Theosophical University Press Online Edition
VOL. I., No. 9 - JUNE, 1880
A People's Monthly
The Drama of Raja Mana and his Wives
The Christian Art of War
The Bewitched Mirror
The Number Seven
What the West Expects
On the Jain Notion of the Creator
Improvement in Indian Agriculture
Some Things the Aryans Knew
East Indian Materia Medica
A Buddhist Family or Village Religious Life in India
The Theosophical Society
Return to Section 1
* At this distant place (Bombay) we are not able to refer to original authorities for corroboration of the statements contained in this article — which we find in Spiritual Notes for April. But, if the discoveries of Dr. Jager are correctly described, it will be seen that they are highly important. Their value consists in their giving laboratory verification to views long since propounded and supported by another line of proof. In his "Anthropology," published in America in the year 1840 Professor Joseph R. Buchanan — now a Fellow of our Society — announced his discovery of the power in man to detect, in a manuscript, painting, or even some objects that another person had been in long contact with, the subtle emanations of his character. This he called Psychometry, or soul-measuring. One sensitive to these exhalations — that is, a Psychometer — could, by merely holding the object in the hand or applying it to the forehead, fee! l and describe first the dominant mood or strongest characteristic of the absent person, and then the subordinate individual peculiarities. Often the psychormeter would pass into the condition of "conscious clairvoyance," and, though not in the magnetic sleep, see the writer of the letter, the painter of the picture, &c., his house, family, friend, surroundings — even the epoch in which he lived. Applying the psychometrical faculty to the te st of medicines and chemicals of any sort, the sensitive, holding a closed packet of the chemical or medicinal substance, could discover what it was, by its effects upon the taste or other senses; though no substance had been pulverized and the paper wrapper bore no mark whatever to indicate what was within. All these experiments we have personally seen, tried many times, and made them ourselves. Professor Wm. Denton's "Soul of Things," is a work whose three volumes are entirely devoted to this subject of Psychometry. The writer of the article now quoted does not say whether Dr. Jager adduces the well-known facts that some dogs will undeviatingly follow their master's footsteps, though the scent may have been crossed even so many times, and that the blood-hound will track the fugitive if but allowed to smell a glove or a bit of any textile fabric he may have worn. Nor is anything said about the 'loves and antipathies," of the plant kingdom, which assuredly come legitimately wi! thin the scope of this inquiry. However, an important beginning is made, and Dr.Jager stands at one end of a path that runs straight towards the heart of Asiatic Occultism. — H. S. O.
It may at first glance stagger, or even disgust, us to hear the soul spoken of as a volatile odoriferous principle, capable of being dissolved in glycerine, and yet this is the last new thing in "Science." Professor Jager, the author of this strange hypothesis, is not merely a biologist of known merit, but, what is more to the purpose, by no means the gross materialist which an outline of his views might lead us to suspect. Like many eminent philosophers and theologians, he considers man as a threefold being, formed of body, soul, and spirit; but, unlike the majority of these writers, he regards the spirit as the immaterial and indivisible principle, connected to the body by means of the soul, a volatile, though material element, which is the seat of the passions, the emotions, and the will.
Psychogen, the material of which he regards the soul as constituted, is present, he holds, not merely in the body as a whole, but in every individual cell, in the ovum and even in the ultimate elements of protoplasm. It forms an ingredient of the molecules of albumen. As long as such molecules remain intact, the soul is, he maintains, in a combined state, and is completely devoid of action; but, on the decomposition of such molecules, it is set free and appears at once in a state of activity. Hence it follows that the decomposition of the albumen in the human tissues must go hand in hand with psychical activity. The professor asserts that, during pleasurable excitement as well as during fear or distress, the expenditure of nitrogenous matter is greater than during muscular exertion. And, truly enough, according to the researches of Bocker, Benecke, Proat, and Haugthon, this is exactly what takes place. Violent muscular work does not increase the percentage of nitrogenous co! mpou nds in the urine as much as does excitement or agitation of mind.
Again, if we prepare the purest albumen from the blood of any animal, we have a tasteless and scentless mass. Neither chemical analysis, nor microscopic examination, can discover whether such albumen was prepared from the blood of a man, an ox, or a dog, &c. But if we add to it an acid, there is a brief development of an odour which is perfectly specific, differing in the case of every animal. If the acid we use is feeble, and the resulting decomposition incomplete, we have the peculiar, not unpleasant, odour which the flesh of the animal gives off in boiling or gentle roasting; but if we use a more powerful acid, and effect a more thorough decomposition, the scent given off may be at once recognised as that peculiar to the excrement of the species.
Hunger is an agent which powerfully excites the living animal, and its exhalations then possess an exceptionally powerful odour. This odour is terrifying to its prey. Thus, to our nostrils, all beasts of prey, especially tigers, are exceedingly offensive. In like manner, the odour of a cat is well known to banish mice from any locality as may be observed even in case of the Persian cats, so generally kept in Paris, and which will rarely condescend to chase a mouse. The hare is thrown into panic dread on scenting a fox, a hound, or a huntsman.
Dr. Jager's theory is, that instinctive hatred or fear, as the case may be, arises between two beings whose exhalations do not harmonise; while, on the other hand, where such harmony exists, the result is instinctive sympathy and a mutual attraction. These observations, he considers, explain the repulsion — the antipathy — between different races of mankind. The negro, the black fellow of Australia, and even the Chinese possess a different specific odour from the white man, and hence they can scarcely form other than distinct and mutually hostile elements in any community where they co-exist.
It will be seen at once that, though the professor deals with many admitted facts and brings them into a certain accord with his hypothesis, it is far from demonstrated that they do not admit of other explanations; and this new theory must be judged by the light it may be capable of throwing upon the many unsolved problems of biology and psychology. As regards some of these, to wit, heredity, instinct, fascination, the transmission of certain classes of diseases, and perhaps the action of animal poisons, it may not improbably prove suggestive.
Herr Gr. C. Wittig, who writes on this subject in Psychische Studien, intimates that Jager's theory may perhaps enable us to reduce somnambulism, ecstasy, and the mediumistic phenomena, to the action of these soul-emanations or albumenoid vapours. On the other hand, it is quite possible that some of the phenomena, upon which Jager relies, may be accounted for on spiritual principles. We are told that the learned professor placed a number of hares in a large wire cage, whilst a dog was allowed to prowl around and snuff at the terrified animals for two hours. The dog being then killed, his olfactory nerves and the lining-membranes of the nose were taken out and ground up with very pure glycerine. The extract thus obtained was an essence of timidity — a liquid panic. A cat, under whose skill a few drops had been injected, was not willing to attack a mouse. A mastiff, similarly treated, slunk away from a cat. Other emotions and passions appear to have been experimentall! y co mmunicated to animals by analogous means men. But mesmerists declare, on the faith of experiment, that a glass of water, if magnetised with the firm intention on the part of the operator that it shall produce a certain definite effect, is found no less efficacious. Spiritualism and Jagerism are antagonistic — a fact which may help both to a fair hearing.
A PEOPLE'S MONTHLY.
The tone of our private correspondence encourages us to think that our magazine is satisfying the wants of the Indian public, and that it may lay some claim at least to be called the Asiatic People's Magazine. Our contributions have been as varied in literary merit as the writers have differed in race and creed. Some have reflected the hopes and aspirations of undergraduates, while others, by ripe Eastern scholars, have won the admiring praise of the greatest authorities of European science. The subjects have been infinitely various, it having been the aim of the Editors to fulfill the promises of the Prospectus and make a free platform, from which the advocates of all the old religions might bespeak the attention of a patient public. It appears that our plan was a good one. Despite the ominous warnings of timid friends, the failure of many previous literary ventures, the prejudice arrayed against us, the malicious obstructiveness of the enemies of Theosophy, the un! profitably cheap rate of subscription and every other obstacle, our magazine is a financial success; owing no man a pice and paying its way. The table of subscribers' post-offices, copied last month from our ma iling-registers, shows that it is a regular visitor at some hundreds of towns and cities situated in the four quarters of the globe. This means that our advocacy of the study of ancient lore has a worldwide evidence, and that in the remotest countries people are being taught to revere the wisdom of India.
The most gratifying fact in connection with our journalistic enterprise is that our subscribers are of every sect and caste, and not preponderatingly of any particular one. Most of those, who write to us, say that the magazine has been recommended by friends, and many, of every rank and every degree of education, express their gratification with what has appeared in these pages.
What precedes will prepare the reader to understand that if, now and then, place has been given to articles of somewhat inferior calibre, the fact must be attributed to design rather than to accident. Not that it would not have been more agreeable to print none but essays of a higher quality; that goes without saying. But we are publishing our magazine for the general public, not alone for the literary critics or antiquarians; and so we always welcome the representatives of popular thought to say their say in the best way they can. To whom shall we look for the revival of Aryan wisdom, the resuscitation of Aryan nationality, the beginning of a reformation of modern abuses? Not to the middle-aged or the old, for their tendency is towards conservatism and reaction. Much as such persons may intellectually revere the sages of old, it is worse than useless to look to them to set an example of putting away prejudices, customs and notions which those very sages would have abhorred! and many of which they actually denounced. The hope of the century is in the young, the ardent, the susceptible, the energetic, who are just stepping upon the stage. It is worth more to fire the heart of one such lad than to rekindle among the ashes of their elders hopes, the flickering semblance of a flame. So let us give the young men a chance to exp lore old records, question and counsel with their parents and teachers, and then publish the results to the great public. They may not always say very profound things, nor use the most elegant phrases, but at least they are sincere and, if encouraged, will be stimulated to study more, take further counsel, and try to write better next time. And their example will be followed by others.
Most Western men, who have attempted to teach the Eastern reading public, seem to have the idea that what pleases and satisfies their own countrymen, will equally please and satisfy the Orientals. There could be no greater mistake. The Eastern and Western minds are as unlike as day and night. What pleases the one is not at all likely to meet the requirements of the other, for their respective developments are the result of totally dissimilar environments. The true teachers for the East are Asiatic men; and one of these fledgling Native undergraduates will have a keener sense of Indian intellectual wants than most of our learned professors. The now-confessed total failure of the Cambridge mission to convert the high-class Natives is an example in point. We have more men of the kind, they were fishing after, in our Bombay Branch alone than were ever converted to Christianity since missions were first established in India. The object of our Society will be completely realized ! when the hundreds of young men who are reading our magazine and becoming imbued with the theosophical spirit, shall be labouring, with patriotic, religious zeal, in the several localities, for the revival of ancient wisdom and their general study of the records of that far-gone era when their ancestors boasted with sparkling eyes that they were Aryas.
SOME INTERESTING CASES OF UNUSUAL LONGEVITY.
The oldest woman in the world is supposed to be Mary Benton, now residing at Elton, in the county of Durham, England. She was born on the 12th of February, 1731, and is, of course, in her 148th year. She is in possession of all her faculties, perfect memory, hearing and eyesight. She cooks, washes and irons, in the usual family avocations, threads her needle and sews without spectacles.
It is a matter of statistical fact that in the district of Geezeh, which includes the pyramids, and a population of 200,000, there are 600 persons over 100 years of age, or one in every 333. Numaus de Cuyan, a native of Bengal, in India, died at the incredible age of 370 years! He possessed great memory even to his death. Of other aged persons we might mention Mr. Dobson, aged 139, of Hadfield, England, farmer. His diet was principally fish, fruit, vegetables, milk and cider. Ninety-one children and grand-children attended his funeral.
John de la Somet, of Virgnia, is 130 years old.
Old Thomas Parr, of Winnington, Shropshire, England, lived to the age of 152 years. He was first married at 88, and a second time at 120. He was covered from head to foot all over with a thick cover of hair.
Henry Jenkins lived to the extraordinary age of 169 years. At the age of 160 he walked a journey to London to see King Charles II. The King introduced Jenkins to his Queen, who took much interest in him, putting numerous questions to the patriarch, among which she asked, "Well, my good man, may I ask of you what you have done during the long period of life granted to you, more than any other man of shorter longevity?" The old man, looking the Queen in the face, with a bow, naively replied, "Indeed, Madam, I know of nothing greater than becoming a father when I was over a hundred years old." He replied to the King that temperance and sobriety of living had been the means, by the blessings of God, of lengthening his days beyond the usual time.
Edward Drinker, aged 103, of Philadelphia, rarely ate any supper.
Valentine Cateby, aged 116, at Preston, near Hull, England. His diet for the last twenty years was milk and biscuit. His intellect was perfect until within two days of his death. There died in 1840, at Kingston upon the Thames, Surrey, a Mr. Warrell aged 120 years. — St. Louis Post.
THEDRAMA OF RAJA MANA AND HIS WIVES.
By a Raja-Theosophist of Bengal.
The natural conflict between good and evil propensities in the human heart, and the successive steps for securing the victory for the former are well depicted in a very good book, which I wish to bring to the notice of Western Orientalists, if any have not seen it. It is, like so many of our Eastern works on morals, in the form of a drama. Its title is "Prabodh Chandrodaya Natak." Mana (mind) is represented as a king having two wives, named, respectively, Pravritti and Nivritti. The children of the former are: — Maha Moha (great attachment to, or love for, the world); Kama (sensual desire); Krodha (anger); Lobha (desire for riches and luxury; and Mada (pride or vanity). These children have attendants, comrades, wives and children congenial to themselves. The second wife has only one son, named Viveka (which means an inclination for the search after truth, a repugnance for what is transient, an! d a comprehension of the illusive nature of this earthly life). His comrades are Shama (peace of mind), Dama (control over sensual desires), Yama (undisturbed state of mind), Niyama (the methods of Yog Vidya) and others. Their wives are of their nature. These two parties are then represented to have waged war with each other to usurp the paternal right. Mana, the father, then grew too weak and powerless to be able to enforce his authority. Maha Moha, the eldest, then proclaimed himself king on one side, while Viveka on the other. By force of arms the former finally succeeded. When the latter saw that the state of affairs was very much against him, he took an opportunity to consult his preceptor who gave the following advice: —
"It is not in your power to subdue your enemy. You will have a son, named Prabodhachandra, and a daughter, named Vidya, who alone can expel Maha Moha and his comrades from our father's kingdom, the world. You should, first of all, get shraddha, (desire), but you must take care to see that it is not Tamasi shraddha (evil desire). You must find out Satwiki shraddha (a desire to acquire truth) to be used in seducing Vishnu Bhakti Devi (who resides by Upanishad Devi) whom you should marry. By this marriage you will have the required son and the daughter, who will drive your enemies away; and you will thus be installed in your paternal kingdom."
I think the readers will be very glad to see the picture as it is drawn in the book, which can be found in the Western Indian Libraries.
THECHRISTIAN ART OF WAR.
Will some reverend preacher, devoted to the work of propagating Christianity among the "poor Heathens," generously read at his next Bible-class, Sunday-school, or open-air meeting the following extract from a great London journal, as a practical illustration of how a Christian army wages war upon naked savages: it will make a deep impression. Says the Cape Town correspondent of the Daily News: —
Sad accounts are being brought to light of the atrocities committed by our allies the Amaswazi in the Secocoeni expedition. They are reported to have spared neither man, woman, nor child in their course; and the dreadful particulars are enough to freeze one's blood. These things will possibly never come to light. Had they been done under any other flag, they would have called down a world of just indignation; but the name of civilisation is supposed to throw a cloak over such atrocities. It is a deep stain on our national honour that, in order to avenge a doubtful quarrel with a man who at least seemed to be capable of understanding the rudiments of civilisation, we let loose upon him 10,000 of the greatest barbarians in South Africa and, according to more than one report, absolutely stamped out his clan. Nothing can justify the employment of the Amaswazi in the Secocoeni campaign — certainly not success or cheapness, which seems to be the great merits of the oper! atio n. It is enough to make one despair of Christianity to think that in the nineteenth century its professors are able to justify such deeds, and to take credit for adopting towards the natives of this continent the same measures by which the Spaniards of the sixteenth century converted the Indians of the Spanish Main. Slavery may be a bad thing, but between that and extermination there is mighty little to choose and the employment of such ruffians as the Amaswazi means extermination, or it means nothing. That such deeds should take place at all, is sad enough, That they should take place under the British flag is enough to make every right-minded Englishman demand a searching inquiry, and to insist that no official verbiage shall gloss over deeds which, if committed by Boers or colonists, would be subjected to a storm of righteous indignation. The following telegram has been received this morning by the Volksblad, a Dutch organ, which certainly cannot be accused of undu! e philanthropy: — "Fearful atrocities by Swazisat Secocoeni's come to light. Volkterm mentions a few, such as cutting off women's breasts, burning infants, cutting throats, and flaying children of five or six years." It is enough to add that these deeds were said to be done by our allies, or rather by our auxiliaries under the British flag.
By Prince A. Tzeretelef.
A few years ago I purchased at Moscow an old and long-deserted house. The whole building had to be repaired and almost rebuilt. Unwilling to travel from Himky, my summer residence, to town and back several times a week, I decided to superintend the work personally and to take up my abode on the premises. As a result of this decision, a room was hastily prepared for me in the main building. It was in August; all my acquaintances and friends had left the city; nowhere to go, no one to talk with; it was the dullest period in my life.
Once — as I well remember it was on the 27th of August — after passing the whole morning in the intellectual occupation of disputing with the carpenters, having rows with the masons, and debates with the furniture men, and thus spoiling several ounces of blood — a torture known but to Moscow proprietors — I was sulkily eating my dinner at the Gourinsk Inn, when — O, joy! I met with two old and valued friends. I pounced upon them and would not let them go before they had accompanied me home, and taken a cup of tea with me. After talking over more or less subjects with more or less animated debates, the conversation chanced turn upon Spiritualism. As a matter of course, none of us believed in spirits, every one of us hastening to bring forward the threadbare and commonplace arguments which usually serve such occasions.
"Do you know, Yurey Ivanovitch," said to me one of my friends, "that I was actually assured the other day that there was nothing in the world more terrifying for a person than to stand alone, at midnight, before a mirror, and with two lighted candles in one's hands, to thrice repeat loudly and slowly one's own name, without dropping the eyes from the reflected image? I was told that it produced the most awful feeling of nervousness. Few men are capable of such a feat."
"It's all bosh," remarked his companion, getting up to take his leave of me. "This superstition is of the same kind as that other 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. I tried it myself and nothing happened. However, you can make the mirror experiment yourself. In your deserted and empty house, the thing must come out quite solemn. Well, good-bye; it is getting late, and our train leaves to-morrow at nine."
They went away. My servant came to enquire whether I needed him for anything else; and, being answered in the negative, went off to bed at the other end of the large house, where he slept in some far-off hole. I was left alone.
I feel positively ashamed to confess what happened after that — yet I must do so. How the idea of trying that experiment with the mirror could have ever entered into my head — the head of a respectable husband, father of a large family, and a Judge — I know not, but it did. It was like an obsession. I looked at my watch, it was a quarter to twelve — just the very time. Taking a lighted candle in each hand, I proceeded to the ball-room.
I must tell you that the whole width of my new house was occupied by a large and very long hall lighted with windows at the two ends. It was just then under repairs. Along the walls there stood scaffoldings, and the place was full of lumber and rubbish. At one side an enormous glass-door opened into the conservatory and garden; at the opposite one there was a gigantic looking-glass over the mantel-piece. A better spot for the evocation of spirits could hardly be found. It is with difficulty that I can now describe or account for the state of my feelings, while I was passing along the deserted and gloomy passage leading to the ball-room. I had been so thoroughly annoyed during the whole day, so prosaically irritated, that my mental state could hardly be favorable to experiments of such a kind. I remember well that, upon pushing the heavy doors open, my attention was drawn to the once elegant, but now very damaged, carving upon it, and that I was calculating how much money I ! would have to lay out for its thorough reparation. I was calm, completely calm.
When I entered, I was caught in an atmosphere of decay, dampness, white-wash, and fresh lumber. The air was heavy; I felt oppressed with heat, and yet chilly. The enormous windows, stripped of their blinds and curtains, stared in oblong black squares upon the naked walls; the autumnal rain (which I had not even suspected while in my room) was drizzling against the window panes; trembling at every gust of wind, the glass rattled in the old window-frames; while the draught, creeping through the crevices and key-holes, whined and sung, filling the old house with mournful cadences. The very sound of my footsteps seemed to awaken a strange and weird echo . . . I stopped — but the sound did not stop me at once; it went on slowly dying away until it broke with a soft and wearisome sigh. . . . . . . . .
A strange sensation suddenly and irresistibly got hold of me. It was not fear — no, but a kind of sickly, melancholy feeling in the heart. Aroused by the silence reigning in this old uninhabited mansion and by the unusual surroundings, there now awoke at the bottom of my soul much of that long-forgotten past which had slumbered for so many years amid the wear and tear of commonplace daily life. Who knows whence and why these unbidden guests now came trooping before the eyes of memory, bringing forth a series of pictures with them; scenes of early childhood and youth; remembrances and sweet recollections, hopes unfulfilled; and grief — heavy sorrows which I had lived through and thought over. All this arose at once and simultaneously with its images of the past and the present; crowding in upon me at all sides, it confused and entangled the clearly defined pictures, and replaced them with vague recollections. But, as in our dreams, when the sorrow of the preceding day as w! ell as the expected joy of the morrow never leave us completely free from their grip, so over all these dreamy recollections, whether joyful or melancholy, spread, like the cold and heavy mist of an autumnal rainy day, the cold and dull reality . . . A hopeless, an unaccountable weariness got hold of me, enveloping my whole being as in a ghostly shroud. . . . . . . . . . .
The sudden noise of a rat, disturbed in its nocturnal wanderings, put an abrupt stop to the wanderings of my imagination. I slowly approached the mirror, pulled off its brown hollow cover, and shuddered at my own reflection: a pale, sorrowful face, with dark flickering shadows upon it, looked at me with an unfamiliar expression in its eyes and upon its stern features. I could hardly realize it was my own. The whole interior of the large hall with its lumber and scaffolding, its veiled statues, and the enormous garden door, at the end of a double row of pillars, was reflected in the mirror. The weak, waving light of the two wax candles was hardly able to chase the darkness lying in thick black shadows under the lofty ceiling, upon which the heavy chandeliers with their innumerable crystal drops painted fantastic spots; from my legs extended two gigantic shadows, branching off upon the inland floor and merging into the penumbra of the corners; at every movement these shadows ! ran swiftly right and left, now lengthening, at another moment shortening. Again, I glanced at my watch, it wanted three minutes to midnight. Placing a chair before the looking-glass, I laid my chronometer upon it, and with the two lighted candles clenched in my hands stood before the mirror, awaiting midnight. All was quiet and the silence around was profound. Nought was heard but the ticking of my watch, and the occasional fall of a rain-drop passing through the old leaky roof. And now, the watch hands met; I straightened myself up; and, firmly looking upon my own countenance in the mirror, pronounced slowly, loudly and distinctly, "Y-u-r-ey I-va-no-vitch Ta-ni-shef!"
If I had failed before to recognize my own face, that time I was utterly unable to recognize my own voice! It was as if the sounds reached me from far, far off; as if the voice of another somebody had called me. I went on staring at myself, though never taking off my eyes from the face. The reflection had become paler still, the eyes seemed immeasurably enlarged and the candles trembled violently in its hands. All was quiet; only my two shadows began moving swifter than ever; they joined each other, then separated again, and all at once began rapidly growing, elongating themselves, moving on higher and higher. . . they slipped along the veiled statues, flung their clear, cut, black patches upon the white walls, climbed along the pillars, separated upon the ceiling and began approaching nearer and nearer . . . . . . "Yu-rey I-van-novitch Tanishef!" I slowly pronounced again my name; and this once, my voice resounded in the old hall more muffled than ever. There was in! it something like a note of sorrow, reproach, and warning. . . . . . No, this voice, so soft, with tones in it so broken, was not my voice!. . .
It was the familiar voice of some one I knew well, who was near and dear to me . . . I heard it more than once, whether in my dreams or waking hours . . . It had hardly died away, when a window-pane, jingling and tinkling under a new gust of wind, suddenly burst. It was as if a harp-chord had broken its pure, metallic ring, filled the room, and was caught up by the wind which began its long and lugubrous dirge, a song of awe and sorrow. . . . . . . Unable to resist the first impulse, I took off my eyes for one instant from the mirror, and was going to turn abruptly round, when suddenly recollecting that I had to keep my eyes fixed upon it all the time I looked again, and — remained rooted to the spot — with horror. . . . . . .
I found myself no more in the looking-glass! . . . No; I was not asleep, neither was I insane; I recognised every smallest object around me: there was the chair with my watch upon it; and I saw distinctly in the mirror every part of the room reflected; the scaffolding and statues, and the drop-lights were there, all of them as they were before . . . But my shadow had also disappeared, and I vainly searched for it upon the inland floor. The room was empty; it had lost its only tenant. I . . . I myself had gone, and was there no more!
An inexpressible wild terror got hold of me. Never, in the range of the experience of my whole life, had I experienced anything approaching this feeling. It seemed to me as if I were living over this same event for a second time; that all this had happened to me before, on the same spot, illuminated by that same flickering light, in this same identical, heavy, gloomy silence . . . that I had experienced all this, and had waited here before now . . . feeling that something was going to happen, that it noiselessly approached, that invisible and inaudible, it is already near the door, that this empty ball-room is a — stage, whose curtain is slowly rolling up, and that one second more, one more effort, but to pronounce once more my name . . . only once . . . and that door will noisessly open . . .
The name, the name . . . . I have to pronounce it for the third and last time . . . I repeated over and over to myself mentally, trying to summon up my courage and collect my thoughts. But all my will-power had gone. I felt like one petrified, I was no longer my own self, but a part of something else; I could not and did not think; I only instinctively felt that I was being irresistibly drawn into a vortex of fatal events, and went on staring like a maniac into the mirror, in which I saw the empty hall with everything in it, but — myself!
With a desperate superhuman effort, I shook off that state of paralysis and began to utter my name for the third time: "Yur-ey Ivano-vitch Ta. . . . . . . . !" but my voice broke down, and my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth, at the shrill, trembling, extraordinary tones which made the whole house vibrate with echoes in the midst of this ominous silence. The wind howled and moaned, the doors and windows violently trembled, as the knob of the entrance door slowly but audibly and distinctly turned . . . Uttering a shriek of terror, I threw down both the lights and pressing my head between my palms, rushed out of the room like a madman.
What happened after that I know not. I came to my senses only in the morning, when I found myself in bed, in my own room, and with a dim mist working in my brain. Gradually I recalled all the incidents of the preceding night, and was just going to decide in my own thoughts that the whole was but a dream, when my servant handed me, with a look of blank amazement, my watch and the two candlesticks that the workmen had just found before the uncovered mirror in the ball-room.
I have narrated a FACT: though to explain it is more than I could undertake. One thing I know well, I will evoke myself before a looking glass no more, and strongly advise others never to attempt the experiment.
THE NUMBER SEVEN
A deep significance was attached to numbers in hoary antiquity. There was not a people with any thing like philosophy, but gave great prominence to numbers in their application to religious observances, the establishment of festival days, symbols, dogmas, and even the geographical distribution of empires. The mysterious numerical system of Pythagoras was nothing novel when it appeared far earlier than 600 years B. C. The occult meaning of figures and their combinations entered into the meditations of the sages of every people; and the day is not far off when, compelled by the eternal cyclic rotation of events, our now sceptical unbelieving West will have to admit that in that regular periodicity of ever recurring events there is something more than a mere blind chance. Already our Western savants begin to notice it. Of late, they have pricked up their ears and began speculating upon cycles, numbers and all that which, but a few years ago, they had relegated to ob! livion in the old closets of memory, never to be unlocked but for the purpose of grinning at the uncouth and idiotic superstitions of our unscientific forefathers.
As one of such novelties, the old, and matter-of-fact German journal Die Gegenwart has a serious and learned article upon "the significance of the number seven" introduced to the readers as a "Culture-historical Essay." After quoting from it a few extracts, we will have something to add to it perhaps. The author says: —
The number seven was considered sacred not only by all the cultured nations of antiquity and the East, but was held in the greatest reverence even by the later nations of the West. The astronomical origin of this number is established beyond any doubt. Man, feeling himself time out of mind dependent upon the heavenly powers, ever and everywhere made earth subject to heaven. The largest and brightest of the luminaries thus became in his sight the most important and highest of powers; such were the planets which the whole antiquity numbered as seven. In course of time these were transformed into seven deities. The Egyptians had seven original and higher gods; the Phonicians seven kabiris; the Persians, seven sacred horses of Mithra; the Parsees, seven angels opposed by seven demons, and seven celestial abodes paralleled by seven lower regions. To represent the more clearly this idea in its concrete fo! rm, the seven gods were often represented as one seven-headed deity. The whole heaven was subjected to the seven planets; hence, in nearly all the religious systems we find seven heavens.
The belief in the sapta loka of the Brahminical religion has remained faithful to the archaic philosophy; and — who knows — but the idea itself was originated in Aryavarta, this cradle of all philosophies and mother of all subsequent religions! If the Egyptian dogma of the metempsychosis or the transmigration of soul taught that there were seven states of purification and progressive perfection, it is also true that the Buddhists took from the Aryans of India, not from Egypt, their idea of seven stages of progressive development of the disembodied soul, allegorized by the seven stories and umbrellas, gradually diminishing towards the top on their pagodas.
In the mysterious worship of Mithra, there were "seven gates," seven altars, seven mysteries. The priests of many Oriental nations were sub-divided into seven degrees; seven steps led to the altars and in the temples burnt candles in seven-branched candlesticks. Several of the Masonic Lodges have, to this day, seven and fourteen steps.
The seven planetary spheres served as a model for state divisions and organizations. China was divided into seven provinces; ancient Persia into seven satrapies. According to the Arabian legend seven angels cool the sun with ice and snow, lest it should burn the earth to cinders; and, seven thousand angels wind up and set the sun in motion every morning. The two oldest rivers of the East — the Ganges and the Nile — had each seven mouths. The East had in the antiquity seven principal rivers (the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Oxus, the Yaksart, the Arax and the Indus); seven famous treasures; seven cities full of gold; seven marvels of the world, &c. Equally did the number seven play a prominent part in the architecture of temples and palaces. The famous pagoda of Churingham is surrounded by seven square walls, painted in seven different colours, and! in the middle of each wall is a seven storied pyramid; just as in the antediluvian days the temple of Borsippa, now the Birs-Nimrud, had seven stages, symbolical of the seven concentric circles of the seven spheres, each built of tiles and metals to correspond with the colour of the ruling planet of the sphere typified.
These are all "remnants of paganism" we are told — traces "of the superstitions of old, which, like the owls and bats in a dark subterranean, flew away to return no more before the glorious light of Christianity" — a statement but too easy of refutation. If the author of the article in question has collected hundreds of instances to show that not only the Christians of old but even the modern Christians have preserved the number seven, and as sacredly as it ever was before, there might be found in reality thousands. To begin with the astronomical and religious calculation of old of the pagan Romans, who divided the week into seven days, and held the seventh day as the most sacred, the Sol or Sun-day of Jupiter, and to which all the Christian nations — especially the Protestants — make puja to this day. If, perchance, we are answered that it is not from the pagan Romans but from the monotheistic Jews that we have it, the! n wh y is not the Saturday or the real "Sabbath" kept instead of the Sunday, or Sol's day?
If in the "Ramayana" seven yards are mentioned in the residents of the Indian kings and seven gates generally led to the famous temples and cities of old, then why should the Frieslanders have in the tenth century of the Christian era strictly adhered to the number seven in dividing their provinces, and insisted upon paying seven "pfeunings" of contribution? The Holy Roman and Christian Empire has seven Kurfirsts or Electors. The Hungarians emigrated under the leadership of seven dukes and founded seven towns, now called Semigradya (now Transylvania). If pagan Rome was built on seven hills, Constantinople had seven names — Bysance, Antonia, New Rome, the town of Constantine, The Separator of the World's Parts, The Treasure of Islam, Stamboul — and was also called the city on the seven Hills, and the city of the seven Towers as in adjunct to others. With the Mussulmans "it was b! esieged seven times and taken after seven weeks by the seventh of the Osman Sultans." In the ideas of the Eastern peoples, the seven planet ary spheres are represented by the seven rings worn by the women on seven parts of the body— the head, the neck, the hands, the feet, in the ears, in the nose, around the waist — and these seven rings or circles are presented to this time by the Eastern suitors to their brides; the beauty of the woman consisting in the Persian songs of seven charms.
The seven planets ever remaining at an equal distance from each other, and rotating in the same path, hence, the idea suggested by this motion, of the eternal harmony of the universe. In this connection the number seven became especially sacred with them, and ever preserved its importance with the astrologers. The Pythagoreans considered the figure seven as the image and model of the divine order and harmony in nature. It was the number containing twice the sacred number three or the "triad," to which the "one" or the divine monad was added: 3 + 1 + 3. As the harmony of nature sounds on the key-board of space, between the seven planets, so the harmony of audible sound takes place on a smaller plan within the musical scale of the ever-recurring seven tones. Hence, seven pipes in the syrinx of the god Pan (or Nature), their gradually diminishing proportion of shape representing the distance between the planets and bet! ween the latter and the earth — and, the seven-stringed lyre of Apollo. Consisting of a union between the number three (the symbol of the divine triad with all and every people, Christians as well as pagans) and of four (the symbol of the cosmic forces or elements,) the number seven points out symbolically to the union of the Deity with the universe; this Pythagorean idea was applied by the Christians — (especially during the Middle Ages) — who largely used the number seven in the symbolism of their sacred architecture. So, for instance, the famous Cathedral of Cologne and the Dominican Church at Regensbury display t his number in the smallest architectural details.
No less an importance has this mystical number in the world of intellect and philosophy. Greece had seven sages, the Christian Middle Ages seven free arts (grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy). The Mahometan Sheikh-ul-Islam calls in for every important meeting seven "ulems." In the Middle Ages an oath had to be taken before seven witnesses, and the one, to whom it was administered, was sprinkled seven times with blood. The processions around the temples went seven times, and the devotees had to kneel seven times before uttering a vow. The Mahometan pilgrims turn round Kaaba seven times, at their arrival. The sacred vessels were made of gold and silver purified seven times. The localities of the old German tribunals were designated by seven trees, under which were placed seven "Schoffers" (judges) who required seven witnesses. The criminal was threatened with! a Iseven-fold punishment and a seven-fold purification was required as a seven-fold reward was promised to the virtuous. Every one knows the great importance placed in the West on the seventh son of a seventh son. All the mythic personages are generally endowed with seven sons. In Germany, the king and now the emperor cannot refuse to stand as god-father to a seventh son, if he be even a beggar. In the East in making up for a quarrel or signing a treaty of peace, the rulers exchange either seven or forty-nine (7 x 7) presents.
To attempt to cite all the things included in this mystical number would require a library. We will close by quoting but a few more from the region of the demonical. According to authorities in those matters — the Christian clergy of old — a contract with the devil had to contain seven paragraphs, was concluded for seven years and signed by the contractor seven times; all the magical drinks prepared with the help of the enemy of man consisted of seven herbs; that lottery ticket wins, which is drawn out by a seven-year old child. Legendary wars lasted seven years, seven months and seven days; and the combatant heroes number seven, seventy, seven hundred, seven thousand and seventy thousand. The princesses in the fairy tales remained seven years under a spell, and the boots of the famous cat — the Marquis de Carabas, — were seven leagued. The ancients divided the human frame into <I! sev en parts; the head, the chest, the stomach, two hands and two feet; and man's life was divided into seven periods. A baby begins teething in the seventh month; a child begins to sit after fourteen months (2 x 7 begins to walk after twenty-one months (3 x 7 to speak after twenty-eight months (4 x 7) leaves off sucking after thirty-five months (5 x 7); at fourteen years (2 x 7) he begins to finally form himself; at twenty-one (3 x 7) he ceases growing. The average height of a man, before mankind degenerated, was seven feet; hence the old Western laws ordering the garden walls to be seven feet high. The education of the boys began with the Spartans and the old Persians at the age of seven. And in the Christian religions — with the Roman Catholics and the Greeks — the child is not held responsible for any crime till he is seven, and it is the proper age for him to go to confession.
If the Hindus will think of their Manu and recall what the old Shastras contain, beyond doubt they will find the origin of all this symbolism. Nowhere did the number seven play so prominent a part as with the old Aryas in India. We have but to think of the seven sages — the Sapta Rishis; the Sapta Loka — the seven worlds; the Sapta Pura — the seven holy cities; the Sapta Dvipa, — the seven holy islands; the Sapta Samudra — the seven holy seas; the Sapta Parvatta — the seven holy mountains; the Sapta Arania — the seven deserts; the Sapta Vriksha — the seven sacred trees; and so on, to see the probability of the hypothesis. The Aryas never borrowed anything nor did the Brahmans, who were too proud and exclusive for that. Whence, then, the mystery and sacredness of the number seven?
WHAT THE WEST EXPECTS.
Some time ago, a letter was written from here to one of the cleverest of American editors upon the subject of Oriental psychology, asking him to indicate how, in his judgment, it would be best to present it to the Western world, so as to arouse the widest popular interest. The editor, unlike most Western journalists, is well read in Oriental religious questions. He answers as follows: — "You ask me to state what special line of enquiry into Asiatic Philosophy is most likely to meet the Western demand. My dear Sir, there is no Western demand as yet. It is your business to create it. And while, if speaking from the standpoint of the student, I should urge you to devote your attention principally to the religions of Asia, regarding the matter from the standpoint of popular interest, I should rather advise you to develop and illustrate such phases of Oriental Supernaturalism as it may be in your power to describe or explain. You will perhaps rejoin that Oriental Sup! ernaturalism is so wrapped up with religion that the two must be studied together. Granted. But what we are seeking, I take it, is the means of arousing general interest, and the surest way to do that in regard to any religion has always been by exciting the wonder and awe of the vulgar. In a word, do as all founders of faiths have ever done: appeal to miracles. Give the public interesting accounts of the marvels your Hindu pietist becomes capable of (according to tradition) when he attains the position of a R ishi or Arhat. Tell how this state is attained. Lift the veil from the psychological mysteries which are involved. Confute the pragmatical postulants of unconscious cerebration, hypnotism, and what not, as the causes and explanations of everything that puzzles them in Nature. Take, if you can, the jugglers of India as well as the Brahmans, describe their feats which have so bewildered the witnesses from the time of Kublai Khan until to-day. Give the world the first serious attempt it has seen to investigate the magic of India. Is there, or is there not, anything in it? That is the question which I believe most interests those who have given the subject any attention, and it is one which you must undertake to deal with, or your mission will be abortive. As to the philosophies and religions of Asia, I confess that my study of them has not impressed me with any greater reverence for them than I entertained for the philosophies and religions of the West. Their chief inter! est to me appears to lie in the light they throw upon the evolution of human intelligence, and the proofs they furnish of the strong family resemblances which accompany its gradual advances. The literature of early Buddhism is as full of nobility and purity as that of Christianity. Both religions in time became overlaid and smothered with ceremonial. As to the Vedic literature, I confess, I see in it little more than the crude and clumsy efforts of a primitive people to propitiate the forces of Nature they had learnt to fear. In fact, there is only one thing in India which possesses any living interest for me at present, and that is the subject of occult knowledge. In regard to this I would suggest one or two ideas which seem to me to require special examination. In the first place, the development of supernatural power appears to be conditioned among Indian religionists, and upon an ascetic preparation which physiologists would declare to be very prejudicial to the maintenance of! a sound mind in a sound body. This is a point which, I think, demands particular attention, for neglect of it threatens to vitiate all the conclusions of otherwise cautious witnesses. Again, in recounting any alleged supernatural phenomena, it is necessary that corroborative testimony should be supplied, of the most minute, exhaustive and exclusive character. A mere unsupported narration of such matters will in these days of exact and profound research and analysis be accorded no significance. This has been the fatal defect of all the statements now in possession of the Western world with regard to Indian mysteries. They have been spoken of as carelessly as if they were ordinary phenomena, and as a result they have been stigmatized as mere travellers' tales. Now, you know perfectly well the importance of such careful verification as I have spoken of. Without it I am sure you will fail to accomplish any thing important. With it you are in a position to revolutionize the belief of the West, and to advance the frontiers of science enormous! ly. I regard you as being under a great responsibility. You possess an opportunity which has perhaps never before been enjoyed by the Aryans since the primeval race settled beyond the Himalayas. But it is clear to me that this great opportunity will be wasted unless you fully realize the necessity of securing every step you take. Remember that one well-attested phenomenon is worth more as a means of conviction than a library of loosely told and unsupported stories. The age is past at which intelligent men could be got to take on trust narratives in any way transcending common experience. You have marvelous things to uphold, and you can only do it by the force of evidence. I hope that you will succeed even beyond your most sanguine anticipations; but I am sure you can only satisfy the Western critical mind by making it apparent that you were disposed to take nothing for granted, but resolute to prove all things. . . . . . . No doubt you have experienced annoyance from the bi! gotry and intolerance of the Christian missonaries. By the way , it would be well done to show the world how small has been their success in making conversions, and how great a humbug the whole Indian mission system is."
ON THEJAIN NOTION OF THE CREATOR.
By Dr. Ram Das Sen.
In the May number of the THEOSOPHIST, Rao Bahadur Gopol Rao Hari Deshmukh says in his article on "The Jain View of Om," that the Jains do not believe in the existence of a creator, in controversion of what I said on the same subject in the December number. It was stated there that the Jains were not atheists in the strict sense of the term; and this is clearly borne out by the following quotations from two very authentic Jain Sanskrit works:
These quotations may not bear out or concur with Ratnakar, admittedly a recent work and of inferior authority, but there they are.
IMPROVEMENT IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE.
Always preponderingly an agricultural country, India has of late been growing still more so by the gradual extinction of her ancient manufacturing industries and mechanical arts. The struggle for life now goes on more desperately than ever. A good monsoon means life, a bad one sometimes death to millions. Hoarding of present surplus against future necessities has become almost impossible: the tax-burthened, debt-crushed ryot has learnt to eat the bread of to-day with thankfulness, and in dumb fear await what the morrow may bring forth. How much of this is due to bad government, how much to careless selection of seed grain, how much to dearth of pasturage for working cattle, how much to unthrifty habits and the rash accumulation of debt, how much to lack of water for irrigation; what part should described to the tax-gatherer, what to the zemindar, what to the system of land-holdings — let others discuss. The first, most vital fact for us to realize is that the ! mouths to feed are increasing faster than the food to put into them. It is this that grieves the heart of every lover of India. How can the case be met? Useless to talk, how can we best begin to work? It is not the argument the country wants; the situation is not disputed, and no one has the time to quarrel over it when the hungry are crying for bread. Let us take counsel together then. It is a simple question of arithmetic, after all. We cannot extend the area of cultivable land, nor can we slay the extra children that are born, to make the ratio of crop to eaters keep stationary. We must do one of two things then — either make each acre bear more grain or leave the surplus population to starve. If a certain fixed acreage will support only a fixed number of people under one system of cultivation, it will support ten or twenty or fifty per cent. more under another system; and if the increase of population in the country, where the more imperfect farming prevails, has reached and passed the utmost productive limit of the! lan d under that system — then what? Simply that patriotism, statesmanship and philanthropy alike demand that an earnest and combined attempt shall be made to improve the bad method of agriculture until it is thoroughly reformed, and the fixed number of acres shall be made as productive as possible. This is the case of India.
The position in which India now finds herself is not a new one. Other countries have been so situated before, both in modern and ancient times. China, now, and Peru, in the pre-historic period, are examples in point; so are the Belgium of to-day and the Egypt of the olden time. England has passed the point where the utmost skill can extract enough from the land to support her population, and the consequences are, on the one hand, enormous and increasing importations of food, and, on the other, constant emigrations of surplus people to new countries. But it may be urged that the inhabitants of this Peninsula have lost the propensity to emigrate, once so strong in their ancestors. True; and, therefore, the only resource is to imitate the examples of China, Peru, Belgium, England, and other over-crowded countries, and improve the crop-bearing capacity of the land. The acre, that now yields ten bushels, must be forced to produce fifteen, and so give food to one-third more peopl! e. G ranting this as a safe premiss, can the thing be done? Is it, in fact, possible to increase the yield of our soil in any appreciable degree? We think it is. We do not believe this can be done by importing patented playthings. It cannot be done by applying in a tropical country, with its peculiar seasons and its fiery sun-heat, the safe methods of agriculture that succeed in Europe and America. It is foolish to ask the almost penniless Indian ryot to lay out capital against ultimate returns, as the English or Belgian farmers is ready to do. In a word, whatever is done must be in the direction of improving our existing methods, not by trying to graft them with foreign ones, as uncongenial here as the Indian palm is to the climate of the Grampion Hills. Let intelligent patriots ask themselves whether the soil is cultivated and cropped to the best advantage; whether as good seed is used as can be had; whether there is such careful stock-breeding as will produce the strongest worki! ng-cattle, the best milch cows; whether any improved pumping system can be hit upon, that will raise more water with the same expenditure of power as now; whether forest-conservancy is a good or bad thing for the country and, if the former, what should be done to help it along; whether any slight and inexpensive modifications could be made in the shape of our farming tools, or any change is possible in our methods of harvesting, storing and disposing of the crops, that would increase the ryot's profits. These are a few of the questions that, should occupy the attention of every man who wishes well of India, and would not have her people starve. Competition of village against village or ryot against ryot, for prizes offered for the best tilled farm, the best field crop, the b est animal, the best bushel of seed-grain, ought to be promoted, for experience in other countries has shown that this is a most powerful incentive to painstaking. Fairs and agricultural shows are also very important stimulants of good farming, and they should be so adapted to local and national customs, prejudices and wants, as to arouse popular interest. It is now quite well known that the representatives of the Theosophical Society in India have a deep interest in the material, no less than in the spiritual, welfare of this country. From the first, this has been publicly and privately shown. Some, but not many here are aware that for years the President of the Society was as closely and conspicuously identified in America with agricultural reform as he is now with Theosophy. Naturally enough the condition of Indian agriculture has been closely observed by us ever since our arrival, and especially during the two long journeys we have made to the far North-Western Provinces. ! A co rrespondence has since been maintained upon the subject with influential Native and European gentlemen, among the latter Mr. E. Buck, director of Agriculture, North-Western Provinces and Oudh, who seems a representative of that highest type of official — one who is more anxious to do good to the country than to himself. Mr. Buck, however, is before the public and no words from us are required to prove whether he is a good or a bad officer. But nevertheless our opinion is expressed above, and there it stands for what it is worth. He has addressed Col. Olcott a letter upon the subject of improvements in Indian agriculture, closely agreeing with the views herein supported, as will be seen upon perusal. We would be glad to see our contemporaries of the Native press giving the subject the consideration its importance deserves, and will be thankful for ,any suggestions as to how our Society or either of its fellows can render any service in the matter.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE, N. W. P. AND OUDH.
Alygarh, the 20th of February 1880.
MY DEAR COL. OLCOTT,
I have been encouraged by the interest which you take in agricultural matters to ask you whether you can assist me in any way to obtain the sympathies of the people of India, and especially of the enlightened classes with whom you are principally associated, in the attempts which we are making for the improvement of agriculture.
Our position is, I think, somewhat misunderstood. We do not come forward to ask the agricultural population of India to accept from us the ideas and machinery of Europe and America and apply them to their country.
On the contrary, we appeal to them to teach us what they require; we profess to give them, it is true, the means of ascertaining what principles have been discovered in the West, not yet utilized in the East, but having done so, we must refer, to the agricultural population themselves, the most important question of all — is such and such a principle, or is such and such an implement likely to be of service to your country?
Unless the people themselves come forward or evince a desire to make an earnest trial of means which are brought to their notice for the advance of their own agricultural interest, the attempts of Government are worse than useless, for they cost money which has to be raised from the taxes of the people of India.
Government can do very little more than endeavour to excite a natural and wholesome interest in such things. The adoption of them must come from the people themselves, who are the only true judges whether they are now or by patient development can be made to be hereafter useful to them. If only a few earnest landlords would in the interests of their fellow-country-men secure an honest and true verdict, after a fair and patient trial of the merits of a new system, a new implement, or a new principle, consider what an enormous amount of good might result from the discovery of only one small improvement. There are something like five or six crores of acres in the one small province of the N.-W.P. Imagine an improvement which gave only one maund of grain more per acre once in two years; an amount of food, or of saleable produce, bringing increased wealth to the agricultural population and an increased store of food to the country.
Or imagine a means by which the cost of wells or of bringing water to the surface could be cheapened by 25 per cent. What an advance could at once be made towards securing this North of India against the perils of drought which so much harass its arid soil.
We have drained the rivers of their water by our canals; we must now fall back upon the old source — the water-supply below the surface.
We want the people to feel that it is in their own interests to try and improve and cheapen the water-lifting system. The native appliances are truly admirable, but it may be quite possible by making trial of the results of European, I should prefer to say — American — science, some new idea may be developed which will bring the vast store of water, lying beneath the feet of every cultivator, more within his reach.
Do not think that I, for one, wish for improvement for the sake of Government or English interests. My appeal to the Famine Commissioners, to secure the permanent prosperity of the cultivating classes, will prove that I have only the interests of the cultivators at heart. My one hope and object is to raise the whole body of agricultural classes to a higher level of comfort and happiness.
In one thing I have succeeded, as you have heard — the introduction of Tobacco curing (which I only secured by the help of Americans). The object in this case is to prepare Indian Tobacco for the European market so as to bring English and foreign money into India in exchange for Indian produce. But success was here possible, because "curing" could be concentrated in a small space and completed by Europeans. It was one of the very few things in which the assistance of the agricultural population was not needed. There is nothing now to prevent natives from taking up the same industry when they find it to be sufficiently profitable just as they have taken up Indigo in the N.W.P. to the almost complete exclusion of Europeans who first gave the lead. Now the native agriculturists can manage the business more cheaply than the Europeans and, in this province, take the lead themselves.
But in other matters, such as improvement of actual cultivation, which requires the wide-spread sympathy of the agricultural classes, nothing can be done unless the agricultural classes are excited by a real desire to improve their own condition, and to inquire into these things for themselves. The improvements, which can be expected, are so small when calculated on an individual field, that it is hopeless to expect any lead being given by European capitalists as in the case of indigo and tea and tobacco. But the multiplier is so enormous that a little improvement on one acre becomes an enormous result over several millions, and, when this is considered, it seems worth while for native philanthropists to consider the subject deserving of earnest attention and to allow us to co-operate with them in making serious and patient trial of whatever seems likely to be useful to the country. When we have found anything that is really useful, then we will commend it to the a! gricultural population and not before then.
But meanwhile the first and original trial must be made by the agriculturists themselves, not by Government. These results will be true and reliable. Government Agency is costly and results are misleading. I myself place little reliance on Government statistics.
We want earnest men, and real philanthropists to persuade their fellow-countrymen to take up and try these things for themselves from a real desire to improve the condition of their country and not (as is perhaps sometimes the case now) from a desire to please Government. The mere desire to please Government will never do any real good, and hence it is that I had rather ask a good man like yourself, unconnected with Government, to enlist the interests of the natives in agricultural improvement for their own good than make any appeal to them myself or through those who are high in official authority.
Yours very truly,
SOME THINGS THE ARYANS KNEW.
By The Late Bramhachari Bawa.
In the Vedas and such other works of the remotest antiquity, magnetism has been spoken of in many places. This proves that the ancients were familiarly acquainted with the forces of magnetism and electricity.
"Viman Vidya" (aeronautics) was a complete science among the ancients. So perfect a mastery had they acquired in the control and management of the "Viman" (air chariot,) that it was used by them for all the practical purposes of war, &c. This indicates their full acquaintance with all the arts and sciences on which the Viman Vidya depends, and also their perfect knowledge of the different strata and currents of the air in atmosphere, the temperature and density of each, and various other minor particulars.
Diamonds, pearls, rubies, saphires and various other precious stones, as also quicksilver and other minerals, are frequently mentioned: it is also recorded that these things were found in great abundance. Therefore, the different sciences, arts or systems, relating to mining or the processes for separating and extracting various substances from the earth, were known to the ancients. The ancients were thus the masters of mechanics, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, &c.
In the Bharat, an account is given of the Mayasabha, (a collection of all the wonderful things of the time) presented by Mayasur to the Pandavas. In it were microscopes, telescopes, clocks, watches, singing birds, articulating and speaking animals, and various things made of glass, &c. Nothing entraordinary and wonderful was left out. The innumerable wonders and curiosities of this world were exhibited in that Sabha (collection) of Mayasur. Such, indeed, was the mechanism of this Myasabha, which accomodated hundreds of thousands of men within it, that it required only eight men to turn and take it in whatever direction they liked. From all it is most forcibly proved that in the Mayasabha of the Pandavas were displayed works which indicated the great learning and high
scientific and artistic attainments of the ancients, incomparably superior to those of the English, the French and the Chinese of the present time. If, as is positively affirmed by the thoughtless, the ancients (our very remote ancestors) were entirely ignorant of mathematics, chemistry, mechanics and other sciences and arts, how in the world could they have performed such grand and wonderful works?
They were not such as they are believed to be. Know that whatever is (at all times) within the reach of the human intellect, wisdom, and senses, was acquired by the ancients in a more perfect degree than in our day.
In the ancient works, it is even said that there were guns and canons in the Lauka of Ravana. They were called Nhulat Yantras. Therefore, gunpowder was also known to them.
There was also the steam or fire-engine called Agni Rath, the prime motor in which was the steam produced from boiling water.
The ancient kings has also their monetary systems, and, therefore, they had their mints in which monies were coined.
The ancients used to visit islands and distant lands beyond the seas and oceans, and, therefore, they were neither ignorant of geography nor of the art of navigation (Nauka-gaman.)
Before five thousand years ago, they were most remarkable for their war tactics and military systems and discipline. In battles they used to arrange their armies in the forms of circles, squares, oblongs, wedges, &c. Some part of their war tactics is to a certain extent known to the soldiers of our age. But "Astra Vidya," the most important and scientific part, is not at all known at present. It consisted in annihilating the hostile army by involving, enveloping and suffocating it in different layers and masses of atmospheric air, charged and impregnated with different substances. The army would find itself plunged in a fiery, electric and watery element, in total thick darkness or surrounded by a poisonous, smoky, pestilential atmosphere, full sometimes of savage and terror-striking animal forms (e. g. snakes, tigers, &c.) and frightful noises. Thus they used to destroy their enemies. The party, thus assailed, counteracted these effects by arts and means k! nown to them; and, in their turn, assaulted the enemy by means of some other secrets of the "Astra Vidya." This Astra Vidya is no more practised at present. Those, who possessed the secrets of it, cautiously guarded them from the misusers. It was perfectly just and right to do so.
Extensive works on "Astra Vidya" and such other sciences were at different times compiled in the languages of the times from the Sanskrit originals. But they, together with the Sanskrit originals, were lost at the time of the partial deluge of our country. Detached portions of these sciences now and then recur in the Vedas, Purans and such other Sanskrit works. From all this the learned and the wise should see and infer that the ancients had the ambition of good government, a great and perfect morality, and knowledge of various arts and sciences. It is the very province of the human intellect to invent, discover, and learn things which would benefit all living beings. If a man knows the sciences and arts, it should not be a matter of surprise; but if he does not, then and then only one should feel surprise, for he grasps not the immense reward which is within his easy reach.
Now in the Nyaya Shastra "prithvi" or the earth is said to be "gandhvati." This means that it is the element in which every kind of smell exists. It is the smelling element. There the earth is said to be nitya, (everlasting or eternal), when its particles only are taken into consideration, but when its compounds such as sulphur (which, as it has a powerful smell, is called gandhavti, &c., are taken into consideration, it is said to be anitya (i.e. perishable, as they are compounds). In short, it means that the compounds of particles are perishable and the particles imperishable. Therefore, the various bodies, which are called and understood to be elements, are imperishable. They are only the compounds of the gandhvati. By carefully reading the fakaras (chapters) of the Nyaya Shastra, you will thoroughly understand what I say, and you will find that the chemistry of the ancients was far more developed and higher than that of the moderns. The great acqui! reme nts of the ancients in chemistry and the sources of all the different branches of knowledge will be disclosed to you in the Nyaya Shastra.
If the men of our times will, according to the system spoken of in the Vedas, begin to form and divide themselves according to their innate qualities and tastes, and not according to their birth into the four distinct classes of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, and if they will perform yoga and devotional and true worship of the Universal Being, they will easily come to know the secret and occult sciences, and understand the mysteries relating to the soul and its transmigrations. They will also know the very natures of sins and their concomitant punishments, and will get a perfect idea of the hinsa or sin committed by slaughtering poor and innocent animals. In the end, to crown all their labours they will get emancipation as the greatest reward, i. e., they will get a perfect and everlasting knowledge of their own selves, which is nothing more or less than the Parmatma, the first and true state and principle of everything existent in the Un! iverse — Parmatma, — the true essence of all. Amen!
EAST INDIAN MATERIA MEDICA.
By Pandurang Gopal, G.G.M.C., F.T.S.
27. Drugs which act on the bowels and relieve costiveness, and remotely relieve acute inflammations of the urethral passage. They act as alteratives of the cutaneous circulation and relieve cerebral congestion.
28. Appetisers and remedies which act as cordials and febrifugues. They also improve the cutaneous circulation and relieve congestions of mucous membranes, acting remotely on the circulation of the eyes, nose and skin.
29. A group similar to the above, but the special merits of which are not detailed. They are appetisers.
30. A group of metals and preparations derived from them which act as alexipharmics, antiseptics and are useful in relieving certain anomalous diseases of the heart and liver which are not specified.
31. Drugs, the decoction of which is sweetly bitter and has the property of relieving sub-acute inflammations. They are insecticide, and are detergent, being useful in cleaning foul ulcers.
32. Drugs which are tonic, cooling and nutritive.
33 & 34. Drugs which relieve congestions or passive smellings, cool the blood and act as febrifuges. They have the remote effect of assisting secondary digestion.
35. Drugs which subdue inflammations, relieve fluxes and purify the seminal fluid.
36. Diuretics and relievers of inflammations.
37. A group which is not specified.
The above thirty-seven groups of drugs, although termed sanshaman as represented by Sushruta are not all strictly so; some of the groups contain here and there evacuant drugs also, each varying in action more or less and exerting its activity on the secretary capillaries of special membranes, promoting their secretions moderately, or if the quantity of each drug which has to be administered, be increased in a certain ratio or mixed with other allied drugs, they will cause an abnormal or excessive flow of those fluids. This phenomenon, when apparent, would evidently be deemed inconsistent with the appellation given to these drugs, when viewed individually, but the practical student of these phenomena will observe that these properties, however opposite, are not necessarily contrary to experience. Fresh from nature and at a certain stage of their growth, several vegetables evince such properties, and the occurrence is not the less true, that one part of a vegetable may! eve n possess virtues entirely dissimilar to those of another part. The descriptions, therefore, of therapeutic virtues accredited to these groups, and given here, must be taken with reserve, and be held to apply to them generally. The student will therefore do well to take them as landmarks in the minute investigation of each for his further researches into remedies in general.
Sushruta gives typical examples of this class and divides them into three sub-classes, each of which has a special affinity for the fluids of the human system, one restoring the vital spirits to their normal condition, and one repressing inflammations and heat, one counteracting the action of phlegm or of diminishing vascular congestions.
These sub-classes are given thus: —
Sub-class I: (which repress the over-flow of vital spirits or diminish the results of irritation)
Remedies of the above three sub-classes are typical representatives of the thirty-seven classes which are described in our last number. They are given here separately in order that the physician may select out of them those which may be most suited for administration, either singly or in combination, as circumstances will demand, with a view to affect the whole system generally. But those which follow, were held by Sushruta and Charaka to exhibit besides their general actions, actions on special organs and increase their activity or diminish it.
The parts used are nowhere specified except in a very few cases. The practitioner, therefore, has in them but an imperfect guide in apportioning the doses or quantities of the active material which is intended to be used in individual cases, and it is clearly laid down that only fresh herbs are to be used, if activity of operation and certainty of fiction are the aims in view.
We therefore give them for what they are worth, leaving the reader to form his own opinion on the value of such descriptions to practical science or of their application as remedial agents in the treatment of disease.
We shall now proceed to the consideration of the thirty-seven groups or groups of mixed remedies, the use and applicability of which seem to have been determined from experience alone. They are as under: —
Group I. Curers of deranged nerve action and possessing mild anti-phlogistic action,
These drugs are said to cure diseases of the air and phlegm and represent therefore medicines which remove atonic conditions of the circulatory system and give tone to mucous membranes without sensibly increasing or evacuating the biliary fluid. They are, therefore, indicated in relieving the morbid states of dryness of the fauces or the skin, lassitude, accumulation of gas in the intestines, dyspnoea and cough. If they exert any remote physiological action, they stay the retrograde metamorphosis of tissue, equalise circulation and neutralise the effects of excessive tissue degeneration and waste, caused by the circulation of morbific agents or poisons introduced from without.
They are, therefore, strictly speaking, blood alteratives and depurants, and though all of them have not been tested by modern physicians, we might unhesitatingly bear testimony to these effects in the instances of gymnema, hemidesmus, the Sidas, asteracanthus and ricinus communis.
Group II. Vital astringents (those which diminish congestions and increase the tone of the mucous tissue — : — They diminish the exalted formation of phlegm and relieve diseases which are due to congestions caused by paralysed nerve action, due either to excessive cold or air-borne poisons (miasmata). They are, therefore, indicated in relieving fluxes, serve as alexipharmics and alteratives, relieving the system of pent-up morbid humors, and arrest mucous discharges from the generative organs of both sexes. Some of them by virtue of the bitter principles contained by them act as vermifuges or prevent the formation of worms and also act as alteratives of the skin.
They are —
THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER SAID AT THE CHURCH CONGRESS that if any one sent him a religious newspaper he put it at once in the waste-paper basket. If the religious press there is what it is here, he exercises sound judgement.
A BUDDHIST FAMILY OR VILLAGE RELIGIOUS LIFE IN INDIA.
By Dawsonne Melancthan Strong, Major, 10th Bengal Lancers, Author of Selections from the Boston of Saadi, translated into English verse."
In the great work of anglicising India, many an old faith disappears and many a simple custom is swept away — wholly engrossed by our own doctrines, and sadly ignorant of the history of religions, much injustice is thought in connection with, if not actually done to, the mild and orderly races of Hindostan whom we have made our subjects.
In the shadows cast by a mighty buttress of Himalay upon the plains of Hindostan reposed the village of Oorcha which had been the quiet habitation of Hindus from time immemorial. Small cold rivulets, diverted from the main torrent, watered the terraced fields of corn and poppy, the cultivation of which was the chief occupation of the inhabitants. Although the events of this brief history occurred in the year 1870, the village was still far removed from the ways of Europeans and the hurried step of progress. No British soldier's oath or clumsy tread had yet disturbed the quietude of the scene, nor had even an angular-coated sportsman been viewed, where the very gait of the stately women, pitcher-crowned, and the dignified carriage of the elders betokened that calm superiority of mind which is seldom attainable amid busier haunts of men.
The dignity and virtue of man seemed here to have reached a climax and life was as sweet as the breath of cows. The divine teachings of the Lord Buddha had lingered longer in this spot than in any other part of India, and Brahmins were only tolerated as an apostolic Christian in these days tolerates a ritual curate.
The two girls, Govinda and Ishree, had driven up their goats to browse on the huge mountain slope in the early morning, but long before noon the hot May sun had driven them to seek the shade of the fig trees which clustered about the little streams and caught each wandering breeze.
"I often regret," said Govinda, "that Laljee and Kishen ever went out into the world."
"Why," Ishree replied, "we ought to forget they ever left, now that father and mother are so delighted to see them back on leave. I am sure their stories of all the strange things they have seen and heard, will please the old people in the evening."
"Kishen has not much changed," Govinda said, "but Laljee's notions about strange and new religions, I know, disturb my father's mind, and at this time of life it seems a pity that anything should cause him unrest, and I am sure no new faith could make him holier than he is, or help us to follow in his footsteps with more love and admiration."
"I feel that too," replied Ishree, "but still I think it is right we should know something about the rest of the world, and not fancy that we are the only good people in it. Mother, I know, is interested in other creeds, but her devotion to father does not allow her to reveal it."
"I could see," said Govinda, "that Laljee did not care much about going to the shrine with us the other day to renew the flowers. I must get Kishen to speak up for our dear old customs to-night."
In such strains did the young sisters converge until the great orb of day overpowered their limbs with langour and each lay down to sleep on her yellow sheet spread out upon the grass.
The eldest son of the family, Laljee, had very early in life gone with his uncle to one of the largest cities in Bengal and had been brought up in a mission school. Unknown to his relations he had become a convert to Christianity, and had enlisted in the Bengal Police. The missionaries had a young and gay Eurasian widow whom he was persuaded to marry before he entered the service of Government. Her expensive habits and European style of dress were a great drain upon his slender resources, and, being no longer able to retain his position in the police on this account, he took his discharge. He had not been able to send any savings to his parents, nor had he dared to tell them of his altered position and the abandonment of his old faith. There was now no alternative but to throw himself upon the charity of the missionaries who offered him an appointment as a reader of Scripture in the vernacular. For many years letters from his home had come, begging him to return to see his ! father and mother before they died, and he was not without a longing to revisit the sweet scenes of his childhood; but alas! his mind was tortured with a bad conscience: could he embrace his father as of old? Would he not have to walk to the stainless shrine of Buddha, like a guilty thing, while all the rest would be as joyous as the flowers they bore? All this and more passed like a turmoil through his brain, until he determined, come what might, he would see his old village once more. Leaving his wife to the car e of the good men who had given her to him, he started on foot for his home.
The career of the younger brother Kishen had been more successful: he had passed through the Lahore University with honours and had been rewarded with a good appointment under Government. Theology was a favourite study with him, and he took a wide and liberal view of the beliefs of the world.
It so happened, that the two brothers met together at their father's house.
As the sun's "gold breath was misting in the west," Ishree and Govinda were descending the cool hill-side, stopping ever and anon to pull down a straggling rose branch, while the goats crowded round to nibble off the fresh young leaves. Down below the women with large-eyed babes slung behind their backs streamed back from the poppy fields where they had been at work all day, and boys were driving along the lazy cows and ponderous buffaloes to their stalls.
Upon Laljee and Kishen who were sitting under the village tree the cold sunset fragrance from the cornfields came like an inspiration, and the shrill cry of black partridges who had never sole possession of the fields brought back the memory of their pastoral boyhood with exquisite distinctness. The old Siddartha and his wife had drawn out their beds to sit on, and soon the whole family party was complete, for Govinda, and Ishree had returned and had been met by the shepherd youths to whom they were betrothed.
A discussion between the two brothers ensued which may here be conveniently condensed into a dialogue.
Laljee. I often think that the wonderful progress of civilization which appears to be the contemporary result of Christianity, should incline us to regard that creed with favor.
Kishen. It should be remembered, however, that science to hasten on that progress has had to give battle over and over again to Christianity, and many tenets have been modified to suit the times, such as the story of the creation, eternal punishment, &c. If such beliefs cannot stand, what may not fall next?
Laljee. You must admit that there has been no example of morality more perfect than that of Christ.
Kishen. There are some who complain that the singleness of his life unlike that of Buddha who gave up wife and child to save the world and find enlightenment, prevented a comprehensive sympathy with mankind.
Laljee. But the final sacrifice of Christ was greater.
Kishen. Yes, but he expected deliverance from death to the very last as his words so forcibly implied "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Then again, the Lord Buddha never preached an angry and capricious deity who could only be appeased with the blood of his sin.
Laljee. True, yet Christ's mission to the world was one of peace and good-will towards men.
Kishen. The history of Christianity up to date has been anything but a history of peace and good-will towards men.
Laljee. No wonder, Christians abhorred Hinduism which favoured the practice of Suttee.
Kishen. I think it was somewhat less abominable than the Christian custom of burning and drowning poor helpless old women as witches.
The holy Siddartha seldom rebuked his son, but endeavoured to lead him by love and charitable regard for his views back to the old faith.
"My dear son," he said, "we should thank the Incomprehensible that he saw fit to send his son Christ to the West, even as six hundred years before he gave us the Buddha to live amongst us and teach us the same doctrines and even higher ones: and still six hundred years earlier Zoroaster's teaching was to fear God, to live a life of pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds and to die in the hope of a world to come."* It was the primal simplicity and purity of the doctrines of these three men which gave birth to creeds which have been held by countless millions, until, after the corruption of ages they can scarcely be recognized. Let us now in charity and love for all men and creeds repeat, before retiring to rest as we did, when you were all children together, some of the most beautiful texts of our dear Lord and Prince.
* Childhood of Religions. ED. CLODD.
As the last gold cloud overhead was lighting up the quivering leaves of the great peepul tree, they all rose to their feet, and the old Siddartha with his long beard and pure white teeth stood erect and splendid in the midst.
The eyes of the eldest son were moist with tears as he listened to his father's voice repeating the long forgotten sacred texts.
This is peace,
To conquor love of self and lust of life,
To tear deep-rooted passions from the breast,
To still the inward strife;
For love to clasp eternal Beauty close
For glory to be Lord of self, for pleasure
To live beyond the gods; for countless wealth
To lay up lasting treasure.
Of perfect service rendered, duties done
In charity, soft speech, and stainless days;
These riches shall not fade away in life,
Nor any death dispraise.
Then Sorrow ends, for Life and Death have ceased;
How should lamps flicker when their oil is spent?
The old sad Count is clear, the new is clean:
Thus haath a man content.
— Taken from Edwin Arnold's "Light of Asia."
A decade has passed over the lives of the Buddhist family in Oorcha. Govinda, the eldest daughter of Siddartha, died before her marriage, a steady adherent to her father's faith: as he loved to say she had entered the fourth path, that is, she had cast away the burden of all sins. The old man and his wife were almost crushed by this affliction, for she was their sole support and comfort in the latter days when many troubles were accumulating around.
A branch of the State Railway was now completed through the fields of Oorcha and a line of barracks had been erected for the accommodation of the families of the railway officials. Laljee had received the appointment of Station-master, and he and his wife had assumed their Christian designation of Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Jacobs. Ishree, the lovely child of Nature, no longer fed her flocks upon the eternal slopes or sought the fig-tree shades, for a wavering inclination had led her far away from the pure paths of Buddhism, "that wisdom which hath made our Asia mild,"* and she had become at the instigation of her sister-in-law, the worthy wife of a Mr. William Snooks. She was now bringing up a young progeny with some difficulty owing to Mr. Snooks' devotion to his national beer pot. A sad change had come over the village; there was a bolder look discernible about the women, and few were satisfied with quiet agricultural pursuits and domestic duties. The noble gait and modest dr! oopi ng glances were no more; and many husbands had taken to drink.
* "Light of Asia" by E. Arnold.
Siddartha, having seen his beloved daughter and wife pass away, had retired from the village and now lived a few miles up the valley near the shrine which he alone tended to the last. He was known to the outside world as the faquir of Oorcha.
One day, the Station-master heard through his servants that the faquir was nigh to death. He went over to his sister, Mrs. Snooks, and proposed that they should walk up the valley to see their father whom they had not visited for many years, for the last time. What thoughts crowded upon them as they traversed the well-known sacred path I will here omit; but, as the white shrine appeared through the overhanging boughs, their hearts stood still with pain. On a common bed of string lay the devout Siddartha; his face was lit with joy for he was stretching out his arms to clasp Govinda and his wife; they were somewhere in the blue, this was all he knew: he left the rest to the Incomprehensible. Laljee and Ishree, let us call them by their old names in this sacred spot, dared not advance; the flaunting petticoat of the one and the cut-away coat of the other seemed to each to be out of place, and they shrank from presenting themselves thus to the holy man's gaze.
It was not long before Siddartha's outstretched arms fell gently by his side and above the music of the little babbling brook, these words were heard —
"I take refuge in thee, O Lord Buddha."
He had reached Nirvana, for this was his last birth.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY.
As announced in the last number, the President and the Corresponding Secretary, accompanied by a special committee of the Bombay Society, consisting of Messrs. E. Wimbridge, Damodar K. Mavalankar, Sorabji Jamaspji Padshaw, Pherozshaw Dhanjibhai Shroff, and Panachand Anandji, sailed for Ceylon per steamer Ethiopia which left Bombay on the 7th ultimo. They touched Karwar and Mangalore on the way, and received on board a deputation of the Fellows of the Society at those places. They landed at Galle on the 17th ultimo, and were given a most cordial and magnificent welcome by our Buddhist Brothers. A full account of the voyage and reception, and of the inauguration of the Buddhist Branch not having arrived in time for publication in this number, will be given in the next.
WHEN A MAN HAS SO FAR CORRUPTED AND PROSTITUTED the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. — Thomas Paine.