Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

yet repeatedly urge the relinquishment of the rites of idol wrrship, and the adoption of a purer system of religion, on the express grounds, that the observance of idolatrous rites can never be productive of eternal beatitude. These are left to be practised by such persons only, as, notwithstanding the constant teaching of spiritual guides, cannot be brought to see perspicuously the majesty of God through the works of nature.

“ The public will, I hope, be assured that nothing but the natural inclination of the ignorant towards the worship of objects resembling their own nature, and to the external forms of rites palpable to their grosser senses, joined to the self-interested motives of their pretended guides, has rendered the generality of the Hindoo community (in defiance of their sacred books) devoted to idol worship ;-the source of prejudice and superstition, and of the total destruction of moral principle, as countenancing criminal intercourse, suicide, female murder, and human sacrifice. Should my

labours prove in any degree the means of diminishing the extent of those evils, I shall ever deem myself most amply rewarded”. Transl. pp. 25, 26.

" In none of my writings, nor in any verbal discussion, have I ever pretended to reform or to discover the doctrines of the unity of God, nor have I ever assumed the title of reformer or discoverer : so far from such an assumption, I have urged in every work that I have hitherto published, that THE DOCTRINES OF THE UNITY OF GOD ARE REAL HINDOOISM, as that religion was practised by our ancestors, and as it is well known even at the present age to many learned Brahmins”. Transl. p. 136.

The foregoing passage is from Rammohun Roy’s “ Defence of Hindoo Theism, in reply to the Attack of an Advocate for Idolatry at Madras”: the following is from his “ Second Defence of the Monotheistical System of the Veds”; Calcutta, 1817.

“ The learned Brahmun attempts to prove the impossibility of an adoration of the Deity, saying “That which cannot be conceived, cannot be worshipped'. Should the learned Brahmun consider a full conception of the nature, essence, or qualities of the Supreme Being, or a physical picture truly representing the Almighty power, with offerings of Alowers, leaves, and viands, as essential to adoration, I agree with the learned Brahmun with respect to the impossibility of the worship of God. But, should adoration imply only the elevation of the mind to the conviction of the existence of the Omnipresent Deity, as testified by His wise and wonderful works, and continual contemplation of His power as so displayed ; together with a constant sense of the gratitude which we naturally owe Him, for our existence, sensation, and comfort, -I never will hesitate to assert that His adoration is not only possible, and practicable, but even incumbent upon every rational creature”. Transl. pp. 184, 185.

Other extracts from the Translations of the Veds, &c., will be found in the preceding Discourse, pp. 25, 32, 35, and in the 4th paragraph of the Biographical Sketch.-See also Appendix (G).

Extracts from other recent BRAHMINICAL Publications.

A short tract is lying before me with the title “Humble Suggestions to his Countrymen who believe in the One True God; by PRUSUNNU KOOMARTHakoor. Calcutta, 1823.” 118 object is to dissuade his readers from “using harsh or abusive language in their religious intercourse with European Missionaries, either respecting them or the objects of their worship; however much this may be countenanced by the example of some of these Gentlemen". The Author begins by claiming the warmest affection of those followers of the Veds who believe that “ God is one only without an equal, and exercise, benevolence to all men,” for the various classes of their countrymen who, without having studied the Veds, receive their general design. He then proceeds : “ Amongst foreigners,

one

those Europeans who believe God to be in every sense one, and worship HIM ALOne in spirit, and who extend their benevolence to man as the highest service to God, should be regarded by us with affection, on the ground of their object of worship being the same with ours. We should feel no reluctance to cooperate with them in religious matters, merely because they consider Jesus Christ as the Messenger of God and their Spiritual Teacher : for oneness in the object of worship and sameness of religious practice should produce attachment between the worshipers”. He then claims kindness for the believers in the Trinity; and for those who employ external images ; since these foreigners are and the same with those of two similar sects among Hindoos, although they are clothed in a different garb”. And he concludes his Humble Suggestions as follows: “When any belonging to the second and third classes of Europeans endeavour to make converts of us, the believers in the only living and true God, even then we should feel no resentment towards them, but rather compassion, on account of their blindness to the errors into which they themselves have fallen. Since it is almost impossible, as every day's experience teaches us, for men, when possessed of wealth and power, to perceive their own defects".-The English is followed by the Bengallee.

In the same year was published “A Vindication of the Incarnation of the Deity, as the Common Basis of Hindooism and Christianity, against the schismatic attacks of R. Tytler, Esq. M. D. By Ram Doss". Those who have seen this singular tract, may well doubt, from some parts, whether it were not designod to promote the cause of Unitarianism by the boldness of its defence of the doctrine of “ three hundred and thirty millions of persons in the Godhead”: yet, on the whole, it seems to be a bonâ fide production. Ram Doss calls on all “ Believers in the Incarnation of the Deity", " whether Hindoo or Christian” to unite in support of their " common cause", and. “ to check the alarming growth of the Unitarian heresy". He refers to Dr. Tytler's attack on Rammohun Roy, “ a person who, as is well known, (he says,) is strongly reprobated by the zealous both among Hindoos and Christians, for his daring impiety in rejecting the doctrine of Divine Incarnations”; but represents the Doctor, “ while censuring this stubborn Heretic”, as having

“ most unwarrantably introduced contemptuous allusions to the Hindoo Deities”. He traces out the “ resemblance” between the incarnation of “the Divine RAM”, and that of “ Jesus”; and then proceeds : “ You may perhaps urge, that there is a wide difference between a belief in THREE Persons in the Godhead as maintained by you, and a belief in three hundred and thirty millions of Persons in the Godhead, entertained by the Hindoos : but as all such numerical objections are founded on the frail basis of human reason, which we well know is fallible, you must admit that the same omnipotence, which can make THREE ONE and ONE THREE, can equally reconcile the unity and PLURALITY of three hundred and thirty millions ; both being supported by a sublime mystery which far transcends all human comprehension". Vindication, p. 5.

The tract contains a sensible "letter of a Christian to Ram Doss”; who makes honourable mention of Rammohun Roy, as being “the most learned of the Hindoos”, and regrets that he was interrupted in his course “ by the intemperate zeal of the Baptists". And he speaks of him as having, thus early, viz. 1823, confuted those “ who were advocates for having human victims sacrificed to Moloch”—referring, without doubt, to widow-immolation.

Besides these tracts, I have the second edition of " The Brahmunical Magazine, or the Missionary and the Brahmun : being a vindication of the Hindoo Religion against the attacks of Christian Missionaries. By ShivU-PRUSAD SURMA. Calcutta 1823". It was first published in 1821, in consequence of the conducters of a Newspaper having refused to insert a defence of the Shastrus, in reply to an attack

upon them which invited an answer through the same channel. The acute and intelligent Hindoo parries the attacks of the Missionaries, by showing in the first place from ancient authorities, that his religion is to be sought for only, in the Veds, and that nothing ought to be received that opposes their doctrine : and, in the next, by maintaining that the more recent corruptions of this doctrine are not more inconsistent with truth and reason, than are the doctrines taught by the Missionaries as a part of their religion and as derived even from the Bible itself. In reply to the arguments of the Missionaries that if the Trinity is incomprehensible, so also it is how mind acts upon matter, and how plants transform substances derived from the earth, into leaves, fruits, and flowers,--the Brahmin says “How is it possible for the Editor, or for any one possessed of common sense, not to perceive the gross error of drawing an analogy from things around and within us, to the three distinct persons of the Godhead in one existence ; which so far from being around or within us, exists only in the imagination of Christians": and he then proceeds, with great acuteness, to show the fallacy of the analogy. His mode of reasoning in reply to the doctrine of the Trinity, as taught by the Editor of the Friend of India, proves it to be impossible for intelligent believers in the Veds to receive that doctrine, and shows the obstacles that exist to their acknowledging the divine origin of a book which is represented as certainly teaching it; while his argument from the unchangeableness of God displays purer ideas of that attribute than those of the Christian who was opposing him.

To the third number of the Brahminical Magazine, no reply was made by the Missionaries. In consequence, Shivu. prusad Surma, after nearly two years, published this second edition of his Magazine-an 8vo. pamphlet of about 44 pages: and in the Preface he says “During that long period the Hindoo community, (to whom the work was particularly

« FöregåendeFortsätt »