too evident. What we want to learn is how came these nations, so antipodal to each other as India, Egypt, and Americas offer such extraordinary points of resemblance, not only in their general religious, political, and social views, but sometimes in the minutest details. The much-needed task is to find out which one of them proceeded the other; to explain how these people came to plant at the four corners of the earth nearly identical architecture and arts, unless there was a time when, as assured by Plato and believed in by more than one modern archaeologist, no ships were needed for such a transit, as the two worlds formed but one continent.
According to the most recent researches, there are five distinct styles of architecture in the Andes alone, of which the temple of the Sun at Cuzco was the latest. And this one, perhaps, is the only structure of importance which, according to modern travellers, can be safely attributed to the Incas, whose imperial glories are believed to have been the last gleam of a civilization dating back for untold ages. Dr. E. R. Heath, of Kansas, (U. S. A.) thinks that "long before Manco Capac, the Andes had been the dwelling-place of races, whose beginnings must have been coeval with the savages of Western Europe. The gigantic architecture points to the cyclopean family, the founders of the temple of Babel, and the Egyptian pyramids. The Grecian scroll found in many places is borrowed (?) from the Egyptians; the mode of burial and embalming their dead points to Egypt." Further on, this learned traveller finds that the skulls taken from the burial-grounds, according to craniologists, represent three distinct races — the Chinchas, who occupied the western part of Peru from the Andes to the Pacific; the Aymaras, dwellers of the elevated plains of Peru and Bolivia, on the southern shore of Lake Titicaca; and the Huancas, who "occupied the plateau between the chains of the Andes, north of Lake Titicaca to the 9th degree of South Latitude." To confound the buildings of the epoch of the Incas in Peru, and of Montezuma and his Caciques, in Mexico, with the aboriginal monuments, is fatal to archaeology. While Cholula, Uxmal, Quiche, Pachacamac, and Chichen were all perfectly preserved and occupied at the time of the invasion of the Spanish banditti, there are hundreds of ruined cities and works which were in the same state of ruin even then; whose origin was unknown to the conquered Incas and Caciques as it is to us; and which are undoubtedly the remains of unknown and now extinct peoples. The strange shapes of the heads, and profiles of the human figures upon the monoliths of Copan are a warrant for the correctness of the hypothesis. The pronounced difference between the skulls of these races and the Indo-European skulls was at first attributed to mechanical means, used by the mothers for giving a peculiar conformation to the head of their children during infancy, as is often done by other tribes and peoples. But, as the same author tells us, the finding in "a mummy of a foetus of seven or eight months having the same conformation of skull, has placed a doubt as to the certainty of this fact." And besides hypothesis, we have a scientific and an unimpeachable proof of a civilization that must have existed in Peru ages ago. Were we to give the number of thousands of years that have probably elapsed since then, without first showing good reasons for the assumption, the reader might feel like holding his breath. So let us try.
The Peruvian guano (huano), that precious fertilizer, composed of the excrement of sea-fowls, intermixed with their decaying bodies, eggs, remains of seal, and so on, which has accumulated upon the isles of the Pacific and the coast of South America, and its formation are now well-known. It was Humboldt who first discovered and drew the world's attention to it in 1804. And, while describing the deposits as covering the granite rocks of the Chincas and other islands to the depth of 50 or 60 feet, he states that the accumulation of the preceding 300 years, since the Conquest, had formed only a few lines in thickness. How many thousands of years, then, it required to form this deposit 60 feet deep, is a matter of simple calculation. In this connection we may now quote something of a discovery spoken of in the Peruvian Antiquities.* "Buried 62 feet under the ground, on the Chinca islands, stone-idols and water-pots were found, while 35 and 33 feet below the
surface were wooden idols. Beneath the quano on the Guanapi islands, just south of Truxillo, and Macabi just north, mummies, birds, and birds' eggs, gold and silver ornaments were taken. On the Macabi the labourers found some large valuable golden vases, which they broke up and divided among themselves, even though offered weight for weight in gold coin, and thus relics of greater interest to the scientist have been ever lost. He — who can determine the centuries necessary to deposit thirty and sixty feet of guano on these islands, remembering that since the Conquest, three hundred years ago, no appreciable increase in depth has been noted — can give you an idea of the antiquity of these relics."
* A paper published by Mr. E. R. Heath in the Kansas City Review of Science and Industry, Nov. 1878.
If we confine ourselves to a strictly arithmetical calculation, then allowing 12 lines to an inch, and 12 inches to a foot, and allowing one line to every century, we are forced to believe that the people who made these precious gold vases lived 864,000 years ago! Leave an ample margin for errors, and give two lines to a century — say an inch to every 100 years — and we will yet have 72,000 years back a civilization which — if we judge by its public works, the durability of its constructions, and the grandeur of its buildings, — equalled, and in some things certainly surpassed, our own.
Having well defined ideas as to the periodicity of cycles, for the world as well as for nations, empires, and tribes, we are convinced that our present modern civilization is but the latest dawn of that which already has been seen — in innumerable number of times upon this planet. It may not be exact science, but it is both inductive and deductive logic, based upon theories far less hypothetical and more palpable than many another theory, held as strictly scientific. To express it via the words of Professor T. E. Nipher, of St. Louis, "we are not the friends of theory, but of truth," and until truth is found, we welcome every new theory, however unpopular at first, for fear of rejecting in our ignorance the stone which may in time become the very corner-stone of the truth." The errors of scientific men are well nigh countless, not because they are men of science, but because they are men," says the same scientist; and further quotes the noble words of Faraday — "occasionally, and frequently the exercise of the judgment ought to end in absolute reservation. It may be very distasteful and a great fatigue to suspend a conclusion, but as we are not infallible, so we ought to be cautious." (Experimental Researches, 24th Series.)
It is doubtful whether, with the exception of a few of the most prominent ruins, there ever was attempted a detailed account of the so-called American antiquities. Yet, in order to bring out the more prominently a point of comparison, such a work would be absolutely necessary. If the history of religion and of mythology and — far more important — the origin, developing and final grouping of the human species are ever to be unraveled, we have to trust to archaeological research, rather than to the hypothetical deductions of philology. We must begin by massing together the concrete imagery of the early thought, more eloquent in its stationery form than the verbal expression of the same, the latter being but too liable, in its manifold interpretations, to be distorted in a thousand ways. This would afford us an easier and more trustworthy clue. Archaeological Societies ought to have a whole cyclopedia of the world's remains, with a collation of the most important of the speculations as to each locality. For, however fantastic and wild, some of these hypothesis may seem at first glance, yet each has a chance of proving useful at some time. It is often more beneficial to know what a thing is not than to know what it is, as Max Muller truly tells us.
It is not within the limits of an article in our paper that any such object could be achieved. Availing ourselves, though, of the reports of the Government surveyors, trustworthy travellers, men of science, and, even our own limited experience, we will try in future issues to give to our Hindu readers, who possibly may never have heard of these antiquities, a general idea of them. Our latest informations are drawn from every reliable source; the survey of the Peruvian antiquities being mostly due to Dr. Heath's able paper, above mentioned.
(To be continued.)
By Ramchundra Bapuji, Esq.,
Superintendent, Dead Letter Office, Bombay.
In the issue of the THEOSOPHIST for the month of November, 1879, appeared an interesting article entitled "Cross and Fire" which shows that the Elemental worship, or the worship of the Sun, was practised by the Bulgarians, before the days of Christianity, and that it is still preserved even now.
In this connection, I beg to submit a few questions upon which I hope the THEOSOPHIST, acquainted as it is with the mythology and history of the old religions of almost all the nations of the world, may be able to throw some light, and clear up the doubts and ambiguities in which the matter is enveloped. My questions are as follows: —
1. We have been told* more or less vaguely, by the philologists, that at a certain place on the northern frontier of India, or in Central Asia, there once lived a people or a nation which abandoned their country in parties (why and when, it is said, cannot be defined), one emigrating into India, whilst the other penetrated into the countries of Europe, &c.; conquering India, it is added, and driving into the mountain fastnesses the Gounds, Bhills, Kolies, Waghars, Mahars, Mangs, Beydars or Berads, Chambars, Waddars, Sonthals, Fodegars &.,&., who are supposed or said to be the aborigines, and making themselves the masters of the Peninsula. They styled themselves Aryas (Lords). Here they continued or propagated the religion of the Vedas, which they had brought with them, as well as the arts and polity of a civilized nation as, it is said, they were; the imputation being that the Vedas and civilization were not known in India before the arrival of those adventurous immigrants.
* Col. M. Taylor's "Student's Manual of the History of India," pp. 38, 39.
Indeed, it is alleged that in this pastoral and nomadic race as it is otherwise called, there were priests, warriors, agriculturists and serfs, and that the aborigines, who were driven into the hills, forests and mountains, were the progenitors of those who still remain; but a few were absorbed into, and amalgamated with, the Aryas.
It then naturally follows that the other parties of these Aryas, who invaded and penetrated into the various countries or Europe, &c., also carried with them their sacred and beloved Vedas, together with the Sanskrit in which they were delivered; and not only preserved them intact, but propagated their religion in those new countries as, according to the philologists, had been done in India. The names of the Vedas, therefore, and the Elementary worship, as well as the spiritual science of Yog, including the use of the mystical or sacred syllable OM, which is invariably prefixed to every scriptural or sacred writing, and even repeated at every daily ritualistic observance — to say nothing of the old primitive ways and customs of the Aryas, such as cremation — must be traceable in a complete form somewhere in the oldest histories of those countries, as in India, if such all Aryan annotation took place. And this, even though Christianity or Mohammedanism was afterwards embraced by those nations.
Can any such traces be found, especially of the Yog; and what equivalent word is given to it in any of the histories? How can the great fact be explained that the people of Europe were wallowing in the mire of barbarism and ignorance, while perfect civilization was reigning in India, if emigrants from one Aryan stock, or family, or nation, entered Europe either simultaneously with or even later than the penetration of their supposed brothers into India?
European civilization is comparatively of a recent or modern date, long posterior to that when darkness and gloom began to overspread India, and cannot possibly be attributed to the Aryan emigration, or if it can be, then there should be no difficulty in tracing or defining the causes and period of the emigration most accurately; the European historical accounts being presumably better written and better preserved than the Indian, since they go as far back as the time of "Noah's covenant with God," or the creation of the world.
Various are the flights of speculation of various minds on this great subject. Let me give expression to a few of them.
It is asserted by some that the Vedas are of the remotest antiquity and their birth or appearance in India is coeval with the foundation or creation of the world; and these refer me to various authorities, showing that the Aryans are the aborigines* of India. They say that our forefathers originally lived around the base of the mountain Himalaya, abounding in shrines, and on the banks of the sacred rivers, which spring from this great, abode of snow and water, the tracts now denominated the Panjab, Benares &c., &-c., and that the Aryans shifted southwards as they multiplied or as other occasions demanded. They were not emigrants from any place out of India, as supposed.
* Elphistone's History of India, Vol. I., pages 2 and 95 to 99. Pocock's India in Greece, , pages 203 to 206.
Others affirm that the allegation that the parties, originally of one stock of finally or one nation, separated and emigrated from Central Asia into India and the countries of Europe, — is a mere hoax purposely invented to support theoretical views, and to narrow as much as possible the gulf which now separates the people of India from those of other parts of the world.
Still others aver that in those good old days communication** or intercourse was free, and adventurers or enterprising philosophers, visiting India, picked up some knowledge of the Indian religion and imparted it to their countrymen.
** Elphinestone's History of India, Vol. I, pages 94, 256 au a 266.
Lastly, it is affirmed that in India, a certain king chanced to get at logger-heads with a host of Rishees, who carried their animosity so far as to abandon the king altogether. They refrained from attending or officiating at the sacrifices and ceremonies at that place; in fact, they hold the king as an outcast. The king, for his part cared very little for indignities offered, and treated his adversaries with utter contempt in return. Thus the ill-feelings were intensified and reconsiliation became impossible. On the demise of the king, the Rishees, who had already conspired, ceased not to pour their wrath upon the adherents or rather the partizans of the king who, being disgusted and harassed in the extreme, put an end to the broils by leaving India, once for all. They sought refuge in the countries of Europe, &c., and, settling there taught the people the worship inculcated by the Vedas, of which they had but a faint knowledge.
It is pointed out after all that the Greeks,*** the oldest people in Europe, were not unknown to the Aryas of India, who distinguished or designated them as Yavans**** (barbarians or foreigners), a distinctive appellation which could not have possibly been applied to the Greeks, had they been really the same tribes or belonged to the same stock and origin as the Aryas of India. Or, again, if the Europeans had enjoyed, as a birthright, the blessings and revelations of the sacred and philosophical truths of the Vedic religion, it is deferentially asked what great temptation could the Bible and Koran alternately, when we consider the comparatively slight progress which Christianity has made in India, the land of the Vedas, during the period of the last two thousand years.
*** Elphinstone's History of India Vol. I, pages 254.
**** Monier William's
Sanskrit and English Dictionary page 812.
Before concluding the subject, I must not lose sight of some of the striking facts and circumstantial evidences relative to it. Many of the European scholars and orientalists, straining every nerve have drawn a conclusion that Greece, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, &c., were colonized***** by various martial or warrior (kshatriya) clans, and by Brahminical and Buddhistic tribes, from the East, all however originally or primarily from India; at the same time showing the close affinity* between the Sanskrit and the several European languages as evidence of the truth of this grand exodus, and making its salient features harmonize with the evidences supplied in the Indian epics.
***** Pocock's India in Greece, pages 9, 74, 111, 150, 200 to 210 and 214, 229 to 232 and 317. Sir William Jones — Asiatic Researches, Vol. I., page 426.
But then, again, the startling fact of the Sanskrit having sunk as it did into corruption, and not maintaining its ascendency in those countries, as it did in India, leads to the irresistible inference that the colonists had to yield to the Western aborigines; causing thereby a mixture of blood, and their Sanskrit so largely aiding in the refinement of the indigenous dialects, as to enable them to assume the high appellation of classical languages.
I beg to present my warmest thanks to Mr. William Simpson, F.R.G.S., the distinguished artist and antiquary, who extended last year his researches to Peshawur valley and elsewhere, and thereby so enriched the Lahore Museum, for kindly presenting me with a copy of his very valuable paper, "Buddhist Architecture: Jellalabad," enriched with seven illustrations. Our thanks are none the less due to Mr. Simpson, that in one point, and a very important one too, it is impossible for either our Society or myself, to agree with his conclusions. The feature of Mr. Simpson's interesting and learned paper is, to quote the words of Mr. James Fergusson, F. R. S., Past Vice-President, that every "form of art was imported into India, and nothing ever came out of it," (the italics are mine). Mr. Simpson builds his hasty conclusions upon the fact that most of the capitals of the pillars and pilasters in the ruins of the valley of the Kabul river, are Corinthian, and "the bases and mouldings generally are such as are most unmistakeably derived from the far West," and finally that a "number of bell-shaped capitals, surmounted by double animals which look like a reminiscence of the pillars of Persepolis," are also found in the caves of Karli, and other caves of India, as well as in the valley of Peshawur.
I will not limit my protest in this case, to merely point to the words of Mr. Fergusson, who cautiously remarks that "the similarity is, however, so remote that it is hardly sufficient to sustain Mr. Simpson's assertion that every form of art was imported into India, and nothing ever came out of it." But I will humbly suggest that in a country like India, whose past history is a total blank, every attempt to decide the age of the monuments, or whether their style was original or borrowed, is now pretty much as open a question as it was a century ago. A new discovery may any day annihilate the theory of the day before. Lack of space forbids me to enter upon the discussion more elaborately. Therefore, I will permit myself only to say that Mr. Simpson's present "assertion" remains as hypathetical as before. Otherwise, we would have to decide a priori, whether India or Greece borrowed from the other in other important cases now pending. Besides "Corinthian pillars" and "double animals," once so clear to the Persopolitans, we have, here, the solar race of the Hari-Kula (Sun family) whose deeds must have been a copy of, or the model for, the labours and very name of the Grecian Sun-God Hercules. No less is it a matter for the consideration of philologists and archeologists which of the two — the Egyptian Sphinx, called by them Harimukh, or Har-M-Kho (the Sun in his resting-place) or the lofty Himalaya peak, also called Harimukh (the mouth of the Sun) in the range to the north of Cashmir, owes its name to the other.
*Elphinstone's History of India, Vol. I., page 97. Pocock's India and
Greece, pages 145, 146, 208 and 270.
H. Rivett-Carnac, Esquire, of the Bengal Civil Service, C.I.E., F.S.A., M. R. A. S., F. G. S., &c. has placed us under obligations by sending us copies of his paper, 'Archaeological Notes on Ancient Sculpturings on Rocks in Kumaon, India etc.,' and other recent monographs which embody the latest fruits of his indefatigable antiquarian researches. An eloquent and famous American preacher once said, in an address upon the Fine Arts, that he never could see an Italian image-vendor enter a poor man's cabin without feeling that he ought to lift his hat to him as to a real missionary of Art. For, rude and coarse as might be the images he carried, they still embodied at least a rudimentary idea of sculpture, and that germ might suffice to awaken the glorious talent of a sculptor, that lay latent, in the mind of the poor man's son. This was a great truth that the preacher uttered, and recalls the old familiar proverb, "Despise not the day of small things." Some of the world's greatest discoveries have resulted from the chance observation of some trifling fact that had previously been passed over with ignorant indifference. Who knows, for instance, what a flood of light may not be thrown upon the history of mankind by a recent discovery announced by Mr. Rivett-Carnac — a discovery hitherto not sufficiently appreciated; certainly not as it ought to be. The description given by Sir James Simpson, Bart., of the cup-like markings on stones and rocks in Scotland, England, and other countries of the West, struck him as offering an "extraordinary resemblance" "to the marks on the trap boulders which encircled the Barrows near Nagpur . . . The identity between the shape and construction of the tumuli, and between the remains found in the tumuli of the two countries had already been noticed, and now here was a third, and still more remarkable point, the discovery on these tumuli of markings which correspond exactly with the markings found in the same class of tumuli in Europe." He abstained from putting forward any theories founded upon this striking resemblance, but affirmed that the cup-marks formed "another and very extraordinary addition to the mass of evidence which already existed in favor of the view, that a branch of the nomadic tribes who swept, at an early date, over Europe, penetrated into India, also." There is so much more involved in Mr. Rivett-Canac's discovery and the theory he propounds than could possibly be discovered in the space that is at our present disposal that we refrain. The world's history is yet to be written, and it rests with scholars like Mr. Rivett-Carnac to furnish the alphabet in which its pages are to be traced. We must first scuttle Noah's Ark and drown those fabulous sons who have served so useful a purposes to the pious ethnographers in search of progenitors for the races of mankind, and then the ground will be cleared for the real historian to build upon. There can be no true archeology among Christian nations until the last remnant of superstitious reliance upon Biblical chronology and history is swept away. These two have composed a mephitic theological atmosphere in which truth has been asphyxiated.
The cup-marks noticed by Sir James Simpson and Mr. Rivett-Carnac are by the latter described as "holes scooped out on the face of the rock (or monument) . . . . . They are of different sizes, varying from six inches to an inch and a half in diameter, and in depth from one inch to half an inch, and are generally arranged in perpendicular lines presenting many permutations in the number and size and arrangement of the cups."
"The Ahgam writing consists of combinations of long and short strokes cut on sand-stone. On sand-stone it would be easier to cut lines with the grain, so to speak, of the stone. To attempt to make a cup-mark would be to risk splitting the slab. On the other hand, to cut a line on hard trap would be difficult, whereas to work an iron instrument round and round so as to make a 'cup-mark' would be comparatively easy. . . . . . . In the American invention by which a record of the message sent by the electric telegraph is made by the instrument itself, the most primitive style of marking or writing on the paper was necessarily adopted. And letters in the Morse code are consequently composed of numerous combinations of long and short strokes."
Mr. Rivett-Carnac's attention is called to the fact that stones inscribed with similar cup-marks are found in the Caucasian steppes, and it may be that, by a friendly collaboration among archaeologists in various countries, it will soon be practicable to trace the press from the East to the West, of the conquering nomads whose lithic monuments in the British Isles Sir James Simpson has described, and which, we doubt not, that eminent explorer of the Colorado Canyon, Major Powell, has encountered in the North American Continent. Such a cooperation might be hastened if the assiduous observers now in India would accept the suggestion of Colonel Garrick Mallery of the Ethnographic Bureau of the Smithsonian Institution to make the THEOSOPHIST the vehicle for the mutual exchange of Indian, European and American notes of discovery.
The undersigned is also under great personal obligation to Mr. Rivett-Carnnac for the present of seven extremely valuable old coins recently found in the Bareilly District. This is, indeed, a rare and well appreciated gift; the more so, as our great Indian archaeologist tells me in his letter of February 9 —
"They are coins of Surya or Mitra Dynasty (vide Prinsep, Vol. II.)
" Bhumi Mitra,)
Agni Mitra ) have been found before, but are rare.
" Phaguni Mitra, )
Bhami Mitra, ) are not only new coins, but new Blaudia Ghosa, and names in the lists of Indian kings."
Suyd or Suzyd Mitra.)
As soon as a description of these coins shall appear in the Asiatic Society's Journal, we will give our readers extracts from it. Every true son of the great Aryavarta of old should watch with interest all such new finds, as they are constantly adding material for India's archaic history, and affirming our right to regard her as the oldest, most venerable, and, at the same time, most interesting relic of the prehistoric days. Meanwhile, I again personally reiterate my best thanks to Mr. Rivett-Carnac.
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Editor of the Theosophist.
Bombay, February 25, 1880.
The Prospectus, issued in advance of the publication of this magazine, promised our Subscribers that in the Year's twelve issues there should be not less than 240 pages of reading matter. That would make 120 for the half-year; whereas the folio number which this page bears shows that we have exceeded that limit by 43 pages. We have, therefore, done even more than we promised. We hope to do as well the other six months.