Rich in the gems of India’s gaudy zone.
CAMPBELL: Pleasures of lope.
IF HISTORY proves anything, it proves that in ancient times, India was the richest c ntr i ,,, The fact that she has always been the cynosure of all eyes, Asiatic or European, that eo le of less favoured dimes ave a ways cast longing_ looks on her glittering treasures, and that the ambition- of all conquerors has been to possess India, prove that she has been reputed to be the richest country in the world.)
-ffer sunny climate unriv *lit matchless mineral resources and world-wide-exports in ancient times helped to accumulate in her bosom the wealth which made her the hahunting ground of adventurers and conquerors. mfessor Heeren says: “India has been lebrated even in the earliest times for its riches.” Dr. Wise says that the wealth, splendour and prosperity of India had made a strong impression on the mind of Alexander the Great, and that when he left Persia for India, he told his army that they were starting for that “ Golden India “ where there was endless wealth, and that what they had seen in Persia was as nothing compared to the riches of India. Chamber’s Encyclopaedia says: “India has been celebrated during many ages for its wealth,”2 The writer of the article “ Hindustan “ in the Encyclopaidia
1Heeren’s Historical Researches, Vol. II, p.
2Chamber’s Encyclopedia, Vol. V, Art. “India,” p. 536.
Britannica remarks that India “ was naturally reputed to be the seat of immense riches.”‘ Milton voiced the popular belief when he sang of the wealth of India
“ High on a throne of royal state which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormuz and of ILIA._ Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric, pearl and gold.”
An idea of the immense wealth of India could be gathered from the fact that when Sultan Mahmild Ghaznavi destroyed the far-famed temple of Somnath he found such immense riches and astonishing diamonds cooped up in the single “ Idol of Siva “ that it -was found quite impossible to calculate the value of that booty.2 After a stay at Mathura for 26 days, in which he collected large idols of gold and silver in thousands, many set in with Priceless jewels, Mahmud went to Kanauj, which so astonished the tyrant and his followers, though long familiar with wealthy cities like Mathura, that they declared that Kanauj was only rivalled in splendour and magnificence by the high heavens.
Gold, the emblem of wealth, was first found in India. India was the home of diamonds and other precious stones in ancient times. Periplus says that “ the Greeks used to purchase pieces of gold from the Indians.” Nelkynda or Neliceram, a port near Calicut on the Malabar Coast, is said to have been the only market for pearls in the world in ancient times.
Chamber’s Encyclopaadia says that the minerals of India are rich and varied. Diamonds, emeralds, plumbago, beryle, topazes, are among its products. .Gold
I Ennyclopmdia Britannica, Vol. XI, p. 446. 2See Lethhridge’6 “ History of India.”
has been found in India from time immemorial. The Deccan and the Malabar Coast are believed to be the gold-bearing districts,’ and at Dharwar, quartz reefs of the richest description have been found.
India has been famous for pearls, topazes, saphires, rubies, emeralds, lazuli, corals and other jewels. The most famous pearls and stones are all of Indian origin. pearl presented by Julius Caesar to Servilia, the mother of Brutus, as well as the famous pearl ear-ring of Cleopatra, were obtained from Indifa::) The most famous diamonds in the world are natives of India. Though th Pitt (o the Regent as it is now called) weighs 1364, carats a d is larger in size, yet the Koh-i-noor, weighing only 106i carats,2 hallowed by ages of romantic history, is the most famous diamond in the world. Both were taken from India to England. The Pitt, however, after being reduced in cutting from 410 to 136’ carats was sold in 1717 to the Regent of France, the Duke of Orleans. It may still be seen at the Louvre, Paris. It is valued at £480,000, the Koh-i-noor at only £140,000. But the mythological and historical value of the Koh- i-noor is untold.
It was the wealth of India that impelled the rude Arabs to invade this country, and led the half-civilized Tartars to overrun it. It was the wealth of India that attracted Nadir Shah to India, from whence he returned laden with immense booty, and caused the Abdali chief to renew his attacks on it.
) Periplus (p. 36) speaks of gold mines situated in the lower Gangetic Plain. Pliny speaks of gold and silver mines in the mountains of Capitalia, which are represented by him as the highest of the Ghat Range.
L-Heeren’ s Historical Researches, Vol. II.
2 When the Kob-i-noor first reached England it weighed 186i’carats.
May be, as Sophocles sings’ that,
“Gold is the worst of ills
That ever plagued mankind: this wastes our cities, Drives forth their natives to a foreign soil,
Taints the pure heart, and turns the virtuous mind To basest deeds.”
Yet gold has its virtues. It was gold which not only enabled England to save herself and Europe in the last century but decided the fate of Napolean Bonaparte.2
Antigone, Act I.
2The representatives of the Allied Powers, assembled at Vienna, declared him an outlaw after his return from Elba, but declined to oppose him for want of funds. On this, England granted them large subsidies. Thus began the war that ended in the crowning mercy of Waterloo.
Is always mild, propitious and humble,
Plays not the tyrant, plants no faith in blood, Nor bears destruction on her chariot wheels, But stops to polish, succour and redress,
And builds her grandeur on the public good.
RELIGION, the balm for afflicted minds, is, as Bacon observes, “the chief bond of human society.” It is the most powerful factor in the regulation of human affairs. As a man’s company gives us a key to the general principles which guide his conduct, so does a nation’s religion give us a clue to those general principles and natural forces which are at work in it for good or for evil, and which will lead it either towards civilization and enlightenment or towards degeneration and darkness. As the habitual actions and trifling acts of a man are clearly stamped with the characteristics of his personality, so is the religion of a nation an index to mark its position in the scale of civilization.
Religion, then, is one of the tests of civilization. And true religion, which is only another name for Gyana or true knowledge, is a necessary result of pre-eminence in morals, philosophy, literature, science and general culture.
The present religion of the masses in India should not be literally taken to be the religion of their ancestors, and the nature of their religion should not be judged from the religious system of the modern Hindus. The once highly-spiritual religion of the Hindus has, so far as the masses are concerned, now become thoroughly materialised to mark their degradation, and things earthly are now installed in the place which was once occupied by the eternal principle of all things.
The Vedic religion is the knowledge, the recognition of the eternal principles of being, of God, of spirit and matter, and their relation to one another as revealed to them in the Vedas.
Unbounded sympathy with humanity and infinite love for all God’s creatures, which are the results of the noblest influences -of true religion, found their supreme expression in India. No nobler sacrifice can be imagined than that involved in the resolution of the Indian who said: “Never will I seek nor receive private individual salvation—never enter into final peace alone; but for ever and everywhere will I live and strive for the universal redemption of every creature throughout the world. Until all are delivered, never will I leave the world of sin, sorrow, and struggle, but will remain where I am.”‘
The Hindu religion is the knowledge and the comprehension of those eternal principles which govern nature and man, those immutable, laws which in one sphere are called “ science,” in another “ true philosophy.” It concerns itself not with things true under certain conditions or at certain times: its precepts are ever true, true in the past, true in the present, true in the future.
1 Buddhist Catena.
True knowledge being one, it takes, without any distinction, into its fold, Indians, Arabs, Europeans, Americans, Africans and Chinese. Its principles circumscribe the globe and govern all humanity.
The Hindu religion is not, like other religions, a confession of weakness, an humble admission of the helplessness of humanity, and an absolute reliance on an external power for the salvation of mankind. The Hindu religion is a confident assertion of supreme manhood—an assertion full of dignity and incleVence.
chlegel says: “It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed a knowledge of the true God. All their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions, noble, clear, severely grand, as deeply conceived as in any human language in which men have spoken of their God.”‘
The Rev. J. Bryce admits that “there is every reason to believe that there existed a period in the Hindu history when the Brahma was the sole object of religious adoration.”2 Rev. Mr. Ward says: “It is true, indeed, that the Hindus believe in the unity of God.
One Brahma without a second,’ is a phrase very corn,„.
monly used by them when conversing on subjects which relate to the nature of God. They believe also that God is Almighty, All-wise, Omnipotent, Ominiscient.”
Mr. Charles Coleman says; “The Almighty, Infinite, Eternal, Incomprehensible, Self-existent Being; He who sees everything though never seen; He who is not
1 Wisdom of the Ancient Indians. 2Sketch of the State of British India.
to be compassed by description, and who is beyond the limits of human conception is Brahma, the one unknown true Being, the Creator, the Preserver and Destroyer of the universe. Under such and innumerable other definitions is the Deity acknowledg d in the Vedas, or the sacredv__.auv-idus.”‘
Col. Kennedy says: “Every Hindu who is in the least acquainted with the principles of his religion must in reality acknowledge and worship God in unity.” ,..-----Count Bjornstjerna, after giving a quotation from
7 the Vedas, says: “These truly sublime ideas cannot fail to convince us that the Vedas recognise only one God, who is Almighty, Infinite, Eternal,Self-existent, le_Light and the Lord of the Universe.”2
Maurice is assured “ that the Brahmin is seeking after one Divine unseen object, nay, that his aim in his whole life and discipline is to purify himself from outward, sensible things, that he may approach nearer to this one source of Illumination.’” Mr. Colebrooke says that “the ancient Hindu religion, as founded on the Hindu Scriptures, recognised but one God.”4
“It is very doubtful,” says Prof. Monier Williams, “ whether idolatry existed in the time of Mann’s compilation of the Smriti.” 5
Of the much-abused institution of Shraddhas, Prof. Max Muller says: “The worship of the ancestors and the offering of Shraddhas have maintained much of their
‘Mythology of the Hindus. 2Theogony of the Hindus, p. 53. Religions of the World, p. 44.
4Asiatic Researches, Vol. VIII, p. 385, See also Paterson’s Origin of Hindu religion in the Asiatic Researches.
5Indian Wisdom, p. 226.
old sacred character. They have sometimes been compared to the communion i.n the Christian Church, and it is certainly true that many natives speak of their funeral and ancestral ceremonies with a hushed voice and with real reverence. They alone seem still to impart to their life on earth a deeper significance and a higher prospect. I could go even a step further and express my belief that the absence of such services for the dead and of ancestral commemorations is a real loss in our own religion. Almost every religion recognises them as tokens of a loving memory offered to a father, to a mother, or even to a child, and though in many countries they may have proved a source of superstition, there runs through them all a deep well of living human faith that ought never to be allowed to perish.”‘
The distinguishing feature of Hinduism, however, is, that it is a thoroughly scientific religion. Religion and science went hand-in-hand in ancient India. The religious tenets of other nations have been proved, and are admitted by men of culture and thought to be in conflict with the teachings of modern science. In India, however, theology is founded upon philosophy and science. The Vedic religion is, therefore, thoroughly scientific. Major Cunningham says: “In the East, however, philosophy has always been more closely allied to theology than in civilized Greece or modern Europe.”2
An eminent Frenchman says that the Hindu Revelation is “of all Revelations the only one whose ideas are in complete harmony with modern science.”
iIndia: What can it teach us? p. 242. Cunningham’s History of the Sikhs, p. 25,
That gifted lady, Mrs. Besant, said at Calcutta: “India is the mother of religion. In her are combined science and religion in perfect harmony and that is the Hindu religion, and it is India that shall be again the spiritual mother of the world.”‘
The Vedas do not certainly teach such unscientific absurdities as that out of nothing came something, or that the sun was created after, the creation of the earth.
Mrs. Besant’s lecture at the Grand Theatre, Calcutta on 15th January 1906. In the course of the lecture, Mrs. Besant said: “In the nineteenth century one of the postulates of science was that life, thought And consciousness were all results of certain molecular arrangements of matter. Brain, the speaker added, secreted thought as the liver secreted bile. The whole materialistic science tended to show that life was the result of an arrangement of matter. Where the mechanical arrangement of matter failed, there thought failed. Intelligence and consciousness were simply the results of matter, That was the idea repeated in Tyndal’s famous treatise—’ we must see in matter a permanent potency of every form of life.’ But Hinduism proclaimed exactly the opposite, It taught that life was primary and matter secondary. Matter was simply a tool, instrument, vehicle. This was clearly explained in the Upanishads, in the problem of atma. It was shown how the unembodied atma was in the body. The body was the dwelling-house of the .embodied atma. It is written that the atma desired. to see and the eye was there. The atma desired to hear and the ear was there. The atma desired to think and the mind was there. Consciousness was primary, atma was primary, while the senses, organs, the body were secondary. This was the Hindu teaching. The later discoveries of science also taught that consciousness is the creator and the matter is the form.” The speaker then stated, by way of illustration, that “man had legs, as was plain to her audience, and they were able to walk; and such was the case. with other senses. But modern science taught exactly the opposite. It declared that creatures with legs desired to walk and legs were gradually formed by slow degrees after repeated efforts. The desire was anaspect of consciousness and not an arrangement of matter,.. The creatures wanted to move, so the organs of locomotion were gradually and duly built. The function of sight did not come from the eye; it was the result of perception in consciousness.”
Miss F. P. Cobbe very justly observes: “For ages back, and markedly since the days of Spinoza, facts have been known to learned men utterly at variance with the received doctrines of the infallibility of Scripture, or even of its historical accuracy.”‘
Mr. Fronde says: “The truth of the Gospel history is now more widely doubted in Europe than at any time since the conversion of Constantine.”
Bishop Colenso says: “I assert without fear of contradiction that there are multitudes now of the more intelligent clergy who do not believe in the reality of the Noachian deluge as described in the Book of Genesis “3
Mr. J. A. Langlaud says: “The philosophy and the religion of to-day (Christianity) are opposed. The teachings of our divines and the teachings of our thiukers are antagonistic.”4
The Vedic dharma, however, never feared scientific advancement, nor was it ever guilty of the terrors of tie Inquisition. It never shed the blood of a Galilio a Copernicus or a Bruno.5
Short Studies on Great Subjects, Vol. 1, p. 278.
3Pentatench and Book of .Joshua, Part [I, Preface.
*Religious Scepticism and Infidelity.
v Although steadfast in his faith, the Hindu is not fanatical; he never seeks to make proselytes. If the Creator of the world, he says, had given the preference to a certain religion, this alone would have prevailed upon the earth; but as there are many religions, this proves the approbation of them by the Most High They (the Hindus) regard God as present in the mosques, with those who kneel before the .cross, and in the temple where Brahma is worshipped. And is not this faith more in accordance with the true doctrine of Christ than that which lighted the Auto do le for the infallibility of the Popes, for the divinity of Mary, and for the miracles of the saints ?”—Theogony of the Hindus, pp. 67, 68.
The Countess of Jersey says in the Nineteenth Century: “But to the higher caste Hindu (provided he knew anything about Hinduism) Christianity offers no solution to his doubts and to his fears. The doctrines of the Upanishads (the philosophical speculations of the Vedas) satisfy the utmost longings of the mind. The acute logic of the ancient Rishis has raised a bulwork of arguments to support the huge fabric of Hindu thought. The doctrine of Karma offers the simplest And most reasonable answer to the obvious inequalities And striking contrasts in this visible world, of happiness and suffering. The ferment and unrest of the soul in the search of knowledge is soothed and laid at rest when the object of contemplation is reduced to a figure-head. and finally a point in space. This contemplation of point in space results in a self-absorbing delight which knows no end, and which places the soul high above all carnal wants an aspirations. This is the goal of Hindu philosophy. hristianity has nothing to offer to those who are ciissa ed with Hinduism.”‘
ITImes of In is i uon) for 25th May 1869. Chaplain
Della Valle, author of “ Voyage to East India,” thus concludes the chapter “ On the Moralities of the Hindu :” “0! what a sad thing it is for Christians to come short of Indians even in moralities, come short of those, who themselves believe to come short of heaven!” The chaplain thus closes his interesting work on the subject of conversion, which is as remote from accomplishment at this day as it was at that distant period: “Well known it is that the Jesuits there, who, like the Pharisees that would compass sea and land to make one proselyte’ (Matt. 23-25), have sent into Christendom many large reports of their great conversions of infidels in East India. But all these boastings are but reports; the truth is, that they have there spilt the precious water of baptism upon some few faces, working upon the necessity of some poor men, who for want of means, which they give them, are contented to wear crucifixes, but for want of knowledge in the doctrine of Christianity are only in name Christians,”--4 Voyage to East India, pp. 402, 417, 418 and 480.
No religion in the world claims to be in complete harmony with the spirit of modern science except the Vedic religion. Buddhism, being only a modified form of Hinduism, does not differ materially from the Vedic religion in its scientific aspects.
It has been shown that almost every part of the world was, at some remote period, conquered and colonised by the ancient Hindus. Similarly, it will be found that the different nations of the ancient world derived their religion from ancient Aryavarta.
Even at the present moment more than half of the human race are the express followers of the religions that emanated from India. If the population of the world be taken in round numbers at 1,000,000,000 we shall find from authentic records, that 53,000,000 men profess Hiuduism and Buddhism (the religions that originated in India), while only 470,000,000 men follow religions which are of non-Indian origin. Rev. Mr. Ward says: “Their (Hindus) philosophy and religion still prevail over the greater portion of the globe, and that it is Hinduism which regulates the forms of worship and modes of thinking and feeling and acting throughout Japan, China, Tartary, Hindustan, the Burman Empire, Siam, Ceylon, etc.”‘
It is equally clear that the religions that did not originate in India have been strongly influenced by Hindu religious thought. Bjornstjerna says: “Buddhism has also extended its doctrines among most of the other religious systems.” The Mosaic cosmogony; still believed in by the Jews and others, is derived from the Hindu system of cosmogony.
‘Mythology of the Hindus, Preface, p.
The origin of the Greek Church of Christianity is thus explained by Mr. Princep: “The Buddhists of the West, accepting Christianity on its first announcement, at once introduced the rites and observances which for centuries had already existed in India. From that country Christianity derived its monarchical institutions, its forms of ritual and church service, its councils or convocations to settle schisms on points of faith, its worship of relics and working of miracles through them, and much of the discipline and of the dress of the clergy, even to the shaven heads of the monks and friars.”‘
Some of the most important of the Christian ethical teachings may be found word for word in the writings of the Hindu philosophers, who flourished centuries before the birth of the Saviour. The corner-stone of Christian ethics, “Do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee,” is nothing more than the teaching of Yagyvalka, who says: “It is not our hermitage, still less the colour of our skin that produces virtue, virtue must be practiced. Therefore, let no one do to others what he wo ot have done to himself.”‘
s says that “ the religious aspirations of that (Hindu)-.4vilization are found grandly expressed in the Rig Yeda..J That civilization pervades in every corner of the civilized world, and is around and about us every day of our lives.”‘
It is an observation of Hume that one generation does not go off the stage at once and another succeed, as
Princep’s Mongolia and Tartary.
See Max Muller’s India: What can it teach us? p. 74.
3 Mons. Delhos’ paper oil the Vedas read before the International Literary Association at Paris on 14th July 1884.
is the case with silkworms and butterflies. There is a varying margin, says Mr. Payne, into which the men of one age and those of the succeeding are blended.
In the same way, one religion never completely dies out to be succeeded by another altogether new and independently developed. As a rule, new religions are evolved out of the old ones, and the old ones are in a way the parents of the new religions. Christianity is evolvedout of the Mosaic Scripture, which again is derived from the religion of the ancient Egyptians, which was derived from India. Mohamedanism, some writers hold, is a mixture of the Mosaic Scriptures, Christianity and the Parsee religion (which was derived from Hinduism), strongly tinged with the native spirit and singlemindedness of the Arabs and the democratic principles of their social system.
Buddhism, as is well known, was only a revolt against Brahmanical tyranny, and was founded by Sakya Singh or Sakya Muni,’ the son of Sudhodhana, king of Kapilavastu, situated to the north of Behar. According to Buddhistic writers, however, he was the third Buddha, not the first, there being twenty-two Buddhas in all. There have been several Buddhas’ who differ among themselves as they differ from the Hindus. But they all agree in the following points :—(1) They acknowledge the Vedic dharma as the foundation of their own. (2) They admit, in conjuction with this doctrine, a divine triad, which combines the principle of the Trinity