Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 1 - OCTOBER, 1879
The Works of Hindu Religion and Philosophy mentioned in the Brahma Yojna
"A Great Man"
A World Without a Woman.
The Magnetic Chain
Magnetism in Ancient China
Spiritualism at Simla
Food for the Starving
Our Buddhist Brothers
Return to Section 1
[Written for the THEOSOPHIST, by "P."]
One of the chief objects of the Theosophist being to explore the secret wisdom contained in the religious and philosophical literature of the Hindus, it may not be useless to know definitely what the Hindus consider to be the principal works containing their religion and philosophy; works which, according to traditional belief, are believed to contain "secret wisdom concealed under popular and often repulsive myths," and to embrace the philosophy of much that is now considered as foolish superstition.
Every twice-born Hindu householder or grihastha is required to perform every day Punch Mahayogna, that is the five solemn offerings or devotional acts. These are acts of homage: directed 1, to the gods; 2, to all beings; 3, to departed ancestors; 4, to the Rishis or authors of the Veda; and 5, to men (1, deva-yagna, 2, bhat-yagna, 3, pitri-yagna, 4, brahma-yagna, 5, manush-yagna). Of these the fourth or the brahma-yagna consists chiefly of the repetition of the Veda and other recognised works.
The original intention appears to have been that every householder should consider it his duty to go over a portion of the Veda and of other works that he had studied from his preceptor during the state of Brahma-carin, or bachelor student. What is done at present is that after repeating a portion of the particular Veda to which the devotee belongs, the first words of the other Vedas and of other works are repeated by him. These first words, however, indicate what works have been recognized as necessary to be studied in the orthodox system of learning the religion and philosophy of the Hindus.
We will take the details of the Brahma-yajna as repeated by a Rig-vedi Brahman: —
After mentally repeating the sacred syllable Om, the three Vayhritis, and the Gayatri, three times, in a certain manner, the worshipper commences with the Rig-veda Samhita and repeats the first beginnings of the undermentioned works in the order set forth below: —
1 The Rig-veda Samhita.
2 The Rig-veda Brahmana.
3 The Rig-veda Upanishads.
4 The Yajur-veda.
5 The Sama-veda.
6 The Artharva-veda.
7 The Asavalayana Kalpa Sutra (Ceremonial directory.)
8 The Nirukta (exposition.)
9 Panini's Vyakarana (grammar.)
10 Siksha (phonetic directory.)
11 Jyotisha (astronomy.)
12 Chhanda (metre.)
13 Nighantri (synonyms.)
16 The Valkya Smriti Yajna.
17 The Mahabarata.
18 Jaimini Sutra (The Purva Mimansa.)
19 The Brahma Sutra (The Uttar Mimansa.)
Certain texts of the Rig-veda are repeated at the end, and the Brahma-yajna is concluded by pouring out a libation of water to the spirits of the departed.
The above list shows what the Hindus themselves regard as necessary studies for the right and comprehensive understanding of their religion and philosophy. [How many of our European commentators could pass the test of critical proficiency? — (Ed.)] In the present times, a tendency is observable to catch hold of some one portion of the Hindu religious literature, and to try to make it the sum total of religion of the Hindus. Some scholars take to the Samhita portion of the Vedas but discard the Brahmana and Upanishad portions. The Brahmana portion especially is neglected. It is looked upon as "childish and foolish," though according to orthodox belief it is the only key to the mystical knowledge contained in the Vedas. The author of "Isis Unveiled" brings out this truth very prominently. The Upanishads are better favoured than the Brahmanas, but even they do not escape the epithets of "puerile" from some quarters. Again, in the efforts made by modern (Western) scholars to interpret the Vedas, there is too much tendency observed to discard old interpretations, which do not accord with modern ideas. The orthodox Hindus protest against this. They think that this is not the way to do justice nor to arrive at truth. There ought to be a comprehensive study in the true humble spirit of discovering the truth, of all the branches, if Hindu religion and philosophy are to be known in their true light. The Theosophist, at any rate, has this aim, and it is therefore appropriate, at the very commencement of its career to point out the works that in the orthodox system are considered necessary to be known for the right understanding of Hindu religion and philosophy.
We copy from the Calcutta Amrita Bazar Patrika, one of the ablest and most influential papers in India, the following brief description of the visit of our revered Paudit Dayanund Saraswati Swami, to Ajmere, as given by Dr. Husband, the Christian medical missionary of the place: —
Large crowds gathered each evening to listen to the Pandit's exposition of the Vedas; and although the orthodox Hindu was not a little shocked and the Mussulman soon became furious, still all felt they were in the presence of a man of rare intellectual powers — one clear in intellect, subtle in reasoning, and powerful in appeal. His lectures produced a great impression, and the natives were excited about religious matters in a way I have never seen during my connection with Ajmere; and it became evident that fealty to truth demanded that this supporter of the Vedas and assailant of the Christian system should not be left unanswered. Many young men in our public offices and advanced students in our colleges, adrift from their own religion and not yet safely anchored in another, were enthusiastic over the advent of this new teacher; and we felt a solemn and bounden duty rested on us to show them and others that the Pundit's objections could be satisfactorily answered, and with God's blessing, to lead them to a purer faith and nobler worship."
The Amrita Bazar Patrika has good reason for adding,
"Pandit Dayanund Saraswati appears to be really a great man," — even more, perhaps, than it imagines. And, since long experience has so clearly shown that Brahmins require only the average Hindu subtlety of intellect to get the better of the Christian missionary in metaphysical debate, it is bold in Dr. Husband, and his temperament must be of a highly sanguine type, to dream of showing that "the Pandit's objections could be satisfactorily answered." As to convincing an actual follower of Swami's that the missionaries can "lead them to a purer faith and nobler worship" than is shown in the Vedas as he expounds them, that is simply impossible.
Those who would be convinced of Swami Dayanund's greatness as a scholar and a philosopher should read his Veda Bhashya, an advertisement of which is given elsewhere. The direct and indirect influence of this work in reviving a taste for Vedic study is very marked. This, of itself, entitles its author to the national gratitude; for India will never recover her former splendour until she returns to that pure religion of the Aryas, which equally taught what duties man owes to his neighbour and to himself. The Veda Bhashya should be at least read by every educated Hindu.
By Dinanath Atmaran Dalvi, M.A., LL.B.
Western mathematicians call Hipparchus, the Nicaean, the father of trigonometry, although they confessedly know nothing whatever about him beyond what they find in the works of his disciple Ptolemy. But Hipparchus is assigned to the 2nd century B. C., and we have the best reason in the world for knowing that trigonometry was known to the ancient Hindus, like many another science claimed by ignorant Western writers for Egypt, Greece, or Rome. These pretended authorities suggest that Hipparchus "probably employed mechanical contrivances for the construction of solid angles" (Art. Mathematics, New Am. Cyc. XI., 283); on the presumption that the infant science of trigonometry was then just being evolved in its rudest beginnings. But I shall give the THEOSOPHIST's readers an ancient Indian trigonometrical rule, for finding the sine of an angle, that long antedates Hipparchus, and that is superior even to some of the European rules of our days. I have used in certain places the Greek letters Pi and Theta for angles, agreeably to modern custom. The professional reader will, of course, understand that it is not meant that the Hindu mathematicians employed the Greek letters themselves at a period when, as yet, there was no such thing as the Greek alphabet; but only that they were aware of the numerical values represented by these symbols at the present time. The Hindu rule is as follows: —
This is an ancient Hindu expression approximating to the sine of an angle in terms of the degrees in numbers of that angle. The expression is to be met with in Hindu works on astronomy; ex gratia: The Graha-la-ghava, not in its original pure form. Its help is taken in the Hindu expressions for finding the equation of the centre. The above is a regular proof for the satisfaction of professed Mathematicians, and shows that my Hindu ancestors, before the beginning of the Christian Era, were in possession of the supposed recent trigonometrical discoveries of Euler. It is noteworthy that notwithstanding the great utility of this expression in Hindu trigonometry and astronomy, its author is unknown, or, at least, its authorship cannot be traced to a particular ancient Hindu at present. This would almost imply a pre-historic antiquity for this branch of the "Divine Science" of Mathematics.
The approximative fractions used in the above proof are true to two decimal places, and consequently the expression is exactly true to two decimal places. It is therefore superior in accuracy to the common expressions
Sin or Sin to be met with in European works on Trigonometry, which are barely true to one place of decimals. It will please even a beginner in trigonometry to find the greater accuracy that distinguishes the Hindu expression from its European compeers. To take the simplest examples, viz., the sines of 90 degrees, 30 degrees and 45 degrees =
The first example shows that the mistake lies one in three hundred and twenty-three; that is, the expression is true to two decimal places, and the second example is open to a similar remark; the third clearly points out that the error lies in the third decimal of the denominator of the resulting fraction. The expression is moreover neat and easily remembered. The expression for the cosecant will become shorter and neater still, thus:
By E. Wimbridge, F.T.S.,
Graduate of' the Royal Institute of British Architects.
That is an old and noble proverb — 'Heaven helps those who help themselves.' In one form of expression or another, it has stimulated thousands to great thoughts and great achievements. Ah! if the educated youth of India would but recall and apply it, if they would but cease to look upon hireling service, especially public service, as the summum bonum, what might they not do for themselves and their starving countrymen! Why will they not put their shoulders to the wheel, and take a leaf out of the books of the ruling nations of the West? They are educated enough, but not in the right direction. What they need is not great titles, but great familiarity with useful arts, that would give them a good livelihood, respectable position, independence; that would make them employer instead of servants, "Masters of Arts," indeed. If they would but do this, each young Hindu, besides winning success in life, would be able to boast that he was helping his country to find again the path which, in the bygone ages, she trod, and which led her to pre-eminence in arts and sciences as well as philosophy. What India has done once, India can do again. She only requires the same kind of men, and proper training for them. It is not the fault of climate, as some native publicists have said, that keeps all this talent inert: the climate is the same as it ever was, and India was once great. The fault is with the men, who are suffering themselves to be denationalized, and along with their grand ancestral notions of religion are losing their ancient artistic originality and mechanical skills. This fatal tendency must be stopped. How can it be done?
The first, most potent, agency to help to effect this "consummation devoutly to be wished," is technical education. This education is acquired in different countries by various means. In some it is by long apprenticeships to the several arts and industries; in others by the establishment of technological schools or institutes. We favor this latter plan for India, as, owing to the degeneration of the industrial arts in this country, little could be expected from an apprenticeship to the Hindu artizan of to-day, but a perpetuation of his lamentable inefficiency and lack of progressive spirit.
It is curious to note how the traditional conservatism of the Hindu has tenaciously held to many of the superstitious and effete customs of his forefathers, sacrificing the spirit for the letter in religious matters, while in the Arts, Industries, and Literature he has conserved nothing. Is it not high time that all who love their country took these things seriously to heart, and realized that in this nineteenth century such a state of things is a shame and disgrace? Realization in such a case begets resolve, and with the earnest man, to resolve is to act. Let this be the case with our Hindu brother; it shall be our duty and our pleasure to humbly endeavour to point the way.
Rejecting, for reasons above stated, the apprenticeship system, we favor the establishment of Technological schools, with or without Government support. If Government can be induced to favor the project, well and good; if not, no matter, let the people do it themselves. The credit will then be all their own, and they may at least be free from the danger of having incompetent professors imposed upon them without any right of appeal. It would be well if one such school could be established in every large town throughout India. Surely in every such place can be found one or more wealthy and philanthropic natives, princes, merchants, or zemindars — who would supply sufficient funds to start the enterprise; and once started, it should be nearly, if not quite, self-supporting.
Speaking of the great need of Industrial schools in England, a late writer in the Quarterly Journal of Science, reviewing a recent American work,* says: "Setting on one side the palpable fact that all persons in England, who really wished for elementary instruction, could have acquired it even before the passing of the Education Act, we cannot see that either our 'Board' or our 'Denominational' schools will greatly increase the industrial or the inventive capabilities of our population. What we want is, a system of training which shall fix the attention of the student upon things rather than upon words."
*Report of the New Jersey State Commission appointed to devise a plan for the encouragement of Maunfacturers of Ornamental and Textile Fabrics. Trenton; Narr, Day, and Narr, 1878.
If this is true of England with her numerous Art Schools and Mechanics' Institutes, how much more is it the case with India? If (quoting from the work under review) we find the Commissioners declaring "all Europe is a generation in advance of us" (America); if America, the country par excellence of progress, feels this, is it not, indeed, time that India was up and doing? Look at the little republic of Switzerland; we find that one of her cantonments (Zurich) possesses a Polytechnicum having about one hundred professors and assistants, and numbering nearly one thousand students. It has an astronomical observatory, a large chemical laboratory — laboratories of research and special investigation, collections of models of engineering constructions, museums of natural history, architecture, &c.; all extensive and rapidly growing. This important establishment is supported by a population of only three millions of people, at a yearly cost of pounds 14,000 only. This in some measure explains the reason why, despite great natural disadvantages, such as dear fuel and distance from the sea, Switzerland figured so honorably at the Paris Exhibition. Of course, such an Institution as the one abovementioned does not spring up, mushroom-like, in a day, and it must necessarily be many years (even under the most favorable conditions) before India can hope to possess industrial schools of like value.
If India is ever to be freed from her present humiliation of exporting the raw material and importing it again after manufacture, she must commence by imparting to her youth a systematic knowledge of those industrial arts and sciences, the lack of which compels her to purchase in foreign markets goods which should in most cases be manufactured to advantage at home. To persist in the present course, while millions of her people are starving for want of employment, is more than a mistake — it is a crime. It is the more unpardonable when we consider the characteristics of her labouring class, a people of simple habits, docile and obedient, contented with wages that would not suffice for a bare subsistence in the West, and patient in the extreme. Here, surely, one would suppose manufactures of all kinds could be carried on so inexpensively as to defy competition. That such is not the case is, we believe, entirely owing to the lack of technical education; and poorly as most of the Indian work of to-day is executed, it will inevitably be worse ten years hence, unless timely steps are taken to introduce a system of education which, in the future, will not only elevate the Hindu artizan to the level of his Western brother, but in some particulars surpass him: a system tending to revive the glories of that ancient time when India held a place in the front rank of Industrial science and art.
And now a word of advice as to the particular kind of training-school we conceive to be the crying want of India to-day. We would not suggest a too ambitious commencement, feeling sure that if the beginning is only made in the right way, it will not be many years before the country possesses Polytechnic Institutions bidding fair to rival the justly celebrated schools of the West. We would desire to see a school where the young Hindus could at least acquire, under competent professors, the arts of design. Such are the drawing of patterns for the calico printer, the carpet weaver, and the manufacturer of shawls, and textile fabrics in general; designing for metal work, wood work, and wood carving; drawing on stone (Lithography); drawing and engraving on wood, and engraving on metal. There should also be classes for chemistry and mechanics.
We may be told that most if not all of the above are already taught in the various art-schools scattered throughout the country. All we can say in reply is that, whatever these schools may profess to teach, the result is a miserable failure. How many ex-pupils can they point to as earning a living by the exercise of professions, the knowledge of which was gained within their walls? So far as we are able to judge, a very few, even in cases where the school has been in active operation (Heaven save the mark!) for a number of years. This state of things cannot be caused entirely by the inaptitude of the pupils. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that either the system or the professor is at fault. What India needs is a system of instruction which, while directing her attention to whatever is best in modern machinery and implements, shall, at the same time, take care to lead her footsteps back over the beaten paths of her own glorious past. We would have a special care taken that she should not be led to imitate the art (excellent as it may be) of the ancient Roman or Greek. Her Arts and Industries should be national and pure, not mongrel and alien.
Since the foregoing remarks were in type, the Theosophical Mission have been highly gratified by the visit of a young Hindu artizan named Vishram Jetha, who exhibited to us a small portable high-pressure engine of his own make, driving a plaster-mill, circular-saw, wood-drill, and force-pump. No visitor that has called upon us in India has been more welcome or respected. His natural mechanical genius is of a high order, comparing with that of the most ingenious Western artizans. He has raised himself from the humblest condition in life to the management of the large engine and fitting-shop of a well-known Bombay firm. He is neither a B. A. nor LL. B., nor does he know Sanskrit or English. What education he has, whether theoretical or practical, has been gained at the cost of sleep and comforts, and in spite of every discouragement. His testimonials show that he has made himself a skilled workman in carpentry, (plain and ornamental), wood-carving, gilding, plating, metal-working, and horology. Here is a Hindu who might, with proper patronage, be of great service to his country. When we hear that his talents are appreciated and suitably remunerated by some native prince or capitalist, who shall employ him at the same wages, and with as much honour as a European of equal capacity, we will be satisfied that there is still left some real patriotism in India.
By R. Bates, F. T. S.
*It should be stated that the author of this story has never read Dr. Johnson's tale of "Rasselas: Prince of Abyssinia," which it distantly resembles in plot. — Editor.
Ages ago, in a time long past and forgotten, whose only records lie hidden in mouldering temples and secret archives, there bloomed, surrounded by inaccessible mountains, a lovely valley. Since then the convulsions that have heaved earth's bosom, have so changed the aspect of the place, that if some of its earlier inhabitants could return, they would fail to recognise their former home. When they lived, in the far away days of which our history speaks, the valley was at once the loveliest of nests and the most secure of prisons; for the surest foot could not scale the perpendicular mountain side, nor the keenest eye detect any fissure that opened a way to the outer world. And why should they desire the outer world; were they not happy here, the three boys, who with an old man and half a dozen deaf and dumb slaves, were the only dwellers in Rylba? They could not know, poor children, that kingly and parental tyranny had placed them there for life; that they were the guiltless victims of a timid and short-sighted policy, and that their father's example was destined to be followed by the succeeding kings of their native land. Perhaps the tyrant himself hardly realized the cruel wrong he did in dooming the younger sons of his race to a life-long prison. The valley was a fair and smiling abode; the slaves were diligent, and necessarily discreet, since speech was denied them; the tutor of the boys was a good man, and reputed wise, and he too was discreet. The children would not miss a mother's care, or, later on, a wife's caress, since they need never know that the world held a woman. The restricted area of the valley had made it easy to destroy all the larger animals. Nothing would tell them that creatures on a lower plane of being were more blest than they. They would see no fox in her den lick her cubs, no doe lead her fawn forth to pasture. The confidential servants of the king had taken care of that, when they visited the valley to plant the crops and build the huts; when they had fixed on its pivot the great stone in the cave, that could be opened only from the outside, and shut off all egress from Rylba. Yes, the boys were happy, they had their sports and games, their canoe for the lake, their bows and arrows; the earth yielded fruit and grain, there was no lack of honey and wine, strange mysterious gifts arrived sometimes, and yet, when the setting sun threw his last beams over their huts, they, lying on the grass, would eagerly question their old friend and guide about the outer world.
Hesod acknowledged there were other valleys and other worlds than theirs, ruled over by the same great being — the Supreme Life he called him — who sent the shower and the sunshine, the fruit and grain to Rylba. He it was who had set apart the grove at the other end of the valley, where the cave was, as a sacred place never to be visited between sunset and dawn, and who rewarded their obedience by the clothes and implements, the unknown fruits and toys they had more than once found, when they went all together to worship at dawn. They could know no world but Rylba, and death when it came to carry their life-spark back to the Supreme, would find them there.
Death! The word had a new significance to them since the infant found one day in the grove, with number four branded on his little arm, had died and been laid under the flowering tree by the lake. Would death come to Hesod, to the slaves, to themselves, and leave none to pluck the fruits of Rylba? Hesod reminded them that if one infant had been sent others might follow, and that, though the birds died, their race never became extinct. "Ah! but," the children answered, "new birds came from the nests among the leaves; and he had told them man made no nest in which to feed and rear his young. Man then was different from the birds?"
"Yes, different," Hesod said, as his gaze fell before the innocent young eyes fixed upon his face. "Endowed with loftier powers, man draws his being direct from the Supreme, from him he comes, to him he will return. The Great Life is man's father, and his friend."
"A father!" said one of the boys, "what is that? Was the bird that fed the young one in the nest a father? Were you a father when you tended the little man from the grove? Will the bird return like us to the Supreme? The little brook, as well as the big stream, runs into the lake, and the lake receives them both."
And old Hesod, when their questions went deeper than his philosophy, or when be feared to sow in them the seeds of some desire or aspiration that Rylba could not satisfy would bid them sleep that they might be ready for the morrow's toil and pleasure.
The morrow led peacefully on the others, flowers bloomed and faded, many years glided by them into the misty past. Rylba boasted nearly thirty inhabitants now; for many children, each marked ineffaceably with its number — had been found in the grove. Old Hesod's grave made one of five by the lake side, one of the boys who had come with him to Rylba, slept by his side, and the other two were gray-haired men; but worse things than gray hairs or graves had entered the valley. There had come discontent, evil passions, loss of faith in the Supreme Life, disregard of all the minor courtesies and graces of life and above all an ever-growing sense of something wanting, a longing for some unattainable and ill-defined good. Some stilled this longing by taking care of the younger members of the band, some by ardent friendship, and love for birds and fishes. Others grew stern and morose, hard arid selfish; for them were the choicest portions of the fruits of the valley, and of the gifts, still occasionally found in the grove. But they murmured loudly whenever another infant greeted their sight, and whispered that it was useless to rear new mouths to feed, since the remaining slaves were growing past their work, and the valley hardly yielded enough food for all its inhabitants. It was fortunate that the older men still remembered that Hesod had inculcated the tenderest kindness to the infants. Already, in spite of the material aid supposed to come direct from him, the simple homage formerly paid to the Great Life was dying out, and if his grove was still respected, it was simply because bold spirits venturing there at night had been terrified by strange sights and sounds.
Things were in this state when two young men, Soron and Lyoro by name, struck up a warm friendship. Lyoro was a zealous disciple of the patriarchs, listening to them at twilight and labouring during the day. Pure in mind and fragile in body, the protection of his stronger and rougher friend had more than once been useful to him, and the contrast the two presented to each other probably formed the chief charm and advantage of their union. Lyoro had grown bolder, Soron more mild and laborious, and he who had dared to violate the sanctity of the grove knelt before a little field-mouse suckling her young, because she, like the Supreme, gave sustenance to other beings. Still Soron was liable to fits of passion and melancholy, which not all Lyoro's' influence could calm, and he avowed the restlessness that possessed him, and his burning desire to see other worlds than Rylba. "How could that be?" — said the startled Lyoro — "Had not God himself walled in the valleys with mountains, so that the inhabitants of one could not pass to another? When the Supreme recalled them to himself, they might perhaps from his dwelling place in the stars look down on all the valleys; but even then, how could they look from one star into another, since the stars were walled about by the blue sky? Was it not then impious to wish to overstep the bounds set by the Supreme himself?" Soron could not refute his friend's arguments, but they did not change his resolution to visit the sacred grove and make known his desire to the Great Life.
That night Lyoro slept alone in the hut the friends usually occupied together, but at day-break Soron returned, having seen nothing in the grove. Another and another night-watch brought the same result, and then the worshippers at dawn found bales of stuff, and dried fruit and grain; and Lyoro, seeking his absent friend, found a little pool of blood among the grass, and nothing more.
Years passed, and in Lyoro's heart no other replaced Soron. Vainly he called on the Supreme to reunite them. Vainly he sought to penetrate the mystery that shrouded his comrade's fate. The dwellers in Rylba had progressed from bad to worse. Helpless infancy and venerable age excited no compassion in the majority, and Lyoro had drawn upon himself a relentless persecution, because he had dared to harbour in his hut a sickly infant his neighbors had abandoned in the grove, "to show the Supreme they would have none of it." From that time there was no peace with him, his hut had been confiscated, his work was often destroyed, and he could turn to no one for redress; for the weak could not help him, the strong would not; to the Supreme alone could he appeal.
Night after night he watched in the grove, and saw nothing but the stars twinkling through the leaves, heard nothing but the cry of the night-bird. Tired out at last he crept beneath a ledge of rock near the entrance of the cave, and slept soundly and long. Suddenly a light flashed in his face, a voice pronounced his name, and with a beating heart he started up. Before him stood Soren; changed, nobler, illuminated by a something unknown in the old days, but Soren still, unchanged in heart, and Lyoro soon understood that. "Did the Supreme send you because I could endure no more, and kept the watches of the night in the grove?" he asked when he had grown calm enough to speak. "No, I come to-night because this is the first time I have had the power to come. A greater and a truer man sits on the throne of our fathers, a man who would make of this kindred the supporters of his dynasty, and not miserable deluded prisoners. That man is my elder brother; I am his friend, even as I am yours, and he has sent me to give to you all that clearest boon to man, Liberty. No longer these mountain walls shall bound your horizon. You shall know the wide earth as it really is. You shall see strange plants, strange animals, and look on fair faces than you ever dreamed of."
"Perhaps they will not follow you; Moucar still leads, and they have grown fiercer than ever."
"Fierce!" said Soren. "Is it their fault? They never even knew they had a mother."
"A mother? What is that?" asked Lyoro.
"Come to our old haunt by the grotto and I will tell you. My people can remain near the cave."
And now for the first time, Lyoro perceived that the cave was full of men, habited in strange and gorgeous attire, but he had as yet no eyes for them; he only cared to look on Soren, and Soren with Lyoro's eyes on him, spoke of his escape; first, of the hand that struck him down in the grove, then of the pity that had spared him and conveyed him in secret to his brother, the hope and heir of the kingdom then, now its reigning sovereign. He spoke of the great world, of its cities, forests and armies; of treasures to be found in books and art; of huge animals and fishes far larger than the largest canoe they had ever launched upon their lake. He told Lyoro of the mighty Power that rules the universe, that sends rest after fatigue, consolation to grief, and death after life, as preparation for the life beyond. And then, that he might understand that the Supreme Life of Light is also the Supreme Love, he spoke of the mother he had found at his brother's house, of her caresses and her affection.
"A Mother!" said Lyoro. "Twice you have used the word and I do not understand it. Is a mother a man?"
"No, fathers are men, and they can be cruel, or they would not have shut us up in Rylba. A mother is all pity, all love. From her man draws his life; her face is the first he looks upon, the last he should forget; around her clusters all that is good and merciful, holy and pure. She is the living smile upon earth of the Supreme Love!"
"And when I go with you, you will show me a mother?" asked Lyoro.
"Many of them, and better than all, I can show you your own. We talked of you but yesterday. She is longing for your coming, and she is a noble woman."
"What are women?" said Lyoro.
"The sex from which mothers are drawn. You will find about an equal number of men and women in the world you are going to."
"Why then, if women are good, did they send us from them to Rylba?" "Ah, you have yet to learn that there are unhappy lands where men, taking advantage of woman's feebler frame and great timidity, have wrested from her — her equal rights even in her offspring. Woe to the land that stints her portion of knowledge and honour! That nation's sons must degenerate; for how can those be great who draw their life from vitiated source, from beings crippled and enfeebled, dwarfed below the stature that God and Nature gave them? The sons of nobler mothers shall rule them; the conqueror's foot shall tread upon the graves of their fathers; their ships shall be swept from the sea; their name from off the face of the earth, for the Most High by his unalterable laws has decreed it so."
"Ours be the task to avert the curse from our country; to respect our mothers and instruct our daughters; to raise woman to the pedestal her very weakness gives her a right to occupy; to honor ourselves in honoring her."
"And has woman none of the faults of man; is she alone perfect?"
"How should she be perfect?" answered Soron, "since she is after all but female man?"
"But she is superior to him?"
"No, neither superior nor inferior, but different. Her faults are not as his, neither are her qualities. She cannot boast of courage, nor he her gentleness. She has not his power of diligent application, and he lacks her quick intuition. He leans to the material side of life, she has a deeper feeling for its poetry and aspirations. She relies on his strong arm and strong will, and he turns to her as the tranquil light that illumines his heart and his home. Rivalry between the sexes is worse than useless, for their interests are identical, and nature designed them to form but the two halves of one harmonious whole."
"I will not tell you now, how often human passions mar Nature's fairest work. How in the great world as in Rylba, evil and good are perpetually warring for the mastery; but I do tell you to cling to the love from which you have been too long divorced, and with its help, you will learn to understand the great world and shun its snares."
The day had come by this time and the band of worshippers, approaching the grove, saw the new-comer and stood spell-bound in silent surprise. Had they come before dawn? No, for the sun already glanced above the mountain top and the birds were singing loudly. Still they hesitated till Soron's voice called on them to receive their heritage of knowledge and of liberty. Not into their ears did he pour all that had perplexed Lyoro, but he told them of their mothers, and the children laughed for joy, the haughty Moucar bowed himself to the ground, and down the wrinkled cheeks of the patriarchs the tears crept silently, when they heard that in the great world outside they should find only their mothers' graves.
We have read with great interest the first number of a new French journal devoted to the science of Mesmerism, or, as it is called Animal Magnetism, which has been kindly sent us by that venerable and most illustrious practitioner of that science, the Baron du Potet, of Paris. Its title is La Chaine Magnetique (the Magnetic Chain). After long years of comparative indifference, caused by the encroachments of sceptical science, this fascinating subject is again absorbing a large share of the attention of Western students of Psychology. Mesmerism is the very key to the mystery of man's interior nature; and enables one familiar with its laws to understand not only the phenomena of Western Spiritualism, but also that vast subject — so vast as to embrace every branch of Occultism within itself — of Eastern Magic. The whole object of the Hindu Yogi is to bring into activity his interior power, to make himself ruler over physical self and over everything else besides. That the developed yogi can influence, sometimes control the operations of vegetable and animal life, proves that the soul within his body has an intimate relationship with the soul of all other things. Mesmerism goes far towards teaching us how to read this occult secret; and Baron Reichenbach's great discovery of Odyle or Od force, together with Professor Buchanan's Psychometry, and the recent advances in electrical and magnetic science complete the demonstration. The THEOSOPHIST will give great attention to all these — Mesmerism, the laws of Od, Psychometry, etc. In this connection we give translated extracts from La Chaine Magnetique that will repay perusal. There is a great truth in what Baron du Potet says about the Mesmeric fluid: "It is no utopian theory, but a universal Force, ever the same; which we will irrefutably prove . . . . . . . . . A law of nature as positive as electricity, yet different from it; as real as night and day. A law of which physicians, notwithstanding all their learning and science, have hitherto been ignorant. Only with a knowledge of magnetism does it become possible to prolong life and heal the sick. Physicians must study it some day or — cease to be regarded as physicians." Though now almost a nonogenarian, the Baron's intellect is as clear and his courageous devotion to his favorite Science as ardent as when, in the year 1826, he appeared before the French Academy of Medicine and experimentally demonstrated the reality of animal magnetism. France, the mother of many great men of science, has produced few greater than du Potet.
A disciple of the Baron's — a Mr. Saladin of Tarascon-sur-Rhone — reporting to him the results of recent magnetic experiments for the cure of disease, says: Once, while magnetizing my wife, I made a powerful effort of my will to project the magnetic fluid, when I felt streaming from each of my finger-tips as it were little threads of cool breeze, such as might come from the mouth of an opened air-bag. My wife distinctly felt this singular breeze, and, what is still more strange, the servant girl, when told to interpose her hand between my own hand and my wife's body, and asked what she felt, replied that 'it seemed as though something were blowing from the tips of my fingers.' The peculiar phenomenon here indicated has often been noticed in therapeutic magnetization; it is the vital force, intensely concentrated by the magnetizer's will, pouring out of his system into the patient's. The blowing of a cool breeze over the hands and faces of persons present, is also frequently observed at spiritualistic 'circles.'
By Dr. Andrew Paladin, Fils, M. D.
All Chinese medicine is based upon the study of the equilibrium of the yn and the yang! i. e. — to use Baron Reichenbach's language — upon the positive and the negative od. The healers of the Celestial Empire consider all remedies as so many conductors, either of the yn or the yang; and use them with the object of expelling diseases from the body and restoring it to health. There is an instance in their medical works of a cure being effected without the employment of any drug whatever, and with no other conductor of human magnetism than a simple tube, without the doctor having either seen or touched the patient. We translate the following from a work written during the Soui dynasty, or at any rate not later than the Thang dynasty. The Soui dynasty reigned from the Vlth to the VIlth century of our era; and that of Thang, which succeeded the other in 618, remained in power till the year 907. The event in question occurred, therefore, some ten centuries ago.
A mandarin of high rank had a dearly beloved wife, whom he saw failing in health more and more every day, and rapidly approaching her end, without her being able to indicate or complain of any particular disease. He tried to persuade her to see a physician; but she firmly refused. Upon entering her husband's home she had taken a vow, she said, never to allow any other man to see her, and she was determined to keep her word, even were she to die as the consequence. The mandarin begged, wept, supplicated her, but all in vain. He consulted doctors, but none of them could give advice without having some indication, at least, of her disease. One day there came an old scholar who offered the mandarin to cure his wife without even entering the apartment in which she was confined, provided she consented to hold in her hand one end of a long bamboo, the other end of which would be held by the healer. The husband found the remedy curious, and though he had no faith in the experiment, he yet proposed it to his wife, rather as an amusement than anything else; she willingly consented. The scholar came with his tube, and passing one end of it through the partition of the room, told her to apply it to her body, moving it in every direction until she felt a sensation of pain in some particular spot. She followed the directions, and as soon as the tube had approached the region of the liver, the suffering she experienced made her utter a loud groan of pain.
"Do not let go your hold," exclaimed the scholar; "keep the end applied to the spot and you will certainly be cured." Having subjected her to a violent pain for about one quarter of an hour, he retired and promised the mandarin to return on the next day, at the same hour; and thus came back every day till the sixth, when the cure was completed."*
*This narrative was translated from the Chinese by Father Amiot, Missionary in China, a great scholar, and communicated by him to the Fieldmarshal, Count de Mellet. This case is also mentioned in the Count de Puysegur's volume "On Animal Magnetism considered its relations to the various branches of physics." (8vo — Paris. 1807, p. 392.)
This narrative is an admirable instance of magnetic treatment, effected with a tube to serve as a conductor to the vital fluid; the application being made for a short time every day, and at the same hour. Here the homaeopathic aggravation was produced from the first. The inference from this document is that ancient Chinese medicine was well acquainted with the fact that every man possesses in degree a fluid — part of, and depending upon the universal magnetic fluid disseminated throughout all space; as they gave the names yn and yang to the two opposite forces (polarities) which are now recognized in the terrestrial fluid, as well as in the nervous fluid of man. They knew, besides, that each individual could dispose at will of this fluid, provided he had acquired the necessary knowledge; that they could, by judiciously directing it, make a certain quantity pass into another's body and unite with a particular fluid of this other individual; and that they could, finally,
employ it to the exclusion of every other means for the cure of diseases, re-establishing the equilibrium between the opposite modalities of the nervous fluid; in other words, between the positive od and the negative od, between the yn and the yang. A still more remarkable thing — they had, then the secret, little known even in our days among the magnotizers, of sending at will either positive fluid or negative fluid into the body of a patient, as his system might need either the one fluid or the other.
(To be continued).
An esteemed young English lady of Simla, interested in Occultism, sends us some interesting narratives of psychological experiences which may safely be copied by our Western contemporaries. Our correspondent is perfectly trustworthy and has a place in the highest social circle. We hope to give from time to time many examples of similar mystical adventure by Europeans in Eastern countries.
Among other papers promised for the THEOSOPHIST is one by a British officer, upon curious phase of bhuta worship among a very primitive Indian tribe; and another upon the same custom, in another locality, by a well-known Native scholar. The value of such articles as these latter is that they afford to the psychologist material for comparison with the current Western mediumistic phenomena. Heretofore, there have been, we may say, very few observations upon East Indian spiritualism, of any scientific value. The observers have mainly been incompetent by reason of either bigotry, moral cowardice, or sceptical bias. The exceptions have but proved the rule. Few, indeed, are they who, seeing psychical phenomena, have the moral courage to tell the whole truth about them.
There is a bangalow in Kussowlie called 'The Abbey;' and one year some friends of mine had taken this house for a season, and I went to stay with them for a short while. My friends told me the house was haunted by the ghost of a lady, who always appeared dressed in a white silk dress. This lady did really live, a great many years ago, and was a very wicked woman, as far as I remember the story. Whether she was murdered, or whether she put an end to herself, I cannot say, but she was not buried in consecrated ground, and for this reason, it was said, her spirit cannot rest. Her grave may be seen by anybody, for it is still at Kussowlie. When my friends told me this I laughed, and said I did not believe in ghosts; so they showed me a small room divided from the drawing-room by a door, which they told me was an especial pet of the ghost's; and that after it got dark, they always had to keep it shut and they dared me to go into that room at l0 P. M. one night. I said I would; so at 10 P. M. I lighted a candle, and went into the room. It was small, had no cupboards, and only one sofa, and one table in the centre. I looked under the table and under the sofa, then I shut the door, and blowing out my candle, sat down to await the appearance of the ghost. In a little while I heard the rustle of a silk dress, though I could see nothing. I got up, and backed towards the door, and as I backed, I could feel something coming towards me. At last I got to the door and threw it wide open and rushed into the drawing room, leaving the door wide open to see if the ghost would follow after me. I sat down by the fire, and in a little while, my courage returning, I thought I would go again into the little room; but upon trying the door, I found it was fast shut, and I could not open it, so I went to bed. Another evening, a lady friend and I were sitting at a small round table with a lamp, reading; all of a sudden the light was blown out, and we were left in the dark. As soon as lights could be procured, it was found that the globe of the lamp had disappeared, and from that day to this, it has never been found. The ghost walks over the whole house at night, and has been seen in different rooms by different people. Kussowlie is between 30 and 40 miles away from Simla, in the direction of the plains.
I may also tell you of something that came under the observation of my mother, some twenty years ago. An acquaintance of hers, a young Mr. W----, was on a ship which in a terrific gale was wrecked on an island off the coast of Africa. News of the disaster was brought to England by another ship and it was supposed that every soul on board had been lost. Mr. W----'s relatives went into mourning, but his mother would not, for she was convinced that he had escaped. And as a matter of record she put into writing an account of what she had seen in a dream. The whole scene of the shipwreck had appeared to her as though she were an eye-witness. She had seen her son and another man dashed by the surf upon a rock whence they had managed to crawl up to a place of safety. For two whole days they sat there without food or water, not daring to move for fear of being carried off again by the surges. Finally they were picked up by a foreign vessel and carried to Portugal, whence they were just then taking ship to England. The mother's vision was shortly corroborated to the very letter; and the son, arriving at home, said that if his mother had been present in body she could not have more accurately described the circumstances.
The events I shall now relate occurred in a family of our acquaintance. A Mr. P---- had lost by consumption a wife whom be devotedly loved, and, one after another, several children. At last but one daughter remained, and upon her, naturally enough, centered all his affections. She was a delicate girl, and being threatened with the same fate which had so cruelly carried away her mother and sisters, her father took her to live in Italy for change of climate. This girl grew to be about 17 or 18 when the father had to go over to London on business; so he left her with friends, and many and strict were his injunctions to them as to how she was to be looked after, and taken care of. Well, he went, and whilst he was away, a fancy ball was to take place, to which these friends were going, and which of course, the girl also wished to attend. So they all wrote over to the father and begged and entreated she should be allowed to go, promising that they would take great care of her, and see that she did not get a chill, Much against his will, the poor man consented, and she went to the ball. Some little time after, the father was awakened one night, by the curtains at the foot of his bed being drawn aside, and there, to his astonishment, stood his daughter, in her fancy dress. He could not move, or say anything, but he looked at her attentively. She smiled, closed the curtains, and disappeared. He jumped up in great agitation, put down the date and the hour, and then wrote to Italy, asking after his daughter's health, giving a description of her dress and ornaments. Poor man; the next thing he heard was that the young lady had caught cold and died the very night she appeared to him in London. The friends said that even had he seen the dress, he could not have described everything more minutely.
Since the THEOSOPHIST is collecting authenticated stories of ghosts, I may tell you of a personal adventure of mine when I was a midshipman on board Her Majesty's frigate -----. One of the sailors in the larboard watch had been washed overboard in a storm, as he was clinging for life to one of the boats. The affair had been quite forgotten, when a hue and cry was raised that there was a ghost near this boat, and none of the men would go near the place after dark. Several, if not all of the men had seen it. I laughed at the story, however, for I had not a whit of confidence in these nonsensical tales of ghosts. So, some of our mess who pretended to have seen the apparition, dared me to go up to it at night and accost it. I agreed to go, and took my revolver, loaded, with me. When at the appointed hour, I came near the boat, there certainly did seem to be a mist, or shadow which looked like a man, and this shadow turned and looked at me. I did not give it time to look twice before I fired two shots at it. Imagine, if you can, my feeling, when the shadow gently glided under the boat, (which was bottom upwards,) and disappeared. When this thing looked at me, I cannot tell you why, but I felt quite cold, and odd, and if it was not a ghost, it looked very like one. At any rate, I had had enough of shooting at it. My adventure of course greatly deepened the superstitious feeling among the sailors; and so, as the spectre was seen again the next night, they just tossed that boat overboard, and then they were never troubled further.
By an F. T. S.
. . . Look where we will around us, in every direction the sources of pure spiritual life appear to be either altogether stagnant, or else trickling feebly in shrunken and turbid streams. In religion, in politics, in the arts, in philosophy, in poetry even — wherever the grandest issues of Humanity are at stake, man's spiritual attitude towards them, is one either of hopeless fatigue and disgust, or fierce anarchical impatience. And this is the more deplorable, because it is accompanied by a feverish materialistic activity. Yes, this age of ours is materialist; and perhaps the saddest and dreariest thing in the ever-increasing materialism of the age, is the ghostly squeaking and gibbering of helpless lamentation made over it by the theologists, who croak about their old dry wells wherein no spiritual life is left. Meanwhile society appears to be everywhere busily organizing animalism. [Lord Lytton — in Fortnightly Review for 1871.]
His Lordship paints the spiritual darkness of Kali Yug with realistic fidelity. The reading of this paragraph has suggested the making of an effort to bring back to India, to some extent at least, the ancient light of Aryavarta. With his lordship's sympathetic cooperation, much would be possible. Let us begin with an attempt at explaining what is the almost forgotten science of Yogism.
No man can understand the meaning of Patanjali's aphorisms of the Yoga Philosophy, who does not perfectly comprehend what the soul and body are and their respective powers. The locubrations of commentators, for the most part, show that when their author is thinking of one, they fancy he means the other. When he describes how the latent psychical senses and capabilities may be brought out of the bodily prison and given free scope, he appears to them to be using metaphorical terms to express an utopy of physical perceptions and powers. The 'organized animalism' of the 19th century, which Lord Lytton stigmatizes, in the paragraph from the Fortnightly Review above quoted — would have totally obliterated, perhaps, our capacity to grasp the sublime idea of Yoga, were it not for the glimpses that the discoveries of Mesmer and Reichenbach and the phenomena of mediumship, have afforded of the nature of the Inner World and the Inner Man. With these helps most of what would be obscure is made plain. These give us definite appreciation of the sure and great results that the Yogi ascetic strives for, and obtains by his self-discipline and privations. For this reason, the Theosophical Society insists that its Fellows who would comprehend alike the hidden meaning of ancient philosophies, and the mysteries of our own days, shall first study magnetism, and then enter the 'circle-room' of the spiritualists.
May we not compare the unveiling of the soul's senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and the awakening of its will-power, which result from Yog training, with that change which comes to the bodily senses and will, when the child emerges from its foetal home into the outer world? All the physical faculties it will ever exercise were potentially in the babe before birth, but latent. Given scope and exercise, they became developed in proportion to their innate energies — more in some people than in others. How vastly different they are in posse and in esse! And yet this contrast affords but a very meager idea of that between the dormant powers of the soul in the man of matter, and the transcendent reach of these same powers in the full-trained Yogi. Rather compare the shining star with a yellow taper. The eye of the body can at best see only a few miles, and its ear hear but what is spoken near by; its feet can carry it but ploddingly along the surface of the ground, a step at a time; and its hands grasp nothing that is more than a yard off. If securely locked in a closet, the body is powerless to effect its deliverance, and can neither see, hear, touch, taste, nor smell what is outside its prison wall. But the unbound soul of the Yogi is limited by neither time nor space; nor obstructed by obstacles; nor prevented from seeing, hearing, feeling or knowing anything it likes, on the instant; no matter how distant or hidden the thing the Yogi would see, feel, hear or know. The soul has potentially, in short, the qualities of omniscience and omnipotence, and the object of Yoga Vidya is to develope them fully.
We have a great desire that the Yoga philosophy should be familiarized to students of psychology. It is particularly important that spiritualists should know of it; for their numbers are so large that they could, by united action, counteract in large degree the 'organized animalism' that Lord Lytton complains of. Give the century a worthy ideal to aspire to, and it would be less animal: teach it what the soul is, and it will worship the body less. As a commencement in this direction, we begin in this number of the THEOSOPHIST, a translation of part of the 15th chapter of the eleventh Skandha of the Shrimad Bhagavata. The authorship of this important Sanskrit work is so disputed as by some to be ascribed to Bopadeva, the celebrated grammarian of Bengal, thus giving it an age of only eight centuries, by others to Vyasa, author of the other Puranas, and so making it of archaic origin. But either will do; our object being only to show modern psychologists that the science of soul was better understood, ages ago, in India than it is to-day by ourselves. Sanskrit literature teems with proofs of this fact, and it will be our pleasure to lay the evidence supplied to us by our Indian brothers, before the public. Foremost among such writings stand, of course, Patanjahli's own philosophical teachings, and these will come later on.
The student of Yoga will observe a great difference in Siddhis ('Superhuman faculties,' this is rendered but not correctly, unless we agree that 'human' shall only mean that which pertains to physical man. 'Psychic faculties' would convey the idea much better: man can do nothing superhuman,) that are said to be attainable by Yoga. There is one group which exacts a high training of the spiritual powers; and another group which concerns the lower and coarser psychic and mental energies. In the Shrimad Bhagavata, Krishna says; "He who is engaged in the performance of Yoga, who has subdued his senses and who has concentrated his mind in me (Krishna), such Yogis [all] the Siddhis stand ready to serve."
Then Udhava asks: "Oh Achyuta (Infallible One) since thou art the bestower of [all] the Siddhis on the Yogis, pray tell me by what dharana* and how, is a Siddhi attained, and how many Siddhis there are." Bhagavan replies: "Those who have transcended the dharana and yoga say that there are eighteen Siddhis, eight of which contemplate me as the chief object of attainment (or are attainable through me), and the [remaining] ten are derivable from the gunas;" — the commentator explains — from the preponderance of satwa guna. These eight superior Siddhis are: Anima, Mahima, Laghima [of the body], Prapti (attainment by the senses), Prakashyama, Ishita, Vashita, and an eighth which enables one to attain his every wish. "These," said Krishna, "are my Siddhis".
* Dharana. The intense and perfect concentration of the mind upon one interior object; — accompanied by complete abstraction from things of the external world.
(To be continued)
Col. Olcott has just received a letter from the Hon. Edward Atkinson, an eminent American political-economist, which contains the important news that a simple method of converting cotton-seed into a nutritive article of food has been discovered. Mr. Atkinson says:
"If you can obtain light naptha, or gasoline, in India, you may do good to the poor classes by leaching the kernel of cotton-seed with it. It removes all the oil, which can then be separated from the naptha in a very pure state. Then dry off the kernel with hot steam, and you have a sweet and very nutritious food. I suppose they have hulling-machines in India. The hulls make good paper. I expect to see our crop of cotton-seed worth half as much as the crop of cotton."
Col. Olcott has written for further particulars, as to the process and machinery required, and will communicate Mr. Atkinson's reply to the public through these Columns.
A cable dispatch from Rt. Rev. H. Sumangala, confirmed by subsequent letters from his Secretary, the Rev. W. A Dhammajjoti, informs us that the promised contributions upon the subject of Buddhism are on their way, but will arrive too late for insertion in this issue. The papers comprise articles from the pens of that peerless Buddhist scholar, Sumangala himself; of the brave "Megittuwatte," Champion of the Faith; and of Mr. Dhammajjoti whose theme is "The Four Supreme Verities."
It will be observed that the THEOSOPHIST is not likely to abate in interest for lack of good contributions.
If any whose names have been handed in as subscribers do not receive this number of the THEOSOPHIST, they may know that it is because they have not complied with the advertised terms, by remitting the money, nor paid attention to the polite notices that have been sent as reminders. This journal is issued exactly as announced, and no exceptions will be made in individual cases.