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Supreme Divinity !-If this were indeed the case, I might perhaps be led into some examination of the subject : but the truth is, the Hindoos of the present day have no such views of the subject; but firmly believe in the real existence of innumerable gods and goddesses, who possess, in their own departments, full and independent power; and to propitiate them, and not the true God, are temples erected and ceremonies performed. There can be no doubt, however, and it is my whole design to prove, that every rite has its derivation from the allegorical adoration of the true Deity; but at the present day all this is forgotten, and among many it is even heresy to mention it!

I hope it will not be presumed that I intend to establish the preference of my faith over that of other

The result of controversy on such a subject, however multiplied, must be ever unsatisfactory; for the reasoning faculty which leads men to certainty in things within its reach, produces no effect on questions beyond its comprehension. I do no more than assert, that, if correct reasoning, and the dictates of common sense, induce the belief of a wise, uncreated Being, who is the supporter and ruler of the boundless universe, we should also consider him the most powerful and supreme existence ;—far surpassing our powers of comprehension or description !-And, although men of uncultivated minds, and even some learned individuals, (but this one point blinded by prejudice,) readily choose, as the object of their adoration, any thing which they can always see, and which they pretend to feel; the absurdity of such conduct is not thereby in the least degree diminished.

men.

1

My constant reflections on the inconvenient, or rather injurious rites, introduced by the peculiar practice of Hindoo idolatry, which, more than any other Pagan worship, destroys the texture of society, together with compassion for my countrymen, have compelled me to use every possible effort to awaken them from their dream of error: and by making them acquainted with their scriptures, enable them to contemplate with true devotion the unity and omnipresence of Nature's God.

By taking the path which conscience and sincerity direct, I, born a Brahmun, have exposed myself to the complainings and reproaches, even of some of my relations, whose prejudices are strong, and whose temporal advantage depends upon the present system. But these, however accumulated, I can tranquilly bear; trusting that a day will arrive when my humble endeavours will be viewed with justice-perhaps acknowledged with gratitude. At any rate, whatever men may say, I cannot be deprived of this consolation: my motives are acceptable to that Being who beholds in secret and compensates openly!

ABRIDGMENT

OF

THE V E D A N T.

The illustrious Byas, * in his celebrated work, the Vedant, insinuates in the first test, that it is absolutely necessary for mankind to acquire knowledge respecting the Supreme Being, who is the subject of discourse in all the Veds, and the Vedant, as well as in the other Systems of Theology. But he found, from the following passages of the Veds, that this inquiry is limited to very narrow bounds, viz. “ The Supreme Being is not "comprehensible by vision, or by any other of the organs

of

sense; nor can he be conceived by means of “ devotion, or virtuous practices !”.

6. He sees every i thing, though never seen; hears every thing, though

never directly heard of! He is neither short, nor is “ he long ;f inaccessible to the reasoning faculty; not

compassed by description; beyond the limits of “ the explanation of the Ved, or of human conception !"$ Byas, also, from the result of various arguments coin

to be

* The greatest of the Indian theologists, philosophers, and poets, was begotten by the celebrated Purasur and Sutyubutee. Byas collected and divided the Veds into certain books and chapters, he is therefore commonly called Vedu Byas. The word Byas is composed of the preposition bi and the verb uss to divide. + Munduc. Brih’darunnuc.

& Cuthubulli.

ciding with the Ved, found that the accurate and positive knowledge of the Supreme Being is not within the boundary of comprehension; i. e. that what, and how, the Supreme Being is, cannot be definitely ascertained. He has therefore, in the second text, explained the Supreme Being by his effects and works, without attempting to define his essence; in like manner as we, not knowing the real nature of the sun, explain him to be the cause of the succession of days and epochs. “ He " by whom the birth, existence, and annihilation of the 6 world is regulated, is the Supreme Being !” We see the multifarious, wonderful universe, as well as the birth, existence, and annihilation, of its different parts; hence, we naturally infer the existence of a being who regulates the whole, and call him the Supreme: in the same manner as from the sight of a pot, we conclude the existence of its artificer. The Ved, in like manner, declares the Supreme Being thus: “ He from whom the universal “ world proceeds, who is the Lord of the Universe, and " whose work is the universe, is the Supreme Being !"*

The Ved is not supposed to be an eternal Being, though sometimes dignified with such an epithet; because its being created by the Supreme Being is declared in the same Ved thus: “ All the texts and parts 56 of the Ved were created :” and also in the third text of the Vedant, God is declared to be the cause of all the Veds.

The void Space is not conceived to be the independent cause of the world, notwithstanding the following declaration of the Ved, “ The world proceeds from the “ void space;”+ for the Ved again declares, “ By the * Taittureeu.

+ Chhandoggu.

“ Supreme Being the void space was produced.” And the Vedant *

says: “ As the Supreme Being is evidently declared in the Ved to be the cause of the “ void Space, Air, and Fire, neither of them can be “ supposed to be the independent cause of the uni

66 verse.

Neither is Air allowed to be the Lord of the Uni. verse, although the Ved says in one instance, “In Air “ every existing creature is absorbed;" for the Ved again affirms, that “ Breath, the intellectual power, all “ the internal and external senses, the void Space, Air, “ Light, Water, and the extensive Earth, proceeded “ from the Supreme Being !” The Vedantt also says: “ God is meant by the following text of the Ved, as

a Being more extensive than all the extension of

Space;” riz." That breath is greater than the exten“ sion of Space in all directions," as it occurs in the Ved, after the discourse concerning common breath is concluded.

Light, of whatever description, is not inferred to be the Lord of the Universe, from the following assertion / of the Ved: “ The pure Light of all Lights is the Lord “ of all creatures;" for the Ved again declares, † that “ The sun and all others imitate God, and borrow their “ light from him;" and the same declaration is found in the Vedant.

Neither can Nature be construed by the following texts of the Ved, to be the independent cause of the world: viz. “ Man having known that Nature which is “ an eternal being, without a beginning or an end, is * Fourteenth text, 4th sec. Ist chap. † 8th, 3d, 1st. Moonduc.

© 22d, 3d, 1st.

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