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and Romans. From the Jewish Chronicles, we know that, throughout Palestine, two distinct sects were dwelling together in the time of the kings: -- a sect of monotheists, who courted the protection of the Babylonian monarchs; and a sect of idolaters, who courted the protection of the Ægyptian monarchs. These idolaters worshipped the Lingam, and had divinities analogous to those of the Greeks and Romans: they formed the mass of the Phoenician and Ægyptian nations: whether they came from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, or crossed the wilderness from the Euphrates, still a Babylonian origin may with great probability be assigned to this sect; and before the time of Cyrus the Babylonian sovereigns were of this persuasion. Among the priesthood of these primæval idolaters, we should perhaps seek the original Bramins: since it would be natural that they should carry eastward and westward the same superstitions. The Dionysiacs of Nonnus are stated by the present author (p. 122.) to bear a close resemblance to the Ramayan of Valmic. Candlesticks with seven branches are lighted up before the Lingam, which exactly resemble (p. 140.) the candelabra of the Jews that are to be seen on the triumphal arch of Titus. The Amruti of the Hindus is etymologically identical (p. 168.) with the Ambrosia of the Greeks.
The fifth and sixth chapters concern the philosophy and theology of the Hindus. Their esoteric theology is pantheism, — a pantheism analogous to that of Philo, which deifies the great whole, and maintains it to be animated by an intelligent soul:— their exoteric theology is an allegorical polytheism : but these mythological deities, like the Oberon and Titania of Shakspeare, though introduced as realities, pass for such only with the vulgar. Brahma, the incomprehensible being, has alone existed from all eternity: every thing that we behold, and we ourselves, are portions of him; and the souls of gods and men, and of all sentient creatures, are detached emanations of the universal soul, into which at stated periods they are re-absorbed. During this separation, the illusion, called individuality, takes place, and the soul considers itself as a separate existence, forgetting that it is a spark of the divinity. In as much as it can by contemplation and exercise resume the consciousness of its native essence, dismiss every selfish care, and pursue the general welfare, it becomes meritorious, and adapts itself for re-union with the benefactor of all. Until this perfection of virtue is attained, the soul is liable to pass into the bodies of other creatures; of unclean animals, if it has too much listened to the interests of individuality; -- of higher natures, if it has acquired habits of kindness: — but the consummation of its
felicity is to dissolve into the fruition of deity itself. The distinction of Brahma into Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, is an allegorical distinction of capacities, and belongs to the exoteric doctrine, which personifies these capacities by the names Brama, Vishnu, and Sheeva.
The subsequent extract from a metaphysical work of the Hindus, which has been paraphrased by the Pundit Radhacant, may give some farther idea of this philosophy:
"" By one Supreme Ruler is this universe pervaded; even every world in the whole circle of nature. Enjoy pure delight, O man, in abandoning all thoughts of this perishable world; and covet not the wealth of any creature existing.”
• “There is one Supreme Spirit, which nothing can shake, more swift than the thought of man."
• " That Supreme Spirit moves at pleasure, but in itself is immovable: it is distant from us, yet near us: it pervades this whole system of worlds, yet is infinitely beyond it.”
« « The man who considers all beings as existing even in the Supreme Spirit,' and the Supreme Spirt as pervading all beings, henceforth views no creature with contempt.”
• “ In him who knows that all spiritual beings are the same in kind with the Supreme Spirit, — what room can there be for delusion of mind, or what room for sorrow, when he reflects on the identity of spirit ?"
!“ The pure enlightened soul assumes a luminous form, with no gross body, with no perforation, with no veins, or tendons, unblemished, untainted by sin ;- itself being a ray from the Infinite Spirit, which knows the past, and the future, — which pervades all, — which existed with no cause but itself, - which created all things as they are in ages most remote.”
““ To those regions, where evil spirits dwell, and which utter darkness involves, will such men surely go after death, as destroy the purity of their own soul.”
* They who are ignorantly devoted to the mere ceremonies of religion, are fallen into thick darkness ; but they surely have a thicker gloom around them, who are solely attached to speculative science."
""A distinct reward, they say, is reserved for ceremonies, and a distinct reward, they say, for divine knowledge ; adding, This we have heard from sages who declared it to us."
• “ He alone is acquainted with the nature of ceremonies, and with that of speculative science, who is acquainted with both at once : by religious ceremonies he passes the gulph of death, and by Divine knowledge he attains immortality.
They, who adore only the appearanccs and forins of the Deity, are fallen into thick darkness; but they surely have a thicker gloom around them, who are solely devoted to abstract thoughts."
• ** A distinct reward, they say, is obtained by adoring the forms and attributes, and a distinct reward, they say, by adoring the abstract essence; adding, This we have heard from sages who declare it to us."
“ OM, Remember me, divine Spirit !" « “ O M, Remember my deeds!"
“That all-pervading spirit, that spirit which gives light to the visible sun, even the same in kind am I, though infinitely distant in degree. Let my soul return to the immortal spirit of God, and then let my body, which ends in ashes, return to dust!"
" " O Spirit, who pervadest fire, lead us in a straight path to the riches of beatitude ! Thou, O God, possessest all the treasures of knowledge : remove each foul taint from our souls; we continually approach thee with the highest praise, and the most fervid adoration."
"“ As a tree, the lord of the forest, even so, without fiction, is man; his hairs are as leaves ; his skin, as exterior bark.”
• « Through the skin flows blood; through the rind, sap: from a wounded man, therefore, blood gushes, as the vegetable fluid from a tree that is cut."
' “ His muscles are as interwoven fibres ; the membrane round his bones as interior bark, which is closely fixed; his bones are as the hard pieces of wood within: their marrow is composed of pith.”
“ Since the tree, when felled, springs again from the root, from what root springs mortal man when felled by the hand of death ?"
: " Say not, he springs from seed : seed surely comes from the living. A tree, no doubt, rises from seed, and after death has a visible renewal.”
• " But a tree which they have plucked up by the root, flourishes individually no more. From what root then springs mortal man when felled by the hand of death ? — who can make him spring again to birth ?"
• “God, who is perfect wisdom, perfect happiness. He is the final refuge of the man, who has liberally bestowed his wealth, who has been firm in virtue, who knows and adores that Great One."
"Let us adore the supremacy of that Divine sun, the Godhead who illuminates all, who recreates all, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, whom we invoke to direct our understand. ings aright in our progress towards his holy scat.”
i“ What the sun and light are to this visible world, such is truth to the intellectual and invisible universe; and, as our corporeal eyes have a distinct perception of objects enlightened by the sun, thus our souls acquire certain knowledge, by meditating on the light of truth, which emanates from the Being of beings: that is the light by which alone our minds can be directed in the path to beatitude.">'
All this approaches very near to the system of Berkeley; whose spiritual pantheism, in fact, dissolves into illusion the phænomena of sensation and those of individuality.
A gentle A gentle rebuke of Mr. Ward's somewhat intolerant and bigoted misrepresentations of Hindu ritual and doctrine occurs at the end of the first of these chapters.
Chapter VII. treats of the Sikhs, a modern deistical sect of the Hindus; and much personal observation is mingled in this part of the narrative, which does honour to the author by a liberal and sympathetic tone of commentary. He is one of those travellers who possess the art of voluntary transmigration; who can put himself in the place and feel with the prepossessions of those whom he criticizes; and who can regard with candour and charity the equally natural hallucinations of the Asiatic and of the European:-- in this respect as unlike as he is superior to Mr.Ward, who can make no allowance for varieties of practice, and would superinduce on others his own way, in places and circumstances which would render it to them a misfortune.
Volume II. opens with the eighth chapter, which disserts on the astronomy and other sciences of the Hindus. The oriental astronomers have an arbitrary date called the KalyYug, which is placed 3 102 years before the commencement of the Christian æra: it answers very much to our æra of the creation, which was borrowed from the Jewish schools of mathematical science, who adopted it from the Babylonians. It would be absurd to infer, because we speak of many antient events as having happened so many years after the creation, such as the deluge, or the building of the tower of Babel, that astronomy and the art of verifying dates was already established in Europe at the creation : yet M. Bailly, Mr. Playfair, and the present author, all seem rather inclined to presume that Hindu astronomy, and the art of verifying dates, had already acquired its present accuracy in Hindustan at the Kaly-Yug. We demur to their grounds of inference, and would argue that, although the Hindu astronomical tables may specify correctly the places of the moon at the Kaly-Yug, yet these specifications of positions are the result of recent and subsequent calculation ; and that astronomy cannot be traced farther back among the teachers of the Hindus than to about 900 years before Christ. The signs of the zodiac are nearly similar in their astronomy and in our own, a proof that both have a common origin. We call these signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. From observation it is known that, at the vernal equinox, the sun formerly rose in Taurus, now riscs in Aries, and will rise in Pisces. This retrograde motion, or precession of the equinoxes, takes place at the rate of about 50 seconds yearly, or one degree 12 minutes secuCc 3
larly, larly. The equinox recedes, then, in 72 years one degree, in 2160 years one sign, in 12,960 years six signs, and will have performed the whole cycle of revolution in 25,920 years. After that period, the equinoxes and solstices will again occur in precisely the same signs as at present.
Simple inspection sufficiently proves that these signs were named and invented at some period when the solstice occurred during the sun's stay in Cancer, and the equinox during its stay in Libra; the former emblem obviously alluding to the retrograde motion which the sun seems at that period to assume, and the latter emblem to that equipoise of day, and night which occurs at each equinox. The signs of the zodiac, therefore, either came into use about goo years before the vulgar æra, when the summer-solstice fell in the 15th degree of Cancer, and the autumnal equinox in the middle of Libra; or they came into use about 13,860 years before the vulgar æra, when the winter-solstice fell in Cancer, and the vernal equinox in Libra. No intermediate period will account for the choice of these two emblems.
In the nomenclature of the signs, it is obvious to expect a calendar of nature, a description of the successive phænomena of the year, a catalogue of the agricultural labours practised in tlie country in which this invention originated. Accordingly, says M. Bailly, if Cancer be supposed to have denoted originally the winter-solstice, and Libra the spring-equinox, the whole series of emblems appears to be such an almanack for the climate of Ægypt, and of no other. The Scorpion grows troublesome there in April. The time for beginning warfare, to which the Archer seems to allude, was May, when the rising of the Nile was about to render the men useless at home; and the Capricorn was a figure half goat and half fish, apparently descriptive of the partial inundation which takes place in June; when the goats can browse on the hills, while half of the land is inhabited by fishes. The inundation continues through the watery sign of July. In August, the flood abates, denoted by fishes taking an opposite direction :- in September, the sheep can already be driven into the meadow:
-in October, the Bull is yoked to the plough. The Twins, or rather the Children, are emblematic of rapid growth: the Crab denotes the retrograde motion of the solstitial
the Lion indicates the tawny colour which the ears in January assume; and the Virgin is a gleaner crowned with corn, the favourite emblem of harvest. How can these signs, concludes M. Bailly, be any thing else but an Ægyptian almanack, and, if so, above 15,000 years old ?