Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 11 - AUGUST, 1880
A Land of Mystery
Notes on "A Land of Mystery "
The Hindu Bengal
A Buddhist Mission to the United States
Testing the Bewitched Mirror Theory
Sobs, Sods and Posies
A Buddhist Hymn
One Theosophist's View of Man's Position and Prospects
Health of the Eyes
The Vedanta Philosophy
Solar Volcanoes, or Spots upon the Sun
The Theosophists in Ceylon
Return to Section 1
A LAND OF MYSTERY.
By H. P. B.
To refer all these cyclopean constructions then to the days of the Incas is, as we have shown before, more inconsistent yet, and seems even a greater fallacy than that too common one of attributing every rock-temple of India to Buddhist excavators. As many authorities show — Dr. Heath among the rest — Incal history only dates back to the eleventh century, A. D., and the period, from that time to the Conquest, is utterly insufficient to account for such grandiose and innumerable works; nor do the Spanish historians know much of them. Nor again, must we forget that the temples of heathendom were odious to the narrow bigotry of the Roman Catholic fanatics of those days; and that, whenever the chance offered, they either converted them into Christian churches or razed them to the ground. Another strong objection to the idea lies in the fact that the Incas were destitute of a written language, and that these antique relics of bygone ages are covered with hieroglyphics. "It is granted that the Temple of the Sun, at Cuzco, was of Incal make, but that is the latest of the five styles of architecture visible in the Andes, each probably representing an age of human progress."
The hieroglyphics of Peru and Central America have been, are, and will most probably remain for ever as dead a letter to our cryptographers as they were to the Incas. The latter like the barbarous ancient Chinese and Mexicans kept their records by means of a quipus (or knot in Peruvian) — a cord, several feet long, composed of different colored threads, from which a multicoloured fringe was suspended; each color denoting a sensible object, and knots serving as ciphers. "The mysterious science of the quipus," says Prescott, "supplied the Peruvians with the means of communicating their ideas to one another, and of transmitting them to future generations. . . . . . . " Each locality, however, had its own method of interpreting these elaborate records, hence a quipus was only intelligible in the place where it was kept, "Many quipus have been taken from the graves, in excellent state of preservation in colour and texture," writes Dr. Heath; "but the lips, that alone could pronouce the verbal key, have for ever ceased their function, and the relic-seeker has failed to note the exact spot where each was found, so that the records, which could tell so much we want to know, will remain sealed till all is revealed at the last day.". . . . . if anything at all is revealed then. But what is certainly as good as a revelation now, while our brains are in function, and our mind is acutely alive to some preeminently suggestive facts, is the incessant discoveries of archeology, geology, ethnology and other sciences. It is the almost irrepressible conviction that man having existed upon earth millions of years — for all we know, — the theory of cycles is the only plausible theory to solve the great problems of humanity, the rise and fall of numberless nations and races, and the ethnological differences among the latter. This difference — which, though its marked as the one between a handsome and intellectual European and a digger Indian of Australia, yet makes the ignorant shudder and raise a great outcry at the thought of destroying the imaginary "great gulf between man and brute creation" — might thus be well accounted for. The digger Indian, then in company with many other savage, though to him superior, nations, which evidently are dying out to afford room to men and races of a superior kind, would have to be regarded in the same light as so many dying-out specimens of animals — and no more. Who can tell but that the forefathers of this flat-headed savage — forefathers who may have lived and prospered amidst the highest civilization before the glacial period — were in the arts and sciences far beyond those of the present civilization — though it may be in quite another direction? That man has lived in America, at least 50,000 years ago, is now proved scientifically and remains a fact beyond doubt or cavil. In a lecture delivered at Manchester, in June last, by Mr. H. A. Allbutt, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society, the lecturer stated the following: — "Near New Orleans, in one part of the modern delta, in excavating for gas works, a series of beds, almost wholly made up of vegetable matter, were dug through. In the excavation, at a depth of 16 feet from the upper surface, and beneath four buried forests, one on the top of the other, the labourers discovered some charcoal and the skeleton of a man, the cranium of which was reported to be that of the type of the aboriginal Red Indian race. To this skeleton Dr. Dowler ascribed an antiquity of some 50,000 years," The irrepressible cycle in the course of time brought down the descendants of the contemporaries of the late inhabitant of this skeleton, and intellectually as well as physically they have degenerated, as the present elephant has degenerated from his proud and monstrous forefather, the antediluvian Sivatherium, whose fossil remains are still found in the Himalayas; or, as the lizard has from the plesiosaurus. Why should man be the only specimen upon earth which has never changed in form since the first day of his appearance upon this planet? The fancied superiority of every generation of mankind over the preceding one is not yet so well established as to make it impossible for us to learn some day that, as in everything else, the theory is a two-sided question — incessant progress on the one side and as an irresistible decadence on the other of the cycle. "Even as regards knowledge and power, the advance, which some claim as a characteristic feature of humanity, is effected by exceptional individuals who arise in certain races under favourable circumstances only, and is quite compatible with long intervals of immobility, and even of decline,"* says a modern man of science. This point is corroborated by what we see in the modern degenerate descendants of the great and powerful races of ancient America — the Peruvians and the Mexicans. "How changed! How fallen from their greatness must have been the Incas, when a little band of one hundred and sixty men could penetrate, uninjured, to their mountain homes, murder their worshipped kings and thousands of their warriors, and carry away their riches, and that, too, in a country where a few men with stones could resist successfully an army! Who could recognize in the present Inichua and Aymara Indians their noble ancestry?" . . . . . . Thus writes Dr. Heath, and his conviction that America was once united with Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, seems as firm as our own. There must exist geological and physical cycles as well as intellectual and spiritual; globes and planets, as well as races and nations, are born to grow, progress, decline and — die. Great nations split, scatter into small tribes, lose all remembrance of their integrity, gradually fall into their primitive state and — disappear, one after the other, from the face of the earth. So do great continents. Ceylon must have formed, once upon a time, part of the Indian continent. So, to all appearances, was Spain once joined to Africa, the narrow channel between Gibraltar and the latter continent having been once upon a time dry land. Gibraltar is full of large apes of the same kind as those which are found in great numbers on the opposite side on the African coast, whereas nowhere in Spain is either a monkey or ape to be found at any place whatever. And the caves of Gibraltar are also full of gigantic human bones, supporting the theory that they belong to an antediluvian race of men. The same Dr. Heath mentions the town of Eten in 70 S. latitude of America, in which the inhabitants of an unknown tribe of men speak a monosyllabic language that imported Chinese labourers understood from the first day of their arrival. They have their own laws, customs and dress, neither holding nor permitting communication with the outside world. No one can tell whence they came or when; whether it was before or after the Spanish Conquest. They are a living mystery to all, who chance to visit them. . . . . . . .
* Journal of Science for February, Article — "The Alleged Distinction between Man and Brute."
With such facts before us to puzzle exact science herself, and show our entire ignorance of the past verily, we recognise no right of any man on earth — whether in geography or ethnology, in exact or abstract sciences — to tell his neighbour — "so far shalt thou go, and no further!"
But, recognizing our debt of gratitude to Dr. Heath of Kansas, whose able and interesting paper has furnished us with such a number of facts and suggested such possibilities, we can do no better than quote his concluding reflections. "Thirteen thousand years ago," he writes, "Vega or a Lyrae, was the north polar star; since then how many changes has she seen in our planet! How many nations and races spring into life, rise to their zenith of splendour, and then decay; and when we shall have been gone thirteen thousand years, and once more she resumes her post at the north, completing a 'Platonic or Great Year,' think you that those who shall fill our places on the earth at that time will be more conversant with our history than we are of those that have passed? Verily might we exclaim, in terms almost psalmistic, 'Great God, Creator and Director of the Universe, what is man that Thou art mindful of him!'"
Amen! ought to be the response of such as yet believe in a God who is "the Creator and Director of the Universe."
NOTES ON "A LAND OF MYSTERY."
To the Editor of the THEOSOPHIST — I have read with much pleasure your excellent article on the "Land of Mystery." In it you show a spirit of inquiry and love of truth which are truly commendable in you and cannot fail to command the approbation and praise of all unbiased readers. But there are certain points in it, in which I cannot but join issue with you. In order to account for the most striking resemblances that existed in the manners, customs, social habits and traditions of the primitive peoples of the two worlds, you have recourse to the old Platonic theory of a land-connection between them. But the recent researches in the Novemyra have once for all exploded that theory. They prove that, with the exception of the severance of Australia from Asia, there never was a submersion of land on so gigantic a scale as to produce an Atlantic or a Pacific Ocean, that, ever since their formation, the seas have never changed their ancient basins on any very large scale. Professor Geikie, in his physical geography holds that the continents have always occupied the positions they do now, except that, for a few miles, their coasts have sometimes advanced into and receded from the sea.
You would not have fallen into any error, had you accepted M. Quatrefages' theory of migrations by sea. The plains of Central Asia are accepted by all monogenists as the centre of appearance of the human race. From this place successive waves of emigrants radiated to the utmost verge of the world. It is no wonder that the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Egyptians, Peruvians and Mexicans — men who once inhabited the same place — should show the strong resemblances in certain points of their life. The proximity of the two continents at Behring Straits enabled immigrants to pass from Asia to America. A little to the south is the current of Tassen, the Kouro-sivo or black stream of the Japanese, which opens a great route for Asiatic navigators. The Chinese have been a maritime nation from remote antiquity and it is not impossible that their barges might have been like those of the Portuguese navigator, Cabral, in modern times, driven by accident to the coast of America. But, leaving all questions of possibilities and accidents aside, we know that the Chinese had discovered the magnetic needle even so early as B. C. 2,000. With its aid and that of the current of Tassen, they had no very considerable difficulty to cross to America. They established, as Paz Soldan informs us in his Geografia del Peru, a little colony there; and Buddhist missionaries "towards the close of the fifth century sent religious missions to carry to Fou-Sang (America) the doctrines of Buddha. This will no doubt be unpleasant to many European readers. They are averse to crediting a statement that takes the honour of the discovery of America from them and assigns it to what they are graciously pleased to call "a semi-barbarous Asiatic nation." Nevertheless, it is an unquestionable truth. Chapter XVIII of the Human Species by A. De Quatrefages will be an interesting reading to any one who may be eager to know something of the Chinese discovery of America, but the space at his command being small, he gives a very meagre account of it in his book. I earnestly hope you will complete your interesting article by adverting to this and giving us full particulars of all that is known about it. The shedding of light on a point, which has hitherto been involved in mysterious darkness, will not be unworthy of the pen of one, the be-all and end-all of whose life is the search of truth and, when found, to abide by it, be it at whatever cost it may be.
AMRITA LAL BISVAS.
Calcutta, 11th July.
Scant leisure this month prevents our making any detailed answer to the objections to the Atlantan hypothesis intelligently put forth by our subscriber. But let us see whether — even though based upon "recent researches" which "have once for all exploded that theory" — they are as formidable as at first sight they may appear.
Without entering into the subject too deeply, we may limit ourselves to but one brief remark. More than one scientific question, which at one time has seemingly been put at rest for ever, has exploded at a subsequent one over the heads of theorists who had forgotten the danger of trying to elevate a simple theory into an infallible dogma. We have not questioned the assertion that "there never was a submersion of land on so gigantic a scale as to produce an Atlantic or a Pacific Ocean," for we never pretended to suggest new theories for the formation of oceans. The latter may have been where they now are since the time of their first appearance, and yet whole continents been broken into fragments partially engulfed, and left in numerable islands, as seems the case with the submerged Atlantis. What we meant was that, at some pre-historic time and long after the globe teemed with civilized nations, Asia, America and perhaps Europe were parts of one vast continental formation, whether united by such narrow strips of land as evidently once existed where now is Behring Strait, (which connects the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans and has a depth of hardly more than twenty to twenty-five fathoms) or by larger stretches of land. Nor shall we fight the monogenists who claim Central Asia as the one cradle place of humanity — but leave the task to the polygenists who are able to do it far more successfully than ourselves. But, in any case, before we can accept the theory of monogenesis, its advocates must offer as some unanswerable hypothesis to account for the observed differences in human types better than that of "divarication caused by difference of climate, habits and religious culture." M. Quatrefages may remain, as ever, indisputably a most distinguished naturalist — physician, chemist and zoologist — yet we fail to understand why we should accept his theories in preference to all others. Mr. Amrita Lal Bisvas evidently refers to a narrative of some scientific travels along the shores of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, by this eminent Frenchman, entitled — "Souvenirs d'un Naturaliste." He seems to regard M. Quatrefages in the light of an infallible Pope upon all scientific questions: we do not, though he was a member of the French Academy and a professor of ethnology. His theory, about the migrations by sea, may be offset by about an hundred others which directly oppose it. It is just because we have devoted our whole life to the research of truth — for which complimentary admission we thank our critic — that we never accept on faith any authority upon any question whatsoever; nor pursuing, as we do, TRUTH and progress through a full and fearless enquiry, untrammelled by any consideration, would we advise any of our friends to do otherwise.
Having said so much , we may now give a few of our reasons for believing in the alleged "fable" of the submerged Atlantis — though we explained ourselves at length upon the subject in Isis Unveiled (Vol. I, pp. 590, et seq.).
First. — We have as evidence the most ancient traditions of various and widely-separated peoples — legends in India, in ancient Greece, Madagascar, Sumatra, Java, and all the principal isles of Polynesia, as well as those of both Americas. Among savages, as in the traditions of the richest literature in the world — the Sanskrit literature of India — there is an agreement in saying that, ages ago, there existed in the Pacific Ocean a large continent which, by a geological upheaval, was engulfed by the sea. And it is our firm belief — held, of course, subject to correction — that most, if not all of the islands from the Malayan Archipelago to Polynesia, are fragments of that once immense submerged continent. Both Malacca and Polynesia, which lie at the two extremities of the Ocean and which, since the memory of man, never had nor could have any intercourse with, or even a knowledge of each other, have yet a tradition, common to all the islands and islets, that their respective countries extended far, far out into the sea; that there were in the world but two immense continents, one inhabited by yellow, the other by dark men; and that the ocean, by command of the gods and to punish them for their incessant quarrelling swallowed them up.
2. Notwithstanding the geographical fact that New Zealand, and Sandwich and Easter Islands, are at a distance, from each other, of between. 800 and 1,000 leagues; and that, according to every testimony, neither these nor any other intermediate islands, for instance, the Marquesan, Society, Feejee, Tahitian, Samoan and other islands, could, since they became islands, ignorant as their people were of the compass, have communicated with each other before the arrival of Europeans; yet, they, one and all, maintain that their respective countries extended far toward the west, on the Asian side. Moreover, with very small differences, they all speak dialects evidently of the same language, and understand each other with little difficulty; have the same religious beliefs and superstitions; and pretty much the same customs. And as few of the Polynesian islands were discovered earlier than a century ago, and the Pacific Ocean itself was unknown to Europe until the days of Columbus, and these islanders have never ceased repeating the same old traditions since the Europeans first set foot on their shores, it seems to us a logical inference that our theory is nearer to the truth than any other. Chance would have to change its name and meaning, were all this due but to chance alone.
AN EPIDEMIC OF SOME DISEASE RESEMBLING CHOREA, or St. Vitus' dance, has broken out in a Roman Catholic school for girls in America. Beginning with a single child, it soon attacked fourteen and threatened to go through the whole school, but was stopped by sending every one of the pupils to her home. Those afflicted appear to have acted in an extraordinary way, dancing convulsively, twisting themselves into strange contortions, grimacing, jerking their limbs, and beating their feet upon the floor. Some have offered the theory of demoniac possession to account for the facts, and perhaps if we were a little way back in the Christian era, the services of the headsman instead of the doctor would have been engaged. As it is, the attending physicians can come to no very definite conclusions as to the causes of this outbreak.
"A MISSIONARY WHIP." — MR. ADREW CHERMSIDE, a recent traveller in Central Africa, has placed in the hands of Dr. Cameron, M. P., a whip, with which he states that the missionaries, at a mission station, established near Lake Nyassa, are in the habit of flogging their refractory converts. The whip consists of several very thick thongs, and is a more formidable weapon of punishment than the navy cat which was exhibited at the House of Commons last year. The subject is, we hear, likely to undergo official investigation. — Daily News.
What heathen could resist such persuasive arguments?
THE HINDU BENGAL.
By Babu Peary Chand Mittra, F.T.S.
Although Bengal is the first Presidency of British India, its early history before the Mahomedan administration is almost unknown. We have collected the few fragmentary notices we have found on the subject, in the hope that they may lead to further enquiry.
It is still an unsettled point whence the Aryas came, but it is quite certain that they were originally settled on the seven rivers, viz., the Indus, the five rivers of the Punjab and Sarasvati. The land between the Sarasvati and Drishadvat was called the Brahmavarta. Those, who inhabited it, were contemplative and philosophic, the range of their contemplation extending from the soul to God and from God to the soul, and all else being a subordinate study. Originally there was no caste, no priest, no temple among them, and their great aim was to worship the unseen Power through the soul. Although this spiritual state continued for a long time, it did not and could not spread far. Population increased, and the organization of society was called for, which resulted in the formation of professions. Caste is mentioned in as early an authority as the Rig Veda, in the 10th Book of which work, Brahmin, Kshetrya, Vaisya and Sudra are named. Brahma meant "not prayer or thanksgiving, but that invocation which, with the force of the will directed to God, seeks to draw him to itself and to receive satisfaction from him."
From Brahma, Brahman was formed, its meaning being chanter of prayers. Within a confined circle, Aryaism continued in its primitive or spiritual state, but, speaking generally, its aspect was changed. Greater stress was laid on the form, organisation, ritualism, offerings and ceremonies, and less on the internal adoration of God and the development of the soul. Before the composition of the Sama and Yajur Vedas, Brahmins were divided into four classes of priests, for the performance of sacrifices, ceremonies and chanting of prayers. They also assumed the title of Purohits, the friends and counsellors of kings.
The social organization, brought on by external circumstances, required development, and each profession naturally sought for a field in which its energy could be directed to advantage. The holy land, or the Brahmavarta, as well as the original seat on the seven rivers, became crowded. The Aryas, thus situated, took "for their guides the principal rivers of Northern India and were led by them to new homes in their beautiful and fertile valleys." The countries, which were of the earliest formation, were Uttara Kuru, Kashmere and Gandhar now Candahar. Uttara Kuru was on the north, beyond the Himavat. The Mahabharat, speaking of the Uttara Kuru women, says that they were unconfined, they roved independently and preserved their innocence. The countries, which next attracted the Arya emigrants, were Kurukshetra (near Delhi), Matsya on the Jumna, Panchala near modern Canoj, and Sursena (Mathura). Menu calls this tract of land Brahmarshi. The countries, constituting the Mudhya Desa of Menu, were bounded by the Vindhya on the south, Himalaya on the north, and reached from Vinasara on the east to Prayag (Allahabad) on the west.
Aryabartta comprehended all the above and reached from the mouth of the Indus to the Bay of Bengal.
Bengal is not mentioned by Menu. In the Rig Veda, the Ganges and Jumna are mentioned. Weber says that he can trace "in the later portion of the Vedic writings, their (Aryas') dispersion as far as the Ganges." In the Satapatha Brahmana, there is a legend from which it appears that the Aryas advanced from the banks of the Sarasvati to Sadiniri or to Behar and Bengal. (Muir's O. T. P. II, p. 423). The route of emigration, given by Burnouf, is from "the Indus to the Ganges and from the Ganges to the Dekkan." The Brahmins appear to have taken the lead in the colonization. They were settled in "Sarasvati, Canoj, Gauda, Mithila (Tirhut), Utkala (Orissa), Dravada, Maharastra, Telunga, Guzrat and Cashmere. Their descendants inhabited Anga (Bhagulpore), Banga (Bengal), Calinga, Kamrupa, Assam, &c." [Hunter's Bengal] The Brahmin element was the strongest element every where. No coronation, no religious, social or domestic ceremony could be performed without the Brahmins. When Sita was married to Rama, the palace of Janaka was full of Brahmins.
"How many thousand Brahmins here,
From every region far and near,
Well versed in holy lore appear." Griffith's Ramayan.
Next to the Brahmins, the Kshetryas were the most powerful. They formed the military class from which kings were chosen. They prosecuted the extension of their dominions, gave protection to life and property, and held out every encouragement to the promotion of agriculture and commerce. The next class, the Vaisyas, were thus stimulated to concentrate their energy on the development of the agricultural resources, and the augmentation of the commercial prosperity of the country. The first three classes were the Aryas, who were called "twice born," from their right to the sacred thread. The Sudras were most probably the aborigines, and they were doomed to be servants to the three classes, with liberty to earn their livelihood by mechanical arts.
When colonization had progressed considerably, India was divided into Northern, Central, Eastern, Southern and Western parts. Although India consisted of a number of kingdoms, and many of them were tributary for a time, it does not appear that the whole country was subject to one ruler or to one line of kings. Kingdoms were often enlarged or sub-divided according to circumstances, and allegiance was often exacted by the most powerful monarchs, specially on occasions of the Ashwameda Yagnya, or on other extraordinary occasions.
In the Vishnu Purana, one of the descendants of Yayati was the King of Banga or Bengal. In the Raghu Vansa, by Kalidasa, Chap. l0, Raghu, the great-grandfather of Dasarath, is described as having "conquered the kings of Bengal possessing fleets." Bengal was rich at the time, as the kings, after being reinstated, gave to Raghu "immense wealth." In the Ramayan, the countries, constituting Dasarath's Kingdom, are the eastern countries, Sindhu, sarastra, Savira, the southern country, Anga, Banga, Magdha, Kosala, Kasi, &c., "rich in golden coins, sheep and kine." Dasarath, the father of Rama, lived long before Yudhisthira, whose era is fixed by Colebrooke and Wilson between the 13th and 14th centuries B. C. Banga is mentioned several times in the Mahabharat. When Arjuna went on a pilgramage, he visited Banga and Munipore (Adi Parva). Previous to the performance of the Rajasaya Yagnya, Bhim proceeded to the eastern countries to exact allegiance from their kings, and, among the countries conquered by him, was Banga, which must have consisted of four divisions, as the names of four rulers are mentioned, viz., Samadra Sen, Chander Sen, Tamralipta and Kurkutadhipati. The people of Banga, Pundraka and Kalinga, that is, Lower Bengal, Midnapore and Ganjam, presented large tusks with elephants.* Before the war of Kurukshetra, a complete list of the mountains, rivers and countries of India was furnished by Sanjaya to Dhritarastra, from which it appears that the different parts of India were inhabited by Hindus. There are several counties which are difficult of identification. Among the countries mentioned, Banga is one — (Bhisma Parva). After the war, Yudhisthira performed the Ashumeda Yagnya. With the sacrificial horse went Arjuna to several countries; among which was Bengal. It was then governed by Mlechas, or outcastes, which may mean degraded Aryans, or barbarous aborigines. In the Rajdharma Anasasanika Parva, Bhisma enumerates several tribes, viz., Yavana, Kirat, Gandhar, Chin, Savara, Barbara, Saca, Tomgara, Kunka, Palada, Chandra, Mandraka, Poundra, Pahuda, Ramata,and Kamboja. The question put was, how were they to be civilized? The answer was that the king should consider it a paramount duty to educate them. Menu's idea of Mlechas is that they "speak barbarously, or not as the Sanskrit-speaking people." Colonel Briggs, in his interesting paper** on the Hindus and Aborigines, says that the aborigines had no priests, they allowed their widows to get married, they ate cow's flesh, they buried their dead, and they were unacquainted with the arts and sciences. Wilson says that "it must have been a period of some antiquity when all the nations from Bengal to the Coromandel were considered Mlechas and outcastes."
* Journal of the R. A. Society, Vol. VIII, p. 144.
** Journal of the R. A. Society, Vol. XIII.
The tradition is that the countries on the left side of the Ganges were called Banga, and those on the right side were called Anga. Magadha was a very ancient country and a Magadha princess was the queen of Dilip. It was originally a part of Chedi Rajah's dominions* of the solar race, but subsequently it was governed independently by Jarasandha, who was a contemporary of Yudhisthira. Banga and several other countries were tributary to Jarasandha. Magadha was bounded on one side by Mithila and on the other side by Banga. Its capital was Kusagarapura, afterwards Rajgir and then Rajgriha. It was in the midst of five hills — full of cattle, well watered, salubrious, and abounding with fine buildings." This description is given in the Savaparva when Bhim, Arjun and Krishna visited the city to kill Jarasandha. Pataliputra, or Paliputra, was afterwards the capital. It is now under water, but close to its site stands modern Patna.
* Chedi was the country of the Kala Chures or Hachayas — Chedi in later times had two capitals, viz., Tripura, the capital of Chedi Proper, and Manipura, considered to have been the original capital. Archeological Survey, Vol. IX.
The growth of a new religion is generally attributable to the decline of the spiritual element in the existing creed. Long before Buddhism arose, the contemplative and philosophical Hindus had learnt and thought what the purpose of existence was, what was the nature of the soul, and how it could be absorbed in God. But these abstract truths were being lost sight of, with the increase of sensualism in meat and drink, the assumption of the authority evidenced in the caste system, and the predominance of external rites and ceremonies. These circum stances necessitated the inception of Buddhism, which arose about 477 B. C. Sakyamuni, the first Buddhist teacher, appeared in 588 B. C. He first preached in Benares, the citadel of Brahmanism, then in Champa, Rajgira, Sravasti and Kosambi. Brahmanism was convulsed, and he not only gained an immense number of converts, but extended his doctrines in every part of the country.
Chandra Gupta's reign commenced in B. C. 325. He ruled from the Indus to the mouths of the Ganges. His capital was Palibothra, where Megasthenes resided. He was succeeded by Daimachus, the second Greek ambassador during the reign of Vindusara. Asoka was the next king of Magadha, and his dominions reached from Cashmere to the Nerbudda and from the Indus to the Bay of Bengal. To the eastward, his kingdom probably included the whole of Bengal.*
* Journal of the Bombay Branch of the R. A. Society for January 1857.
Bengal did not uniformly bear an independent character. It was governed by its own kings, but it was often tributary. When Alexander was here, Magadha included Bengal and Behar. Elphinstone states that, "when the successors of Alexander were the successors of the kings of Prasii, Bhagadata, a prince of Bengal, was also their ally." Alexander's campaign took place in 330 B. C. Megathenes mentions the Gangaridoe, supposed to occupy Lower Bengal, and their chief city is identified with Burdwan.* In 812-822 A. D. India consisted of four great kingdoms, of which Bengal was one. (Journal of the Royal Asiatic, Society, Vol. VI.) In the seventh century the division of Eastern India consisted of Assam, Bengal Proper, Delta of the Ganges, Sumbulpore, Orissa and Ganjam.
* McCrindle's Ancient India.
After the Maurya dynasty we have the Gupta dynasty, which commenced in 319 B. C. "The kingdom of India under the Guptas is the country watered by the Ganges and its affluents." Chandra Gupta assumed the name of Vikrama, and Vikrarnpore in Dacca is called after him, and not after the name of the Oujein monarch.* The coins of the Guptas were "types of Greek origin." The people were acquainted with the Greek language and imitated Greek archiecture. The Pal dynasty were the next rulers of Magadha. "They were the sovereigns of Eastern India, including Benares, Magadha and Bengal." The Pals were staunch Buddhists. Buddhism was evidently in existence in Bengal while it was tributary to Magadha during its several Buddhist dynasties. Adisur, — whom Lassen places before the Pals, and who imported pure Brahmins, with their companion Kaisthas, from Canoj, — must have reigned after the Pals as up to their time Buddhism was strong in Bengal.
* Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. VI. N. S.
The Pal dynasty was succeeded by the Sen dynasty. The founder of the latter dynasty took Bengal partially from the Pals, but did not possess Magadha till 1162 A. D.*
* Archeological Survey of India.
The Pala kings reigned in Western and Northern Bengal from 855 to 1040 A.D., and the Sena kings in Eastern and Deltaic Bengal from 986 to about 1142 A.D.* Under the Senas, Brahmanism revived in Bengal. Lakshmana's reign commenced in 1106. We have already alluded to the independent position of Bengal at different times. Colonel Wilford says that at one time the Bengal kings were so powerful that they conquered "all the Gangetic provinces as far as Benares and assumed the title of Maharajahs." An inscription found in Sarun was erected by a prince who was tributary to Gour or Bengal.
* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. I, 17.
In the Ayeen a list of the Hindu kings of Bengal is given: —
24 Khatrya kings reigned for 2,418 years.
9 Kaist kings reigned for 250 years.
11 Do. of the family of Adisur reigned for 714 years.
10 kings of the family of Bhopal reigned for 689 years.
10 kings of the Pal dynasty.
The Vaidya Rajahs reigned from 1063 to 1200 A.D.
Bengal, during the time of Ballal, consisted of the following divisions: —
1. Barendro, with the Mahanundee on the west, the Pudma (Ganges) on the south, and the Koorootoya on the east.
2. Bongu — east from the Koorootoya to the Brahmapootra. The capital of Bengal was near Dacca.
3. Bagree, the Delta, called also Dwipa, or the island. It had three sides, the Bhageeruthee river on the west, the Pudma on the east, the sea on the south.
4. Rahree. It had the Bhageeruthee and the Pudma on the north and the east, and other kingdoms on the west and south.
5. Mithila — having the Mahanundee and Gour on the east, the Bhageeruthee on the south, and other countries on the west and south.
Fa Hian was here in 399 to 414 A.D., and Hiouen Thsang in 629 to 645 A. D. They both noticed Tumlook as a place of great importance, and it continued in a prosperous condition till the fourteenth century. The Mahavanso names it as one of the nineteen capitals. When the Anaganum was parcelled out, the kings of Magadha, Mithila, Oude, Benares, Anga, Banga and Tumlook, got their respective shares. The last named Chinese traveller visited Bengal, which he notices.
Gour (derived from Gur, or ungranulated sugar)* was the most ancieut capital of Bengal. It existed for two thousand years. "It was the most magnificent city in India, of immense size, and fitted with noble buildings. It was the capital of a hundred kings, the seat of wealth and luxury. The city was destroyed by a plague several centuries ago." (Hunter's Bengal), The next capital of Bengal was Vikrampore, near Sonargong in Dacca. Although Dacca is looked upon as the Boeotia of Bengal, it was at one time a most important place. Nuddea was a capital when Luchmun Sen was the king of Bengal, and it has been celebrated as the seat of learning. Bengal had several important cities, among which may be named Sonargong near Vikrampore, and Satgong near the mouth of the Hooghly. There is a map of Bengal made in the fifteenth century, showing five large cities, which constituted a portion of the Sunderbun now under water. Cunningham, says that "the countries from the Sutledge to the Ganges were the richest and most populous districts." For more than two centuries Constantinople carried on a trade "from the banks of the Ganges and Indus. There was an intimate intercourse between Bengal and other Indian counties. Bengal merchants used to go in ships to Ceylon. On the banks of the Ganges there were several flourishing cities." The Magadha merchants used to encourage those who were bold and enterprising and at the same time cautious and circumspect. Traders from Egypt came as far as the Ganges. The Greek traders used to trade with the Ganga, a city on the banks of the river of that name and n orth-west, of Palibothra. In one part of the Bay was Calinga and in another Sonargong, called Jetemala, the capital of which was Vikrampore. The mart of Vikrampore had communication with Sylhet, Assam, Rungpore, and the Bay of Bengal. Silk, iron, skins, and malabathrum were sent from Sylhet and Assam, and spikenard from Rungpore. The exports from the mart were spikenard, pearls, malabathrum, and muslins. Pearls from Tipperah and Mymensing reached Vikrampore, called the gigantic mart. Periplus (A. B. 86-89) speaks of Kaltis as the coin of Lower Bengal, where he notices also gold and silver. Dacca continued as a distinguished city for a long time. It exported manufactures to Ethiopia, Turkey, Syria, Arabia, and Persia. Marco Polo notices spikenard from Sonargong, and Fitch (1586 A. D.) found cotton exported to Malacca and Sumatra via India and Ceylon. The two Mahomedan travellers (ninth century) speak of Bengal (Rami), exporting cotton garments, rhinoseros horns, Ling aloes and skins. Chittagong was another important mart which used to receive silk, iron and skins, from Serica (Assam,) malabathrum, a species of cinnamon Albiflora from Assum and Sylhet, and spikenard from Rungpore. The tree grew in Rungpore up to Mussorie. Malabathrum was from the leaves, and was used as a perfume. The Greeks and Romans used it in their wine.
* The derivation is, we think, open to question. — Ed. C. R.
Maltebrun states that in Bengal, Orissa and Allahabad, diamonds were plentiful. Macaulay, in his Warren Hastings speech, speaks of the "muslins of Bengal" in the Bazaars of Benares.
Pragotish is supposed to be Thibet or Assam. It prosented to Yudisthira sharp swords, javelius, spears, hatchets and battle-axes. Heeren notices a route from Bootan to Rungpore. Pemberton writes that in 1683 the trade between Bengal, Bootan and Thibet, was well-known. At Cooch Behar caravans used to assemble, and merchants came from China, Muscovy, or Tartary, to buy musk, cambals (blankets), agates, silk, pepper, and saffron of Persia. Agates were the tortoise shell forming the principal ornament of Booteah and Thibetan women. The articles which were sent to Rungpore were woollen cloths, hats, boots, small horses, and choury tailed cattle.
Dr. Hunter, in his Orissa, says that the five outlying kingdoms of Ancient India were Anga, Banga, Kalinga, Suhma, and Pundra. Anga may mean the Ganges mart on the west of Palibothra, well known to the Greek tradesmen, Banga, Bengal Proper — Kalinga on the Godavari, Suhma, eastward of Bengal, perhaps Tippera or Arracan, and poundra, or the Paundra, Vardhana of Hiouen Thsang, close to Govindaganj on the Karatoya. It included Rajshahi, Dinagepur, Rungpur, Nuddea, Beerbhoom, Burdwan, Pachowte Palame, and part of Clunar.*
* See Wilson's Vishnu Purana and Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. VI. N. S.
What Kalinga is to the Godavari, Utkal or Udra is to the Mahanadi. The formation of Kalinga is traced to an Indian sage from Northern India. Both Kalinga and Orissa had intimate intercourse with Bengal. Not only Aryans, but Yavanas, or Ionian Greeks came to Orissa from Bengal. Orissa imported Hindu literature from the valley of the Ganges, which is amply proved by the works written by the Orissa authors. From the same source Orissa received the Buddhistic religion. The promotion of agriculture led to commerce, and commerce to navigation. Both commerce and navigation were so much appreciated that "the rock inscriptions speak of navigation and ship commerce as forming part of the education of the prince." Following the example of Bengal, Orissa made good fabrics.
Dr. Taylor, in his valuable paper in the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, (Vol. XVI, Part I.) expresses an opinion that Desarna might refer to the Sunderbuns. Mr. H. T. Rainey (Calcutta Review, Vol. XXX.) writes as follows: "Thus we venture to think we satisfactorily prove the existence of population in ancient times on a broad and sound basis, and altogether independent of the existence of numerous rivers which may or may not date subsequent to the occurrence of the physical changes referred to above, and to the incursions of the Mugs and Portuguese pirates, which we know to have taken place thereafter." There are three other eminent gentlemen who have thrown some light on this subject. Colonel Gastrell "has found some ruins of masonry buildings, the traces of old courtyards, and here and there some garden plants in lot No. 211." Dr. Hunter says that remains of brick ghats and traces of tanks have also been found in isolated parts of the forest, and in one or two localities brick kilns were discovered. Mr. Blochinall says: — "The Sunderbuns — formerly called Chanderbundas or Shandabundus. In an inscription dated 1136 Sumbut, or A.D. 1077, in northern Backergunj, mention is made of a grant of land by Madhava Sen, King of Bengal, to a Brahmin. There are ruins of houses and temples which are known to exist in various places. Todar Mull's rent-roll corresponds with the north boundary of the jungle marked on the survey maps." — (Hunter's Gazetteer): — The reasonable reference is that the Sunderbun must have been inhabited and formed a part of Bengal. Sauger Island is connected with a legend contained in the Ramayan and Mahabarat (Bana Parva). The river Ganges goes as far as Hatiaghar, in the 24-Pergannahs, near the sea, in honor of king Sangor, from whom Bhagirath was descended, and who is said to have brought the Ganges to wash away the sins of his ancestors. Saugor Island has been considered a sacred place, being the asram of Kapila, and is visited by pilgrims. It appears from the Mahabharat that there was a place on the north-east of the sea before the Ganges emptied itself into it, and the formation of the island took place perhaps subsequently. In that plate Kapila resided. Yudisthira, to whom the story of Bhagirath was related, came to Sauger and bathed there. Thence be went with his brothers to Kalinga by sea. — In the Sava Parva, Bhim is described as having visited Saugor Island, which was then governed by Mlecha kings, who gave Bhim different kinds of precious stones, sandal-wood, agore, clothes, jewels, blankets, gold, &c., as a mark of allegiance.
Bengal was in the first instance Brahmanical. The aborigines were driven away, or employed as servants or labourers. The intercourse between them and the Aryas must therefore have been constant. The language of the Aryas was Sanskrit; but it ought to be borne in mind that Sanskrit was of two kinds, viz., the natural or spoken Sanskrit, resembling the Prakrit and Pali found even in the Vedas, and artificial or purified Sanskrit. Language precedes grammar, and the process of purification according to grammar is an after work. When the Rig Veda songs were chanted, they were spontaneous or inspirational, and grammar was not then in existence. The Arya immigrants, coming in contact with the non-Aryas, could not help taking many of their words in forming a language for mutual understanding. Sanskrit was thus subjected to modification, and in this way different provincial dialects sprang up. The pure Sanskrit remained intact, but was confined to learned circles; although gradually it became simpler, as the Puranas and Itihases were written in a simpler style than the Vedas, Upanishads and Darsanas. The character must have been originally Deb Nagri. Westmacott, reading an inscription found in Dinagepur and Bogra,* observes: — "The character is in that style of progress towards modern Bengali, which we find in use in the eleventh century of the Christian era." Dr. Rajendra Lala possesses a Bengali MS, which was written seven hundred years ago. We had several Kirtanas who used to sing, reciting the deeds of gods and goddesses in the Bengali language, which was then in an imperfect state. The names of the Kirtanas are Vidyapati, Chundi Das, Brindabone Das, Gobind Das and Chunder Saikur.
* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XLIV.
Although Buddhism was predominant in Bengal under Buddhist dynasties, and the language used was Pali or Magadhi, yet the Hindu literature was not extinct, and the Bengali language was being formed. It is true that the Pals were Buddhists, but they were tolerant. They appointed Hindus to important offices, and were not hostile to Brahmanism. The gradual decay of Buddhism produced a reaction in favour of Brahmanism. The original conception of God through the soul was abandoned, as such a conception was too lofty for the people at large, whom the founders of the different sects thought it absolutely necessary to work upon. Puranas and Apapuranas were written in different parts of the country in simple Sanskrit, inculcating the worship of particular gods and goddesses, finite in form but infinite in attributes.
Of the Sen kings, Ballal raised the descendants of the five Brahmins and the Kaistas who had come from Canouj, forbidding intermarriage between them and the families which were in Bengal. No less than 150 families sprang from the Canouj Brahmins. A hundred families were settled in Barendra and sixty in Rara. As regards the Kaisth families, Ghose, Bose, and Mittra, were declared to be of the first rank.
The capital of Ballal was Vikrampore. He was himself a learned man and an encourager of learning. His son, Lachman Sen, trod the footsteps of his father, and, wishing to imitate Vicramaditya, had five poets attached to his court, named Goburdhun, Smurana, Jaydeva, Kabiraj and Umapati, who were considered its gems. Of these, Jaydeva is well known as the author of Gita Gobind. He was a native of Kinduvelwa in Bengal.
Besides the above poets, there were Halayudha, Minister of Justice, who wrote Brahma Sarvasa, and several other works on Smriti, besides Banisanhar Natak; Pasapati, his brother, the chief judge and head pundit, who wrote Dasa Karma Dipika, and Pushupati Padha, and another brother of his, who wrote on Smriti, Mimansa and Ahnika Padhati. Notices of a number of works are to be found in the catalogue of Sanskrit MSS. by Dr. Rajendra Lala Mittra. In the fourteenth century Sonargong was renowned for "holy and learned men."* Before the time of Lachman, literature in Bengal was not in a state of activity.
* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XLIII.
In Tirhut, Gangasa Upadya wrote Tutwa Chintamoni about seven centuries ago, and Jadadesa Tarkalankar Bhatta, of Nuddea, wrote Turka Tipan about four centuries ago. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Vaishnavism gave an impetus to the cultivation of literature in Bengal. Chaitanya, who was born in Nuddea, was a bold reformer. He denounced caste and taught universal love. He had able co-adjutors in Nityanund and Adwita, and able disciples in Rupa and Sonaton, who were the authors of several works. Ramanand, the founder of the Ramanundi, Sardas, Tulsi Das and Krishna Das who all lived in Benares, promoted Vaishnaism by padas, duhas, and songs, which reverberated in Bengal. Of the five schools of Law, Bengal was one. Jimat Vahana wrote a work called Dayacrama Sangraha. Raghunundun lived in the sixteenth century and wrote Daya Tutwa. His fellow-students were Sisomani and Chaitanya.
In 1203 the Hindu kingdom of Bengal had become extinct on Buktyar Khilijy taking Nuddea. Bengal then consisted of five divisions: — 'Rara, west of the Hugli and south of the Ganges; 2, Bugdi, Delta of the Ganges; 3, Banga, east of, and beyond, the Delta; 4, Barendra, north of the Padma and between the Karatoya and Mahananda rivers; 5, Mithila, west of the Mahananda. Bengal meant Laknauti, Satagon, and Sonargon. Laknauti consisted of Barendra, with Ducat, and of Raur, to which Lakhnau belonged.*
* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XLII.
Although Bengal ceased to be the Hindu Bengal from 1230 A. D., yet in 1550 a king of Orissa was the king of Bengal, and his name was Telinga. The limits of his kingdom were: North, from Tribeni to Hugli, through Bissenpore to the frontier of Putkar; East, the river Hugli, and South, the Godavari, or the Ganga Godavari, and West from Singbhoom to Sonapore. The chief city was Satgong, not far to the North of Hugli.*
* Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. XVI, Part I.
He was the last independent king of Orissa. A ghaut and a temple in Tribeni are attributed to him. He was defeated and Bengal again fell into the hands of the Mahomedans (Cal. Rev.).
A BUDDHIST MISSION TO THE UNITED STATES.
The Tokio (Japan) Times says:
The famous Hon-guwan-ji of Kioto — perhaps the wealthiest and most influential of the various sects of Buddhism in Japan — established a mission in Shanghai some years ago, but is not carrying on any great work of conversion among the Chinese. In imitation of some of the Christian missions of Japan and China, it has, in connection with its more legitimate work, a dispensary, where the poor may obtain advice and medicine free of charge, and ghostly counsel as well. The mission is situated in the Kiangse road, and occupies extensive and handsome premises.
This is the sect, it will be remembered, from which it has been proposed to send missionaries to the United States and Europe, to convert the poor benighted heathen of those countries from the errors of Christianity to the only true faith. It is a fact that there is in the handsome new college of the sect in Kioto a number of young men who are being instructed in English and trained in theology with the view of their being ultimately sent across the seas with the object mentioned.
THE IONIAN THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY,
The following is a list of officers elected under the Charter just issued from the Parent Society: —
President: Professor Pasquale Meuelao, D. L.
Vice-president: Count Dr. Nicolas de Gonemys, M. D.
Corresponding Secretary: Otho Alexander, Esq.
Recording Secretary: Alexander Rombotti, Esq.
Treasurer: Demetrio Socolis, Esq.
THE VOYAGE FROM BOMBAY TO POINT DE GALLE during the dry months, by one of the fine steamers of the British India S. N. Co., touching at all the Coast ports, is charming. With an agreeable captain, good company, and reasonable immunity from sea-sickness, it is so like a yachting excursion that one is sorry when the journey is ended. To come back in the S. W. Monsoon, as we did, is quite another affair.
TESTING THE BEWITCHED MIRROR THEORY.
By Babu Asu Tosh Mitra.
The facts, related under the title of "the Bewitched Mirror," in the THEOSOPHIST of June last, must have excited curiosity, if nothing else, in the minds of all its readers. At the suggestion of my friend Babu Avinas Chandra Banerjee, L. M. S., I decided to make the trial myself; and on the very day I received the suggestion, I made arrangements, very simple as they were, to repeat Prince Tzeretelif's experiment. We did not consider it "all bosh," as the companion of Mr. Ivanovitch's friend remarked, neither did we take it to be like the one "of being unable to eat champagne out of a soup-plate with a large spoon without perceiving the devil at the bottom of the plate." We admit that we are not spiritualists, but we are truth-seekers and do not, like many, consider it infra dig to give any attention to spiritualism; and we are always glad to spare both time and trouble to make any research in that secret science.
Our field of experiment was a room within the compound of the Medical College, Calcutta, known as the Prosector's Room — where more than a thousand dead bodies have been dissected. It was quite solitary.
After half-past eleven at night, I entered the room, taking a lighted candle in each hand; and slowly approached the mirror in which was reflected part of a skeleton which stands at a little distance. I glanced at my watch: it was a couple of minutes to the time. Meanwhile I was pondering over a serious subject — soul, its immortality, its destiny, &c.; my thoughts coming and going by flashes.
All was quiet. In an adjacent hall the clock struck — tong, tong,, tong — twelve times. I straightened myself up and, firmly looking upon my own reflection in the mirror, pronounced slowly, loudly, and distinctly "A— To— sh— Mi— tra"! I kept my eyes fixed upon the mirror, quite forgetting the external world.
After a good long time (nearly five minutes), I repeated my name for the second time. No change in the mirror, neither anything mystical in myself. My hands and legs were paining, my eye-sight was growing dim, as is natural when one stares long at one object continuously. I repeated my name for the third time, but nothing came of it. At last, being disappointed, I went off and found it was twenty minutes after twelve. I repeated the experiment on three subsequent nights with similar results. On the fifth day, my friend Babu Gopal Chunder Mookerjee tried it in a separate room, and he also was unsuccessful.
I would like to know if any other reader of the THEOSOPHIST has tried it, for it might be that the effects described happen only with certain persons.
Medical College, Calcutta,
l0th June 1880.
The experimental plan, followed in this instance by the Babu, is the only one by which it may be discovered how much truth there is in the time-honoured legends, traditions, and superstitious observances of modern nations. If his and his friend's tests prove nothing else, they certainly show that not every one, who invokes himself in a mirror at midnight by the light of two candles, will, of necessity, be appalled by ghostly apparitions. But his own common sense has probably suggested what is no doubt the fact of the case, viz., that the phenomena described by Prince Tzeretclif, in our June number, are observable only by persons of a peculiar temperament. This is certainly the rule in every other department of psychic phenomena. As regards the "Bewitched Mirror" tale we printed it as an illustration of one of the oldest of Slavic beliefs, leaving it to the reader to put the test or not as it pleased him best. — ED.
SOBS, SODS AND POSIES.
A few weeks ago, one George Nairns, a British sailor, brutally murdered at Calcutta a poor police sepoy who was quietly standing on his beat, and with whom he had never spoken or even exchanged a word before. The miscreant knocked down his victim, and then cut his throat with a knife which he had brought ashore purposely to kill some one with. He was tried and convicted, but recommended to mercy by the jury. But the Court, reprimanding the jurors for a recommendation so utterly uncalled for under the circumstances, gave sentence; and the Government of India, upon being appealed to, very sensibly and justly India affirmed the decision of the Court. Well, this red-handed murderer was hung, the other day, and his body interred at the Scotch Burial Ground, Calcutta. The Indian Daily News says:
There were present at the cemetery, some time before the funeral cortege arrived, about fifty ladies and gentlemen. On the arrival of the hearse, the coffin, which bore the inscription of "George Nairns, executed July 23rd 1880, aged 29 years," was covered by an Union Jack, and was shouldered by six of Nairus's shipmates, and carried to the foot of the grave. The Rev. Mr. Gillan officiated, and in the first instance read out those portions of scripture which Nairns was most fond of hearing read to him after his condemnation. He then referred in general to the terms of the statement made by Nairns on the scaffold, and more particularly addressing the sailors present, he warned them to take example from the fate which had befallen Nairns, and earnestly advised them to avoid the low Native liquor shops. The usual prayers were then offered up. 0n the coffin being lowered into the grave, many a sod was thrown in pityingly, and many a merciful womanly hand flung in a bunch of flowers, and many a head was turned aside to wipe away a tear for the shameful end of a young man whose career had promised much better things. At the conclusion, the Rev. Mr. Godwin, assisted by several ladies who were present, sang the hymn, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus."
Who would not be a murderer of sepoys, after that! Fifty gushing ladies and gentlemen; the Union Jack to enwrap one's coffin; consoling texts read from the Bible, his favourites after his condemnation (cheap country liquor was his speciality before); sods thrown "pityingly" in — for good luck, doubtless, as slippers are thrown at weddings; sweet nose gays; and pearly tears raining down fair cheeks — what more could any respectable assassin demand? What, indeed, but to know that, like poor Rip Van Winkle's drink, this murder should not count against him. And even this comfort was not withheld by the Church for, to top off all, the winsome Reverend Godwin and his fair slobberers launched out with "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." Happy George! It is to be regretted, however, that our Calcutta contemporary omitted one important fact, without knowing which the reader cannot fully appreciate the beauties of the Christian Atonement. In whose arms, let us ask, is the murdered sepoy "safe"?
A BUDDHIST HYMN.
By D. M. Strong, Major, 10th Bengal Lancers.
As soft as life by Gunga
Two thousand cycles since,
Thy words, for which we hunger
Mild Master, Saviour, Prince,
Have blessed us, peace or trial;
Untaught by church and priests
To stain our pure denial
With lust for Swerga's feasts.*
A while with Love thou rested,
A father's joy thou knew,
Thus all our weakness tested,
Discerned the false and true.
As lonely spoonbill winging
To brood in some wild mere,
Maybe, on woes out-springing
From life — the strife, the fear:
So thou, dear Lord, didst leave us
And learnt the Rightful Way —
Each one his burden grievous
Himself can cast away.
* An author on Buddhism has remarked that the true Buddhist does not mar the purity
of his self-denial in this life, by lusting after the spiritual joys of a world to come.
ONE THEOSOPHIST'S VIEW OF MAN'S POSITION AND PROSPECTS.*
By W. F. Kirby, F. T. S.
* A paper read before the British Theosophical Society, May 2, 1880.
Children of Maya, and living in more senses than one in the Kali-Yug, how can we arrive at truth; we who have no knowledge of the absolute, nor any standard by which we can attain to absolute truth? Only, as it seems to me, by ascertaining from the past and present exactly where we stand.
The famous parable, propounded 1250 years ago, on the occasion of the arrival of some of the earliest Christian missionaries to the English, at the court of King Edwin of Northumberland, is as true now as on the day when it was spoken. "Truly the life of a man in this world, compared with that life whereof we wot not, is on this wise. It is as when thou, O King, art sitting at supper with thine Aldermen and thy Thanes in the time of winter, when the hearth is lighted in the midst, and the hall is warm, but without, the rains and the snow are falling and the winds are howling; then cometh a sparrow, and flieth through the house, she cometh in by one door and goeth out by another. While she is in the house she feeleth not the storm of winter, but yet when a little moment of rest is passed, she flieth again into the storm, and passeth away from our eyes. So is it with the life of man, it is but for a moment what goeth afore it, and what cometh after it, wot we not at all. Wherefore if these strangers can tell us aught, that we may know whence man cometh and whither he goeth, let us hearken to them and follow their law."
It is doubtful whether the Teutonic tribes brought any thing with them from the common home of the Aryans in Central Asia, except exoteric fragments of some Oriental religion, nor does it appear that they were ever fully initiated, like their predecessors in Europe, and the Christian nations within the limits of the Roman Empire. But before I trace down the growth of our present knowledge, I would point out that whereas the seeds of many of the greatest advances in knowledge or intellectual development have been sown among the Latins, they have borne no fruit until transplanted to German soil.* I have just said that it is very doubtful whether the Teutonic nations were ever initiated, either before their conversion to Christianity, or afterwards; and therefore they eagerly took up the great intellectual movement of the Reformation. But the leaders of the Reformation shared in the ignorance and bigotry of their age, and endeavoured to bind all succeeding ages down to a barren worship of the letter, which has rendered Protestantism, especially in its more extreme forms, the baldest and most exoteric of all religions. Yet, they threw open the Bible to all, and the light has truly shone amid the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, for the more or less hidden wisdom, which it contains, especially that of the New Testament, has done much to counteract the evil tendency of the theology of the reformers. To digress for a moment, let me say that there are three very distinct meanings jumbled up in the English translation of the Gospels, under the word Heaven. In the synoptic Gospels the word is almost always in the plural, (except where it means the sky) and is evidently used for the Spiritual Worlds. The second meaning, already mentioned, is the sky. In this case the word is in the singular, and the meaning is obvious from the context. The third meaning is to be found in the Gospel of John. Here the word is in the singular, and usually denotes the state whence Christ descended, and to which he was to return, or in plain terms, Nirvana.
* The Reformation, the Circulation of the Blood, and Modern Astronomy may be mentioned in illustration.
But even in physical matters, the horizon of Europeans, 300 or 400 years ago, was fearfully contracted. The earth was of very limited extent and duration to them: yet it was the only important portion of the universe, except Heaven and Hell. Their ideas were even more cramped than those of the Mohammadans, (narrow as is exoteric Mohammadanism), for the Arabs extended their voyages to Spain, India, China, the Aru Islands, Zanzibar, and Madagascar, and perhaps further; and, in addition to their regarding the earth as of vast extent (far exceeding its real dimensions), they had imported part of the Indian metaphorical cosmogonies, which greatly enlarged their ideas of the vastness of the universe.*
* See the Story of Bulookiya in the Arabian Nights.
At length, however, came Galileo and Columbus, and the real dimensions and character of the earth and the physical universe were discovered.
After this came Rationalism, demanding that all knowledge, resting on authority, should produce its credentials. Its mission is to sweep away the falsities of the past to prepare for the future, and this work is as yet incomplete. We can afford, however, to look on calmly, for it is not our mission to destroy, but to build up, and the Rationalistic plough only prepares the soil for the good seed of future progress.
Next came Geology, extending our view backwards and forwards, far beyond the 6,000 years of the popular theology. Then came the discovery of the antiquity of man, and of principles of evolution, sweeping away the materialistic interpretation of Genesis. Finally, the discovery of spectrum analysis has established the unity of the physical universe, and the rise of Spiritualism has opened before us the vast horizons of the spiritual universe.
Nationally, we have everything to encourage us. We are not a race that has retrograded, and although the earlier civilisations may have risen to a higher level than our own, yet we are a new people, risen within a very few centuries from utter barbarism to the station which we occupy at present.
But we cannot get rid so easily of the contracted ideas which prevailed until, as it were, yesterday, respecting space and time. Just as our Christian brethren, without exception, look forward to earn "Heaven" by one well-spent life, so are we too liable to look to Nirvana as attainable by the single sustained effort of a single life. We do not consider that we inhabit a very small and very inferior world, and that our arm is still too short to reach the sun; but, like blind men restored to sight, we think we can touch anything we can see. Even as regards the material universe, I think I am much within the mark in saying that a pea, placed in the middle of one of our largest parks, would not more than represent the proportion borne by our earth to the solar system alone. Beyond the system it would take 200,000 years to count the number of miles to the nearest fixed star.
You will ask me, what of the accomplished union with God, of which the mystics speak? This, I think, I can explain by referring to Swedenborg, who says that, in some of the inferior planets, the inhabitants are permitted to worship the angel (or the society of angels), appointed to rule over them. In another passage he says that the higher the society, the more it appears to the angels that they act of themselves, but the more certainly they know that they speak and act from the Lord alone; that is, as I take it, from the society next above them, through which the divine influx descends to them. Again, there is understood to be perfect communion of thought and feeling within the higher societies, so that the thought or act of any member is felt as the thought or act of all. Hence it would seem to any man who succeeded in placing himself temporarily en rapport with such a society, that he had become one with God; and his feelings would be practically incommunicable to any one who had had no similar experience. If this view is correct, it will go far to explain such ideas as absorption of individuality, which are often used without any very clear and definite sense being attached to them.
Again, very few generations separate the savage from the sage. The links have existed, but on looking back through history they shade away. Shall one material existence, even on earth, be sufficient for our development, if it requires material existence at all?* Infinite are the phases of human life, even here, nor could any two existences be other than widely different. Hence a new earthly existence would be to all intents and purposes as new a life as the transfer from one spiritual society to another. And there must be a still greater difference between planet and planet. Let us look rather to slow and sure steps for advancement, than attempt to scale the Heavens at a bound, and thus repeat the error of the Christians. The earth is, (as the Arabs say, speaking of the habitable portion of the earth, compared with their idea of what is uninhabited,) as a tent in a desert; and within the vast limits of the solar system, there must be, around and beyond the material worlds, worlds within worlds of spiritual universes, all which lie before us, as we pass to and fro, first between the earth and its dependent spheres (for I greatly doubt if we are really in communication with any spiritual spheres at all, except those immediately dependent on the earth), and then from planet to planet, our residence in each planet, including residence in its dependent spheres, till we reach the suns, and thus:
"From star to star,
From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe stretches its flaming wall."
* Dr. Temple has shown us that the development of the race is as the development of the individual, and must not the converse be true, that the development of the individual is as that of the race?
But beyond the earths, beyond the spheres, beyond the sun, beyond Sirius, beyond Alcyone, lies Nirvana, the state of the pure spirits, far above any material or even fluidic world, and we are told that when a Buddha is about to attain it, he would spurn from him with utter scorn the offer of becoming the king of a Deva-Loka, (one of the highest spiritual worlds), for a hundred million years; or any other conceivable blessedness, in exchange, although his power over the material universe has become practically infinite.
"Take all the pleasures of all the spheres,
And multiply each through endless years;
One minute of Heaven is worth them all."
Truly, we yet stand low, very low on one of the rungs of Jacob's ladder, with its foot in the primeval nebula, and its head in Nirvana. Let us not suppose that one good life can deserve Nirvana, any more than one evil life can deserve eternal suffering.
Howitt once scoffed at a visit to all the worlds in the universe as "rather a long journey." Granted, but what matters time or space to us if we have an eternal existence before us? All our lives must be connected together; and when we enter a world, we bring our capacities, and I doubt not, our friends with us. The universe being held together by bonds of sympathy, shall it not be the case with spirits from life to life? But I doubt if spiritual affinity depends on sex. Without caring to go into details, I may say that as I interpret well-known facts of physiology, sex is a mere bodily accident, and not inherent in the spirit. Here, in states of society where the sexes are on a comparative equality, we regard the deepest affection as conjugal; but where this is not the case, in ancient and especially in Eastern countries, the deepest affections we read of are not always so. It is clear that Achilles was far more sincerely attached to Patroclus than to Briseis, and that David was far more attached to Jonathan than to Michael. The deepest affection, too, may sometimes exist between relatives, as in the curious instance, cited by Miss Blackwell, of a mother and daughter, who were so deeply attached that when the former died, she immediately sought and obtained permission to reincarnate herself as her daughter's child.
Let us not be led astray by the contracted horizons and the narrow ideas of the past, but let us look upon the past and future as becomes beings within finite possibilities before us, in an infinite universe, if we will only free ourselves from prejudice, and work and wait patiently, without hoping for or grasping at everything at once.
It is sometimes argued that the other planets, and much more the suns, are too hot or too cold to support life; but I think it more reasonable to believe that all, or nearly all, the planets are inhabited by beings adapted to their physical condition. Still less can I suppose life to be absent in the suns, themselves the centres of life to the planets around them. They are probably the abode either of the spirits controlling the systems, or of spirits not wholly free from the last link binding them to the materiality of the system which they at present inhabit.* Even the prose Edda tells us that "those not indigenous thereto cannot enter Muspellheim." Of course nothing material, as we understand the word, could inhabit even the superior planets, much less the suns.
* The Gods and their avatars are always symbolised by the sun.
HEALTH OF THE EYES.
By Prof. D. S. Martin.
The eye is one of the most sensitive and complicated of all the organs of the human body. It is intimately connected both with the brain and nervous system on the one hand, and with the general system of the circulation on the other. In its relation with the brain, it shares in all the various conditions of nervous excitement or depression, labor or repose. In its connection with the general circulation, it is affected by all irregularities of the system, and is, therefore, liable to injury in any defective state of the general health.
There are many ways in which this most important organ is apt to receive harm, through ignorance of the need that there is of care in its use. It is sufficient to refer to a few of the most frequent of these causes; and among them may be particularly mentioned three, viz: — Straining the eyes, by working in defective, or in excessive, light — Overwork, or extreme and protracted exertion of the eyesight — Using the eyes when in an irritated or weakened state.
As regards straining the eyes, nothing is more common than the habit of trying to work or read after the daylight has begun to fade in the afternoon. Persons are anxious to finish something that they are engaged upon, and so continue the effort to work long after the light is insufficient and the attempt injurious. The members of a family should in this respect keep watch over one another, to prevent this tendency. In the same way at night, care should be taken never to carry on any work which strains the eyes, by an imperfect artificial light. If there is the least sense of effort in using the eyes, or any want of ease and comfort in so doing, another lamp, candle, or burner should be lighted; or else, any work, demanding much exertion of the sight, should cease.
As regards overwork of the eyes, the remark last made applies with equal force. However sufficient the light may be, if at any time, after working awhile, there comes on a sense of effort or weariness of eyesight, the work should be stopped. Resting the eyes for a time will generally enable a person to go on again without harm: this may be done either by closing the eyes, and, if possible, sleeping for a little while, or by walking out somewhat in the open air and allowing the eyes to range over distant objects, especially green landscapes, instead of dwelling upon those that are small and close.
The third point, that of use of the eyes when irritated or weakened in any way, is one of great consequence. The tendency to harm from this source may arise from weakness either of the eyes themselves, or of the general health of the system, — very frequently from both together. Any impaired state of general health is very apt to influence the eyes; and persons are not aware how little exertion it takes, at such times, to injure these delicate organs. Especially is this the case during and after recovery from illness.
Parents and teachers should be careful in regard to the habits of children and young persons. They should never be allowed to read and study under either of the circumstances described, viz.: after daylight begins to fade, or by imperfect light at night. Particular care should also be exercised to prevent the habit of holding the object unnecessarily close to the eye, or of lowering the head near to the object; 12 inches being the least and about 20 inches the maximum distance for the book or work from the eye, in ordinary cases. Seats ought always to be so adjusted to the height of tables or desks, that it shall not be necessary for persons to stoop over into a "round-shouldered" position in order to work, or to read or write.
There are also some other important points to be observed, particularly with regard to the manner and the amount in which strong light is allowed to fall upon the eye or upon the objects whereon it is engaged. The quantity of light tolerated by the eye is limited. We cannot look at the sun with impunity. Even luminous objects, far less brilliant than the sun, cause a painful sensation when their rays strike directly upon the eye. The more uniformly the light is dispersed and the less directly its rays penetrate the eye, the more beneficial is its action. The uniformly dispersed daylight serves as the best example. Every violent and sudden contrast, between light and darkness, is disagreeable, and becomes injurious if frequently repeated. Flickering light is likewise unpleasant and fatiguing. The simultaneous action of luminous contrasts is also harmful. Such contrasts are produced when a bright light is covered by a dark shade. The small space lighted is intensified by the broad dark zone of shadow around it; and under the influence of such contrary states of illumination, the eyes are strained and so tire easily. A shade of ground glass or porcelain, covering the flame and causing a somewhat subdued but uniform illumination, is far preferable to a dark shade. In these materials we possess a powerful means of softening a dazzling light by dispersion of its rays.
Another matter of care is, that we should not directly face low windows through which the light strikes. Skylight, or light from above, is the best light for all work not requiring a bent position of the head, and, therefore, deserves a far more general application in the construction of factories, workshops, schools, and other buildings, or in the methods of artificial illumination. In writing or similar handwork, the light should strike from the left side, in order to avoid the shadow cast by the right hand; and in all cases it is far better that the light should come from above than from below. For this reason, those window-shades, that raise and lower from the bottom, are preferable to the ordinary ones that are rolled at the top, or to the window awnings that shut out the light of the sky, and admit it only from below. It is, therefore, important that parents and teachers in schools should also see to it that pupils do not study with the direct rays of the sunshine falling on the book, or desk, or floor, and that they do not, on the other hand, sit directly facing low windows, as the eyes become dazzled by either of these errors, and injury may result.
When there is perceived any great sensitiveness of the eyes towards very bright or excessive light, towards white and reflecting objects of work, or towards the reflection of the sun-light from snow and other white surfaces, the use of spectacles with plain light blue or gray (so-called London smoke) glasses is generally safe and a great relief and protection, as it softens the painful brilliancy, without interfering with ready sight. Blue veils, to some extent, answer the same purpose as blue glasses.
In any case of persistent uneasiness, weakness, or other observed defect of the eyes, recourse should be had promptly to a competent occulist. ,— Popular Health Almanac.
AT WHATSOEVER MOMENT YOU CATCH YOURSELF trying to persuade yourself that you are particularly humble, be assured that then you are farthest from humility.
THE VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY.
Expounded by the Society of Benares Pandits, and translated for the THEOSOPHIST.
By Pandit Surya Narayan, Sec'y.
The subject of our last discussion was that Purushartha (human effort) is the Aaron's serpent that overwhelms the result of the Praravdha actions. This enjoins Jiva to take an uninterrupted course towards Purushsartha for the knowledge of those things, which may succeed in putting to an end the troubles of this life from its root, that they may not in time see the light again. The troubles of this life are four in number: — (l) relating to the body () (2) relating to the mind ()* (3) relating to beings () and (4) relating to a tutelary or presiding deity (). The first istianity which believes in a divine Trinity, against Mahomedanism which believes in one God, against Hinduism which believes in many gods, but they favour Buddhism which believes in no God. We think this is not a fair statement of the case. The Theosophists say they have examined the various systems of religion which prevail in Europe and America and are dissatisfied with all of them, that, from reading and examining the different systems, they have discovered in Buddhism the glimpses of many excellent truths, buried in the dusty corruptions of many ages and that they have come here personally to study Buddhism. Surely there can be nothing in this that is perversive of morals or of good Government. Every man, who professes a religion, necessarily denies, at least by implication, the truth of all other religions than his own. The Theosophists only go a step further and deny all religions without an exception. But they do not stop there. They believe in a future state of happiness or misery, they obey the dictates of their conscience, some deny the existence of a personal God, but all unite in inquiring after a closer knowledge of the attributes of God. Thus far the picture is grand, but when the Theosophists tell of initiations and shiboleths, we cannot help thinking that they are clogging a truly noble cause by the adoption group includes the various sorts of diseases with which a man is attacked; the second come in the form of some desire or object, anger, thoughts and the like; the third sort of trouble, which is experienced by Jiva, is set on foot by the agency of material beings, as, for instance, serpents, tigers, and various other hurtful creatures; and the fourth, or last, is that which is brought about by the agency of spiritual beings. Though there are special means of annihilating the miseries above referred to, still at the same time there is every probability of their recursion at any time. As far as the present subject is concerned, it is worthy of notice that man should promptly take in hand the attainment of the knowledge of those things only which may extirpate his troubles and leave no room for their germs to grow again. This is what we mean by the distinction between the spiritual () and non-spiritual ().
* By this word the Vedanta doctrine, which is very similar to that of the Sankhya, signifies an internal urgan standing between the organs of perception and of action, as an eleventh organ which partatkes of the nature of both.
If the misconception of a thing results from the unconsciousness of its real nature, it is quite clear that the knowledge of its true nature will efface from our memory the inaccurate impressions of things so long made. As, for example, the figure of a piece of rope in the dark involves the existence of the different kinds of illusions; viz., a serpent, a rod, or a stream of wine, &c.; while the true knowledge of that rope, which makes the sweet bells of any one's intellect jangle out of tune, is sure to subside the fumes of existing delusiveness caused by his ignorance.
In the same manner it is simply the unconsciousness of his real nature that makes Jiva cast his regards about him as a doer or an enjoyer, &c., which, in case, whenever he recognises his real nature, passes into empty air. Most people say that the Vedantis (followers of the Vedanta doctrine), who are not exempt from the actions of this working day-life, are surely accessories before the fact and washing the blackamoor white, if they deny in being called doers or enjoyers, though they safely enjoy the results of their actions at the same time. But this is, in fact, a mere misconception of those who view the subject in this light, for this Jiva, being a portion or rather a reflected beam of that Great and Glorious fountain-head of light, must necessarily be similar in qualities attached to the former. As Brahma does not possess the quality of a doer or an enjoyer, &c., so does Jiva, and this end can be secured by merely knowing his real form; for this body, the seat of our efforts, which is made up of the five elements, is not the Jiva we mean, and if we do that, it will bring into light a dead set upon our arguments, the result of which will prove a perfect Babel. It is this. Supposing this Jiva to have a beginning and an end like the body, the performance of such meritorious actions as giving alms to the poor, showing mercy upon living beings, speaking the truth, neither himself committing theft nor instigating any other to do so, and venerating Ishwara () &c., is worth placing in the back-ground, because there is no chance of that Jiva, who is dead, now to come into existence again in all his perfect lineaments, as before, to enjoy the results of those actions which remained dormant in his previous existence. We are thus led to conclude that man undergoes the happiness or misery of this world without any cause, because, when there is no transmigration of soul, how can we come to the point that the happiness or misery, as mentioned above, is due to the actions done in previous life. (This is taken into consideration in that case only where there is no direct or straightforward cause of their occurrence in a present life.) And also it gives rise to this defect that Jiva enjoys the fruits of those actions, which he has not done, and is deprived, instead of it, of the fruits of those which have not been done by his agency. The organs of the body () can never be called Jiva, because this chemical combination of atoms and molecules (body) is not totally brought to ruin in the absence of any one of them, and that man can live as deaf, blind and dumb, &c. Similarly we cannot designate the vitality or the vital action of life () as Jiva, because it is destitute of senses. As, for example, if a man takes away anything from near a man lost in sleep, the vital action though at work at that time, cannot determine what happens near the man.
After having made manifest the above statement, we run away with the notion that mana (the eleventh organ) cannot also fulfil the required conditions. When a man is sleeping soundly, he is quite destitute of mana. This gives rise to a defect as in one of the above statements which furnishes Jiva with the enjoyment of the result of the actions not done by him and the destruction of those brought into exercise in the present life. After having made manifest the above statement, we ran away with the notion that mana (the eleventh organ) cannot also fulfil the required conditions. When a man is sleeping soundly, he is quite destitute of mana. This gives rise to a defect as in one of the above statements which furnishes Jiva with the enjoyment of the result of the actions not done by him and the destruction of those brought into exercise in the present life. Another defect is when a man awakes from sleep he says he has slept much, and had no regard about any other thing else. Now one should not recollect this fact when he is asleep, because recollection is due to things once seen in a wakeful state and that he cannot form an idea of that thing which he has never seen. Had this unconsciousness not been experienced during sleep, its recollection would never have been brought into light when awaking. But we have already said that () and () are both absent during sleep, then we shall have to say that it is Jiva only who has that unconsciousness in view. Therefore, mana, (the eleventh organ) is not Jiva.
Jiva, who is existing in all times, i. e., in sound sleep, dream or wakeful states, is throwing light everywhere and is as free from the disguises as Brahma. He, being a portion of Him whose influence pervades the whole Universe, is not a doer, or an enjoyer, &c., and breaks loose from the four kinds of troubles enumerated above, on recognising his real form or nature.
[From the Colombo (Ceylon) Examiner]
So far as we can understand the doctrines of this Society, or, to speak more correctly, so far as Colonel OLCOTT has let us know them from his lecture, there is nothing in them to provoke the hostility of any religionists. The Theosophists avow that they hold no article of faith, they oppose none, and are ready to welcome all classes of belief and shades of opinion into the Universal Brotherhood of which they are the apostles. They are mere searchers after truth, and they invite all classes and conditions of men to assist them in their search. The human intellect has busied itself with this search from the earliest ages, and the myth of the Golden Fleece and the Holy Grail are examples of a phase of human faith which finds perpetual repetition even in our days of advanced civilization, when railways and telegraphs, and the electric light — not to mention less recondite agencies of physical force — have well nigh disillusioned the mind of its tendency towards mysticism and the traditions of the superstition. Nevertheless, that there is a latent principle in us, which hankers after the unknown, a longing to get at the unknowable, is sufficiently attested by the multitude of well-educated men who have devoted their lives to the solution of this great problem. They have all confessedly been searching FOR THE TRUTH, but so long as their search is made with due humility and earnestness, no man, who has a firm faith in what he believes is the truth and the excellence of his own system of faith, can quarrel with the Theosophists. Their minds are a tabula rasa, so to speak, and ready to receive impressions. And it is left to those, who differ from them, to step in and impress their religion on them if they can. As our information goes, no one in Ceylon or elsewhere has attempted this, though a Ceylon journalist has permitted himself the privilege of attacking them.
A polemical countryman of ours, we hear, challenged them to a public debate, but this they declined to accept. Abuse and public debates are the worst instruments of conversion, and if the Theosophists despised the one and declined the other, they have acted with commendable prudence. They tell us they have a conscientious mission to perform, and we see them labouring earnestly in the discharge of their self-imposed duties. They may be mistaken in their mission, and their labours may be altogether vain. Still the spirit of research, which they are now striving to infuse into the minds of our torpid countrymen, cannot but fail to lead to good results; especially if the principle of Universal Brotherhood, which they advocate, lead to the demolition of the most pernicious and demoralizing caste system which, in spite of the doctrines of equality and fraternity preached by GOUTAMA BUDDHA, still enthrals the people of this country. But, says their adversary, these are dangerous men; though they have no dangerous doctrines to teach, yet by their example they teach people to throw off the restraints of all existing religions: they preach against Christianity which believes in a divine Trinity, against Mahomedanism which believes in one God, against Hinduism which believes in many gods, but they favor Buddhism which believes in no God. We think this is not a fair statement. The Theosophists say they have examined the various systems of religion which prevail in Europe and America and are dissatisfied with all of them, that, from reading and examining the different systems, they have discovered in Buddhism the glimpses of many excellent truths, buried in the dusty corruptions of many ages and that they have come here personally to study Buddhism. Surely there can be nothing in this that is perversive of morals or good government. Every man, who professes a religion, necessarily denies, at least by implication, the truth of other religions than his own. Theosophists only go a step further and deny all religions without an exception. But they do not stop there. They believe in a future state of happiness or misery, they obey the dictates of their conscience, some deny the existence of a personal God, but all unite in inquiring after a closer knowledge of the attributes of God. Thus far the picture is grand, but when the Theosophists talk of initiations and shiboleths, we cannot help thinking that they are clogging a truly noble cause by the adoption of vapid formalities. We are told that the Theosophists are in possession of faculties which were once ascribed to magic, and that such facilities ought not to be imparted except to the initiated, and even amongst the initiated, not to all but to the most approved of them.
The so-called occult sciences and the black arts have long been exploded,* and though the votaries of modern spiritualism would seem to have revived faith in the old direction, it would be impossible in this matter-of-fact age, an age which refuses to take any thing on trust, be it ever so highly recommended, for any attempt to lead the mind out of the groove of the inductive logic of cause and effect, to succeed at the end. We have neither partiality nor prejudice for the Theosophists; we believe they are actuated by the very best and noblest of motives — that of elevating their brother men, irrespective of caste and color, to the higher level of a Universal Brotherhood. In this great emission they ought to command the respect and the sympathy of all true philanthropes, though, as in the case of all reformers they must be prepared to encounter obstacles and opposition, and even obloquy; but if, as we doubt not, they believe in the greatness of the work before them, and endeavor conscientiously to carry it out, no lover of his kind will grudge them whatever success they may achieve.
* Perhaps not. — ED. THEOS.
It highly gratified our Delegates to Ceylon to find that not only every educated priest and layman, but the uneducated people of that Island also, knew the possibility of man's acquiring the exalted psychical powers of adeptship, and the fact that they had often been acquired. At Bentota, we were taken to a temple where a community of 500 of these Rahats, or adepts, had formerly resided. Nay, we even met those who had quite recently encountered such holy men; and a certain eminent priest, who joined our Society, was shortly after permitted to see and exchange some of our signs of recognition with one. It is true that, as in India and Egypt, there is a prevalent idea that the term for the manifestation of the highest grades of rahatship (Rahat or Arahat is the Pali equivalent for the Sanskrit Rishi — one who has developed his psychical powers to their fullest extent) has expired, but this comes from a mistaken notion that Buddha himself had limited the period of such development to one millenium after his death. To set this matter at rest we here give a translation by Mr. Frederic Dias, Pandit of the Galle Thesophical Society, of passages which may be regarded as absolutely authoritative. They were kindly collected for us by the chief assistant priest of the Parmananda Vihare, at Galle. — ED.
An opinion is almost universally current among the literary class of Buddhists, that the period of the world for attaining to Rahatship has expired, and the present age is only a theoretical period of the Yoga-system. That this opinion is erroneous, is evident from the numerous passages of the Buddhistical Scriptures where the Dhyana system is described and the practical course of contemplation discussed. From the many detailed accounts of Rahatship, the following are extracted: —
"Digha Nikaya." (Section treating on Dhyana System. Parinibberica Suttan.")
Imecha Subadda Bhikku Samma Vihareiyun Asunno Loko Arahantohi.
"Hear Subhaddra. The world will not be devoid of Rahats if the Yogis in my dispensation will and truly perform my precepts."
"Manorata -----+Purani Angottara Atawaeva."
Buddhananhi parinibbanato wassa sahana Mewa patisambhida nibbattetun sakkenti tatoparancha Abhinna tatopi Asakkenta tino wijja nibbamtenti gachetanti kalatapi nibbattelun Adakkento sukkauwepanaka honti.
Within a period of one thousand years from the temporal death of Buddha, the sacerdotal order will attain to that grade of Rabat termed 'Siwupilidimbiapat Rahat' (the 1st order). At the lapse of this period the sacerdotal order will attain to the grade termed 'Shat Abhigna' (the 2nd order). In the course of time the sacerdotal order will attain to the grade 'Tividdhya' (3rd order). After a further lapse of time this grade will also cease, and the priesthood will attain only 'Suska Widarsaka' (4th order).
Among these four grades of Rahat a limited time is defined only to the first order. And no defined period is assigned to the prevalence of the other three orders.
"Milindapprasna," — By the Rahat Magasena.
"As a pond is kept filled up with water by the continual pouring of rain; as a conflagration is kept up by feeding the fire with dry wood; as a glass is lustred by frequent cleaning; even so by the invariable observance of the enjoined devotional rules, and by indefatigable exertion to lead a pure life on the part of the priesthood, the world will not be devoid of Rahats."
So it is evident that the attainment of Rahatship has no defined period.
(To be continued)
SOLAR VOLCANOES, OR SPOTS UPON THE SUN.
By D. E. Dudley, M. D., Councillor of the Theosophical Society.
Having with our four-inch, clear aperture, Clark and Son's telescope, watched, during the past months, those portentous spots upon the sun's disk, which have of late excited such general wonder and caused redoubled attention among astronomers, I contribute the following in the hope that it may interest some of your numerous readers, miscellaneous as they are in nationalities, creeds and taste.
The elaborate little instrument, referred to, is unexcelled in the delicacy of its definitions. It developed on Sunday, June the 20th, some thirty-three specks on the sun: the largest a solitary one; the others grouped into two distinct clusters, situated thousands of miles apart. Around the nucleus of some of these, not only the umbra but the penumbra were most signally and vividly portrayed.
Whoever has familiarized himself with the use of that precious instrument, the Ophthalmoscope, in the investigation of diseases of the retina of the eye, may form a graphic idea of those telescopic appearances: inasmuch as the image of the sun, when condensed by the 4-inch refractor upon the little speculum employed by us, resembles in its general aspect, size and contour, the view thus obtained of the above-named visual structure. Moreover, to enhance this likeness still more, those phenomenal spots tinting the great Eye of Day, typified most surprisingly some of the pathological conditions of the retinal tunic of the human eye, giving it all the precision of a photographic picture. Indeed, so impressive was this similitude, that during our observations we found ourself abstractedly giving thought to the case as one of pigmentation, with anemia and atrophy of the choroid and retinal vessels.
From day to day, from hour to hour, even while we were watching them, those solar spots underwent visible changes; some became extinct, others became bridged; some two or three coalesced, while new ones of varying forms and grandeur burst into existence. Finally, one of the two clusters totally disappeared, while the others became enlarged and so materially altered, that, instead of reminding us of the retinal specks of a diseased eye, the spots had gathered themselves into the form of a miniature chart of that Hawaiian group, spotting the Pacific Ocean, which our English cousins prefer to style the Sandwich Islands.
In the last named condition, with slight visible alterations, that cluster remained until the monsoon burst and we were precluded, for some ten days, from the making of further observations, during which interval, it had with slight exceptions disappeared. Opportunely, however, one large spot had just advanced to the sun's limb, thus yielding an oblique and consequently instructive view. Two days later, when we obtained another sight, all had vanished; awhile, at present, only three or four comparatively unimportant specks are to be discerned.
Notwithstanding the remarkable changes in locality and configuration, which these spots are seen to undergo, to the casual gazers who from time to time peep in upon our delicate speculum — the size of a shilling piece — they always appear as but so many insignificant dots from a spattering pen. Yet, to the intelligent observer who, knowing their distance of procedure — some ninety millions of miles away — these same tiny dot prints tell him of vast and mighty convulsions — convulsions of fiery fluids and flaming gases — the sublimity of which we earthly mortals can form no adequate concept of, transpiring upon our huge molten solar centre, whose photosphere, thus bestirred, awakesns irradiations which fructify the orbs of its planetary system.
In truth, the only sublunary rupture, which can convey to our minds even a faint picture of these solar disturbances, is that of the renowned volcano of Mauna Loa, on the largest of the previously named Islands of Hawaii. This picturesque mountain rears its camel-shaped hump from the verdant tropics into the regions of eternal snow, where, upon its summit, yawns the unfathomable crater of Mokuaweoweo, through whose twenty-four miles of encircling jaws, it occasionally regales with thundering pyrotechnics the inhabitants of the whole archipelago. Its lurid flames illuminate the high heavens, whence, by reflection, scintillations are shot to a great distance around, upon the wide, wide ocean.
Still, it is not the illuminations of this summit crater, which particularly convey to our minds an idea of the titanic powers at work upon the sun's surface; but that of the great Kilauea, situated upon the same mountain, some ten thousand feet below that of Mokuaweoweo and four thousand above the level of the sea. This stupendous and ever active crater, enclosing within its deep and precipitous walls a sea of molten lava — vast enough to engulf the whole mountain of Vesuvius and sublime it at one blast of its plutonic furnaces — exhibits, to the visitor, a miniature spectacle of what we conceive to be taking place upon our dazzling luminary.
Here, amid the roar of fiery waves, of boiling, foaming and collapsing liquids, huge masses of igneous rocks and vitreous lava, uplifted by the escaping gases, are hurled into the chilly atmosphere above, where they explode with the violence and hissing reports of bomb-shells. Here also, in this fiery gulf, among other fitful signs of disorder, may be observed deep vortices opened by the cyclonic motion of the glowing fluids as they are sucked back into the entrails of the earth.
In short, this troubled crater, environed as it is with a series of vast smoking terraces, whose high concentric walls point to the varied epochs of its pristine grandeur, the whole resembling a gigantic amphitheatre of more than a hundred miles in circumference, would, were it possible to transport ourselves and telescope to the moon — two hundred and forty thousand miles away from us — present to the eye of the observer, using this glass, a facsimile of the solar spots and their surroundings, or penumbra, as they appear from our globe through the instrument.
Thus much for Kilauea, the largest and most imposing volcano now existing on this planet. During its most terrific outbreaks, it might possibly eject incandescent rocks and other materials ten or fifteen miles in the air; its smoke and ashes may at times be wafted a thousand miles away; while its shocks and groans may have been noted at double that distance.
To those who have not witnessed the results of such tremendous forces, this relation will perhaps appear exaggerated. Yet, according to the observations of the late Rev. Father Secchi, some of those superb solar eruptions hurl their flaming materials millions of miles into space — even to that perplexing display known as the zodiacal light.
At any rate, they embrace a field so vast that our earth, if plunged into the depths of the vortices, would be but as a pea dropped into the devouring crater of Vesuvius.
Now these molten elements, oscillating from tempestuous volcanoes to maelstroms whirled around a dark vertical axis by the alternating respirations of its internal ferments — for such, under whatever photospheric theory we adopt, the solar spots undoubtedly are — must necessarily, under the law of correlation and conservation of forces, work important changes; such would be the conversion of heat and light into magnetism and electricity, which react, producing, as above intimated, vital effects throughout the whole planetary system. Viewed by this light, they become not only of interest to the astronomer and meteorologist, but particularly so to the physician and pathologist.
Upon our earth countless species of microscopical germs await but the requisite conditions to spring into life by swarming myriads. Each of these represents, in like expectancy, clouds of others too diminutive to be visible even by the highest magnifiers: indeed, so wonderfully infinite and ethereal are they, that, measured by the former, they would be but as ants compared to elephants.
Now every new change, every new phase, eruption or irradiation of the solar orb, produces meteorological modifications furnishing conditions upon which pends the evolution of some one or more species of these tiny myriads: and presto, in the train of such events, life to firmaments of deleterious organisms which come into existence — contaminating every breath of air with their imperceptible presence.
Notwithstanding this philosophy of evolution, the reader should not become alarmed. For in the very ratio that every new solar perturbation yields that magical force, that vital spark, to develop life in one genus of deleterious organisms, so it is certain that this same mysterious agent sends out influences which are baneful and mortiferous to an equal number of some other noxious genus already abounding.
Thus the wheel turns, the scales are equibalanced and order ever maintained. Thus, from solar and other astral commotions, fluctuate thronging armies of invisible, but all the more insidious and powerful enemies. Thus, the subject becomes not only pleasant, but an obligatory study to the physician, who must be ever on the alert to discover and trace these intricate connections with the phenomena of diseases in order to avert, combat, or remedy them properly and promptly.
Fanatically biassed, indeed, must be that intelligent being — rather that pitiful effigy of one — who cannot both admire and revere the elevated sentiments and devotion of those ancient people, such as the Hindus, the Zoroastrians, the Egyptians, the Peruvians, the Mexicans, the Hawaiians and, in truth the forefathers of most, if not of all, races and creeds, who, notwithstanding their apparently absolute isolation in some cases, by some common mysterious instinct, adopted that mighty sphere, that Celestial Eye, Lord of Day, Governor of Seasons, Source of our Light, Heat and other vivifying principles, as the most fitting Symbol of the Great and Ineffable LIGHT OF LIGHTS.
2, Clare Road, Bombay, July 1880.
THE THEOSOPHISTS IN CEYLON.
Columbo, 8th July.
My last letter brought up the history of the Theosophical Mission to the arrival here, and the delivery of Colonel Olcott's first lecture at Redcliffe House. The seed-thought that the Theosophists are sowing is that, while no one religion contains all the truth, no one that has ever made any progress among men has been devoid of some part of the truth, and that if we will all unite in a friendly way to sift the ancient religions of Asia, we shall find the germs of every faith that has been evolved since the Aryan period. This programme of fraternal co-operation seems to captivate all the Asiatic people, possibly because it is so flattering to
their strong race pride. Never was there seen such an enthusiasm among the Buddhists as this visit has awakened. Towns vie with each other for the honour of receiving the strangers as public guests, and the crowds, that have been thronging to hear Colonel Olcott's speeches, are immense. He has had the ablest interpreters in the island, along with some of the worst, but the idioms of the English and Singhalese languages are so different, and the latter is so bare of all terms relating to modern scientific discoveries, that the speaker's ideas have sometimes been knocked a good deal out of shape.
The visitors stopped in Colombo nine days before proceeding to Kandy. During this time Colonel Olcot made six addresses to eager audiences — one to about 4,000 persons, at Widyodaya College, the Buddhistical high or normal school, where priests are instructed in Sanskrit, Pali and Elu, by that greatest of Singhalese scholars, Hikkaduwe Sunangala, the High Priest of Adam's Peak. Instead of one branch of the Theosophical Society at Colombo, two were organized, of which one is purely Buddhistic, and the other composed exclusively of free-thinking Christians and ex-Christians. The latter, which will occupy itself only with the occult sciences, is the fruit of a public lecture upon that fascinating branch of study given by the Colonel at the Racquet Court. The vote of thanks on that occasion was moved by Science Master James of the Colombo Academy, a pretty good proof of its quality. At his lecture at the temple of the famous priest-orator, Megittuwatte at Kotaheina, the crush was something fearful. The temple was bravely decorated, and, in front of the canopied preaching-desk, hung a framed device in blue and gilt, comprising the seal of the Theosophical Society and its title in large letters. At the gatherings at Cotta and Kelanie, there were triumphal a rches, flags, and a profusion of festoons and streamers in white ollas, or the young leaves of the palm-tree.
The delegation left here for Kandy on the 9th of June, and were received by almost the whole population of that ancient capital of the Kandyan kings. The bungalow taken for them was besieged, of course, and, before laying off their travelling dress, the visitors received addresses of welcome from a committee of Kandyan chiefs, and one representing a Buddhistic Literary Society. The next morning ceremonial visits were paid them by the chief priests of all the great temples. At 2 P. M., Colonel Olcott went to the Dalada Maligava, or Temple of the Tooth Relic, to speak; but the place was so packed that he proposed an adjournment to the green Esplanade outside, and addressed them from the crest of a broad wall. The next evening the Colonel lectured at the Town Hall to an English-speaking audience, on "The Life of Sakya Muni and its Lessons." It was received with much approval, though a protest was made at the close by a Christian speaker, supported in a noisy way by a knot of Native converts, when some European gentlemen present came on the platform and apologized for their rudeness.
The following morning Colonel Olcott met a convention of chiefs and high priests at the Tooth Temple to discuss the state of Buddhism, and to give them his plans for a revival of Pali literature, and the dissemination throughout Western countries of the facts respecting Buddha's doctrine; which plans were found to be practical and were approved. In the afternoon he addressed another monster audience from the wall of the Esplanade.
The next day, Sunday, the THEOSOPHISTS went to Gompola, whilom the scene of a famous religious controversy between the Megittuwatte and the missionaries. The Colonel spoke from a temporary pavilion erected for the purpose. The Mohundrum of the place entertained them at tiffin, and, when it was time for the train, the enthusiastic crowd removed the horse from the carriage in which Colonel Olcott, Mme. Blavatsky, Mr. Wimbridge and one other of the party rode, and dragged it themselves. At Kandy, that evening, the Kandy Theosophical Society, another Buddhist branch, was organized with Mr. Pannabokke, as President, and other high class men as incumbents of the other offices. The highest compliment that can be paid by Singhalese Buddhists to any guest is to exhibit to him the world-famous Tooth Relic. Enshrined in a nest of jewel-studed gold and silver and crystal dagobas, or mound-shaped covers, the gifts of various sovereigns and chiefs, this alleged relic of the divine Buddha is guarded with the closest care in a tower in the inner court of the Dalada Maligawa. It is kept in the upper room of the tower, within a cage of iron bars, and the tower door is secured by four locks, the keys of which are respectively held by the High Priests of the two principal temples at Kandy, the Devanilama or special custodian, and the British Government. The permission of each of these must be obtained before the relic can be exhibited. The necessary arrangements were this time attended to by the Buddhists themselves, and at an appointed hour the Theosophists were escorted to the temple and met by the Kandyan chiefs in their national court costume, headed by the venerable Devanilama and his colleagues, the chief priests. The party were required to remove their shoes before entering the sacred precinct, and were given a private view of the relic by the light of the lamps that caused the precious dagobas and their incrusted gems to sparkle with a dazzling splendour. Of the relic itself, we need not speak, since it has been described in detail more than once, except that it most assuredly was never anchored in a human jaw. When it was bruited about that the relic was to be shown, there was a great rush of people to have a sight of it, and, after the private view was over, the holy bone was removed to the lower room of the tower, and the crowd was allowed to file by and make their puja and gifts.
The same day the delegation returned to Colombo and stopped there three days, completing the organization of the Colombo Theosophical Society, which starts with a publication-fund of over a thousand rupees, and that of the Lanka Theosophical Society, the scientific branch above adverted to; receiving farewell visits and addresses from priests and laymen; and expounding theosophical views, by the mouth of the President, in public lectures. On the 18th of June, they left for Galle and intermediate places, declining on that day ten invitations to visit different localities and speak.
Travelling southward, at Horitudwa a lecture was given; at Panadure they were again lodged at the priest's rest-house of the old Mudeliyar Andris Perera, who with some of his sons and son-in-law joined the Society; organised the Panadure Branch Society with Mr. Mudeliyar Kernaratine, Supreme Court Interpreter, as President; passed through a popular jubilee at Bentota, where there was a mile-long procession, fourteen triumphal arches, ten or twelve miles of olla decoratious lining the roads; an oration was delivered by the Colonel, and in that single day enough members initiated to form a strong branch society. Thence they went to Galle, rested a couple of days, and then pushed on to Matara, the ancient seat of Pali learning in the Low Country provinces. Upon reaching the township boundary line, the visitors were met by the largest and most interesting procession yet formed in their honour. Besides Singhalese flags and banners in profusion, there were handsome triumphal cars, a revolving miniature temple, a marionette van hung around with mannikin figures of gods, rajahs and ladies. Groups of dancers representing Singhalese demons capered about, and men and boys in old national costume moved through the swaying measures of the nautch, twirled the quarterstaff to the sound of music, and performed a very interesting sword-dance, in which each actor alternately cuts and parries as he goes right and left around the circle. Both sides of the road for four miles were lined with the white ollas flattering from strings stretched between stakes; the procession required two hours to cover the distance, and the Theosophists were heartily glad to get to the spacious bungalow assigned for their occupancy, and take a little rest. The front of the house presented a gorgeous appearance truly, it being covered by flags and green palms, and the pillars of the verandah hung with cocoanuts in token of welcome. The Colonel spoke twice at Matara, and although the party were there only two days, a branch society — the seventh since coming to the island — was formed; and besides initiations, visitors, and the eating of tiffins, there was a grand conclave of about one hundred Buddhist priests, who let off at Colonel Olcott two addresses, in Pali and Sanskrit, abounding in Oriental figures of speech.
The next objective point was Weligama, a town which gives its name to one of the ripest Pali scholars in Ceylon, a priest whose writings are favourably known in Europe. Here there was an oration, the usual crowds, streets gay with bunting and ollas, the firing of guns in a feu-de-joie and a repast at the rest-house or travellers' bungalow, which is delightfully situated at the margin of the sea. Thence onward to Galle again, where they now are waiting for the B. I. steamer that is to take them back to Bombay. — Pioneer, July 31
The Pioneer's correspondent appears to have entirely overlooked one of the most important events of our Ceylon visits. On the 4th of July the Convention of Buddhist priests, elsewhere alluded to by us, met at Galle, and listened to an address from Colonel Olcott upon the necessity of reviving Pali literature, and the special duty that rested upon them as its sole custodians. Thereupon they unanimously adopted a resolution to permanently organize as an Ecclesiastical Council under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, and every priest present, not previously initiated, applied for and was duly received into our Parent Society. This Convention was entirely composed of picked men — of such as were recognized to be leaders in their respective sects; hence by this one meeting the Society enormously increased its strength and prestige in all Buddhistic countries.
The profound agitation, caused in Ceylon society by the visit of our Delegates, may be gauged by a single fact: — While we were there, three Christians of Galle were made insane by brooding over our arguments against the sufficiency of the basis of their religion. Poor things! their belief was evidently founded upon faith rather than logic.
On the 10th of July we went by invitation to Welitara, a village between Galle and Colombo, to organize our seventh, and last, Buddhistic branch. As an illustration of the thoughtful kindness shown us everywhere, we may mention that, though we were only to spend a few hours of daylight at Welitara, we found ready a large bungalow completely furnished, every article of furniture in which had been specially sent down from Colombo by the millionaire Mudalayar Mr. Sampson Rajapaksa. At this village, are the temples of two eminent priests, the Revs. Wimelasara and Dhammalankara, of the Amarapura sect. Besides founding the Welitara Theosophical Society — with Mr. Baltasar M. Weerasinghe, Interpreter Mudalayar, as President — we admitted thirty priests of the two vihares above mentioned. Thus was gathered into the Parent Society the last of the cliques, or schools among the Buddhist priests, and the last obstacle, to a practical exposition of Buddhism before the world, removed.
The permanent organization of the Galle Branch, on the evening of July 11, was the last important business transacted. On the morning of the 13th — the fifty-seventh day since we put foot upon Ceylon soil — we embarked on the B.I. Co.'s steamship Chanda for Bombay, which we reached on the 24th after a stormy buffeting of eleven days by the, S. W. monsoon. Again the Number Seven asserted itself, the 24th of July being the seventy-seventh day since we sailed from Bombay for Ceylon! In fact, the part, which the Number Seven played in every essential detail of this Ceylon visit, is so striking and mysterious that we reserve the facts for a separate article.
THE FAMILY OF THE TAGORES IS AMONG THE MOST distinguished in Bengal. Their percent in that part of India is traced to a certain holy Brahmin of the eleventh century, named Bhatta Narayana, who was one of the five priests, called by the then reigning sovereign, king Adisura, from Kanon to regenerate the people and their religion. The Oriental Miscellany for July, in an interesting article upon this great family, says that, of the scions of the house now living, the most distinguished are Baboo Debendranath Tagore, the Hon'ble Maharajah Joteendro Mohun Tagore, Rajah Souarindro Mohun Tagore, and Baboo Colley Kristo Tagore. Baboo Debendranath is the respected President of the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Maharajah Joteendro Mohun is a Member of the Legislative Council, and one of the native nobility, most honored and most highly esteemed by the European community. Like his uncle, he too has been decorated by Her Majesty with the Companionship of the Star of India, and to him the Native Community are indebted for the preservation to them of the Doorgah Poojah Holidays. His brother, Rajah Sourindro Mohun Tagore, is one of the most decorated men living. Not only is he a Doctor of Music, but also Knight Commander of the Order of Leopold of Belgium; Knight Commander of the 1st class of the Order of Albert of Saxony; Chevalier of the Imperial Order of Medjidie of Turkey and of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of Christ; Knight of the Siamese Order of Busamahala; Knight of the Gurkka Order of Sarasvati, Sangita Nayaka and Sangita Sagara of Nepaul; Founder and President of the Bengal Music School; Honorary Magistrate, Justice of the Peace and Fellow of the University, of Calcutta; Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Great Britain and Ireland; Honorary Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Ceylon; Honorary Member of the Royal Swedish Musical Academy, Stockholm; Officer de l'Instruction Publique and Officer d'Academie, Paris; Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts, of Belgium; Corresponding Member of the Musical Society of Amsterdam; Foreign Member of the Royal Philological and Ethnographical Institution of Netherlands India at the Hague; Corrisponding Member of the University of Geneva; Socio Onorario of the Royal Academy of St. Cecilia, Rome; Socio Onorario Societa Didascalica Italiana; Accademico Corrispondente of the Academy of the Royal Musical Institute and Ordinary Member of the Oriental Academy of Florence; Socio Correspondente of the Royal Academy of Raffaello, Urbino, Italy; Bene-Merito of the Royal University of Parma; Socio Co-operatore of the Academy of Pittagorica, Naples; Socio Onorario of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna; Honorary Member of the Archaeological Society of Athens, Greece; Socio Onorario of the Royal Academy of Polermo, Sicily; Patron of the Athenaeum of the Royal University of Sassari, Sardinia; and Honorary Member of the Philharmonic Society of Melbourne, Australia; &c., &c., &c. Babhoo Colley Kristo is well-known for his noble acts of charity.
The Rajah Sourindro has, nevertheless, many medals to get before he can hope to rival Prince Bismark whose manly breast, it is estimated, would have to be twenty-one feet wide to enable him to wear his various decorations and orders of knighthood and nobility. They number 482.