Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 8 - MAY, 1879
Section 1 (pp. 193-204)
A Medal of Honor
A New Prophet in India
A Parsi Ascetic
Castes in India
Spiritualism & Theosophy
Real Buddhism — Kamma
The Silent Brother
The Children of the Sun
The Vedanta Philosophy
Journalist vs. Missionary
The Life of Sankaracharya, Philosopher and Mystic
A Prisoner Feigning Death
Section 2 (pp. 205-214)
Soundings in the Ocean of Aryan Literature
Puzzles for the Philologists.
A Case of Obsession
The Buddhist Idea about the Soul
The "Hindu or Arya" Question
The Nature and Office of Buddha's Religion
The Jain View of Om
The Poona, Exhibition, 1880
How best to become a Theosophist
Mr. Whitworth's Gauntlet. . .
The Theosophical Society
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A MEDAL OF HONOR.
The importance of the action, taken at its late meeting by the General Council of our Society, in voting the foundation of a Medal of Honor, to be annually awarded by an unbiassed Jury of Native gentlemen of eminent character and learning to Native authors, will doubtless be appreciated. To recognize that Aryavarta has a grand history, and that the sons of the soil are her proper histriographers, and to stimulate a brotherly competition for a prize of real dignity, with ample guarantees for the impartiality of the awards, is to take a long step towards creating that feeling of nationality on which alone great states can rise. Let this action stand as one more pledge that the honor of India is dear to the heart of every true Theosophist. Our innermost feelings are summed up in a single sentence of a letter received by last mail from America. "When I read of those noble Buddhists and Hindus who have passed through so much to make the soul dominant master," writes the respected Dr. Ditson, "I feel as if I could kneel and kiss their feet. How grand they seem to me! Tell all such whom you may chance to meet that I am with them in deep sympathy." At another time we shall publish extracts from the letters of Theosophists in different parts of the world to show how universal is this love and reverence for India among them. Meanwhile we give the following: —
(Extract from the minutes of the meeting of the General Council, held at Bombay, February 5th, 1880.)
"With a view to stimulate enquiry, by the Natives of India, into the literature of ancient times, to increase their respect for their ancestors, and to thus accomplish one important object for which the Theosophical Society was formed, it is by the General Council
That there shall be founded a high prize and dignity to be known and designated as 'The Medal of Honor of the Theosophical Society,' for award under competition.
"The said medal shall be of pure silver and made from Indian coins melted down for the purpose; and shall be suitably engraved, stamped, carved or embossed with a device expressive of its high character as Medal of Honor. It shall be annually awarded by a committee of Native scholars, designated by the President, to the Native author of the best original Essay upon any subject connected with the ancient religions, philosophies or sciences; preference being given in the Department of Science, other things being equal, to the occult, or mystical, branch of science as known and practiced by the ancients."
"The following conditions to govern the award, viz: —
1. The Essay shall be of a high merit;
2. Each Essay shall bear a cipher, initial, verse or motto, but no other sign by which the authorship may be detected. The author's name, in each case, to be written in a closed envelope, outside which shall be inscribed the cipher or other device which he has attached to his Essay. The manuscript to be placed by the President in the hands of the Jury, and the envelopes filed away unopened and not examined until the Jury shall have made their awards.
3. All Essays submitted to be at the disposal of the Society, whose officers may designate such as are pronounced most meritorious for publication in the THEOSOPHIST, with their authors' names attached, so that their learning may be properly appreciated by their countrymen.
4. The Society to be allowed to publish, in a separate pamphlet, the Essay which shall be deemed worthy of the Medal of Honor, on condition of giving to its author the entire nett profits of the publication.
5. Essays to comprise not less than 2,500 nor more than 4,000 words — foot-notes and quotations included.
6. The Jury shall also award to the authors of the Essays, which they consider second and third in degree of merit, special diplomas, to be entitled Diplomas of Honor and authenticated by the seal of the Society.
7. The Jury may also specifically name three other Essays, besides the three aforesaid, for the distinction of certificates of honorable mention, to be issued to the respective authors under the seal of the Society.
8. Essays to be submitted in English, but it is not obligatory that the author shall himself know that language.
9. All competing manuscripts to be in the President's hands by 12 o'clock noon of the 1st day of June 1880, and the Jury to announce their awards on the 1st day of September, 1880.
10. Upon the receipt of the report of the Jury, the President shall at once identify the names of the successful authors, and officially publish the same throughout India and in all countries where there are branches of the Theosophical Society.
11. Full authority is given to the President to adopt whatever measures may be required to carry into effect this Resolution."
KHARSEDJI N. SEERVAI,
Secretary, Eastern Division.
By virtue of the authority conferred in the second clause of the above Resolution, the President of the Theosophical Society has appointed as Jurors, to award The Medal of Honor, the following gentlemen: —
Rao Bahadur DADOBA PANDURANG, Fellow of the Bombay University, and Author (Bombay).
Rao Bahadur JANARDAN SAKHARAM GADGIL, F. T. S., Judge of the Varishtha Court, Baroda).
Babu PEARY CHAND MITTRA, F. T. S., Author and Antiquarian (Bengal).
K. R. CAMA, Esq., Author (Bombay).
Babu ADITYARAM BHATTACHARYA, F. T. S., Professor of Sanskrit, Muir Central College, Allahabad, (North-Western Provinces).
ANEW PROPHET IN INDIA.
Kesub Chunder Sen, a high caste Brahmin, who for some time has been a rising light in India, has cast aside appearances and become a founder of a new sect. He has long and earnestly protested against the superstition of his own country, and at times the hearts of missionaries, were gladdened by his praise of their works, and his seeming acceptance of the doctrines of Christ. To establish Christianity, however, was not his object. He claims to be a re-incarnation of the divine Bhakti, under the name of Chaitanya, and that he is commissioned to establish the church of the future. He is the Prophet Nadiya; an organization has been completed at Calcutta and the apostles, "a preaching army," have been sent forth on their mission to convert the world. This army moves from place to place with banners flying and music, since so great is the enthusiasm that devotees roll themselves in the dust before it.
The object of the new Prophet is to deliver his country from dry nationalism and supply a living faith. Whatever the results may be, the movement is of deep interest to the student of religious history, as an illustration of the rise and progress of sects. Kesub Chunder Sen, with his pretence of being a re-incarnation, in the light of the present, is a sham and a farce; removed two thousand years into the past, and a few wonder works would have made good his pretence, and untold millions would have received him as God. — Religio-Philosophical Journal, of Chicago.
By Khan Bahadur Nowroji Dorabji K......., F.T.S.
"The path by which to Deity we climb,
Is arduous, rough, ineffable, sublime.
And the strong, massy gates, through which we pass
In our just course, are bound with chains of brass."
The ways, by which we arrive at a knowledge of God and of a future life, are two; and these are denominated in modern Persian Istedalal and Mushahedat or Makashefat. The first is that knowledge which we derive from our observation and experience of the material universe and the changes we see therein; while the second is the illumination consequent on the practice of great purity and intense contemplation, by which the soul acquires the power of visiting the spiritual world.
Those who follow Istedalal are of two classes; — (1) Hukma Mashayin, who believe in natural religion without acknowledging the authority of any one prophet, and (2) Hukma Mutkalemin,who believe in some revealed religion.
Of those who practise Mushahedat, there are three divisions: — (1) the Hukma Elahiyat, who look upon all prophets and all objects as the light of God; (2) Hukma Ishrakin who do not believe in any one religion, but look upon all religions as true in principle; and (3) the Sufis, who outwardly profess the religion that they are born in.
The laws of the ancients, according to which Mushahedat (Yog) is practised, are called Elm-i-Tasavof, or Elm-i-Saluk, and the student is called Salek. There are four states in which the adept sees the glories and secrets of the world of spirit: — Khab, or sleep, (2) Gaib, (3) Masti, or Moainat and (4) Khab-badan. Those, whose inner-self is not altogether powerless, often see real visions in their Khab, or sleeep; but when "divine grace is communicated to the holy ascetic from the worlds on high, and the transport arising therefrom locks up external perceptions, it is the state of Gaib. Masti means that state in which divine grace being communicated without the senses being overpowered, the person is transported for the time being from the world of reality. The state higher than this, called Khab-badan, is the power of the soul to quit the body and return to it at pleasure."
"Among the modern Parsis, the chief of the Abadian, or Azur Hoshangian sects was Azur Kaivan, who resided in Khum for 28 years, and removed in his latter days from the land of Iran to India where, in A. D. 1617, he died at Paetna, at the age of eighty-five." He was at the head of the Ishrankin philosophers of his time, and, having attained all the four states of Mushahedat, was styled Zul ulum or the master of sciences. Leading a pure and holy life, practising austerities from his earliest years, he had developed the powers of the soul to the highest extent. His visions of the empyrean worlds have been portrayed by him in Persian verse, and are still extant in the book called Jam-i-Kai-Khoshru,* which contains an admirable commentary on the poem by Khoda Joi, one of his disciples.
*The present paper is based upon a Gujarathi translation of this book, published from the "Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebholy Translation Fund," in 1848 and partly upon the notice of Azur Kaivan and his disciples, given in the Dabestan.
He thus begins: — "I purified my body, and leaving aside the observances of every religion or sect, I betook myself to the rules enjoined by the sages of old. Silence, sedentariness, living in a dark and narrow cell, gradual diminution of food and sleep, and constant recitation of the name of God, constituted my discipline, which in time unfolded before my soul's eye the visions of the world on high. In the state of Khab, or sleep, a ghastly form first broke upon my sight, and I was terrified, and invoked the name of God, when the form disappeared, and a glaring fire rose to view and struck me with alarm. It gradually melted away, and in its place appeared a scowling, fiery form with its head hanging down the breast and navel, and kept me in agitation. Next there burst upon my sight fires of various hues, and my soul acquired the power to swim over the ocean. I saw crystal water, beautiful avenues, and grand palaces, with tables richly spread, birds singing, and fair men and women moving about. A brilliant splendour played before my breast, and I saw a blue blaze, out of which a sweet scent pervaded on every side. I also saw lights of red, blue and yellow, and various souls, besides dark and variegated lights; and I heard a voice which said 'Who is then here like unto me?'
"I next perceived a light of excellent color in which I saw numerous veils, good and bad, which might be computed at ten thousand, and a blue light seemed to envelope me, and ten thousand veils of beauteous hues met my gaze. Splendours of ruby-red, of brilliant white, and golden yellow next came across me, and I saw in each ten thousand curtains. Then came to view a form dark and terrific, before which I forgot myself and began to tremble. I heard fearful sounds, and ghastly forms met my sight; but I flinched not, and passing through ten thousand such veils, I saw a splendour of green, but I was unconscious, and next a splendour, boundless and without form, overtook me, and seeing it, I felt as if my existence was wrapped up in it, and I was one and the same with it.
"In the second state, called Gaib, I first saw a splendour of green which seemed unlimited, and there a sovereign of noble aspect was sitting on a throne, surrounded by learned and brave personages, with guardsmen all dressed in green. When I offered praise to the king, he did the same in return and seated me beside him. He was an Izad (angel), and I embraced him a hundred thousand times, and each time I did so, me thought I became an Izad too, and when I separated I became myself again. Next, I came to other regions — purple, white, yellow, scarlet, blue and azure, in each of which I met the respective kings and, embracing them, became an Izad like them. Thence I came to a joyous place where I met numerous other kings and noblemen whom I embraced, and they were happy to see me. Going further, I came to a vast and lonely desert where I could see nothing for a long time till, at last, a being of benignant and cheerful aspect came before me, and embracing it, I became an Izad. I next came upon a dark form, and onwards I came in the presence of the Almighty, where I found that nothing of my individuality remained and that, wherever I turned my eye, I saw Myself. Thus having mounted upwards, step by step, I came back again to this earthly abode with consciousness.
"In the third state of Masti or Hal, I first saw a large and prosperous city in which I found myself sitting on a throne, with four sages standing around me. I there heard many sweet sounds and I saw beauteous youths, incomparable viands, and downy beds. A person next came to me and said I was called, and, following him, I found myself in a place where they made me sit on a throne and up it flew and brought me to a place where there were wise and illustrious personages dressed in green, who paid me respect and took me to a palace, where I embraced the king who made me sit beside him. He asked me several things, and I learned wisdom from him. I then went to a place which was all blue, where there were scribes, sages, mathematicians, magicians, astrologers, merchants, physicians, and prophets, who, coming up to me, took me with great respect to the presence of the king, who embraced me, and made me sit down beside him. From him I derived a great part of my knowledge of the mysterious. I next went to other worlds which were white, golden, red, blue, azure, and there I was treated in the same way. Further I went to a vast place, where also I derived great profit. Thence I went to a dark world, where God Almighty guided me by his splendour, and as I saw Him, He drew me within Himself, and my existence was lost in His. All the future was revealed to me, and I returned the same way I came.
"In Khab-badan, the fourth state, I passed to a world where I could see objects in endless variety and all the different cities of the world. There were many men and women there, who showed me a palace where I went and sat as king. I learnt every language, and was taught wisdom by the sages of every country, so that I am able to tell every thing regarding their various creeds, languages, customs and observances. Wandering in this world, I returned again to my body, and leaving it again, I learnt all the mysteries of the creation, its beginning, end and aim. Casting aside this body as if it were a garment, I could see all the worlds on high at a single glance. Going to the first heaven, I saw it all, and thence I went to the worlds of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, to the fixed stars, and lastly, to Falk-Atlas, or the highest heaven. All the planets and stars shine by their own light except the Moon, and their revolutions cause all the happiness and misery which men experience in this world. When I passed onwards, I came near pure souls and found myself in a congenial atmosphere. If the soul that dwells in man love understanding and justice, it attains to Heaven by its righteousness, and, leaving this earthly body, tastes of the fruits of purity, and benefits itself by the association with intelligences higher than itself, ultimately reaching Heaven. But if a man be impure and unholy, the soul wanders about in misery underneath Heaven, and all the evil acts, committed in this world, surround it with their hideous forms. Sometimes the soul frees itself from this state and joins the spirits and elementaries, or, if the man be very wicked, the soul enters the body of one of the brute creation, or that of a vegetable.
"All this I saw myself. Next, out of the souls that were moving around me, I drew one towards myself and united myself with it. Then I reached up to Sarosh, and there a flash of light came upon me from the splendour of the Almighty. As the radiance increased, my understanding departed, and I found myself an Izad among Izads. God alone existed and there was no sign of my individuality; everything appeared to be but a shadow of myself. From the Angelic Intelligences to the souls I moved about, and from them up to the earth there was nothing but myself. I became acquainted with a thousand mysteries of the Almighty and returned the way I had gone up. I can at will leave my body, and, ascending upwards, stand before the presence of God. I am willing to leave this world wherein I am as it were a bird from Heaven. The dignity of the Supreme Lord is too exalted for intercourse with his servants. By his effulgence, intellect becomes illumined as the Earth by the sun. Through love He confers bounties upon His servants and raises up the downfallen. None but He can duly praise Himself as He cannot be the object of speech or hearing."
The above is a short abstract of the visions which the great Parsi ascetic has himself described, and those, who would like to know more, should read the book itself, which contains an excellent commentary.
"Azur Kaivan was master of noble demonstrations and subtile distinctions. He mixed little with the people of the world; shunned with horror all public admirers, and seldom gave audience to any but his disciples and searchers after truth; never exposing himself to the public gaze." The author of the Debestan has given a short but interesting account of him and his many disciples, several of whom — as he relates — he personally met and conversed with.
To the ordinary reader the above visions will probably appear to be the product of a disordered or overwrought imagination; let such a one, however, before he dogmatically passes his verdict, read, and, if possible, try to examine the beautiful and wondrous phenomena revealed by mesmerism, which modern science has so grossly neglected. These phenomena conclusively show that in mesmeric sleep or trance, and in ecstasis, distinct states of consciousness are evolved. Dr. Gregory, in his book on "Animal Magnetism," quotes a case of ecstasis, which is worth while reproducing. At page 83, he says: — "In the very remarkable work of M. Cahagnet, already alluded to, there is an account of a most remarkable clairvoyante, who could at pleasure and with the permission and aid of her mesmeriser, pass into the highest stage of ecstasis, in which she described herself as ineffably happy, enjoying converse with the whole spiritual world, and herself so entirely detached from this sublunary scene that she not only had no wish to return to it, but bitterly reproached M. Cahagnet for forcing her back to life. On one occasion, at her urgent request, he allowed her to enjoy that state longer than usual. But he took the precaution of placing another very lucid clairvoyant, a young lad, en rapport with her, with strict orders to watch her closely. She seemed at first unconscious, but by degrees her body assumed an alarming aspect, pulseless, cold, and devoid of respiration. The lad who kept his eye (the internal vision of clairvoyance) on her, at last exclaimed, 'She is gone! I see her no longer.' M. Calagnet then, after much fruitless labour, and not until, as he informs us, he had prayed fervently to be enabled to restore her to life, succeeded in establishing warmth and respiration. The girl on waking overwhelmed him with reproaches for what he had just done, and could not be pacified till he succeeded in convincing her, she being a young woman of pious character and good feeling, that what she desired amounted to suicide, and was a grievous crime, for which he would be held responsible." Numerous other well-authenticated instances could be adduced to prove that "the soul has the capacity of a conscious existence apart from the body; and that it is limited by neither time nor space, being able to visit and return from the farthest localities." But all these instances would be useless to the sceptic, who is not actuated by the spirit of true inquiry. To the humble searcher after truth, however, who, doubting, seeks to gauge the mysteries of Nature, they are invaluable. Mushahedut, or Yog, has been practised in every age and country, in some more so than in others, and not always by the practice of rigorous austerities. Self-denial, self-control, and the highest morality form its bases. These are universally preached, but eaily acted upon. No wonder, then, that the power of the soul is so little known and "God-knowledge" is a secret.
IT BEING UNDERSTOOD THAT THE AMERICAN BAPTIST missionaries in India are thoroughly disheartened at their poor success in converting the "Heathen," they may feel obliged to us for indicating a field of labour where their services would be valuable, viz., in America itself.
The Rev. W. H. Young draws a gloomy picture of the state of religion as he finds it in the southern end of the state of Delaware. He thus sets his views before the readers of the National Baptist: "While it is true that, at present, Delaware affords a meagre prospect for multiplying Baptist churches, yet just as truly it is, outside the larger towns at least, going to the devil unchecked, and its blood, I fear, will rest upon some of us. I affirm, from personal observation, that the greater mass of the people in this Peninsula, who live beyond the limits of the larger towns, are woefully ignorant of practical and even theoretical Christianity; and I say this in full view of the fact that there is a church to every five miles of country. Any one who knows the condition of the country people in the lower counties is aware that they are, as a rule, peculiarly ignorant. Indeed, I have seen whole settlements of those who seemed to have lost their title to the name 'human.' Such are wild and shy of religion as a strange cat, and one needs peculiar patience and tact to approach them, together with unusual faith to believe they can be truly converted. Yet our duty is to go to men benighted, as well as to those more favored. It is, of course, quite necessary and highly romantic to send missionaries to strange and savage tribes; but we need not leave this Peninsula to find that ignorance, prejudice, and even caste, necessary to make a people heathen. Of course, I have here taken the very worst and most unpromising cases, but they are by no means scarce."
CASTES IN INDIA.
By Damodar K. Mavalankar, F.T.S.
No man of sincerity and moral courage can read Mr. G. C. Whitworth's Profession of Faith, as reviewed in the April THEOSOPHIST, without feeling himself challenged to be worthy of the respect of one who professes such honourable sentiments. I, too, am called upon to make my statement of personal belief. It is due to my family and caste-fellows that they should know why I have deliberately abandoned my caste and other worldly considerations. If, henceforth, there is to be a chasm between them and myself, I owe it to myself to declare that this alienation is of my own choosing, and I am not cut off for bad conduct. I would be glad to take with me, if possible, into my new career, the affectionate good wishes of my kinsmen. But, if this cannot be done, I must bear their displeasure, as I may, for I am obeying a paramount conviction of duty.
I was born in the family of the Karhada Maharashtra caste of Brahmins, as my surname will indicate. My father carefully educated me in the tenets of our religion, and, in addition, gave me every facility for acquiring an English education. From the age of ten until I was about fourteen, I was very much exercised in mind upon the subject of religion and devoted myself with great ardour to our orthodox religious practices. Then my ritualistic observances were crowded aside by my scholastic studies, but, until about nine months ago, my religious thoughts and aspirations were entirely unchanged. At this time, I had the inestimable good fortune to read "Isis Unveiled; a Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Religion and Science," and to join the Theosophical Society. It is no exaggeration to say that I have been a really living man only these few months; for between life as it appears to me now and life as I comprehended it before, there is an unfathomable abyss. I feel that now for the first time I have a glimpse of what man and life are — the nature and powers of the one, the possibilities, duties, and joys of the other. Before, though ardently ritualistic, I was not really enjoying happiness and peace of mind. I simply practised my religion without understanding it. The world bore just as hard upon me as upon others, and I could get no clear view of the future. The only real thing to me seemed the day's routine; at best the horizon before me extended only to the rounding of a busy life with the burning of my body and the obsequial ceremonies rendered to me by friends. My aspirations were only for more Zamindaries, social position and the gratification of whims and appetites. But my later reading and thinking have shown me that all these are but the vapours of a dream and that he only is worthy of being called man, who has made caprice his slave and the perfection of his spiritual self a grand object of his efforts. As I could not enjoy these convictions and my freedom of action within my caste, I am stepping outside it.
In making this prefession, let it be understood that I have taken this step, not because I am a Theosophist, but because in studying Theosophy I have learned and heard of the ancient splendour and glory of my country — the highly esteemed land of Aryavarta. Joining the Theosophical Society does not interfere with the social, political, or religious relations of any person. All have an equal right in the Society to hold their opinions. So far from persuading me to do what I have, Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott have strongly urged me to wait until some future time, when I might have had ampler time to reflect. But the glimpse I have got into the former greatness of my country makes me feel sadly for her degeneration. I feel it, therefore, my bounden duty to devote all my humble powers to her restoration. Besides, histories of various nations furnish to us many examples of young persons having given up everything for the sake of their country and having ultimately succeeded in gaining their aims. Without patriots, no country can rise. This feeling of patriotism by degrees grew so strong in me that it has now prepared my mind to stamp every personal consideration under my feet for the sake of my motherland. In this, I am neither a revolutionist nor a politician, but simply an advocate of good morals and principles as practised in ancient times. The study of Theosophy has thrown a light over me in regard to my country, my religion, my duty. I have become a better Aryan than I ever was. I have similarly heard my Parsi brothers say that they have been better Zoroastrians since they joined the Theosophical Society. I have also seen the Buddhists write often to the Society that the study of Theosophy has enabled them to appreciate their religion the more. And thus this study makes every man respect his religion the more. It furnishes to him a sight that can pierce through the dead letter and see clearly the spirit. He can read all his religious books between the lines. If we view all the religions in their popular sense, they appear strongly antagonistic to each other in various details. None agrees with the other. And yet the representatives of those faiths say that the study of Theosophy explains to them all that has been said in their religion and makes them feel a greater respect for it. There must, therefore, be one common ground on which all the religious systems are built. And this ground, which lies at the bottom of all, is truth. There can be but one absolute truth, but different persons have different perceptions of that truth. And this truth is morality. If we separate the dogmas that cling to the principles set forth in any religion, we shall find that morality is preached in every one of them. By religion I do not mean all the minor sects that prevail to an innumerable extent all over the world, but the principal ones from which have sprung up these different sects. It is, therefore, proper for every person to abide by the principles of morality. And, according to them, I consider it every man's duty to do what he can to make the world better and happier. This can proceed from a love for humanity. But how can a man love the whole of humanity if he has no love for his countrymen? Can he love the whole, who does not love a part? If I, therefore, wish to place my humble services at the disposal of the world, I must first begin by working for my country. And this I could not do by remaining in my caste. I found that, instead of a love for his countrymen, the observance of caste distinction leads one to hate even his neighbour, because he happens to be of another caste. I could not bear this injustice. What fault is it of any one that he is born in a particular caste? I respect a man for his qualities and not for his birth. That is to say, that man is superior in my eyes, whose inner man has been developed or is in the state of development. This body, wealth, friends, relations and all other worldly enjoyments, that men hold dear and near to their hearts, are to pass away sooner or later. But the record of our actions is ever to remain to be handed down front generation to generation. Our actions must, therefore, be such as will make us worthy of our existence in this world, as long as we are here as well as after death. I could not do this by observing the customs of caste. It made me selfish and unmindful of the requirements of my fellow-brothers. I weighed all these circumstances in my mind, and found that I believed in caste as a religious necessity no more than in the palm tree yielding mangoes. I saw that, if it were not for this distinction, India would not have been so degraded, for this distinction engendered hatred among her sons. It made them hate and quarrel with one another. The peace of the land was disturbed. People could not unite with one another for good purposes. They waged war with one another instead of devoting all their combined energies to the cause of ameliorating the condition of the country. The foundation of immorality was thus laid, until it has reached now so low a point that, unless this mischief is stopped, the tottering pillars of India will soon give way. I do not by this mean to blame my ancestors who originally instituted this system. To me their object seems to be quite a different one. It was based in my opinion on the qualities of every person. The caste was not then hereditary as it is now. This will be seen from the various ancient sacred books which are full of instances in which Kshatriyas and even Mahars and Chambhars, who are considered the lowest of all, were not only made and regarded as Brahmins, but almost worshipped as demi-gods simply for their qualities. If such is the case, why should we still stick to that custom which we now find not only impracticable but injurious? I again saw that, if I were to observe outwardly what I did not really believe inwardly, I was practising hypocrisy. I found that I was thus making myself a slave, by not enjoying the freedom of conscience. I was thus acting immorally. But Theosophy had taught me that to enjoy peace of mind and self-respect, I must be honest, candid, peaceful and regard all men as equally my brothers, irrespective of caste, colour, race or creed. This, I see, is an essential part of religion. I must try to put these theoretical problems into practice. These are the convictions that finally hurried me out of my caste.
I would at the same time ask my fellow countrymen, who are of my opinion, to come out boldly for their country. I understand the apparent sacrifices one is required to make in adopting such a course, for I myself had to make them, but these are sacrifices only in the eyes of one who has regard for this world of matter. When a man has once extricated himself from this regard and when the sense of the duty he owes to his country and to himself reigns paramount in his heart, these are no sacrifices at all for him. Let us, therefore, leave off this distinction which separates us from one another, join in one common accord, and combine all our energies for the good of our country. Let us feel that we are Aryans, and prove ourselves worthy of our ancestors. I may be told that I am making a foolish and useless sacrifice; that I cut myself off from all social intercourse and even risk losing the decent disposal of my body by those upon whom our customs impose that duty; and that none but a visionary would imagine that he, even though chiefest among Brahmins, could restore his country's greatness and the enlightenment of a whole nation, so great as ours. But these are the arguments of selfishness and moral cowardice. Single men have saved nations before, and though my vanity does not make me even dream that so glorious a result is within my humble grasp, yet a good example is never valueless, and it can be set even by the most insignificant. Certain it is that without examples and self-sacrifices, there can be no reform. The world, as I see it, imposes on me a duty, and I think the most powerful and the only permanent cause of happiness is the consciousness that I am trying to do that duty.
I wish it understood — in case what has preceded has not made this perfectly clear — that I have neither become a Materialist nor a Christian. I am an Aryan in religion as all else, follow the Ved, and believe it to be the parent of all religions among men. As Theosophy explains the secondary human religions, so does it make plain the meaning of the Ved. The teachings of the Rishis acquire a new splendour and majesty, and I revere them a hundred times more than ever before.
AMERICA'S FIFTEEN INVENTIONS. — An English journal frankly gives credit to the American nation for at least fifteen inventions and discoveries which, it says, have been adopted all over the world. These triumps of the American genius are thus enumerated: First, the cotton gin; second, the planing machine; — third, the grass-mower and grain-reaper; fourth, the rotary printing-press; fifth, navigation by steam; sixth, the hot air or caloric engine; seventh, the sewing-machine; eighth, the India-rubber industry; ninth, the machine manufacture of horse-shoes; tenth, the sand-blast for carving; eleventh, the guage lathe; twelfth, the grain-elevater; thirteenth, artificial ice manufacture on a large scale; fourteenth, the electro-magnet and its practical application; fifteenth, the composing machine for printers. It is not often that American achievements in this direction receive due credit from such a source. — New York Sun.
SPIRITUALISM AND THEOSOPHY
By W. Stainton Moses, M.A., F. T. S.
Spiritualism is a much misunderstood term, and not less so, it would seem, in Eastern than in Western lands. I know some people who look upon it as a recent American invention, to be classed with telephones, wooden nutmegs, and the electric light. Some regard it as a subject to be studied in public seances, where, at the small charge of a rupee a head, real spooks play real guitars, and make disintegrating attacks upon the furniture. Some look on spiritualists as emotional fanatics who are engaged in hunting down their departed friends, and forcing them to return to an earth that they loathe. Some again conceive that spiritualists are unanimous in the opinion that all the bizarre phenomena of the promiscuous circle are the product of the beneficent efforts of their dear relations and friends, who return for this special purpose, and to give them a sort of beatific vision of what they in turn may expect to come to. And some, less insane and stupid, seem to postulate an antagonism between Spiritualism and Theosophy, as though a man could not cultivate the highest powers of his own spirit, and yet lend an ear to what is going on outside of him: as if a Theosophist must be self-centered, and self-contained, and selfish altogether.
Of course, views of this kind are crude and foolish, and the mere statement of them shows this at once. I should not think them worth refuting, were it not that some such antagonism between Spiritualism and Theosophy, and some misunderstanding of what Spiritualism is, unfortunately prevails even amongst the instructed writers who grace your columns. Spiritualism is by no means the silly and wicked thing that some consider it. We, Western Spiritualists, who fall under the ban of Rao Bahadar J. S. Gadgill, are serenely unconscious of meriting any such rebuke. We smile blandly at the misapprehension of our position that the paper in question displays. We are by no means prepared to admit either that we, Spiritualists of to-day in England, are engaged in an attempt to drag our dead relatives back to earth, and to cause them willy-nilly to "revisit the glimpses of the moon;" nor that, if we did engage in that wild-goose chase, we should merit the charge of anything more than folly and bad taste. The evidence of existence outside of a human body, from which may logically be argued a general spiritual survival after bodily death, may be had in various ways, and by no means exclusively from one's dead ancestors and friends. The point is to get it, to get it in abundance, to get it beyond the shadow of a perhaps, and to repeat it till a crass Materialism cries, Hold, enough! If, in that beneficent work, I come across some of my own friends, I certainly shall not turn my back on them and run away crying, Fie, for shame: you ought not to be here; why, you are a Pishacha! I should rather thank God and take courage from the presence of friends that I had known and trusted in the days of their earthly life; and my respect for them would be increased by the work that they are engaged upon, even as fresh lustre has been shed on the name of woman by the deeds of Florence Nightingale, and many another such labourer in the slums and alleys of those advanced products of high civilization — our great cities.
I, for one, would never seek to attract, to this unlovely life of mine, one who had passed beyond it. I should deem it selfish so to do. And my search after evidence of a spiritual life has not been fettered by any preconceived notions of what I would or would not ask for and accept. I have not thought it within my province to prescribe. I have simply weighed and tested the evidence offered by the Reason that is in me, the only standard I have by which I can judge. I have, in this way, come upon evidence most abundant, most conclusive, and totally unimpeachable, that what is loosely called Spiritualism is a great and organised scheme for acting upon humanity in this state of existence by Spirits in an advanced state of knowledge and progression. In the course of this attempt, through the gates that are set ajar, a motley crowd, who live in this world's atmosphere, have no doubt intruded themselves. Human ignorance and human folly have attracted congenial spirits: and disorder has prevailed to an extent that might be expected. But all this is but the fringe, the mere border and edge of the subject. If the fringe were clipped off, if that which is vulgarly known as public Spiritualism were to be extinguished at once and for ever, that which I know and trace in its effects on modern thought and on modern Theology and Theosophy or, if you please, modern Religion, would not be in the least affected except beneficially by the removal of an incubus and drag from its progressive march.
No; the Spiritualism which I deal with is not that which your Essayist understands, and its effects are so far from being narrowed down to the little emotional titillation of the affections, that he contemplates, that they find their chiefest expression in fields of thought where the intellect, rather than the emotions, reigns supreme. That which I understand as Spiritualism is so far from being mere ghost-hunting that it deals fully a much with the spirit that is in the body — the Ego, the Self — as with any of the denizens of the vast world of spirit, of whom it is a mere accident that they are not my friends and relations, and of whom the vast majority, whom I have come into communication with, are persons of whom I had no antecedent knowledge, and with whom, save as children of one common father Adam, I am not in any way connected. They have come to me from no solicitation of mine; they are, one and all, animated by a rational motive in seeking my society; and when they have done their work, they go their ways. Why not? They do me good, and I thank them. They do other people good through me, and I am hououred in being the instrument of their beneficence. They are themselves the intermediary agents of higher powers, and the work on which they are employed is one of far-reaching importance to mankind, with which any one may well be proud to be associated.
Spiritualism in my vocabulary includes much that is contained in your definition of Theosophy. I have no sort of objection to the term; I will adopt it with pleasure and avow myself Spiritualist and Theosophist too. In the sense that Porphyry passed at the close of a life, spent in one long yearning for union with the Supreme, from a lower Spiritualism to a higher Theosophy, I can understand and dimly appreciate the development. In his earlier years he had striven much after communion with the world of spirit; but he had found only vanity and vexation of spirit; illusion, delusion, and uncertainty. As the higher necessities of his nature, fed by meditation and prayer, centred on communion with the Supreme and Ineffable Deity, "the thought of a visible or tangible communion with any Being less august became repugnant to his mind. For what purpose should he draw to him those unknown intelligences from the ocean of environing souls? For on those things which he desired to know there is no prophet or diviner who can declare to him the truth, but, himself only, by communion with God, who is enshrined, indeed, in his heart." And so, popular Spiritualism gives way to esoteric Theosophy; and Porphyry, the Spiritualist, developed into Porphyry, the Theosophist. That is a piece of progress that commends itself to my mind. If Spiritualism meant for me grovelling spook-worship, I would have none of it. If it meant fruitless attempts to solve riddles propounded to me by conscienceless Spirits, who have powers I cannot gauge, and who are untrammelled by any law that I can fathom, I would give it up, and do something, better worth the doing, if it were only to teach the alphabet to little boys. But this is not the case. And, while I am prepared to admit the moral elevation and grandeur of Porphyry's later aspirations; while I see that for the individual spirit no greater boon can be reached after than this union with the highest conceivable ideal; — I am not prepared as yet to say that it is incompatible with the true Spiritualism which claims so much of my attention, nor even that it might not become, when carried to its legitimate issues, a sublimated and superfine selfishness. It befits, at any rate, the close rather than the noon-day of life; and though never, as I should conceive, out of place, it should, as the medicine of spirit, in days of vigour and activity, temper the effect of the conflicts and worries of life, which to evade is to lose a portion of education, and await the close of that part of experience before it assumes undivided sway. The perfect Theosophist would be a Spiritualist; and he would be but a sorry Spiritualist, who was not, in some sense, a Theosophist as well.
REAL BUDDHISM — KAMMA.
By The Rev. P. T. Terunnanse, F. T. S.,
Buddhist High Priest at Dodanduwa, Ceylon.
The Pali term Kamma admits of a variety of meanings almost synonymous with each other, but they are of less importance in conveying any sense, and consequently do not call out serious contemplation, than its religious technical meaning, which reveals one of the main features of the Philosophical teachings of our Lord Sakya Muni. Kamma when viewed in this light is good or bad deeds of sentient beings, by the infallible influence or efficiency of which the said beings are met with due reward or punishment, according as they deserve, in any state of life. Thus, a man, who robbed his neighbour, may be born in this world, destitute of any kind of wealth, begging from door to door, after having been punished for an innumerable number of years: insulting a righteous man is a sufficient cause for a man to be punished for a countless number of years and to have his birth among the most degraded of mankind, where it is ten to one if he will be able to lead a life that we call righteous. On the other hand, a man who abstained from stealing would be born in this world a very wealthy man, and a man who was of assistance to others would be attended with every prosperity when born in this world. If we see a blind, a cripple or any other deformed person, we attribute the cause of his deformity to his own Kamma.
However simple it may appear to those, whose knowledge of the doctrine of Kamma inculcated by Buddha does not extend beyond what has been already alleged above, yet I think it demands some sort of explanation as to its nature and the manner in which it manifests itself. I shall, therefore, in the first place, call the attention of our readers to a fact our Lord Buddha has taught us, that the world (satwa loka) has no being, and that it is subject to an alternate process of destruction and renovation. Admitting this, therefore, the inference we are to draw from such a dictum will be quite unfavourable to those who believe in the instrumentality of a divine agency in the world's coming into existence and such other matters of importance. But are we to be content with such a conclusion alone? On pushing our inquiries into the abstruse doctrines of Buddha, so as to know whether the affairs of the mighty government of the world (satwa loka) are directed by any kind of power, or whether the vacuity, thus caused by the non-existence of a creation, is filled up by any other kind of power, at least almost equivalent to that of creation, we hit on the word Kamma, the very subject of this theme, as a potent monarch directing the general administration of the moral government of the world. In this respect, Kamma occupies such a prominent place in Buddhism as that of the creator in Christianity. — The mysterious influence of Kamma may be explained thus: — At the death of a being nothing goes out from him to the other world for his rebirth, but by the efficacy or, to use a more figurative expression, by the ray of influence which Kamma emits, a new being is produced in the other world, very identical with the one who died away. In this light, Kamma may be defined as the link which preserves the identity of a being through all the countless changes which it undergoes in its process through Sainsara, (transmigration of the soul), and hence we may call it that irresistible force which drags the criminal into the hell-fire amidst his loud lamentation, the powerful hand that rescues the wretch from the merciless hands of the infernal angels, and takes him to a happier place for the amelioration of his miserable condition, or the heavenly angel who bears away, as it were, the enrapturing soul to the blissful abodes above, and takes back after a very long course of heavenly enjoyments to this world, or to hell itself, paying little or no attention to the sorrowful tales of the reluctant soul.
"That birth is an evil to man" says our Lord Sakya Muni, for wherever life is, and in whatever state it may be, it is inseparably bound up with grief, pain, sickness, old age, death, &c., hence the final emancipation of the soul, or attaining Nirwana, is the highest bliss and ultimate goal of Buddhism. It is Kamma that gave life to man, it is Kamma that supports life, and carries it, as it were, around the wheel of Sainsara. In this sense, Kamma is an enslaving foe of the human soul, for it detains the soul in Sainsara, subjecting it thereby to grief, pain, &c., and, on the other hand, Kamma is that spiritual power, by the aid of which the final deliverance of the enslaved soul is effected.
It is a well-known fact that misfortune attends many righteous people and reduces them to fearful extremities in spite of their virtuous, temperate, industrious and economical habits, and that desperately wicked people are thriving in the world as though they had discovered the secrets of prosperity. In the enquiring mind there arises a doubt as to the propriety of the government of Kamma over such people. He may ask himself how is it that Kamma is so unjust as to make a wicked man prosper, &c. To this the answer would be very simple, that it depends on the Kamma in one of his past states of life, the present Kamma being reserved for another occasion. Some see good days for years together, and are darkened with clouds of adversity for the rest of their lives; others enjoy the sunshine of prosperity after a long course of adversity. All these vicissitudes of life are attributable to man's own Kamma. Such is the vital importance of Kamma for man's being, that he is born of it, and lives with it, and is governed by it in all his affairs. The very essence, the spiritual food of his life, death itself the detainer of it in Transmigration, and the power that assists the wearied soul in gaining its final redemption, is man's own Kamma. The very existence of the animated world, the changes, which it undergoes, are all attributed to Kamma, without which the world (satwa loka) would come to nought.
(To be continued.)
ALL, who can receive admittance, hurry to see one of the greatest of natural phenomena, in the presence of which all the medical celebrities of London stand perplexed. In the London Hospital lies a young girl plunged into a lethargic sleep. For over three weeks, she has remained motionless, cold, without food or drink, dead to all intents and purposes, as the pulsations of the heart have completely ceased. Her eyes are shut; but, when the doctor deliberately lifts her eyelids, the looker-on is struck with the clear, intellectual expression of her bright eyes, in the pupils of which all her life seems to have concentrated itself, and in which light shines and sparkles; the subject evidently understanding and hearing all that takes place around her. Nevertheless, she remains in this state of apparent death, with the exception of an occasional flutter of the pulse. The doctors confess their inability of explaining this extraordinary manifestation, and expect everything from time. Attempts have been made to arouse the patient by galvanism, electric currents, and fire, but all to no result. The young girl had been about a week in the hospital, when one night she awoke everyone with loud cries that she was dying. She was found in convulsions, and, before the doctor could be summoned, she uttered a terrific cry and fell backwards motionless. From that time she did not move. For three weeks the doctors could not detect the slightest change. For certain reasons it is impossible to pass into her body any food. — (Extract from a private letter.)
By Count E---- A-----, F.T.S.
Glauerbach was pale and solemn, but composed. Bianca trembled from head to foot and kept her bottle of aromatic salts in constant use. The Prince and Hector looked like two criminals led to execution. The large room was lighted by only a single lamp, and even this dim light was suddenly extinguished. Amid the thick darkness, the lugubrious voice of the conjuror was heard to pronounce a short cabalistic formula in Latin, and, finally, to command the shadow of Alfonso to appear, — if it was, indeed, in the land of the shadows.
Suddenly the darkness of the furthest recess in the room became illuminated with a feeble bluish light, which, by slow degrees, brought before the sight of the audience a large magic mirror, which seemed to be covered with a thick mist. In its turn, this mist was gradually dissipated, and finally, the prostrate form of a man appeared to the eyes of those present. It was Alfonso! His body had on the identical dress he wore on the evening of his disappearance; heavy chains clasped his hands, and he lay dead on the sea-shore. Water dripped from his long hair and blood-stained and torn clothes; then a huge wave crept on and, engulfing him, all suddenly disappeared.
A dead silence had reigned during the whole progress of this fearful vision. The persons present trembling violently tried to keep their breath; then all relapsed into darkness, and Bianca, uttering a feeble moan, fell senseless into the arms of her guardian.
The shock had proved too much. The young girl had a brain fever which held her between life and death for weeks. The Prince felt little better; and Hector never left his room for a fortnight. No more doubts — Alfonso was dead, he was drowned. The walls of the palace were hung with black cloth, strewn all over with silver tears. For three days, the bells of many churches at Palermo tolled for the unfortunate victim of the pirates and the sea. The inside of the great cathedral was also draped from floor to dome in black velvet. Two thousand-and-five hundred gigantic tapers flickered around the catafalque; and Cardinal Ottoboni, assisted by five bishops, daily performed the service for the dead for six long weeks. Four thousand ducats were distributed in charity to the poor at the portal of the cathedral, and Glauerbach, clad in a sable mantle like one of the family, represented its absent members during the funeral obsequies. His eyes were red, and, when he covered them with his scented pocket-handkerchief, those near him heard his convulsive sobs. Never had a sacrilegeous comedy been better performed.
Soon after, a magnificent monument of pure Carrara marble, sculptured with two allegorical figures, was raised in Alfonso's memory in St. Rosalia's church. On the sarcophagus grandiloquent inscriptions in Greek and Latin were cut by order of the old Prince.
Three months later, the news spread that Bianca was wedded to Hector. Glauerbach, who had meanwhile gone to travel all over Italy, returned to Monte-Cavalli on the eve of the marriage. He had exhibited his wonderful necromantic powers elsewhere, and had the "holy" Inquisition upon his heels. He felt full security only in the bosom of the family which adored and looked upon him as a demi-god.
On the following morn, the numerous guests proceeded to the chapel, which was resplendent with gold and silver and decorated as for a royal wedding. How happy looked the bridegroom! How lovely the bride! The old Prince wept for joy, and Glauerbach had the honour of being Hector's best man.
In the garden were spread enormous banquet tables at which were entertained the vassals of both the families. The feasts of Gargantua were less rich than such a festival. Fifty fountains spouted wine instead of water; but towards sunset, no one could drink any more, for unfortunately — for some people — human thirst is not infinite. Roasted pheasants and partridges were thrown by the dozens to the neighbouring dogs, which they too left untouched, for even they were gorged to the throat.
Suddenly, among the gay and showy crowd, there appeared a new guest, who attracted general attention. It was a man, thin as a skeleton, very tall, and clad in the dress of the penitent monks or "Silent Brothers," as they are popularly called. This dress consists of a long, flowing, gray, woollen garment, girded with a rope at the two ends of which hang human bones, and a pointed hood which entirely covers the face, except two holes for the eyes. Among many orders of penitent monks in Italy — the black, gray, red, and white penitents — none inspire such an instinctive terror as these. Besides, no one has the right to address a penitent brother, while his hood is pulled down over his face; the penitent has not only the full right but the obligation to remain unknown to all.
Thus, this mysterious brother, who so unexpectedly appeared at the wedding feast, was addressed by none, though he seemed to follow the newly-married couple, as if he were their shadow. Both Hector and Bianca shuddered every time they turned to look at him.
The sun was setting, and the old Prince, accompanied by his children, was for the last time going the round of the banquet tables in the gardens. Stopping at one of these, he took a goblet of wine and exclaimed: "My friends, let us drink to the health of Hector and his wife Bianca!" But, at this very moment, some one seized his arm and stopped it. It was the gray-frocked "Silent Brother." Quietly emerging from the crowd, he had approached the table and also taken up a goblet.
"And is there no one, old man, besides Hector and Bianca, whose health thou couldst propose?" — he asked in deep, guttural tones — "Where is thy son Alfonso?"
"Knowest thou not he is dead?" — sadly answered the Prince.
"Yes! . . . dead----dead!" — echoed the penitent. "But were he only to hear again the voice he heard at the moment of his cruel death, methinks he might respond. . . aye. . . from his very grave . . . Old man, summon here thy son Hector! . . ."
"Good God! what do you,. . . what can you mean!" — exclaimed the Prince, pallid with unnameable terror.
Bianca was ready to faint. Hector, more livid than his father, was hardly standing on his legs, and would have fallen, had not Glauerbach supported him.
"To the memory of Alfonso!" — slowly pronounced the same lugubrous voice. — "Let every one repeat the words after me! Hector, Duke of R.-— V.----- . . .I invite you to pronounce them!. . ."
Hector made a violent effort and, wiping his trembling lips, tried to open them. But his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth and he failed to utter a sound. Every eye was riveted upon the young man. He was pallid as death and his mouth foamed. At last, after a superhuman struggle with his weakness, he stammered out, "To the memory of Alfonso! . . ."
"The voice of my mur-de-rer!. . ." ejaculated the penitent in a deep but distinct tone.
With these words, throwing back his hood, he tore open his robe, and before the sight of the horrified guests there appeared the dead form of Alfonso, with four deep griping wounds on his breast, from which trickled four streams of blood!
The cries of terror and the fright of the spectators can be more easily imagined than described. In one moment the garden became empty; the whole crowd upsetting the tables and flying as if for life. . . . . . . . . . . But, more strange than all, was the fact that it was Glauerbach who, notwithstanding his intimate acquaintance with the dead, was most panic-stricken. Upon seeing a real ghost, the necromancer, who had raised the dead at will, hearing him talk as would a living being, fell senseless upon a bed of flowers, and was picked up, late that night, a stark lunatic which he remained for months.
It was only half a year later that he learned what had taken place after the terrific arraignment. After uttering it, the penitent disappeared from the eyes of all, and Hector was carried into his room in violent convulsions, where, an hour later, after summoning his confessor to his bedside, he made him write down his deposition, and, after signing it, drank, before he could be stopped, the poisonous contents of a hollow seal-ring, and expired almost immediately. The old Prince followed him to the grave a fortnight later, leaving all his fortune to Bianca. But the unfortunate girl, whose early life had been doomed to two such tragedies, sought refuge in a convent, and her immense wealth passed into the hands of the Jesuits. Guided by a dream, she had selected a distant and unfrequented corner in the large garden of Monte Cavalli, as the site for a magnificent chapel, which she had erected as an expiatory monument of the fearful crime which put an end to the ancient family of the Princes of R---- V-----. While digging the foundations, the workmen discovered an old dry well, and, in it, the skeleton of Alfonso, with four stabs in his half-decayed breast, and the wedding ring of Bianca upon his finger.
Such a scene as the one on the wedding-day, is sufficient to shake the most hardened scepticist. Upon recovering, Glauerbach left Italy for ever, and returned to Vienna, where none of his friends was at first able to recognize the young man of hardly twenty-six in this old decrepit form with his hair as white as snow. He renounced the evocation of spirits and charlatanry for ever, but became from that time a firm believer in the survival of the human soul and in its occult powers. He died in 1841, an honest and reformed man, scarcely opening his mouth upon this weird history. It was but during the last years of his life that a certain person, who won his full confidence through a service he was enabled to render him, learned from him the details of the mock vision and the real tragedy of the family of the R---- V-----.
BY A FELLOW OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
In connection with H. P. B.'s paper in the Theosophist on the Peruvian antiquities, may I be allowed to note a few references to the works of Mr. Tallboys Wheeler? H. P. B. writes: — "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 descent from the deity which, as in the case of the Sooryavansa dynasty of India, was the Sun." Mr. Wheeler writes in a recent volume: — "The colonization of the ancient world by the children of the Sun is one of the phenomena in India, which have yet to be investigated. The Incas of Peru were the children of the Sun." Again, on page 277 of the 4th volume of the "History of India," Mr. Wheeler writes: — "From a remote antiquity, India has been divided between a solar and a lunar race, between the children of the Sun and the children of the Moon. The Persians*, the Moguls, and the Rajputs claim to be descended from the Sun." The supposed connection between the Moguls and the children of the Sun is curious. In the preface to his fourth volume, Mr.Wheeler quotes a passage from the travels of Rubruquis, in which is described the worship of the Tartars, as being very like Vedic worship. Elsewhere he notes that the religion of the Moguls of the thirteenth century bears a significant resemblance to that of the Hindus. Especially he notes that, "the Moguls had priests like Brahmans, who were skilled in astronomy, foretold eclipses, and cast nativities." They had also "saints resembling Yogis, who performed miracles by virtue of their sanctity and penances." Marco Polo speaks of these things in the 61st chapter of his first Book; whilst his editor, Colonel Yule, has a learned note on the subject. Colonel Yule quotes the Tartar historian, friar Ricold, and the passage may perhaps interest Theosophists: — "There are certain men," says Ricold, "whom the Tartars honour above all the world, who are a kind of idol priests. These are men from India, persons of deep wisdom, well-conducted and of the gravest morals. They are usually acquainted with magic arts, and depend on the counsel and aid of demons; they exhibit many illusions, and predict some future events. For instance, one of eminence amongst them was said to fly; the truth, however, was that he did not fly, but walked close to the surface of the ground without touching it; and would seem to sit down without having any substance to support him." This walking in the air, Colonel Yule observes, "was also witnessed by Ibn Batuta at Delhi, in the presence of Sultan Mahomed Tuclac; and the same power was shown by a Brahmin at Madras."
I give the reference, as I know you are interested in the subject. It is with the Sun-descended rulers of Peru, however, that I am now concerned. Unfortunately, I am unable to quote two other books which illustrate the subject, namely, one by Dr. Lopez, "Races Aryennes de Peron," and another by Ranking, which finds a connection between Peru and the princes of the Moguls.
EXPOUNDED BY THE SOCIETY OF BENARES PANDITS,
And Translated for The Theosophist
By Pandit Surya Narayen, Sec'y.
Although the different researches of the Vedanta Philosophy have resulted in a definite and decided conclusion, as to the existence of one Supreme Being only who is called Brahma, still the same Being, under the different disguises of Jiwa and Maya, is designated by the term Ishvara in the Vedanta. Viewing the matter in a different light altogether, when he does not assume the disguises we have just touched upon, He may be called a Pure Animate Being. As, for instance, space, as it is covered by a vessel or by a mass of clouds, will be differently described, while space unaffected by these conditions would be called pure space. By the word Jiwa we mean that state of the One Animate Being, which consists in the unconsciousness of His real nature. In that state He possesses qualities, in virtue of which He is called a doer, an enjoyer, and a possessor of limited knowledge of things; and the Supreme Being, having as it were brought Maya, the instrument of His disguises, under His yoke, is the only possessor of the qualities contrary to those we have ascribed to Jiwa.
As to the marked difference between Brahma and Jiwa, on account of the one possessing the quality of omniscience, and the other its reverse, we have to say that which follows. For example, "to say this is the very Deva Datta (that is, Deva Datta, and no other), the same man, whom we saw in his childhood," and is the same now in his grey hairs, involves the same kind of difficulty as in proving the sameness of Brahma and Jiwa. But in this example we overlook the different times, at which we had seen him, and take the identity of the man into consideration. In the same manner, wherever the sameness of Brahma and Jiwa is discussed in the Vedas, it is to be remarked that, though the quality of omniscience in the case of the one, and its reverse in that of the other, gives rise to some defects in the validity of this argument; still according to the process, called Bhagatyaga Lakshana (), which sanctions the dismemberment of the attributes relatively possessed by the things under comparison, neglecting the omniscience of Brahma and the unconsciousness of Jiwa, we reach the point aimed at, which is the direct beam or the sempiternal essence of the beams reflected.
This Jiwa, when brought back to the right path through an adviser conversant with the precepts of the Vedas, recognises his native form. Having been thus released from the troubles he has endured on account of his actions, he obtains salvation or the everlasting happiness. An example will make this clear. Suppose there are ten persons in a boat crossing a river, and when the boat reaches the bank they all leave it. While thus on the bank, every one begins, in order, counting his companions exclusively of himself, and necessarily falls short of one in his count every time. This sudden disappearance of one of their number causes a great disturbance among them, insomuch that they think one of them to be lost. If by chance some merciful man passes by and, after asking the cause of their crying, sets everything right (by proving the existence of the tenth man) they all rejoice, and each man who performed the office of counting, preceiving himself the tenth man, becomes very happy and gets rid of the trouble he had endured, when he had no knowledge of his real nature. Thus it is proved that Jiwa, on recognising his native form or real nature, obtains salvation through an able adviser.
So far we have discussed the unity of Brahma and Jiwa and made clear the way to Moksha or everlasting freedom for the latter (upon his obtaining knowledge of his real nature with the aid of an able adviser). But the question might be raised that, if the attainment of Moksha depends solely on the mere knowledge of one's real nature, why should men like Vama Deva and others have suffered the pangs of misery in the same manner as those who were quite ignorant of the knowledge of being and knowing? Suffice it to say that as far as even the present standard of rational beings is concerned, we find the above position well taken. The answer to the question just asked is that every one (wise or unwise) undergoes the results of his Pravdha — action. But that which lies on the surface is, that one who is unwise bears the brunt of misery very clumsily, while the wise man, thinking he must have to experience the same sorts of troubles, bears its burden without any fear or expression of sorrow. Descend to instances and the intricacy of the argument will come out of its own accord. Let us suppose two persons, one wise and the other unwise, travelling towards the same city. Some unforeseen accident hinders them from completing their journey till the end of the day; the man, who knows there are only a few miles left and that the difficulty may be got over by extra travelling, takes pains to reach the place of destination on that very day. While the other man, being doubtful still of the end of his journey and chilled with the thoughts of the troubles he had experienced in the way, grows heavy-hearted and gloomily magnifies his troublesome task. So we see the troubles of this life do not spare anybody, as a matter of fact; the only difference is that one meets its solicitations without any fear, being unable to escape them, while another meets them with an ever increasing agitation and delusiveness of mind.
It should at the same time be borne in mind that those who are called the wise () break loose from the transmigration of the soul; but the unwise () ever after undergo the same kinds of troubles continuously during their successive lives. It is the wisdom of the wise in virtue of which they put an end to the actions called the Sanchit or stored, the cause of their successive births and deaths. When it is all over with the Sanchit actions, they are, in that case, like scorched grain productive of no plant if sown in a field. Similarly, when there is no chance of the second birth, the generation of those actions called the Agami (i. e., those that are yet to be done) is quite impossible. They are like the petals of lotus that do not betray any trace of water on their surface, even when they are first dipped and then taken out of it. There remains to be explained only one sort of action called the Pravdha which brings forth its result as soon as the life of man sets in. Therefore, a man, whose investigations as to the knowledge of the real nature of Jiwa have reached the zenith, cannot fall under the different stages of creation.
We deal with three kinds of actions — the Sanchit, the Agami and the Pravdha. The Sanchit actions lie buried in the hearts of man without giving vent to the effects produced. The Agami actions are those which remain to be finished or those which are being done, while the Pravdha action is the result of our past actions terminating in bringing into light our present existence. For example, the existence of an arrow in a quiver implies the Sanchit action, and that which is adjusted on a bent bow for shooting is the Agami or the Kriyamana action. The Pravdha action may be designated by that arrow which is already shot, and hence it must be productive of some result. Thus it is shown that the Pravdha action never ceases to work upon created beings; even if they be enlightened in mind and soul.
The above communication we received from Pundit Rama Misra Shastree, Professor of Sankhya, Benares College, as Manager of the said Society. — ED. THEOS.
JOURNALIST vs. MISSIONARY: — Some weeks ago, the Times of India, in a moment of rancorous spite towards the Invalide Russe, which it had caught mirabile dictu! in a political fib, denounced the Russian nation as "all born liars." The insult was, no doubt, more than Russia — Gortschakof, Nihilists, and Gendarmes included — could bear. The Times having "set a mark" upon the Northern Cain, henceforth every Russian ought to feel himself like one branded and estimate death, nay, even the unpleasantness of being blown up by the Nihilists, as less terrible than such a public blowing up by the Times of India. One thing may, however, assuage their woe, and offer a kind of consolation, and this is that they have been most unexpectedly thrown into a most saintly company of "liars." This is what the world-famous Archibald Forbes writes of the Christian missionaries, in his letter to the Scotsman: — "I regard missionary enterprise as simply a gross impertinence; and, did I chance to be a straightforward and self-respecting heathen, I would kick the interloping missionary who should come canting around me, seeking to pervert me from the faith of my fathers."
Not content with the expressed desire of "kicking" the holy payees, Mr. Forbes seeks to prove — and justice forces us to admit, with no mean success — the position of the missionary as "inherently false and illogical," and clinches his argument with the rather irreverent remark —"My experience of missionaries is, that they are mostly LIARS."
In a letter to the Pioneer, intended to pulverize the Theosophical Society and its General Council, the Rev. Mr. Scott, bitterly recriminating against Mrs. A. Gordon's article — "Missions in India —" published in the January number of the Theosophist, spoke of it as "an ignorant attempt at making it appear that missions are a failure." We wait with interest to learn what the reverend polemic will have to say now. Prone as they are to fly into the Theosophists' faces for every quiet and polite remark in their organ, what will they answer to this bitter denunciation by the "light of newspaper correspondents," as some journalists call their fiery confrere, who has encountered the missionary in every land? And to think that this Armstrong shell should have been fired from that heavy gun, the Scotsman, which is mounted in the very citadel of the bluest Presbyterianism!
A NEW APPLICATION OF PHOTOGRAPHY HAS JUST BEEN discovered in Japan. The manufacturers of Japanese varnish have long since remarked that one of the substances used by them in their trade, when left for several hours exposed to the rays of the sun, becomes as hard as iron. Hence a Japanese workman had the idea of applying a layer of this substance (most probably some kind of pitch or asphalt, though they deny it) on a plank and then placing it behind the negative. The board remained thus for twelve hours; and the image appeared on it of a dull colour and as hard as a stone, while the other parts remained soft and lustrous as before, so that it was an easy matter to remove from the board by mechanical means the layer with which it was covered. This board is made after this process to serve the purposes of a lithographic stone.
By Kashinath Trimbak Telang, M.A., LL.B.
The north thus disposed of, and accepting the respect and veneration of the Videhas, the Kosalas, the Angas and the Bangas, Sankara went into the country of the Gandas. It was then that the nefarious designs of the discomfited doctor of the Sakta School — mentioned in my last — culminated. Sankara suddenly caught the disease, called Bhagandara* which had been sent upon him by the necromantic spells of Abhinavagupta, who had performed a special sacrifice to accomplish his malicious plot. The greatest physicians attended on Sankara, but in vain. Meanwhile the patient himself behaved stoically or rather vedantically. But at last when the disease could not be cured, he prayed to Mahadeva to send down the Ashvinikumars, who were accordingly sent down disguised as Brahmans. But they pronounced the disease to be beyond their powers of cure as it was caused by the act of another. On this communication the anger of Padmapada once more came to the relief of the Vadantism of Sankara. For, though dissuaded by Sankara himself, he muttered some mystic incantations which transfirred the disease to Abhinavagupta himself who died of it. (1)
*A terrible form of ulcerated sore, or fistica. — ED. THEOSOPHIST.
(1). Madhav XV1. 22-32. [An important point for the student of occult science is here made and should not be overlooked. The law of physics, that action and reaction tend to equilibrate each other, holds in the realm of the occult. This has been fully explained in "Isis Unveiled" and other works of the kind. A current of Akas, directed by a sorcerer at a given object with an evil intent, must either be propelled by such intensity of will as to break through every obstacle and overpower the resistant will of the selected victim, or it will rebound against the sender, and and afflict him or her in the same way as it was intended the other should be hurt. So well is this law understood that it has been preserved to us in many popular proverbs, such as the, English ones, 'curses come home to roost,' 'The biter's bit,' etc., the Italian one 'La bestemia gira, e gira, e gira, e torna adosso a che latira,' etc. This reversal of a magnificent current upon the sender may be greatly facilitated by the friendly interference of another person who knows the secret of controlling the Akasic currents — if it is permissible for us to coin a new word that will soon be wanted in the Western parlance]. — ED. THEOS.
About this time Sankara heard of a temple in Kashmir, which none but an all-knowing person could open, which had been opened on its northern, eastern and western sides, but which had continued closed till then on its southern side. Sankara accordingly went up to the temple, but the controversialists there would not allow him to enter before they examined him. He was examined accordingly, and was found, as one may say, not wanting. He then entered, but as he was going to take his seat on the stool within, the Goddess of the temple — Sarasvati — said, "Your omniscience has been already more than sufficiently proved; but omniscience is not enough to entitle you to take your seat on this stool. Continence is also necessary. Bethink yourself of your acts, and say whether you can claim it under these circumstances." Sankara replied: — "This body is perfectly pure. It cannot be tarnished by the sins of another body." This was, of course, a clincher, and Sankara took his seat on the coveted stool! (2)
(2). Madhav XVI. 86.
He thence went to the hermitage of Risjasringa, and, after staying there for some time, to Badari. There he taught his Bhashya to some persons who were studying in the Patamjala School of philosophy. Thence he proceeded to Kedara — where he prayed to Mahadeva to send down warm water for his benumbed pupils. That was, of course, done; and Madhav says, the river still flows with hot water in that part of the country. (3)
(3). Madhav XVI. 101. According to Anandagiri the prayer for hot water was made to Narayana, p. 235.
He had now arrived at the close of his thirty-second years and his term of life being over, all the Gods, and all the Siddhas, and all the Sages, came down in divine vehicles to escort him up to heaven. As soon as Sankara made up his mind his vehicle appeared for him, and then "with his praises sung by the principal deities, headed by Indra and Upendra, and worshipped with heavenly flowers, supported by the arm of the Lotus-born God, he mounted his excellent Bull, and exhibiting his knots of hair with their ornament, the moon, he started for his own residence, hearing the word 'victory! uttered by the sages." (4)
(4). Madhav XVI. 107.
This does seem too materialistic and non-vedantic. Anandagiri has the following account: — "Once in the city of Kanchi, the place of absolution, as he was seated, he absorbed his gross body into the subtle one and became existent; then destroying the subtle one into the body which is the cause (of the world) became 'pure intelligence'; and then (assuming the) size of a thumb, and attaining in the world of the Ishvara full happiness (unbroken) like a perfect circle, he became the intelligence which pervades the whole universe. And he still exists in the form of the all-pervading intelligence. The Brahmans of the place, and his pupils, and their pupils reciting the Upanishads, the Gita, and the Brahmasutras, then excavated a ditch in a very clean spot and offering to his body pigment, rice, &c., raised a tomb over it there."(5)
(5). Anandagiri, p. 280.
And here ends the story of the life of Sankaracharya. As I look back over the narrative thus given by me after Madhav, methinks I hear the genius of nineteenth century scepticism whisper in my ears: — "All this is an absurd fable from first to last; it is the 'tinsel clink of compliment,' to one whom a halo of glory surrounds. At the age of two, it is impossible to have learnt what Sankara is said to have learnt; those miracles, which he is reported to have performed, are 'mere and sheer impossibilities — in a word all Madhav's narrative is fitter for the pages of a romance than of a work professing to be historical." Now though I confess that I do believe there is some force in this argument, I must also confess that I am not prepared to give it as much weight as those, who propound it, seem to claim for it. I am perfectly willing to grant that there is a considerable menstruum of poetry in this narrative: but I am not prepared to say that it is as much as may at first sight appear. Even in the skeptical nineteenth century, we have had accounts of historical personages, given as history, which bear in some points a very striking resemblance to Madhav's account of Sankaracharya. I shall put forward two very good instances in point, which occur to me at this moment. Dr. Thomas Brown, a man who flourished in this nineteenth century, a man whose life has been written by a prosaic Western not guilty of Oriental hyperboles, is said to have been engaged in the fourth year of his age, in comparing the narratives of the evangelists in order to find out any discrepancies that there might be between them. To appreciate the full force of this example, it must be remembered that this critical spirit was brought to bear upon a work, on which in opinion out of the common rut would be downright heresy. This circumstance, I may mention, is recorded in the memoir of Dr. Brown, prefixed to his eloquent lectures on the Philosophy of Mind. (6)
(6). See also the Contemporary Review, June 1872, Robert Leslie Ellis, Pro. Grote.
Mr. John Morley, the present Editor of the Fortnightly Review, has contributed to the pages of that publication a valuable life of Turgot. Here is his deliverance on the precocity of the subject of his memoir. "It has been justly said of him that he passed at once from infancy to manhood, and was in the rank of sages before he had shaken off the dust of the play-ground."(7)
(7). Fortnightly Review, August 1869.
If more authority is necessary for refusing to subscribe to the theory that every statement which appears wonderful is, at once, and by reason of its being wonderful, to be put down as totally false, we have the authority of that prince of philosophic historians, Mr. George Grote. "In separating," says that great authority upon all matters of historic criticism, "between the marvellous and the ordinary, there is no security that we are dividing the fictitious from the real." (8). And not to depend on the ipse dixit even of a Grote, I would refer the sceptic to the wonders of science, which are "truths stranger than fiction," which yet we see performed before our eyes. Before the fact, what would one have thought of the Electric Telegraph? Before the fact, what was thought of the Railway? I would ask the sceptic to pause here, to consider these matters fully from this point of view, before at once arguing: "these circumstances are wonderful; ergo, they are impossible." They are not of a piece with the common run of occurrences; I am willing to concede also that they may be much exaggerated. But when I am told that they are wholly false, when I am told that no reasonable man can believe them, then I demur. I rather choose to hold myself in suspense.
I had intended in this paper to say something about the works of Sankaracharya, and about some other matters connected with him. But want of time and the length to which this paper has already extended, have prevented me from incorporating those necessary portions of a biography into the present paper. I hope, however, in an other paper to treat of those matters, as leisure and the materials accessible to me will permit.
(8). See, too, the Duke of Somerset's recent book of Christianity and Scepticism, p. 46, and the Duke of Argyll's Reign of Law passim.
According to Anandagiri, Sankara does not seem to have left his birth-place, before taking the Sannayasa, and when he left the place, he had already got numbers of pupils. He first went from Chidambarapur southward to Madhyarjuna (p. 19) where he converted the people to adualism by a miracle (p. 20). Thence he proceeded to Rameshvar near the Setu, where he stayed for two months defeating the representatives of various sects, that entered into controversies with him (p. 21). Then he went on to Anantasayana where he remained for one month (p. 51). Travelling westwards, he reached the town of Subrahmanya in fifteen days (p. 81). Proceeding thence in a north-westerly direction, he went to the town of Ganavara, and sojourned there for a month (p. 102), thence to Bhavaninagara (p. 122), where be stayed for a month, and held discussions with the sectaries of the neighbouring towns of Kuvalayapur and others (p. 127). From that town he went northward to Ujjayini where be remained for two months (p. 138), thence in a north-westerly direction to the city of Anumalla, (p. 160) where he spent twenty-one days. Going westward next to the town of Arundh (p. 164), and northward from that to Magadhapura (p. 170), he went on first to Indraprastha (p. 174), and then to Yamaprastha, whence, after staying there for a month (p. 178), he proceeded to Prayaga at "the confluence of the Ganges, the Jumna and the Sarasvati" (p. 184). Going eastward thence, in " half a fortnight," he reached Kashi (p. 205), and after staying there for some time, he went northward to Badari by the route of Kurukshetra (p. 235). Having next seen Dvaraka and other heaven-like places, he went to Ayodhya, thence to Gaya, and thence to Parvata by the route of Jagannath (p. 235). After a month he proceeded to Ruddhapura, where he saw Kumarila (p. 236) and northward thence to a very famous seat of learning — Vijilabindu — situated towards the south-east of Hastinapura (p. 238). Having there vanquished Mandanamisra, and established a college near Sringapura on the banks of the Tunghbhadra, he stayed there for twelve months (p. 251), after which he proceeded to Ahobala, thence to Vaikalyagiri, and thence to the town of Kanchi, where, within a month of his arrival, he founded Sivakanchi and Vishnukanchi (p. 251). Here his soul left this mortal coil. But before this end, he is said to have authorised five of his principal pupils to found the Shaiva, Vaishanva, Saiva, Sakta, Ganapatya systems of worship (p. 264 et seq.)
I must confess that even after a great deal of time and labour spent upon the work, I am as far as ever from being able to comprehend the geography of the tour of Sankaracharya as related by Anandagiri and abstracted in the last note. Many of the names cannot be found noted in our modern maps. The only point worth noting is perhaps this, that Chidambar, which is mentioned by Anandagiri as Sankara's birth-place, may be Chillumbrun (so-called in the map), a place to the south of Porto Novo. The account of Madhav is somewhat better, but there are difficulties. Thus, though his progress through the countries of the Pandyas, the Cholas, and the Dravidas, to Kanchi, and thence to the country of the Andhras, may be understood, why should he go up as far as the country of the Vidarbhas — identified with Berar — and then return to the Karnatic districts? What follows, however, is not very hard to understand. It may, perhaps, be worth while to mention some of the names which have been identified. The knowledge may not be new to those who have studied the subject, but it may be new to those who have not looked into it as it was to myself. Mahishmati is mentioned in Raghuvansa (VI. 43) as situated on the Narmada. It is also mentioned in Magha (II. 64) as the city of Shishupala, and it is identified in Mr. Garret's recent dictionary with Chuii Maheshvar. The Pandya country embraces the Tinnevelly and Madura districts; the Chola country is the Coromandel Coast, southward from Godavari and eastward from the hills at Nandidrug (Elphinstone's India, fifth Edition, p. 239); the Dravida country about Madras up to Bangalore on the west (Elphinstone, p. 231). Kanchi is Conjeveram, south of Madras (Elphinstone, p. 239). The Andhra country is about Waranogol and forms part of Telingana. The country of the Vidarbhas is Berar; that of the Surasenas is Mathura; that of the Kamarupas is the east of Hindustan; that of the Videhas, Mithila; Kosalas, Oude; Angas, north-west of Bengal Proper. Indraprastha is near Delhi. The probable situation of Chidambara has been already stated, that of Sringeri is well-known. Sasalagram, mentioned above, I cannot find. May it not be the "Sallagrama" in the Mysore province; or, perhaps, what is called "Sosilly" in Cassel's Atlas, also situated in the same province? As to Kalati mentioned by Madhav, I can say nothing at all. I may add here that it appears to me to be very probable that Madhav did not regard Sringeri as Sankara's birth-place, for in XIV. 29, he makes Sankara leave Sringeri in order to see his mother in her last moments, and is then described as flying through space, while she herself, for aught that appears to the contrary, continued to remain at the town of his birth, where he had left her in charge of relatives.
The Glasgow News says: — "Sufficient justice has not been done to the genius of a certain native of the Emerald Isle, who, a short time ago, fell into the clutches of the Greenock police. When apprehended, the man dropped into, or feigned to have dropped into, a comatose state, which had many of the characteristics of approaching dissolution. The appearance did not satisfy the Greenock police-surgeon, and a state of consciousness was successfully produced. When removed to the town in which it was alleged he had committed a felony, he was lodged in a cell, and escaped from it three or four minutes afterwards in a way Robert Macaire could not have emulated. A few days afterwards, he was caught red-handed, and taken into custody, but not before some hard knocks had been exchanged between him and the constables. Bleeding at the mouth, the result of a blow from a baton, the prisoner, in the presence of the police-surgeon of the district, stimulated illness and the last throes of departing life, with such faithfulness that the police-surgeon hurried off to the procurator-fiscal to report a fatal assault by the police. The officers were detained, and the seemingly dead man, minus his boots, was laid out in the mortuary attached to the police-station, the door being left ajar. The fresh air of the place effected a rapid cure, and when the police-surgeon and the fiscal arrived, the mortuary was empty."