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The Philosophy of Bramanism 1906-1907

The Philosophy of Bramanism 1906-1907

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BY THE SAME AUTHOR

Brahmajijnasa
(in English)
:

losophical Basis of Theism.

An Exposition of the PhiRs, 1-8. Bengali, As 12.
Endeavours after the Life

Brahmasadhan
Divine
:

(in English) or

Twelve lectures on spiritual culture.
its

Be

1-8.

The Vedanta aad

Relation to
*

Modern Thought :*
Rs. 2-4.

Twelve lectures on

all
:

aspects of Vedantism.

Krishna and the Gita
ship, philosophy B*. 2-8.

Twelve lectures on the authorreligion
of

and

the

Bhagavadgita.

The Theism

Six lectures on the religion of the

of the Upanishads and other Subjects Upanishads and the
Rs. 2.

religious aspect of Hegel's philosophy.

Krishna and the PuranaS

:

Essays on the origin and
Rs. 1-4.

development of Vaishnavism.

Ten Upanishads

:

Isd,

Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka,

Mdndiikya, Svetdwatara, Aitareya, Taittiriya and KausMtaki, in Bengali characters, edited with easy Sanskrit

annotations and a literal Bengali translation.

Rs. 2-8.

The same Upanishads

Devanagar characters, edited the same annotations and a literal English tranwith Rs. 2-S. slation.
:

in

The Chhandogya Upanishad

With Maheschandra

Vedantaratna's Bengali annotations and translation and a philosophical introduction by the Editor. Rs. 2-8.

Out

of print at present.

Opinions
The Vedanta and
The Bengali. and the manner
its

Relation to Modern Thought

Wo
in

fitter

man than
fill

Pandit Sitanath Tattva-

bhushan could be found

to

which

the office (Vedanta Lectureship), he has acquitted himself justifies

popular expectation.

The Philosophy
of

of

Brahmaism

Dr. H. Haldar in the 'Modern Review!
quite

A

scholarly

wcrk

worthy

being

placed

beside the best

philosophic al

productions of

Europe and America.
able
exposition
of

Professor Upton of Oxford. A most Brahmaism ...... really admirable lectures.

Krishna and the Gita
Pandit

Maheschandra

Ghosh

Vedantaratna

t

B.

x.

in

'The
cf

Modern Review'.

Babu Sitanath Tattvabhusan
His book
is

is

an admirer

the Gita, but not a blind admirer.
is

well written

and

worth studying. Of all the books written on Krishna and the Gita, it is one of the sanest, and we can confidently recommend it
to those

who take an

interest in our scriptures.

Prof. Dhirendranath Choudhuri Vedantavagis. M A. in 'The make bold to say that every moment they readers) devote to the study of this book will bring them a (the rich harvest in the form of spiritual pleasure and profit.

Indian Messenger

'I

THE

Philosophy of Brahmaism
Expounded with reference
to
its

History

Lectures delivered before the Theological Society, Calcutta, in 1906-1907

SITANATH TATTVABHUSHAN,
FOKMKRLY HKADMASTKR. KESAV ACADEMY, AXD LKCTTRKR PHILOSOPHY AND THKOUXn 1'lTY ('OLLE^E, C
,

ix

SECOND EDITION-RE

.

2-8 or 5s.

PUBLISHED BY
PRINCIPAL V. RAO,
M.A., Hi. o.

PITHAPUP MAHARAJA'S

OOLLKOI-;,

COCANADA
GODAVAKI Dr.

PRINTED BY

TRHU-NA NATH ROY AT TIJK

BRAHMA MISSION PRESS
,

Cornwall

Street,

CALCUTTA.

PREFACE
To write a somewhat comprehensive treatise on the principles of Theism, one in which the philosophical basis of these principles should he shown with some fulness, and the chief duties of life, the devotional churches of India exercises current in the theistic
and the social ideals of the Brhma Samaj should find an adequate exposition, has been an object of desire and aspiration with the author from his earliest But his life has been a hard struggle throughyouth. out a, struggle for very existence which has left him little time for thought and study, rnd far less tor writing. His earlier tracts and booklets, Gleams The Root* of Faith, Whispers of the New Light, the Inner Stidhan&indu etc., only exfrom Life^ pressed, without realizing, this desire and aspiration. In his Brahmajijndsd, the theistic argument, the proof for the existence and attributes of God, perhaps attained some fulness but the other principles of In his annotareligion were left wholly untouched. tions on the Upanishadfi and his Bengali and English translations of them, as well as in his Hindu Theism and Veddnta and its Relation to Modern Thought, he made a humble attempt to interpret the old Theism of the country and its relation to the present theistic movement. The last-mentioned book, the only one of his works hitherto published that reached any considerable size, was made possible by the generosity of an ardent admirer of the Veddnta, who founded a lectureship in connexion with the
;

Vi

Theological Society. This lectureship, which was kindly offered to the author by the Society, set his and enabled him to leisure free for about a year write out his thoughts on the Vedanta and give them to the public. The same rare opportunity was again given him in 1906 by the Mah&rajadhiwhose kind donation to Bahadur of Burdwan, rfrj the same Society enabled them to create another The twelve lectures lectureship for the author. embodied in the present treatise are the fruit of about twelve months' leisure devoted to writing them after the hard daily school work. Written under such disadvantages, they could not but be what they actually are, only a partial and imperfect realization of the author's life-long aspiration. But even for such as they are, the author scarcely knows how to thank him sufficiently whose kindness and enlightened interest in

Theology enabled him to prepare them. To another pious nobleman, the Maharaja of Pithapuram, the
author
is

A

indebted for the publication of these lectures.

book named The Religion of Brahman or T\i Creed of Educated Hindus, which came out in 1906, and which is, in some sense, an introduction to this book, drew the Maharaja's kindness to the author and his most valued sympathy with his humble
little

The author's gratefulness to this efforts. noble patron for the kind interest he takes in hit* work, and even in the struggles of his private life, is too deep for expression The author intended to dedicate the book to both the noblemen to whom its preparation and its publication are due. But while the Mabardjadhir&j Bahadur has very kindly given the necessary permission, the Mah&r&jd says that he has so closely interested himself in the book, it being printed not only at his expense, but under his kind that he cannot accept its dedication to him. care, This delicacy on the Mah&r&j&'a part will, no doubt, be appreciated by the reader, The author's obligation to an esteemed brother in faith for what be has done
literary

VII

helping the publication of this book, is also very great ; and he will ever remain grateful to him tor bis loving services. It is Dewan Bahadur Sir Venkataratnam, ex-Principal, Pithapur Maharaja's College, Oocanada, now Vice-Chancellor, Madras University. He. went through the pi oofs with the greatest care and suggested important alterations here and there. The author's obligations to the many writers, Indian and Western, whose works have helped him to write this book, are so numerous that he could express them only in the general form in which he hat done it in the opening lines of his first lecture. Those who have any familiarity with the authors named and with the minor writers of the schools of thought represented by them, will, however, see that the author of this book, though more or less indebted to all, has not closely followed any of them as regards either the matter or the form of the system, if it deserves the name, herein presented. Readers too fond of classication will no doubt filiate the thought expounded herein to this or that school, but the more careful reader will see that, taken in all its aspects, it refuses any precise classification. For instance, it will be seen that, if the author's metaphysical views, as they find expression specially in his fourth and fifth lectures, ally him to Hegelianism and partly to the school of Sankara, his views on the Future Life and the Divine love clearly distinguish his position from these schools
in

and show his affinity to R&manuja and Vaishnavism. And, to give another instance, though the author is a staunch supporter of the constitutionalism and advanced social views of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj, he accepts, nevertheless, it will be seen, the Sen's substance of Brahrminanda Kesavchandra on the New Dispensation. The author teachings indeed is far from being ashamed of belonging
-as

particular church or even a particular sect. so as of belonging to a particular family ; but he hopes he has nevertheless been enabled, in
little

to a

VIH

expounding his views, to preserve, in some degree, that catholio and and cosmopolitan spirit which is an essential characteristic of the religion in which he believes. Praying for the blessing of God on this humble attempt to serve his children and craving the reader's indulgence for its many defects and imperfections, the author sends the book, with great
diffidence, to

do

its

appointed work.

the present edition, besides verbal alterations there, the statement of Raja. Kammohan Hy's views has been partly re-written and made fuller in the light of friendly criticism offered thereon ; the narrative portions, specially the history of Act III of 1872, have been brought up to date, and the appendix has been somewhat enlarged by a short statement of recent philosophical movements in India and England and reference to the author's works published since the first publication of the book.
In

here

and

210-3-2,

Cornwall
1909.

Street,

CALCUTTA,
(Revised) S^temltr,

W27.

Contents
LECTURE
I

DE\ELOPMENT OF BRAHMIC* DOCTRINES
His
Introductory remarks The Raja's creed His system cf sadhan social views Yedantic c tage of the Maharshi's creed He

rejects

Vedantism

The Upanishads as
Dualistic

basis

of

Brahmaism
of

The

MMiarshi's
service

Intuitional

Theism
social

His form
reformer

Divine

The Maharshi
His

as

a

Hrahrminanda
of
in

Ke-avchandra Sen's theory of
his

Intuition

The second stage
Personal
influence

theoiog> Dispensation' religion -Mr. Sen's pro- Ved.'intic tendency

'New

His scheme of social reform
Doctrinal

His system of sndhan The Sadharan Brahma Samaj

changeb
:

in

the

Samaj
Social

Tendency

to

Monism

The

new creed its varieties Samn] The method to be

views of the SadHaran l-rahma
the succeeding lectures.

followed in

Pp.

141

LECTURE
Free-tlioujjht

II

AUTHORITY AND FREE-THOUGHT
phets and Scriptures

IN

BRAHMAISM
Belief
in

a process rather than an event
Supernatural revelation

Pro-

Miracles do not

unnecessary

prove authority "Eternity of the Vedas" External revelation Modified supernaturalism in the Brahma Samaj

Current disparagement of Reason

Reason as divine as Intuition
Building

The

ultimate authority

Use

of treasured experience
Scriptures.

the present on the past

Our Prophets and

Pp.

4268.

LECTURE

III

BRAHMIC DOCTRINE OF INTUITION

The
-criticised

fallacy

of "faculties"

Mr. Sen on Intuition
belief
in

His view

Meaning of 'necessity* Religious The Maharshi on Atmapratyay Atmapratyay
Sankara on Atmapratyay.

necessary

the

Upanishads
Pp. 69
93:

LECTTURE
REVELATION OF GOD IN

IV

MAN AND NATURE
No knowledge
without
self-

THE METAPHYSICS OF THEISM
Intuition
of
self

fundamental

Things thought of as known Subject and object necessarily related The self known as niversal The self as subjective and objective The self as transcending space The self as transcending time The divine omniknowledge
self

The

thought of as universal

science

Metaphysical attributes of God.

Pp. 94

117.

LECTURE V
THEISTIC PRESUPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE
Metaphysics and the special sciencesThe sciences based on
abstraction

Three main groups

of

science*

Presuppositions of

Physical Science
of 'Causality*

The conception

of 'Substance'

The

conception

'Force*, a mere abstraction

Will

out design

Presuppositions of Biological Science Organism Design in inorganic nature Presuppositions of Mental

the real power inexplicable with-

Science Empirical Psychology based on abstraction Mere indiviRelation of Psychology to Theology. duality an abstraction

Pp.

118144.

XI

LECTURE
Both Monism and Dualism
Reconciliation necessary

VI

RELATION or BRAHMAISM TO MONISM AND DUALISM
historically related to

Brahmaism
Infinite

The Abstract and Concrete

The finite distinct from the Infinite Error of Absolute Monism The individual self distinct from the Universal The finite a moment of the Infinite Errors of Absolute Monism summarised
Dualism
gion.

popular and philosophical

True basis

of practical reli-

Pp.

145164.

LECTURE
Self-realisation

VII

CONSCIENCE AND THE MORAL LIFE
the

form of

the ethical

life

Self-realisation

true

and

false

Conscience the voice of

God
and

Moral quality
relative
life

of

actions determined

by ends

Absolute

moralslife
1

Stages of National
Divinity

self-realization
life

Individualistic

Domestic

Life
life

of universal

brotherhood
intellectual

Ethical

as

sensuous,

Humanity and and emotional
differ

Briihmi sthiti

The moral standard

How

morals

Penal

theology criticised

A

scheme

of duties.

Pp.

165190.

LECTURE

VIII

THE DIVINE LOVE AND HOLINESS
The love of God, the truth of truths Vyasa and Narada Svami Prabodhananda Foundations of the doctrine Testimony of Conscience Objection from bad conscience answered True idea of God's love God's love to individuals True and false
ground of
sity of

belief

in

Divine goodness

Evil only relative
of relative evil
in

Neceslife

death and

decay

Examples

A

of

love the only

means

of keeping

up

faith

Divine goodness.

Pp. 191214.

LECTURE
Moral
Its

IX

FUTURE LIFE
effect of belief in

Immortality
distinct

Its

religious

importance

two foundations

scientific

Popular and Materialism -Idealism the true answer to Materialism
the relation
identical

Mind

from matter

Prof.

James on
Soul

of

mind and matter
bodily

Materialism
Spiritual

unscientific

amidst

changes
for

powers

Danger

ever-progressive Moral of Pantheism Conditions

argument
of

ImmortalityImmortality Rebirth and

Spiritualism.

Pp 215

231).

LECTURE X
BRAHMA SYSTEM OF Sadhan OR SPIRITUAL CULTURE
Transition from doctrine to practical experience The R.'ij.Vs of service The Maharshi's liturgy History of the present form of worship The present form described Its difficulties and

form

advantages

Prarthand

or

Brahma

devotional literature
saints

Brahma hymnsproper Prayer Bu'ihma system of Yoga ComPp,

munion with

Latest contribution to stidhan.

240267.

LECTURE XI
BRAHMA SAMAJ AND SOCIAL REFORM
Old and new
Idolatry

Theism
of the

distinguished

Brahmic

rejection
tr.e

of

What

keeps

many Hindu

Theists outside

Brahma
Social

Samaj

'Atrophy

moral sense'

a national vice

tyranny checks individuality It blunts conscience The parting of ways between nnusth&nic and non-annsthdnic Brahmas
Biassed
defence
of

conformity

Arguments

for

answered

Dishonest

conformity draws

contempt

conformity Foundations

XIII

of

orthodox
suitable

Hindu
and

society

Idolatry not

symbolism
toleration

ism

unsuitable- Plea
of

from

Symbolanswered

Ex-communication
of

icformers

Caste
Is there

Late origin of Caste

necessary Brahmic rejection Caste opposed to national unity
?

a natural

distinction cf castes

Redistribution of castes

impossible
individuality

No

moral danger

in abolition of

Caste

Heredity and
Pp. 268

Caste the supreme root of

all social evils.
-,0(1.

LECrt'RK XII
MARRIAGE AND THE RIGHTS OF
Advanced
cf

WOMEN
How
the idea of

social ideas in the

Brahma Samaj

'changed

Act

III of

1872

riages

under the

minimum marriageable age for girls History Amendment of the Act Advantages of marAct What the Hrahma Samaj has done for

female education

And what

for

female emancipation.

APPENDIX

.

Pp.

i

xiii

LECTURE

I

Development of Brahmic Doctrines

Om
On
of
ism,

Bhnr Bhuvah Svah. Tat Savitur varenyambhargo

Duvasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodaydt*
this

solemn occasion

o

the

a series of lectures
let

on the Philosophy

commencement of Brahma-

us

meditate on the adorable nature of the

Supreme Being who guides our thoughts.
Reveal thyself to our
see the truth as
sion to
it it is

souls,

in thee

O Holy Spirit ; let ua and give such an expresto

as thou canst approve.

Let

me

also,

according
this

the

custom of the
moat emi-

country, remember on

occasion the

2

LECTURE

1

nent of those
the
little

ber atad

helped me in acquiring God that I know. I rememreverently bow down to the Rishis of the

who

have

truth about

Upanishads,

the

first

teachers

of

Theism and the
I

spiritual fathers of

all

Indian

Theists.

then boxv
chief
I

down

to

Ach&ryas Sankara and Ramanuja, th
of

interpreters

the

touch the feet

teachings three of the

of

the

Kishis.

then
the

great

leaders

of

movement, RiVjii Rammohan Ray, Sam?ij Maharshi Devendramtfch Thakur and Brahmananda Kesavchandra Sen, through whom have mainly come

Brahma

the grace and power
ses.

that

Brahmaism now
the

posses-

Lastly,

I

humble myself with grateful
English

re'verence

to

Dr. James Martineau,

Theist

who

Theism
first

presented to me, in its clearest form, the relation of to the scientific thought of the age, and to the Professor T. H. Green, English Idealist, who
introduced

me

to

the higher Metaphysics of the

West.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Brhmaism,
itself

in

all

stages

of

its

history, presents

to

us

in three aspects,

(i) as

a creed, (2) as a
(3)

system of sddhan or spiritual culture, and scheme of social reform. In tracing the

as

a

develop-

ment of Brahmic doctrines in the present lecture and in seeking a philosophical basis for Br&hmaism
throughout the whole series of these lectures, I shall endeavour not to lose sight of any of these three
aspects of Br&hmaism. In fact they are inseparable from one another. creed, a doctrine of God and
*

A

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
his
his

3

of man's duty to God and cannot but lead to a theory of the fellow-men, ways and means of discharging these duties and a

relation

to

man and

conception of social

life

consistent

with their due
in

performance.
forms,
(1)

A

creed, again,

appears to us

two

a body of particular beliefs, and (2) as a theory of the source or basis of these beliefs. In estimating the value of a creed, neither of these two
as

forms
looked

in
;

which
it

it

and

will

presents itself should be overbe my endeavour, in noticing

every stage of the history of
this

Brahmaism,

to

keep
of

constantly sadlian and the conception of
to

truth

in

view.

The
life

system

social

associated

with a creed are also always found backed by an
appeal
in

some

authority,
of

external
reasons,

or

internal,

endeavour, in these lectures, to take a clear view of such statements of reason in support of every scheme of practical life of
;

supported by their favour

a statement

good or bad,

and

it

will be

my

which

I
in

shall take notice.

I

need say only one word
I

more

introduction

before

proceed to trace
doctrines.

my
The

proposed

development of
in

Brahmio
is

Theological Society,
lectures are
affiliated

connection

with which these

going to
the
I

be delivered,
to

an institution
the

to

Sadh&ran

Brdhma Samaj, and

Mandir
to

in

which

happen

Samaj. This may unacquainted with the constitution of the Samaj to think it does not seem likely that any member of
that
the

be lecturing belongs lead some who are

Sam&j

is

capable of making the

mistake

that

4

LECTURE

I

view of the history of Brahmic doctrines or my conception of the philosophy of Brahmaisni is the

my

one with which the Samaj as a body

is

identified.

Nor would

this

be true

of

any other

individual

connected with the Samaj. The Samaj, as a body, is not identified with any particular views except to which every one wishing to be the simple creed

There are, to subscribe. and systems of opinions on philosoindeed, opinions current in the phical, historical and other matters
its

member

is

required

Samaj,

but

particular

opinions opinions are the individuals or large or small bodies
these
in the society.

of of

individuals

Some

of these are perhaps

the opinions of the great majority of the members ; but even this fact does not make them the opinions

Samaj for the Samaj does not authority to any but those it has fixed as mental principles. Other principles ani
of

the

lend
its

ita

funda-

different
it

interpretations

of

the

fundamental
leaves
their
to

principles

simply

tolerates

and

be

rejected according to or the or reverse
idiosyncrasies of conceptions
of of
its

intrinsic

accepted reasonableness
the

or

according

to

varying
variety

members.

Brahmaism

great underlying the

The

common

creed of the Brahma Samnj will somewhat evident from the brief history of Brahmic doctrines that I proceed to sketch. At the time of R&ja fUmmohan Kay and long
be
after

and fundamental

that time, the term 'Brahmaism' or 'Brahma Dharma,' as the name of the religion of the Brahma

THE
Samaj,

JIAJA'S

CREED
religion history,

5
of

was unknown.
this

The

the

Satnaj

was, daring

period of

its

identified with

Vedantism

or the religion of

the
for

Upanishads and the

Brahma
latter

Stitras.

When and
to

what reason

these

names gave place

'Brahmaism' and 'Brahma

Dharma/ we shall see as we Ray represented the religion of

Ummohan proceed. the Brahma Samaj as

Vedantism of the scholastic age, specially as Vedantism interpreted by Sankara. He believed or wished it to be believed that the Upanishads were the
authoritative

worship.

of Theistic doctrine expositions In the prefaces to his edition of

and
the

Upanishads and in his controversies with the advocates of idolatry and popular Christianity, he nowhere
questions
sets

the

authority of these ancient writings or

rity

up Reason or Intuition as an independent authocompetent to sit in judgment on the accepted
of

scriptures

the

nation.
is,

Next
the

to

the

authority of

the

Upanishads
their

to

Raja,
It
is

Sankara,

commentator.

the authority of mainly in the

light of Sankara's

commentary that the Raja interand the Vedantic aphorisms. prets the Upanishads He may, here and there, suggest interpretations
doctrines

of Vedantic

not to be found in Sankara
against
his

;

but he never sets himself
whole.
I

system

as

a

have, therefore,
it is

no hesitation

in characteris-

ing the Raj's creed, as

mentioned above,
ism.

as

presented in his writings soholastio or mediaeval Vedantor
'mediaeval'
in

I call

it

'scholastic'
it

order

to

differentiate

from an

earlier,

and,

as I think, a

6

LECTUKE

I

more rational Vedantiam, the religion of the composers to whom there were no authoritano higher authority than their own tive scriptures,
of the Upanishads,
intuitions

ascertain

how

and reasonings. It is, indeed, difficult to or whether the author of the youthful

production, Tuhfatul Muvjhidin, was, in his mature years, converted into that unquestioning acceptor of authoritative scriptures whom we meet with in the
writings mentioned. But if we are to judge of the Raja's views by the productions of hia mature age and not of his unripe youth, and by his public
utterances and not by what one to have thought, then no other
his

may

only guess him

characterisation of

creed

His system of sddhan or spiritual culture is also, as might be expected, modelled after that of the Sankarite Vedanta. According to
him, our inferential knowledge of God reveals him to be the Creator and Preserver of the world and as
our worship. This worship is necessarily dualistic, the worshipper and the worshipped
the object of
in

namely, Sankarite Vedantiet.

possible than what I have given above, a scholastic, mediaeval or that he was
is

appearing
consists in

it

as

different

from

each other.

It

the help

meditating on the attributes of God with of the GttyaM and of texts from the

Upanishads.

such as we
not enable

comprises adoration and prayer, find in the well-known stotra from the
It also

Mahdnirvdna Tantra.
us
to

But

this

form of worship does
essence of

know

the real

the

Supreme Being,

That can be

known

only

by the

THE RAJA'S SOCIAL VIEW8

7

higher form of worship, samddhi or aparokshdnubhuti, the direct perception of God, in which he is revealed
as our very Self,

As

as the only Reality without a second. to domestic and social duties, the Raja insists, in

the spirit of the

BhagavadgUtf, upon their due performance, and he sums up all social duties under the
all-comprehensive
thropy.
principle
of

loka-s'reyah or philan-

The only thing in which the Rja differs Sankara, not in letter but in spirit, is in lending the whole weight of his teaching not to monaaticism, as Sankara does, but to the life of the
from
house-holder.
earlier

In this he agrees Vedantists like Janaka and

more

with the

Yjnavalkya than

with the great anchorite and his followers. But in insisting that the Brahmajndni or Theist should be,
as a rule,
in

a house-holder, the R*ij also insisted that domestic and social duties one should performing
inclinations.

Follow the sdstras, the smriti*,

whims and
social

and not one's personal He indeed advocated some
'

reforms and

spoke against caste in the

spirit

against the caste system, Bajrastichi, he published in part with a Bengali translation. But it does not appear from his
of

Mrityunjayacharya,

whose

treatise

writings that he desired anything more than the removal of the evil customs that had grown in later

ages and a return of Hindu society to the somewhat purer state that existed in the later Yedic
period.

contemplated any radical reconstruction of society, seems improbable from his and from the solicitude vrYuo\x Vie teachings

That he

S

LECTURE
to the close

T

up

of his life,

not to

be excommunicated

from the pale of Hindu orthodoxy. However, in the Raja's Christian writings we find a view of Theism
very different fron the one we have just given. He there appears as a Unitarian Christian accepting the
authority of the
Bible,

specially

Jesus Christ.
real

This seems to

the teachings of show that the Kaja's
of

creed

was

neither

orthodox

Yedantism

nor

Biblical Christianity, but that in his controversies with Hindu idolaters and Christian Trinitarians he simply

assumed the authority of the Hindu and the Christian showed that they inculcated thn scriptures and
the truth for the spiritual worship of one God, establishment of which the Raja lived and died. 1 proceed now to notice the form or rather forms

of Brdhmaism

introduced by our next great leader, Maharshi Devendranath Thakur. A striking difference between our founder and our next two leaders is that
his

while the former came to

work

as

a formed

and

mature thinker, the two latter joined the Samj in their early youth, and that while there are scarcely any data
for tracing the
latter

growth of the former's mind, the two may almost be said to have thought aloud. WH

can see the workings of their mind, the truths they gradually acquired, the mistakes they made and the changes they underwent both from their work and

from what they have told us about themselves
,

in their

autobiographical sketches.

we

Thus, for instance, while cannot say by what steps the R&ja came to occupy

the standpoint as regards the higher Hindu and the

FORMS OP MAHARSHJ'S CREED
Christian

which scriptures in writings, as to the Maharshi we

we

find

him
time

in

hi?

know

the

when

he bad no acquaintance with these scriptures, the time when he had studied them only superficially and was

him their excellences, time when, having studied them again thoroughly, he discovered what seemed to him grave
carried
to

away by what seemed
the

and

defects in

them and checked and modified

hi 9-

admirathe
witli

ticn for them.

We

find,

in

his

own

history and

contemporaneous changed with hia personal changes. We must notice some of these changes in order to understand the Bnihmaism represented by him. It is evident from the Maharshi's Autobiography that his belief in Theism preceded his study of the
kamiij
his,

history of

the

Brahma

how

the Samaj

itself

Hindu
works.

scriptures
It

and

his

acquaintance with the Raj&'s

was
to

his

revealed

God

own intuitions and reflections that him. The English education which he
its

had received must have had
influenced his thought,
to

due influence on
if

his

mind, but as to the particular authors,

any,

who
seems

we know

nothing.

He

have already formed a clear conception of man's relation to God and God's attributes at the time he

came across the Upanishads ; for it was their confirmation of his cherished convictions that, as he tells
us, overjoyed

him

at this stage of his

life.

When

this

was

so, it is

somewhat

unintelligible
life,

how, throughout

a

definite period of his

he accepted these writings

as the authoritative basis of religious faith and how, when his faith in them as such was shaken by the

10

LECTURE

I

discovery of errors in them, he felt quite at sea as to the grounds of Brahmic faith. Again, it seems to me
rather strange that, though he had, as he tells us, gone through the eleven principal Upanishads before

the return of the four pandits from Benares, he had not yet discovered in them those objectionable feature*

which

latterly struck him and the discovery of which led him to reject the authority of the Upanishads. The features spoken of, specially the doctrine of the unity of

the Divine and the
t

human

spirit,

are nowhere absent in

the (Tpanishads and in the Chheindogya and the Brihaddranyaka, they are most prominent, the former repeating
monistic MahdvaJcya, 'Tat, tvam asi" ('Thou art that') not fewer than seven times in the same chapter.
the

the conclusion that during 1 cannot, therefore, resist the period in which the Maharshi believed and taught the doctrine that the Upanishads were the authoritative
his

basis

of

the

religion

of

the

Brahma
most
to

Samaj,
portions
this

study of

these

writings

was

superficial

and

perhaps

even

desultory

confined
it

selected by

his teachers.

However,

was during

period of his belief in the Vediinta as the basis of Brahmaism that the Maharshi took an important step the first step towards changing the Bnihma Samdj from a mere Prayer Meeting into a Church and a Society. He established what he himself calls in his Autobiography the Brahmio Covenant, but what others have more
correctly
called the Vedantic Covenant,
for

when

it

was established, the authority of the Yedanta had not been rejected and the term 'Brahmaism' or

THE MAHARSHI REJECTS VEDANTI8M

11

'Brahma

Babtt Dharma* had not come into use. in an article in the monthly Rrijnarayan Vasu said Ddsf (now defunct;, that where 'Brahma journal Dharma' stands now, there stood then the phrase

dharma" (the true The Maharshi's gion taught by the Yedanta).
"Vedanta-pratipddya
satya
gion, then, in this period of
his
life,

relireli-

was,

as

appears

from

what

followed

later

on,

Dualistic

Theism,

coupled
this

with the belief that the

Upanishads taught

form of Theism and
belief
it

were the authoritative basis

of

theistic

already

said,

and worship. Really, as I have was Intuition and Reason that lay at
but either from an absence
close
of

the basis of his
in

Theism,

him

of the
of

power

introspection

or

from a

feeling modesty and diffidence arising from his added to an imperfect acquaintance with youth, what the Upanishads really taught, he did not 'see and did not declare the real basis of his faith. The

change, the discovery

of

the

real

basis

of his faith,

came, however, when the return of the four Vedic students from Benares afforded him an opportunity for a thorough study of the Upanishads and the
earlier

portions

of

the

Vedas.

But

the

negative-

discovery
basis
of

that

the

Upanishads
vvas

were not the real

not immediately followed by the positive discovery of the real basis. period of suspense and uncertainty intervened. And then it

Brahmic faith

A

was found out that the true basis of Brahmaism was Intuition, a real or supposed power of the mind to

know

directly the fundamental principles of religion,

12

LECTURE

I

God, Immortality and Duty.
Intuition, as

What
at
I
all,

the doctrine of

taught by the

Maharshi and the Brahif

man an da
shall

is,

and how
later

far,

it

is

true,

I

discuss

on.

Here

must

add
as

a

few
of

remarks to those I hava already
the
rejection
It

made
as

regards
basis

of

the

Upanishads

the

Brahmaism.
fallibility

seems to

me
to

that

even when the

of

the

Upanishad* had been
be

found
as,

out,
in

regarded they might yet continue a sense, the basis of Brdhmaism, in the
of

sense

Brahmic
of

literature,

more
know,

or
faith.

less

imperfect

statements

the
are,

Br&hmic

The

works

of

the

Maharshi

we

fallible,

containing

what we consider to be errors here and there. Does this fact deprive them of the right of: being regarded as Brahmic literature, as more or less and tentative statements of Brahmic imperfect ? The basis of a religion may either be principles
philosophical or historical, be the philosophical basis

No
of

books as
religion.

such can

a
of

book

containing
sense.
1

statements

the

But any fundamental
basis
in

principles of the religion
historical

may

be called

its

a

therefore

hold

that

the
are,

Upaniin as

shads,

though they contain
as they are
of

some
of

errors,

much

statements

the

fundamental
or

principles
historical

Brahmaism,
of

Brahmic

literature

the

basis

Brahmaism

the works of the Raja, the
later

in the same sense as Brahmananda and the
so,

exponents of Brahmiiam are
the

making
of

due

allowance, of course, for

change

thought

UPANISHADS AS BASIS Of BRAHMAISM
effected

1&

believe

by the progress of scientific knowledge. I that the ancient Hindu Theists and even
mediaeval followers
of the

several

Yedanta
works

looked
in

upon the scriptures as
other sense than
see
all

authoritative

no
not

this.

But the Maharshi

did

this.

His

view of scriptural
idea,

influenced

by the

that a scripture, to ible. So, as soon as

authority was more Christian than Hindu, be real scripture, must be infall-

was discovered by him, they ceased
for
his

the fallibility of the Upanishads to be scriptures
But,

ideal as

church.

though discarding
could
not

the

Upanishads
scripture a church.
5s

scriptures, he

altogether

dismiss from his

mind the idea that an authoritative needed as a guide and basis of unity for
could not,
it

He

Upanishads, would be a safe guide for the church. He, therefore, proceeded to supply the place vacated by the Upanishads^ iind he did so by his annotated selections from the

inner light that had revealed the revealed also the fallibility of the

seems, fully trust that the truth to him and

Upanishads and the Smritis, entitled 'Brdhma Dharma? Those who carefully read what he says on the claims of
this

book on the reverence of
in his

Bnihmas,
a
I

can scarcely
infallible

doubt that
part of

estimation

it is

virtually
shall

scripture for

Brahmas.

However,

leave this

subject with only one more remark on the of the Upanishads as the historical basis of discarding the Brahtnaism. Perhaps the Maharshi thought, as

my

others have thought after him,

that

the

Upanishads

contained not only errors,

but fundamental errors,

14

LECTURE
the

I

unity of God and man, nirvtfna-mukti and re-incarnation were opposed to the fundamental principles of Brahmaisra as conceived by
tbat such doctrines as

him, and that, therefore, they could not be accepted by him as the basis of Brahmaism even in a historical

have nothing? more to say than that those who think so have no right to call their religion
sense.
If so, I

Hinduism
faith

in

any but a most
as
into

superficial sense.

However,

already mentioned,
Intuitional

the Maharshi'a

now changed

Dualistic

Theism,
Btja,
for
to
in-

represented in substance by the

Brahma Dharmn

drew up as the basis of unity Brhmas. He had already remodelled, according his own idea of Brahmaism, the form of worship

which he now

troduced by Rdja Rdmmohan Ray. He had purged the stotra from the Mahdnirvdna Tantra of its monistic
elements and enriched the liturgy by successive additions of texts from the Upanishads and the Sarihitd*
till it

is

took its present form. This liturgy, though it not used by the Progressive sections of the Brahma Samaj, is really the basis of their forms of worship.
of

The combination

texts

showing the attributes
leading
life

of

God was
great

specially a most important step, developments in the devotional
In

to

of

the

Brahma Samj.
exposition.

the Adi
left

Brhma

Saraj

liturgy,

indeed, these texts are

with only a very scanty But the Maharshi, both by his own in-

tensely meditative habits and his rich expositions of these texts in his discourses, taught the Brahmas how
to

use them

in

private

devotions

and also

how

a

THE MAHAR8HI AS SOCIAL REFORMER

15

more living, form

Samj
lar

worship one could be developed from it.
public
spiritual

o

than the Adi

For any reguin

system of

culture,

however, we seek

vain in

the Maharshi's writings and discourses and

1

have always felt an unsatisfied curiosity about the methods and disciplines by which that great soul rose
to that dizzy height of

communion with the Supreme
in

Spirit which appears dimly, though unmistakably, even

to our

unenlightened eyes,

his

invaluable

utter-

ances.

Reserving for a subsequent part of this lecture a detailed notice of the Philosophy of Intuition which the Maharshi, in close association with Brahmananda

Kesavchandra Sen, gave to the Brahma Samaj, I now The come to notice his scheme of social reform. country will ever remain deeply grateful to him for
conceiving and carrying into practice the idea that a Theist cannot, without morally degrading himseH, practise idolatry or any other ceremonial worship of

gods and goddesses. The association of the most refined form of Theism with the grossest forms of polytheism and idolatry had gone on in the country for It was reserved for the second great leader of the Brahma Samdj to sever this unholy connection,
centuries. to arouse the

dormant conscience

of

the

country and

lay the foundation of a reformed,

unidolatrous

Hindu

community. It was the Maharahi who performed the first two Brahmic Anusihdns or domestic rites ever
celebrated in the country and thereby became the
genitor of generations of truly Theistio reformers.
pro-

He

16

LECTURE

I

banished polytheism and idolatry once for all from the reformed society he thus founded. And he proceeded farther. As soon as he felt though the inspiration in

came from another source that a Brahma, a disbeliever in caste, should not wear any badge of
this case

caste,

he threw away his sacrificial thread and never again wore it himself. He had already given up caste-

restrictions as to eating

and drinking, freely eating and

drinking with non-Brahmanas in public dinners. It now seemed as if he was going to abolish caste altogether, in all its varied forms,

from his
of his

society.

Besides

discarding his own threads to the other

thread and discontinuing giving

members

family

when go-

ing through the ceremony of upanayan or
to a spiritual teacher,

presentation

he went so far with the younger and more ardent spirits of his church from whom the

non-Brahmana

inspiration in this matter really came in the person of the

as to appoint

a
to

Brahmananda

the ministry of the

Sam3j and

to dismiss

Brhmanas

wearing threads from the ministry, thereby declaring that those who supported caste in any shape fell short

Brahmaship and were Brahma Samaj ministry. But the fact is,
of the true ideal of

unfit

for

the

as

was proved

by subsequent events, that in this matter of abolishing caste the Maharshi had overstepped the real growth of bis mind, and the consequence was that he receded,
It

does not

fall

the history
backsliding,

of

this

within the scope of this lecture to tell All the steps of this recession.

the reinstatement of the dismissed thread-

wearing Brahmanas to the

Samj

ministry, the accept-

THE MAHARSHI'S CONSERVATISM

17

anoe of the resignation of the ministers belonging to the reform party, the non appointment of any other non-Brahmana to the Adi Samaj ministry, the re-introduction of the thread into the upanayan ceremony, the interdiction of inter-caste marriages in the Adi Brahma
these go to prove that the Maharshi never caste notions, at any rate the really outgrew the caste feeling, prevalent in the country, and that, in

Samaj,

all

common with
times,

the

caste-ridden

Theiats

of

mediaeval

he believed the

Brahmanas

to be a privileged

community whose sanctity should not be desecrated
by marital
partnership

unions
in

with

other castes,
of

or

even

by

the
it

Brhuianaa.
has
of

But
his

ministry religion with nonmust be noticed that the Maharshi

any public defence, oral or written, opinion on this subject. On the contrary, the rather awkward manner in which he has
dealt with thorough-going reformers in this matter has seemed to show as if he was half -ashamed of his back1

never put forward

sliding

and was conscious that he was going against a strong and irresistible tide of progress. It must also be mentioned in justice to him that he has shown

himself in favour of the re union of the various subdivisions of the

Brahman a

caste.

He

has contracted

marriage relations in his
class

Brhmanas

family not only with highof other sub-divisions than his own,

but even with those

who

are

called

Varna-Brdhmanas,

the priests of the lower classes, a reform which seems in one respect to be even more radical than the marriage of
high-caste Brahmanas and high-caste non-Brahmanas.
2

18
I

LECTURE

I

now come

Brahmlnanda
tory agrees

the time of our third great leader, Kesavchandra Sen. His mental histo
in respect of

characterised

being changes, even greater and more frequent changes than those experienced by the

with the Maharshi's

by

great

latter,

and

in

that

of

his

coming

to

his

theistic

faith

by the help of his own intuitions and reflections ; but he was fortunate in arriving directly at the Intuitional

Dualistic

Theism which he held

in

common

with the Maharshi in his early life without going through the semi-Vedantic stage of the latter's
history.

When Kesav
final

joined the

Brahma Samaj, the

second and

form of the Maharshi's creed had

been already formulated, and the former only helped
in

developing the philosophy of Intuition, the substance of Ttfhich the Maharshi had already conceived. The writers of the Brahmananda's Bengali biography

claim that he

made

a

substantial

addition

to

the

Maharshi's theory of Intuition.
that a belief in

The latter had taught God and other fundamental religious truths is due to Atmapratyaya or Intuition. The Brahmdnanda added, "Yes, we really do so, but before believing in them through Intuition we know them
through

Sahaj Jnan, our innate power of knowing things, both earthly and heavenly,

Common

Sense or

without the intervention of reasoning." The writers of the book named assert that the Maharshi accepted
this

and accordingly philosophy changed his previous statement of the doctrine in the
addition
to

his

MR. SEN'S THEORY OF INTUITION

19

Brahma Dharma
Kesav's

Grantha.
of

They

comparing the edition

the

prove this by book published* before

Samaj with another joining the Brahma after he had joined it. I need not and do published
not question the claim put

forward

in

favour of the

I wish to biographers. that his amendment of the theory does not The only change is that while substantially add to it. his

.Brahm&nanda by
is

What

point out
the

in

first

form intuition used
it

to be called pratyaya,

belief, in

the second form
is

came

to

be

called

jnt'tn,

indeed higher than belief; knowledge. Knowledge but a phenomenon claiming to be knowledge, and not

mere belief, can be accepted as knowledge only if it can stand the tests of true knowledge. Now, as to the
question of tests, the theory of Intuition or Common Sense in both the forms mentioned above stands on

same footing. Both the forms have the same strength or the same weakness, by whatever name we
the

may
of

call

their

common
is

characteristic.

That common
universal

characteristic

that
are

intuitive truths or the principles

common

sense

claimed to be

and

irresistible,

are not

but their universality and irresistibility shown by any philosophical analysis of know-

ledge, such as the students of higher
familiar
bility

Metaphysics are

with.

When
higher

the
truths

universality

and

irresisti-

of

the

of religion are denied

by

large numbers of both sceptics and believers,

be placed on a sound basis only,

if

at

all,

they can such close by
of philoso-

and searching

analysis.

But neither

Maharshi nor

Brahmananda displayed any great power

20
phical
analysis

LECTURE
even
in

I

their

best

days.

Babus

R&jnarayan Vasu and Dvijendramith Thakur showed somewhat better powers of analysis in their writings but their philosophical writings seem to have made
;

very

little

SamtVj. at one with the theory of the special

impression on the members of the Brahma Their theories of Intuition being substantially

two great leaders, their
philosophy of Intuition
to.

contributions

to

the

were
to

not

much

attended

do greater justice to bare mention of their work,

However, I purpose them than is implied in this
in

a

subsequent lecture^

in

which the theory of Intuition will be made the subject of more detailed exposition and examination
is

than

possible
of

here.

Suffice

it

to

say

here,

that

the theory

Intuition,

as

Brahma

thinkers,

received

taught by the?e four no embellishment or deve-

lopment at the hands of subsequent writers, even of such an able writer as the Reverend Ltabu Prataptill was materially changed, it almost to non-recognition, by writers belongchanged ing to the Sadharan Brahma Samaj. Before, however,

chandra Mazumdar,

stage of Kesav's theology, I may as out his intellectual affinity with some of: point the schools of European philosophy. For all that
I

leave

this

well

he wrote and spoke about this time on the philosophical basis of religion, he seems to have been mostly
indebted to
writers
of

what

Reid and Hamilton, the most prominent is called the Scotch School of

Philosophy. Cousin, the

He

was also an admirer of Victor French philosopher. Of Hamilton he

21

epoke

as

"that
as

unrivalled

thinker."
is.

This

seems

rather strange,

Hamilton

really

the father of

Agnosticism. I cannot resist the conclusion that the Brahmananda was not a thorough

modern

English

student of Hamilton.

He seems
we have a

to

have been captiof

vated by according

the
to

philosopher's

theory

perception,

which

direct,

presentative

knowledge of Keality. This theory, however, ia of but the Brahmanada seems to have no use to religion
;

conceived his theory of man's direct knowledge of

God
to

somewhat
satisfy a

after

its

fashion.
affcer

But nothing
philosophical

likely

soul hankering

truth

standing a searching criticism, was ever attempted either by the Brahmananda or his immediate predecessors or immediate successors.

nothing capable of

And
work

it

may

suffered

be added that neither his nor their proper anything for not attempting that task.
called

They lived in what may be It was the Brdhma Samaj.
phical doubt and
criticism,

the

childhood of
not of philoao

the

age,

but of easy, trustful faith

and

spiritual

hankering.

The

critical

spirit

was

awakened, just enough to question the authority of accredited scriptures and prophets ; and by showing as that the acceptance of scriptures and prophets

from God implied a previous knowledge of the first principles of religion, and that this knowledge could
not but be direct, untaught by

man

the thinkers of the

period gave spiritually-disposed people a resting place in natural religion a religion based on natural revelation.

People gladly accepted

the

idea

of

such

22

LECTURE

I

about
I of

a revelation, though they did not trouble its precise nature and contents.

themselves

now

invite

your attention to the second stage
theology,

the Brahmananda's

the

stage occupied

by the years immediately following his separation from the Adi Bra*hma Samaj and immediately preceding the declaration of the New Dispensation. In this period he formulated a number of doctrines which

more and more, as time passed, his Brahmaism from the simple Brhmaism of the Adi
differentiated

Brahma Samaj and which still continue to divide the Brahma Samaj into two bodies o? believers, to
whichever section of the
to

Samdj they may belong

them into those who still stick to the simple creed of the Adi Brahma Samaj and those who accept, under various forms it may be, the Brahmananda's more
divide

elaborate creed.

These

doctrines

are

those of Great

Men, Inspiration, Special Dispensation, Yoga, Bhakti and Vairdgya. To briefly define these doctrines, the
theory of Great Men teaches men. such as Buddha, Christ,
etc,,

that

there are

some

Muhammad,

Chaitanya,

and teachings are special revelations from God and should be made the subject of special
lives

whose

study and sddhan. The doctrine of Inspiration teaches of truth God's general revelation that, besides our Intuition and Reason, he reveals his through
will
to us

on special occasions and
to the

According

doctrine

the chief systems of direct Divine agency, which works through chosen

in a special manner. of Special Dispensation, historical religion are due to

MR. SEN'S

BRAHMA ISM

23

bodies of

men claiming special reverence from us, Yoga means direct communion with God, seeing,

hearingjand touching him with our souls and living in constant union with him. Bliakti means rapt and fervent love of God, leading the devotee to such
laughing, crying and dancing, and to humbling himself to all lovers of God. Vair&gya means absence of attachment to earthly things and living a simple and ascetic life.
manifestations
of

feeling

as

adherents of the Adi
a large

These doctrines aroused great opposition among the Brahma Samaj and also among

body

church, the
a
rational

of men who belonged to Kesav's own Bnihma Samaj of India. There is, indeed,

interpretation

of

these

doctrines

which

might be made acceptable to these oppositionists, and it may be said that some of Kesav's opponents
recognised the underlying truth of the doctrines. But the form in which he taught them, or, at any
rate,

the

way

in

which
on
his

his

opponents understood him,
part
inevitable.

made
first

opposition

their

In the

stage

of

public

life,

Kesav had,

to a certain

extent,

appealed to the intellect of his auditors, had taken some care to convince them. But in hia
second stage, he grew

more and more dogmatic and prophetic as years passed on and failed to reach the intellect of the more critical even among his own
friends and
followers.
It

happened, therefore, that,

even before the

Kuchbehar Marriage, a tolerably large body of Brahmas had been formed in the Brahma Samaj of India tor whom his leadership had more or

24
less

LECTURE

J

come

to an end.

Those who have closely studied

the history of the Brahma Samj know that this faot made the establishment of the Sadharan Brahma

Samaj much
wise.

easier

than

it

would have been otherthe
third

of Kesav's theological

and last stage the stage repredevelopment, sented by the formulation of the New Dispensation. By the "New Dispensation' I understand him to
to

However, I now come

mean the doctrines I have just noticed, besides a number of rites and ceremonies introduced by him
with the purpose of assimilating the truths of previous
dispensations,

systems of religion chronologically preceding the advent of Brhmaism. Necessarily, Kesav being the first preacher of the
i.e
,

the

principal

system, he
is

is

the central figure in

it,

and the system

more or less identified with his teachings. This is what repels many Briihmas from the system. They
are opposed to all special personal influence in religion. But apart from the truth or error of the doctrine,

do not see anything repugnant or opposed to the spirit of Brahmaism in the idea of a particular form
I

of
if

it

being identified

with a
is

particular
set

individual,

that particular individual

up

as an authority

to

be

blindly
is

followed,

as

one to
then,

whom
indeed,

private
is

judgment
spirit

to

be

sacrificed,

such

teaching to be pronounced as quite opposed to the

But though the Brahm&nanda has done much, I admit, to foster blind belief and discourage free thought, and though isolated expresof

Brahmaiam.

PERSONAL INFLUENCE IN RELIGIO'N
siong
effect*

25

might be quoted from his utterances to the that he should be blindly followed, I do not

think he made any systematic attempt to get recognised as a prophet to be blindly followed. Though

he did not reason out his system, he may be supposed
to have

commended
left
it

it

to

public and

to

be

the free judgment of the accepted or rejected accord-

ing to
If,

ifca

inherent reasonableness or unreasonableness.
the

therefore,
to

New

itself

the

spiritual

Dispensation commends instincts or the of intellect
it
is

some Brdhmas, even though

not a reasoned-out

system, I do not see that its followers can reasonably be set down as a body of blind believers in a prophet or a system of teachings any more than the followers
of

any

scientific

or

philosophical
I

the same way.

object error and as opposed to the spirit of Br^hmaism, is the presentation of any form of it in an unreasoned

What

to

system accepted in as a fundamental

dogmatic fashion

;

and

of

this,

Brhmas who
guilty
as

are not

New
who

Dispensationists are. This way of

are

as

much

those

preaching Brahmaism fosters
the

blind belief and
indifferently,

checks

growth

of free thought

system preached be the .New Dispensation or any other form of Brahmaism. Undue personal influence, such as coerces the intellect

whether the

of

those subject to

it,

whether that influence comes

from Kesavchandra Sen or any other Brahma leader
undoubtedly exerted and perpetuated 'by such preaching, even though the personal nature
or

teacher,

is

of the influence

may

not be recognised or admitted.

26

LECTURE

I

And

the extent and the harmfulness of this influence
to

are proportionate

person
of the

from

whom

the power and ability of the it emanates. It has often seemed

to rue that

the reason

why Brahmas

outside the pale

New

effects of

dispensation are less exposed to the evil suoh undue personal influence, is not that

the teachers of the

New

more dogmatic than some

Dispensation are appreciably of the teachers of other

forms of Brhmaism, but that after Kesavchandra Sen we have not had any Brahma leader of towering
genius, such a one as can exert

on

his brethren.
little

any very deep influence Let but such a leader arise, and I

have

doubt that he will be as blindly followed by
is

many

as

Kesav

supposed to be followed by the

New

Dispensationists.

The
not to
if

complained of

is

influence, which,

evil safe-guard against of personal check the growth exerted in the proper way, is a

the

healthy factor in the

growth
be,

of

religious

life,

or

to

perfect our constitutional system,

and necessary

it

may
;

which, however good cannot arrest the growth of

personal influence and should not be allowed to check but to change the prevalent mode it, even if it could
of preaching

Brahmaism, to change it from its present dogmatic form to a rational one, to appeal, not to blind

unreasoning faith after the fashion of the old systems which we profess to have outgrown, nor to traditional
beliefs received

without examination and criticism and

hiding their true nature

under the imposing name of
to

"Intuitions," but to universal Reason,

the scientific
it

faculty, which receives nothing, even though

be a

MR. SEN'S PRO-VEDANTIC TENDENCY

27

fundamental truth, without examination and criticism and to Philosophy, which, as the unifier of all sciences, as the embodiment of the fundamental principles of all

knowledge and

belief,

is

the

religious as well as other matters.

only final authority on It will be seen from

what yet remains

to

be said of the later development

oF Bn'ihmic doctrines,

how

the

Brahma Samaj

is

slowly

However, moving towards the goal I am pointing to. alter what may seem to be a little digression, but which
have purposely interposed, 1 return to the notice of Kesav's last stage of doctrinal development, and have to add, to what I have already said, that his early philosophical Dualism was greatly modified in his latter
1

days,

"Brahmagitopanishad" and "Yoga, objective and subjective," he recognises, in a manner, the essential unity of the divine and the human spirit, and in one of his sermons comprised in the volumes entitled "Sevaker Nivedan,'* he sees a
meaning, which to me seems the true meaning, of the Vedantic doctrine of nirvana mukti, at which the

so

much

so

that

in his

Maharshi had shuddered and which he had rejected as un Brahmic. The Brahmiinanda recognises that there is
a stage of spiritual development at which the human soul really sees itself spiritually, not naturally, merged in the Supreme Soul and becomes one with it. This pro-

Vedantic tendency culminated

in

a declaration in the

Liberal newspaper of the 7th June, 1885, shortly after Kesav's death and, therefore, presumably made in the
spirit

of

his

thus

:

"Our Return

teachings, a declaration which runs to the Vedanta we need not say
:

28

LECTURE

I

very much upon our Keturnto the Vedanta. This is a known fact. The foundation of ftrahuiaisrn was laid

Although we have advanced, However, though Kesav's early Dualism was thus modified, his InDuitionism showed no sign of modification ; and with the upon the Upanishads.
the foundation remains the same."

exception of

Pandit

Kalisankar

Dharma

Vijnaiii

Bij'i,

which

Kaviraja's Brahma deserves only a bare
to the

mention, his

church mids no later contribution
of

such writing? philosophy eminent scholars as Pa,adifcGra,urgovinda Ray Upadhyuya and Maulavi Girishchindra Sen have, iadeei, done
Brahtnaiarn.
of

The

bringing the Hindu and the scriptures within the comprehension ot educated Bengalis, bub they have made no sabstantial
valuable service
in

Muhammadan

contribution to laying the philosophical

foundation of

Brahmaism.
However, coming now
bution to the
to the

Brahmananda's contri-

Brahma mode
unlike

of s'tdhan or spiritual culture,

we
him

find

him,

the

elaborate sysf.em of such sddhan in
I

Maharshi, to have left an the two books by
in

have already named and

his

Brdhma Dharmer
of

Anibsthdn, his utterances, with the

utterances

other

leading Br^hraas, in the three

sadhan, and in his
pulpit.

As
in

this

Dharmafrom the Brahma Mandir sermons system mu*t occupy us at some
volumes of
of

length

future lectures

the

present series,

I

must pass by
to

it with only one remark on what seems Kesav's most important contribution to Brahma our present form of worship, the form jodhan,

me

MR. SEN'S SCHEME OF SOCIAL REFOKM

29

which

with minor variations, used in the public services of both the Bharatvarsbiya and the Sdh&ran
is,

Bnihina Samaj and also by
private*

many Bn'ihmas
which
soul
this

in

their

devotions.

The

good

form

of

worship, comprising wfeat fundamental movements of

may
the

be called the three

towards God,

namely, drrtdhana, adoration, dhytfn, direct

communion,
life

and pritrthand, prayer,
of the
I

has done to the spiritual

Urahma Saraaj, seems to me incalculable. now come to the Brahmiinanda's scheme of
;

social

reform
points.

and under

this

head

I shall briefly

notice

four

First, his entire abolition of caste.
in

The scheme
Adi Samaj
sympathised

which he and his friends formulated
days, the one which the Maharshi at

his

first

and then receded from, was adhered to and With all consistently worked out in his latter days. conservatism of which his advanced followers the complained, Kesav never showed any tendency to come to any sort of compromise with caste. What
with

may

be,

from one standpoint, called the most conserof
his
life,

vative

act

the

Kuchbehar

Marriage,

was, from another point of view, a reform of a most radical nature, it was an inter-caste and inter-tribal

marriage.
salising-

So,

under the influence

of

his

univer-

teachings, which really changed the Brhma from a priest-ridden Hindu sect to a broad and Samaj free society with the spirit of primitive and higher

Hinduism pervading it, but not the trammels and later Hinduism checking and arresting
life,

of mediaeval
its

growing

caste

distinctions

flew

away

before the

Brahma

30
reformers, and the
of

LECTURE

I

Brahma Samaj
in

was

tilled

with

instances marriage, the highest and the lowest were united. It may bn said that there is yet a good deal of caste feeling,

inter-caste

some

of

which

even of caste pride,
progressive perhaps true
to

in

some quarters
the
shall

of

even

th
is

section
;

of

Brahma

Sanvaj.

That

and we

few generations more

for

perhaps have to wait a this feeling and this pride

But the great change introbe fully eradicated. duced by the reform carried out by Brahmananda and
his

friends
of

is

that

there

is

no caste distinction at the

basis

the reconstructed

Brahma community

that

seceded
basis,

from the Adi Brahma Samaj, no caste at its as there is at the basis of orthodox Hindu

Society and of the Adi Brahma Samaj.* The importance of this distinction cannot be exaggerated. The,

second point to be noticed

is

the part

Brahmananda
opinion
the

ascertaining proper and the

in

from

taken by the expert medical

minimum

age for

the

Act III of 1872 girls, and in getting The impetus which that Act has given to passed. social reform both inside and outside the Brahma Samaj is simply incalculable. The third point to bn
marriage of
noticed
is

Kesav's promotion of a moderate degree of

the higher education of

women by

his

Female Normal

School, long closed, and his Victoria Institution which,
*
-in the

Lately a

number

of inter-caste

marriages have taken place

Samaj and Dr. Gaur's amendment of Act III has introduced inter-caste Hindu marriages even in the orthodox
community.

A Hi Brahma

SADHARAN BRAHMA SAMAJ
under various vicissitudes,
point
is

.'J1

still

continues.

The fourth

his

publication of the cheap
all his

of

promotion of mass education by the the Sulabh Samachdr, the fore-runner
periodical
literature
of the day.

With

however, Kesav was soon found out his more advanced friends and followers to be rather by narrow and backward in his views on social matters.
reforms,
It
it

was known long before, and
clear,

his
off

New

Sanhitd makes
later

that

he

never shook

medieval and

Hindu views about the intellectual inferiority of women to men and the natural subjection of the former to
the
latter. Women, in the church founded by him, have never been given any great privileges or have taken any prominent part, and really high education

for

any shape, the university or otherwise, has always been at a discount in the whole body.* The Brahmananda's views about church government
in

women

were,

as
as

was,

well-known, of a theocratic type, and it every one knows, after long and stranuous
is

opposition from him and his immediate followers that the principles of representatives and constitutional

church government triumphed
1

in

the

Brahma Samaj,

now come

to the concluding

part of

my

lecture,

the state of things has changed

Since this was written, specially during the last few years, much in the New Dispensation

Church. Female preachers and lecturers, including some of Kesav's daughters, are now to be seen there, and many of the younger ladies have earnestly taken to higher University education.

;VJ

LECTITRE

I

which I shall speak of the religions and social creed Sidharan Brahma Samj, At its foundation this Samdj seemed to some, both of its friends and
in

of the

enemies,

of those who had, the special doctrines before foundation, opposed by the Brahmananda, the doctrines that differenttaught iated his Brahmaism from that of the Adi Brahma
to

consist exclusively

its

Satnaj.

That some
to

of the

leaders of the

new Sainj
and that
loudest
of
ifc

belonged

that

was

their

voice

party of oppositionists which wag at first the
the

in

connection with
doubt.
of a

new movement, admits
to the

no

But with them had come
different

Sam^j men

stamp, men who had no serious very had been differences with Kesav, who theological brought up under his principles of sddhan, and who,
but for the Kuchbehar

immediately following

it,

the events marriage and would never have thought of

founding

or

When
began books

the

distinct Brahma church. joining a turmoil of the marriage agitation and of
it

the schism caused by
to

subsided a
the

little,

their

voice

be heard

and
;

movement

newspapers, addresses, new connected with the pamphlets and it was found that they held all the
specially

in

doctrines that

characterized

the

Brahma-

nanda's teachings, namely, the doctrines of Great Men,
Inspiration,

Special

Vairagya.

They

Dispensation, Yoga, Bhakti and perhaps held these doctrines in a

more rational form than their promulgator. At any rate they presented them in a form which proved more acceptable or less objectionable than the one

DOCTRINAL CHANGES

IN

THE

* AM A.I

33
of

Kesav had adopted, and
doctrines

their

teaching
often

these

was,

besides,
his

free

from that personal bias
ascribed to
raised

and motive which
him.

opponents
was,
in the

A

feeble

opposition

however,

against them

now and then from some

quarters, but

Samaj and made men. What was more satisfactory, some of those who had formerly opposed these doctrines tooth and nail were, either
gradually they gained ground converts of earnest, open-minded

by the force of the new preaching or by a gradual inward growth in their own spiritual lives, converted
views and became themselves preachers of The old views, however, did not quite die out, and they still live in some quarters and sometimes
to

these

them.

raise

a

feeble

opposition
Briihinu
in

to the new.

In this respect

the

Sitdharau

Samaj seems to me at present

divided, though
still

think in the old Adi

unequal portions, into those who Samaj fashion, and who

would make short work with great men and historical dispensations if they could, and those who, except in the matter of Kesav's special leadership, have very
little

theological difference of a substantial his immediate followers.

nature with

Now,
in

this

is

the
of

first

the

history

the
of

The next change was

doctrinal change noticeable Sadharan Br&hma Samj. a more radical nature. It

was nothing short of a change of the old Intuitional Dualistio Theism of the Maharshi and the Brahm&nanda into an argumentative form of Theism with a
distinct

tendency to Monism.
3

The old theory

of

Iu-

34
tuition

LECTURE

J

was not altogether rejected, but more and more importance was gradually attached to argument till a more or less complete body of the rational evidences of Brahmaism grew up in the church. This system of Brahmic evidences, which is continually

my Sdharan Brahma Samj
growing, constitutes, to
of the

mind, the real glory of the and its most important contribution to the intellectual and spiritual progress

Brahma Samdj

in

general.

To me

it

is

the

most tangible proof of the growth of the Brahma Samj from childhood to maturity. To be able to talk
of lofty spiritual
if

truths

is

not a

sure

sign

of

the

spiritual progress either of an individual

or of a society
is

the basis on which his or their faith rests

nothing

more sound than unexamined and
tional belief.
I

uucriticised tradi-

have seen Briihmas of long standing and of recognised spiritual eminence losing hold of
their

most cherished beliefs
basis

in

the course of an hour

on which they stood has or so when the frail been clearly shown to them. Such religion can live only on relative ignorance ignorance of the results of

modern
If

scientific

and philosophical
at

criticism.

It lan-

guishes and

dies

the

first

touch of such
it

criticism.

it escapes such criticism, the hands of worldliness. The

dies

a slow death at
struggle

present hard

for

existence

pursuit of the thirst for spirituality and loosen the soul's hold of supereensuous realities. It is only when God and our relation to him are seen to be stern, inexorable

but perfect absorption in the wealth engendered by it, tend to dry up
all

and the

TENDENCY TO MONISM'
realities,

35

by evidences

at

least

as

sound

as,

if

not

of

tical

a higher order than, those which prove mathemain that faith can, this or scientific truths;
age, stand
It
is,

rationalistic

the

assaults of scepticism

and

worldliness.

therefore, extremely

gratifying to
is

slowly the real situation in the religious world awakening and to the requirements of a religion which has no
to

ee

that

the

Sadharan

Bnihma

Samaj

authoritative prophets or scriptures to

appeal to. Not contented with appealing to mere subjective faith, it has been, for the last forty years or so, appealing to Universal Reason to proofs which every earnest and
person may examine and accept. Its and social subjects, is literature, on both religious a more and more reasoned form. gradually assuming
thoughtful

The

consequence is, as happens where Universal Reason prevails over traditional belief and merely
opinion,

personal
difference

that where

Brahmas formerly saw
both in

and duality they now see unity, doctrine and in social philosophy. religious
of

dualism

The old God and the world, and God and man, as

independent
of

realities, the dualism on which the old form Brahmaism insisted in various shapes, is, in a manner, dead and has given place to a doctrine of unity in I difference. speak, indeed, of the more thoughtful

among
the

the

power

the Sam6j, of understanding these
of

members

those

who have
and of

matters

dealing with them, and not of the unrefleotive mass, or of those who, though educated in an outward sense,

take no living interest in religious

and philosophical

#6

LECTURE

I

so far as there

In questions and no part in theological discussions. is a theological in the Sftmiij system
for a

and I admit that

members there
ing system
is

is

considerable percentage of its no such system I think the prevailI

what

Argumentative Monism, while there is a residuum which has not gone on along the advancing tide, and for which the old
Intuitional Dualistic

have already characterised as Theism with a distinct tendency to

Theism

is

still

living.

Criticisms,

more

or less of

an uninformed and dogmatic rature,

are sometimes levelled by this latter party against the

new and growing creed. Now, this new creed,
Samaj
in three

it

will

be seen, exists in the

distinguishable varieties. a somewhat poetical and rhetorical form It is found in in the sermons, lectures and essays of the late .Pandit

more or

less

Sivanath Sastri.
but
in

his

Pandit Sastri does not argue much his Baldritu-btabak and essay on I&rar
;

acJietan sakti

Punish ("Is God an inanimate force or a living Person y") it is seen what high place lie
Jci

saclictan

assigns to argument

matters religious. His monistic tendency is also unmibtakably seen in his oft-repeated assertion that to say there is any other reality than Cod
in

is

to limit

God's infinitude, and

in the first

the doctrine taught series of his Dharmajfvan that the human
in

a part or aspect of the Divine Spirit. His belief God and Nature is seen in his teaching, to be found in his essay named above, that what we call
soul
is

in the unity of

matter has no force, no power, all power being tual and identified with the Divine Will.

spiri-

VARIETIES OF THE

NEW

ORJiED

37

The second variety
found
in the

of

the
late

works
the

of
in

the

new theology is to be Babu Nagendramith

Chiitturji,

who was
of

some respects the most able

exponent
Saoidj.

theology of the

Sadbran Brahma
an
of

Babu Nagendranath
his

was

indefatigable

reasoner, and

three volumes

Dharmajijnd#i

present a closely reasoned

whole system of Brahma
quite

exposition of almost the He was doctrinal theology.

popular Natural Theology of England in his days and his work just named may be favourably compared with any English work on Natural Religion both as regards the evidences of Theism and
abreast
of

the

the criticism
I need hardly

of religious

Scepticism and Agnosticism.

add that the tendency to Monism is even more distinct and pronounced in Babu Nagendranath
Chatturji's

works than

in

those of Pandit Sastri.

In

the second volume of his Dharmajijndscf he clearly recognises the truth of Idealism ; and in the third volume
of the

same book, in his lecture on Antftmavdder Ayauktik.aid ("The Unreasonableness of Materialism") he admits the essential unity of the universal and the individual soul. But nevertheless Babu Nagendranath's
arguments are more or less of a popular nature and not based on any clearly thought-out system of Metaphysics.

The
works

third

form

in

S<?dharan

Brahma Samaj
In this form

which the new theology exists is to be seen
of
it

of the
in the

of Dr. Hiralal

Haldar and those

the present

lecturer.

may

be characterised as

Metaphysical Idealism, allied on the one hand to the

38

LECTURE

I

Vedanta Philosophy
to the

of this country

and on the other

cal questions are ultimately

Hegelian Christianity of Europe. All theologifound to be questions of

Metaphysics and cannot be satisfactorily solved unless they are subjected to the canons of a strictly philosophical discussion. The writers just named, therefore, think that a system of Metaphysics, incorporating the highest results of both ancient and modern thought, is
basis for a religion which, on the one hand, recognises no authoritative prophets or scriptures and, on the other, seeks unity of thought, feeling and action. They think so, and have humbly oontribu-

the soundest

ted the
it

instalment of such a system and submitted to the judgment of the Brahma and the general
first

Indian public. I must not, however, say anything in the present connection that may seem to be passing a judgment on my own humble part in the work hitherto

done

in this respect.

As

to

my own

opinions

on the

Philosophy of Brahmaism, the present series of lectures will afford me an excellent opportunity to elaborate and

expound
judgment

them
of

them to the critical the educated public. For giving me this
and
submit

opportunity I am deeply indebted to the committee of the Theological Society and thank them most heartily.

As

to the peculiar features of

this

third

form of the

have time enough present theology, only to point out what has often been said on other that it has brought about or occasions, namely,
I

day Brdhma

accentuated a partial revival of Vedantism in the Br&hma Samaj, a revival more of the earlier than o

SOCIAL VIICWS OF THE SAJDHARAN SAMAJ

3

the

mediaeval and

latter-day
in

form

of

Vedantisou

Those who have taken part
called
is

the movement have also

it

a return to

Rammohan R&y.
same time
real

That the return
far

partial

and

at the

so

as

it

goes,,

be evident to those who have taken the trouble of studying the literature connected with the movement.
will

From

brief on the social views

a fear of detaining you too long, I shall be very which the Sadharan Brahma

Samaj has brought
than

into prominence. Scarcely lesa the Samtij's contribution to the philosophy of Brahmaism I value the constitutional form of churchit

government

maturity year after year,

men which

it

and is moulding into and the perfect equality with has granted to its women. I am aware
has adopted

that neither our

are using to their fullest advantage the great privileges thus granted to them. want to see greater earnestness and wider

men nor our women

We

ftud

more active co-operation among the members in the work of the Samaj, and we want our ladies to take

a more active and prominent part in its intellectual and spiritual activities. Instead of one or two lady preachers and lecturers here and there, we wish to see

dozens and scores ot them.
tions
to

We
to

wish their contribube deeper and more

Brahma
There
of

literature
is

thoughtful.

also a

and dull conservatism
tion

in the

good deal of backwardness Samaj about the educashould be combated

and rights

women which

earnest preaching and vigorous action. But if a Samaj is to be judged not by those who lag behind, but

with

by

its

vanguard, then the prospect of

social reform^

40

LECTURE

1

must be pronounced to be most hopeful

in

the Sadharan

Brahma Samaj.
Here ends and I come
you through
you,
first,

my

critical

sketch of

Brahma
I

doctrines,

to the close of

my

lecture.

this

how the
of
in

grown out
from
it,

long history in successive stages in it have naturally the preceding ones. You will also see

rather

have taken order to show

seoond place, that whatever form of Brahmaism we may personally hold to, we cannot
the
ignore the other forms. They are not only historically connected with our particular form, but they live as

present realities. For instance, the mediaeval tism of Raja Rammoban Ray, which the

Vedan-

Brahma

Samaj may be said to have outgrown, not only lives in a changed form in the Vedantio revival which I have noticed in speaking of Kesavchandra Sen's later history and of the latest phase of the Brahmaism of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj, but it lives, we should
almost exactly taught it, in such
see,
in

the

form

in

which the

Raja,

forms of Hindu revival as the

Theosophical Society and the Vivekananda movement. While the Brahma Samaj has advanced, the country has, according to the laws of social progress, come up to the position that the Raja occupied. So we

cannot ignore any stage in th history of the Brahtna Samaj. In all that we do and say, we should be in
In all departments ot history. the historical method is now recognised as thought, the only sound method. In the future lectures of
close touch with that

the present series I shall endeavour strictly to follow

CONCLUSION
that method, and in
of the
all

41

my

Bnima Samaj always

reasonings have the history before us. You must also
I

have understood from what

have particularly said at

the beginning of my lecture, and more or less at every stage of it, that in the course of my future lectures 1

eminently practical matters as spiritual culture and social reform. They are, in my opinion, as much comprised in the Philosophy ot
sight

shall

never lose

of

such

Bnihmaism

as abstract Metaphysics about the nature of

the Deity and his relation to

man and Nature.

Philo-

sophy
as
to
I

itself is to

conceive, to

me eminently practical, its aim being, know the truth and act up to it. It is

and sweet, and not dull, as it appears to those who do not care to know its true aim and
practical

me

nature*

As the poet Milton

"How charming

is

truly says divine philosophy

!

Not harsh and crabbed, as But musical, as is Apollo's

dull fools suppose,
lute,

surfeit reigns." (Comits.) the Spirit of God, which has guided our thinkers IVIay and workers at every stage of the history of the Brahma Samtij, be our guide in the discussions that commence

And a perpetual Where no crude

feast of nectared sweets,

All to-day and reveal to us the truth as it is in him real truth is the direct light of his countenance ; and it
f

he chooses, in the inscrutable ways of his providence, that he reveals his truth. "Tarn evaisha brinuie tena labhyais

to

him only

whom

Stasyaisha dtmd brinute tanum svdm."

LECTURE

II

Authority and Free-thought in
1

Brahmaism
Ram-

told

you

in

my

last

lecture

that Raja

naohan
as
of

stage which, though outgrown by the Brahma thought Samaj, had not yet beeu outgrown by the country

to

Ray's an objective

appeal to

the

higher Hindu scripture*
represented
a

authority

in

general,

and spoke

of

the

Theosophical
as

Society
of

and the

Vivekananda

movement

examples

communities still holding to the Raja's mediaoval or Sankarite Vedantism. From what I said of the
general tendency of the New Dispensation movement, or rather of the way in which that tendency
is

interpreted by those outside the of mode the prevalent dogmatic
less

movement, and
of

presenting

Brahmaism more or have been it must
emancipation
authority
is

in all sections of

evident,

the Samaj, moreover, that the

of

the

Samaj

as a whole from external
It
is

yet far

from complete.
of
its

to

be seen

more

in

the

declared principles of the Samaj than in
life

the intellecutal

members,
be
of
is,

fcfuch

emancipation may to a rather small
of

safely

said

to

complete be confined

the

society.

number The fact

advanced
that

members
complete

the

KKLIEF IN PROPHETS AND SCRIPTURES

43-

enfranchisement of thought is a process rather than an event, a spiritual growth rather than an intellectual

change once
so
in

for

all
It

effected by an
is

argument

or series

of arguments.
a

so

in

an

individual,

and more
dividual

community. If, therefore, an intakes years to pass from the thraldom of

external authority to a direct knowledge of spiritual the transition, in the case of a community, truth,

from

the

one

state

to

the

other,

must take generaus,

tions even

under the most favourable circumstances,
both in
sufficiently to

However, the state of opinion around and outside the Briihma JSamiij, seems
justify us

subject
If

I

taking up have chosen for

in

for detailed
this lecture.'

discussion

the

inquire into the cause that leads people to rely upon the opinions of others rather than on their o\vn perceptions and will it be reasonings, found in a natural credulity given us by God as a

we

necessary
dividuals
of

protection

in

the

early

days
in

of

both

in-

and

communities,

days

which

the

powers

direct

knowledge
in

developed.
their

Children, even

communities,
elders

naturally trust

are not properly the most free-thinking in the utterances of

and

gain by such implicit trust.

The

most intelligent children break loose the earliest from this juvenile faith and, if their intellectual
progress goes on uninterrupted, become, at the end, the most thoughtful of their kind. In the same manner, the most intellectual races are those which

depend the

least

upon

their leaders

and teachers and

44
are

LECTURE
the aptest
to

JI

see

and think out things
trust
in

for

them-

selves.
us,

Now,

it is

this natural

those around

specially

in

those

who
is

are

older

and more

experienced than we, that
faith in prophets

gradually developed into and scriptures ; and it is the gradual

discovery that our elders

more or

and guides are themselves and may mislead and deceive ignorant us, that developes into free-thought and gives rise to science the science of Nature, of the human mind
less

and
of

of

human

society,

and

to

Theology, the queen
to

the sciences, and

ultimately

^Metaphysics,

the

science of the sciences.

Now, gradually, our blind and implicit trust in our guides ceases to be quite blind, and tries to justify
itself

by Keason.

authority of

Hence arises the doctrine of the prophets and scriptures which, professing
and silence .Reason
the.

to be based on Reason, tries to stifle
itself

when

it

conflicts

with doctrines received on

authority of teachers supposed to be inspired. This doctrine exists in two forms, one based on a belief
in

miracles

ideas.

and another on a theory of the eternity of The former is met with in Western writers.
it

I

used by any Indian writer, but found in a popular form in the faith that people generally place in the workers of physical wonders.
it is

have never seen

Such men are believed to be in the secret of God or the gods and are, therefore, supposed to be reliable teachers of things divine. The real basis of belief in
Malicttmds

a

beViei wlaicli the teaclamga ot tbe Theoso-

phical Society have revived

among educated Indians

MIRACLES DO NOT PROVE AUTHORITY

45

seems

to

be

here

in

the
the

Mahdtmaft to suspend

supposed power of the ordinary laws of Nature

and
In

occult or supernatural powers. the belief has been elaborated into an Christendom
to

work miracles by

argument an evidence of the revealed character of the Old and the New Testaments. The argument is
this
:

None can break

or suspend the laws of Nature

but the Author of Nature or those to whom a certain amount of God's power over Nature is delegated. Such men, if they exist or have existed, must be accepted as chosen raeseengers of God competent to reveal his will and character. The prophets of the

Old Testament and Jesus Christ and his Apostles are such men. In the miracles worked by them we see
their credentials from God.

constitute

Their teachings, therefore, a supernatural revelation of the will and nature of God, a revelation which supplements the

imperfections of the natural revelation through Intuition and Reason. Now, I am aware that this argument

from
carry

miracles
as

for

a

supernatural
at

revelation does not

present day as it used with the progress of science belief in to do once, that miracles is passing away and may be said to be now
confined only to the unscientific. breaks or causes to be broken

much weight

the

The

idea that

God
he-

the laws

which

has

impressed upon Nature is now, among enlightened people, generally regarded aa derogatory
himself
t.o

the

divine

dignity

;

and the
as

scientific

conception
fixed

of

Nature and
critical

Society
spirit,

governed by

laws,

and the

itself

the result of scientific

46
education,
for
if

LECTURE

II

which

insists

upon the

clearest

evidence

every belief, have made the proofs for miracles, any events are ever alleged as such, all but

impossible.

The strongest presumption
in

in

relation
is

to

such

events,

the
if

minds

of educated people,

that

they are explicable,

known laws

of

not already explained, by the Nature, or that they are subject to

It i? only in the last laws which are yet unknown. form that belief in miracles seems still to exist

among

well-informed people.

They

are

believed to

be events governed by laws known only to a small number of wise men privileged by their higher intellectual and moral development to know the deeper

However, even if we admit mysteries of existence. the possibility of miracles in the old sense, in the sense
of actual violations of Nature's laws, the

a

supernatural revelation

is

seen to

argument for be far from valid.

Because God has given a man the power of breaking some of the laws of Nature, does it follow that he must be accepted as a true interpreter of God's mind

Does greater power necessarily imply greater knowledge, and if it does, is the knowledge imparted by such a man so sure and full that it should be accepted without question y Nor can the

and character

?

superior holiness of wonder-working prophets, if can be established, avail much. Purity of character

it is

not

always
into

accompanied
truth.
is

with
deal

any

extraordinary

insight and delusion

good found compatible

A

of gross ignorance

with

superior

purity

of

heart

and

will.

Prophetic

utterances,

4

ETERNITY OF THE VKDA8*

47

issuing oat of a pure soul, may be characterised by candour and singleness of heart, but are no proof of
their objective truth.
'with
a'

The prophet may be credited
in
all

sincere

belief

that he asserts about his

of

dealings with God, but his assertions are no evidence the reality of those dealings. Turning now to the
in

other sense
that they

which miracles are believed, namely
fulfilments of the occult laws of Nature,

are

the results of
practices

hidden powers
to

unknown
that
of

the

generality

acquired by peculiar of even the
find

best-educated and

most

even

in

sense

we pious men, they are not proofs
are

that

that
true.

the

teachings

the

miracle-workers

The

acquisition of occult powers, such stance, as may enable a man to
fly

powers, for inwalk over water or

through the

air,

to

see

without eyes and hear

for weeks,
life

without ears, or live with suspended consciousness may have nothing to do with the spiritual
or

with any general improvement in knowledge. They may be due to quite unspiritual disciplines or
practices

and

to

knowledge

of quite a technical kind.

And

life of

if they have anything to do with the inner the soul, they cannot constitute their possessors as authorities on spiritual matters to be accepted

even

implicitly

and make
by

it

unnecessary for us to verify
If

their

statements

direct knowledge.

they assert

that peculiar disciplines
of

spirits eyes truths of the spiritual world, we can through the experiments proposed

their

and revealed

and practices opened up flie to them the higher
only try to go

by

them

and

4N

LKCTUUK

II

endeavour to verify the truth
onr

of their assertions

by
is

own

insight.

If

this

is

all

the

honour that

claimed

for

them, they are
in

only guides and teachers

any proper sense. The final authority is the direct knowledge of the subject of knowledge, or rather the power of knowing possessed by him, whatever may be the method in which this power is exercised to the fullest advantage and with
authorities

and not

the highest results. Now, the second form

in

which the doctrine of
spiritual
is

external authority on matters

held

by

theologians seems to be the is the doctrine of
eternity of the words of

It peculiar to this country. of the Vedas the eternity

was known
but
it

in ancient

which they are composed. It Greece as the Theory of Ideas r
-

does not seem

to

have

been

used there for

Here it is held in some form or theological purposes. other by every orthodox system of philosophy and may
scholiasts hold the

be said to be the very corner-stone of orthodoxy. Our Vedas to' be apaurusheya, without

They are believed to be any personal composer. have been, in ancient times, not eternal and to
composed by, but only manifested to, the rifthis were not their authors, but only
drashtdrah.
established
rifhix.

The
seers,

their

Now,

this

doctrine

is

sought

to

be

by taking the term Veda or Vedas in a comprehensive sense, in the sense of being identical

with knowledge, words or conceptions. The Vedas are, as you know, the foundation of all later Indian
literature.

Roughly speaking, they may

be

said

to

'ETERNITY OP THE VEDAS'

49

contain, at least in a germinal form, all the conceptions that have found expression in the later thought of the
nation.
of the
of
its

They are also the first important utterances human race and the earliest recorded expression

Again, before their embodiment in thoughts. which is a comparatively recent occurrence, they books, were handed down by oral tradition from generation to generation. They were thus, as they still are, a body

of sabdoft,

words

words expressing
so that they

and concerns

of life,

important things pervade not only our

all

The words literature, but also our everyday speech. which we utter day after day and moment after moment are the same as are found in the Yedas. The Vedas,
therefore, are, to our philosophers, identical with

words

words representing all things, earthly and heavenly. Now, what are words ? Are they mere letters, mere Mere sounds, sounds or combinations of them ?

however combined, do not make real words unless such
a combination conveys some thought, some conception It is not merely the sounds *T (go) and to the mind.

^

(0)

or their combination that form the

word
ift,

ift

(cow).

Unless the sound, or combination of sounds the conception of an object to the mind,

it

conveyed would not

be called a word. Letters or sounds, varndh, therefore, are merely the outward and sensuous forms of words j their essence consists in the conceptions manifested
to

the mind on their
call
it.

utterance

in

Now, philosophers does not represent an individual
represents a
class,

a sphota

a sphota, as our or conception
it

thing, a vyakti-,
*?t

a jdti.

The word

means not

4

50

LECTURE

II

merely this or that cow, bub the whole class of cows. In perceiving a cow, we know that the object before us is only a particular embodiment of a generic concep-

complex of sensuous matter before us might pass away, but the conception would and recur to our minds whenever the still remain
tion.

The

particular

sensuous conditions of
filled.

its

recurrence

should be ful-

It is the

same with
between

all

other objects.
sensuous,

We

have

to

distinguish

the

particular,

perishing matter on the one hand and the rational, universal and permanent forms in which this matter
is

moulded, as

it

were,
It
is

when

it

our knowledge.

this

rational,

becomes an object of universal, and
in the

permanent form
it is

in

which every object appears to us

the idea or conception that arises
object
is

mind

when an

perceived uttered, that our philosopers call sabda or sphota to distinguish it from its merely passing or accidental aspect. Now,
01 its

name

sabdas or conceptions, they say, are not only relatively permanent, more permanent than sounds or letters

but
after

absolutely

permanent.

They

not

only

last

sounds have come and gone, but they existed were ever uttered. The}' eternally before sounds
indeed become manifest only

when sounds

are

uttered

or other sensations are experienced, but such manifestation is not their origination. They existed before

such manifestation, and they last even when it ceases. Now, this, in substance, is the doctrine of the eternity of the Vedas that you will find expounded by two of

our most eminent philosophers, Sankara and Madhava,

EXTERNAL REVELATION UNNECESSARY

f)l

whom
is

I have
in

closely

followed in

my

exposition.

It

found

the former's

commentary on

the

28th

aphorism, third pada, first chapter of the Vedanta Sutras and in the chapter on Pdnini Darshan of the latter's Sarvadarshan Sangraha. You may see

English translations of the
Professor Thibaut's

respective translation of the

passages in former work

latter.

and Professors Gowell and Gough's translation of the The question now is whether the doctrine is or not. Now, I must admit that it seems to me true
It

true.

can be shown,

I think, that a conception is

perishing passing, conception is the attribute

not a

but that every thing, of an infinite and eternal
in
it.

Mind, not made by but eternally existing

The

of metaphysical analysis knowledge, knowledge even of the simplest things, discloses to us, as the background of our rational existence, the Absolute

being

in

whom

all

would

are re-produced not, at this
of the Philosophy
analysis.
It

in us in

things exist, and whose thoughts every act of knowing. But I

stage of our progress in the study

Brahmaism, undertake such an would not be quite relevant to do so ; for
of
I

even

if it

were admitted, as
is

have admitted, that the

above doctrine

true, the use

made

of

it

in establish-

ing the infallible authority of the Yedas could not be defended. The Yedas are not merely a body of In them, as in every other book, conceptions.

conceptions are variously combined into propositions. If, from the eternity of the conceptions, the validity
of the

propositions

into

which

they are

combined

LECTURE

II

then not only the but every book, nay, every proposition ever Vedas, would have to be accepted as uttered by any one,

were to be taken for granted,

infallible

;

error in

the world.

and there would not be such a thing as The argument, therefore, from

the doctrine of the eternity of words, for an external revelation like the Vedas, overshoots its mark. It
proves too

much and is therefore self-condemned. However, even if we admit for a moment that both the above arguments for an external revelation are
it

valid,
useless.

may be shown

that

such a

revelation

ia

An

external authority propped
is all

on

Reason

shows that Reason
ance of a book
or

sufficient.

The very acceptsent

a

prophet

as

from God
of

presupposes the knowledge of

a

number

most

important truths independently of the authority of the book or the prophet. It implies, for instance, our

knowledge of the existence and attributes of God, our knowledge that there is one undivided Author and Preserver of Nature, that he is all-knowing and allpowerful, that he loves us and wishes to promote our highest good, that there is a natural distinction of
right and wrong, virtue and vice and
that

man

has a

higher destiny than that of the brutes, that man, a in the case of the prophets, has the power of receiving
a direct revelation from God, and that ordinary people, even though they do not get such revelations, have

the power of understanding

them.

Now, when

so

much
it

of religion

is

knowable by Reason, why should
revelation

be imagined that a supernatural, external

REVELATION MUST HE NATURAL
is

0-3

of necessary for disclosing to us the other truths The presumption, if nothing more, is rather religion ? on the side of Reason being capable of knowing these

other truths.
its

In

fact,
in

achievements

the development of Reason and the field of both natural and moral
else, lately discredit-

science,

have, more than anything
to be
its

ed the idea of an external revelation.
things formerly supposed have gradually come within

Men

see

that

unknowable by Reason scope, that such know-

the privileged

to be in the custody of has become, wifch the gradual few, advance of intelligence, the property of the many, and that things that were, sometime back, considered only

ledge as was at first supposed

to be matters of faith,

have now become demonstrable.
it

All this has
for
it

made Reason bold and rendered
it

possible

to

say that

can know

all

things that are

necessary to be known in ethical and spiritual life and that a supernatural, external revelation is not necessary.

But we may go farther and say that there
self-contradictory in
revelation.
his

is

something

the very

Even

if it

idea of a supernatural be admitted that God can break
for

own laws

which really I regard as impossible,

laws, rightly understood, are seen to
eternal

and unchangeable nature,

be parts of God's it may be safely

asserted that

God cannot

reveal

himself to
in

man
man,

unless
call
it

through some power of knowing vested

sense, understanding, reason or anything else

you

please.

There must be something

in

the

nature

of

man

corresponding to God's power of manifesting himself. Revelation, therefore, cannot but be a natural process.

54

LECTURE

II

Inspired prophets who are believed to be favoured with revelations must not, therefore, be supposed to have any powers which they do not share in common

with ordinary men.
possess
far less

The

latter

must be supposed

to

prophets do, only in a form. When Revelation is looked developed at in this light, it ceases to be supernatural, and it ceases to be external. If prophets and apostles speak

the same powers as the

on the authority of the nature which we share common with them, the revelation received by them
as natural a thing as seeing, hearing

in
is
;

and understanding

and

the truths received by them can be seen by us as well as by them, they are, in no sense, external
if

authorities

to

us.

But

it is

clear that before

we have
sure that

ourselves

seen

those truths,

we cannot be
their

others have seen

them

;

and that

assertions that

they have seen them cannot take the place of our own eyes, though they can encourage us in using them
in

the best

way we

can.

We

then, the errors of supernaturalism and of an external authority in matters religious. setting up see the errors of these doctrines in their gross
see,

We

forms, forms in which they have ceased to be held by the members of the Brahma Sam&j. But there is a
subtle,

modified

form
far

of

the

doctrines

or

rather

doctrine,

for they are,
is

at the bottom,

one

which the

Brdhma Sam 63
incidentally
in

my
I

first lecture,

from escaping. I spoke of it but it deserves a more
I

detailed treatment.

What

meant by

this modified

Supernaturalism

cannot express better than I have

MODIFIED 8UPERNATURALI3M

55
article

done

in

the

following

extract
:

from an

on

"Pratapchandra Mazumdar the writer, orator and theologian," which I contributed to the Hindustan
Rerieiv
of

Allahabad
of

in

its

issue

of

July,
entitled

1905.

Speaking

Mr.

Mazuindar's

work

The
:

Faith and Progress of the Brahma Samaj, I say "It thus professed to be a defence of the religion of
the

Brahma Samaj, and an account
activities.

of

its

missionary

and other
no

But

it

was

so only partly side
it

imperfectly.

On
and

its

speculative

and very contained
of

reasoned

systematic

exposition

Br&h-

such as would convince, or even be fully intelligible to, a non-Brahma wishing to know what
rnaism,

Bruhmaism
believed

is.

The
and

writer

usual wealth

legance
to to
be.

of

simply stated, with his language, what he

Bruhmaism
Reason

represented untrustworthy guide and held out 'faith' as the true guide to religion. He did not tell us what the test
of true faith
is

be

Far from reasoning, he a very imperfect and

blind belief

and how it is to be distinguished from and superstition. There is a sort of super-

naturalism running through this and other writings of Mr. Mazumdar, as well as those of his colleagues,

something that seems to me quite with, and inimical to, rational religion,
I

inconsistent

and which,

believe,

is

the chief cause

leadership has failed
people. naturalism.
ful

with

why his and his friends' many sober and thought-

They

reject ordinary superbelieve in physical miracles. do not recognise the possibility of miraculous

They,

indeed,

They do not

56
incarnation or

LECTURE
resurrection
in the afiairs

II

or
of

any miraculous
the
world.
truths

inter-

vention of

God

Neither

do they

teach

that

God

reveals

through

physical or angelic media in the way he is said to have done in the case of the ancient prophets. But they do teach, and are never tired of teaching, that
there
*the
is

a way,

call

it

'faith/

'the

religious

faculty,'

spiritual

sense,'

or

by any

other

name

that

there

is a way, I say, of getting truths from God which dispenses with all tests and proofs of truths otherwise obtained. Science and Philosophy proceed

upon

well-recognised
to
tests

methods
open
to
all

and

acquisitions

their subject cultured intellects.

Even truths professing

to be intuitive

and fundamental

But the 'faith' are subject to analysis and deduction. and 'inspiration* of the Brahmas of the Sen and
these tardy and tedious methods us in possession of all that we either wish and place or need to believe of God and things spiritual in the Far be it easiest and most direct manner possible.

Mazumdar type spurn

from

revelation.

But and

against inspiration and believer in these processes. I do not forget the obvious fact, as Mr. Mazumdar his friends seem constantly to do, that all revelation
to

me

say

anything

I

am

a firm

takes place

through
call
it

some
are

faculty

or other

of

the

human mind
all

human

faculties

by any name you please, that fallible, and that, therefore,
are

the deliverances of

all

subject to the tests and

methods of universal

science,

and have no objective
tests,

value unless, by subjection to such

they can

DISPARAGEMKNT OK KKAHOX

~>1

commend
the race.

themselves to the* enlightened intellect of This healthy rationalism, which I believe

to be the basis of the
all

Brahma movement, and
are

to

which
is

churches

and

sects

gradually

coming,
I

repudiated and condemned by those who think with him. This
super-naturalism.
writings.
It

Mr. Mazumdar
is

and

what
Mr.

call their

It

pervades
truest

all

Mazumdar'e

makes him
in

free-thought attach an undue importance to 'human centres,* 'an Now, it is not inspired apostolate' and the like."
writings of Mr. Mazumdar and his colleagues that this modified supernaturalism is to be

the

afraid of curiously enough sense and leads him to

merely

in

the

seen,

though
in

it

more clearly and
than

more
in

comes out

their utterances
is

frequently those of others.

The tendency

common

to all sections of the

Samaj. Its evils appear most glaringly, those believing themselves to have got direct inspiration from God claim the right of their 'inspiration*
to be recognised
it

Brahma indeed, when

and received by others even though

may be clearly opposed to the dictates of Reason and even when this prophetic and Conscience. But dictatorial attitude is not taken up, the harm done
with

by the mere appeal to faith and inspiration, habitual .1 any Brahma preachers, is not less serious and is even more insidious on account of its more indirect
form.

Such teaching inevitably leads people

to

rely

blindly upon the authority of particular Brahma leaders or upon the general body of opinions current in the Samaj. It would hardly be too much to say, that

58

LECTURE

II

many Brahmas, the teachings of Maharshr Devendramith Thakur and Brahm&nanda Kesavchandra Sen occupy pretty nearly the same authoritative
with
position

the Christian scriptures do with orthodox Christians or the Koran with orthodox Musalmans ;
as

to

and that with many others, not so faithfully devoted particular teachers, the received body of opinions in their communities does the same. Almost as as believers in external book revelations, the indolently Brahmas in question lean upon the above teachings
or

think they can safely dispense with on the great problems of religion. One tree-thought cause that has greatly contributed to this blind and
indolent
doctrine

opinions and

dependence on
of
I

authority
stated

is

no

doubt

the

by the Maharshi and the and criticised this briefly doctrine in my first lecture and reserved it for detailed treatment in another. That will be my third lecture.
Intuition taught

Brahmananda,

I

need hardly say that I
forms
it

am

not fundamentally opposed
1

to the doctrine of

Intuition.

object only to some of

the

has assumed.

our present question, 1 doctrine as it is presented by Brahmananda Kesavchandra Sen. In all his utterances he habitually
the
disparages

Here, in connection with must controvert one aspect of

Reason and extols Inspiration, as

if

the

two were mutually opposed or at any rate related as lower and higher, earthly and heavenly. His dis-

paragement
opponents.

of

Reason

is

shared

by

some

of

his

They, in common with him, represent Reason as human and unreliable, and Faith or Inspira-

BEASON AS DIVINE AS TKTUITION
tion

59

as

divine

and

reliable.

This distinction dates as

early as the days of Kesav's

first tracts

on Brahmaism

;

latterly he sometimes spoke of his New Dispensation as the harmony of Science and Religion, of Faith and Reason, and so on, the general tendency

and though

of his teachings

and logical undue reliance on prophetic and apostolic authority. In one of the tracts referred tc that on Revelation,
the impressions received from Nature and the inferences drawn by the reasoning faculty are set down as earthly and unreliable, and the intuitive consciousness
alone
I
is

distinctly one of distrust of scientific methods in teaching religion and of an
is

set

up

as the

organ of revelation from God.
fairly represents the opinion of

think this
I

doctrine

have been speaking of. Now, I consider this view of ou r powers of knowing to be fundamentally
those
erroneous,

and the

result of that deistic separation of
still

Nature and man from God which

dominates the

thoughts of some people, though both science and philosophy have disproved it and are disproving it
every day.
all

God
well

is

immanent
our

in

truths are
as

directly from him.
as

Nature and man, and Our senses and our
consciousness, are

intellect,

intuitive

under
for

his

us to

constant inspiration, so that it is as impossible see, hear and understand as to intuit with-

out the direct help of him, 'dhiyo yo nah prachodaydtj who inspires our understandings. Nor are our senses

and our
to
all

intellect less reliable
fallibility

than our intuitive faculty.
to

A common

a

liability

error

attaches

our powers

intuitive

and

ratiooinative.

Our

60
senses delude us,
if

LECTURE

11

we

are

mistake our fancies and
tuitions,

hasty and careless. We our inherited beliefs for in-

them.

if we negleot to apply the proper tests to Our intellect draws false inferences, if we have

a

loose hold of the laws of thought. No aspect of our nature enjoys an immunity from error and if this immunity from error makes an organ divine, the instrument of God, none of our faculties are divine,
$

the intuitive as

little

as

the ratiocinative,

To

extol

the former as the only source of revelation is, therefore, a grave error, and betrays a superficial acquaintance with the nature of our cognitive powers. On the
other hand, some people

unduly disparage the reasonto

ing faculty.
fixed
in

They seem
;

think that there

is

nothing
or

reasoning

that

reasoned

doctrines
or

systems of
ous,

doctrines,
indefinitely

whether

scientific

religi-

may

change

that

one

reasoner

or school of reasoners can, with nothing more than greater ingenuity, overthrow what another has built

But nothing can be a The progress of the sciences, the systems of proved truths presented by them in almost all departments of thought, show the puerility
with
care and labour.

much

greater error than this.

of this
to
of

view of Reason.
see

education should

People with any pretension that the fundamental laws

thought, the rules for finding out the valid moods and figures of syllogism and the canons of inductive
inference are as fixed
as

anything can be, and are not
sectaries.

changeable by the whims, caprices and sophistries of
either scientific or religious

The reasoning

NO EXTERNAL AUTHORITY
faculty
is

Gl
if

ie,

therefore, as divine as the

intuitive,

there

at

all
;

euch

a

division
latter

powers
so
is

and

if

the

One made between the two, as organs
the former.
intuitive

between cognitive a source of inspiration, reason why a distinction is
our
is

the

faculty

is,

like

of knowledge, is that animal instincts, regard-

ed as a perfect organ from the very beginningan unerring guide to the knowledge of God and
things connected with the
spiritual
life
;

whereas the

reasoning faculty

it supposed really is, which grows by culture and which knows something its objects by long and slow processes of growth. It

is

to

be,

as

seems to be consistent with the Divine wisdom and
goodness and the dignity of religion, that man should be endowed with the power of knowing God and
all

other things
of

that relate

to

his

spiritual

growth

irrespectively

quired by him,
should,
ful,

the knowledge and education acthat the thoughtless and the illiterate
as

as

much

the

erudite and

the

thought-

be

in possession of the truths

salvation.

But we must look

that pertain to their facts in the face and

not construe the real

world according to preconceived

however pleasant they may seem to us. notions, Facts, then, show that there is no such royal road to
true
religion
It

as
is

granted.
illiterate

found that
civilized

the theorists I speak of take for in barbarians and in the
nations,
is

among
as

the

intuitive

as

much

the reasoning faculty

clouded and

unreliable as a guide. Intuition iu them reflects the image of God and other spiritual realities as dimly

32

LECTURE

II

and distortedly as their uncultured Reason does the face of Nature and Society. The fact is, our intuitions take at least as much time to come out in their
true character as
as

unalloyed

and

universal

truths

higher discoveries of science to announce themselves as such* I think that, as being deeper and more recondite, they take much more time to come into
the
clear consciousness than the latter.

And
God's

there

seems

to be nothing

inconsistent with

wisdom and

goodness in this. As in Biology, the higher organisms are found to take more time to attain their full

growth, so

in

the

evolution

of

mind

it

seems quite

consistent with the

Divine economy that the higher the faculty the slower should be its process of deve-

lopment. We thus see that for those
-childhood
of
their

who have
in

souls

and

whom
is

passed the the critical

faculty has

been awakened,

there
either
in

no
the

external

authority to depend upon,

shape

of

or eupernaturally inspired prophets revealed scriptures or even teachers

supernaturally
professing
their
to
intuitive

have

received

revelations
far
less

through
the

consciousness,

shape opinions accepted by the great majority of their own commuTo nities or even the majority of the human race.

in

of

such

men thought must be
study,

the trammels

absolutely free free from of all powers external to itself. They
if

may

and they must study

treasured acquisitions of those them and those of their contemporaries

they are wise, the who have preceded
;

but as

in

SPIRITUAL FREEDOM
their moral, so
in

ti.i

their

intellectual

lives,

they must

regard themselves as a law unto themselves. As they should consider it to be nothing short of slavery and inconsistent with the dignity of their souls as

moral beings to be used as mere instruments and not
a,s

free agents for promoting the good of others, so should they consider it to be beneath their dignity as rational beings to be blindly guided by prophets or
It is scriptures or the mere voice of the majority. not open to them to accept anything as true that their own souls do not perceive as such. They need

not mind the taunt

levelled against

them

by

the

blind followers of Tradition, that their religion is only a conjugation of the verb to think only what I think,

we

think, you think,

Brhmaism were

he thinks and they think, really nothing better than this,

If
it

would still be the highest truth attainable by us. There can be no higher authority to a man than his own sense of the true and the right. One cannot
transcend one's
out of one's
in its pure

own nature any more than one can jump own shadow. But we know that thought,
:

and ultimate nature,
not particular
:

perty. It

is

it is

is not a private prouniversal. It is not con-

it is necessary and eternal. tingent and changeable it is objective. It is not merely It is not subjective it is the true image, or rather the direct maniideal
:

:

festation,

of
for

Reality.
it is

It

is

not merely human,

it is

the light of God's own countenance in ; the soul of man. But we must wait for further discussion

Divine

to

bs fully convinced of the truth of these statements.

61

LECTURE
Bat
if

II

neither

prophets nor

scriptures

nor

the

general sense of oar race can be our authorities in the proper and primary sense of the term, they may
be,

and must

be,

accepted as our authorities

in

the

sense of guides, teachers
gress in
as

and helps.

The

child's pro-

we have

knowledge and moral experience depends, seen, on his following his elders and

teachers.

A

child

the golden chains that

prematurely breaking loose from bind him to his nurses and

guides can bring nothing but danger upon himself. One of the most repulsive and dangerous objects in

Nature
lessons
is

is

a stripling
of

who, either

from

misfortune

or a vicious
of

training, system obedience and reverence.

has not learnt the

Much

of

what

true

of

such a young person applies to the mature
forgets
to

and obey. The and awakened man's obedience and subordigrown-up nation are, indeed, different from those required of

man who

learn,

revere

the

child.
:

In the latter
in

they are

blind
are

and often
open-eyed
of guid-

constrained

the
is

former,

they

and
both

free.

But there
there
is

the
in

common element
sense
of

ance and dependence
oases
of treasured experience

both the

phenomena.
a
vast

In

the
to

fund

the

child

nor

the

mature

be appropriated. Neither man has to begin

quite afresh

and gain everything by mere personal
capital.

labour
that

without

we should

fully

is It very necessary understand what this means;

and determine our conduct accordingly or we briug upon us all the evils that vrild and

shall

liUILDINCi

THE PRESENT ON THE PAST
in
all

65
say in the individual

rationalism has caused

ages.

As

I

"An second essay of my Hindu Theism i is not merely the result of other individuals, of those In every individual there that have gone before him.
is something original which cannot be explained by a mere reference to his past history to his natural and Every individual, indeed, comes spiritual ancestry.

with a fund of inheritance, but he
to that fund.

also adds something
his originality.
is

This addition constitutes

The
of

condition,

however,
in

of

this

addition

the

individual's
his

participation This ancestors.
it

the treasured experience forms the participation

ground, as
field

were, on

well as the strength that
of

which the individual stands, as enables him to work in the

experience which opens before him on his To every individual, Nature world. coming unfolds a realm of thought which she invites him to
into the

conquer and take possession of. It is, at his birth, an unappropriated treasure to him ; and its appropriation is>, in a real sense, a new experience to him,
an experience which cannot be resolved into
inherited from his

ancestors.

To bring
his

under his
perience.

mind's
In
this

sway

constitutes

things these things that new ex-

experience,

progress

may

be

greater than that of his

ancestors,

both quantitatively
things more

and

qualitatively.

He may know many

than they did, and know them more correctly than they. There may be evolved in him a set of emotions

and

activities not

experienced by them

;

and these may

be

mxxoYi

\nghet

66

LECTURE

rr

much nearer than them to the goal which Reason sets before the human mind. There is thus a wide field The mind of man left for the free play of thought. down to the errors and foibles is not necessarily tied
of
his

fathers.

He

is

gress

implies

freedom.

meant for progress, and proBut this freedom is based

on due subjection to authority ( in the sense just explained ). Progress is determined by the extent to

which and the way in which the treasured experience of the past has been utilized and assimilated. He who has not learnt what the past has to teach
him, strives
in

vain

to

leave the
in

past
full

behind,
before

HB
he
It
is

must serve

apprenticeship enabled to strike out a new line for himself.
a
full

his

is

possession only by obtaining which the experience of the past has

of the
left

treasures

for

us

by patiently learning the lesson

ifc

has

to

teach,
it

only that
not

we can
see,
in

rise

above

it

and see things which
it

did

and

do

things

did

not

do."

Elsewhere,

speaking specially of the importance of studying the ancient Theistic literature of our own country,

have said what will bear repetition on the present "Modern Indian Theists," I say, "commit one of the greatest blunders possible when they think,
I

occasion.

as

which
its

some seem to do, that they can ignore the Theism has come down from their ancestors ignore
literature,
its

systems of doctrine and discipline,

of their own, a purer and nobler one, by their individual thoughts and spiritual

and yet build up a Theism
and
effect

endeavours,

their

and

their

country's

OUR PROPHETS AND SCRIPTURES

67

It is the same blander as salvation by means of it. that of a sciolist endeavouring to build up a system

of

science

without

acquainting

himself

with

the

progress science has made np to this time, or that of a rich man's son refusing to use the stored up wealth of his ancestors and striving to be Vich through innumerable privations and difficulties.' It is deeply
1

to be regretted that BO little attention

is

paid

to

these

truths by those

who ought

to

know

better,

and that
is

the study of religious and philosophical literature much at a discount in the Brahma Samaj.
idea that no prophets or scriptures

so

The

are

to

be blindly

accepted, but that truths are to be directly known by every one for himself, seems to have given rise to an

impression in external help

many
is

a

Brahma's
taken
in

mind
very

that

no
;

to

be

knowing

truth

whereas
idea
is

it

ought

to

produce

the

opposite

that every available help from every quarter to reach to be taken to turn the thoughts inward
deepest,
the

the

most ultimate and the most

far-

reaching principles lying at the root of our nature, to sharpen our reasoning powers so as to enable

them

to detect the

subtlest

fallacies,

to

awaken the
all

kindliest sympathies hidden in our hearts with

our

fellow creatures, so that

some idea
circles us,

in

we may be enabled our minds of the Infinite Love

to

form

that en-

them for which conscience

and to strengthen our wills and prepare those heroic struggles and self-denying labours
sets before us as the

sation of our ideals

All

who help

us to

way to the realiknow God and

C8

LECTURE

II

our duties as the children of
are

God,

whether

they

philosophers, scientists, theologians, historians, poets or novelists, are our prophets ; and all books same way, whatever may be that help us in the

the

subject they treat of, are sacred books to us, whethor the ignorant and the thoughtless call them so
or
not.

As

religious

men,

all

scriptures
Theists,
all

specially
theistic

BO called fire our

scriptures.

As
is

literature, Indian or foreign,

our

literature.

As

Hindu
of

Theists,

the

the Ridiis, the
sastrax

children and successors and the whole body of Upanishads
spiritual

Hindu

expounding, amplifying or correcting their teachings, are our sdstras in a special sense.

May God
from
iree
all

enable us to learn humbly and reverently the blessed dispensations that he has vouchsafed fcr our tuition and guidance, and yet be always
in

the glorious
!

freedom which

belongs

to

his

children

LECTURE
As promised
in

III

Brahmic Doctrine of
my
first

Intuition
in

two lectures, I shall give
the Brahmic

this a critical explanation of

doctrine

of

told

Intuition briefly stated in my previous lectures. I have you in my second lecture that I consider the doc-

trine of Intuition, as taught

by the Maharshi and the
held
true.

Brahmiinanda, and as

it is

Brhinas, which I hold

as

in substantially it is so different from the prevalent form

by the generality But the form

of

that the identity between the only by a close observer.
is

two can be recognised

vary different
I

My system of metaphysics from that taught by our chief leaders ;
it

and
bit

must, in the course of these lectures, expound

by bit. I might proceed to expound it at once and, having done so, show the difference between it and that which is current ; but in that case it would be
difficult for

many

of

my

hearers
for

to
to

follow me.

The

better

method would be
of

me

take
true

for

granted
criticise

much

the received

doctrine

as

and

At the end I hope to only a few points at a time. of our recent gains in the philosophy show the whole of Brahmaism and the various points in which the

new

doctrine differs from the old.

To

illustrate

what

I mean, 1

may

say that I differ in toto from the docleaders,

trine implied in the teachings of all our great

70
that

LECTURE

III

we have

different faculties for
It is

knowing

different

commonly thought that we senses, certain things by the understanding, certain things by conscience and
classes of objects.

know

certain things

by our

certain other thirgs by spiritual intuition, and so on, the number of faculties differing in different forms of

the theory. ing
is

Now, my theory

is

that the

act
is

of

knowso
is its

indivisible, that

just as the
its

mind

one,

power

of

knowing one, and
it

object also one.

I think

that in every act of

gaged, and
object,

knowing the whole mind is enknows only one thing, one indivisible
Sense, understanding and

namely God.

reason

I hold to be, not different faculties of the

mind cogni-

sant of different

things,

aspects in which the

but only different forms or same object appears to us. In

sensuous perception, logical understanding and reason or spiritual intuition, the same object, God, 1 hold, appears to us in a more or less complex
call

what we

form.

Now,

I

know very

well

how

startling

such a

view will seem to many. But I think it can nevertheless be made intelligible and acceptable to them. This, however, will require a good deal of preliminary discussion and much fine analysis of thoughts and things.
I

mean not

to

undertake
I

all this at

the

of our progress. for

shall, as I

have already
truth
of

present stage said, take
the
received

granted

the

substantial

theory of knowledge. I shall consider myself as occupying broadly the same standpoint with those whom I
criticise,

and employ the same philosophical terminoI shall take for

logy that they use.

granted that

we

MR. HEN ON INTUITION

71

have a faculty of

intuiting

fundamental truths and

confine myself to the question of the tests by which such truths are to be recognised. By thus keeping

myself

in

touch with the

doctrinal

history

of

the

and using the current terminology of Brahmaism, hope to attain my main object more successfully than by the more exact but less practical method mentioned above.
Sama"j,
I

Brahma

First

of

all,

then,

I

shall read to

you one or two
tract

extracts from

Brahmananda Kesavchandra Sen's

on the "Basis of Bruhmaism," in which you will find a clear statement of the doctrine of Intuition as
taught by him.

He

says

:

"Intuition

denotes those

cognitions which our nature immediately apprehends those truths which we perceive independently of
reflection :"
<if

Again
at

To take the simplest case,
the knowledge of
self.
?

tell

me how you get
this

Is not

an immediate and
it

you arrive at

spontaneous cognition through any logical formula ?
to

Do
Tell

me
the

likewise

how you come
world.
Is
it

know
true

the

reality of

external

not

never give you this knowledge ? rose, all that you are conscious of
that rose
ciples
;

that logic can When you see a
is

the sensation of

of

from
outside

but how could you, even if all the prininfer logic were pressed to your service, the existence of a real rose sensation that
j>

Is

not

the

reality

of

external
Tell

objects

immediately

cognizable

by
belief

all

men ?
known

me

also
is

whence

comes
if

your

that every object
of
it

a

substance,

nothing can be

through

72
the senses

LECTURE

IIT

beyond a number of

qualities.

How

do

that every effect has a cause ? It is needless to multiply instances those already adduced I hope, convince you that some of our cogniwill,
;

you know

tions

are

not the results of reflection."

The writer
of
is

then proceeds to enumerate the marks or characteristics of intuitive truths.
is,"

"The

first

mark
truth
ife

intuition

he says, immediacy.
;

Intuitive
face
;

directly

cognizable
if

it is

seen face to

is

perceptible,

the word to spiritual objects. Cause, substance, power, infinite, duty, are all immediately no reflection can give us these ideas. apprehensible
I

may apply
:

Hence
sense

some
as

philosophers

have
often

applied

the term

toS, intuition.

We
Soul, see

meet

with

such

expressions

Moral
the

J^ense,

Sense of Duty, Spiritual
clearly indicating that as

Sense,

Senses of
bodily

by
of

the

eye we
see

outward
realities.

objects,

intuition

we
is

spiritual

BO by Another mark

intuition

spontaneity.

The

intuitive

truths

spontaneously,
effort.

apprehends instinctively, without

mind

any voluntary
our nature
;

they
facts

are
of

They
create

are
or

They spring outright from not wrought out by reasoning. our constitution ; we cannot
if

depend though we may ignore them in theory, oftentimes they are found to govern us practically. Metaphysical

destroy them upon the fiat

we

will

;

they

do

not

of

our

volitions.

Hence,

held for a long time the ideality of external objects ; but there is hardly a sane man who
theorists

practically

adheres to

this

shocking theory.

Some

CHARACTERISTICS OF INTUITION

?.>

people seem to deny God, and bring forward various arguments to show the plausibility of such denial

but

often

do
force

circumstances

occur

in

which the

intuitions

themselves up from

their

constitution,

depths of and vindicate their rights with a

the

practical

potency

which

theories
of

in

vain

try

to

gainsay.

The personality

our

nature

many have

and yet every man practically believes that there are actions which he may do or not do as he
denied
j

chooses.

Thus you

see

that intuition

is

spontaneous,

Hence natural, involuntary, permanent and practical. it has been denominated Spontaneous Reason, Natural
Sight,
Instinctive
Belief,
is

Practical
universality.

Reason,
If

etc.

Another mark o
truths
of

intuition
of

intuitive

are

facts

our

nature,
universal.

and are independent

our

will,

they are
the

They

are

in

the

possession

of

wise

and the
Sense.

illiterate

of the rich

and the poor.
Convictions,
intuition
is

Hence they have been

called

Catholic
of

Common
originality.

Another
truths

mark
are

Intuitive

not

inferences

truths

;

from certain premises. they do not originate
materials
for

They
in

are primitive

reflection.

They

furnish
reflection

themselves

reasoning underived

and and

scientific

primitive.

the starting points of our higher knowledge, They as sensations are of all inferior knowledge. Hence
are

they have been styled

first truths,

primitive cognitions.
is

The

last

characteristic

I

have to mention

that

intuitions

are

self-evident.

They

are

axiomatic

truths which do not admit of demonstration.

Every

74
effect

LECTURE

III

must have a cause

is

a proposition

the truth

which no one disputes, yet no one can demonstrate. Intuitions exhibit require no light of evidence to them shine in their own light, they They are
of
:

accordingly not

merely cognitions,

but

convictions

and

not only know, but firmly belive, that every effect has a cause, that good should be
beliefs.

We

done and

evil

avoided, etc,

Hence

intuitions

have

These priori Truths, Axioms, Faith. are the principal characteristics of intuitive cognitions. " Now, it will be seen that the five characteristics
of

been termed

A

intuition

enumerated

in

this

extract,

namely,

immediacy, spontaneity, self-evidence, may be
universality, find that in

universality,

originality

and

reduced

to

three,
;

namely,

and we spontaneity and self-evidence work entitled Babu Rivjnartiyan Vasu's
these
of

Dharmatattvadi'piled
acteristics
cally,

three

are

recognised

intuitive

the only charPractibelief.
I

I

have

found,

ever

since

joined

the

Brahma Samdj, which I did in my early youth, Brhmas depending upon the first two, specially the first, The oft-repeated answer to all questionuniversality.
ings about the
in

fundamental truths of religion was,

those

of belief in
belief
in

good old days, the appeal to the universality them. It was specially so in regard to God. "I believe in God," was the constant

confession of a

Brahma
its

in

now, more
intuitive.

or less,

"because the belief
naturalness,
it is

those days, and is so even is natural ; it is
its

And

intuitiveness,

is

proved by the fact that

a

universal

belief,

MR. SEN'S VIEW CRITICISED
a belief universally held exceptions, if there are
belief, the

75
;

by mankind

or, if

there are

men who do
the rule.

not hold this

universal prevalence of the belief
roots in

The all but shows that it has its human nature, and that there must be someexceptions only prove

thing abnormal, something unnatural, in men who do not share this belief." Now, I must confess that this
appeal to
proof of
its

the

universality of our belief in God as a validity does not carry any weight with me

now, whatever it may have done in my youth. First, it seems somewhat audacious to consign to virtual
blindness some of the best and
of our race,

most cultured members
their
If belief in

namely those who have not seen
Divine Being.

to believing in a

way God were

such a plain and easy thing as it is represented to be, it would be wonderful that so many earnest and
thoughtful
tried

men

could not cherish

it

to

feel

their

way
to

to

it.

even though they Secondly, it seems
reliability

somewhat inconsistent
belief in

place

the

of

our

We certainly do God on its universality. not believe in God became the belief is universal, becausv we know that all men, or almost all, believe in God. AVe do not wait, we do not suspend our till we know that the belief belief, prevails universally or all but universally. The universality of the belief
an opinion which only travellers and anthropologists are competent to pronounce true or false; but we
is

become believers
before

in

God and even
travellers

theologians long
anthropologists.

we

become
as

or
see

Thirdly, though,

we

shall

by and by,

belief

7G
in

LECTURE

III

God

lies

piece of

unconsciously at the basis not only of every religious knowledge, but of all knowledge

whatever, it is by no means true, as travellers and anthropologists themselves admit, that a conscious belief in the true God, the God of all true Theism, Hindu, Christian or Muhamrnadan, is universal. There
are whole

nations

of the true God.

A

which are devoid of the knowledge vague belief in some supernatural

power devoid of any attributes truly divine, is not belief in God. Belief in a demon, a destroying power,
belief
tions,

even

in

benevolent
is all

spirits

with

human

limita-

which

that

nations,

such a

belief,

seems to be held by several I say, is not belief in God.

Now,

only that is to be held intuitive which is con sciously held by all, if nothing is an intuition which is not consciously universal, then belief in God is not an
if

intuition,

and the claim
proves
suicidal.

of

intuition

conscious universality for Fourthly, there is all the

difference

between a universal
even
if

between subjectivity and objective validity belief and a universal truth ; and

the universality of a belief were satisfactorily established, the reality of its object would still be open to question. Opinions which the progress of knowledge

has shown

to

be

false,

have

sometimes

universally or all but universally.

As
or

prevailed Principal Caird
or
society

"The members of a truly says at the same stage of intellectual
:

community

spiritual

progress

general elementary beliefs, and a time has been when the whole world accepted, on the apparently irrefragable testimony of

will necessarily

coincide

in

their

CRITICISM OF 'SPONTANElliC
sense, facts

and ideas which the

has proved to be futile." There belief in witches and demons was

rate

man} some opinions which are now universally or all but universally prevalent, will one day be found quite

universal; and

it is

quite possible that

groundless.
belief
is

We

thus
its

see

that the

universality of a

no pioof of

objective truth.

Let us now consider
intuition

the

second characteristic of

mentioned above, its immediacy, spontaneity or originality, all of which convey substantially the same
idea.

At a certain stage Of our
to
belief

of

our progress

we
at

are all

apt to attach great
intuition.

importance to
in

this characteristic of

God, we are

times

inclined

think in the
the

examined

all
it

found that

"1 have following way: sources of belief and have ordinary does not arise from any of them. It is

not derived from the testimony of the senses, it is not the conclusion of a deductive or inductive argument,
it is

or prophets,
"

not derived from the authority of any scriptures nor is it a tradition handed down by

venerable antiquity.
ous.

Hence
to

I

see that

it is

spontane-

Now,

it

seems

me

that

this

spontaneity for proving the validity nothing but a slightly disguised petitio principii.
of

appeal to a belief is

Why

do you believe?
spontaneously.
or
less
is

Because the belief comes, and comes

than

In plain language, it is nothing more saying, "I believe, because I believe,"
all

which

no reason at

and may very well be altogeground
of our
belief
in

ther spared.

If the only

God

78
is

LECTURE
that the belief

III

though, there

is

comes to us and comes spontaneously, no need for this addition, we have

evidently no right to call upon others who say that it does not come to them at all, spontaneously or otherwise, to accept our belief and make all manner of
sacrifices for
it.

We

must

also

see that notwithstand-

ing the alleged spontaneity of the belief, it is subject We see that it forsakes us now to occasional doubts.

and then and leaves us blindly groping in the dark. Now, what is the worth of a test which places our
belief in
sient

God

in

the

eame category as the most tranideas?

impressions and

Secondly,

the .analysis

which pronounces that a belief is not the conclusion of a reasoning or a mere tradition, cannot be, in all The source from which a belief cases, trustworthy.

was originally derived, be
something
else,

may be
all

reasoning, tradition or forgotten and yet the belief
it
if it

itself retain

a strong hold upon us,
to
I

is

a universal
a source

belief or a belief

but universal,
for

or

if it is

again quote granted that notions or beliefs which present themselves to the common mind spontaneously and without any conscious process of
Caird
:

of

comfort

us.

from Principal

"To take

reflection, are to

and therefore

as

be accepted as ultimate and underived, absolutely true, would obviously be

a very haphazard procedure. ation is needed to see that

For very

little

consideror beliefs,

many

notions
air

which occur

to the

mind with an

of

spontaneity

and self-evidence, are the more or less complicated

result of a process of thought and again, that so far from ;

SELF-EVIDENCE CRTTTCIHED

7!)

such being incapable of question or verification, notions are not seldom nothing more than unwarrantable popular

assumptions. By a process of arbitrary combinations of ideas may unconsciously association, be formed of which the result assumes to the mind the

aspect of an ultimate and insoluble necessity of thought, and almost any intense feeling or inveterate belief, of

which the origin is not remembered, or which has been silently imbibed from the intellectual atmosphere in which our minds have grown up, becomes apparently its

own

evidence, and supersedes
It
is

all

further

need of raof

tional proof.

obvious, therefore, that a feeling
artificially
in

conviction

which can be
evidence

produced cannot
case,

be adduced as

that,

any given

we

have reached a primary element of thought." Now, the above remarks almost dispose
third test of
intuition

of the
self-

mentioned ubove,
under
all

namely

evidence.

It

labours

the disadvantages of a

purely subjective test. What seems self-evident to you does not appear so to me. To compare intuitions
to the

axioms

of

geometry does not seem to prove
;

either relevant or effective
latter are not

for while the

truth

of the

is question, thinkers of various schools. challenged by Unless, therefore, self-evidence or necessity is explained in a way that lends to it more of objectivity and univer-

open

to

that

of

the former

sality

than one finds

in it in

the generality of
it

Brahma

writers,

the explanation given by I do not see that

possesses any

Lave

already

advantage over the two tests we Such an explanation, disposed of,

80

LECTURE

III

however, we meet with nowhere either in the works of the Mabarshi and the Brahmananda, or in those
of Biibus
It is

Rajnarayan Vasu and Dvijendrasath Thakur.

only

when we come

to

the

Nagendranath Chatturji that we what clear idea of necessity as applied
idea, but he

writings of Babu meet with a someto a

proposition.

Babu Nagendranath does not make much
states
test
it

use of the

clearly

in

his lectures

and subtwo
first

mits to the

proposed by him the one

or

The principles which he employs in his arguments. idea is to be found everywhere in recent English
works on Natural Theology, for instance in those of Tulloch, Flint and Martineau. According to those writers the necessity of a proposition means that its
merely universal or all opposite is inconceivable. but universal belief may be rejected by a. small but
strong minority. A belief which is spontaneous to one may not be so to another. But a proposition the
opposite
of

A

which
in

is

inconceivable,

has only to be

understood

order to be

accepted as true.

The

existence of God, say these writers, is one of such It stands upon the same evidence as mathetruths.

matical axioms,

Just as

it

cannot be

conceived that

two straight
straight lines

lines

can meet,

can enclose a space, that parallel etc., so it cannot be conceived

that there should be effects without a cause,

nomena
finite

that pheshould exist without a noumenon, that th&

should have any life except in the Infinite, etc. The reason why these propositions are not universally
felt to

be necessary,

is

that they are not understood

by

MEANING OP "NECESSITY"
all.

81-

The

unbelief, polytheism or idolatry of illiterate

and

thoughtless people can be explained by the fact that they do not understand the ideas of first cause, spirit, noumenon and infinity, not even the ideas of conceivIf inconceivability. they understood ability and The Agnosticism these ideas, they would be Theists. or Scepticism of cultured and thoughtful people can be

explained by the fact that culture and thoughtfulness in one department of knowledge do not necessarily imply these qualifications in other departments, not
certainly
in

those

which are

far

removed from the

former by the nature of the objects dealt with and by the method employed in dealing with them. Professor
flint says that English physicists,

who can

exhaustively

analyse a drop of water,
petent in have seeu

ehow themselves quite incomIn this country

analysing a thought.

we

University graduates and sharp have proved themselves to be very legal practitioners bad reasoners on social subjects, and acute politicians have generally, in all countries, shown a very sad lack
shining

how

of

sound moral judgment. Now, 1 think that the above view of intuition
correct.

is

substantially

The
test,
is

test of inconceivability of
is

the opposite,
tive belief.

rightly understood,

a true test of intuistated

But the
which

when only thus
the
is

and

not further explained,
subjectivity view of self-evidence.
it

open to the same charge of
ordinary Brahmio inconceivable to one,

vitiates

What

may

another.

be rightly objected, may be conoeivable ta What is ioconceivable to you in the midst ot

6

2

LECTURE
surroundings,

lit

your peculiar

may

be conceivable

to

others placed in quite different circumstances. What is inconceivable now, at the present stage of our knowledge, may be conceivable when our knowledge will

have extended

far

beyond

its

present stage.

power

of conceiving differs in different places, times

The and

The diurnal motion of the earth, stages of culture. the existence of antipodes, etc., were once inconceivable, but now, after the lapse of centuries of progress, they
are not

only

conceivable,

but

are well-established

scientific truths.

engine, the electric tele. graph, tramcar and railway, the telephone, the phonograph, wireless telegraphy and other wonderful discoveries of modern times would perhaps have baffled

The steam

the conceptions
stern, tangible

of
facts.

our ancestors, but they are now So that, it may be argued, the
of

inconceivability of the opposite
test

and no evidence
all
its

an entirely subjective objective truth. That one or
is

even
is

cannot conceive the opposite of
truth.

a proposition,

no proof of
the

Time or

different circumstances

may make

now

inconceivable conceivable and thus

prove the falseness of the propositiou. Now, it will be seen that the above objection is based on a particular interpretation of the term
'inconceivability.'

In

1

it

'inconceivability

is

almost

identified with 'unbelievability', and the whole force of the objection is due to this interpretation. But 'in-

conceivability' has a deeper sense.

It also

means
that

'un-

thinkableness' or

'inconsistency with the
in this sense it
is

fundamental
the

laws of thought,' and

true

'NECESSITY'

FURTHER EXPLAINED
its

88

inconceivable

opposite true. It is quite true that many things which are inconceivable in the sense of unbelievable to some people, are not inIB

untrue and

all, and that believability being a mere and contingent state of mind, may and does subjective often differ in different times, places and stages of knowledge, and is therefore not a safe test of truth. But this is not true of the test of inconceivability of

conceivable to

the opposite in the
opposite

sense of

unthinkableness of the
fun-

inconsistency of the opposite with the

damental laws of thought.

The motion

of

the earth

and the existence

might have been once unbelievable on account, perhaps, of an apprehension that people standing on the opposite side of the earth
of antipodes

would be thrown over their heads, but
said

it

cannot be

that these

truths

able

inconsistent

with

were, at that time, unthinkthe fundamental laws of

thought, People standing with their heads downwards, with apparently nothing to keep them from failing down, might once have been unbelievable,

but there was nothing to
the
imagination.
It
is

make

it

unpicturable to

tlje

same with other things
the

which were unbelievable with ancient people but are
believed

now.

Notwithstanding

absence

of

evidence to make them believable, they had nothing in them inconsistent with the fundamental laws of
thought. If then, the true sense of 'inconceivability' be 'unthinkableness,' 'inconsistency with the funda-

mental laws of thought,
of which
is

9

inconceivable

a proposition the opposite is a necessary proposition

64:

LECTURE in
in tbat sense
all

and represents
identity

an intuitive

belief.

Now,

the laws that govern

and
it

analytic thought are those of non-contradiction. proposition the

A

opposite of
true, since

which

is

self contradictory

cannot but be
;

then comes

under the law of identity

proposition, a proposition of which asserts nothing but what is contained in the predicate the subject, cannot but be true. The test of the incon-

and an

identical

thus nothing more or less than that of the self-contradictoriness of the opposite
ceivability of the opposite
is

and the predicate. When a proposition expresses what is implied the predicate of or virtually contained in the subject, we know that tho
or the identity of the subject

proposition

is

necessarily true

and

its

opposite false.
specially

Now,

as to the first principles of religion,

belief in the existence of
fect Being,

an

infinite

and morally per-

what I mean by saying that this belief is necessary and in that sense intuitive, is that the non-

existence of
all

God

is

inconceivable,

unthinkable,

that

ence of God

propositions implying denial or doubt of the existthe propositions which form the basal

and Agnosticism are self-concan be shewn, I contend, by an analysis of our beliefs in the world, in man and in a moral order
principles of Scepticism
It

tradictory.

of the universe, that they all necessarily
in

an

infinite

and

perfect} Being.

It

imply a belief can be shewn
every particle

that every perception,
of knowledge,

every thought,

however acquired, and even our doubts and misgivings, presuppose the existence of an infinite,
all-comprehending Spirit

who

runs through

all

things

RELIGIOUS BELIEF NECESSARY

85

and makes
think and

things possible. In all that we do, feel, we are obliged, by the fundamental laws of thought, to postulate, often unconsciously, the
all

existence of an

infinite
all

Life,
life

an

necessary

basis of

and

Love, as the thought. It can be
infinite

shewn further that our apprehension of God is not of the nature of a mere belief a belief which, however necessary and deep-rooted in the human mind, may or

may

not have a

real object

answering to

it.

It

can be

shewn by analysing our knowledge of ourselves and the world, that in knowing these we know God, and know him directly, that our knowledge of the world
and ourselves
in
is

really the

knowledge
really

of

God,

that

every act

of

knowing we
not.

recognise
cognitions
analysis of

him
is,

This recognition

know of God

him, but
in all

our

I hold, the result of a

keen and searching

knowledge and the privilege of those who
reverent meditation.

search

God through devout and

But analysis presupposes a prior synthesis. Theism could not be shewn to be in such perfect accord with
the fundamental laws of

Agnosticism to be could not be shewn that the proposition 'God
in its Various forms,

thought, and Scepticism and it inconsistent with these laws,
is

true'

asserts

nothing in

the predicate

except what is contained in the subject unless the subject and predicate of this proposition were indissolubly connected in the unity of experience. The
idea of

God

is

the synthetic principle underlying

all

ex-

perience, internal

and external, subjective and
all

objective,

a principle that contains and explains

other synthe-

$6
tio principles,

LECTURE

m

whether those of time and space, or of number, quantity and quality, of substance, causality As and reciprocity, or of the good and the beautiful.
such this principle is universal but unexceptionably universal,
Atheist's thought

but universal, underlying even the
not
all

and experience.

As such

it is

also
all

spontaneous, immediate or original, being above proof, since it is the very ground of all proof, of

all

thought and experience. into consciousness where
into

To help
it

to bring this idea

clear
is

consciousness

lies dormant, to bring it where it is only vaguely

present,

the task of the
incalculable

theologian.

It will thus be

seen what an

amount
is

and searching investigation

deep reflection needed for the proper

of

understanding of intuitive truths. Intuition is, in one in another sense, sense, the most familiar of all things
;

one of those things which it is most difficult to understand and realise. Though the very basis of all thought and experience, it is apt to be confounded
it is

with the

many
It
is

fancies

our natural limitations and
doubt.

and superstitions incidental thus become subject
its

to to

only by deep thought and
true

spiritual in-

be seen in sight that it can restored to a conscious dominion
often think

nature and

over the soul.
to

We

we know enough

of Intuition

need any

thought and discussion on the subject. And yet we always complain of the weakness of our faith. That shows that we have not felt the power of true Intuition.

Intuition

is

faith,

and

faith,

as

Kesavohandra
is

Sen truly Bays,

is

direct vision.

He

alone

a true

THE MAHARSHI ON ATMAPKATYAYA
Intuitionist,

87
is,

he alone knows what Intuition truly

to

whom

has become as clear as sight, who sees God as clearly as he sees himself and the world.
faith

So far
doctrine

I

have given you a
Intuition

critical exposition

of

the

of

common

to all

Brahma
is

writers.

We may very well
I

yet some time at our disposal, and you are not, I hope, yet tired,
stop here.
as there

But

may as well notice something peculiar in Maharshi Devendranuth Thaknr's teachings about Intuition. The Maharshi seems to use the word dtmapratyaya, which

he uses more frequently than the more common term, Hahaj jnan, in two senses: the first being our inborn
faith in

God and other non-sensuous
he uses
it

realities.

The
consci-

other sense in which
of our

is

our consciousness
this

own

self

and the testimony which
I

ousness bears to the existence of the infinite
shall let the

Self.

I

Maharshi himself speak.
his
:

translate

a

passage from

fifth

lecture

at

the

Bhawanipur
is

Brahma Yidyalaya

''Since I

am, therefore Brahman,
is,

my

Creator, Preserver and

Guide,

this

dtmapra-

tyaya.

The person who
is

is

my

Creator, Preserver and

Guide,
this
is

my

well-wisher, friend,

support and Lord

In several other self-evident dtmapratyaya." passages of the same lectures, the Maharshi says that
the finiteness of the

human
It

on the Infinite

Spirit.

soul reveals its dependence were to be wished that the
it

Maharshi had explained this truth and tried to bring

home
is

to the

intellect

of

his

audience

;

for the

point
in

really of the utmost importance.

But one looks

vain for any satisfactory explanation of

the above

88

LECTURE in

statement in the Maharshi's writings. What is given is nothing but the familiar faofcs of our birth and death

an^the perpetual supply
wants,
facts

of

our natural and spiritual
of

from which an inductive inference

great

probability

may

indeed

be drawn and has

been drawn by theologians as to our dependence on a higher spirit, but which reveal no necessary truths

which can fully satisfy our intellects. However, I must say something as to the source from which the Maharshi has borrowed the term, dtmapratyaya, and the difference between his interpretation of it and
that given by those admits that he borrows

who

originally

used

it.

He

it from the Mandhkya Upaniwhich expressly represents the Supreme Being shadj as the object of dtmapratyaya. But in borrowing

changes its meaning almost radiit of much of its significance. cally and denudes As this point seems to be a very important one, I
it

the

Maharshi

quote the whole passage in which the term occurs and compare the meaning given to it by the Maharshi with that given to it by Sankardcharya in
shall

his

commentary on the Upanishads.
treats of the
in

The Mdndvkya
of

Upanishad
self

four
or

states
in

the self
it

the

which, either be one and indivisible.
three states,

man

Nature,

teaches to
first

Having spoken
it

of the

namely,
to

the waking, the

dreaming, and
the
fourth,

the profoundly sleeping,

speaks

of

which, according

it, is

the highest, in the following

"Ndntaprajnam na bahihprajnam nobhayatahprajnam naprajnam ndprajnam* Adrishtam avyavawords
:

ATMAFRATYAYA IN THE UPANISHAD8

89

hdryam agrdhyam aldkshanam achintyam avyapade$yam ekdtmapratyayasdram prapanchopafamam fdntam $ivam advaitam chaturtham manyante sa dtmd m In the first volume of my Devanagar and vijneyah.*
English edition of the Upanivhads, I translate the passage thus "That which is not conscious of internal
:

objects nor of external objects, nor of objects in the middle state, which is not the concentration of know-

ledge,

which
is

is

neither

conscious

nor

unconscious,

which

unseen,

which

cannot

be

used,

which

is

inconceivable, indescribable, intangible, undefinable, object of the intuition of one self, beyond the five
classes
ot

sensible

objects,

the

undifferenced,

the

good, without a second that the wise conceive as the fourth aspect. He is the Self, he is to be known."

Now,

I

have quoted
so

the

whole

passage

with

its

translation,

with reference to

that you may, if you like, consider it the context. But we are not

directly concerned with the explanation of the whole Our chief concern is with the phrase passage. "ekdtmapratayasdram." Both in the lecture refer-

red to and in his
explains
stiti
it

Brdhma Dharma,

the

Maharshi

thus

:

"kah
i*

jagat-Jcdranam

Brahma-

dtmapratyayah sdram

pramdnam
e< 9

yasyddhigame
is

ekatmapratyayasdram, he for the knowledge of

tat

"The phrase means
there
this

whom

sole

proof, namely, the soul's belief, that Brahman, the cause of the world, exists." Let us now see how

the great commentator,
phrase.

Sankaracharya, explains the
"Jdgradddisthanesveko'yam at-

He

says

:

90
metyavyabhichdri
Athaivaika,

LECTURE

m
sten&nusaraniyam*

yah

pratyaya

dtmqpratyayah sdram pramdnam yasya turiyasyddhigame tat turiyam ekdtmapratyayasaram" That is, "'It is to be followed, i. e>, known by the
unchangeable belief that in with the waking, this Self
transcendent Being is for the knowledge of
the
all
is

the

states

beginning
or

the
of

same,

that

object

atmapratyaya,

fitmapratyaya is the In my own annotations I give an sole proof." briefer than though in strict accordance explanation with this. It is : eko y "Jugradddi-avasthdsu

whom

yam dtmd
object

vartate

iti

cf the

belief that

pratyaya-vishayam, it is the this one Self exists in all
In Sankara's

the states beginning with the waking."

not explanation 'dtmapratyaya evidently means, the self's intuition of a reality distinct from itself, as
the Maharshi
relating
to

renders
self,

it,

but

the

intuition
self's

of or

the
of
is

the

one indivisible

con-

sciousness

itself.

Whereas
a
superficial

the

Maharshi's
interpretation

interpretation
is

dualistic,

Sankara's

monistic

;

and even
is

study

of

the

Mdndnkya
sents

enough

to

show that

Sankara repre-

the

sense

Upanishad.
4

intended by the composer of the Thus the Maharshi gives the term
9

atmapratyaya
it

a

meaning

entirely

his

own

and

the significance it possesses in the deprives Upanishads and in the Yedantic literature which has grown out of their teachings, in which it appears
of
in

two

other

form?,

'asmatpratyajra*

and

'aham-

pratyaya\ meaning exactly the same thing as 'alma-

SANKARA ON ATMAFRATYAYA
pratyaya*.
it is

91

In the sense given to

it

by the Maharshi,
;

in
in

only an inference from the finite to the Infinite the Vedantic sense it is the consciousness of self
its

ultimate

essence,

a

consciousness

which

is

mixed up with error in ignorant minds, but which, in minds fully enlightened, appears in its unalloyed for i: and is with our consciousness of identical
God,
in

I accept the latter sense of the

term and

shall,

my

fourth
of

lecture,

show
I

its

full

significance

as

the

basis

true

Theism.

shall

show that dtma-

pratyaya is not of the nature of an inference from our own consciousness of ourselves as finite beings
to

a

Being entirely distinct from

us,

but the direct

of a Being transcending time and and yet constituting the very essence of our space conscious existence. In other words, I shall show

consciousness

that

dtmapratyaya
identical
shall

is,

in

its

pure

and

ultimate

essence,

with
close

meantime I
in

JSrahmapratyaya. In the this lecture with an extract

from Sankara's
which, as
of

commentary on the Veddnta Sutras
will see,

sal,

you fundamental
self

intuition

kinds

of

and and its being the knowledge. The passage

he clearly shows the univerself-evident nature of the
basis of all other

occurs
of
is

in

his

commentary on the seventh aphorism pada, second chapter, of the Sutras and
I

the third
as
follows.

shall

read

by by me here and there.

translation

every sentence separately with its Professor Thibaut, slightly altered

"Na

hi

dtmd agantukah

kasyachit,

Bays Sankara,

<92

LECTURE in

"svayam siddhatvdt".
evident."

That

is,

"The
;

Self
for
it

is
is

not
self-

contingent in the case of any person

"Na
yati"

dtmd dtmanah pramdnam apekshya s>dh"The eelf is not established by proofs of the
hi
hi

existence of the self.

"Tasya
proofs,

pratyakshddttii

pramtfndni

asiddlm-

prameya-siddhaye upddiyante"

which are employed

in

Perception and other the case of things not
ifc."

proved, but to be proved, are founded on

"Na hi dkdsddayah paddrthdh pramtfndntardpeksktfh 9 'No one svayam siddhdh kenachit abhyupagamyanteS assumes such things as ether and the like as self4

evident and needing no proof." "Atmd tu pramdnddi-vyavahdrd'irayatvdt

prdgeva

pramdnddi-vyavahdrtft sidhyati."
itself

the condition of
is

"But the Self, being employing proofs and such other
self-evident even

things,

accepted
of proofs

as

before

the

employment
"jNa

cha

and such other things." idrisasya nirdkaranam sambhavati"

"Nor

is it

possible to

deny such a

reality."

"Agantukam
"For
it
is

hi vastu

nirdkriyate

na svarupam"
can be
r

only a contingent object that and not that which is self-subsistent." denied,

"Ya
"It
is

eva hi nirdkartd tad

eva tasya svarupam.
15

the very essence of
Tii

him who would deny

it,

"Na

agneraicsliTiyam
its

agmud mrakriyate

"

"Fire

cannot reject

own warmth." "Tathd aham iddnim jandmi vartamdnam vastu dham eva atftam atitarancha ajndsisham aham eva

8ANKARA ON ATMAPRATYAYA

9&

andgatam

andgatatarancha jnasyamiti atitdndgatarartamdna-lhdvena anyathd lhavati api jndtabye no,
is

jndturanyathd-l>hdvo'$ti varvadd-vartamdna-bhdvatat." "Let us take an example. It is 1 who know what
It
is

who knew what is past and what is present. more remotely past. It is I who shall know the future
I

und what

is

more remotely future.
of

In these cases,

though the object
it is

knowledge

present, past or future, the
it is

according as knowing subject does
differs

not change, for

always present."
as

We

shall

see,

we proceed,

that tlese

familiar

whose deep significance is concealed by their f.icts, extreme familiarity, are the revelations of an eternal

and

Consciousness lying at the root of cur lives and at the root of the whole cosmos. May the Supreme
infinite

Spirit be our guide in our search after

him

!

LECTURE IV
Revelation of

God

in

Man and

Nature

:

the Metaphysics of Theism
I

lecture.

hope you remember the conclusion of our third By a pregnant quotation from Sankara, I

tried to
of
self

show
is

there, that

dtmapratyaya or the intuition
I

fundamental, self-evident and universal.
there
to

show by and by, that dtmapromised pratyaya is, in its pure and ultimate essence, identical with Brahmapratyaya or the intuition of God. Now, this is a subject; to which you cannot pay too much and it will be seen that the satisfactoriness attention
also
;

or the reverse of the

work that

lies

before us, will

'depend greatly upon the firm or loose Let have of the subject in hand.
the intuition
of self just enumerated,

hold you
us,

may

therefore,

endeavour to understand clearly the characteristics of
necessity and
its primarinesa, the primary or fundauniversality. By mental character of self -consciousness, it is meant that
is

other kinds of knowledge and therefore not dependent on any of them. As Sankara
it

the basis

of

all

says

:

"The

self,

being the condition of the employment

INTUITION OP SELF FUNDA MEN TAX
of proofs,
is

95

self-evident even

of proofs."

As it is makes perception and reason

the employment the self that preoeives and reasons
possible,
its

before

existence

is

logically prior to perception and reasoning, and it does not wait or need to be established by these proofs.

The necessary
consciousness
is

or

self-evident

character

of

self-

also clear,
in

more clearly than
possible to
of

cannot be expressed "It Sankara's words not is
it
:

and

deny such a reality, for it is the very essence him who would deny it." Descartes, the father ot modern European philosophy, found himself capable,
beginning of the course of philosophical
started
re-

at the

construction

by him,

of

doubting everything,

God and the whole world, but incapable of doubting his own self for even the act of doubting it implied
;

existence.

Doubt

itself

implies

the

doubter; and so

Descartes expressed the fundamental and self-evident in the well-known character of self-consciousness
proposition,
exist*
is

'Cogito,

ergo

sum*
in the

'I

think,

therefore I

which, though put not really so, but the expiession of a self-evident, fundamental truth. Its self-evidence and primariness, you will see, are not really different characteristics,

form of an argument,

but the same characteristic

expressed
a

in

two ways.
charac-

Nor
lies

is

its
;

universality

really

different

teristic

at

for it simply means that the intuition of self the basis of all forms of thought and knowis

ledge and
I

therefore

common

to all rational beings.

would particularly

draw your

attention

to

this

characteristic of

self-consciousness.

The

fact asserted

96
is

LECTURE IV
that,

whether we see or hear, smell,
or

taste or touch,
self
all

remember, imagine
as the

reason,
acts.

we know our own
In
other

subject of these

words,

objects of

knowledge and thought appear related to
or

us as

known

thought
stating
is

of.

You

will

see

that the

proposition I
tion,

am

really an identical proposi-

repeating in the predicate what is already implied in the subject, and therefore cannot but be a true proposition. But the fact is that to unreflective people, it does not seem to be truth seems far from being apparent.
in

so plain
It

and

its

seems that

much

of

ourselves

our knowing and thinking we forget and that it is only in reflective moods that
of

we

are aware
this
is

ourselves as knowers and thinkers.

But

really

based on a misconception.
in
'I

It

is

indeed true that
tion,
'I

unreflective
think',
is

moods the proposinot distinctly before

know' or

our minds, but that the fact of our being subjects is, in a more or less indistinct form, present to our minds
in

every act of knowing or thinking,
it

is

evident

-,

for

unless
as

were

so, unless

subjects to
after
to

we knew ourselves related every object known by us, we could

not,

relation

the act of knowing, bring ourselves into it in our reflective moods. We can

remember only that which we know, we can recognise only what we cognise ; and so, if, for instance, you had really forgotten yourselves when you heard
you could not now remember, as you actually do, that you did hear it. The very fact that you now remember yourselves as the hearers ofi

my

third

lecture,

NO KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT SELF-KNOWLEDGE

97

the lecture, shows that you knew yourselves then as its hearers. All knowledge, therefore, contains,
either
explicitly
of

or

implicitly,

self-knowledge,

the

knowledge

the

self

as

This self-knowledge may wrong notions about the nature of the self
does not
the

subject or knower. be associated with various
;

the

but that
self as

make the fundamental knowledge
less real.
self

of

knowing principle any the
it

In ignorant
concealed,

minds the real nature of the
aa

may

lie

were, under various objects wrongly identified with it, as the real nature of a sword is hidden by the

sheath which encloses
the
these
original

But that does not invalidate dtmapratyaya which accompanies all
it.

mistaken

identifications.

Yedantio

philoso-

Upanishads, phers, including the composers of the have taken the trouble of enumerating the various
gross or subtle objects with which we, at successive stages of our spiritual progress, identify the self, and have also taught us the way to finding out the error
of
of

such ignorant identifications.

At the lowest stage

spiritual progress, they say, we naturally identify the self with the gross body, the organism which is

built
call

up with the materials eaten by

us.

This they
material

annamaya kosha, the nutrimental sheath. At the next higher stage we
self

or

identify the

with the vital principle, the principle which lies at the root of our respiration, digestion, locomotion

and such other phenomena.

maya
stage

kosha, the vital

This they call prdnasheath. At the third higher

we
7

consider our passing sensations and ideas,

98

LECTURE IV
our
self.

or a conceived substratum of these, as

This

sensory or substratum of Eensations they call monomaya kosha, the sensuous or mental sheath. At th

next or fourth stage, we consciously bring all sensations under general ideas and conceive of an organ which we call buddhi or the understanding, as the
seat

This buddhi or rijndna is called of these ideas. our philosophers vifntfnamaya kasha, the intellecby
tual sheath.

Our pleasurable emotions, especially tlie emotions arising from communion with God, are
conceived to be the
is

fifth

involucrum of the
the
beatific

self

and
In

called

dnandamaya

kosha,

sheath.

each higher stage of spiritual life represented by thepe sheathe, we identify the self with a subtler and subtler
object and ascribe to
it

a higher

and higher function
is

Each higher sheath,
ation of the
self

therefore,

a

truer represent-

than the lower.

But

as each

of

them
is

an object characterised by being known, and not celf-knowing, none represents the true *flf
is

which
see

is

a self-knowing

subject and not the object

of

knowledge
that,

to any one else than Thus we itself. though we may be far from true self-knowknowledge of the real nature of the self, ledge, though we may identify our self with objects more or less misrepresenting it and so far hiding its true

character,

yet we never Jose sight of it altogether, but refer every piece of knowledge, of whatever kind it may be, to a knowing principle constituting our
self.

very
,

Now,

let us

proceed and try to see what

is

involved

THE SELF THOUGHT OF AS UNIVERSAL
in this

99

primary fact of the self knowing itself in knowand thinking of every object, or in other words, ing of every object of knowledge and thought appearing
as
it

related

to

the
us,

self

as

known

or thought of by

it.

seems to

on a superficial

view, that things

come into relation with the self in our acts of knowing and then pass out of this relation and continue as realities independent of knowledge when they are no more before our senses. But on a closer view it
seen that even when they are absent from our and our senses we continue to think of them as body still related to our self as still the objects of its knowwill

be

ledge.
is

Whether we
the

not

necessarily

are right in thinking so or not, the question 13 whether we question now think so or not whether this mode of
;

thinking

is

or

is

not a

fundamental law of thought.

You

will see that

it is

really so.

many changes
please
will see that

in

but you you must think of all these changes as known changes, and that the original object, however changed in character, must be thought of as
;

when they

objects are absent from your senses

the

You may imagine as known by you as you

unchanged
you
call

in

one essential
to

character
self

object of knowledge

the

being an the same self that
its

you mandtr as you really will, imagine unoccupied by any human being, as a darkened hall with (the lights put out and as dead-still, with no
may,
as
this

your own.

At the end

of

this

lecture

even represent

sound vibrating through it, and so on. You may it as shaken or reduced to fragments by

100

LECTURE IV

a sudden earthquake or burnt to ashes by an unex-

But, in whatever form you pected conflagration. think of it as existing, you must, by an inexorable necessity, think of that form as related as a known
object to your self. It may seem, at first thought, that we are required to think of some self or other,
as

knowing the object
deep
into

;

but you will
that

dive

the

matter,

if see, you whatever other

you may be required to ascribe to the subject in relation to which the object in question must be thought of, you cannot dissociate it from
characteristics

yourself.

characteristics you may must nevertheless think of it as it, you your inmost self as that which makes it possible for you to know the object when it is presented to your We see, then, that, however unreasonable senses.

With the other

ascribe

to

it may sound, we are compelled, by a fundamental law of thought, to universalise our self, the self which each of us calls his own. We not only see that

present as the witness of every object and every event which is presented to us, but we are forced, by an inexorable necessity of thought, to think of this
our self
is

self

as

may

the witness of every object, however remote it be from our senses, and of every event, even

those that are far removed in time, future, from our brief span of life.
can, with

both past and We see that we
five

more

or less ease, discount

the

sheatha

enumerated above in thinking of the facts of the world. We can think of things as not near our bodies. We can think of our organisms as not formed at all

THINGS THOUGHT OF AS KNOWN

101

when yet
of things.

the

world was

fall

of an

infinite

We

can

think

of

us as

variety not breathing,

digesting or performing other vital functions. can think of ourselves as not experiencing any sensations,
i. e.,

We
We

not as existing at

all as

sentient beings.

need not even think of ourselves as distinct
gences, taking up the facts of the

intelli-

and trying
the

to

understand them,
of

universe piecemeal may discount

We

thought

such

intelligences

the joys arising out of
exercises.

implied
are

in

knowledge But what we cannot discount is the all these things and thoughts.
it

and

experiencing devotional
self

We
it

forced to represent witness of the universe
as

as

the one
of our

unchangeable
All that

and

commerce with

individual

and changeful

intelligences.

makes us finite beings, as limited in time, space and power, we do not universalise. We do not univerour ealise our senses, our thoughts and bodies,
emotions,

not even
of

our

ideas

as
his

But each
something
all

us

thinks

that

passing events. inmost self is

universal,

times.

As each
it

of

everywhere and at existing us thinks his own self to be

universal,

will

be seen that

we

really

think one

undivided universal Self as existing at the root of all our separate individualities. In so far as we habitually identify our individuality as

with our
to

self,

in

so

far

the term 'self

understanding
that there
of
is

distinct

a

or appropriated in each of us, the proposition universal and permanent witness
is

the

mind

the world, and that

it

exists in

each of us as our

102

LECTURE IV
self,

inmost
it is

seems to be a most absurd one.
it

Whether
really,
in

really so absurd as

seems, or there

is

each of us, something transcending time and space and constituting the basis of our conscious life, we must see by and by. What I have already said is
aware, sufficient to convince the intellect and make all doubts and misgivings impossible. But what I claim to have already shewn is that,
not,
I

am

however absurd the above proposition may seem to If you really ua, it is really a necessity of thought.
understand
it, you will see that it governs all our about the world. We cannot represent the thoughts world to our mind otherwise than as the permanent

object, in all its changes, of the

very

self

which we

call

our own.
reflection
reflection,

It

is

that
a

we seem

only in so far as we live without to think otherwise. Deep
analysis
of

close

of our

ideas,

cannot but

detect

can

thought. necessity be logically proved, if it is not already clear, by showing that the current belief that the world exists
without any necessary relation to the self, actually a involves contradiction. Things appear to us as

this

necessity

This

known as know them

related
in

to

any other

our knowing self. We do not character than as known.

They are known things to us, and we can think of them only as we know them, i. e,, we can think of them only as known things. Even he who says that he believes things as existing unknown unrelated to the knowing self really represents them to his mind It is impossible for him to repreas known things.

SUBJECT AND OBJECT NECESSARILY* RELATED
sent

103

them

in

any other character than that

in

which

they have appeared to him. To say, therefore, that things can exist without relation to the self, is to say
that

known things can exist unknown, which is aa palpable as contradiction as any can be. That people thus habitually contradict themselves without knowing
that they do so, shows
their thoughts
tents.
It
is

how

little

they care to analyse

and learn their true nature and con-

I have already said, otherwise than as known and things known to our own self. By the same necessity which compels us to think of things as known even

really impossible, as

to

think

of

when they
forced
as to

are

absent from
the

universalise
to
all

our senses, we are also self in us and think of it

present

things.

thinking so or not,
closely

Whether we are right in we may now proceed to see by

out

if

analysing our knowledge and trying to find there is or i.v not anything in it that transcends
not

the limitations of space and time. The common belief the belief
reflective people, but of

many who

call

only of unthemselves

philosophers, is that, in knowing the world we know ourselves as so many finite subjects, as selves not only unrelated to, the distinct from, but essentially

world we know.

But the fact
Self,

is

that

it is

only from

the standpoint of an Infinite

only as
In

sharing in
actually every act of

the

life

of such a Self, that

we can be and do

become the subjects

of

knowledge.

knowing we indeed distinguish ourselves from the In knowing the book before me 1 objects known.

104

LECTURE IV
that
it

know
from

is

distinct not

my
seem

very

self.

only from The book is not
to
to

my
I,

body, but nor am 1
existence

the book.

The book seems
to limit
its. it

limit

my

and

I

I

from the book and
from me.
is

be wholly excluded seems to be wholly excluded
is

seem

Bat the of subject and object
ject's

fact

that while this distinction

really limits the object,

the subis

ject

not limited thereby.

The

distinction

the sub-

own making

;

it

is

the source of the distinction

and

transcends or overlaps the limitation implied in it. While the object is known and can be thought of only as known and is thus essentially limited by the subject, the subject knows both the object and
it

Though distinguishing itself from the object, it the object within its own sphere of existence comprehended within its own higher, broader life.
itself.

finds

The same
which
it

act

and by
fact

'act'

here

1

mean not a change
the same act by the object, also
for the object

but a permanent
necessarily relates

or function

distinguishes itself from

the object to

itself,

apart from the subject is an abstraction and not a concrete reality. Analyse the object into its subtlest atoms, if you like, parts, into the most inpalpable

and you will find that you cannot know or think ot them except as known, except as comprehended within
the sphere of the self's knowledge. Consider every one of the qualities which either common sense or
science discovers

one of them
self's

is

and you will see that every included in the same manner in the
ia
it,

comprehensive sphere of consciousness.

Golour

THE SELF KNOWN AS UNIVERSAL
is

1D5

what is seen, ani unseen colour is an abstraction. Sound is that which is heard, and unheard sound is an absurdity. Smell and taste are what are smelt and tasted, and are meaningless without relation to the smeller and taster. Heat and cold, as felt by us,
are possible only to a conscious
suject
of
sensation?.
if in being resisted by an inert object like the book before me, or a moving object like the wind, you imagine that there is something in the object which

Again,

which puts forth efforts like yourself, you that you can form no conception of it except what in you puts similar to as an active will, as
resists you,

will

see

and therefore closely related to and, as you will see by and by, essentially one with yourIn knowing an object, therefore, we know, not self.
forth efforts,

anything independent of, anything excluded from, the self which knows it, but something essentially and necesIn knowing the object, the subject sarily related to it.
does not accidentally come into contact with an alien reality, as the common notion is, but it really finds
or discovers itself in

and support. In no act of perception, therefore, do we know a mere something independent of and unrelated to object,
it

as

its

very

life

the knowing subject ; or a mere individual subject, unrelated to or apart from the object. In every perception, the whole concrete reality known is a
subject-object
or
itself

guishes

an indivisible Spirit which distinfrom the object and at the same time

comprehends

it within its sphere of consciousness, This Spirits not a mere subjective Spirit, one confined

106
to the

LECTURE IV
body, but
ifc

is

in

every object that we know.

When knowing

objects,

we know

a

Spirit

which

is

both in our bodies and in the objects, a Spirit which is both subjective and objective, which is both our own
self

and the
the
act

self

any process
in

of
of

It is not through but by direct perception, inference,

of

the universe.

perceiving
act of

what
of

w#
the

call

material

objects, that

we know the

Spirit

world.

We

every because our wrong notions of objects, not the objects themselves, hide him or seem to hide him

know him
not,

in

perception, but recognise

him

from
true
as

us.

When

these

philosophical

wrong notions are dispelled by knowledge, God reveals himself

direct object of, or rather the subject- object, the concrete Reality known in, every act of knowledge.

the

What
in

these

wrong wtions
to

are,

will,
if

somewhat

clear

you now.
objects,

Now,
but
life
is

I hope, be the self which is
in

us not only

knows

also

them, as
in

we have
fact

seen, as

their

very

and support, as

constituting them by making possible every element or quality of which they are composed, we are evidently wrong in supposing them to exist, when

absent from our senses,
in in

ndependently of the Spirit which, in essential relation to which, they appear our acts Since our acts of of knowing them.
i

knowing
reveal an

them,

though

transient

and intermittent,

between objects and the which knows them and is manifest in them, the Spirit necessary inference from this fact is that, even when
essential relation

absent from our senses, they continue to exist in that

THE SELF AS SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE
very Spirit
book, for
in

107

to which they appear. This which now reveals a Spirit in all its example, parts and qualities, must, according to the inference

relation

just

drawn, be believed as

still

continuing to exist in

the

same

Spirit
in

when
a desk.

it is

and locked up
original

removed from my presence As we have aheady seen, our
anticipates
this

intuition of

self

inference,
intuitive

and we now see the rational basis of our
belief.

But
I

current

notions

contradict

both

the

intuitive belief
it.

and the inference

which substantiates

take away my body and senses from continguity with the book, I seem to take away irom it also the Spirit which knows it and in relation
to

When

which

it

appears.

The book

as

locked up in the

and

desk seems quite unrelated to the self which is in me, my self, the self in my body, seems, in its moods of abstraction from the world, to be a purely no essential relation to the subjective spirit having

objective world. contradiction in

There seems to be even a palpable supposing that, when absent from
**.

my

senses,

objects continue to e~*
It

k

in the
I

self

which

1 call

mine.

seems to assert that

pereeive them

when

actually I

do not perceive them.

and seeming contradiction disdifficulty when we observe the fact that the self which appears we call our own, which makes us knowing beings, and which is at the same time known as the life and support of the objects which we know, appears in two
This
distinct
single,

though

related

forms.

It

appears
universal

as

a

indivisible,

objective

and

Spirit,

108

LECTURE IV

unembodied and diffused in or containing the world, and as a subjective spirit, distinct in each individual,
using our bodies and senses and identified with our
individual thoughts and feelings. The difficulty or apparent contradiction in question arises from our

the subjective or individual aspect of the self and our ignoring its objective and As our perception of the world universal aspect.
exclusive attention to

we

always takes place through our senses and intellect, identify knowledge with sensuous or mere intelexperience and

lectual

we

identify the reality which

appears in knowledge with the instruments of its self-revelation; that is, with the sensorium and the
understanding. holding to the

We
are

are
of

indeed

correct

enough

in

reality

our

individual

existence.

Our
of
is

limitations

real

our individual lives
evident from
all

enough. The distinction from the life of the universe
of view.

points

How

little

we

know and how
and the
which
This
little

natural events

we share in the grand march ot But the little knowledge of Nature contact we have with her are sufficient
little
!

revelations
at

of

the

universal

character of the Spirit
preitself.

once makes us
to

knowing beings and
relation
to

sents Nature

us

in

essential

universal,
if

objective,

and

therefore non-sensu-

ous and,

intellectual
if

the expression may be allowed, noncharacter 6f spirit will be more evident
closely

we somewhat

time and space,
ia

examine our knowledge of the two forms in which Nature

presented to us and which constitute our limita-

THE SELF AS TRANSCENDING SPACE
tions

109

as

individual

beings.

It

will

then

be

Been
o

that

while these forms are

real

as

limitations

Nature and of our individual existence, they at the same time unmistakably reveal the infinite and eternal
nature of the
Spirit

which makes the existence of

both Nature and ourselves possible.

Taking up the

book
see

example, let us then time and space testify to as regards the nature of the Spirit which is alike
again

before

me

as

what our knowledge
and
in

of

in

it

my
me
is

book
of
in

before

the

book

the body. Space is externality outside my body, and every part outside every other part. Space is,
:

is

other
is

words, the relation of here and there
here,
if

:

the

book
are

the

benches whereon you
look
into

are

seated

there,
will

you
of

see

here

and

you closely matter, that the externality and the relation there involved in space implies as its
its

the

correlative,

as

very

basis

and

possibility,

the

the unspatiality, if the expression be pardoned, of the Spirit which knows it. may The Spirit could not know space, could not know
non-externality,

the relations involved in

it,

if

it

were

itself

in

The Spirit, indeed, appears to be here, in space. the body, and the book to be there, outside the body. But the Spirit's appearing to be in the body is due
to
its
its

mistaken

identification

with

the

body

and

In reality, as the knowing principle, it is neither here nor there, neither internal nor external, not identified with any particular object
functions.
its

of

knowledge.

In another sense,

it

is

both here

110

LECTURE IV
to
to

and there, internal it knows ; that is
relation
to
itself,

and
say,

identified with everything
it

holds
all

everything
in its

in

it

comprehends
therefore,

consciousness.
it is

Spirit,

sphere ot transcends space
:

to

it.

not external to anything and nothing is external Space or the relation of externality, of here
there,

and
life
;

does not enter

into

its

true

or

inner

a relation obtaining only among things when they are conceived in abstraction from their considered as relation to Spirit, and is, therefore,
it

is

mdyik
phers,
to

or
I

vydvahdrilc

by
it

our
;

do not

call

so

Mayiivadi philosoit but I would wish

be distinctly seen that it has no place in the concrete reality of Spirit as it comprehends every-

thing in
tion
of

its

all-inclusive

grasp.
in

space,

therefore,

every percepevery perception of one

In

object as external to another, we realise the knowing Self as con-external, as transcending space, as includ-

ing both the related objects. In other words, we know the Self as the unifying, concretising principle holding

We

together the diversity and discreteness implied in space. cannot but think of the various parts of space UB included in one all-comprehending space and the Self
revealed
in
all

and

all divisions of

things as holding together all things the spatial world, however far from
its

one another, in the indivisible unity of

consciousness.

The common notion
different bodies,

of

spirits as existing in correct only in the sense is, therefore, distinct manifestations or reproductions of the same

of

distinct

universal, infinite

and all-comprehending Seif

in relation

THE SELF AB TRANSCENDING TIME
to
different

111
It is not

bodies,

eensories

and

intellects.

correct in the sense of

different

spirits

quite independent
tial relation

of each other

excluding and and having no essennotion of Nature

with Nature.

The current
transient

as essentially independent of Spirit,

contact with

it

only

in

our

and as coming into and intermittent

acts of perception,
practical Atheism,
ness, of

must be characterised as so much
the result of
in

habitual thoughtless-

absorption worldly pursuits and blindness to the deeper essence and relations of things.

mad

Deep
reveals,

and
as

close

insight
seen,

into

the nature
infinite

of things
indivisible

we have
to

an

and

Spirit as the real object of every act of knowledge.

Coming now
see,

our

perception
to

of

time,

we

shall

what has already been given, knowledge of an eternal Self, a Self without beginning and without end, with ideas unchangeable and eternal like itself. Just as if we mere limited were we could not know space and had not the Infinite as our antardtrnd, objects
by an analysis similar
that
it

involves

the

inmost Self,

so

it

can

be shown that

we

could not

know

time if we were mere creatures of time and had not the Eternal, the Unborn, the "Undying and

the Omniscient as the very basis of our conscious life. Time is the relation of before and after between events. Events cannot take place without being related as
before and after
are

one another; and before and after without reference to events. In other unmeaning
11

words, "timeless events" and "eventless times are both unmeaning phrases. But the self which knows an

112
event

LECTURE IV

example, as before the event J3, is not When A as an event is past, before or after any.
9

A

for

the self
it

knowing

it

must retain

it

as an idea

and

relate

to

B before B oan
A
C

be called successive to A.

In the

same manner
relation to
series.

and

retained as ideas in
before

and second must be the knowing self and brought into
as
first
it

B

can be called the third of the
pass, the self

Thus while events

which makes
itself to

events and series of events

possible

does not pass,

does not flow in the current of time, but shows be above time.
If
it

were

in time,

if it

were identified

with any particular event or series of events, it could not know events. What is, by its very nature, passing,
carraot

know

itself as such.

of events cannot be

an event or a

The knowledge or knower Our series of events.

perception of time or successive events, therefore, involves the realisation of our inmost Self as beyond
time, eternai, unborn

and undying.
is

not an inference from the former.
lative to the other

The latter The one is
once.

fact is

corre-

and

known

at

Every per-

ception of time
as timeless.

is

a consciousness of the

knowing
is

self

The vagueness

of the consciousness

due-

to the obscurity of vision

induced by current notions
habi-

about the transiency, the apparent birth and death,
of the soul,

notions which are the result of that

tual materialism
ing. not,

which proceeds from superficial think* That we begin to know at a particular time, is indeed, an unmeaning proposition any more than

that

we

limited beings

are beings limited in space. Just as we ara in so far as only a limited portion of

DIVINE OMNISCIENCE

113

the world in space is, at a time, manifested through our limited bodies, sensories and intellects, so has

our knowledge a beginning in so far as the eternal Self:, lying at the basis of our consciousness, began at a particular time to manifest his eternal ideas through
that
particular
intellect,

sensory and organism with
specially identified.

which each one

of us

is

But

this

no more makes our inmost and ultimate Self a thing of time than the limitations of space limit that which

makes space itself possible. You will see, you think the matter, that we must think of the closely upon
it'

the

time preceding our birth as necessarily connected with momeut of our birth or the beginning o conscious
lite

in

us,

and with

the

life-time.

You
as

will also dee that this

time following, namely, our necessary connec-

without thinking of the connecting link. A, the moment preceding our birth, cannot be thought of as before B, the moment oi our birth, without thinking of the same
tion

cannot be thought ot
the

same Self

Self as

manner,

In the same present to both the events. all events or aerie^ of events in the world
of

necessary following the other in an irreversible order, and an eternal unchangeable Spirit must be thought of as the basis of this union, the Witness of
link,

must be thought
the one

as

bound together

in a

all

the events

included

in

this

unbroken

chain of

as without

phenomena. any absolute beginning and absolute end.

This chain, again, must be thought of

Particular series of events, for example the creation of particular sj ate in a pr the commencement of particular

8

114
cycles,

LECTURE IV

both beginning and end. Bat the whole cosmos as a single series can have neither a beginning nor an end. To say that it can have a beginning, an

may have

absolutely the first of all events, is to but no event, say that there was time before it, which is absurd and to say that it can have an
is
;

event which

absolute end,

is

to
it,

with time after
time,
said,

say that there can be an event but no event occurring in that

which also
"timeless

is

absurd

;

for, as

events"

and

haa already been "eventless times" are
the

necessary correlate to this beginningless and endless world-order is a timeless eternal Spirit which, not being any event or
phrases.

both unmeaning

Now,

series of events,

makes

all

events possible, and which,

not being identified with our perishing thoughts and feelings, is, at the same time, the basis of our conscious
life,

"Nityo'nitydnam chetanashchetanandm",

the Eternal

among

non-eternal

things,

the

Conscious-

ness of conscious beings.

Now,
sence
of
said.

the

God
It

been
tion

as the omniprefrom what has already directly has been shewn that in no act of percepas

omniscience

well

follows

do we know a mere object, "a mere object" being an abstraction, but that in every perception the whole
concrete Reality
sible

known

is

a subject-object, an indivi-

distinguishing itself from the object, comprehends it within its sphere of consciousness. When this necessary connection between
Spirit which, while
is subject and object is remembered, and when it also remembered that in every act of knowledge the

METAPHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES OF *OD

115

Objective Self manifests itself as our individual self with the objects or ideas necessarily and indissolubly related to it, then it is at once seen that,

the original Self there can be no such thing as either the appearance or disappearance of ideas, as
in

either
it.

coming to know something or ceasing to know Knowledge, to it, mast be thought of not as an

a series of acts, but as an eternal possession. in the According to the distinction well-known
act or

Vedanta Philosophy, we must conceive of the Supreme Self as not a jndnf, a knower, one whose knowbut jndnam, ing is an act, beginning and ending,
absolute knowledge itself. What we call perceptions or acts of knowing, then, are not acts of knowSelf, but are only partial maninature as subject-object, as Absolute In Spirit, in or as our knowledge, in or as our self. the same manner, the disappearance of objects from

ing to the

Supreme
of
its

festations

our conscious

life,

our acts

of

oblivion,

can never be

for

the disappearance of them from the Supreme Mind, objects are not alien realities to it, but are necessarily

related

to

its

self-consciousness.
is

Knowledge

or

perception, therefore, the individual self, that is, to that partial reproduction of the Supreme Self which each one of us calls
his

an act or event only to

particular

self

and

which we
a

identify

with

a

particular

sensory

and

particular

intellect.
is

To
not a

Original Self, knowledge Supreme, preceptive act, but an eternal timeless fact, forming its very essence. We indeed realise this eternal

the

116

LECTURE IV

essence in every aot of perception, but we see that in itself it is not an act. Now, these truths, though I
state

them

briefly

on account of the

shortness

of

time at our disposal, will be found, when you deeply think of them, to be indissolubly connected with our
self-consciousness,

and

not
data.

mere

inferences
will be

from

more

or

less

uncertain

They

found to

be substantiated by our daily

experience, in which

we
in

find that facts

Irom

our

objects, constantly disappearing individual experience and wholly submerged

and

the

hours

of

dreamless sleep, appear again aa
objects,

identical facts

and

suffused

all

over,

as

it

proving that, in our hours of forgetfulnese, they exist in the infinite and eternal Self which is at once the Self
of

were, with our

self-consciousness,

and thereby

the

universe and

our

inmost

Self,

the

life

and

support of every

finite soul.

The most primary revelation of God in the soul in Nature is, then, the revelation of an infinite, eternal Spirit all-comprehending, all-knowing and as the very trutfh of Nature and the life of every finite
and
being.
to us,

This,

1

say,

is

his

most primary revelation

proving what are
his
6

called

phers his

metaphysical attributes,

by western philosoand by our Vedantic
bis

philosophers
nature,
true,

svarupalaJcshanam\
infinite.

essential

Satyamjndnamanantam Brahma, God
knowing and the
his

as

the

the

We

have

yet

to consider

moral attributes, his relation to us as

having an ethical nature, and to see how the variousconspecial sciences-^physical, biological and moral

METAPHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
firm

117

the evidence which the

human

soul

and Nature,
as

as an object in

time and space, furnish us

to

the

Supreme Being. This latter subject I intend to take up in my fifth lecture. In the meantime I beg you
most earnestly to think deeply on the points dealt with in this lecture. You will find some of these treated
of

at considerable

length
its

in

my

Bengali

treatise

named Rrahmajijnasd,

English

translation,

and
Self

my Evidences of Theism. May the reveal himself to every earnest soul
!

Supreme

LECTURE V
Theistic Presuppositions of Science

We
reveal
this
in
it,

have seen
in

in

our fourth lecture
relation

how Mind

and Nature,
relation

their

as

a Conscious Unity which

at

subject and object, once constitutes
limitation

and transcends the

implied

and how our knowledge of time and space also involves the knowledge of an infinite and eternal Consciousness in relation to which all things in time and space exist, and which is also the inmost self ot all intelligent beings. The method we employed in
arriving at these truths is called the metaphysical the method of a science which claims to be the

science

of

all

sciences,
of
all
all

for

it

deals

with the fundathe
reality.

mental principles
ciples

special

sciences

prin-

underlying
in

knowledge
in
is

and
acts

As

we saw

the last lecture,
reality

all

of

knowing

the concrete

known

a

subject-object

Consciousness with objects necessarily related to it. In no act of knowing, as we saw, do we know a mere object unrelated to a subject or &

an indivisible

mere subject unrelated

to

an object, a

finite

subject

THE SCIENCES BASED ON ABSTRACTION

119

unrelated to the Infinite or a bare, colourless Infinite

without any relation to things finite. Now, it is this essential relation of the object to the subject and the
finite to

the Infinite which
to

it

is

the special province

show forth and on a practical Metaphysics recognition of which nil religion, truly so called, is based. But it will be seen that all special sciencesof

sciences

dealing with particular
of

things

or

particular

aspects

things
so far

are,

in

so

far as they retain their

they avoid dealing with the general principles of all sciences and do not intrude upon the subject-matter of other sciences, based
speciality, in

as

on an abstraction of this fundamental relation.

They

independent of a subject, and of finite intelligences as if they were distinct realities unconnected with one another and

speak of objects as

if

they were realities

independent

of
is,

the

Supreme

Intelligence or God.

This abstraction

indeed, necessary for the existence and elaboration of the special sciences. Their function
of

out the qualities and relations of special things would not be helped, but would rather be hampered, by constant references to metaphysical truths
finding

Supreme Reality of which they are parts or manifestations. But what is unfortunate is, that not only the unreflective and unscientific
to their relation to

the

mass, but many men of science also are not aware that the special sciences proceed upon an abstraction,

and that

really there

is

only one absolute science, the
or God,

science of the

Supreme Reality

and

all

special

sciences are

only ramifications of that

one absolute

120
science
all

LECTURE V

dealing with relative truths troths Unit rise into absoluteness only when they are looked at in Moat scientific the light of the one Absolute Truth.
the abstraction of objects from the Mind and of the finite from the Infinite as a real separation,

men mistake

and do not
sciences

feel the

need of rounding

off

the special

showing their necessary relation to They do not &ee Metaphysics ur Absolute Science.
by
that the knowledge imparted by the special sciences does not amount to real or absolute knowledge unless

knowledge of the one Absolute Reality which shines through all. Now, this
it

is

seen

in

relation

to

the

attitude of scientific

men

is,

in

these days, doing the

greatest

harm

to

religion.

The

world

is

happily
day.

growing more and
Scientific

more

scientific

day

after

methods, the

methods of

observation

and

generalisation, are being applied to all

Nature and Society.

Blind

departments of dependence on authority
in
all

is giving way to free and unbiased thought concerns of life. Religion, which was the last

human

concern to rest upon authority, is itself tending to become a science, and has already become so to some
choice minds.

But

to the great

majority of reflective

men

it is

not yet a science, and such

men seem

to

swing between two extremes. One portion seems still to be trying to feel after a foundation of faith independent of science, while the other has run to the
opposite dogmatism of supposing the special sciences as sources of absolute knowledge and of rejecting as eupenstition everything that does not come witbia their

CONCEPTION OF

'

SUBSTANCE

r

121

sphere. People of this class naturally look upon the truths of religion as no truths at all, and can be won

back over to religion only the principles which guide
so-called,

if

they can be shown that
thought, commonly
principles leading to need to be

scientific

are

not fundamental

true or absolute
re criticised
really

knowledge,

that they
this

and seen

in relation to principles
is

which are
it
is

fundamental, and that when
instead
religious
of

done,

seen that the sciences, instead of
indifferent to
religion,

being opposed
are

or

being sceptical or
really so

agnostic

as

regards

truths,

many revelations of God. This will be clear if we examine the basal conceptions of the various sciences, the fundamental principles which they take tor
granted
in

their

investigations

Nature and Mind. that these conceptions are really metaphysical and are
direct attestations or
religion.

phenomena of Such an examination will show
of

the

expressions

of

the truths of

Now, our proposed survey

of the

fundamen-

tal conceptions of science must necessarily be a very brief and hurried one, as it must be limited by the

limited scope of this lecture. But I think it will give you sufficient food for reflection and afford hints which,

developed by thought and study, will convince you that the agnostic or sceptical aspect of modern science is a false appearance, the result, not of true scientific
if

on the part ot scientific men, due rather to a circumscribed view ot the nature and requirements of science than to a truly
insight, but rather the

absence of

it

scientific vision of

Mind and Nature.

122

LECTURE V

Now, the
be

divided

sciences so far recognised as such may into three main groups, the Physical, the

Biological

and
and

the Moral.
sciences
;

In
as

the

first-mentioned

group

are

such

Geology

Astronomy

Physios, Chemistry, includes the second
;

Botany, Physiology, Zoology and the like
third comprises Psychology, Logic,
Politics,
in etc.

and the

Ethics,

Sociology,

The fundamental conceptions employed

the

physical

casuality
biological

group are those of substance, and reciprocal action ; those used in the are life and growth and those on which
;

the

moral sciences are based

are

individuality

and

social

show, by a brief examiunity. nation of these various conceptions, that they are
I

Now

shall

really metaphysical

and presuppose the fundamental
conception of suball changes are

truths of religion. Let us begin, then, with the
stance.

This

idea

implies

that

changes of something which remains unchanged and undiminiahed, that all changes are changes in form
or appearance, but

that what undergoes or presents

always identical with itself. For an example we need not go far. The book in my hand consists of materials which have gone through
the changes, remains

The paper it is made of assumed its present shape many transformations, and it may still go through many more. I might now, if 1 were

many

changes.

after

so

minded, put

it

into the fire of the light before me,

and

it would, in the course of a few minutes, be reduced to ashes. How great would be the change it

CONCEPTION OP
!

'

CAUSALITY

'

12$

would then undergo Both ita visible and tangible shape would be changed. Bat we should still believe
that the

substance of

which

remain quite undiminished in with itself. Even if we supposed the matter it consisted of to be so rarefied as to be invisible and
intangible,

composed would quantity and identical
it

is

we should

still

believe

it

to

remain un-

diminished in quantity
qualities.

and identical

in its essential

Now. what is that persistent element in it which under so many changes of form and apwe believe to b identical with itself ? It is pearance
plain that
it is

nothing
sense,

sensuous,
for

no presentation or
all its

appearance
all
its

to

we suppose
it
is

sensuous

appearances as changeable,

true

that,

under
it

changes

of

form,

we

still

ascribe to

the

essential quality of

occupying space and the power of offering resistance ; but as we cannot conceive space except as filled with visible or tangible materials, and

as the

power

of

offering resistance

is

nothing like the
the essen-

sensible state or feeling
tial
riot

we

call

resistance,

properties actually sensuous qualities. mere capability of presenting

we

ascribe

to

material substance are

We

conceive

it

as

a

conception of substance, therefore, goes beyond sense and beyond its proper method of observation and generaliNo sensuous experience and no amount sation.
science
of

under certain conditions, In using the ing sensuous qualities.

sensuous appearances and not as actually possess-

observation, however
;

vast and searching, can give

us the idea of substance

and yet no experience and

124

LECTURE V
is

DO observation

possible

without

it.

It

is

a pare,
itself
It

non-sensuous conception brought by the mind
to experience as one
is

of

its

essential

constituents.
of

in

fact a fundamental

principle

thought,
activity,

an

essential

form

of

the

mind's
existence

own
of

and

necessarily implies

the

manent
presents

Self.

It is

really the form in
to
itself.

a knowing perwhich the Self

changes
is

The

unchanged

or

unchangeable necessary correlate of change. An object cannot be conceived as changed and at the same time remaining identical with itself without

the

something in it being thought of as unchanged. But form as changing and substance as remaining unchanged again imply an unchangeable Consciousness to which they are presented in mutual correlation.
its

All

scientific

necessary Consciousness to
If

thought, therefore, involves, as eternal implication, the truth of an

which Nature
or

is

essentially related.

men

of science doubt
so far
fall

truth, they

profess ignorance of this short of true scientific insight

and prove themselves incapable of working out the their ultimate logical principles of science up to
issues.

This will be seen even more clearly

if

we examine

the conception of causality, the most important con-

The in scientific investigations. ception employed causal law is, that every change is related to something
from which
it
it

follows necessarily, that

is,

given which,

mast

follow.

Now,

it

would be going much beyond
the various theories

my

proposed

limits to discuss here

THE CAUSAL NEXUS
of causation

125

us

;

on the problem before but a brief discussion of at least two of them
their bearing
in

and

cannot be avoided
in

hand.

You

will

dealing with the special subject see that as it is not a thing consiin apace,

dered as permanently

but a change, something

that take? place in time,

that

we
it

are

called

upon to
to

account

for,

the cause

we seek must be
word*
itself

related

the

effect in time-, or in other
to the effect

must be antecedent
a change.
to

and therefore

have seen

in

the fourth lectur^,

As we must be every change
another change must be conceived

thought of as necessarily
botk before and after
of as
it,

related

and time

changes without any absolute That every change beginning and absolute end. must be thought of as the change of some substance
infinite series of

an

remaining identical with itself under all changes, we have already seen. That, the mere self-identity of a
changes, also clear. cannot account for any particular change, The self-identity of water is the general condition of its three states, liquid, solid and gaseous, but for this
is

substance, though the

generel condition of

all

very reason,
in

it

cannofc

account for any one of these

states in particular.

Their explanation we must seek other substances on water. The cause the action of

of a

of changes.

change must therefore be another change or series The theory that a true cause must be a
that properly

power, and the meaning

belongs

to

'power/ we
scientific
aff act

shall

discuss as
is

we

view of cause

a

proceed. The current change from which the
let

follows necessarily.

Now,

us see,

by an ex

126

LECTURE V
;

ample, what this necessity is derive this idea of necessity.

and

let us

ask whence we

If I set this

book on

fire,

yon

will see

tions.

going through a number of transformaThese transformations will follow one another
it

necessarily.

When

one has taken place, the second

must follow, and then the third must come after the second, and so on. Can you suppose that when I have
pet fire to one corner of this leaf, the fire

may

or

j.

ay

not travel farther, or
its thinning away the like may or

that the change of colour in it, and the loosening of its parts and

may

not take
follow.

place

?

You know

that these events must
necessity,
this

But

causal nexus which
is

this must, this binds one event

to another indissolubly,

just

what we do not per-

by any one event following

ceive

of our senses.

another.

the following of particular events, we may observe several

perceive is only Particular sequences, events by particular other

What we

times

in

our

life,

and

arrive at generalisations from such observation. But generalisations, however wide, do not amount to A sequence, however or account for necessity, constant, is not the same as a binding link between This binding link is supplied by the two events.

we may

Self in

us and the Self in nature.

The

Self, as the

conscious, non-sensuous and timeless witness of events, binds them together by the necessity which essentially

belongs to its thought, The determination of event by event is really their determination by the Consciousness
of

which events are manifestations.

Inspite of their
of the

apparent contingency, events, as

manifestations

GOD THE ULTIMATE CAUSE
one, self-identical Self, unchangeable

127
in character, are

themselves necessary, and present
their mutal relations.
in

this

necessity

in

The

necessity which we discover
is

the

causal

relation

really

the

self-identical

unchangeable character of the Self which manifests If the Self be itself in events and in their relations.

S and any two events, a and 6, then the judgment, 'fc is causally related, by determined by a', may be said to be really the judgsymbolically represented by

ment, 'Sb

is

determined by

a,'

or '8

is

determined by

&' What, on a

superficial view, appears to be the deter-

same nature, turns
scientific

mination of one purely sensuous event by another of the out, on a deeper and closer view, to
Self

be the determination of the

by the
of

Self.

What
and

men

call

the

uniformity

Nature,

adduce as the reason why the sequences observed by them as so far constant and varied must be absolutely
constant and invariable, is really the self- identical and unchangeable nature of the Self and the necessity by

which

the

fundamental

principles

of

thought

are

characterised.

Nature, abstracted from thought, cannot

but appear as contingent, and hence the failure of merely physical science to explain the necessity found
in the

laws discovered by it a necessity which, nevertheless, it assumes and which really constitutes the value of thnse laws. The progress of civilisation the
progress

made

in

agriculture,

medicine and

other

navigation, departments of life

hygiene, has all

proceeded upon our firm faith in the fixity of the laws of Nature ; and yet, if we interrogate Nature

1

28
reality

LECTURE V
independent of Mind, she really us why she should not be to-morrow quite-

herself as a

cannot

tell

from what she has been up to this time. But when we endeavour to understand her by light
different

festation

from within, when we look upon her as the maniof Spirit, we find that her fundamental laws,

which are really the fundamental laws of thought, cannot but be neceseary and unchangeable. We
thus
see

that

the

most important principle

of Physi-

cal Science, the

the revelation

of

law of universal causation, is really an eternal, unchangeable and selfin

determining Spirit
agnostic
or

Nature.
of

Science,
in

we

see,

is

ignorant

God only

its

lower

or

baser mood,

when
not

it

does

not fully

know

itself,,

when
look

it

does

fully
it

understand the fundamental

principles

upon which
its

fully at

own
it

proceeds. When made to face as reflected in the mirror

of true

Philosophy,

unavoidably
not to

becomes
of

theistie.

Even Physical Science,
sciences,

speak

the Higher

when

thus

made

self-conscious,

becomes

indistinguishable

from

Theology
a

or the

Science of

God.

Now, we
just

shall

find

confirmation

of

what has

been said

in a particular

theory of causation which

by some Natural Theologians the last fifty years or so, and of England during which has been used with much effect in recent
has been
of

made much

Brahma

literature.

You

will

find
in
I,

this

theory

ex-

pounded with much

fullness
pt.

Babu Nagendran&th
and
in

Ch&tturji's Dharmajijndsd,

my

Boots of

WILL
faith.
in

AJ3

POWER
and
in

129

It

is

expounded
tract

briefly

a popular form

my

little

named Chintdkanikd.
of

The theory
as really

will,

interprets the scientific conception and holds that unconscious
is

force

or

non conscious

force
brief

an impossibility.

1 have

statement

of the theory,

brief

recently given a and at the same

clear r a I could make it in a little book named The Religion of Brahman. I think that statement will serve our purpose as well as any fresh one

time as

that I could give now.
II,
is

I

quote from

p.

11,

Chapter

of

the book

:

"We

have seen that

self- intuition

involved in perceiving, thinking, feeling and acting. We shall consider its relation to acting somewhat more fully and see what we learn from it about God.
It will

be seen, when the relation of our actions to our minds is thought upon, that our minds are not
only their knowers, but also
1

their

originators.

When
action

keep owes

attend, my attention fixed upon
its

for

instance,

to

the
it,

book before me, and
I find that the

origin

to

me.

The
before

same

fancy image, say, of a tree or a house, change it as I choose, and at last dismiss it from my thoughts.

when

I

hold

my

thing happens mind's eye the

on power is exercised when, being a train of troublesome thoughts or a oppressed by painful image, I draw away my mind from it and When, from purely internal get rid of the pain. we come out to those in which we come into actions,
similar

A

contact with external objects,

we

see the
I
lift

though with a difference.
9

When

same thing, up one of my

130
hands, the at any rate
volition

LECTURE V

movement
its

certainly
to

owes
;

its
it

origin,

initiation,

me

bnt

is

only

my
my
;

or aot of willing which comes oat directly

from me.
volition,

For the motion of
I

my hand

to follow

a number of nerves and

muscles must be

moved on which
for
if

seem

to

have no direct command

cause, as

my

stiffened by paralysis or some other sometimes are, I see I cannot move they limbs. As, however, under ordinary circum-

they are

stances,

I

find

my hand
to

following

my

wishes, I must

think that

my
1

volitions are,

communicated
So,

by some mysterious means, the motory nerves and muscles,
aside

when

act on objects external to
I

for instance,

push

the

body, when, book before me, the

my

change surely owes its origin to me ; but my power in the case is exercised through the medium of my hand and the apparatus by which it is moved. Now,
it

should be seen that, in

all

such cases, something

that was not,

be old

;

comes to be. The objects moved may the images formed in the mind may be those
or
;

of existing objects

combinations of such objects but whether combinations or movements, or their mere

reproduction and dismissal, to whatever terms the new, something changes are reduced something is fpund in the phenomena. Here, then, is original,

a wonderful power possessed by the human mind, it is no less a power than that of creating, of bringing existence out of non-existence. This power we call
the will.
It
is

the

mind

itself in

an active
powers

state.

It

depends, evidently,

on two other

those of

FORCE A MERE ABSTRACTION

131

knowing and desiring. The object to be moved mast be known beforehand. A change, either on an external object or on the mind itself, must, previously to its being produced, be thought of and desired. Will, therefore, is necessarily conscious and intending. An unconscious and unintending will is an absurdity.

"Now, having in us this power of originating changes, we cannot but think of such a power behind the changes which we see taking place around us.

We

our fellow-beings as possessing the same we endow the lower animals with it and we power ; people what we call inanimate Nature with innumerable powers, and trace all natural changes to them*
believe
;

with the complex machinery which keeps them alive, as the seats of a oflorgans Power not our own and we can imagine no departconceive our bodies,
;

We

ment

of

Nature,

neither

air,

table world, the sun, the moon, some guiding power or other.
in primitive

water, fire, the vegenor stars as without

Now,

it

is

seen that
civilized

men, and even

in the children

of

nations,

associated

the power of originating changes is invariably To the with knowledge and intention.
savage, evc^y object, at any rate every is the seat of a personality. Even
forefathers, Indra, Vfiyu, the powers which cause the phenomena

unthinking
to our

striking object,

advanced

Vedio

Yaruna, Agni

of rain, air, water and fire were so many persons who could be addressed and propitiated by their worshippers. And even our own children kick, as
conscious offenders,

the objects

which hart

them*

132

LECTURE V
learnt
to

But we, who have
have,

think

methodically,

power of scientific generalisation, reduced all powers in Nature to one single Power. Further, by a process of abstraction, we have denuded the power of originating changes of its necessary accompaniments of knowledge and intention, so that it is no more mil to us, but only an abstract quality

by

oar

lying at the

root

of

all

change.

In

coming
of

to

this-

way

thinking, are right, as the

of

we have both gained and
modern discoveries
so far

lost.

We

science and
activities

philosophy
in

tell us, in

as

we
if

trace all

Nature to one single source.
it is

We

in seeing that

inconvenient,
in

are also right not quite incorrect,
volition.
so,

to call every

change
in in

Nature a Divine
if is

But
that
or
is

we

are

wrong
in

thinking,

we
an

actually do
actual

an abstraction
separation

thought

division

reality,

that a power of origination

possible without thought and intention. Men speak of force as something other than mil and credit it with

change in Nature, not thinking that though we find convenient to speak of force as an abstract quality, we can form no clear notion of it in our minds apart
all
it

from knowing and intending will. "The fact is, that if we were left only with our sensuous perceptions and sensuous images, without the

power of looking within and watching the workings of our minds (if such a state of existence were possible), we should have no idea of originating power or force ;

and

for us

causal link to

change would follow change without any connect them. Force or the power of

DESIGN IN ORGANISMS
origination
is

133
smellable,

neither

visible,

audible,

tasteable nor tangible

; anything of which a sensuous image can be formed in the mind. It is a power of the mind, and is known only by self-intuition,

nor

is

it

and

self-intuition reveals

it

as

dependent on knowledge
existence in

and

desire.
is

If, therefore,

its

the external

be believed, it must be conceived there as having essentially the same nature as it possesses in us. We may altogether dismiss the idea of an originato

world

ting power in Nature, thinking it to be an illegitimate projection in Nature of a purely internal experience
the

experience of an originating will, and try to satisfy ourselves with a view of Nature as a series of

changes following one another without any causal link. This is what consistent Sceptics like Hume and Cotnte
tried to do,
ful

in

though we do not think they were successrooting out such a fundamental intuition as the

intuition of
in

power from their minds. But if changes Nature are at all to be referred to power, it must
be

necessarily

conceived

as

a

Supreme
Mind.

T/Vill,

a

knowing, intending acting thought helps us in feeling the nearness of God
realising

and

How

this
in

him

as

living and acting incessantly
of

in

and

out of us, the reader will think for himself."
as
to the

Now,

about

reciprocity, causality applies so well to
it

principle

everything said it, that I consider

a separate treatment of

as unnecessary. to the

Coming

next, then,

Biological

Sciences,

we

find that, as in the

sciences are

agnostic

case of the Physical, these not in so far as they are

l34t

LECTURE V
but rather
sciences.
in BO far as

scientific,

they atop short of
as

being

real

Inasmuch

these sciences

are material bodies,

the objects of they are indeed

perfectly justified in applying mechanical principles, the principles of substance and causality, the laws of

matter and motion, to them.

And we have
understood,

seen that
lead ua

even these

principles,

rightly
as

much
stops.
its

farther

than where ordinary Physical Science
organic, requires,
different
for

But organic matter,

proper explanation, principles very mechanical. It is the teleological principle, the of final cause or design, which alone can principle
the
explain organism,

from

with

its

functions of
says,

life,

generation

and growth.
can
say

As Kant

truly

with

certainty,

will

"No Newton, we ever rise to make

intelligible to us, according to mechanical causes, the germination of one blade of grass. 9 Life is a mystery and will ever remain a mystery to the mere

mechanist, to him

who

carefully

excludes

design

from the explanation of the products of Nature. Let us take, for instance, the most prominent characteristic of life,
its

power

of sustaining

itself.

Inorganic

products grow by accretion, of one part to another, by
another.

by the external addition one force acting upon

vegetable or an animal germ, on the other hand, sustains itself by its own power. External matter is indeed added to it, but this addition
is
IB

A

due to

its

own

internal power.

In

its

case,

addition

not mere accretion, as in inorganic objects, but assimilation, the turning of external matter to its own

MECHANISM DOES NOT EXPLAIN ORGANISM
use by the
tion
itself

inherent power of the germ. This assimilaa most wonderful process, and is is

inexplicable
^election,

on

mechanical

principles.

It
it.

involves

Every germ assimilates just those materials which favour its growth into the product to which it tends, which is the end of its process of growth and every finished
;

which directly

carries purpose with

organism
while in

assimilates

just

what
else.

is

required for
then,

its

sustenance,

and nothing
case
effect,

And

the

of

inorganic

matter

secondly, the cause

determines the
the

present organic matter

the parts determine the whole, determines the future, in the case of
it
is

the

effect

which determines the

cause, the whole which determines the parts, and the iuture which determines the present. The seed grows
into the tree,
fruits
of

with trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and

members which, in their turn, sustain the life tree and contribute to the production of seeds for the perpetuation of its kind. The animal
the whole

germ grows into the finished animal body, with its complex system of organs, each devoted to a particular function and all contributing to the life and repro duction of the whole. In such instances, we see that what comes last, the completed organism with
its

various functions,

is

potentially contained in the

seed or
of
life

the germ and determines its whole process and growth. But this potential or determinant

existence of the effect in the
else

cause can

mean nothing

than

this,

determines or works in the cause.

that the idea or design of the effect Either say this

136

LECTURE v

organic phenomena explains nothing. Now, Biological Science avoids teleology or design just in so far as it ignores this fact of the determination of the present by the future, this
relation
Its

or your explanation of

of

means and ends
in

success
is

doing

in organic phenomena. without the principle of final
it is it

causes

only in so far as
as

Science, only inasmuch

assimilated to Physical tries to show that the

growth

and

reproduction
refuse to be

organisms
in

can

be

explained by principles

employed
unity
of

the latter.

But

organic phenomena
nical

principles. relation of its parts as
its

The

explained by mechaan organism, the

power

of

means and ends to one another, and producing itself, are sustaining
on
mechanical
fail

phenomena
accidents.

which,

principles,

are
or-

Such principles

to

show that an

ganism is a necessity. Inorganic nature, as it is, may be shown to be the necessary result of the fundamental
laws of matter and motion.

But

this

necessity breaks

down show

in the case of organic nature.

These laws

fail to

why

organisms

are what

they are and

not

otherwise.

organisms are

So far as they are concerned, therefore, mere accidents, or in other words, they

by mechanical laws and demand a different explanation. If one or two organisms arose here and there in Nature, they might be set down
fes

are inexplicable

accidental effects

of

mechanical

laws.

But

as

by themselves, arising with a constancy and regularity as steady at least as the laws of physical sequence, they clearly defy the

they constitute a realm

DESIGN IN INORGANIC NATURE

l.'*7

power of these laws to explain them. The constant and regular rise of the roost complex and intricate systems, in which their complexity is co-ordinated to unity, in which the parts exist for the whole and the whole for the parts, in which the parts, organs
or members are related as means
another, can

and ends

to one

be explained only by purpose. Exclude from its explanation, and the whole affair purpose wears the aspect of an accident. But the very
is

essence of accident

irregularity.

When
it

something
passes out

happens with an invariable constancy, of the category of accidents, and

its

constancy
case of

demands

a

rational

explanation.
this

In

the

organic phenomena, be anything but purpose.

explanation cannot The very nature of organism,
rational

as

mechanical mere makes explanation unsatisfactory and irrational. As mere phenomena, mere events in time, all phenomena,
already
described,

including human actions, are subject to the laws of universal causation. But so far as the actions of

human beings are related to one another, they demand a higher determination, a higher explanation

than

the

They require
free-will.

further to
is

the merely physical, mechanical, be ascribed to purpose and the case

Similar

with the

phenomena

of

organic very nature proves a higher determination than that by merely physical causes. They have to be traced to the designing
nature.
of

Their

will

latter

case

a Being above is not a bit

Nature.
less

The proof

in

the

strong than in the former.

138
If

LECTUBB V

our fellow-beings by examining the nature of their actions, not less surely
the
of
will

we

know

minds

do we know Mind

You

find
in

this

Nature by the same method. point clearly put and dwelt on at
in

some length
illustrations

Babu Nagendranath
I,

Cbaturji's

majijnasd, pt.

where you
in

will

also find

Dharnumerous

of design

Nature.

Dr. James Marti-

neau's Study o/ Religion is also a very helpful book on the Design Argument. I content myself with a
brief statement of the
to

argument

in

the

way

I

conceive

be the best and pointing out its place in the system I of Theistio Evidences. think that, from the standpoint
of

science,

it

is

organic nature which directly
its

calls for the teleological principle as

only rational
it

explanation
the
real

;

and
of

I

have,

therefore, exhibited

as

basis

the

biological sciences.

But

we

have now to see that even according to the

scientific

method
also.

this principle

is

applicable to

inorganic

matter

In a
its

nism,

various

broad sense, the whole world is an orgaanother as parts related to one

means and ends and all serving the purposes of life and mind. The teleological nature of what we call inorganic matter becomes evident if we see its relation
to

organic beings.

Air

in

itself,

for

instance,

may
it

seem to be

purposeless,
;

to

be explicable by mere
fails

chemical laws

but chemistry
its

to
life

explain

when we contemplate
vital

relation to

beings. functions

Is the relation

of air

to the lungs

and living and the
f

of

animals merely

fortuitous

Can
this

any mechanical laws

even

remotely

explain

PSYCHOLOGY BASED ON ABSTRACTION
relation
?

Does any conceivable explanation

satisfy

Reason except the one that ascribes the relation to Design ? The same remark applies to the relation of
light to the eye, of
to the

sound to the

ear, of

food and drink

in fact to the relation of organs, nature as a whole to organic beings. Is this inorganic relation, with the various ends of organic beings

digestive

systematically
If it

served

by

it,

accidental, purposeless ?

cannot be explained by the laws of matter and motion with which the physical sciences deal, it mnst
be either accidental or purposive ; and as the first of these suppositions is excluded by the constant and systematic nature of the relation in question, the only
rational
of

explanation
to

of

it

is

that

it is

due to the

will

a

conscious,

intending

Being

of

transcendent

power and wisdom
inorganic,
is

whom Nature,
and

both org. nio and

We

now come
the

subject. to the third

sciences,

mental

and moral.

group of the The abstraction on
last

which the inductive sciences, as at present conceived,
are

based,

is

The science
granted,
if

of

nowhere so patent as in this final group. mind, as at present taught, takes for
as

a supposition, that the individual mind can be known and made the subject matter of science the Infinite Mind. To many apart from

only

writers

on Psychology, this supposition is unfortunately not a mere supposition, but a dogma, an agnostic creed which they undertake to defend with elaboarguments.

rate

To many

others,

it

is

a convenient
theological

plea for avoiding discussions,

more or

less

140

LECTURE V

or metaphysical, in which they feel no interest and on which they do not like to pronounce any judgment. Yet the truth is that these writers, almost at every

turn in their treatment of their science, make statements and admissions which are nothing but disguised
confessions
of
faith
in

the Infinite

Mind.

In

my

fourth lecture, I have already shown, by an analysis of knowledge, that we cannot know the subject or the object, the individual or the universal soul, in
abstraction from

each other, and that in every act of
reality

knowing
object,

the concrete

known

is

a subject-

a spirit which has both a finite and an infinite aspect, and which is both our own self and the self of the universe. On the present occasion, I shall particularly

very
there
facts,

draw your attention to what may be called the fundamental assumption on which Empirical
is

Psychology
is

based,

the assumption,

a

sub-conscious
ideas,

region

in

which

namely, that mental

sensations,

they

are

judgments, etc., exist when absent from our consciousness, the con-

acioussness of individuals.

Yon

will see that Psycholo-

gy cannot do without
dual,

this assumption.

In the indivi-

knowledge shines

moment

we

have

stock of ideas.

command of The rest of our
already
of

only intermittently. Every only a very small
ideas,

those even

which we have
in

acquired,

remain

behind,

from background which they -come to light and in which they disappear again and again. Our mental life resembles a basin erected round a perpetual spring, a basin in which
consciousness,

the

our

MERE INDIVIDUALITY AN ABSTRACTION
the water rises

141
it

and

collects awhile,

and from which

again disappears, repeating this process continually. It resembles such a basin rather than a canvas on

which images are permanently painted and are always In profound, dreamless sleep, as yon know, visible. even our conscious life becomes a perfect blank,
self-consciousness,

the

basis

of

all

other forms of

suspended. Now, here is the difficulty of Psychology as a mere empirical science, as a science of mere phenomena and their laws.
consciousness,

being

professedly treat of their objects without any reference to the relation which they may have to the mind. Not so Psychology. Its very
object
is

Other sciences

consciousness.

It

professes

with

conscious

phenomena

and

to deal only the laws of their

combination and association.

And

yet

these

pheno-

mena are found

to be only fitful visitants of the field

which Psychology traverses the field of individual Ever and anon they disappear from consciousness.
this
field

and enter a region of which
to

this science, a&

at present conceived,

professes nothing. consciousness is indeed a perfect blank region beyond science of consciousness. to the Conscious pheno-

know

A

mena, when they cease to be conscious, are indeed nothing to mental science properly so called, and the

modern science
would

the mind, if it were consistent, be speechless about conscious phenomena as
of

soon as they left the region of individual consciousness. But in that case it would cease to be a science, and
so,

naturally enough,

it

does not like

to

commit

142
suicide
in

LECTUHE V
ibis

fashion.

Henoe
itself.

it

lives,

and

lives at

the oost of consistency with
cious

It

speaks of

cons-

becoming unconscious, existing phenomena of sub-consciousness and emerging from in a region
again
is

it

as

self-same

conscious

phenomena.

But
and

this

so
it

much pure nonsense, seeming
is

to be sense,

because
writers
certain

continually

spoken

by

thinkers

who can think clearly and write cleverly on things, but who lack the deepest and the

into things of the mind. The fact is, be the only consider your individuality to you thing you know, and think that you know nothing

truest insight
if

of

* universal,

ever-waking, all-knowing
is

Mind
to

in

which

your

individuality
to

contained,
as

then,

be

consistent;,

you ought

say,

soon as a mental
consciousness,
it is

fact passes out of your
it

individual

that

has entirely ceased to be, and that
it

impossible

for

to revive or re-appear.

When,

for instance,

you

forget this lecture hall, ycu should say that the idea perishes once for all and any recurrence or return is impossible for it. In losing it, you lose, as it were, a
part of yourself, a part of your conscious life, for it is suffused with or constructed by your self-consciousconsciousness exhausts yonr individual mental life, you cannot imagine your lost idea your as hidden in a corner of your mind for a while and coming back to light again. The only consistent
ness.

As

-course of thinking for you, then,

when you forget yonr idea, that it is lost irrecoverably. Whatever ideas may enter yonr mind after its loss can
is

to think,

RELATION OP PSYCHOLOGY TO THEOLOGY

143

be only fresh, new ideas, belonging to a different period of time and therefore numerically different

But you know that you cannot keep up After the lapse of a few moments consistency. or after a few hours oblivion, the idea of the hall re-appears to your mind, and you know surely that it
phenomena.
this
9

is

You

the same idea that occurred to your mind before. find that it is suffused, pervaded or constructed

through and through, with your self the self which knew it before and persists till now, that it is the lost part of your self which is come back. But it
could not come back unless
that
it
it

existed during the time

And

in

was absent from your individual consciousness. what other form could it exist than in a
form
is

conscious

as

an idea

?

An

idea

existing un-

thought

of

any can

be.

plain a contradiction in terms as You are therefore forced to admit that

as

your individuality

your conscious
itself, is

life

moment

after

moment
but
that

is

not sufficient in

not self-subsistent,
life,

your

ideas,

your

whole conscious

must be contained in a Mind which indeed is essentially one with what you call your individual mind, but which is higher than your individuality, for it never forgets anything and never sleeps. Now, it has always seemed to me rather strange, ladies and
gentlemen, that this
individual

mind

is

namely, that the net self-sustained, but lives, moves
plain
fact,

and has its being in the Universal Mind a truth which was so plain to the rishis of the Upanishadx
thousands of years ago, should be obscure and incom-

144

LECTURE V

! prehenaible to modern psychologists of the West. the great American rejoice to see, however, that Professor James, has recognised thispsychologist,

truth so far, in his

reoent lectures on
to

Varieties of

Religious Experience, as

admit the existence of a

very large and sleepless mind behind every individual mind. He seems yet incapable of feeling his way
to

the doctrine of an indivisible infinite
all finite

Mind

as the
this

support of

minds,

though he speaks

of

I cannot but entertain doctrine with great respect. the hope that Psychology, in the near future, will

see

its

true

nature as a

science and be again, as
to Theology have said is, as

it

once was, the hand-maid of Theology. Now, the relation of Psychology
a very large subject, and what were, only a drop from the
allotted to

is

I

it

ocean.

But

the time
I

me

is

over,

and

I

must stop here.

must

forego the pleasure of speaking, on the present occasion, of the religious implications of the social and ethical sciences, specially as I must deal, at somelength, with, the
ethical

basis
in

of

ethics
of

and the nature
the

of

moral perfecspeaking judgments the Holy Spirit be with us in the tions of God. May arduous task still before us and lead us to the truth
it is

as

in

him

!

LECTUEE VI
Relation of Brahmaism to

Monism and Dualism
first

You have heard

in

my

lecture

that Br&h-

maism, as taught by Rajti Rammohan Ray, was Vedantio Monism of the Sankarite type. I have
also

told

you that Maharshi Devendranath Thakur,

though a sincere admirer of the Upanishads, did not derive his Theism from them, but was, both before
and
so

after

his study

of

the

UpanisJiads,

an

Intui-

tionist

Dualist of type of the
as
his

far

also seen,

philosophy was concerned. from a hurried sketch of the

Scotch philosophers, We have
stages
of

thought through which Brahmananda Keshavchandra passed, that originally an Intuitionist Dualist of the

same

type

as

the

Maharshi, he developed in his

something like a modified Vedantist, Lastly, you have seen how, in the latest phase of the Brahmaism of the S&dh&ran Br&hma Samdj, there
latter years into

has

appeared

a

species

of

Monistic Theism allied

both to Yedantism and the
these
facts

Absolute

Idealism

of

Now, ECtrope, doctrinal history of the Brahma Samaj will convince you, if any doubt were at all possible, that Brhma10

connected

with

the

146
iem,

LECTURE
as

VI

a doctrine,

is

historically

connected

with

both philosophical Monism and philosophical Dualism, and that a series of lectures on the Philosophy
of
of

Brahmaism
in

cannot

ignore
is

its

relation

to

either

these doctrines.
the
to

There

a tendency in certain

quarters
of

Br&hma

Brahmaism

Monism.

ftamaj to ignore the relation There are some who go

so far as to deny that Ram mob an Ray was a Vedantist on the ground that he taught the necessity oi

worshipping God, as the worship of God.

if

Vedantism

did

not

teach

There are others who say that the have been whatever may views of Raja R&mmohan Ray, and whatever the teachings of the

Vedanta may be, Brahmaism has, since the Raja's time, become dualistic and has no essential relation to Monism. Now, it will be found, that those who
say so -are men who have never sought any philoiaith their in God, who sophical foundation for

have received
has come

blindly
to

down

and uncritically the belief that them from their ancestors or

imbibed
they
live

it

from the religious atmosphere in which and move. At the best, they have found
their
belief

confirmations of

only
built

in

the

current

Natural Theology of the
design
in

day,

on evidences of

Nature,
of their
it

and

experiences

ethical

such believers

may

the uncritical perhaps and spiritual life. For indeed be difficult to see
in

what

Br&hmaism have may possibly with Monism,- in what the sense Creator and the created, the Worshipped and the worshipper
relation

RECONCILIATION NECESSARY

147

may

The thought of such oneness may even seem impious to them and positively repel them. But very different is the case with one who
be one.
dives deep into

the evidences

of the Divine existence
has,

and perfections.
Divine soul as
to see their

For

him who
thought

from the very

beginning of his faith,

of the

human and

the

mutually exclusive, it may be difficult hidden unity, but for him to whom every
Divine existence
as
is

evidence of the

reveals
to

the finite

and the
his
in

Infinite

essentially

related,

whom

no

revelation of

separable from a revelation of own innermost self, to such a one. I say, Monism, some form or other, is not merely a theory or

God

hypothesis
stern,

which may or may not be true, but a inexorable fact which has to be reconciled, by
of philosophical thinking,
life.

a process

with the Dualism

implied in spiritual and practical how a Monist like Sankara, to

People wonder
there
is

only one Being without a second, should be blind to the
differences

whom

which are
hand,
to

so patent to

the other

those

common sense. On who have attained to the
see
in

standpoint from
unity,
it

which Sankara looks at the Divine
difficult to

appears differences themselves

what sense these

may

be true, consistently with

the unity and infinitude of God. You will see, then, that the apparently conflicting claims of Monism and Dualism are worth the study of every thoughtful
theist,

and that

if

Br&hmaism

is

to

be the creed not

only of the uncritical believer,

contented with the

joys and consolations of unthinking and unquestioning

148
faith,

LECTURE VI
but also of the
of the

philosophical thinker,

from
reli-

whom none

difficulties

gious thought are

hidden,

it

and intricacies must show, if

of
it

can,,

how unity and difference are reconciled in of God to the world and to the human soul.
Let us
see,

the relation

then,

how
be

far

and

in

what way

this

reconciliation

can

effected.

Those

who

have

followed the discussion in seen

my
true

fourth lecture must have

how very remote

Theism

is

Dualism, the doctrine which regards Nature, God as three seperate entities cognizable
distinct
in

from popular Mind and

by three
mind mind

faculties

of

the

mind.

We

have seen that

every act of perception we know matter and correlated as subject and object, and that the
thus
that

known
is,

is

known both
in

as subjective

and objective,
finite

both

the

body and
itself

in objects external to

the body.

We

have also seen that a mere
either

mind

could not

the world, but that in knowing the limitations of space and time the self cannot now knows itself to be above them.
or

know

We

resume the discussion which led us to these conclusions, but must take them for granted and make them the starting points of that into which we are to launch
to-day.

The

self of

the world and what
saw,

we

call

our

own

self are,

as

we

essentially the same.
is,

The
that
as

very condition of our knowing Nature

we

see,

she must reveal herself in correlation with our

self,

comprehended within the sphere of our own consciousness. The Universal Self can be truly known

by us only when

it

manifests

itself

as

our

own

self.

ABSTRACT AND CONCRETE INFINITE

149

What
merely
belief,

is

popularly called
so

the

much

inference,

knowledge of God is good or bad, or mere
received.

implicitly

and
is,

to

know Nature

uncritically therefore, to

know her
is

as

Really one

with God, and really to know one's But it as one with the Supreme Self.

self is to

know
this

not this so
if

much unalloyed Pantheism
is

or

Monism, and
1

Bruhmaism,
of

is

it

not identified
?

with the Absolute
confess

Monism
rational

ankarchrya

must

that

and philosophical Brahmaism is very different from popular Brahmaiam, though there is an essential unity between them, and that if popular Dualistic

Br&hmaism had any exclusive right to the name it Brahmaism had better take a bears, philosophical name. But the history of the Brahma different
Samaj shows that neither the one nor the other has an exclusive right to the name. If Dualistic Br&hmaism has been and is still believed in by far the
largest number of members of the Br&hma Samaj, as could not but be the case, seeing that philosophical

speculation is confined to only a few even in the most Monistic form of Brahmaism refined societies, the

more correctly represents,
of

on the

other hand,

the

views of the founder of the Brahma Samaj and those whom he called himself a follower, those rishis

and dchdryas who first used the words 'Brahman' and 'Brahma' and gave them their peculiar connotations. However, the fact is that the Theism presented in the discussion referred to, the Theism at which we arrive by an analysis of our experience, our

150

LECTUKE VI
time and space, ia not even in all identified,
views of Sankarachftrya
close

knowledge of matter, mind, an Absolute Monism, not
essential

points,

with

the

and

his

followers.

and which

see

what
it

whether

quarters the analysis of knowledge discloses, testifies to a bare, abstract Infinite for

Let us come to

the

Infinite in

Monist stands, or a concrete which Nature and finite souls have a distinct
Absolute

though subordinate place. In my fourth lecture, in which such an analysis was undertaken, I was specially

showing that Nature and Mind bear immediate testimony to an Infinite, Eternal and
concerned
in

Omniscient
in

Being.
in

That
unity

Man
and
in

and

Nature
with
I

exist

correlation

difference
all

the
said,

Infinite,

was indeed
is

for

this

as

much

implied a disclosure

that

of the

analysis of

knowledge as the existence of the Infinite itself. Let me now accentuate the finite aspect of Reality,
an aspect which was necessarily left without emphasis in that lecture, This can be done with reference to

any piece

knowledge whatever, for instance, our knowledge of the note-book in my hand. The deeper truths of religion need not be sought in out-of-the-

of

way

in the heights of mountains or in the places, depths of the sea. They lie scattered about us and may be seen anywhere, if there is only an eye to see them. What do we know, then, in knowing this

book

y

As we have already
in

seen,

we know
is

it

in in-

dissoluble relation to a self which

both

in

our

bodies and

the

book.

The knowledge

of the

book

THE FINITE DISTINCT FROM THE INFINITE
is

151

the revelation of a
it is

self

which

sense that
in

the object, it, comprehended in the sphere of and subjective in the sense that it
in

objective in the or rather the object is
is

its
is

consciousness,

what we
also

call

our

own

self.

This

self

is,

we have

seen,

above

and time. In this space distinguishing book from other objects, in knowing the limitations of space, it shows itself to be unspatial, above space
limitations.

In knowing the distinction of events, for
it

instance, the appearance of this book to our senses, and
its

disappearance from them,

shows

itself to

be above

have time, without beginning and without end. also seen that to the universal, objective Self, there is
no appearance and disappearance of objects, as there is in itfl manifestation as our individual self, for really there are no mere objects, objects always existing in
indissoluble
relation
to

We

the

original

Self,
is

which

is,

therefore, necessarily all-knowing.

Now,

thus briefly sketched absolutely monistic ? seems to be so inasmuch as it allows neither Nature

the system It indeed

nor the individual soul any independent existence. If the denial of independent existence to Man and Nature
is

Monism, pure and simple, Monism is the only true system possible, and Dualism has no place in correct

But the fact is that though Man religious thought. and Nature are denied any independent place in the system set forth above, they are not denied a real and
distinct

place

therein.

Returning

to

the book in

my

hand,

we must
of
it

knowledge

see that, though the analysis of our discloses its indissoluble relation to

152 the self which
is

LECTURE VI
at once our

own

self

and the

self of

the world, that analysis does not by any means merge the existence of the object in the self. In knowing

the object, the self sees both difference from it. The object is,

its

unity

with and

indeed,

inseparable
it.

from the subject, but it object is in space and
space, and
is

is

also

distinct
:

from
self

The
above

is

limited

tbe

is

Jn other words, the object is both qualitatively and quantitatively exclusive of other it is white and therefore different from objects
unlimited.
:

objects not white

;

it is

small

and

different from large

objects;

it is

here and
not

excludes

those

that are there.

The

self

does

admit of these distinctions, but

includes all in
indivisible

its all-comprehending grasp, remaining and un differenced all the same. Again, This book may objects undergo innumerable changes. go through a hundred transformations in the course of an hour. In idealistic language, the transformations

could

be

described

as

sensuous
or

or

mental
the

changes,

changes

in

the

manas

vijndnam,

But by no stretch of imagination understanding. or language could they be described as changes in the transcendental Self, the is Self which above the five kashas, 'pancha-kosha-vilakshancf, whose
knowledge
consists
ot

eternal,

We

are

therefore
or

of a material
inseparable

compelled to world objective
the

unchangeable ideas. admit the existence
distinct
spirit.

though

from

world of

We

are

compelled to recognise a world to which the conceptions of space and time, quality and quantity, substance and

ERROR OF ABSOLUTE MONISM
.attribute,

153

cause and effect, apply in contradistinction from the world of spirit, to which these conceptions

do not apply.

Here Absolute Monism,
fails us.

like that of the

experience is It sees enough to detect the It sees that Nature is not error of popular Dualism. independent of God, that it has only a relative and not
great Sankara, baiting and one-sided.
analysis

Its

of

an absolute existence.

This relative existence

it

inter-

prets as non-existence. Agreeing with popular thought in thinking that absolute existence is the only form of
existence,
finds
it

denies
it

existence to

Nature as soon as

it

out that
in the

sharing

to difference,

Again, mistake that unity is opposed popular not knowing that unity and difference
it

has no absolute existence.

are both implied in relation,
distinct
in

denies
it

that
is

Nature

is

from God when

it

sees that

one with him

There
to
is

the sense of being indissolubly related to him. is, therefore, to it only one existence unrelated

any other existence.

The one absolute

exsistence

above space, time, quality, quantity, cause and effect, without any relation to anything in space and
anything admitting of quantity and quality, The anything under the law of cause and effect.
time,
latter

order of

existence

is

only

appearance,

the

result of

ignorance, and has no reality to knowledge Such Monism does not see properly so called.

that the Absolute,

the

Spaceless,

the Timeless, the

Unchangeable, necessarily implies a world of space, time and change, and is inconceivable and unmeaning
without the
latter.

Absolute Monism, therefore, such

154
as

LECTURE VI
denies

the

real

existence of the world of time and
see, in

space, has no place, we

the Theism which a
to us.

correct analysis of

Let us now
point of the
of

knowledge reveals come to the far
of

more

important
analysis

relation

man

to

God.

The

knowledge indeed discloses essentially the same self in the object and the subject. The self which

knows
The
world
Self

this
in

book, for instance,
condition
of

is

the

same that
the

is

revealed

every part and quality of

object.

very
is,

of

our knowing the objective as we have seen, that the objective Self, the the world, should manifest itself as our
in other words,
itself

subjective self, or that,
self

should

discover

in

the

the subjective objective world.
this

But the point to be particularly noticed here is fact of manifestation and all that it implies.
have seen that the Self
is,

We

in

its

ultimate essence,

one, indivisible, above space and time, all-comprehensive and omniscient. For it there is no change,

no

appearance and disappearance of objects, no passing from ignorance to knowledge. For it knowis

ledge
It
is

not an act,

but

an

eternal

fact or essence.

not the subject or agent of knowledge, not a jndnin in the literal sense of the term, but jndnam, an eternal subject object. For knowledge itself,

such a Reality, revelation or manifestation, knowing or being known, which is such a fatniliar fact to us, seems
to be a mystery.

should such a Being know at a particular time when he is eternally knowing, and by whom shall he be known when all knowledge is

How

THE SELF KNOWN AS UNIVERSAL
concentrated
in
is

155

him

?

But

nevertheless revelation

or manifestation

a stern, inexorable fact and can-

not be

done away with by any amount of metaphysical In knowledge the Self subtlety. original becomes an agent ; it becomes a subjective self and
;

knows
that
it

it

known.

becomes an objective self and makes itself We cannot say how it does so, but we know
Tn knowledge what
relative

really does so.

we
to

call

our

own

self

passes from

ignorance

relative

knowledge.

As
it

such,
is

knowledge, Self, our inmost Self, our Antardtman, which is not an agent of knowledge, but eternal and unchangeable knowledge itself. This distinction appears in various
forms.

subject or agent of distinguishable from the original
as

the

Though the

original Self

is,

as

we have
self

seen,

spaceless and

timeless, appears subjective under the limitations of space and time. Jt is only a very limited portion of the world of time which appears
to

the

us

are all

each act of perception, and our perceptions of the nature of events, happening at particular
in

times and ceasing at others. Our whole stock of knowledge, however wise we may be, represents only

an infinitesimal portion of the real world which exists
in

the

eternal

God.

We

and all-comprehensive knowledge of thus see that, notwithstanding our essential
him,

an important sense, disdistinction from him, it will be tinct from God. a reality as our unity with him. is as stern seen,
unity with
are,
in

we Our

Our ignorance and our limitations are as undeniable facts aa the eternal knowledge and infinitude of

156

LECTURE VI

God.

Here

then, again, Absolute

Monism

fails

us

as a correct representation of truth. It sees only the unity, and supposing unity to be opposed to difference,
tries

to

explain
It

away
is,

the

latter as only vydvahdrika

or practical, that
of

a datum, not of knowledge, but

ignorance.

denies to

existence and interprets it the phenomenal also has
referred to the

pdramdrthika or real only as phenomenal. But as
it

explained by being every appearance must be the appearance of reality, Absolute Monism pos-

to

be

noumenal,
a

as

mdyd sakti or power of producing You will see that by ascribing illusory appearances.
tulates
in

God

such a power to God, Absolute Monism really stultifies itself ; it admits, in a manner, the reality of that world of difference which it professes to deny ; for a

power
in its

God must be a real power, pdramdrthikt sakti, own language and as cosmic differences are its
in
;

effects, that

is,

the forma

be real, pdramdrthika,

assumes, they also must and not merely vydvahdrika
it

(practical) or prdtibhdsika (apparent).

Man,

therefore, as an agent, as

vijndnamaya dtmd,

in the language of the Upanishads, has a real place in the Infinite. His individuality as a finite soul

cannot be merged

in

the

Universal

Self

by
it
is

any

amount
Infinite

of correct

knowledge about the

latter.

We
the

are, indeed, obliged to use the

language that

that manifests or reproduces itself in us as the finite self but we must see that such language
;

is

only an imperfect means of expressing our essential unity with the Infinite the fact that the Infinite

INDIVIDUAL SELF DISTINCT FROM UNIVERSAL
is

157
uf this

the basis
is

of

oar

life.

The imperfeotness
it is

language
in

realised

when
as

manifesting
is

itself

our

seen that the Infinite, self, does not lose its
this
hall,

infinitude.

Our knowledge

of

with

all its

indeed his knowledge, but otir finitude, for example our inability to know at the present moment what is going on outside the hall, is not his,
contents,

present to him. In this sense, therefore, the Infinite never becomes or maniiests itself as the finite ; and the distinction between
for all things are

eternally

the

finite

and the

Infinite remains

irresolvable.

Per-

uf

haps the most correct way of expressing the relation the finite to the Infinite would be to Bay that the
tiriite
it is

exists in the Infinite as a

moment

or content,

and

the finite in the Infinite,
itself

such, which manifests

and not the Infinite as in time and space as the

human
persists
of

self.

That

this
in

finite

moment
even
in

or

content

unresolved

the Infinite

the state

profound, dreamless sleep, which is urged by Absolute Monists as a proof of the illusory nature of
the finite,
is

proved by the phenomenon of

re- waking*

As

my Hindu Theism, p. 86, "That this say difference between God and man has a place in the
I

in

respected and maintained by what takes place in the it, of sleeping and waking. In dreamless phenomena individuality, or rather the manifestation of sleep,

Universal
is

itself,

and

is

also

evident from

individual

life,

suffers
it

which constitutes

a partial suspense. The wave seems to return to the ocean.

Nothing proves more clearly the absolute dependence

158
of

LECTURE

VI

man on God and

the vanity of man's pride and
helpless
condition.

vannted freedom than this
individual
in the

The

that

it

is

Universal, and thus proves sleeps But at the absolute mercy of the latter.

the same fact that

proves our absolute dependence on God, proves also the truth of our distinction from him. The temporary suspense of individuality in dreamless sleep
of difference.
is

The
and

not a merging, not a total sublation, contents of every individual life
in
is

are,

during this suspense, maintained
distinction.

tact in

all

their fullness

There

no

loss

and

no mingling. When the time comes, each individual the Everstarts up from the bosom of the Eternal
,

waking, with its wealth of conscious life undiminished, back with its identity undimmed. Every one gets

what was his own and nothing but his own. There seem to be separate chambers in the Eternal Bosom for each individual to rest soundly and unmolested."

We see, then, that though popular Dualism, the Dualism which conceives of God and man as separate
and mutually independent
rror
it

realities,

vanishes as
there
is

an

a place in philosophical Brhmaism, for a Dualism to which unity and difference are
in

not

opposed

but

mutually
it
is

Such a Dualism, while
culties

complementary from the free
unity

facts.
diffi-

concerning
inseparable

the

Divine

and

infini-

tude

from

ample room for those And man whiob are the foundations of practical piety

popular Dualism, leaves moral relations between God

and

morality.

A

philosophical

exposition

of

those

ERRORS OF ABSOLUTE MONISM SUMMARISED
relations
will

159

form the subject of another lecture of the present series. In the meantime, we are to remember that the Absolute Monism whioh leaves no

room
for

for these relationships,

and no
two

basis,

therefore,

any

real worship
is

or even

any moral

life

properly
errors,

so

called,

vitiated

by

fundamental

namely,

(1) its

confusion of relativity with

illusoriness,

and

(2) its inability to

original Self,

distinguish between the absolute, which cannot reproduce itself in space

and time, and the reproduced self manifested in space and time, which even in its moments of highest enlightenment, cannot be anything but finite and must always feel itself dependent on and subordinate to God. The

away the world of time and thereby make even the divine illusory attributes of omniscience and omnipotence unmeaning
first

error

leads

it

to explain

and space as
for there

;

could be

no

Being without any
it

all to

all-knowing and all-powerful be known and done. Hence,
these
attributes as
tatastha,

clearly

characterises
to

relative, whereas

they are svarupa lafahanas, essential or real attributes ; for the world of time and
us

space
first,

is

to us real.
it

The second
the

error,

blinds

to

distinction

along with the between God and

man.

It does not see that

his inmost Self,

though

it

implies his

man's knowledge of God as unity with God,

belongs nevertheless to the world of reproduction and is manifested as the result of a process of spiritual whereas God's knowledge of himself is culture,
eternally

complete, irrespective of any sddhan, and

is

above space and time.

Man,

therefore,

even when he

1GO

LECTURE IV
truly, does not

knows God moat
with him.

The distinction all-knowing and the finitely knowing, always and But to sufficiently differentiates God and man to us. the M&y&vadin both sarvajna and alpajna are tatastha
lafahanas, attributes based on avidya or ignorance, and are not, therefore, principles differentiating God and

beoome absolutely one of sarvajna and aZpo/na, the

pdramdrthilca nature, an undifferenced consciousness, and man, looked at from

man.

To him, God

is,

in

his

the paramtirthika standpoint,

is

absolutely

one with

him, without

any

difference

whatever.

We
is.

have,

however, seen

how

inadmissible this conclusion

However, a detailed

criticism of Sankara's Absolute

Monism, or in fact of any particular species of that doctrine, was not intended as part of the subject matter
of this lecture
I
;

and

in

what

I

have said

of the doctrine

have not attempted any such criticism of it. My object has been simply to differentiate what I conceive
to be the Brahmic doctrine of God's relation to Man and Nature from Absolute Monism, conceived, as much

as possible, in

its

simplicity.

But as such a doctrine

can scarcely be stated in its absolute simplicity without some reference to one or the other of the forms

assumed by it in the history of Philosophy, and as the form assumed by it at Ankara's hands is the one most familiar to the people of this country, I have unavoidably referred to Sankara's doctrine, specially as Those historically connected with Brfihmaism,
it is

who

would

like to be

somewhat particularly acquainted with
it

the doctrine without studying

in

the writings of

COMMON SENSE DUALISM
Sankara and his followers, and would also wish to see it criticised from the standpoint of a Theistio Idealism, I would refer to my lectures on The Vedanta and its
Relation to Modern

Thought
in ri

and

my
I

account of
should also, substance

Sankara's philosophy
publication entitled
in

Messrs.

Natesan and Co.'s
in

SanJcarachdrya.

I think, repeat distinctly

what

I

have said

an earlier part of this lecture, that I should be the last person to put forward any special claim to the name

by me and deny by me, namely either Absolute Monism or the Dualism which underlies the
of BrcEhmaism for the system set forth
it

to

the

doctrines

criticised

popular Theism of the

Brahma Samaj.
Dualism of either the Sankbya

As
or the
is

to

philosophical
type,
I

in in

do not think any criticism of it necessary here apart from what is already implied the positive defence of the system I have set forth

Nyaya

these

lectures.

The

Ny^ya

and

the

S&nkbya

Philosophy have had no tangible effect, if any effect at all, on the thought of the members of the Brahma Samaj. The Dualism which underlies ordinary Brahmaism
is

the

Dualism which uncritical

common

sense

suggests to every one relations of God, Man

who

devotes any thought to the and Nature. In the minds of

our old leaders, such as the Maharshi and the Brahma-

nanda, it was as I have already pointed out, directly or indirectly connected with the system of the Scotch But even as such it received no philosophers.
philosophical

implied in
11

their

defence at their hands except what was I have not doctrine of Intuition.

.162
-

LECTUBB VI

therefore attempted any particular criticism of their system, if it at all deserves that name, except what is

implied in my third lecture, that on the Brahmic Doctrine of Intuition, and in the fourth and the present Those who would like to see a somewhat lecture.
detailed criticism of

philosophical

Dualism, either

in

the form held by the

taught
certain

in

the writings

Scotch philosophers or in that of Mr. Herbert Spencer, are

referred to

my

treatise entitled

Brahmajijndsd and

to

portions

of

B&bu

Nagendranath

Chaturji's

Dharmajijnasd. I shall conclude by stating

my
it,

firm belief, whatever

importance you
set forth
in

may
the

attach to

that the view I have

this
is

lecture of the relation of

God

to

Man
for

and Nature
Nature
as

only

safe

and sure foundation
So long as you think
reality,
it

higher spiritual experiences.

of

an

independent

effectively

obstructs any direct realisation of God's presence. You conceive of him vaguely, and hardly with any meaning,
as behind Nature, and
you.

When

Nature ceases

not as directly present before to be extra-mental, when

you see her relation to consciousness, she becomes to you the direct revelation of God. Seeing Nature
becomes identical
Brahmadarshan.
with the vision of God

You

yoga or do not even differentiate such

God* vision as objective or Vedic yoga from subjective or Yedantio yoga, as Brahmdnanda Kesavchandra Sen
does
in

his

valuable

treatise

on

Toga-, for
in

you

see

that Nature cannot be seen alone
flee

the Self in which she exists.

seeing her you However, we may

TRUE BABI8 OF PRACTICAL RELIGION
abstract the
Self, as
it

163

much

as possible from Nature

and

realise

subjectively,

and

call

this realisation,

does, subjective or Vedantic yoga. And here, again, the views set forth in these lectures So long as you do not see the will be of great use.
as the

Brahm&nanda

fundamental unity of your self with the Absolute Self, you simply grope in the dark and address your praise

an unknown God, a God whose very existence you may sometimes be tempted to doubt. But when you realise that it is the Self of Nature which

and prayer

to

HI

becomes

present in you as your self, your self-consciousness the direct consciousness of God and your

worship becomes the worship of a living, ever-present God, whose presence you cannot put away even if

you wish
there
is

to,

far less

deny or doubt.

But here, again,

the

Your attention may be
essential

source of a great danger to spiritual life. so much concentrated on the

unity of the Divine aud the human self, that you may miss their difference and thereby obstruct the course of true bhakti, the higher emotions of love

and reverence to God, and undermine the foundations of the higher ethical life. You must see that your
consciousness of
difference

God as your very self reveals your from as well as your unity with him,

all your unity with that with the Light Eternal you are only an infinitesimally small spark of it and that your relation with the Father of spirits
is

not

merely

a

natural

relation,
it

but
for

a

moral
to

and
feel

spiritual

the

making possible sweetest and tenderest emotions
one,

you
for

him.

164
Unless you
here.
see
all

LECTURE VI
this,

your spiritual progress rock on which Vedantism, as conceived by Sankar&chrya and his followers, has I fully confess the difficulty of keeping a firm split.
stops

Here

is

the

hold on man's distinctness from

Gcd when one has

come up to the present stage of religious speculation ; and 1 am very anxious that in endeavouring to help
people about
notions
in

obtaining
his

correct,

philosophical notions

God and

relation

to

Man and
basis
of

Nature
firm,

which may serve

as

the

un-

ehakable faith in the higher truths of religion, I may not strike a fatal blow at the very foundations of: higher religion, as our Mayavadis have done.
I

can

heartily

his followers in

sympathise with Sri Chaitanya and their dread of Mfiyavj'id and their unit

ceasing and strenuous opposition to
opposition
herited
of

a

dread and

from them.

which the Brahma Samaj has partly inBut the remedy against the evils
not
lie

Maydvad does

not in
in
is

where many seek it, taking refuge in blind and uncritical

lb

lies,

faith

and

avoiding that fearless pursuit of free-thought which the characteristic of our May&v&dis and their protothe

types in

West, but

in

following the very path
it

marked out by them, following and perseveringly than they seem

more

steadily

have done, so that we may be blessed with a truer and more comto

prehensive philosophy of life, in all its varied phases, than they could find out and give to the world,

LECTURE VII
Conscience and the Moral
In
sidered
life

our fourth and sixth

lectures

we have con-

what may be called the natural or metaphyof
is

sical relation

man

to

God.

We

have found that

one of unity-in-difference. We now come to consider man's ethical relation to God and his
that relation
ethical
life,

the result of that
to

relation.

What we

have

now

see

is

that

the relation of unity-into

difference in
is

which man stands
source of

God

also the

his ethical life.

metaphysically, We have seen

in
is

our fourth lecture that
really

every act of perception
of
It

the

revelation

now be
aspect
of God.

seen that in
or

God to man. every action we realise
the
is

will

a

fresh
life

portion Every action
of

of

universal

and

infinite

an act of

self-realisation,
;

a

realisation

the
is

hidden contents of our soul
our real
self,
life.

and
but
self-

as

the

Infinite

self-realisation is

the realisation of the Divine conscious being calls it so or not
is
;

The

life

of

a

throughout

ethical,

whether he

begins from the moment an agent feels conscious of himself as a person having wants to be satisfied, oapaoities to be realised, from the
it

166

LECTURE vn
he
feels

moment
which
does
ethical
self
is
is

that there

is

a state of himself

desirable and

attainable,

but

whioh
of

ha
the

not
life,

actually possess. the some self,

In

all

stages
state

desirable

of

the

a

presented as the object to be realised. On this may not seem to be the view, superficial

case.

external

Most people may seem to be pursuing objects to and different from the self. Food,
comforts,
riches,

clothing,

power,
of

honour,

even

objects knowledge knowledge, may seem to be quite external things, and their seekers to be persons desiring things very different

the

material

from

these objects are sought only because they satisfy certain wants felt by the soul, because they help or are conself-realisation.

But,

in

reality,

ceived to help the realisation of certain capacities of the soul, because their attainment holds out before
their

seekers a more

desirable state of consciousness

than they possess.
ends,

In the pursuit of higher, subtler
idea
of
self-satisfaction

the

same

or

self-

In the acquisition efforts. of the different kinds of knowledge, in the emotions
realisation determines our
in

and duties whioh constitute domestic and social the exercises and observances of the spiritual

life,
life,

always the attainment of a higher state of self than we actually possess that is aimed at. An effort
it is

after
is

self-realisation

in

some
is

shape or degree

this

the form of the ethical

life in all its stages.

But
life,

if

self-realisation

the

form of
life,

all

ethical
lies

of all

moral as well as immoral

where

SELF-REALISATION TRUE AND FALSE

167
f

the difference between tbe

former and the latter
morality from

What

is

it

that

differentiates

im-

morality ? The difference, I reply, will be found to lie in the nature of the objects pursued. Though
self realisation
is

tbe form of

all

ethical

action, all

actions are not calculated to
of the self,
all

help the true realisation or the realisation of the true self. Though
deliberately pursued as desirable are the sake of self-realisation, all objects

objects
for

pursued do not and cannot help the realisation of the soul's capacities.

Thus there are worthy and unworthy objects, high and low objects. There are objects which fail
realise

to

bring about a desirable state of consciousness, because the relation of the soul to these objects is ill-conceived,
capacities

the

of

the

soul, fail

to

because the nature of the soul, and the nature of the
objects

which
in
all

would

wrongly conceived.
of

form

wants, are the identity Thus, notwithstanding ethical actions, there comes to be a
truly
satisfy
its

difference

of

quality

in
it

them.
is

Though

in

both
is

moral and immoral actions

self-realisation

that

of

sought, the ideas of self which determine the two classes In moral action the action are very different.
self

sought to be realised is truly conceived and therefore truly realised ; whereas an immoral agent con*
ceives
truly.
it

wrongly and therefore
the

fails

to

realise

it

Now,
is

current

Brhma

doctrine

of conscience

that

revelation

our consciousness of right or duty is a direct of God's will or nature to us, the direct

168
voice of

LECTURE

VII

Seen by the light of the exposition just given, this doctrine will be found to be an eminently true one. It cannot indeed be contended
in

God

man.

that every moral being, however low his intellectual attainments may be, is conscious of every dictate of conscience as the direct voice of God in him. This
is

and explained
is

no more true than that the proposition just stated, in our previous lectures, namely that
is

every act of perception
realised as true
his
is

a revelation

of

God

to us,
oi

by every person,

irrespectively

intellectual

culture.

true, will be clearly

But that the doctrine itself seen from what I have already

for instance, one is called upon by on the one hand, to read a book or hear conscience, a lecture, so that he may acquire wisdom thereby, and
said.

When,

is tempted on the other hand by indolence to desist from the task, what really takes place is that a higher

conception

of

his

self

than what indolence pictures
larger,
fuller,

urges him

to realise that

truer

self

in

comparison with which the self presented by indolence is an unworthy, contemptible one. Again, when I
see

my

neighbour

in

distress,

and am urged by conit,

science on the one hand to relieve
1

to treat

it

in the

same way as should have done my own distress, and am tempted by selfishness on the other hand
not to trouble
struggle
is

myself with another man's affair, the clearly between a lower and a higher self,

a

wrongly conceived as only confined to my body and one rightly conceived as both in me and in my
self

neighbour.

In

both

these cases the conception

of

CONSCIENCE THE VOICE OF GOD
"the

169

higher self and its pressure upon the will of the moral agent is a direct revelation of the Infinite

and Eternal Self

in

which

we

live,

move and have

our being. The conception indeed has a history. It has no doubt made its way into the moral agent's

mind through along course
dofts

of culture.

But
which

its
it

history

not either belie the source from the

comes

or

power and authority with which it The self presented by it is presses upon the soul. at once recognised as a higher and truer self than what it opposes and as claiming implicit obedience.
lessen

every moral struggle, in every strife between conscience and temptation, the question which comes for decision is whether we should follow a true or
a false
self,

In

and the voice
follow the

of

conscience invariably

urges no other than God, The realisation of our

us

to

latter, our true self, which is Paramdtma, the Perfect One.

true

self

is

felt

to

be

an

absolute end in itself to which other things stand in the relation of means. It is the one thing valuable for the

sake of which other things have their values. It is, in the words of Kant, the one Categorical Imperative in relation to which other imperatives are hypothetical.

But though
is

the

current Erahmic doctrine of
in

conscience

eminently true
in it

substance, there

is

an

element of crudity
defend.
It is

which

I

am

not concerned to

utterances of

generally believed, and the writings and Brahma leaders countenance the belief,

that all moral laws, at any rate the fundamental ones, are implanted in us or are revealed to us in the form of

170
intuitions.

LECTURE
In

VII

my

lecture on the Brfihmio Doctrine of

Intuition, I

such a view.

have already shewn the erroneousness of As I have already said, our moral

judgments have a history. They are revealed to us under different circumstances and at different stages of culture. But this history does not by any means
lessen their authority or even affect their

character as

commands. Another error involved in the current Brahmic Doctrine of Conscience is that the
divine

rightnees or wrongness of an action attaches to it irrespectively of the object to which it is directed.

Certain actions,

it

is

believed,

are

revealed to us as

right and certain other actions as wrong and their tightness or wrongness is absolute, whatever may be the motives which lead to them. When we ask why they are right or wrong, we get no answer in many cases; we only come to a quality, a Tightness or wrongness, which we cannot further analyse, but which

we must accept
is

as a fact.

Thus,

"it

is

wrong

to steal,"
;

a judgment which cannot be further explained it must be accepted as a final, absolute truth. cannot

We

say

it is

wrong
;

to steal because

it

causes pain

to

the

person robbed because stealing would be wrong even if it did not cause pain ; and even if the explanation were admitted as valid, the further question would be
raised,
is

why

it is

wrong

to cause

pain.

"To cause pain"
1

with "to do wrong j' f therefore the ''it is wrong to cause pain,' remains proposition, Now, it will be seen that there are really inexplicable. no motiveless actions, no actions which are not directed
not convertible

MORAL QUALITY DETERMINED BY ENDS
to

171 are never

some end or other, and

that,

therefore,

we

given the opportunity of judging the quality of actions irrespectively of their ends. Again, it will be seen
that the

analysis which arrives at an inexplicable Tightness or wrongness of actions, without any reference to the ends to which they are directed, is not exhaustive. "It is wrong to steal" is not, for instance, an inexplic-

able judgment the truth of which is to be accepted "It is wrong to steal/' because in stealing one blindly.

labours under a false idea of
his

self.

The
;

thief considers

own

individual good as

all-in-all

be does not see

that the

man he

robs
is

is

a part of his
to of

that his interest

as

much

own.

The

wrongness

higher self and be thought of as his stealing is therefore, not

absolute in the sense of being the inexplicable quality of an action to be blindly received. It is relative to
the end to which
it is

directed,

and the end of an action

varies according to the variety of circumstances.

in

Every action is determined by some idea of good the mind of the agent and this idea of good varies
;

according to the stage of culture attained by him. I do not say that there is no absolute standard of morals.

As progressive being?, we do not indeed fully know what we shall yet become and shall be called upon to The Infinite Being is revealing himself in us only do. gradually ; and it is not for us to count and take the measure of his inexhaustible store. But so far as we
have been given to know the nature of our surrounin dings, the society of rational and sentient beings

which we are placed, our exact

station in

and

relation

172
to
it,

LECTURE VH

we

also

know our

duties

:

and

so far as

we know
this

them, they are absolute.

To

all

who have
is

know-

ledge of their station in the world, there

one single,

But human society is unchangeable code of morals. Various nations are in various stages of development, and even in the same nation there are
not uniform.
different grades of society representing different
of culture.

stages

The

ideas of

good conceived by men
of

in these
;

different stages of social

development are very different

and these
lines of

different

ideas

good

dictate

different

conduct

to those

who

entertain

these differ-

ent ideas. Hence the great variety which
in

we observe

moral judgments. Things which are perfectly clear to us are by no means so to those who are much below us
in the scale of

knowledge and thought.
us

Things which
differently

are right

to

appear wrong

to

others

situated; and things about the

have no doubt, appear right to There is such a thing, therefore, as a relative code
of morals,
relative to the

wrongness of which we hundreds and thousands.

stage

of

progress
of

attained

light vouchsafed to him. I cannot ba measured by the measure which is proper A Santal should not be judged by the same for you. standard of morals that would apply to a Bengali,

by various individuals and one must be judged by the

classes

men,

Every

nor an ignorant Idolator
to an enlightened

by that which would apply Brahma. All this will be clear if

take a brief survey of the various stages of selfdevelopment and see how the various ideas of self

we

and

self-realisation

determine moral action in them.

STAGES OP SELF-REALISATION

17$
either

The
it

self

to

be realised

may

be

considered
first

quantitatively or

qualitatively.

Let us

consider

quantitatively and see how, as ethical life grows, the self gradually comes to be conceived as a larger

and larger thing.
is

In the lowest stage the
as

ethical
I

life

individualistic,
it

much

individualistic,

mean,

as

can be
be
of

;

for ethical life,

even

in

its

lowest form,

cannot
as
p-irt

purely
itself,

individualistic.

It

comprehends,

as

contributing
of

to

self-realisation,

some

of

the objects

Nature, and even uses other
Ita

individuals as
is

means to an end.
life

centre,

however,

individual

and

satisfactions.

purely personal enjoyments These may ba songht from various

with

its

objects,

physical and intellectual, and may range from the grossest to the subtlest forma ; but so long as the self fro be satisfied is conceived to be a small, limited
object,

n

liie

selfish,

other selves, such excluding other objects, cannot be called by any higher name than and aa such, deserves unqualified condemnaIt

tion.
ita

utterly

misconceives

the

self,

which

is,

in

true nature, the very and thus fails to realise

opposite
it.

of individualistic,

When
simply

such selfishness

however, does

not

come

into
it is

direct conflict with the
left

interest of other persons,

alone

as

a

tolerable form of moral

Domestic
identifies

life

itself

degradation. a step forward. with the family. It
is

In
is

it

the soul

not satisfied
personal
their

with

itself,

not

satisfied

with

merely
at

enjoyments and attainments. of other individuals, and feels

It seeks the satisfaction

satisfied

satis*

174
faction.

LECTURE

VII

whatever form, of wife and child, gives it a feeling of realised good for itself, and any evil befalling them shakes or troubles it. We admire domestic love and faithfulness, and give it a
in

The good,

decidedly higher place than individual self-seeking, becausejthe self which forms its object, the self sought
to be realised
self
in
it,

is

larger

and therefore a truer
selfish

than
In

the self
it

which the
is

man

seeks

to

a recognition, a partial and satisfy. that imperfect recognition doubtless, of the truth the self underlying our intellectual and moral life is
there

not a small,
ties are
life,

limited

self,

an individual

excluding
individuali-

other individuals, but one in which

many
living

comprehended.
in

The man

a domestic

living

relations,

so

the lives of wife, children and other far transcends his individuality and
life

takes in the

of

the
it

Universal
it
is.

Self

underlying

our

life

and making
life
;

said,

domestic
life of

is

true

the self
life,

already a partial realisation of the and in so far as it excludes a

what

But, as

only
is

broadly social

it

an imperfect
life.

a wrong and

misguided

scheme
so

of

The
does

domestic
his

man
by

is

virtuous only

far

as

he

duties

his

family; but in so far as he is unfaithful to his neighbours, in so far as he robs, cheats, fights or kills

them in the and requires
,ead
to
civilised
fltage.

interest

of his

own

family,

he

is

vicious
is

condemnation

contemplate
countries,

and correction. It how very few people, even
the
is,

in

have risen above

domestic

The Bengali, nay the Indian,
one of those most

of all civilised

^peoples,

sadly circumscribed by

NATIONAL LIFE
domestic
limitations.

175
limitations,

And
his

these

the
life

absence of a well-conceived and
in him,

active

national

have cost him

slave

of

than he,

people less but possessing

liberty and made him the richly endowed in certain respects

a

breadth

of

national
less
live

life

which he can scarcely
practise.

conceive,

far

and
most

In
of

the
all

Brahma

Samj

itself,

the

advanced
are
life,

those

who

Indian communities, how very few are not satisfied with a merely domestic

own

with merely earning money and looking to their and their families' comforts, bat devoted to
interests
of

the boarder
nation
!

their

community and
tribal
is

their

life,

However, let us now consider in which undoubtedly there
therefore
in
life.

and national

a truer self-con-

sciousness and
alisation

a

truer
life,

than

domestic
In
it

and higher self-reand far more than in

moral agent transcends not only his small personality, but also the narrow
individualistic

the

circle of

family and kindred, and sees his true self reflected in all the members of his tribe or nation.
his

He

identifies

himself

with

his

community and
in

feels

himself

satisfied

and

realised

the

well-being of his people, This is the patriot of the Moseses, Mazzinis, Gladstones, Sivajis, and Guru-govind-singhs of the world. The self they

progress and life of the true

sought to realise was a very large thing, with a large set of capacities and

one endowed
exercising

a

Such an idea of self repremultiplicity of functions. sents our true self far [more truly than the idea

176

LECTURE

VII

of the individualistic.

which underlies the merely domestic life, not to speak There is, in such a life, a truer

recognition of the nature of the self and therefore a in its true life than in those larger participation

already noticed.
tations

National
its

life,

however, haa

its

limi-

and therefore
is

vices as

much

as the domestic,

and
good

it

by no meana the highest conceivable.
of

A

illustration
life

the

limitations

of

a

merely

national

may

be seen in the conduct of the

modern
specially

nations

of

Europe

towards

foreigners,

towards those who are weaker than they. Witness, the treatment of China by the great for instance,
in their last quarrel with her, in what is the Legation War, and of the Boers by the called see the earne British. conduct repeated times

powers

We

without number

in

this

country,

whenever the

in-

fancied interests, of course, when seen from terests a higher standpoint of our rulers clash with ours. In such instances it were to be devoutly wished that

powerful nations had been less national in behaviour than sentiments and have they actually been, that they had a truer conception of
these
their

the

Humanity, then, the recognition of the unity of all human beings in a universal brotherhood in other words, in an allcomprehensive human
ness that
self
is

real

self

than they possess.

a truer

self-conscious-

what underlies and guides the merely But the due recognition of the unity of mankind is always found conjoined with a recognition, in some form or "other, of a unity transcending
national
life.

HUMANITY AND DIVINITY
humanity
itself,

177

a

versal Father, a Universal Sonl

cosmic or divine unity, a Unior a Universal Law of
itself
is

good, of which
festation,

humanity
is

a partial manilife,

which

at

once

the source,
is

and

truth

of

human

life.

When
is

life assumes the depth and which we express by the term 'spiritual*. grandeur Such a life was lived by the great leaders and saviours of mankind, by men who belonged to no tribe or nation in particular, but to humanity in general, and

every duty to humanity and due to it, and moral

Unity recognised, seen to be derived from

this

transcended humanity itself inasmuch as they felt themselves in communion with the Divine, and drew
their

inspiration
Christ,

from

there.

It

is

the

life

led

by

Buddha,
those
footsteps.

Muhammad
followed and

and
still

who have

Confucius, and follow in their

Qualitatively
fied

considered, ethical

life

may be
and

classi-

into sensuous, intellectual, emotional
is

spiritual.

Intension
ethical
life

no

less

an
as

important consideration in

than extension.
for

The recognition
an
adequate

of

mere

pleasures,
of
self
is

instance,

realisation

a

most

one-sided

and therefore

a mis-

guided idea of the requirements of true self-realisation.
fish,

Even
when,

pleasure-seeking becomes unselnot satisfied with our own pleasure, we

when

seek to please others, the true idea of the self is ignored and its true realisation unattained. The self

cannot

capacities than

be satisfied with mere pleasure. It has other the merely sentient,- capacities which
12

178

LECTURE

VII

seek satisfaction and realisation in objects quite other than pleasure. It has, for instance, a natural thirst
for

knowledge, a

desire
of

for truth,

which

demands

satisfaction

irrespective

panies such satisfaction. is indeed pleasant ; but

The
it

the pleasure which accomattainment of truth
is

a distortion of facts to
of
for
this

say that
truth
is

it

is

for

the

sake
It
is

pleasure
sake,

that

sought not for the sake of the pleasure
soul

after.

truth's
it

and
it,

brings
for

with

that the
truth,

seeks after truth.
aspires
to

The seeker
truer

after

one

who

reach truth
therefore, a

himself
idea

and

his

fellow-beings

has,

of self recognises nothing but pleasure as the object to be pursued. Then, again, the of the higher emotions, both affectional recognition and aesthetic, is a step forward in the attainment of true

than he

who

self-consciousness

and

.he realisation

of

the

true

self.

The

feelings of reverence, lrve, friendship,

pity and compassion demand satisfaction for their own sakes in the complex relations of domestic and social life and, far from being pleasure-seeking in

themselves, are ready to endure a largo measure

sometimes
their
of

an

own

satisfaction.

awe

and
all

measure of pain for Likewise, the aesthetic feelings admiration seek satisfaction in the
excruciating
that
is

pursuit of

sublime

and

beautiful

in

Nature and Art, and demand recognition and culture as distinct capacities of the soul. But besides these
various aspects of ethical life, there is another which ftandfl to all others in the relation at once of source

BRAHMI8THITI

179

1

and

fulfilment.

It consists

in

the recognition of the
all

infinite

and eternal Source

of

existence,

both

moral and unmoral, of a Personality which underlies

and sustains
all

that

is

personal ideal to us

all

life,
is

of a Reality
It

in

which
I

realised.
this

consists,

say,

recognition ing to realise it practically in our thoughts, feelings and actions. In the conscious effort to do this,

in the

of

Reality and

in striv-

morality
life

is

transformed into

spirituality,

the

moral

becomes religious or
qualitatively,

spiritual.

Both quantitatively
life,
is

and
God,

then,

the

spiritual
it

life

in

Brdhmisthiti, as

our sagea call

the conof the

summation of morality, the complete
true good.

realisation

Now, our moral judgments are, it is evident, determined by these various stages of ethical development. Inasmuch as the stages differ, the judgments The same principle, that of self-realisaalso differ.
tion
lies

either
all
;

consciously or
relative

basis

of

but the

unconsciously at the truth and value of
to

each judgment varies according which guides it. In proportion
realised
is

the
the

idea
self

of

self

as

to

be

both qualitatively and quantitatively broader and therefore truer, nearer to the true self of man, which is God the more correct and noble are the
principles

which commend themselves
is

to the conscience,

and the greater
realisation.

the success achieved in true selfto

Thus,

the

primitive

nomad and

in

a

large degree to the settled no notion of a community,

rustic, having little or but living in the com-

180

LECTURE

VII

panionship of wife, children and other kindred, the moral effort will naturally exhaust itself in meeting the necessities and those only of a physical nature
the family, and the claims of truth, justice, charity, friendship, reverence, etc., which imply the consciousof

ness of a social

self,

will

receive
if

no

recognition.

Even
purely
science

to

the

civilised
fix

man,
of

his

education has

been such as to
sensitive

his

attention exclusively

on the

and

art,

life, aspect the unselfish

then the pursuit of service of our kind,

the

formation of character and the privilege of Divine

and the enjoyment

worship will seem extremely unattractive occupations, of animal comforts and pleasures

appear to be the only thing worth the serious attenThat we are indifferent or unkind to tion of man.
cur neighbour, that wherever his interests collide with ours we sacrifice the former to the latter, is

due to nothing but our
with
forms,

failure

to identify ourselves

the
is

self

in

him.

Our choice

of vice,

in

all its

due

nature and

the ignoring or disregard of the extent of our true self. The saint and
to

the philanthropist are saintly and philanthropic in proportion to the truth and vividness with which

they conceive the nature of God and that of man, and
the extent to which they are guided in their actions by

such a conception.

The

resulting

rule for

the
is

determination of
therefore clear.

the
It
is

moral worth of an

action

the relative truth of the idea of self which underlies
it.

Every action which seeks individual

satisfaction

at

THE MORAL STANDARD
the cost of the

181
is

boarder interests of domestic

life,

opposite right. Every action which the affectional and intellectual aspects of recognises life, is higher than those whichidentify the self with

wrong, and the

to

the body and its functions. Every action which seeks promote the interests of one nation at the cost of

at

other nations, for instance, those of England or Russia the cost of India or Japan is wrong, and that is right which proceeds upon the notion of the funda-

mental unity of the conflicting parties. The merely moral scheme of life is lower than the spiritual, the
conscious service of God higher than the unconscious, because the knowing and loving servant of God is inspired by a truer idea of self than that which guides

the unconscious keeper of his laws. The ultimate test of ethical good is therefore the realisation of the idea
of

Being eternally perfect, but manifesting himself gradually, under finite conditions, as the soul of man. Whatever thought, feeling or
the
idea
of a
is
is
;

God

conduct
Being,
is

consistent with the

idea of this

Perfect

right

such as he would approve, if he were man, and whatever conflicts with this idea,
if

is

such as he would not approve,

he were man,
is

is

wrong.

Here, then, ladies and gentlemen,
of the Br&hmic doctrine
life.
I

of

my exposition conscience and the moral

it will seem novel and perhaps some of you. We in the Br&hma unintelligible Sam&j are not accustomed to hearing reasoned ex-

know

that

to

positions of the

doctrine of conscience.

In

Br&hma

182
literature
to
his

LECTURE

VII

you

find

nothing of the kind

till

you come

the

Babu Nagendranth Chaturji. In Dharmajijnasd we meet with the first attempt in
writings of
literature
to

modern Indian
of

give a

morals.

Babu

Nagendranftth

reasoned theory ably defends the

primariness of the moral judgment and successfully combats the attempts to reduce it to the idea of

seeking pleasure jade

by certain theorists and by another
to

to

a

mere

reflection

of

social authority

class of

thinkers.

all attempts moral laws to a single fundamental principle of our nature, such as the idea of self-realisation. The only

But he makes

no

trace

other piece; of Brahma literature on the subject which deserves to be mentioned is Dr. Hiralal Haldur's essay on the "Rational Basis of Morality," in his Two Essays

on General Philosophy and Ethics. The main idea of my theory is the same as he builds upon, but you will miss in his essay the detailed exposition I have given
;

it

contains,
of

however,
the

some

other
to

ideas

about

the

relation

individual

society

and

kindred
I could
I

subjects

which are very valuable and which

not touch upon in

my

lecture.

The exposition
will,

have

given of
itself

hope, commend think upon it. I your reason, you only consider it to be the only theory consistent with Brahmic teachings on the close relation of man and God. In my next lecture I shall show its bearing on

my

theory of morals
if

I

to

our doctrine of God's perfect love and holiness. Meanwhile, I shall draw your attention to one aspect cf the
Brfihmic doctrine of the moral
life

which I have not

REWARD AND PUNISHMENT
yet touched

183

upon.

It

is

the relation

of

reward and

punishment to virtue and vice. That virtue will be rewarded and vice punished, either here or hereafter,
is

a doctrine

common

to all traditional religions,

to

popular Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. It seems, from the writings and utterances of Brahma ministers
arid missionaries

as if they also accept this doctrine of rewards and punishments. Yet, from the earliest of the Brdhma Samaj, the days when the Maharshi and the Brahmananda taught theology in the Calcutta Brahma School, Brahmas have been

days

teaching a theory of the moral life which seems to me quite opposed to the doctrine of rewards and

punishments.
ot

That theory
is

is

soul,

or

self-satisfaction,

that dtmaprasdd, peace is the only reward of

the only punishment of vice. They have also taught that the punishment of sin is not retributory, but remedial. Now, nonvirtue,

and repentance

Brahma

theologians,

specially
criticised

Christian

theologians,
ridiculed
of

have always severely
these ideas.

and

even

Self-satisfaction as the

reward

virtue

and repentance as the punishment of vice have always seemed to them too inadequate returns of virtue and
vice.
in

To me

it

seems that the very idea of return
is

the case of virtue find vice
in the case of virtue
itself

absurd.

The

idea of

reward
is

seems to imply that virtue
noble and attractive

not in

a

sufficiently

thing and requires something nobler or more attractive to serve as its motive ; and the idea of punishment
in

the case of sin seems to presuppose that sin

is

not

184

LECTURE VH

a

sufficiently hateful thing to serve as its

own deterrent

and

that,

therefore,

it

horrible

to

prevent

its

something more But really is perpetration.
requires

there anything more noble and valuable than virtue or anything more detestable and repulsive than sin v

be readily admitted by men of true moral insight that one who embraces virtue for the sake of anything more attractive as its reward is not really
It

will

virtuous,

and that one who eschews
it,

sin not

because

he bates

but because he
of
sinful

consequences up sin, but has the love of sin

shrinks from the painful does not really give action,
still

in

his

heart.

On

the other hand, regard almost as an
his virtue.

a

really

virtuous

man would
in

insult

the offer of a reward for
feeling,

In the

same manner, one

the

heart of his heart, that he was guilty, would not think that there could be anything more painful or his guilt, horrible than anything in the form of

punishment for his sinful act. These experiences seem to show that there is no necessary connection of virtue with reward and of vice with punishment,
reflection of the

and that the connection imagined by us is only a man-made arrangement which we see in the state and in society, namely that of visiting

every crime with a punishment and every meritorious That arrangement is indeed a act with a reward.
preserving the peace of society; one which relates only to overt acts and takes no cognisance of real inward virtue and vice.
necessary one for
it
is

but

It is therefore not at all a safe

guide for interpreting

PENAL THEOLOGY CRITICISED
the things
of

> l^.r

the

spirit.

Spiritual experiences,

as

we have
tion

seen,

of

virtue

throw no light on a necessary connecand vice with reward and punishment,
which accompanies virtuous action and not anything different from it.
call
it

but rather testify to the absence of such a connection.

The
is

self-satisfaction
itself

a part of

It

seems therefore an abuse of language to

the reward of virtue,

In the same manner, the mental

pang which accompanies the consciousness of sin is something inseparable from it and cannot therefore
punishment without outraging language. The very idea of reward and punishment of things extraneous to the act which they is that
be
described
as
its

are

supposed to repay.
therefore,
as

tance, of virtue
as their

and

vice,

and repennot extraneous, bat parts things are not reasonably represented
Self-satisfaction

reward and punishment.
if

Specially,

in

the

case of sin,
retributory,

punishment
the

is

only remedial, and not
subject

as

Brahma teaching on the

is, repentance which corrects and purifies the can in no sense be called a punishment. What sinner is intended only as a remedy, and not as a return,

the

is

called a

punishment only by a confusion of thought
of

and a perversion
that

language.

I

think,

therefore,

we should disavow

that penal theology,

that

state or police-dispensation of reward and punishment which we have set up in imitation of traditional
religions,

but which

is

really

mental ideas of virtue

opposed to our fundaand vice. We need not fear

that our rejection of this penal or state theology will

186

LECTURE

VII

anyway affect the growth of virtue in our community* The self-satisfaction which we hold out as the reward of a holy life and the repentance with which we threaten wrong-doers, are both things too subtle and
intangible to act as motive powers to those who have not learnt to love virtue and hate sin for their own

sake 8,
virtue

And

for

those

and vice face to
regulations

who have really looked at face and known what they are^
reward and punishment are than useless. Hver and

the state
useless,

of

and

even

worae

anon they rise like mists and darken our spiritual vision and lead us astray. Let us therefore give this relic of old superstition in our theology and up
preach the plain,
the
self,

pure

and unvarnished truth that
is

the

true self of man,

the one thing really

valuable, and that its realisation or development is an end in itself, irrespective of any other gain, and

that a

life of
1

virtue
all

is

its

own reward,
'punishment'

if

the word
is its

'reward

is

at
if

to

be used, and that sin
is

own
to

punishment,
be retained.

the

word

at

all

Here, ladies and gentlemen, I come to the close of my exposition of the Brahmic doctrine of conscience

and the moral

life.

But

I

think that such

an exposition would be considered incomplete without an enumeration, however imperfect, of the main lines of moral duty, a more or less detailed account of
the chief duties which conscience calls upon us ta perform. I shall therefore conclude my lecture by

reading what I have got ready-made

in

hand, namely

A SCHEME OF DUTIES
a
brief
in

187

scheme

of

our duties as moral beings drawn

up
I

my

little

beg you

to

book entitled The Religion of Brahman. in this scheme I have notioe that

omitted those duties which
reserving

we commonly

call religious,

them

for

separate treatment

in

a distinct

chapter, and that I have mentioned many accomplishments and excellences as moral duties which,

owing

to a

narrow view of the ethical
recognised
as
duties,

life,

are

not

commonly

but

which

really

form parts of a rightly conceived ideal of the moral life. However, to proceed with my extract, having
laid

down and

illustrated

the three main lines of duty,
aesthetic.

intellectual, emotional

and

I say,

"These three main

lines

of

duty indicate an ideal

What

character which conscience calls upon us to acquire. this character is in its fullness, we cannot conit is

being gradually revealed to us with the growth of our moral life. As we follow conscience
ceive, for

more and more
raised

higher duties to us, and our idea of the character we are to form in us
strictly, it dictates
is

more and more.

conceive the main features of

But we can nevertheless this character. The
it

various branches of knowledge, which

is

necessary

and possible
of these

for us to acquire, are well

known.

Bach

branches implies a corresponding aspect of our inner nature which calls for culture and development.

The study
etc.,

of the various

natural sciences,

of

Physics,

Chemistry,

Biology,

Physiology,

Geology,

Astronomy,
physics,

and

of the moral

sciences like
Politics,

Meta-

Psychology,

Ethics

and

opens up

188
not only
distinct

LECTURE
distinct

VII

departments of

chambers, so to speak, of oar spiritual

Nature, but also nature ;

and the pursuit of all kinds of knowledge in general calls into play and furthers the proper development
of the common intellectual powers of the mind.

Deep and steady attention, untiring perseverance, a clear and systematically formed memory, a vivid imaginaand reproduction, the tion capable of production
power of close and minute observation and of deep and searching introspection, the capacity of drawing correct inductions from particular facts and of applying general principles to particular cases, these and such other powers, in all their vigour and fullness, form

the intellectual

traits

of

the

ideal

character which

conscience presents to us. Then, under the second head, the love and service of our fellow-beings is

included
constantly

a

host

of

noble

characteristics

which

call for

and
-even

shame

our

the putting forth of our energies, actual A sincere achievements.

respect for

horrible

humanity as such, however wretched and may be the form in which it is
us,

presented to

a constant readiness to lend a help-

ing hand to every noble undertaking, a tender compassion and sympathy for all forms of suffering, a keen sense of justice which scruples to tread upon the rights
slightest degree, a vigilant truthfulness which weighs every word before it is uttered, tender and watchful care of wife, children and all others
of

others in the

whose

health and education depend upon us, an untiring industry which hates all forms of indolence
life,

THE LAW OP LOVE

189

and spurns

all ease which it has not rightly earned, the scrupulous performance of all duties entrusted to us by our earthly masters, system and regularity in work and in the proper use of time, a clear con-

ception and steady pursuit of our special mission in life, a patriotism which identifies itself with its country's

good and

evil

and devotes
and a

itself

to

its

service with

enlightened philanuntiring zeal, thropy which kesps its ears always open to what is going on in the world and rejoices in every triumph of the cause of humanity and grieves at every failure
it

broad and

sustains,

such are some of the virtues which the law
us.

of love

demands from

Then, thirdly,
has
to
filled

and sweetness with which God which he has given man the power the admiration and appreciation
indeed true *that the

beauty Nature, and

the

create,

demands
It is

of our hearts.

wants of ordinary men are so

many, and the most pressing duties of life occupy so much of our time and energy, that we have but few opportunities of cultivating our tastes and enjoying
the

Nature and Art. But, if we only have a clear notion of the peace and harmony brought
beauties
of
to

our

inner

nature

by

a

deep
in

and

sincere

admiration

of the

beauty contained
this

the heart of

peace and harmony makes many things smooth, sweet and tranquil which seemed otherwise jarring and full of conflict, then perhaps
Nature, and of

how

we may have more time and
culture
of
this

attention to devote to the

side

of

our nature even amidst the

arduous struggles of

life.

And one

thing

we can

190
all

LECTURE

VII

we can keep our hearts always open to the and sublimity which Nature displays, and the beauty sweetness and harmony which streams out of human
do
:

art,

wherever and
placed.

in

whatever circumstances of
glories of sunrise

life

we may be

The

and sunset,

the beauty and freshness of morning, and the coolness and tranquillity of evening, the soft greenness of trees and leafy bowers, the variegated colours and refreshing perfumes of flowers, the gloomy splendour of lowering and moving clouds, the soothing murmur of little streams and the dignified flow of broad rivers, the soft,

splendour of a dark, starry night, the playful mirth of childhood and the bloom and vivacity of youth, the varied

melting beauty of moon-light and the calm

and

scenes of beauty, passion and activity to which poetry fiction introduce us, and the depths of sweetness and the heights
of

leads

the

soul,

these and

noble feeling to which music many other aids to aesthetic
the poorest

culture are

available

even to

and the

busiest 9 and dry, harsh and unsusceptible to all lofty emotion must be the heart of the man, and stern

and dreary the view
is

of

life

presented to him

who

insensible to the sweetening

and ennobling influences

which are thus unceasingly streaming out of the heart
of Nature. The proper attitude of mind towards Nature, life and human history is evidently one of profound

awe and admiration
is

;

and the duty demanded from us

the contant endeavour to keep the feelings alive by every means at our command".

LBCTUEE VIII
The Divine Love and Holiness
In this eighth lecture of the present series, which

was originally intended to be the last, we approach what may be called the highest truth of Brahraaiffm,
the goodness
for
ter.

of

God,

the

unspeakable love of God

man and
It

may

the perfect holiness of the Divine characvery well be said that all our previous

lectures

foundation

have been mere preparations for this, the on which this is to be built as an edifice.
is

In the abstract, there

really

no comparison possible
to

between truth and truth, as
relation
to

their value

;

but

in

the

spiritual

life of

man, the doctrine

ot

Divine goodness, or rather man's knowledge of the goodness of God, is such an important thing, that
religion

without this

is

little

better than a name.
is

A

consciousness of the love of

and the sweetness

strength the religious life. If a philosophy of religion stops short of placing this truth on a firm, unassailable basis, it does not deserve the name
of of philosophy.

God

at once the

and

bitter,

on the other hand, is dry, barren with all its outward glitter, if it is not
Life,

inspired by a deep sense of the love of God. true heart must cry out with the pious Fenelon,

Every

192

LECTURE

VIII

"Oh, what

is life,

A toil, a
Were
it

strife,

not lighted by thy love divine.* The great Vy&sa, it is said, was one day sitting in a melancholy mood when he received a visit from the
sage Narada.

On Narada's

melancholy, Vylsa Mahabhdrata and the
belief
is)

said that

inquiry into the cause of hia though he had written the
(as

Brahma S>Uras

the popular
to

he

felt

no peace

in his heart. It

seemed

him

that he
did
it,

had left something undone and that unless he he would find no peace. But he could not under-

stand

what that thing was.

Narada
all

replied

that,,

notwithstanding
left

Vysa's
the
praise
find

valuable

works,

he

had

undone the most important of
not

things,

He
said,

had

sung

of

the Lord, and unless he*
Vyjisa,
it

did this, he would

no peace.

is

agreed with Narada and resolved to complete his work by composing a work which should celelife's
brate

the

praise
I

of

the Lord.

The
you

result
to

was the
the

Bhdgavata.
truth of this

do
story.

not
I

ask
insist
in

accept

only upon its moral. the field of morals, are Literary specially vain they do not help the comprehension of the truth of all truths the love of God for man. And
efforts,
i

perfect love

is,

as

we

shall

see,

inseparable,
I

nay
tell

undistinguishable, from perfect

holiness.

shall

you one more story before we enter into our main discussion. And this time it is not a mere story,
but a bare fact.
in

The great Chaitanya,
by
his

as

we read

his

lives

written

followers, defeated two-

THE SUPREME TRUTH
great
to
his

LOVE OF GOD

193

Miyvadins

in controversy

and converted them

religion They bhauma of Puri and Svatni Prabodhananda of Benares. The Svami was the head of the Sanyasis in the holy

of love.

were Aoharya Sarva~

the mendicant followers of Sankaraoharya. He had written many works on Philosophy before his conversion, works expounding the peculiar tenets of his sect. But after his conversion, his thoughts ran in a new vein, and he wrote a work very different in contents from those he had formerly written. Its nature may be guessed from its name Radhd premaMudhtf-sindhu the ocean of the nectar of Radha's love. The Svami must have realised the comparative futility
city
>

of

previous labours without this crooning effort of his life. Now, to compare little things with great t
his

I

may

at

once

tell

men, that I have never
version

you once for all, ladies and gentlehad to go through any con-

from a religion wanting in a recognition of the love of God to one which recognises this great truth, and that I have never regarded philosophical discus Rions as of any religious value unless they can elucidate

the supreme truth of the love of God.

But

it

really takes so much time and labour to lay the found* tions of that truth, and in my case, in the humble efforts I have from time to time made to expound
religious

truth,

I have

had to linger

so long in

work-

ing at laying the foundation stones, that I times seemed oblivious of the -real goal

have someof
all

my

But I have really been not only patient and slow, so that I might be
labours.

oblivious, but
sure.

While-

13

194
I have yearned

LECTURE

VIII

long and deep to throw

away my

building implements, soar high and sing a heartfelt song in'praise of Brdhma^premd-audhd-sindhii, my calmer

thoughts have counselled tower at whose foundation

me
1

to

stop

and

finish the

have been working, so that my song of praise may not only be heari by my fellow-worshippers far and wide, but may resemble more the constant and steady notes of the
ttdndi

than

the ephemeral song of a bird which soars high for a moment, but the next moment cotnes down with tired
wingfl to the very dust of the earth. Coming now to the real subject of our to-day'^

discussion, let us

ask ourselves what foundations we
in the

course of the previous lectures of the present series for building the doctrine of the Divine goodness. The first of our foundation stones, 1

have really

laid

reply,

is

the doctrine
call

expounded
our

in

our

fourth
is

lecture

that

what we

own consciousness

really the

eternal and

Divine consciousness reproduced When this under the limitations of time and space
infinite

truth

is

seen,

affirmations
to

on

the

nature

of

the

Divine Being cease
inferences.

be mere guess
life

work, mere

Oar conscious

being bound up with

the

life of God, we can speak of the Divine nature with as perfect an assurance as we feel in speaking We have thus seen that the metaphyof ourselves.

apace, his

God, his infinitude in time and and all-comprehensiveness, his omunity niscience and omnipotence, are not objects of the
sical

perfection of

elightest

doubt; they are as much ascertained and

FOUNDATIONS OF THE DOCTRINE
necessary truths as oar
finitude.
is

195

The second foundadifference

tion stone of our doctrine

the truth of our

from God explained in our sixth lecture. This truth ua free from the errors of Mayavad, which shuts keeps
the door against the doafcrine
of
of

the

moral perfection
real
in

God by making him the only
is

Being.
the

Our
moral
in us.

seventh lecture

the

third

stone

our
o<*

foundation.

We
All

have seen therein
is

that Conscience

nature of rain

the direct

manifestation
are

of

God
all

properly

humia

actions

directed to difinite
are,
in

ends; and the ends ws
divergent
forms,

set before us

their

reducible

to

self-realisation,

the
soul.

realisation or fulfilment of the true nature of

the

The

we have further seen, universal in its is, true nature and comprises the threefold power of and willing. Its true fulfilment knowing, feeling
soul

as

therefore
its

implies
its

the

harmonious development of

all

complete spiritual unity with human This comprehensive idea of selfin general. society realisation is an ideal of perfect love and holiness.

powers and

The main

features of this

ideal

enlightened soul, though its selves only in the course of our

present to every details can reveal them-

are

gradual evolution.

Now,

here

is

the most sure and direct evidence of the

goodness, the perfect love and holiness -of God. Conscience being the direct manifestation of God in us,

often wrongly

and not a mere power of the individual soul, as it is represented, and the verdiot of Consci-

ence being always for perfect love and holiness, for seen just and kind behaviour to all, God is necessarily

196

LECTURE VHi

to be perfectly loving

and holy.
It
ia

There

is

really

no

inference in the oaae.

a case of direct revelation.

When

Conscience inspires
is

of true self-realisation

us, when the perfect ideal revealed to us, our inmost
is

Soul, the Universal in us, which

God, shines

in

its

true nature, as the perfectly

good, the

perfectly

just

and loving. In these moments of (Jod-consciousnesa we become spiritually one with God one with him in knowledge, feeling and willing and see him directly.
His love and holiness, as
well
as
his

consciousness,
for a

become ours, and we the joys of moksha or
however, except
in

taste,

though only

moment,

liberation.

Though
godlike

short-lived

the case of such

beings as

Buddha and

Jesus, this supreme moment of experience us our surest insight into the Divine nature and gives becomes the very basis of our moral and spiritual life.

Even when we fall off from this high condition, even when our hearts are soiled by unholy feelings and our wills by unholy desires, we do not quite lose hold of the
light vouchsafed
to

us

in

those

glorious

moments.

The

ideal revealed
it is

realised as

in

by Conscience, though not always moments of the deepest communion,
us
in

continues to judge
difference
be

our
is,

practical

life,

The

between what God

and what we should

on the one hand, and what we are actually on the other, is always before us and serves as a constant
spur to
all

our moral efforts and endeavours.
conclusion, namely

Now,
is

this

that the ideal

of

perfect love and holiness revealed to us in Conscience

a direct manifestation of what

is

eternally

realised

TESTIMONY OF CONSCIENCE
in

1<)7

God, may be sought to be evaded by denying the truth of the essential nnity of God and man on

which
I

it

is

fonnded.

For the proof

of that doctrine

can only refer to
series.

my

present doctrine

But

even

previous lectures if truth the
of

of of

the
that

were denied,

the value
as
to

afforded by Conscience

the

testimony moral nature of
it

the

God would
character,
holiness.

scarcely be affected.

Conscience,
estimate

must
its

be admitted even on
is

the
in

lowest

of

always
is

favour of perfect
in

love

and
of

It

so

at

least

the

best
fact

types
is

humanity.

The

inference

from

this

that

the Author or Source of Conscience must be perfectly loving and holy. If he were not BO, if he were

unloving and unholy, he would not have implanted a faculty in the human mind which invariably speaks
against

worst of

and unholiness. Even the unlovingness men do not wish that their children should
If the

hate them.

Divine character were other than
holy, so

proportion as they grew wiser they would hate him more and more. If the heart and will of the wisest among us are attuned
that
in

perfectly loving and never have made men

the

Divine

Being would

to perfect love
is

and

holiness,

then,

to believe that

God

not perfectly loving and holy is to believe in the absurd proposition that the created is better than
is greater not in the cause, that is perfect love and holiness, has somehow or other come into the effect. 1 beg you earnestly to realise

the Creator.

It

is

to

believe that the part
is

than the whole, that what

198
the extreme

LECTURE

VIII

absurdity, nay the self-contradiction, of the sceptical position that God may possibly be unthat there may be defects or loving and unholy,

imperfections in
written

the

Divine character.

If

this

ex-

treme absurdity were seen,

much

of

what has been

ingenious but really very shallow-minded thinkers on the possible defects of the
character
less

by clever and

Divine

would

never

have been written t

much
ances.

The

lauded and admired as thoughtful uttersceptic stands upon the ideal of perfect

goodness revealed to him by Conscience, he identifies himself with that ideal and judges and condemns God by it! He does not see that he sets himself

above hig Maker, that he conceives himself better than God and thereby shows how little of the wisdom
he
boasts
of
is

really

the light by which own light ; and the

possessed by him. Keally he thus judges God is God's

God, but a
tion.

object of judgment is not really creation of the sceptic's own imagina-

But

I

anticipate

an

objection
it

at

this

stage.
in

Conscience

speaks unerringly,

may

be

said,

favour of perfect love and holiness, only in the best of men. In many human minds, its voice is far

from

clear.

Nay,

in

many

cases

it

seems to re-

present the wrong as the right, and the right as the wrong. How can Conscience therefore be accepted
as

the revelation of the

Divine character

?

Now,

I

as

do not quite accept this representation of Conscience an unsafe and unreliable guide to right conduct.

AN OBJECTION ANSWERED
I

199

have explained

in

my
to
his

seventh

lecture

how higher

and higher ideas
to

of

man according

have further said, vouchsafed to them, and have got, but which
ever,
let
is

are presented mental growth. Men, as I should be judged by the light
self-realisation

not

withheld
a

by that which others from them. Howfor
ia

me grant
moral
highest
guide. our
in

for

moment,
of

argument's
not,

sake,
in

that the

nature
of

man

except

the

types

humanity,

a

safe

reliable

invalidates

But this admission by no main conclusion that God is perfectly
case
in

and means

good.
tions

As
of

the
so

of

the
of

God,

that

the

metaphysical perfecmoral, it is the
of

highest and

fullest

manifestation

God
in

in
its

us that

testifies to his real

nature.

The world

wisdom

knows not God. To the ordinary intellect, even to the cleverest and moafc ingenious men, the material world seems quite independent of mind, and finite for themselves and individual souls seem sufficient
to be in

And

no need of the support of an Infinite Mind. yet the facts are, as they are revealed in a close
of

analysis

though
walks,

not

experience, quite the reverse. the highest truth in revealing
so
in
its

its

Reason, lower
ia

does

highest flights.

the
its

case

with Conscience,
aspect.
of
it

which
the
in

is

The same only Reason

in

practical

Though
in

not

moral

nature

God

revealing lower stages of
higher.

the
its

development,

does so

the

As

our

moments of the highest communion reveal more of God than the days and years of common worldly

200
life,

LECTURE
BO the

VIII

characters
in

of

Buddha and
of

Jesne, though

and cycles, course unequalled are infinitely more correct revelations of the Divine
the
centuries

character than the lives of

But
their

if

Buddhas and

ordinary men. not so are Christs are rare,
millions
of

admirers and followers.

As

centuries

roll

on,

the ideals of perfection revealed by them meet with wider and wider and deeper and deeper appreciation, and the world is more and more permeated by them

and undergoes reform and reconstruction on their Thus there is going on a course of continually lines. manifestation of the Divine clearer clearer and perfection in human life and society, a manifestanot darkened, for those who wish to flee, by the lower and less developed forms of human character.
tion

which

is

One great obstacle to a true realisation of the Divine goodness, specially of God's love for man, is a wrong or imperfect idea of what our true good is.
Happiness is often wrongly regarded as the highest good, and love or goodness is supposed to consist in the promotion of happiness. The consequence is,
that not

we

sharing in much of the happiness which fancy to be the lot of others, we consider God as

less indifferent to us. The true good we have seen, in our seventh lecture, to be self-realisation, and happiness to be only a part, a small part

more or

rather,

of

true

self-realisation.

God's goodness or
perfection
of
his

holiness

therefore
in
all

consists

in

the

nature

aspects,

intellectual,

emotional and

TRUE IDEA OF GOD^S LOVE
aesthetic,

201

and
bis

bis

love

to

man

in

wishing

and
of

promoting

true

self-realisation.

The course

self-development may, and we see it does, involve a good deal of suffering and struggle. God's love to
us therefore

cannot be measured by the measure of

Nor should our happiness he confers upon us. thankfulness to him be inspired only by the remembrance of things sweet and pleasant with which
and the painful and it is in alike help the growth of our souls this growth, whatever may be the means by which
he strews our
life.
;

The pleasant

it

is

brought

about,

that

we should

see

his

love

to

If we bear these facts in mind, us manifested. we may be saved from many a difficulty which we

experience, in the varied trials of life, in keeping our faith unshaken in the perfect love of God for

man.

One more
holiness,

and
cal

word in this connection, though we distinguish them for
are
all

Love
practiis

purposes,

really

inseparable.

Holiness

Love, again, ing the good of others ; and one cannot wish or further the good of others if that good is not dear to
is

in perfection involves love.

spiritual excellences;

and that and furtherwishing

the good is holiness. Love and holiness, therefore, are inseparable. Another great obstacle to a proper realisation of

him.

But

to

love

the Divine love to
tific

man
is

is

a

wrong

idea of the scien-

doctrine

of

uniform and universal laws to which
subject.

the whole of Nature

That idea

is

that

it is

only the

human

race as a whole,

and not every individual

202

LECTURE
being,

VIII

human

the direct object of the Divine The laws of Nature are seen to be no respecter love. of persons. attacks Disease the sinner and the
is

which

virtuous alike.

conflagration reduces to ashes the houses of all alike, be they lovers of God or such as
scoff

A

capsized ship goes down into the sea with both the pious and the impious. The laws of labour and wealth prosper the prudent, the
at all
religion.

A

frugal and the industrious, and reduce to penury thfl careless, the thriftless and the lazy, irrespectively of
their attention to spiritual
to

matter?,

Such

facts

seem

prove that the direct objects of God's care are not individuals, but men in general, as subject to physical

and moral laws.
of

On
call

the

other

hand, the revelation
is

God

as the soul of

our souls

direct

and
is

indivi-

dual.

What we

our consciousness

limitations
call

production of the Divine consciousness of time and space. He whom Christians

only a reunder the

the "only begotten son of God" is not more Divine in essence than every ordinary man. The of our mind all act through God's direct powers
inspiration,

The
and

effects of
it

what

are

called

the laws

must be always remembered that these laws are nothing but uniform modes of the
of Nature,

Divine activity

the effects

of

these laws on us,

I

say, are felt as God's direct dealings with individuals. To suppose, therefore, that these effects are not in

tentional
it

and purposive on the part of God, and that

his intention only to produce a general effect the working of these laws and not to reach, affect by
is

GOD'S LOVE TO INDIVIDUALS

203*

of

and mould every individual particularly, is the result If the Divine Ruler superficial thinking. were,
like

an earthly sovereign, unaware of his subjects individually, such a supposition might be entertained.

But as he
of the ear,

is,

in the

language of the Upanishads, the ear

understanding of the understanding, speech of speech, the life of life, the eye of the eye ^Sotrasya srotram manaso mano yad vdcho ha
the
the
I'ticham
it

sa u

prdnasya

is

a palpable
as, like

pranaschakshushaschakshuh") misrepresentation of him to picture

him

general

an earthly sovereign, administering only laws and ^unaware or careless of their conseon
individuals.

quences

His direct dealings

with

unmistakable proof of his special care for each person. General laws are not, in themindividuals
selves,

are an

any disproof of

every individual. And laws on individuals are most

particular attention to though the effects of these
his

various,
fact

pleasant to
in itself

some and painful to others,
dual

this

does

not prove that the particular good of each indiviis not intended to be served and is not actually

served by these laws. Nature, independently of the light afforded by Conscience, gives us no testimony
as

to

the

moral nature of

its

Author.

As

I say in

my
is

Religion of Brahman, "Natural phenomena give It us no direct testimony as to the character of God.

Conscience which

perceives the moral quality

of

actions, presents an ideal character of perfect truth Y goodness and beauty for our realisation, and reveals a

perfect Being of

whom

this ideal

is

an image.

But

foe

204
the voice
of

LECTURE

VIII

Conscience speaking within us, the very question of the goodness of God would not at all be
and, though conscious and active
raised,

perhaps thinking of him as a Being, we would not think of

evil, loving or unloving, holy the question raised by Conscience can be finally settled by Conscience alone." Now, the ideal of perfection revealed by Conscience, the

his being either

good or

or unholy.

And

which guides our moral efforts and moral judgments and is temporarily realised in our moments of the highest communion, is an ideal of perfect love
ideal
to

individuals.

bers of a

general community or a
to

A

care of persons as memcommon brotherhood and

indifference

the
this

needs,
is

requirements and progress

highest idea of love revealed to our spiritual vision or realised in the best and most adored types of humanity. The highest
ideal
tion,

of individuals,

not the

of

love,

that

shames our actual imperfections
aspirations,
life

which draws our deepest admiraand fires our
is

hearts with the loftiest

one
its

of

the

closest attention to individual
details,

even

in

minutest

of

the deepest sympathy
of every heart,

with

the sorrows

and aspirations

and of the most un-

ceasing activity in promoting the good of each soul. It is such a love, given to every personal being, that we must believe to be God's. To suppose that God's
love
is anything less than this, is to imagine him, as I have already pointed out, morally lower than his highest creatures, lower than even his ordinary crea-

tures in their highest moments.

It

may

also be said

TRUE BASIS OF FAITH

205

that oar faith in God's love, as just painted, will be more and more confirmed and better and better realised
in

proportion as our hearts grow purer and warmer, and that it is only in moments when onr carnal life gets the better of our higher life and darkens our
spiritual
of

vision,
fail

that
to

we begin
realise
it

to
in

God and

doubt the goodness its true depth and

sweetness.
arid

A

life

of unselfish

and active benevolence,

deep and frequent acts of communion with the Divine Spirit, are evidently the only means of keeping
faith
in

fresh

and warm our God for man.

the transcendent love of

faith in God's goodness is thus on the right basis, and when we endeavour, in placed all our moral efforts and difficulties, to keep our eyes fixed on this high ground of faith, the apparent

Now, when our

inequalities

in

human

lot

and those events

in

Nature

and human society which seem to be evils besetting the way of our progress and happiness, do not really
trouble
us

much.

As

I

have said
all

in the

book
to

I

have
evil

already quoted from, God the goodness of
in

"In

with

attempts the existence

reconcile
of
in

the

world,
faith

it

must be constantly

borne

mind

that our
inference

the Divine goodness is not an from the beneficent order of the world
in

from

provision for the happiness and moral progress of created beings which we see in Nature* A sound induction from these facts does indeed

the

lead to the conclusion

ponderance

of

that there is a large preover evil in the world, and that good

206

LECTURE VHI
is

the Author of Nature
it

a

beneficent

Being.

But

faith

does not prove that his goodness is perfect. Our in the Divine perfection rests, as we have seen,

on higher and surer grounds, namely the deliverances
of Conscience.

Though we
is

are liable
of

to

occasional

mistakes

in

our judgment

what

is

wrong, what

what is right good and what is

and
evil,

Conscience invariably and infallibly tells us to choose the right and the good and eschew the wrong and
the evil, and thus

shows that
is

character

it

reveals

he whose will and and invariably good. perfectly
our
higher nature, when

This unequivocal verdict of
'heard
in
all
its

strength and fullness, gives us a which cannot be shaken by any number ot faith

To learn merely physical and sensuous events the meaning of right and wrong, good and evil, from Conscience, and then, from the tendency of
.

some natural events
that
so far
is

Nature
evil

promote our good to conclude events go the Author of and from the seemingly a good Being,
to

as

these

tendency

of

certain

other
limit
his

events

to

declare
is

-that

these qualify and
If

goodness,
of

not

procedure. accepted at all, it must be accepted in its entirety, If the distinction of right and wrong, good and evil, a distinction in the l)e regarded as a valid distinction,
foe

a valid

the

verdict

Conscience

real nature of things,

the faith to which this distinction

bears withness, the conception of a perfect Being, of whioh our moral judgments are bat abstract expressions,

must be regarded as objectively

valid,

as

the

EVIL ONLY RELATIVE
revelation

207
faith in the

a real perfection. Divine perfection is thus based on
of

When
its

real

foundation,

the various forms of apparent evil in the world fail to shake it. Whether we are able or not to reconcile

them with the Divine goodness by any process resoning, we believe that they are reconcilable with

of
it.

We

understandings,

necessary limitations of our consequent on our being created beingSj which prevent us from seeing the harmony of these events with the perfect goodness of God, and
it
is

feel

that

the

that to
well as

him who what is

sees all,

sees

what

is

nearest to us as

farthest,

the most

all future as well as the present, accord with one another." perfect

things

remote past and must be in

The fact is, however, that the problem ot evil is by and as science and philono means an insoluble one becomes wiser and wiser "with sophy advance, and man
;

the process of the suns," the ways of

God
In

more

justified to his

understanding.
I

are more and what remains

of our present lecture,

can, however,

you nothing more than a
the

hope to give few suggestive hints on
I

way the problem should be handled.
to be

think

it

ought

remembered,
in
;

first

of

all,

that there

are

certain impossibilities

the

moral
as

world as there
the latter

are some in the physical

and that

do

not imply any imperfection in God, so neither do the the former. For instance, as it is impossible to make two and two equal to five, or to construct a triangle

God

with four aides, so it seems to be impossible even for to make another perfect being, a second God. A

208

LECTURE

VIII

created being, a being in time and space, mast, it seems* me, be more or less imperfect. He will indeed grow continually, bat there must a&ays be some imperfecto
tion in him,

and

his progress will necessarily

involve

a

and struggle. If such greater or less amount and struggle be rightly called evil, evil is, it seems pain to me, a necessary part*of our lot and as such, is in
of pain

no

conflict
evils

with the
are

Divine goodness.
of

But

in reality

such

only means

good.

Pain, error,

struggle and conflict are evils in the sense that they must be overcome and their opposites, happiness, wisdom, peace and harmony, attained through them. They are only forces through struggles against which

the

human

soul

stronger.
evils

They

stronger and are therefore relative and not absolute

becomes
real

continually

and present no
of the

difficulties

to thinking

minds
the

in reconciling

the actual course of Nature with

ideal

Divine goodness
say

in the heart.

We may
pain,

not be able to

always

what

particular

bring what particular remembered that wants and imperfections, pain and struggle, in some form or other, are necessary for created beings and are only steps to our higher good and endless progress,
difficulty or struggle serves to good to us ; but if it is always

our inability to account for not trouble us much.

each

particular evil

will

Now,

as

a particular

application

of

the

general

law that no created object can be perfect, we must remember that the earth and our bodies are imperfect objects and necessarily follow the laws of slow

NECESSITY OF DEATH AND DECAY

209
or

growth or construction
death.
millions

and gradual
the
to

dissolution

Ai geologists tell us, and millions of years
to

earth has taken
its

assume

present

form

become as well habitable as it now marked by far greater is. Its earlier history was cataclysms than those of which we hear and which

and

we

experience.

A

time

may

come

when

such

volcanic eruptions, desocataclysms, earthquakes, storms and inundations and the like will lating
cease.
will

Man also, by his progress in civilisation, become more able than now to protect himself
physical
vicissitudes,
so

against

as

he

has already

become proof against and progress, in the

many
of

of them.

But growth
structures

case

material

and organisms,
proach
the

are

alpo

a continually

nearer ap-

to dissolution
full

body,

and death. As, in the case of growth and strength mean the slow
so, in

approach

of decay,
for

the

case of

the
will

earth,

full

suitableness

human

habitation

mean

the

beginning of gradual untitness and

final dissolution*

As every individual soul is required to leave its body and seek another mode of existence, so will this fair human society be required, in some remote
period of
ty and
full
its

history,

to leave this stage

of

its

activi-

be transplanted to another. All this is in harmony with the laws which are at present work*

Nature, *and there is nothing in it either startling or inconsistent with the Divine goodness. It is ouly if we identify individual souls with the
ing in
bodies

which they

temporarily

oooupy^and human

210
society with ordained to

LECTURE
the earth on

VIII

present play its appointed parts, that decay, death and dissolution weigh upon our hearts, darken

which

it

is

at

our visions and thwart and check our higher aspiraBut the brief span of oar earthly life is only tions.

an
has

infinitesimal

portion

of

our

immortal

life

;

and

no judgment about good and
reference
in

only to our

can be valid which short sojourn on earth.
evil in

Both

individual
as

and
of

social life,

the

Hie

ot

persons
in

well

as

nations,

many things must
fulfilled

remain unfulfilled which we must hope to be

a higher state of existence. As there are children in the physical world in respect of whom we do not

an evil that they are so powerless, so and so little useful as they are, because we ignorant hope that there lies a brighter future before them, so there are numberless individuals and whole races
regard
it

as

of

men who

are

yet

in

the
yet,

progress, but centuries and

who

will

in

childhood of spiritual the course of years,

millenniums comprised in the endless

existence
for

allotted to man, rise to the true manhood which their God-given natures are destined.
is

It

not

particular

classes

necessary to take up, even as examples, of events which appear at first to

be absolute

evils, but which, when they have been fought against and overcome, are seen to be means

Where happier life. civilisation be if there were not hunger and thirst, heat and cold, rain and storm and other o-oalled inclemencies and of Natnre In
of progress

and

of

higher,

would human

f

EXAMPLES OF RELATIVE EVIL

211

themselves they are not blessings ; and the wisdom which teaches us patiently to bear the ravages of Nature and not to resist her, is not real wisdom, but
only foolishness and indolence in disguise. In themselves they are evils and must be fought against and

removed.

Our
us

real

good

lies

in the strength

which

comes

we have vanquished them, nay, even in our failures in struggling against them. The strength which we thus gain is not merely physical. It is knowledge, skill, patience, perseverance, sympathy and co-operation. Wide-spread famines, plagues and
to

when

inundations,
virtues
in

by

furthering

these

and

such

other

thousands and millions, prove themselves to be angels of heaven in the disguise of demons. The
Bengalis and from the dire Madras Madras is dates, remember, famine in the days of Lord Lytton, when bands of
present close
fraternization
I

between

workers from

this province

went

brethren of Madras with the the rich and the poor alike. It would not be too much to say that our present political re-awakening, which

help their dying millions contributed by

to

has broken the slumber of ages, is chiefly due to the recurring famines of recent years, which, by revealing our continual impoverishment, of the true cause

have also
wars

opened

our eyes to
of

its

true
last

The Napoleonic wars
in the east of

Europe and the

remedy. two great

Asia,

Russo-Japanese,

have, with

the Chino-Japanese and the all the sufferings caused

by them, done an incalculable moral good to both The spiritual blowings which Europe and Asia.

212
sickness,

LECTUBE

VIII

familiar to every thoughtful

death and bereavement bring with them are and pious soul that baa
see
into

the eye

to

their real nature.

We

need not,

however, dwell upon the subject.
of

mysteries mise them.

in

There are enough Nature and society. Let us not minialso

But we
if

know enough

and

learn

enough

daily,

we wait

patiently, to see the

wisdom

of the English poet's advice,

"Where you cannot

unriddle, learn to trust."

We

When we
their

place a great deal of trust in our earthly friends. have closely seen their hearts and studied
natures, our
trust
in

them remains unshaken

even when we see many things in their dealings with us which we cannot understand. We justly
consider that

man

to

be

unamiable who doubts

his

friends and loses his confidence in

them
'

at every

step,

on every occasion when he sees anything cannot interpret consistently with their

that

he

goodwill be thought of men towards him. What then should who doubt the goodness of the Author of their nature whenever they are in pain or difficulty, doubt the

goodness of him

who

is

the source of
of

all

ness, including the

goodness

the

doubter
of

earthly goodhimself.

As

I

have already

said, the

more you think

the true

nature of this sitting in judgment on God, the more will you be repelled by its foolishness, its extremeabsurdity.

Now,

in conclusion, I

have only to emphasise what
a
life

I have already said in substance, namely, that

of

earnest pietj^and of active

benevolence towards God's

HOW TO KEEP UP FAITH
creatures

the only means of keeping up a vivid faith in the goodness of God. It is a matter of actual exis

perience that a merely intellectual conviction of the higher truths of religion, a conviction not illumined

by fervent devotions and earnest well-doing, is darkened ever and anon by the very conditions of ordinary worldly life. Not necessarily by any process
of sceptical reasoning, but

tion

in

absorpmatters purely sensuous, faith in supersensuous

by the very

fact

of

is apt to become vague and dreamy and This is specially true in the case our grasp. elude Mere of such a subtle reality as the love of God.

realities

intellectual

even the pursuit of spiritual truth as an intellectual exercise, cannot be a sufficient
pursuits,
:

Love belongs to the heart antidote against this evil. a sentiment, an emotion, in the it is highest and
and permanently

It can therefore be grasped deepest sense of the term. It laid hold of only by the heart.
is only by constant and habitual exercises which move the heart, bringing into play the purest and

deepest feelings, that a vivid faith in the Divine love can be kept up. Frequent and fervent acts of

devotion on the one hand,

leading the soul to the

direct presence of God, and active service of man on the other, in the family and in society, not as dry routine work, but as direct communion of soul with
soul,

can alone keep up an atmosphere of pure and It should be clearly understood that fragrant faith.
life of spiritual dryness and dullness, barren of deep emotions and unselfish activity, is, on the one hand,

a

214

LECTURE

VIII

an unmistakable proof that those who live such a life do not, in the heart of their hearts, believe that God
loves them, for
indifferent
to
it is

not in

the

nature of

man

to

be

love really believed in ; and that, on the other hand, such a life is the least calculated to lead
to

a vivid faith in the Divine goodness. Onoe finally convinced of the truth of Divine love, we ought to
see

that a

life

of dryness

and aloofness from God,
mercies he
a
life
is

a

life

of forgetfulness of the
us,
is

showering upon

really

of

constantly the saddest

ingratitude, a life of sin, though it may be outwardly and conventionally innocent for we shall be judged not by conventional ideals, but by those revealed to
;

us in our

highest moments. Knowing, therefore, the transcendent love of God to us, a love compared with

which the highest and purest earthly father or mother, of husband or wife,

love,
is

either

of

but a shadow,

we can keep

ourselves pure,

unstained and blameless

only by a life deeply suffused with the fragrance of devout emotions, strewed all over with the sweet
flowers
of communion, and resounding with the and solemn music of loving service. If we can
soft
live

such a

life,

if

we can look ever and anon on the
his

face

of God, ever-resplendent with
if

the light of love, and

we can

feel
it

we

shall find

loving hand pressing upon ours, easy to believe what our Maharshi

and our Brahm&nanda
fullness
of
faith,

have taught
inspite
of

us

with

such

that,

our unworthiness,
to

God really loves [each one of us and even craves make us his own in the fullest and deepest sense.

LECTURE IX
The Future
There was
influence
of

Life
I

a

time
late

when
Francis

thought,

under the

the

William Newman, the

eminent English Theist, that a belief in human immortality was not of vital importance to the spiritual life, and I still think that, as he puts it,
such a belief
is

not

needed as a bribe to make us

Virtue is intrinsically good and attractive, virtuous. whether there be or be not a future life in which it
is

perpetuated
entire

and

rewarded.
that

We
if
is

should do the
it

right

and eschew the wrong, even
satisfaction

were proved
not

to our

man

immortal.

But though our duties to one another would remain the same if it were proved that human existence
ended with
belief
in

death,

the

intimate

relation
life

between
cannot
religion
life,

immortality and the Faith
in

spiritual

be

denied.

the
to
its

higher
in

truths the

of

necessarily gives

rise in

belief

immortal
to

and
of

this

belief

turn

serves

nurse and
activity

enliven

our higher

convictions.

The very

our higher beliefs,
live,

the beliefs,

for instance,

that

move and have our being in a supersensuous Infinite sustained by an that this world, Spirit, Supreme Spirit lores us with a love with which no

we

216
earthly love

LECTURE IX
can be compared,

and that

truth,

love

and righteousness are things for whioh the moet valuable of earthly things should be, if necessary, sacrificed, inevitably brings with it the faith that
man's existence does
of
It
his
is

not

end with the destruction
is

body, but that he

meant
are

for

life eternal.

only to those whose lives

spent

in

more
of

or

less

mechanical
in

work,
material

whose eyes
things
to

are too

much
their

engrossed
thinking
to

allow
wfio
to

of

eupersensuous
their

things,
little

are

too

much occupied with
think of a Higher
reality in

selves

find time

Self

beyond, and

who

see so

much
their

any higher
minds,
the
life
is

worldly pursuits that the reality of shut out from is interests practically
it
is

only to
their

such men,
life

I

say,

that
:

eternal seems

dreamy, hazy and problematic
practical
to

there
it,

nothing
is
if

in

suggest
life.

as

it

extremely
the

different

from such a
life

On

the other hand,
to

future

has ever become
difficulties,

yon doubtful from
will

you
faith

see

that

any doubt your
retain

intellectual
will

react

upon the

you may yet

religion.

Nay, ejren if, have only dismissed the

in the higher truths of without discarding it, you

something unnecessary
as

for

thought of immortality as you, because you can be,
thinking
yourself

you

see,

virtuous

without
indeed

immortal, you will not

become necessarily a

you may yet be outwardly and, to a certain even inwardly pure, as pure as one who extent, constantly thinks of the future life ; but you will see
;

bad man

RELIGIOUS IMPORTANCE OF THE BELIEF

217

that the

subtler truths of religion,

e.g.,

the existence

of a super sensuous

world, the
sou),

transcendent love of

God

for

every

human
will

destiny of man,
intangible to
will

and the high spiritual g radually become more and more

you. Keeping up your faith in them be a matter of no little struggle with you, for you will see that all these truths imply the immortabelief in human the soul. therefore, If, lity of

immortality be

lost,

the

loss

of

faith

in

the higher

truths of religion, of auch faith as can alone sustain a warm and vigorous spiritual life, is only a question
of time.
I

apeak
ot

experience

partly from experience, from my those days in which the tender faith

of early years was killed by intellectual doubts and the re-awakened and reconstructed faith of mature

years had not yet dawned ; and I think there have been and there are still many souls who, from losing their faith in the future life, have come gradually to
losing
all

faith
all

in

religion.

I

therefore heartily

disparage of a living faith
is

indifference

as

regards the cultivation

It

in immortality as of something which no practical importance to the spiritual life. may not be of importance to the mere moralist, to

of

him who is contented with an outward purity o life and a certain amount of good work. But it is of
supreme importance to life in God, to living in deep harmony with God's spirit, and, like the other truths
of higher
realities,

religion,
it

like all beliefs in supersensuous should be kept vivid and active by study,

meditation and devotional exercises.

218

LECTURE IX

Now, the two great foundations of oar belief in the immortality of the soul are its immateriality and
its

spiritual

destiny

God.

foundations of Corresponding faith are the two main sources of doubt as regards
life,

implied in to these

its

moral relations to

two

the future

the

and

philosophers have soul, the latter

misgivings that, after all that said of the distinction of matter

may
that

be only some subtle form
has

of the

former, and that man's moral relations with
after
all

God may,

been

said' of

them, be

nothing more than a mere idealisation of his moral end than instincts, instincts which have no higher for him a certain amount of secular wellsecuring
being.
I

frankly

confess,

ladies

and
these

gentlemen,
misgivings

tbat

I

have often been subject to

and can heartily sympathise with those who are their 1 have wrestled hard and long with these victims.
spirits of evil

weapons to rialism which
are

and taken pains As fight them.
assails

to
to

find

out the proper

the persistent Mate-

men

in these days,

whether they

conversant or not with

of the times, 1
in

Idealism.

thought have found the most efficacious remedy I do not think any form of dualistic

the

scientific

theory can give permanent satisfaction to the mind in this respect. All that Dualism, of whatever form, has to say in the matter seems to have been
said in substance centuries ago, for example, by Socrates as quoted by Sir William Hamilton in one of the first of his Lectures on Metaphysics, and by

Sankar&ch&rya

in

his

commentary

on

aphorism

54,,

MIND DISTINCT FROM MATTER

219

The obapter Ilf, pdda 3 of the Brahma Sutras. is that our perception of essence of this teaching matter is itself an unmistakable proof of our distinction
from
it.

In

our perception

of

matter,

matter

and

mind are distinguished as object and subject, a distinction which clearly shows that mind cannot be the
product of matter.
quite
valid
satisfaction

So far the argument seems to be and convincing, and many have found in it and have sought no other argument

against Materialism. others, the argument

To me, however,
seems to
lose

as

to

many
the

all

force

moment matter
an unrelated,

is

raised from
entity,

one term of a relation to
the standpoint of both

absolute

popular and philosophical
this conception of

Dualism.
as

And

it

is

from

an entity independent of If that Materialism draws all its force. knowledge, matter is an absolute reality independent of mind, how
matter,

can we be
evolution
it

sure

that

in

a

cannot give

high and subtle state of This doubt rise to mind ?

popular and scientific thought, There has not been, indeed, up to this time, anything like a scientific proof that even the lowest form of life,

seems to haunt both

that

not to speak of mind, ever comes out of dead matter, is, matter endowed with merely physical and chemical qualities.

The

late Professor Tyndall,
in

who,

in

his

famous Belfast address of 1874, saw
sort of prophetic vision,
''the

matter,

by a

promise and potency of
after

every form of
close analysis

life,"

declared,

nine months of

generation of

life

and experiment, that no proof of the from dead matter was forthcoming.

220

LECTURE IX

Bat he asserted at the same time that he did not think it impossible that such proof would be forthcoming in
future.

And he
as
:

says this, though in his fragments oj
of the brain
is

Science he,

quoted by Dr. James Martineau, had
unthink*

declared

"The passage from the physios

to the corresponding facts of consciousness
.able."

But what is unthinkable, that is unrepresentable in imagination, which is all that the Professor seems to mean by the term, may yet come to be true. And thus both popular and scientific thought, in its
sceptical moods, seems to wait for a time

when

it

may

be proved by purely scientific methods that life may oome out o matter, and if life, why not mind,

which
of

is

supposed to be only a more complex form

life ?

The
C.

discoveries of

our

own great

scientist,

Dr.

J.

Bose,

who has

satisfactorily

proved the

capability of mineral substances like iron to respond and the susceptibility of this to electric stimuli

elementary form of life to be suspended by the action of poison and restored by the influence ot antidotes, seem to point somewhat clearly to a day,
will

not every distant, when this be fully realised. Now,

dream
I

of

Materialism
1

must confess that

sympathise a good deal with these anticipations, though from a standpoint very different from that

which either the Materialist or the Dualist occupies, and fear no harm to the cause of religion from
their

actual
set
it

realisation.

The

fact

is

that

when you

have

up an absolute
is

which

reality with certain powers to exercise, you can set no limit supposed

IDEALISM THE TRUE ANSWER TO MATERIALISM
to the

221

powers which it may possibly put forth in future ; you must, on the contrary, allow it an infinite potentiality of

producing phenomena. If matter is what it is conceived to be in scientific thought and in the dualistio theory which claims to represent popular

thought
called

in substance,

namely,

the source of what are

physical
I

phenomena
it

and

the

cau?e

of

our

should be held absolutely wisations, why incapable of producing life and mind. Kay, to ascribe

do not see

power to
do,
is

it,

to

and popular thought undoubtedly concede the whole point at issue between
as science

Materialism and
it

non-Materialism.
to

To

ascribe power to

is

virtually
to
raise

endow
to

it

with will and thought and

thus

it

the position of the First Cause or

Ultimate Reality of the universe. As I showed as early as 1885 in my Boots o/ Faith, the roots of Mr. Herbert Spencer's Agnosticism are to be found in the

apparently

harmless

doctrine

of matter as something-

independent of mind. The true answer to Materialism and Agnosticism I then found and still find in Idealism,
in

the

doctrine

established in
in

my

Brahmajijndsa and
present series of

briefly

defended
that

the fourth of the

lectures,
is

matter, though distinguishable from, not really independent of, mind. It would be going tai beyond the limits of this lecture to give even a
brief

resume

of

the

arguments
referred
real
to.

with which 1 have

defended Absolute Idealism
tions

in either of

my

presenta-

subject that once you have a

of

the

I have only to say insight into the relation

of matter to mind,

once you see, with the penetrating

222

LECTURE IX
that matter

vision of true Philosophy,

without relation

to

mind
far

is

no better than an abstraction, and that

mind, even its
limits

from being the product of matter, is not constant correlate, but really transcends the
form
its

which

very

essence,
all

the

moment,

say, you and misgivings fall off from you like the street dust which you shake and rub off from your boly as soon

I

see

these truths,

materialistic doubts

reach your house above the dirt and dusty The only satisfactory and drifts of the public road. unanswerable argument against Materialism of all
as you
sorts, popular, scientific and metaphysical, is the truth, arrived at by a close analysis of experience, that there is no such thing as matter as conceived by these

theories,

that the very conception
is

of

matter under-

lying these systems

self-contradictory.

This then, ladies and gentlemen, is my answer to the first of the two classes of objections to the
immortality of the soul mentioned at the beginning But I shall not dismiss this part of of this lecture.

have read to you a few extracts from a very suggestive little book on Human Immortality by Professor James, the great American Psychologist, and one of the greatest of modern

my

subject

before

I

authorities on the subject of

the relation

of

mind

to

matter.
state
of

From
recent

these

extracts

you

will

eee the exact

scientific

opinion on this
of

important

subject.

Referring to one of the
in

difficulties

human

immortality dealt with

believing Professor by him,

PROF. JAMES ON

THE RELATION OF MIND AND MATTER 22H
first of

James says
to the

:

"The

these difficulties

is

relative

we

absolute dependence of our spiritual life, as know it here, upon the brain. One hears not only

physiologists, but numbers of laymen who read the popular science books and magazines, saying all

about

us,

How

can we believe
all

in

life

heraafter

when

science has once for

attained to

possibility of escape, that our inner life

proving, beyond is a function
(

of

that famous

material,

the
?

so-called

grey matter'
the
function
?

of our cerebral convolutions

How

can

possibly
It

persist
is,

after its organ has

undergone decay

indeed,

true

that

physiological
;

science

has come to
fess that in so

the

conclusion

cited

and we must conout
a
little

doing she has only
belief

carried

Every one knows that arrests of brain development occasion imbecility, that blows on the head abolish memory that brain-stimulants and or consciousness, and The anapoisons change the quality of our ideas, have only tomists, physiologists, and pathologists shown this generally admitted fact of a dependence to be detailed and minute. What the laboratories and hospitals have lately been teaching us, is not
farther

the

common

of

mankind.

only that thought in general is one of the brain's functions, but that the various special forms of thinking are functions of special portions of the brain.

When we
pital

are thinking of things seen, it is our occiconvolutions that are active ; when of things
it
is

heard,

a certain portion of our temporal lobes
spoken,
it is

;

when

of

things

.one

of

oar.

frontal

224

LECTURE IX

convolutions. Professor Fleshsig, of Leipzig (who,, perhaps, more than anyone may claim to have made the subject his own), considers that in other special convolutions those processes of association go on

which permit the more abstract processes of thought
I could easily show you these regions if I had here a picture of the brain. Moreover, the diminished or exaggerated association of what this
to take place.

author calls Korperfuhlsphare with the ofcher regions, accounts, according to him, for the complexion of our
emotional
shall
life, and eventually decides whether one be a callous brute or criminal, an unbalanced

sentimentalist,

or a

character accessible

to

feeling

and yet well poised. have to be corrected
the main
positions

Such
;

yet

special opinions may so firmly established do

worked out by the anatomists, and pathologists of the brain appear, physiologists,
that the youth of our

medical schools
believe

are

unhesitatingly to assurance that observation will

where taught

everythem. The
establish

go on
is

to

them ever more and more
of all

minutely
to
life

the inspirer

contemporary research." The Professor then goes on
of

show

that

the

discontinuance

our

mental
of
its

does not follow

from
brain.
its

this

admitted fact
says

dependence on the

I "The supposed impossibility of comes from too superficial a look at continuing

He

the admitted

functional dependence. The more closely into the notion of inquire for exfunctional dependence and ask ourselves,
fact of

moment we

BRAIN DOES NOT PRODUCE THOUGHT
ample,
there

325

many kinds of functional dependence may be, we immediately perceive that there is
life

how

one kind at least that does not exclude a
after at all.

here-

conclusion of the physiologist flows from his assuming off-hand another kind of
fatal

The

functional

dependence, and treating

it

as

cuts off all hope of immortality the phrase, "Thought is a function of pronounces the brain/' he thinks of the matter just as he thinks

imaginable kind. that his science

When

the physiologist

who

the only thinks

when he
kettle,"

says,

"Steam
is

is

a function

of

the

tea-

"Light
is

a

function of
of

electric

circuit,'*

"Power
the
their

a

function

the moving waterfall,"

In

these latter oases

the

several

function
effects,

of

inwardly
their

material objects have creating or engendering

and

function
so,

ductive function.

Just

he

thinks,

must be called proit must be

with the
interior,

brain.

much

as

it

Engendering consciousness in its engenders cholesterin and creatin
our
soul's
life
if

and carbonic
also

acid, its relation to

must
such

be called productive function. production be the function, then

Of course,

when

the

organ

perishes, since the production can no longer continue, the soul must surely die. Such a conclusion as this

particular conception But in the world of physical nature, productive function of this sort is not the only kind We have of function with which we are familiar.
is

indeed inevitable from

that

of the facts.

also releasing

or permissive function

;

and we have

transmissive function.
1ft

The

trigger of

* cross-bow

226

LECTURE IX

baa a releasing function ; it removes the obstacle that holds the string, and lets the bow fly back to
its

natural shape.

So when the hammer

falls

upon

the By knocking detonating compound. inner molecular obstructions, it lets the constituent so permits the gases resume their normal bulk, and In the case of a coloured explosion to take place.

a

out

glass,

a prism or missive function.

a

refracting

lens,

we have

trans

-

The

energy

of

light,

no matter
in

how produced,
colour,

is

by the glass

sifted

and limited

and by the lens or prism determined to a the and certain keys shape. Similarly, path have only a transmissive function. of an organ They open successively the various pipes and let
the wind in
the
air-chest

escape

in

various

ways.

various pipes are constituted by the columns of air trembling as they emerge. But the
voices
of the
air
is

The

not engendered in the organ.

The organ

proper,

as distinguished from its air-chest, is only an apparatus for letting portions of it loose upon the world in these peculiarly limited shapes. thesis now is

My

this
is

:

that

when we think

of

think of productive
also
to

a function of the brain, function only;
consider

the law that thought we are not required to

we are

entitled

permissive

or

transmissive fimction*

And

this

out of

ordinary psycho-physiologist leaves his account." Professor James then illustrates
function of the
of

the

this transmissive

human
soul
it

brain
to

by
the

conceiving the relation
Infinite

the

finite

much

in

the same,

way

in

which

has been

MATERIALISM UNSCIENTIFIC

227

explained in this series of lectures, specially in my fourth lecture, by comparing the Infinite Mind to

the solar rays, the human brain to a glass dome or prism, and the thoughts of finite minds to rays of such a medium. From transmitted through light

a

fear

of

tiring

you by lengthy quotations,
his

I refrain
of

from

extracting

luminous

exposition

the

with one more contenting myself only extract dealing with the exact scientific or rather
subject,
unscientific

character of the
of

doctrine

of

thought as
transmission

the function
that neither

the

brain.

Professor James thinks

the

production

nor

the

theory has any strictly scientific value, but that the latter, the theory of transmission, with which he identifies himself, has several advantages over the other.

These
those

advantages are mentioned in detail in the and I recommend treatise from which I have quoted
book.

who feel As to the

interested
scientific

subject to read the pretension of the producin

the

tion theory, the Professor says of science positively understood,

:

"If we are talking function can mean
variation.

nothing

more
varies

than

bare

concomitant
in

When

the brain activities
in

change
;

one way, conthe currents

sciousness

another

when

pour through the occipital lobes, consciousness sees things ; when through the lower frontal region,
consciousness says

she goes to

things to itself ; when they stop, In strict science, we can only sleep, write down the bare fact of concomitance ; and all
etc.

talk about either

production

or

transmission, as

the

tECTURE IX

mode
details

of taking place, for

IB

at that,

we can frame no more
of

pare superadded hypothesis notion of the

on the one alternative than on the other.
indication
of

Ask

for

any

the

exact

process either of

transmission or

her imagination to the least glimmer of a conjecture or suggestion, even a bad verbal metaphor or pun to
is

production, and science confesses be bankrupt. She has, so far, not

not
offer.

physiologists, Ignoramus, ignorabimus, words of one of their number, will say here. The production of such a thing as consciousness in
in the

what most

reply with the late Berlin professor of Physiology, is the absolute world-enigma,
the brain, they will

something so paradoxical and abnormal as to be a stumbling block to Nature, and almost a self-contradiction.
in

Into the

mode

of

production

of

steam
for the

conjectural insight, terms that change are physically homogeneous with one another, and we can easily imagine the case to but alternations of molecular consist of nothing

a tea-kettle we have

motion.

production of consciousness the brain, the terms are heterogeneous natures by altogether ; and as far as our understanding goes, it is
as great

But

in the

we said, Thought is 'sponta~ or 'created out of nothing.* * neously generated After these weighty words of Professor James*
a miracle as
1

if

nothing seems necessary to be said as to the difficulty about the doctrine of human immortality which

we have been dealing
t&ia part of

with.

But
t

I

shall

not leave

our subject before

have

mentioned

SOUL IDENTICAL AMIDST BODILY CHANGES

229

two
the

facts

which seem
of

to bring oat

moat clearly the

distinction

the soul from

identity

ever-changing the former of

nature
in

of

the body. The first is the latter and the

the

midst of constant

changes. Our own actions, both physical and mental, and the action of natural forces upon the body, are
it every moment. The daily waste underthe body is recouped by nutrition. That is gone by to say, the particles lost by the body in the course

changing

of

its

constant change

are replaced
then,
is

by fresh

particles.
in
is

A

continual re-building,

going on

our

bodies.

This re-building,

scientific
is,

men
at the

say,

comin

pleted every three years ; that three years, not a single old
the

end of every
remains
bodies are

particle as

body.

So

far,

therefore,

our

concerned, each of us is really a different person from what he was three years back. But as souls, we are the same persons we were in our childhood.

Our knowledge and other mental possessions indeed ideas increase, and many of our change ; but the
central
personality,
identical.

We

the "I," the ego, remains quite know that we are the same persons

we were
gone

years ago, inspite of the changes we have through. This brings out most clearly the
of

distinction

our souls

from our bodies and shows

the absurdity of our mistaking the death of the body for the extinction of the soul.

Another
clearly[and
lity
is

fact

reveals

this

distinction

even more

a transparent evidence of the immortasoul.

and ever-progressive nature of the

We

see

230
that

LECTURE IX

when oar body has reached a
it

certain stage of

growth,
of decay

naturally begins to

decay.

This process
the

may

be made very slow

and

proper
health,

care,

by

strictly

preserving

gradual by laws of

and death may be postponed and delayed much beyond the ordinary span in certain oases of life. Bat neither decay nor death can by any means be avoided. The body is evidently doomed
to these
it

processes.

They

are as

much
very

natural to
different
is

as

its

birth

and

growth.

But

the case with the soul.

Its powers and properties, wisdom, love, reverence, holiness, not only increase with years, but show no sign of decrease. Old

men bowed down with
if

their

bodily infirmities are

they have spent their lives well, if they have used the opportunities of spiritual progress afforded them the wisest and the best of men and the natursl
guides and
If the
its

instructors

of

those

soul

were

identical

younger than they. the body, and with

powers destined to decay and death like those of the body, the case would be very different. The souls
of as

old

men about
bodies.

to

die

would then be as useless

But what we usually see is the very reverse of this. The real strength and beauty of a truly virtuous and pious man often come out most
their
brilliantly,

like the glories of
is

his physical existence

an Indian sunset, whenabout to close. It is indeed

true that

the mental powers seem to fail in some cases as the powers of the body are impaired. But
really,
it

will

be found,

that

it

is

not the powers

POWERS EVER-PROOBEBSIVE
themselves,
to

231

express
to

but the ability to put them into action, themselves in the form of visible and
fails.
it

tangible facts, that

power
fails

manifest

not wisdom, but the in speeches or writings, that
It
is

in

a

man weakened by
or

or holiness,

but the power to put
far-reaching,

old age. It is not love it forth in touching

expressions

beneficent

acts,

that

becomes more and more impossible with the failure of bodily strength. And it cannot but be so. The
body,
the

though
its

not

identical

with

the

soul,

is

undoubtedly instrument
suffer

organ
is

of

self-expression, and when

impaired, the expression cannot but

both in quality and quantity. But this does not in the least invalidate the argument from the
ever-progressive nature of the soul. Since wisdom and other spiritual excellences are holiness love,

ever-growing and show no sign of natural decay no mark of a limit they are destined to reach, this

is

an indication that they are
growth,
for

intended for unlimited

and that the soul, when its opportunities growth and progress are closed here, must have another sphere of existence opened to it under conditions either similar to

or

different

from those that

obtain here.

Now, these
rise

indications

of

immaterial and ever-progressive
into

immortality from the nature of the soul

clear
to

tion of
it is

man

proof when we contemplate the relaGod and the object of human life as

used

revealed in man's spiritual nature. to say, we find it stated in

Kesavohandra
Miss
Frances

LBCTUKB IX

Power Cobbe's Autobiography, that our belief in God and our belief in immortality are not two beliefs, but really one. I take him to have meant by this that

when
it

the

human
is

soul

is

seen in

its

relationship to God.

cannot but be believed as immortal.
clearest

Our

faith

in

immortality ments, when our spiritual condition is healthiest, that is, when our insight into such deeper truths of religion
as the love
of

when we

are in our best mo-

God

to

man

is

clear

and

vivid.

On

the other hand, it is only when our grasp of such truths has become loose that immortality appears too good for us and assumes the form of a beautiful

dream which may
William Newman,
forcible

or
in

may
his

not be realised.

Francis
bases a

Hebrew Theism,

argument

for

no lover wishes to
therefore,
will

immortality on the fact that his beloved. God, part with

can,

who loves us more than any finite person not assuredly, he argues, destroy us and thereby deprive himself of his loved ones. This
argument gains an
irresistible

power,

a

power which

confeels, every spiritually-minded sider man's destiny in particular, the training which he is receiving in the moral order that obtains in

man

when we

God's world.
ture,

As we have

seen

in

our seventh lec-

that on

object of

"Conscience and the Moral Life," the human life is evidently the harmonious

development of man's spiritual powers, the attainment of perfection in wisdom, love and holiness. The domestic and social circles in the midst of which we
are placed are constant helps to the gradual attain-

MORAL ARGUMENT FOR IMMORTALITY

233

commerce and politics are, with all their intricacies and with all the apparent and passing evils with which they
of
this

ment

perfection.

International

are associated, also helping us
of

human

life

and

higher ideals. exclusively concentrated

higher conceptions the realisation of higher and Sometimes, indeed, our attention is
to

to

on

racial

or

national

pro-

be forgotten or gress, sacrificed to the good of the nation or the race. But a closer view of the matter discloses the fact that
to

and the individual seems

the progress of the nation or the community, apart from the improvement of the individuals composing
it,

is

really

unmeaning
the

;

and that the
of

sacrifice of the
if

individual
sacrifice
is

for

sake

national good,

that

conscious and intentional,

itself raises

the

individual, brings out the true dignity of his nature, and points to higher possibilities for him in another sphere of existence. Both internal and external

Nature,

seem evidently to co-operate in and to reveal God's raising and perfecting man
therefore,

purpose one aim
'God,

creating him. It seems clearly to be the of creation to draw man nearer and nearer to
in

to

make him more

and

more

God-like

by

developing the higher powers of his nature. That being God's express purpose, it is quite incredible that the human soul can ever perish. Even a person
of ordinary
his

wisdom and goodness

does not destroy

own handiwork, but

rather endeavours to

make

it

as perfect as he can. It is therefore inconceivable that a Being of infinite power, wisdom and goodness

234
should
set

LECTURE IX

up a scheme and give

it

op before

it id

half-complete.
to

To

create an
all

provide
all

it

with with

means

ever-progressive of self-improvement, to

nature,,

make
direct

Nature conspire to that end, to establish
it

cises of
tion,
life

through the devotional exerpraise and prayer, communion and inspiraand then, at the moment when, through a long
relations
piety,
its

of

that

nature

is

nearest to
stifle
it

its

goal r

nearest to
this
is

Divine Origin, to
clearly

into

death,

most

wisdom, love and by any one who
the
leads
after

incompatible with the Divine justice, and can never be believed
truly

believes
in

in

God.

Belief

in

God's Divine perfection, to the conviction necessarily
its

love

and

holiness,,

that

the

soul,

death,

will
it
it

make
has

path

in
is

which

endless progress in started and in which

the

God

leading Here, ladies and gentlemen, we come to the end of onr proof of the soul's immortality. As I said at the

himself

on.

beginning of my lecture, and as you must have seen from the proof already set forth, it rests upon two

and the

fundamental truths, the immaterial nature of the soul Those who spiritual relation of man to God.

have heard

my

previous lectures, specially the fourth,,
all

may

think that

that I have
first

said

others as regards the
necessary. God, those

of these

and quoted from truths, was scarcely

who

Those who see man's essential unity with see that spirit is above time and space,
in further

do not stand
its

proof of

its

immateriality.
also

And

indestructibility

and immortality are

implied,

DANGER OF PANTHEISM
it

235

may

be said, in

its

divine nature, so that the moral

argument for its immortality is also hardly necessary. But the fact is that man's essential unity with God is a

when expounded with the greatest command the conviction of a man of aver* age intellect. Some minds, even when they are keen
truth which, even
care, fails to

and clever
to

in other matters,

apprehend

this great truth.

seem constitutionally unfit For them it is necessary
soul without

to reason out the immateriality of the

any

direct reference to the truth of its

God.

And

this

is

what

I

unity with have tried to do in the first
essential

part of this lecture.
seen,

On

the other hand,
fail

it

must be
the
it is

what many people

to see,

that though

doctrine of man's essential unity with God, truly understood, helps us in a remarkable

when

way

to

see

the truth of our immortality, it actually obscures this If you truth when it is understood in a wrong way.

your unity with God and not your difference from him ; if you have not a firm hold of your individuality, which makes you necessarily distinct from as
see only

well as one with

God

;

if

your individuality appears to

you as only a more or less false appearance of his is appreinfinity, an appearance the falsity of which
hended more and more clearly as we advance
in

true
soul,

knowledge
that
is, its

;

then, the immortality of the

human

eternal

distinction from God, will appear

to

you not only as an undesirable thing, but as something
almost unmeaning. In that case the final merging of the finite in the Infinite, that is, from this standpoint,
of the false in the true, will

seem to be a most natural

236

IJECTUHE IX

I need and desirable thing. hardly say that this of the merging of the finite soul in God has doctrine actually been taught by a certain class of our Indian philosophers. Now, 1 should be the last man to say that this doctrine deserves to be summarily dismissed as absurd and unreasonable on the very face of it. It is only those who float on the surface of philosophical truth and do not dive into its depth, that would say so. To me it seems to be a veritable Castle of Doubt in the

path of the pilgrim-soul's progress to divine truth, a castle strong enough to detain the soul for years and

perhaps for ages.

The unity of God and man may be seen so deeply as to obscure for a time the truth of our eternal distinction from God. The vision of unity has a certain glare, in and by which distinction is for
a time
obliterated.

But

this

glare

may

be remedied,
distinc-

as 1 have shown in
tion from

my

sixth

lecture,

and our

God
is

as clearly seen as
seen,
spiritual

Unless this

our unity with him. culture and spiritual

progress seem unmeaning and the immortality of the floul turns out to be nothing more or less than the

immortality of God, which nobody ever questions and which does not stand in need of any proof. The mere
immateriality of the soul
distinction
is

therefore no proof
its

of

its

from God and of
for

we

see the value,

Hence immortality. the doctrine of human immor-

tality, of the moral

lecture.

argument I have set forth in this Our distinction from God, our progressiveof us as individuals,

ness,

and God's care
distinctly
life

these truths
in

mast be
mortal

seen before oar faith
basis.

our im-

can stand on an immovable

CONDITIONS OP IMMORTALITY

33T

Coming, now, from the proof of immortality to the form or conditions of immortal life, we find that
there are three suppositions extant, (1) that the soul will continue after death in a purely disembodied state,
(2)

that

it

will

do so

in a subtle or astral

body (sulcshma

or

linga farfra) without being re-born, and (3) that it will go through the process of re-birth till it has been

treed

from

the

fetters

of karma,
re- birth

and has attained
will

mohsha or

liberation,

when
first

Of these three ideas the
most Brahmas.

be optional. seems to be favoured by

however, to from a little book which professes to give the views of his later life. Jn that book he seems even to

Maharshi Devendranath Timkur seems, have favoured the second, as appears

The late Reverend Pratclpchandra Mazumdar leans even more distinctly to the doctrine of pre-existence and re-incarnation in his Asish. There is a [small number of Brahmaa
lean
to

the doctrine of re-birth.

who accept

the

doctrine

of

re-birth,

and there

is

perhaps a considerable number who consider re-birth To me a purely disembodied finite as quite possible,
soul
seeuis to

be

little

short of a self-contradiction.
to

The very

idea of an

individul soul seems

imply

a limiting adjunct, however subtle a medium through which the infinite Thought and Life manifests itself
as the thought and life of a finite being. The idea of a xukshma farira, therefore, seems to me quite reasonable.
1

also

much

think that the doctrine of re incarnation has to be maid in its favour. In my Hindu Theism and.
o Pa8chatya
t

my AfoMtartda^Pr&chya

I have said in

238
substance
all

LECTUBE IX
I

have to say

in defence of the dootrine.

I shall not repeat here the arguments
for the

set

forth

there,

dootrine of re-birth

me

as

it is

a personal opinion with with some other Brahmas, and not a cardiis

nal principle of Br&hmaism.

be permitted to say in
Bee, as

may, therefore, I think, this connection, that I do not
I

some profess to do, any conflict between the doctrine of re-birth and that of the endless progress
of the
soul,

which

latter

is

a cardinal doctrine

of

Brdhmaism.
learnt

"If", say, "we forget everything us in a former life, and have to begin anew by

some

at every birth, then there is no real progress." But the fact is that the advocates of re-birth do not think
that the net spiritual result of past lives is really lost when a soul is re-born. Its spiritual possessions, they tact as powers and determine its say, remain in
successive lives.

But the idea that a human soul can

that of a lower animal, seems really to be conflict with the idea of progress ; and many modern

re-born as

advocates of the dootrine

of

re-incarnation
really takes

do not
place.

think

that

such

retrogression

However, leaving the question of re-birth as open as it seems to be among the members of the Brdhma
Samaj, I shall briefly touch, before I another point connected with the future
close,
life

upon

regarding

which

are yet divided amongst themselves. It is the question of Spiritualism, of a supposed intercourse between the dead and the living. While, on

Brhmas

the other band, there

are

believers in such intercourse,

among Brahmas ardent men who speak with the

BEBIRTH ANP SPIRITUALISM

339

utmoat confidence of communications received by them from departed spirits, there are others who ridicule
the very idea of such commnications. As Spiritualism at any rate alleged is concerned with positive facts, facts rather than with arguments, 1 think I shall not

do

any injustice if I do not discuss it here at any But perhaps I may be permitted to say in length.
it

regard to

it

that
so,

its

thirty years or

attained to

evidences have, during the last a magnitude and imdid not
possess
before.
it

portance which they

The
on

number
purely

of

eminent scientists who now advocate
grounds, and books
like

scientific

Professor

Myer's Human Personality containing its evidences, are remarkable signs of the times. All these inspire me
with a hope, and 1 have heard others giving expression to the same hope, that before the present century
closes the truth of

human immortality

will,

instead of

being confined to argument and spiritual experience, be placed on a purely experimental basis and will command the belief alike of the reflective and the
unreflective,

the

spiritual

and

unspiritual.

I

think
is

there can be only one opinion on the point, that "it consummation devoutly to be wished.*

a

LBCTUEE X
The Brahma system
of

Sadhan

or

Spiritual Culture
I am happy in leaving behind, in the holy journey have undertaken, the region of pure doctrine, abounding in discussions iand controversies, which indeed

I

serve the

through

in

most useful purposes and must be gone a calm and patient spirit, but which are not
even
to

a practised and much* travelled pilgrim in these regions. To those unfamiliar with these rough and rocky tracts it must have been a

always delightful

great trial to keep company with me ; and I fear that at each stage of the journey some left me, refusing to
face

the difficulties which loomed before them.
enter a more

We

now

pleasant part of

not so

much
if

of close

practical experience,
ful kind,

our way, a region analysis and reasoning as of an experience of a most delight-

But

to the lazy

only one has the heart to enjoy the delight. and the; ease-loving all journey, even

that in a delightful region, is difficult and unattractive. Exercises of the heart are as arduous to them as-

those of the mind.
services

who

do

There are hundreds who join our not know what oar system o

THE RAJA'S FOBM OF SERVICE
sddhan
of the
is,

241

they do

service

known men
for

not enter even into the spirit they habitually attend; and I have who have been in the Brahma Samfij

years,

nay

even decades, but

who have

never

seriously inquired into the
spiritual culture.

teachings of our leaders on

Leaving out such idlers and easelovers, I hope that by the more earnest of my hearers, the present and, on the whole the remaining part of our journey, in which we shall mostly be occupied with
questions of a

devotional and

social nature,

will

be

performed with less labour and perhaps greater pleasure than the one we have already accomplished.
Necessarily, a historical treatment of the subject in hand will be more useful than one purely expository ;

speak of the Brahma system of sddhan as it has been developed under the leading of Raja Kammohan R&y, Maharshi Devendranth Th&kur, Brahmdnanda Kesavcbandra Sen and the Sa*dharan

and I propose

to

Brahma Samaj.

Now, you

will

remember what

I said

on the Raja's and the Maharsbi's systems of sddhan in my first lecture. Those remarks will perhaps now be better understood if I present to you the actual forms

which were used in the Brhma Samaj in The form of public service adopted by the seems to have been the following Besides Kaj& hymns, whose number and order cannot now be ascertained, the two texts, Om Tat Sat and Ekamevddvitfyam Brahma, seem to have been uttered first and then meditated upon. The R&jfi explains them as "That True Being is the cause of the creation, preservation and ah*
of

service

those days.

:

16

244

LECTURE X

eorption of the world," and "The One without a second is all-pervading and eternal." Then came another text,

one from

Bhrigu Valli of the Taittirtya Upanishad, for utterance ard meditation in the same
th'e

third or

way. The process of meditation

itself is

pointed out in a

number of Sanskrit and Bengali verses, which also eeem to have been chanted either by the minister alone or by the whole congregation. The text, as
I

my Devanagari and English edition of "From which these the Upanishads, is as follows creatures are born, through which they, being born, live, and into which they return and enter, seek to know that well. That is Brahman." The explanatory
translate
it

in

:

verses

may be

literally translated as follows

:

"From

which the worlds arise, through which animals live, and in which they are absorbed, that is the Supreme
Refuge.

Through whose fear this air blows, through whose fear the sun shines and from which the mental
powers arise, that is the supreme Refuge. Through which -the trees yield fruits, through which the creepers are adorned with flowers, and under whose control the planets

the Supreme Refuge/' The Bengali verses, giving only the drift of the Sanskrit onea, may be literally translated as follows
is
:

move, that

"From which
whose
that
,

this

will

it,

having arisen,
is

destruction,
;

it

through which, after gradually absorbed, wish to know
gradually,
in

world arises

exists,

that

is

Brahman."

Thtia followed the well

known

stotra
erf

from

the

in tttovigioai form,

which the

THE RAJA'S FORM OF SERVICE
following
is

243
:

a

literal

English translation
the

"We bow

down

to thee, the true,

We
in

bow down
all

to

forms or

support of all the worlds. the conscious, who existest thee, in the form of the world. bow

We

down

to thee, one only truth,

bow down the gunas. Thou

We

the giver of liberation. to the all-pervading Brahman, without

art the only refuge, thou art the the only adorable one, thou art the one only cause of the world, of all forms or of the form of the world.

Thou

art the one only creator, sustainer

and guard

of

the world.

Thou only art above all, immovable and unchangeable. Thou art the fear of the fearful, dreadto

ful

those that are

dreadful,

the

refuge of living

beings and the sanctifier of those that sanctify. Thou alone art the regulator of high situations, above those
that are above
all,

and the protector

of

those that

thou who existest in ail O God, O Lord, protect. forms and art indestructible, undefinable, beyond all flenses, the true, unimaginable, above decay, pervading,
truth unmanifested, pervading the universe, the lord of lords and the eternal, we remember thee, we utter

thy name again and again, we bow down to thee, who
art the witness
of the world.

We

approach thee, the

lord

who

art

any support, the
refuge."

our support, source of

but art thyself without our all, propitious and

Now, there cannot be the
IB

slightest

doubt that

this

a praise or

adoration addressed to a

known and

personal
JSsfemce.

God and

In other words,

not the meditation of an impersonal it is a form of theistfo and

244
not
pantheistic

LECTURE

X

Bat to the Maharshi it worship. seemed to be vitiated by a few pantheistic conceptions, and of these he purged the stotra before adopting it
prescribed by him, We shall presently return to the changes introduced by him, when we shall more closely look into their nature and
as a part of the liturgy

extent.

In

the meantime I shall have done with the

Raja's form of devotions by giving the translation of a Sanskrit hymn which seems to have been an integral
part
of

the

form

and not simply one
in

which

was

occasionally sung other hymns composed by himself and his friends* This particular hymn was, I may add, the Raja's own.
It is as follows
:

the

course of the service, like

"Meditate with a calm heart on the supreme Lord, who is eternal, fearless, beyond sorrow, without a body r
perfect, without beginning,

moving and unmoving.

who know
in

the truth.

lives in all things, the instruction of those Accept He from whom the world arises,

and who

exists and by whom it is destroyed, from whose fear the sun and the moon move and the air
it

whom

blows, by a perception of whom illusion and sorrow does not rise again, he who
object of the
senses,
is

is

removed*
not the

is

alone

the great Refuge of all

refuges in the world."

by those to whom the heights and depths of devotion aref not unknown, that the form of worship just|[described is defective in so

Now,

it

will

no doubtjbe

felt

far as

it

confines the
antf

mind

to

certain simple relation*

of

map

pf the world to

God and

scarcely takea

THE

MAHARflHl'B LITURGY

245

'cognisance of the deeper and sweeter relations of the human soul to tbe Divine Being, relations on a due

recognition

and
are to
for

cultivation
in

of

which

depends
of

the

progress of
feel this,

the soul

love and holiness.

When we
theietic

we

remember that the body
this

worshippers
prescribed

whom
just

form
from

of

had
idols

worship of
to

or
of

emerged from an utter absence of worship
the
living

worship was the ceremonial

a recognition

God

as the

object of

Under such spirit their worship could not but be more or circumstances, less elementary. The explanation lies also partly in
worship,

worship in

and

in truth.

the Sankarite association of the

Brhma

Samaj of those

days. The Sankarite school had not developed the sweeter aspects of worship; and the Brahma Samaj
suffered in those days on account of
identification with that school.

Vedantic, for there are specially the Vaishnava schools, in which the emotional
side of

greater or less I say Sankarite, and not other schools of the Vedfinta,
its

worship had been fully developed. But Vaishnavism has always been identifid with the worship of idols and incarnations, notwithstanding the Vedantic back-

ground
their

of its higher forms. The theistic worshippers of those days therefore naturally and I think wisely kept

movement

free

from association with the Vaishleft to later

nava schools.
cially

It

was

Br&hma

leaders,
in

spe-

Kesavchandra Sen,

to discover the

way

which

the higher forms of

bhaJcti

or

piety developed in the

Vaishnava schools could be cultivated and at the same time tbe evils of idolatry and man-worship avoided.

246

LECTURE X

Coming cow to the days of the Maharshi, we find him trying to remedy the defects already mentioned
by introducing a fuller form of public devotions, one which took cognisance of the deeper and sweeter
relations

of

the soul

part
texts

is

called archana

to God. Of this form, the first and consists of the well-known

Yajurveda beginning with "Ow pita which clearly recognise nohsi", the fatherhood of God and pray to him to forgive
from the

"Thou

art our Father,"

our

part is called prandmah and consists of the well-known texts from the Svetdsvatara
sins.

The second
beginning
is

Upanishad
third part

with

"Yb

devagnau"
It
is

The

called

samadhdnam.

divided into

two portions, the first consisting of the texts beginU 0m satyam jntfnam anantam Brahma 11 ning with and meditations thereon, and the second of texts
beginning
the

"Om

translation of the

saparyagdt" followed by a Bengali same. Both sets of texts are from

and consists

Upanishads. The fourth part is called dhydnam of the well-known Gdyatrf mantra followed

by meditation on it. The fifth part is named stotram and consists of an abbreviated and altered form of
the texts of the Mahdnirvan Tantra already referred The Maharshi's abbreto, with a translation thereof.
viation of the stotra consists in leaving out

two rather

unsonorous couplets, the seventh and the eighth, those beginning with "Paresha praVho'sarvarupdvindsin
Lord, O thou who existest in all forms("O God, and art indestructible 9 '). Perhaps sarvarupa (allformed) seemed to him pantheistic, The more im-

THE MAHARSHl's LITURGY
portant changes made in the portion that remains are the substitution, for the words 'visvarupdtma&dya 9 (to

him who
the
as

exists

in

all

forms),

'nirgundy** (without

and 'vi&varupam* (all-formed), of snch appeared more consistent with theism as he undergunas)
it.

stood

It

may perhaps be

said

that

we

in these

days have realised too clearly the place of Monism and Pantheism in Brhmaism, as well as their limitations,

any serious objection to these words. I for one would be glad to see the stotra restored in in the place of the mutilated form its original form in which it now appears. I take serious exception
to
feel

taking liberties with scriptural texts, in fact with any quotations whatever. Use them as they are, without the least tampering with them, or do not use
to

they do not quite suit you. I do not think that, as a rule, we can worship in words used by the ancients, by those who thought and felt so differently from us. But if we at all use
at all
if

them

you

find

their words,

we have no
suit

right to change

them

in

order

they ments.

that

may
to

our changed thoughts and senti-

come to the remaining parts of the Maharshi's liturgy. The sixth part is called prdrthana and is made up of a general prayer drawn up by the
However,
Maharshi ancf the well-known prayer "Asato met, #<uZyamaya," etc., which really consists of three tdistinpt

two from the Upanishads and one from the Rigveda put together in the shape of a single prayer
texts,
;

it

is

followed by a translation.

The seventh part

is

248
called avddhydya

LECTURE X

and

consists of a

collection

of

texts

from the Upanishads.
part
tion
is

called

The eighth and the concluding Updsanhdrah and consists of an indirect

prayer from the Svetasvataropanishad with a translathereof. Now, there can be no doubt that the

Maharehi's form of service

is a great improvement the R&j's, specially as it admitted of still farther upon improvement ; but in addition to the common dis-

advantage under which
that
in

all

liturgies

labour, namely,

using them the words uttered precede rather than follow the thoughts and feelings, if at all the latter do come, which may or may not be the case,
the particular defect of this improved liturgy is the same in kind, though not the same in extent, with that of the Kaja's. The deeper and sweeter relations
of

the

soul

to

G-od,

which we miss

in the one, find

indeed some recognition in the latter, but are left without any emphasis. This was perhaps unavoidable,

the Maharshi, no less than the Raja, in collecting materials for his form of devotions, avoided those sacred writings in which the aspects of piety
for

I refer to had been developed. To remedy the defect mentioned, he should either have gone to those sources
or have composed praises and prayers of his owe, both of which courses he seems intentionally to have avoided. The defect was partly remedied, however,

both cases, and, in the latter case in a remarkable degree, by the hymns composed in those days, which were sung in the course of the services and became a
in

great source of comfort and edification

in

private

HISTORY OF THE PRESENT FORK
-devotions
also.

249

The hymns

of Rfija

Ram m oh an Ray

and

one period and those of Bbu Thakur and his brothers in the other, Satyendran&th mark two remarkable epochs of spiritual awakening
his followers in the

in

the

away and concentrate
in

history of Bengal. The former mainly call the mind from the sins and snares of the world
it

on the Supreme
of

Being as our

real

good and the goal

speak touching accents of the love of God for man and of communion with God as the source ot supreme and
inexhaustible
bliss.

human

existence.

The

latter

Maharshi's vydkhydnas or ^expositions' would not have produced the profound effect they did without the hymns composed by his
sons,

The

the feelings produced by his teachings, served to deepen the feelings of hundreds of hearts arising from the same source.

which,

themselves the effects of

However, the defect in the received liturgy just mentioned could not remain unremedied if the Brahma

Samaj were to advance spiritually. No religious body can grow in spirit with the use of mere stereotyped and it came from the prayers. So the reform came progressive section of the Samaj, the section which eventually separated itself from the parent church and formed itself into the Brahma Sam&j of India. The
;

seeds of the reform, and in fact those of the
in

Br&bma

Samfij of India, were sown the Sangat or the Sangat Sabh, (named after similar Sikh assemblies) which has had the most important

an institution called

the history of the Br&hma Sam&j. The object of the body was to make Br&hmaism a reality in
results
in
*

250
the
life

LECTURE
of
its

X
help,

members, with

tniitual

advice and

co-operation.

Sen.
this

The moving spirit As the result probably of several conferences, body came to the conclusion that true worship
of

was Kesavohandra

consisted

the

following

elements

:

Arddhand
(medi-

(adoration), Kritajnatd

(thanksgiving),

Dhydna

tation or communion), Anulctpd (repantance), Prdrthind

(prayer proper) and Atmasamarpana (self-consecration). This division of worship into its component elements first appeared in a little book named Brdhmadharmer

Anusthdna, or "the Practice of Brahmaism," which gave the substance of the conclusions arrived at in the

Sangat and
editions.

which has since

gone through several

This enumeration of the primary movements of the soul towards God is so very like the enumeration of "religious obligations"
in

Miss F. P. Cobbe's

Religious Duty, a

those days, that I leaders really took their clue from

book largely read by Brahmas in cannot but think that the Brhma
that gifted writer. in fact, the same as that of

Miss Cobbe's enumeration

is,

the Brahma leaders, with this slight difference that, in the former, faith finds a place among the other obligations and dhydna is absent. Gradually, however, our
leaders seem to have found out that their division of the

elements of worship was not quite logical; and so the list was reduced. Anutdpa and Atmasamarpana

were probably

felt

as

included in prayer, and were
editions of

dropped Anusthdna.
service
in

in

the

later
little

Brdhmadharmer
of^

In a
the

pamphlet giving the form
Saraij

Br&hm*

of India, published

THE PRE8EKT FORM OF WORSHIP

251

shortly after the establishment of that Saraaj, we find the elements of worship enumerated as four, Arddhand,

Again it was Kritajnatd, Dhydna and Prdrthand. felt that Kritajnatd was comprehended in Arddhand and so in later editions of the S&mdjik Updsand
Kritajnatd was dropped and worship was taught as consisting of three elements, Arddhand, Dhydna and Prdrthand. In this
Prandli, or Order
of

Public

Service,

doctrine the

now

rests,

and

Brahma Samaj, in its progressive it may well do so, for there is a

sections,
logical*

ness in this division which cannot be easily

questioned.

The Maharshi's archand, prandmah, samddhdnam and xtotram cross and re-cross one another. This cannot be
dhydna and prdrare clearly distinguishable though closely They allied attitudes of the soul towards God. By drddhand
said of the trichotomy of drddhand,

thand.

is

meant the praise
of

of

God

as conceived in all his
}

known

attributes,
true,

the

satyam, all-knowing, the

God

as

jndnam anantam, the
infinite
;

dnandirupam,
sweet and the

amritam, sdntam. as the
peaceful
a second
;
:

blissful,

the

sivam, advaitam, the good,

the one without

and suddham, apdpavidham, as the holy,
sin.
all

untouched by
as

The adoration or
these attributes

praise of

God
of

endowed with

has

the effect

clearing our ideas about him, strengthening our faith in him and bringing out and deepening the feelings
of awe, reverence, gratitude, love,
like,

which the human soul

dependence and the ought to feel towards
is

the Supreme.
of

Dhydna

>

in its literal sense,

thinking
identical

God, and

in ibis

sense accompanies or

is

252
with drddhand
;

LECTURE X

bat in the Brahma Samaj it is uaed in a deeper sense, in the sense in which the Sdstras use

dhdrana or samddhi, the concentration of the mind in God. Hence it comes naturally after drddhana, which,

by removing the dullness and dryness of the heart that stand between it and God, reveald him to it in his sublimity and in the beauty of his goodness and holiness. The place of prarthandF or prayer proper, as the third of the soul's movements towards God, is also The wants of the soul, the defects sufficiently clear. and shortcomings which keep us from that abiding

communion with God which is our ideal, are best seen when we are face to face with the perfectly holy One. Well may the unspiritual, those, who do not habitually adore God and concentrate their minds in him, say
that they do not feel the need of prayer. visible only in contrast with light.

Darkness

is

A

soul

quite
to

unillumined by the presence of God naturally On the other hand, it sea its own darkness.
the presence of
felt

fails
is
is

when
most

God and

his

relation

to

us

that our prayers become most fervent and deeply prove most efficacious. It will thus be seen that the

Brihma doctrine of worship, as consisting of the three 'elements of drddhand, dhydna and prarthand, embodies
a good deal of spiritual wisdom and is based on a true insight into the requirements of the soul. As I have
eaid in

my

Religion of

Brahman

:

"Faith,

love and

holy desire being the

very essence of religion, these

three acts of devotion will be found to be excellently calculated to foster these essential elements of spiritual

THE PRESENT FORM DESCRIBED
life.

253
effect

Arddhand and dhydna have the
in

direct

of

deepening faith

of his relation to us,

God, of awakening a consciousness and of arousing those feelings of

reverence, gratitude, admiration and humble dependence on God which constitute the proper attitude of

our souls towards him, while prayer serves effectively to attune our wills to the Divine will and bring down

Divine help upon us." (pp. 85, 86.) Now, it seems to me that the progressive section*
of the

Brahma Samaj have

satisfactorily

solved the

problem whether public worship should be conducted through a fixed liturgy or be entirely free and extempore.

There are

evils

on

both

sides.

A

liturgy

is

very liable to be recited hurriedly and mechanically and thereby to encourage dryness while a minister
;

the devotions of a congregation by his extempore prayers may be too personal ia the expression of his feelings, or, praying in a dry,
left entirely free to lead

wild and restless manner, may fail altogether to touch The progressive sections the feelings of his brethren. of the Brahma Samaj have adopted a middle course.

They have prescribed an order of service laying down that after udbodhan (lit. awakening) or the call to worship, should
lal prayer,

come drddhand, then dhydna, then a gene* then the sermon and last of all a special
the
particular

prayer for the sermon.
of

grace
laid

dwelt

They

have also

down a

upon in number

minister should proceed in going through the solemn exercise of adoration. It is indeed desired that he should

heads on which the meditations of the

254
have feelings and
of his

LECTURE X

awaken

feelings

in

the

hearts

is also wanted fellow-worshippers, bat it should take a fixed that his and their feelings

that they should follow the devout contemplation of the attributes of God enumerated in certain texts from the Upanishads, or to speak more correctly, channel,

should follow the realisation or consciousness of
as endowed with those attributes.

God

These texts are the

same as are used in the first portion of the Samddha of the Adi Br&hma Saxn&j liturgy with the addi tion of another text by the progressive Br&hmas under

nam

the Maharshi's advice.

be worth while mentioning the exact sources from which these texts are drawn. The first, 'Satyam
It

may

Jndnam Anantam Brahma?
second
''Anandaru/pam

is

taken from the

first

verse

valli, of the Taittiriya

Amritam

Upanishad. The second, yadvibhdtij which means

that which shines as bliss, as immortal or as the
is

sweet

from the seventh verse, second khanda, of the

second MundaJca.
is

The

third,

Bantam Sivam Advaitam,'
;

from the seventh verse of the Mdndukya and the fourth, 'Suddham ApdpaviddhamJ is from the eighth
verse of the
fsd.

These

Yedic

mantras

are

first

uttered in

unison by the
of the

follows the minister's

congregation, and then extempore adoration of God

on the

lines

The way

in

conceptions embodied in them. which the congregation is affected by

^suoh adoration

depends

upon the

extent to which

the minister has

made

editation*

these conceptions his own by on them *nd by cultivating the

ITS DIFFICULTIES

AND ADVANTAGES

255

feelings

answering to them.

It will thus be seen that

the task of a minister under the system we are considering is most arduous and that a great demand is made

both

upon

his

feeling.

How

thoughtfulness and his fervency of our ministers acquit themselves under

such a trying system of conducting public service, is a question upon which I am not here required to
express

my

opinion
as

;

but I

may

as well say that, in
consist

proportion

their

congregations

of

real

worshippers as distinguished from mere sight-seers, their devotions no less than their sermons are subjected
to a severe criticism.

system, those alone
diligently cultivate

evident that, under such a can be successful ministers who
It
is

and cultivate
required
is

it

drddhand in their private devotions, in the same way in which they are
it

to

conduct

in

public service, and that

it

only such

members
their

of

the congregation as adopt

private worship who can enjoy best and are also good judges of the public worship quality, the spiritual depth and sweetness, of the

the

system

in

devotions

offered

by a

minister.

adoption of this system in
effect of regulating

Hence, the very public service has had the

and deepening the private devotions and zealous members of the Br&bma Sam&j. The good which the adoption of this system of drddhand has produced in the lives of devout Br&hmas, in bringing light, sweetness and strength
of the more

earnest

to their souls,

too

simply incalculable. It will not be that those who do not enter into the much to say spirit *f this system know only the outer crust of
is

256

LECTURE X
;

Br&bmaism

they miss the inner struggles, sorrows,

aspirations and joys of the Brahma life. However, drddhand is followed in our form of

worship by dhydna or silent meditation. It is really an attempt to realise the direct presence of God in the
soul.

Of

this exercise I say in

my

Religion of

Brahman:

"Arddhand leads naturally to dhydna, i.e., fixing the mind on the object of worship as defined by the above This attitude of the mind this meeting meditations.
of

God

of the soul

faoe to face, as it were, in the inmost is a most important discipline.
clears
its

chamber
It gives

seriousness to the soul,
firms
its

spiritual

vision,

con-

the highest truths, and giving it a sensuous joys, makes worship attractive taste of super
faith
in

to

it

and weans

it

away from sensual
*

pleasures.

It

should therefore be cultivated by every worshipper of 1 Brahman with the greatest care. As, however, dhydna is a silent exercise, every worshipper being left to culti-

speak of the collective experience of the Brahma Sarnaj about it. I shall therefore content myself with what I have
vate
it

in

the best

way he

can,

it is

difficult to

already said about it till T come to Toga or communion,, to which the cultivation of dhydna gradually led the

advanced members
I shall
close
this

of the

Br&hma Sam&j

of India.

words on prdrthana*

part of my subject by saying a few This subject has been very

Nagendran&th Ch&turji in theably dealt with second volume of his Dharmajijndsd ; and I would' refer those who may have intellectual difficulties on
the subject to his fall

Bbu

and

clear

expoaition.

My

PRARTHANA OR PRAYER PROPER

257

remarks on the present occasion will be confined to a repetition of what I have briefly said on the subject
in

"Dhydna", I say in that Religion of Brahman. lead to prdrthand, prayer, the book, "will naturally breathing of the soul's highest desires to God, the

my

desire,

for

instance,

for

a clear vision of him, for the
in

strength to live
love to
ness.
soul,

constantly
is

him, and for
there

presence, for deep both internal and external holi-

his

When

genuine spiritual thirst in the
it

prayer comes out of

spontaneously,

it

is

felt

more as a necessity than a duty, and no doubts arise its reasonableness and efficacy. But there are some to whom such doubts are a real difficulty. I would advise persons of this class not to pray till they feel an irresistible impulse to pray, when their doubts But until that time they should will be easily solved. all the more diligently cultivate the other two elements of worship, tfrddhanci and dhytfna, which are clearly
as to

duties arising

they have practised these two forms of worship with some
they will see that the necessities of the spirit compel .them to have recourse to the third form In regard to the usual objection of worship as well.
success,
will

out of our relation to God.

When

praying to God ask him to violate really his own laws, it may be briefly said that we need not pray for things the attainment of which we know

urged against prayer, namely, that
this

in

for

or

that thing

we

to

be

subject

to

fixed,

unalterable laws, be they

things physical or spiritual. About these things we may trust that God will work oat his will for our good
17

258

LECTURE X
of,

even without, and often in spite there are things of the spirit
prayer
itseif
is
;

our prayers.

But

in

regard to which

we get them

pray for them, when we do not pray for them, we do
the law.

When we

not get them. Every spiritually-minded person will For such find out for himself what these things are.

things prayer
It
is

is

a

necessity

and therefore a duty.
forming such an
exercises
of

for this

that
in

we
the

see

prayer

important parfc " devout person.
I

spiritual

every

have now spoken of the Brahma Samaj system of worship as fully as I could in the space of a few
minutes.

Those
it

wishing to have a closer acquaintI

ance

with

must

refer

to

the
o

Bengali tract,

named
similar
Office

published by
of

prArthandmdld" "JSrahmoptfxantf-pranali the Sadharan Brahina Samaj, and a
tract

English
the

published
of

by

the

Mission

Brahma Samaj
of

India.

The Adi
found
in

Brahma Samaj order
a
little

service

will also be

tract published
briefly
in

speak
prised I have

of

by that Samaj, I shall now some of the other exercises comof
spiritual

the

Brahma system
said

culture.

already

something on Brahma hymns and
of

their effect on the religious life

and

of the country

in

general.

the Brahma Samj The Brahma Samaj

has been very fortunate in and musical composers.

the

matter of

its

singers

The

days

when

Bbu

Satyendranath Thakur was the leading singer of the church were followed by the musical ascendancy of B&bn Trailokyanath Sny&), the 'singing apostle' of the

BRAHMA HYMNS

259
to the

Brahma Samaj
public by
his

of India, better

known
of

outside

The
rich

effect

Chiranjiva Sarma. by the melodious voice and the produced

assumed name

musical compositions of this missionary on all those who have
influence,
is

Brahma gifted come under his
stands
to
'.

simply incalculable.

He

the

in the same relation as Babu Thakur stands to the Maharshi. KesavSatyendranath chandra's touching and beautiful delineations of the love of God for man, and his lofty teachings on Yoga^ J3hakti and Vidhan, could not have produced the

great Brahraananda

profound

effect they did but for the help lent them by the melting hymns composed by his devoted disciple under the inspiration of his sermons, and often quite

in prompto. Another movement in devotional music has been led by Babu Ravindranath Thakur, the

eminent Bengali poet, the youngest son of the Maharshi. He may be said to be the leading musical

composer of the day, and his influence on the hearts of Br&hmas and others more or less connected with the

any great like the Maharshi or the Brahmananda, but preacher led only by the inner workings of his soul, he must be regarded as more original in his musical productions than the musical leaders whose labours have preceded
his

Br&hma Samaj is certainly the greatest day. Not being under the inspiration

at the of

present

work, as also he

is

certainly the most cultured

and

refined of them.

But
is

one point of view,
effect

an advantage from this, a disadvantage from another. The

which

is

produced by his hymns

is

likely to pass

away

266

LECTURE X

sooner than desirable, as the sentiments breathed by them do not fall under a system and are not backed by the persuasive power of the teachings of a great
preacher.

After sangftas or ordinary hymns come sankirtanas, the peculiar form of musical compositions introduced by the school of Chaitanya, the great Yaishnava refor-

mer

of Bengal.

They

are

hymns mostly

in

praise

of

God, composed in popular language and set to light airs which easily touch the heart and fire the imagination. They are usually sung in chorus and to the

accompaniment
Vijaykrishna
missionaries

of the khol

and the

kartdl.

They were
late

introduced into the

Br&hma Samaj by
one of the an

the
first

Pandit

Gosvami, and long

of

Brahma,

honoured

leader of the-

Br&hma Samaj.
influence on

They

have

had

the

profoundest

devotions and have, perhaps more than anything else, served to popularise our services. They may be said to be the one link of close connection

Brhma

between the Brahma Samaj and the uneducated or half-educated masses of our countrymen. Those who cannot follow our preaching, those who do not even
appreciate our hymns set to classical music, feel the power of our sankfrtanas and are profited and feel
spiritually

drawn

to the

Brahma Samaj by

joining in

or listening to

them.

As

Samj,
till

the other sddhans enjoined by the Brahma I have time simply to mention some of them
to

I

come

to

yoga, of

which

I biiall speak in

some

detail.

They

are

dimachintd

and

dtmaparfkshd^

BRAHMA DEVOTIONAL LITERATURE
introspection

261

ndmajapa and ndmasddhana, devoutly uttering the names of God and realising God in those attributes which these names convey and svddhydya or sdstrapdtha, the -devout study of sacred books. These and other minor
self-examination
;
;

and

exercises you

will
:

find

dealt

with

in

detail

in

the

Brdhmadharmer Amisthdna, already Dharmasddhana in three volumes Biibu TJmeshchandra Datta published by Yoga and Brahmagftopanishad by Kesavchandra Sen ; 8adhanafollowing books

mentioned by me

;

;

Gleams of the New Light, Whispers from the Inner Life, and Brahmasddhan by the present speaker
bindu,
;

Jfvanta o Mrita Dharma, edited by the late Babu Adi-

and Dharmasddhan by Bdbu tyakumar Chaturji ; Lalitmohan Ds. Of sermons for devout study, those most worth mention are the Vydkhydnas of the Maharshi,

Achdryer

Upadesha and Sevaker Nivedana by the
Pandit
Siva-

Brahma nanda, and Dharmajtvana by
nath S^stri.
I

of the Br&hma which represents the system Toga Communion, high-water mark of Brahma sddhan or spiritual As 1 have already said, the Brahma practice culture.

now
of

come

to

treat

briefly

or

of dhydna led
realisation

naturally to the desire for a direct of God's presence and to an inquiry into

the teachings of the Hindu scriptures on the subject.

The

was the formulation of a system, partly in with and partly differing from the s&stric harmony system. Kesav's system is seen in its first draft in
result
his

ffrahmagttopanishad

;

it

comes out

in its

fulness

262
in hia

LECTURE X

posthumous essay on Toga. Kesavchandra conoeives yoga as threefold, These three forms of

yoga he calls successively Vedic or objective yoga, Vedantic or subjective yogra, and Pauranik or lhakti By Vedio or objective yoga 9 he means the yoga.
realisation
of

God

as the

one Power or Will behind

God
is

think this sort of 'realising' I natural phenomena. falls short of true realisation, inasmuch as he

conceived as a
of

Power
in

behind
is

phenomena.
not attained

The
until
re-

true vison

God

Nature

these

phenomena

are

identified

with God

and

cognised as his appearances. This Kesavchandra could not do consistently with his Scotch Dualism
or

what remained

of

it

in

him

in

spite of the pro-

Ved&ntic tendency of his latter days. Nature yet remained to him something of a reality distinct from

God and prevented
ment
of
his

form of
yoga, the

and legitimate developHowever, the second yoga. yoga taught by him is Vedantic or subjective
the
full

system of
of

realisation

God

as the soul of our souls.

In his delineation of this devout exercise he approaches most nearly the inner aspect of Vedan tiara, He sees
that in the
vision
of

which

is

not divine

God in the soul nothing is seen and he speaks even of the utter

annihilation of self in God.
of

But there being no definite behind what he says, it may be system philosophy doubted whether the unity he sees is the fundamental

unity of consciousness, which is the only real unity,. or merely that superficial unity of force which science
professes
to
see.

Regarding the

distinction

also,

of

BRAHMA SYSTEM OF YOGA
which he speaks,
irresolvable
it is

263
it

doubtful
of

whether
manifested

is

the

distinction

the

and the

Unmanifested or only that spurious distinction which is created by the popular dread of Pantheism and

Monism.

However, as
of

far as be
in

went

in this direction,

Kesavchandra's services

re-establishing the almost

broken unity
are

the
his

theistic

modern India by

thought of ancient and latter-day teachings on Yoga,
important

very valuable and are fraught with However, consequences for the future.
thirdly
to
hig

we come
by

idea

of

Pauranik or
of the
social.

bhalcti yoga,

which he means the realisation
in history,

Divine activity

both

individual and
this

Kesavchandra

has
in

not developed

third

form of Pauranik yoga

the essay I have referred to. I understand that he had the idea of doing so in a distinct treatise ; but

he did not live to

carry

out

his intention.

However,

from

on the love of God, on the culture of bhakti and on the doctrine of Divine dishis previous teachings

pensations, we can gather in part what his teachings on Pauranik yoga would have been. According to him every individual's life is a field of direct Divine
activity,

every

event

in
life

it
is

Divine love.

Every

being determined by the a jivana-veda, a direct rehas

velation of God, so that one

and study his own life man. But the history of nations and churches has an

only to look within to learn how God deals with

important message for us. The lives of the great founders of religious particularly are special manifestations
of

God.

Such men

caine,

under Divine

dis-

264

LECTURE X

pensation, to teach us special truths and exemplify special features of the spiritual life. Such lives should

therefore

be

graces course

illustrated

of

and the truths and them assimilated by a special by I sddhan or spiritual culture. put
carefully studied
I

Kesavchandra's idea as briefly as
of

can.

The brevity

my

statement

may

conceal

cance of his teachings,
to to

the grave signifian effect which I would try

prevent if I could. The importance he attached of and to the historical religion the study
culture
to

systematic
religion

of

the
light

brought
systems,

of practical 'aspects or emphasised in the

various

constitutes

one

of

the
his

special

features of his teachings and

distinguishes

Theism

and that of those who agree with him from that bald Deism which goes by the name of 'theism' in Europe and has its counterpart here also in this
country, even within the fold of the Brahma Samaj. It seems to me that the spiritual progress of the

Br&hma Samaj

is,

.the acceptance of the substance

on Paurdnik or

a large extent, bound up with of Kesav's teachings bhakti yoga. The term 'Paur&nik'
to
us.

should not mislead

By

it

Kesav meant

'historical'

and not

'mythical'.

What

the writers of

the Purdnas

did with mythical, imaginary persons, he teaches us to do with real historical persons. And he further
teaches us that the whole of history
in our personal lives.

mad, Chaitanya may see, feel and

may be repeated What Buddha, Jesus, Muhamand others saw, felt and did, we also
do, through the spirit of

God work-

COMMUNION WITH SAINTS
ing in us.

2()5

The endeavour to do this he called sddhu communion with saints. We may reject samdgama
or

flome of the methods he adopted in realising such

comof
his

But we must accept the substance teaching if we would be faithful to the liberal of true Brahmaism.
munion.

spirit

already prolonged beyond the extent to which I meant to confine it; but I hope you will

My

address

is

bear with

words on

a few minutes more while I say a few the contribution of the Sadh&ran Br&hma

me

Samaj
bution

to the system of
is

Brahma sddhan.

This contriits

not

nil,

as

its

enemies and even some of

Apart from the short-sighted friends represent. accentuation of the Brahma doctrine of spiritual liberty

by

its

constitutional form of church

government, and

the practical realisation of the Brahma ideal of equality by the same method and by the promotion of high

among women and their co-operation in the management of the church, the important contribution it has made to the philosophy of BrShmaism has really
education

had the

effect of

correcting and developing the system

of yoga of which I have just spoken. Those who have understood my remarks on Kesavohandra's Objective and Subjective Toga must also understand what I say

now.
to us,

To

us the

phenomena

of

Nature are

not,

as they

were to him, anything

distinct

direct manifestations of

They are, him and not mere signs

from God.

of a Power behind. So, in subjective yoga, we perhaps see the fundamental unity of consciousness more clearly

than he did

;

and

it

will be seen

by

close

observers

266
that
this

LBOTUKE X
unity
is

preached from our pulpits and* platforms far more boldly and confidently than he ever And perhaps also the dread of Pantheism does did.
not

haunt us so much as

it

did him and his close

followers.
Idealistic

We

have

learnt

how

to

reconcile

our

Theism with the Dualism implied in moral and spiritual life. We have practised this reconciliation
for

several

years and are
effect

somewhat assured
this

of our

success.

The

of

all

has been on the one

hand a deepening
the

of

our devotions and on the other

establishment of a closer link than Kesavcbandra

and that
you
see
will

could establish between our ancient systems of sddhav But perhaps many of of the Brhrna Sanuij.
say,

them."

"Where are these results ? We don't You don't see them, I answer, partly

because you are not sufficiently observant and are occupied mostly with the outer side of the life of the

Samaj, and partly because these results are yet confined only to a few. But this latter fact, namely, that these
confined only to a few members of the should not prevent one from speaking of them. Samdj,
results

are

All higher developments, either of knowledge, feeling,, spiritual life or even social reform, are confined to a

vanguard in every community, and yet they regulate and determine, more or less directly or insmall

the community and have to be spoken of in telling its history. Kesav's system of yoga is not, I fear, familiar to many of those who call
directly,

the

life

of

themselves his followers
of in
all

;

and yet

it

must be spoken
of sddhan.

statements of the

Brahma system

LATEST (ONTRIHrTKXNS TO SADHAN

267

Even our system
of this lecture,
is

of worship,

as I said at the beginning
to a small fraction of the

known only

hundreds that throng this mandir, and is not accepted even by many old Brhmas; and yet we speak of it as

Brahma Sam&j system of worship. In the same manner, therefore, I am not wrong, I hope, in claiming that the Sadharan Brahma Saraaj has given the
the

country a new system ot yoga, one which is, on the one hand, in harmony with the deepest philosophy of the West and, on the other, a continuation of the
highest Hindu system of sddhan, with its errors avoided and its truths made to fit in with modern tastes

and
our

ideals.

public

system in addresses and devotions, I refer to our
this

Those who cannot detect

religious

literature,

leading reveal the outlines
these
outlines
filled
!

our

men.

A

specially to the books careful study of

written by

them
of.

will

oi

the

system

I

speak

May

and be

become clearer and clearer day by day in by a growing depth and fullness of

spiritual life

LECTURE XI
The Brahma Samaj and
I

Social

Reform

you that Theism is not a new thing in India, that we have not learnt it from either the Musalmans or the Christians, though some illneed hardly
tell

informed people think we have done so. Theism was taught in the earliest Hindu scripture, the Rigveda
has been developed and elaborated into a refined and exalted form scarcely
in
it

and

our later sacred

books

to be
this

met with

in

any other ethnic

scriptures.

In

matter the

teach the

Br&hma Samj has nothing new to country, but has yet much to learn from its
In
this

sacred literature.

respect

it

is

a

revival

movement

a

movement endeavouring

to

remind the

people of India of truths which their ancestors knew, but which they have well nigh forgotten. The only reform needed in this department of our work is to
free

our old Theism from unscientific associations and

show its perfect harmony with modern science. But though the Theism of the Brahma Samaj
old in so far as
it

is

side. almost entirely a Even as a doctrine, the old Theism gf India, as the old Theism of Judea and Greece, did not exclude the

a philosophical doctrine, new thing on its practical
is

it

is

OLD AND NEW THEISM DISTINGUISHED
supposition of
isolated

269*

minor

deities.

There may have been
gods.

thinkers

who

did not believe in the

But Theists, both here and elsewhere, then generally held the doctrine of a plurality of gods and goddesses,
conceiving the Infinite to be the God of gods. Now, modern Theism differs from the ancient in rejecting

minor theology, or "polytheism", as it is wrongly Modern science shows the falsity of the called. divisions of Nature imagined by the ancients and
this

thus reduces "polytheism" to mythology. But it cannot be said that the supposition of beings higher

man and having than man possesses, is
than

greater
entirely

powers over Nature excluded by science*
itself
is

Nor can
the

it

be

said

that

Theism

opposed to

notion of a

essentially

the

minor deities having plurality of same relation to the Supreme Being
animals.

as

man and
of

the lower

The conception

of a

plurality

superhuman created
the

untheistic

than

beings is no more of a plurality of men conception

and lower creatures.
to

Those, therefore, who still hold the doctrine of a plurality of gods and goddesses under an infinite and eternal God of gods, are no more
'polytheists",
in

the rishis of the
or

proper sense of the word, than Upanishads, the prophets of Judea
the
of

the

philosphers

ancient Greece.

When
is

the

oneness and
nised,
it

how

recogmatters nothing, so far as Theism is concerned,, many classes of created beings are recognised by
practical difference of old

infinitude

of

a Supreme Being

a Theist.

But the

Theism, believ-

270

LECTURE XI

ing in a plurality of minor deities under one Supreme Being, from modern scientific Theism, which admits only

one Supreme Deity,
theoretical.

is

even more important than the

The ancients believed not only that the

gods existed, but that they required to be worshipped, And what to be propitiated by offerings and prayers. were these offerings ? They were such as even the
least

wise

of

civilised

men would now
birds,
fruits,

reject .with

scorn

and disgust,
t

beasts,

cakes and

ghee burnt in fire
of the

The

spiritually enlightened writer

Bhagavadgita

insists

upon these

rites to

the gods

being continued even in the case of the most advanced Jesus Christ does not think such offerings Theists.
to be quite

unworthy

of

his

Father

in

Heaven
required

;

and
quite
in

Muhammad
the
into

considered that his Theism

a host of camels and other animals to be sacrificed

name

of Alia after his conquest of

and re-entrance

Mecca.

Sacrifices

here and elsewhere,
of
of

therefore continued long, both even after the formulation of

Theism

and in India, from the time of the decline Buddhism and the revival of Hinduism, images
;

of the gods

were introduced to help the realisation of the presence and perhaps to strengthen people's waning

faith in the existence of

who introduced

these fancied beings. Those these innovations were perhaps themselves believers in the gods for we find even such
;

Sankara and Ram&nuja, ideas, countenancing idolatry and even taking part in idolatrous rites. They can scarcely be blamed ; for they actually believed in the
in spite of their refined

reformers and revivalists as

1JRAHMA OUJJECTION TO IDOLATRY

271

self took

gods and even thought that the Supreme Being himhuman or other forms and accepted material

offerings.

They had,
;

indeed, a

clear

idea
to

spiritual

worship, and considered that

of purely be the goal

of all worshippers

of

images

with

material

but they thought that the worship offerings was a necessary

means

of spiritual progress
rise
in

and the medium through

which men should
sincerely
idolatry

to spiritual worship.
this,

As they
with

believed

their

connection
a

cannot
or
It

be

represented

as

hypocritical,

cowardly
untruth,

politic compromise with error and proceeded From pure conviction, and was

even

not

anyway degrading
in

to

their

souls.

There

were
in

indeed unbelievers
the

Supreme
their

gode, Being, in ancient times,

the

unbelievers even

who

nevertheless

kept up matter of policy. the great majority
believers in

connection

with orthodox society as a, But such thinkers were exceptions ;

even of advanced thinkers were
deities,

minor

in

the

incarnation

of

the

Supreme Being, and in the efficacy of image-worship. But now all this is changed. Muhammadanism
and Christianity have not indeed taught us Theism, but they have taught us and demonstrated to us

what Christianity
idolatrous Greece

did

and Rome

person can approach
ence,

philosophical but that even the simplest the Infinite with his love, reverto
civilised,

vows and
or

of

images
is

aspirations without material offerings.
it is

the intervention

Brahmaiem,
or
spiritual,

we

confess,

outlandish,

Musalman

Christian,

in

respect of

the

highly practical,

icono-

272
clastic

LECTURE XI
turn
it

has given to the old Theism of India.
religion
;

Our old monotheistic
affirmation,

a thesis

was good enough as an but it sadly needed a negative

and antithetical turn. This the Brahma Samaj has given it; and in this consists its main contribution to
the religious

development of India. The Brahma Samaj has been, from its very beginning, opposed toit has taken time to formulate in idolatry, though
full its

scheme of religious and social reform. "Invite me to an idolatrous ceremony

\"

said

the great founder of the

Brahma Samaj
on
invite

to

young
went,
"

Devendranth,
deputed by

when

he,
to

one

occasion,

his father,

the reformer to the
house.
!

Durgapuja
spiritual

celebration

in

his

ancient worshipper of the Invisible of India spoke with such fire and emphasis ? reformer * This " me ! rang in Devendranth's ear all his life, as he himself has told us, and led him to organise

Me What

"

!

the

permitted to do the real Brahma Samj or society on a purely unidolatrons And well did his worthy son, Rabindranath, basis.

what the Raja

was not

keep up the noble tradition of
being invited to join
last

his family

when, on
celebrated

in

the

Sivaji

festival

year (1906) in Calcutta, wrote in reply that not even a stripling of the Maharshi's family would join in a It is this festival in which an idol was worshipped.

deep sense of sin and degradation, as attached to idolatry in the case of a Theistf not believing either
in the

that

first

gods or in the efficacy of material offerings, leads a Brahma to be a reformer ; and it is

SOCIAL TYBANXY CHECKS INDIVIDUALITY

27

the absence or the effectiveness of this sense in the
generality from the
of

educated Indians that keeps them away Brahma Samaj inspite of their Theism.
this

cause that keeps thousands and ten thousands of Theists in the country from joining the
is

What What

dulls

sense

and

obstructs

its

growth

?

the

Brahma Samaj

?

Let us

see.

This

cause

is

partly
it

moral and partly intellectual, the former, as

seems

A thoughtful to me, preponderating over the latter. writer in the Bangadar&han, writing about two years ago
(in 1905)

on the degraded social condition of Bengal, mainly to "the atrophy of the moral sense,* assigned as the fundamental vice of our people. It is the fun*
it

damental

vice,

not only of
is

Bengalis,
so
little

but of Indians in

general. Individuality that in this respect we

developed in us,

are

but children, compared

with the
habitually

brave and robust races of the West.
fear
differ

We

to

when we do
elders

with our neighbours, and with them, we take good care to
differ

hide our difference.

We

are afraid,

not only of our

and guides the natural leaders of our society, but even of our equals and inferiors. As it is facetiously remarked ot the Bengali, he is afraid, not only of his father and mother, but even of his tempi

pishi

the tiny sister or cousin of his father. The Indian, in fact, never becomes socially independent. Manu says of women "She is subject to her father in
childhood, to her husband in youth and maturity, and her sons in old age. 9 So may it be said of the
'

to

typical

Indian,

that he

is

subject to his father ia

18

274

LECTURE XI

childhood and youth, to his friends in maturity, and to his neighbours and subordinates in his old age.

The tyranny of society overpowers his individuality und keeps it under constant check. He is taught
very infanthood that religion consists in conforming to established usage. He is never taught to think freely or to act freely. Generally he is quite

from

his

ignorant of the free-thought which characterised Indian philosophers and of the occasional and mostly abortive He is, on free activity of ancient Indian reformers.

hand, constantly taught that even the wisest men of the country have chosen to conform to
the other

popular usage. An old uncle of mine, a gentleman who was noted for his piety, used to repeat, now and again in order to check my youthful ardour for {social reform, the inspiring couplet,

"Yadi

yogi trikdlajnah samudra-langhana-lcshamah,

Tathdpi laukikdchdram manasdpi na langhayet" That is, "Though one may be a yogi, all-knowing

and able
in

to leap over the sea,

yet he should not, even

thought, go against popular usage." That is the teaching which the Indian receives in his most im-

pressionable years from those to whom his education As a rule, he is never taught anything is entrusted.
of that in

him which gives
social

rise to

and therefore tran-

scends

nothing of that doctrine of Conscience which one meets with at every
all

usage.

He

learns

turn

in

Christian

society

and Christian

literature.

Lately, with the introduction pf English education, he has indeed been hearing a good deal about free-thought

IT

BLUNTS CONSCIENCE

275

and individual freedom, of the struggle between reformers and society and of the persecution and heroic death of thousands of Christian martyrs. But apart
from the fact
that,
in

public schools, he

meets with

such -teaching only as so much literature, and that it is never sought to be impressed upon him by his teachers, apart from this defective teaching, I say
is

even the slight impression made by such teaching more than neutralised by the more powerful in-

and example, by what precepts and practical lives of their relatives and friends. They learn that the courage and freedom of moral heroes and
fluence of domestic teaching

the young people learn from the

reformers

is

good enough only

as

illustrations to be

used

in

the essays they

may

write

as

students

and
but

the addresses

they

may

deliver as public speakers,
in

not at
life.

all

There

domestic and good for imitation they must always remain slaves

social

of

custom

slaves of ignorant

women and

selfish

priests

however refined their own ideas may
ever great the
political

be,

and howin

admiration they
siuadexhi

may show,

their
of

speeches and
institutions

demonstrations,
countries.

the

free

of

Christian
their

They
pro-

would directly
fessors,
if

learn

from

teachers and

they would only question them, that liberal ideas are only to be talked about and "demonstrated,"
but never carried out into action
;

and, as to their

guardians, there can be no mistake whatever of what they wish them to do. All freedom of action is systematically starved

out and killed

by the very eco-

276

LECTURE XI
of Indian

nomy

homes and Indian

society,

freedom

of action, not only in matters religious,

but in secular

matters also.

How many

grown-up young men we

meet with
sities

selves

men who are graduates of Indian univerwho do not know what they will do with themwhen they leave college "We shall do what our
!

guardians say" is their habitual answer to every We read sometime query about their future career.

ago of a distinguished Indian scholar who could not
avail himself of a splendid opportunity
to
visit

Europe

because be could not get the consent of his orthodox We then read of Mr. relatives to this bold step.
Tyagarajan, the Senior Wrangler, who, it is said, could not follow his own natural bent in choosing his future career, because his father wished him to enter the

These are only occasional and rather but not insignificant indications of the abject slight The fear social tyranny under which the Indian lives.
legal profession.
of unpopularity, of persecution,

of

social

excommuni-

cation, haunts him from childhood to old age and keeps him ever a coward or a hypocrite, or both. Conscience, disregarded and dishonoured at every step, speaks in

him

less

and
9

less
is

silence.

God

every day till it sinks into practical dethroned from the heart, and "what

people say' becomes the average Indian's only object Br&hmaism calls upon us to shake off this of worship.

double idolatry of custom and dead images. It calls upon us with a voice which seems yet "still and small,"

but which

will, at

no distant date, grow into a trumpet's

call and rouse the whole nation.

BIASED DEFENCE OP CONFORMITY
'

277

Every convert

to

Brahmaiam must have passed
moral
straggle,

through between

a period
his

of

a

straggle

newly gained convictions, which have demanded from him a line of conduct strictly in accordance with them, and the opinions of his friends and
relatives

who have opposed such
in

conduct.

Those who

truth,

have gained have

this struggle

allowed

candour

have firmly stood up for and straightforward
call
in

action to
to

prevail

over prudent and politic conformity

custom,

have
If

become

what we

dnusthdnik

Brahmas.

they have perserved

this course of

following truth and right in the teeth

of

opposition

from those whose only rule of life is 'what their neighbours say,' they have not only become social reformers,
but have gradually succeeded in completely establishin ing the kingdom of God over their whole lives
their inner feelings

and desires as well as their outward
other

conduct,

On

the

hand, the

moral history of

those who, in this parting of ways, take the other path, has been very different. That this choice of roads
is

offered

to

all

whose conscience
life

is

awakened, who,
desires,

from the mere natural or animal
to

of

wake
ideals,
if

the

inner

and higher
It
if

life

of

duties

and

admits of no doubt.
other

is

also

undoubted that

the

the Theist deliberately chooses taken, to put his light under a bushel and follow prudence
is

road

and expediency, he cannot
ciitical

rest

away

will,

period by the laws of the inner

of

his

life.

The

where he is at this light which he puts
life,

gradually cease

to appear as a light to him.

Truth,

candour and

278

LECTURE XI

now seem virtues to him him for not following them, and which now sting will by and by seem to him to be no virtues at all, and the sting in his soul will be healed little by little
straightforwardness, which
healed, not by any really health-giving remedy, but by the opiate of moral dullness and insensibility. Things which he now judges to be right will gradually

seem

him wrong, and things which seem right now will by and by appear to him in a different light. Acute suffering, whether physical and moral, cannot
to

endure indefinitely;
either

it

must
the

subside

after or

a

time
it

by
it

destroying

organism
is

making

insensible.

explanation of the conduct of those who, though Theists in faith, not only conform to idolatrous conduct, but also defend
This,

seems to me,

the

each conduct by arguments. Their arguments are an after-thought, following, not preceding, their choice of the road to be followed. Shrinking from the painful

consequences of moral and religious consistency, afraid
to

displeasure of friends, relatives and neighbours and to bear the brunt of social persecution and excommunication, they have chosen to shun the

incur

the

'strait'

tellect

and follow the 'broad' way, and now the infollows the outraged and depraved conscience

and invents arguments to show that, after all, what seemed right is really wrong, and what seemed wrong is really right. I had once a talk with a Theist, a
rather earnest

sympathiser with the

Br&hma move-

ment who yet retained

his saorifical thread,

He asked

ARGUMENTS FOR CONFORMITY ANSWERED

270

me on what grounds
Samdj objected answer was, *'I
after
to a

the

members
state
tell

of the

Brihma

Br&hma's retaining the thread.
gladly
please

My

shall

another

;

but

those grounds one me if, on being con-

my grounds are valid, you are prepared The frank confession of to give up your thread." the other party wan, "I cannot say ; in fact, I am not
vinced that
prepared.'*

On which

I

of

kindly excuse me If every Theist arguing the matter with you.' conforming to orthodox practice were as frank as the

you

will

rather bluntly said, "Then if I spare myself the trouble
1

one just mentioned, we might perhaps be spared most, if not all, of the arguments one hears in favour
of such conformity.

Such arguments are
characteristic

all

vitiated

by the one common the first instance, not
but

of proceeding, at

from an erring understanding,

from a weak, trembling heart. In a sense, thereThe opposed argufore, they are unanswerable. ments fail to convince those who are under their
they are addressed to the under touch the heart, where the real standing, they fallacy lurks. They can succeed only so far as they, under the guise of arguments, are really appeals to
spell.

In

so

far

as

fail to

the

moral sense

[of

those to

whom
us

they are addressed.
consider some
of

With
the

this introduction, then, let

arguments
reform

that

we hear
first

of social

at the

against instance against break-

Brhma

ideals

ing

away from

idolatrous

practice on

the part of a
in

Theist.

The argument most commonly heard

favour

280

LECTUBE XI

of the conformity of the heterodox to orthodox pracout of orthodox tice, is that a reformer thrown

deprived of the sympathies of the orthodox, would be powerless or all but powerless to introduce reforms into that society, and that
society
in

and

so

far

one
their

whom

the members of

that
likely

own would be more
them.

consider society to be heard and

followed by

Now,
in

this

very
the

first

principle from
is,

argument ignores the which reform proceeds,
in

That principle
the

the

case

question,

not that

orthodox should practise heterodoxy,
heterodox,
since

but

that

error to them, should not
their
life

orthodoxy has become so much practise it, but be true to
act

own
is

convictions,
to

up

to

the

new
In

ideal of

revealed

them.
sin,

For the believer

in idolatry

idolatry

not a

bnt rather a duty.

practis-

ing

he follows only his own idea of truth and and cannot be blamed for doing so. The right,
it,

Theist may, and indeed should, in the best way known to him, try to lead the Idolator away from his idolatrous belief and teach him the worship of
the true

God

in

spirit

and

in truth. in

But

so long as

one continues to be an Idolator
should not
practice.
call upon But very different

belief, the

Theist

him

to
is

give up idolatrous the case with himself.

While
Idolator,

idolatrous
it
is

practice

does

not

demean
sinful
to

the

really

demeaning and
therefore, that

the

Theist.

lay down, neighbour has not seen the idolatry, the Theist should remain an
idolatrous

To

as

long as his
of
his
in

error

Idolator

DISHONEST CONFORMITY DRAWS CONTEMPT
^practice, is really to say that

281

one should go on sinning
long as his neighbour is But if the Theist can thus

and demeaning himself
not converted to his

so

belief.

go on practising idolatry with the hope of some day joining hands with his idolatrous neighbour, it does not seem that it can ever be necessary for him to bring
about
his

contemplated reform.
in

It'

reform can be

postponed
to

the case of the individual,
Jf it is

why

not also

individuals proper they do not believe, why should it be improper for societies to do so If we may practise and put up with hypocrisy for generations with the
practise

in the case of society ?

for

things

j

hope that some day we shall be
it

in

a position to put

away,

does not
?

the

away
tinue

cease

If hypocrisy

very necessity of putting it may, without harm, conin
is

indefinitely,
?

perpetuation
fore patent,

what harm can there be The fallacy of the argument
also
is

its

there-

and patent

its

baneful effect on

character in
over,
it

dulling the

sense

of sin.

What, morefold,
is

assumes as to the sympathy of society with
its

reformers keeping themselves within
true.

not

are not persons whose consciences awakened, or those who are confirmed in hypocrisy,

From

ways indeed gets a sympathy and exercises on them a certain degree of influence, and all this at the cost of his
old
sort of

the reformer clinging to his

own moral nature

;

but from

simple,

conscientious,

and straightforward men, such a

reformer receives

nothing but contempt. It is easily found out by such men that he is a coward and hypocrite, showing

282
himself to

LECTURE XI
be

what he
a

is

not and shrinking from the
straightforward action. on the society he belongs

painful consequences of honest,

The
to

influence of such

man

cannot be great.
that this

Really honest and pious people
actually

see

influence

and impiety, and not for may indeed be cited in which such halting reformers have introduced reforms in the societies to which they
belong.

makes for dishonesty Instances virtue and piety.

But

their success

is

due, not to their apostacy,

but to the faithfulness of their persecuted and excommunicated brethren. It is the bold teaching of

new
it
is

truths

that

draws men's attention
with

to

them

;

and

the bravery
practice

which they are carried out

by intrepid reformers in the face of opposition and persecution, that breaks the teeth of bigotry and intolerance and paves the way for timid
into

and half-hearted reformers.
than precept.
forget this
are

Example teaches
of

better

The advocates

conformity practically

common but invaluable adage. That Theiste who conform to idolatrous

practice

looked upon by the orthodox with contempt and an incident which distrust, may be illustrated by

happened within my own experience. An excommunicated Brahma was once hard pressed by his castemen to go through an expiation ceremony, or at any rate, to say that he had gone through something like
to
it,

so

that they might again be at liberty

associate

with

him

socially.

One

shift

after

another was proposed to him in order to make the burden upon his conscience as light as possible ; but

RESPECT FOR CONSISTENCY

283

he stoutly refused to compromise himself in the least, to encourage even the shadow of a lie. He added
that
if

he consented to act as his castemen asked
do,

him
his

to

they would themselves despise him for cowardice and faithlessness to his principles.

His castemen

made loud

protestations,

saying they

would do nothing of the kind. But the very next showed how very right the day, one of them

Brahma was in gauging their real feeling for him. One of his castemen who had tempted him in the
manner aforesaid
respect of
a

happened

to

be his

creditor

in

a paternal debt of rupees one thousand, debt of honour not attested by any legal document. The creditor had been not without misgiving as to the realisation of his money. But the Brahma's
firmness
in

sticking to

his

principles

in

the face of

great opposition and persecution, and his declaration that he would not swerve an inch from the path of
truth,

scattered

who had
I

bis misgivings and he said to one been present at the conference, "What-

ever the other

members

of

his

joint-family

may

do,

am now

living
to

my

assured that as long as this Brahma is But if he had consented money is safe.

act as
faith

we wanted him
in

to do,

I

should have lost

my
of

him."

Now,

a

confirmation of this faith

orthodox people in the unswerving integrity of a Brahma will be found wherever a true Brahma lives
people.

among orthodox
all

They abuse and persecute

him, but nevertheless trust and respect him above other men, knowing full well that his virtue has

284

LECTURE XI
test

gone through a sure excommunication and

that of

can

therefore

unpopularity and be relied on.
sacrificed their

On

the other hand, those
to
is

who have

principles

popularity,
failed

comfort and convenience,
in the test

have,

it

seen,

proposed to them
I

and made themselves liable Now, by what I have
to

to distrust

just

said,

and suspicion. do not mean

that one would be justified in leaving the lay one belongs to for any and every difference society with his people. There may be differences of prin-

down

ciple

and practice
conduct.

in

a society which

do not

affect

individual
tains

Every
truths
If

progressive

men who

see

and

ideals

society conof life not

revealed to others.

those truths and ideals, there

they are allowed to follow is no reason why they
All

should

leave

their

communities.
in

communities,
or practices

however enlightened, have which seem objectionable
member*.

them customs
a wiser

minority of its If the latter are not constrained to follow
to

these evil practices, they should surely remain in

their

communities and endeavour to reform them. If the fundamental principles of a society are sound, and

room enough in it for to breathe and move freely, it
there
is

its
is

progressive members indeed the duty of the

latter to continue in

brethren to

and help their more backward move on. But as to orthodox Hindu
it

society, Idolatry

and Caste

lie

at

its

very foundation.

In respect of these, there is no room in it for individual On the occasion of every important domestic liberty.

ceremony, such, for instance, as jatakarma, ndmakaran,

FOUNDATIONS OF ORTHODOX SOCIETY
t

285

upanayan mdydrambha, dfkshd, marriage and Srtfddha, you must worship an idol or make offerings to the sacred fire, and call in a priest of the Brhmana caste
to

conduct the ceremony. in eating and Besides, drinking you must observe caste rules and not inter-

dine or intermarry with people though they may be who do not objects of your deepest love and respect

belong to your own caste. The inevitable consequence 18 that those who have ceased to believe in Idolatry

and Caste come into conflict, at every step, with the very fundamental principles of the society and are
it if they venture to violate those principles. could not remain in it without being cowards or They They indeed win, by their conduct, thehypocrites.

cast out of

of revolutionaries rather than reformers; but in the case of a society of which the very fundamental principles are objectionable, such as make conscientious

name

conduct impossible for
revolution, that
is

its

progressive

radical change,

members, it is and not reformation,
which
is

that

is

superficial or partial change,

necessary.

up Idolatry and Caste, even though it may be very slowly and in the course of centuries, its giving up these practices will amount to a revolution, for they lie at its very root, laid when people believed in its foundations were
society

Whenever Hindu

may

give

Idolatry, Sacrifices

and Caste.

These foundations are

unsuitable for the present age, when enlightened in thousands are giving up these superstitions.
their
stead, or

men
They

must either be pulled down and purer and more enduring foundations laid
in

a reformed,

286

LECTURE XI

society

must be established on such foundations.
is

the former course

impossible,

the

As Brahmas have

chosen the

latter.

unsuitable for

They have found orthodox society for in it those only are free them
;

are ignorant, thoughtless and unscientific, whereas those who have imbibed the highest culture and

who

enlightenment of the age are under bondage, without
the liberty of
acting according to their convictions.
free

The establishment of a the Brahma Samaj is

and reformed society like therefore a necessity, however If you call painful this necessity may seem to some. it an entirely new and the Bra"hmas daring society,

honour or the censure innovators, they accept the implied in this judgment, though it may be shewn that
the fundamental principles of this society, the spiritual

worship of God and the rejection of caste distinctions,
are really
the

Hindu

teachings As the founder the nation.

principles, in the sense that they are of scriptures universally honoured by

of the Brahma Sanaa] himself thought, current Hinduism is only a distorted form of the purer Hinduism of the Upanishads.

Now, one defence
Theists
is

of Idolatry offered

by half-hearted

therefore should not be roughly handled, but rather made the beet of. The images of the various gods and goddesses of the different are, they say, only representations
attributes or aspects of the Divine nature and are helps to our realisation of the Divine presence.

that

it is

so

much symbolism and

thus

Now,

thing to be said in reply to this argument is that there are many Hindu gods and goddesses which

the

first

SYMBOLISM SUITABLE AND UNSUITABLE
are

287
or

not

representations

of

any Divine

attributes

They are really repreaspects of the Divine nature. sentations of historical or mythical persons deified by
the

popular imagination.

Such are Rama, Krishna,

Balarama, Chaitanya, Satyapir, Sita, Savitri, Manasa, Sitala and many others. They are indeed connected

somehow

or

other,

in

the

popular imagination, with
supposed,
to

the Divine Being, and are
of
their

by

the

more

worshippers, possess some thoughtful Divine power or other, but their worship did not arise from symbolism, but is the result of hero-worship or nature-worship. Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Durgci, Kali, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and such others are indeed more or less symbolic gods and goddesses ; but the worship
of all of

them has a mythological
the

basis,

and they are
their own.

believed
to be

great majority by embodied persons having histories of
for

of

their worshippers

granted that to the learned and the thoughtful they are nothing more than symbols, the next question is, whether they are, in any sense or
degree, adequate symbols of the powers and attributes of the Deity. When one has really known

But taking

what the protecting and preserving power of God is, what his loving providence means, does the image of Vishnu help him any way in realising God's presence ? Does not the image rather stand in the way of a true
realisation of

God's loving care
in
its

?

So,

when wisdom
image
of

has been seen
for a

true

character, the

Sarasvati seems to be worse than useless.

Supposing moment, however, that such images are of any

288

LECTURE XI

use in helping spiritual growth, the utmost that can be allowed in their favour is that they should form parts of a drawing-room furniture or the furniture of one's

study or prayer room.
in

should they be set up temples and worshipped with offerings of corn,

Why
?

fruits, flowers

and meat

Mere symbolism,

however

icadequately the symbols
signified,
is

may
as

represent

the things
idolatry
;

clearly

distinguishable

from

and

to

defend
is

idolatry

nothing but so
is

much

symbolism

to

confuse two
right sort

Symbolism But whatever symbolism there may be in culture. Hindu idolatry, it is quite unsuitable for us with our however tastes, enlightened ideas and improved
suited
it

of

the

very different things. indeed helpful to

may have been
history.
far

periods Christian

of our

to more or less barbarous The symbolism of modern
for

art

is

more suitable
illiterate

us

than the
painters.

barbaric art of our
Select
artistic

potters

and
our

representations

from

national

history, both political more useful to us.

and But

religious,
if

may prove even
of the

the image

naked
or

and horrid

Kali, of the

monkey god Hanuman,

the

half-elephant god Ganesa, really helps the spiritual growth of a Theist, he may have these images constantly before his eyes
;

but to join

with the ignorant,

the thoughtless and the unspiritual, the victims of and cupidity, in the ceremonial priestly selfishness

worship of
kind, or
intellectual

idols,

is

either

foolishness of the rankest

merb

sophistry or
or

hypocrisy admitting of no moral support from thoughtful anck

PLEA FROM TOLERATION ANSWERED
conscientious
people.

289 and
the

As
the

to

the ignorant

unlettered

and

themselves, examples of Christianity of the old monotheistic sects of India, and Islam,
of

lastly

the
are

Brahma Samaj,
successfully

in

which

even

little

children

taught to
is

offer

spiritual

worship to God without the mediation of images and
incarnations,
a

show that

idolatry

not necessary as

stepping stone even to them.
in spirit

Even they should

be taught to break their idols and worship the true

God

and

in truth.

That idolatry was devised,

people gradually from lower to higher of spiritual life, but only to serve the selfish stages purposes of the priests by keeping the former for
not to lead

from the fact that

ever ignorant and subservient to the latter, is evident in current Hinduism there is no

provision for leading the worshipper from the worship of images to more spiritual forms of worship. It has

the tendency to keep down the intellect to low views of the religious life and to perpetuate idolatry and ceremonialism. This is the reason why, even in the

presence

of

lofty

ideas

about the Godhead in our

higher scriptures,

the nation as a whole has remained
It

idolatrous for centuries.

can be saved and led on to

higher grades of spiritual life only by the most thorough-going renunciation of all forms of idolatry,

by purging its temples of all vestiges of image-worship and the utter overthrow of the selfish and impious
supremacy of the priests. Now, I have already
19

mentioned

and

briefly

answered the plea that by conforming to orthodox

<29Q

LECTURE XI
for

practices

a while, Theists

would

really

serve

gradually to

broaden and liberalise the orthodox com-

munity,

till

-stand for

a time would come when all that they would be accepted by that community and

a separate organisation like the Brahma Samaj would be unnecessary. A few words more on the unreasonableness
of
this

plea

seem to be called

for.

Attention

is

drawn

to the tolerant attitude
,

which the

orthodox community is assuming more and more with the course of time towards reforms and re-

which excommunicated Pandit Madanmohan Tarkalankar for sending his daughters to the Bethune School, has now thousands of girls
formers.
society

The

under instruction

in

public

schools.

Priests

pronouuced
their

unmentionable

curses

upon

those

who who

daughters unmarried beyond the age of kept have now no scruple to officiate at marriages in ten,

which the brides are
hood.

in all stages of

growing woman-

Caste rules on inter dining are often violated even in public dinners ; and yet no notice is taken of

such heterodoxy by the orthodox.
travelled

People who have
lands,

Europe sometimes received back
of

in

and other foreign
into

are

the

orthodox pale even

without any expiation

The re-marriage
different

sections

excitsJihat bitter

ceremony being performed. widows and marriages between of the same caste do not at present opposition which they used to do

a few decades back.*
*

Do

not such

instances

show,

carried on with

The Suddhi and Sangathan movements lately inaugurated and more or less vigour by the different "Hindu Sabhas,"

EXCOMMUNICATION NECESSARY
it

291
itself

is

asked, that orthodox

society

is

reforming
it is

by
of

its

own inherent

strength, and that

revolntionary activity of others who impatiently leave its pale because it does not move as fast as they wish it to do Now, my
j>

the

no need the Brahmas and
in

reply

to

this

question
of
is

id

as

follows

:

First,

the

tolerant attitude

orthodox society to reforms and
BO

reformers which
fined to big
It

made
like
in

much

of,

is

entirely convicinity.

cities

Calcutta and their

does

not exist

towns and villages remote from
Secondly, the state

these

centres of enlightenment.
is

pictured by no means one which should the heart of a really moral and religious man. gladden
of things

Toleration by the
of practices

orthodox, in their
to

own community,

be opposed to their religion, betrays a state of moral rottenness and imbecility which no true friend of virtue can
look upon without horror and disgust* claim that the orthodox community
itself

which they yet believe

Thirdly, the
is

reforming

power and owes nothing to the revolutionary activity of the Brabmas reminds me of two little stories which I feel disposed to tell you, as they bring out most clearly the fallacy of this An old Irish woman is represented to have said, claim.

by

its

own

inherent

"I don't

know why

people give the sun so

much

praise

society.

are serving in a remarkable way to liberalise and broaden HinduNon-Hindus are being converted to Hinduism and people

of the higher castes are publicly partaking of food distributed by the converts. ''The removal of untouchability," not the entire abolition of

the caste system,

is

the objective of the movements.

292

LECTURE XI
little.

and the moon BO

The sun

rises

and begins

to

give light when there is already light enough, whereas 9 The old the moon rises and lights up a dark night.

was too simple to see that the sun itself. light before sunrise proceeds from the The arguers I have mentioned are guilty of a like that the reforming simplicity. They do not see
of the

woman

story

the people inside the orthodox pale is of those who have been reflex action of the activity
activity
of

thrown out of that pale. Tt is the the revolutionists which gives rise
of

fearless

courage of
the bitter

to the timid attempts

the

half-hearted

reformer-

and

it

is

persecution through which the pioneers of reform have passed which has made possible the reluctant tolera-

with which partial reforms are now regarded in some orthodox circles. However, the other story is
tion
this

very kind-hearted Bengali lady was once a long boat journey in the company of her taking husband. At one stage of the journey it happened to
:

A

rain

rather heavily; and as the travellers could not halt, and as the boat bad to be towed against a strong current, the poor boatmen were obliged to do the

towing

in the

saw
She

their

midst of that heavy downpour. The lady miserable plight and was touched. She at

once, spoke to her husband and proposed a remedy.
said,
?

"My
it

dear,
tell

why

let

the boatmen suffer so

much

Why

not
?"

them

to take their seats in the

boat and tow

What

could the poor husband do

to her that those

but smile at his wife's extreme simplicity and explain who would drag the boat against a

NO CASTE IN THE BRAHMA SAMAJ

293

strong current mast be outside and ahead of the boat. Alas! how many people are there in modern India

who would pose
simple truth
\

as reformers

and yet do not know

this

Now,

I thirik, I have said
of

enough on

Idolatry,

one

orthodox Hindu society, to beg of the foundations leave of you now to speak more directly than I have
yet done of its other foundation, Caste, against which, as well as against Idolatry, the Brahma Samaj has declared war. I know I shall be told that the Brahma

Samaj has not yet been able
altogether,

to

break through caste
in

that
in

caste

feeling

yet lingers

some

Brahmas, who, marrying search for matches of their own castes

their children,

sedulously

for

them and

thus keep up in a manner the distinction of castes. I do not deny this and regret it with all my heart.

But

I

must beg our detractors
in

to

mark the very broad
in

difference

having
of

caste-distinctions

the
in

foundations

a

society
in

foundations, but only
structure.

and having it, not creeks and corners
in

very the
the

of

There

is

no caste
is

the

foundations of the
it

Brahma Samaj.
people of the

There

free interdining in

among

most varying castes. The ministry, the and other high offices of the church are priesthood open to all, and are, in some cases, filled not only by
high caste non-Br&hmanas, but also by worthy people belonging to what are called the lower castes. If

these

'lower

castes'

are scantily

Samaj, this is due more to than to the disinclination of the 'higher

represented in the their unprogressive nature
castes'

to

mix

294

LECTURE XI
Inter-caste marriages have taken place
in

with them.
those

hundreds and are joined

who

are
in

not

bold

by and encouraged even by enough to have such
This
1

marriages
caste

their

own
is

families.
is

feeling,

therefore,
It

no

cause

lingering for serious

passing away, and will pass away entirely in the course of three or four generaThose who entertain this feeling may tions more.
apprehension.
for they do it, not offer any public defence of it. The disregarding of caste may therefore be safely regarded as a fundamental principle of the Brdhma Samaj. As such, I shall reply to some attacks recently made upon it from

be said to be themselves ashamed of

people outside the Samj. It will be observed even

by

superficial

thinkers

that caste notions have recently received a very rude shook from what has been a real discovery to thousands
of Hindus, namely, that caste distinctions did not exist
in

comparatively present of very late origin. Antiquarians have now placed it beyond doubt that there was no caste in the early

form

Hindu society in the in which they exist

earliest

times,
is

and that the

at

Yedio period of our history, and that even long after the castes were distinguished, inter-marriages were
between the four original castes. One has only to go through a few pages of the Mahdbhdrat to Bee the extent to which the free mixing of the castes was allowed in the days of which the great
allowed
epic gives us an account.

In fact,

in those

days caste
to

was nothing bat a

division of classes

according

CASTE OPPOSED TO NATIONAL UNITY
professions,

295

Exclusion as
principle
of

and even professions were interchanged* regards eating was unknown. This last division was introduced last and is happily
It
is

the
the
into

first to

be disappearing.
as
it

now known

that

system,

now

prevails

in the country,

came

vogun with the revival of Hinduism after the decay of Buddhism. Even now, the system is not uniform in all parts of India. It is most lax in Sindh

and the Pan jab
more rigid
in

where

the

first

three castes, the

Brhmana, Kshtriya and

Yaisya, freely interdine. It is North-western India and Bengal, where,

however, the exchange of certain cooked eatables is allowable among the higher and middle castes. It is most rigid in Southern India, where there is no social
intercourse,
castes,

properly
others,

so

called,

among
felt

the

various

and where some castes are even unapproachIt
is

able by the
difficult,
if

now

that

it

is

very

not quite impossible, to defend such
this.

a

heterogenous system as
to

It

is

difficult

even

Another great factor in loosening caste notions has been the growing feeling of nationality
define
it.

in

the country.
of

It

is

now very widely
among

felt that

the
of of

distinction

castes

and the consequent absence
the different
classes

close social intercourse
in

the country are effectively checking the people of our national unity and perpetuating our growth
social degradation

and

political subjection

to

an alien

race.

The

preaching
effect

of

human
has

brotherhood

by
in

Christianity

and Br&hmaism
beyond

not had any very
pales

tangible

their

respective

LECTURE XI
diminishing the hatred and, -where real hatred does not exist, as in the case of the castes equal in social rank, the feeling of alienness which separate the
castes
feeling

from one another.
of

Bat
to

this

newly growing
single

oar

being member;)

of a
fulfil

nation

destiny having enemies to fight against, seems to have succeeded in some degree, where religions teaching has failed, in inspiring a genuine desire for removing differences and
clear than

a

common

and common

bringing about unity. This effect has become more ever daring the last few years and is a

reflex action of the re-actionary policy followed

by the
pulled
it

British Indian Government,

It has

not indeed

down any
operation

actual barriers

of

caste,

but that
of

has
co-

contributed largely to the growth

amity and

among

classes

which

have hitherto kept

themselves far apart from one another, is unmistakably If the feeling of national unity goes on deepenclear.
ing and broadening and brings together people of various castes to help one another in the work of
national amelioration, the entire
abolition
of the caste

system

is

only a question of time.

Where

pride, hatred
it
is

and jealousy keep people from one another,
difficult to

not

and

alienation are reasonable.

invent arguments to prove that their division Where these feelings

are absent or are passing away,
for unity

and there

ia

a desire

and co-operation,
is

distinction of castes
result of

it is easy to show that the not made by God, but is the

human

ignorance.

In fact, this desire for unity
different

and

co-operation

among

castes

and

classes

NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL CASTE

297

could not have arisen without a certain loosening of It would have been impossible in those caste notions.
old days when j&ti meant caste and not nation, when difference alone was seen and nnity was quite or all but unseen. And it is also true that our national life will

not

rise

above the
to

initial

stage in which
of

it

is

now, and

attain

the realization

equality,

fraternity

and

liberty, unless caste notions are

entirely

washed away

from our minds.

non-Brahmana

is

Equality has no meaning where the believed to be eternally inferior to

the Brahmana, and the 'once-born* to the 'twice-born.'
Fraternity is impossible between you and me if you consider me untouchable and unapproachable. Liberty is nothing better than a hypocritical cant in the mouths
of thope

who

believe

with

Manu
is

that

the Sudra has

no property, no rights, and

the bondsman of the

'twice-born' by divine ordination. Thus political movements under these shibboleths are unmeaning and inconsequent, little better than school-boy demonstrations, unless

they lead to social reforms.
of

Now,
ble

a class

apologists

for

caste

arisen who, while they regret the divisions of the Hindu race,

has recently present innumera-

think nevertheless

that the four original castes are founded on a natural division of aptitudes and occupations and exist in all
civilised countries,

though outside India they are not
In every civilised society there

recognised as castes.

m nst

be,

it

is

advisers

who

said, a class of teachers, priests and should lead other people by their superior

wisdom.

They are the Brahmanas, whether

called

so

298
or not.

LECTUBE XT

Below them are to be found people naturally endowed with the taot and ability required to administer the public
affairs

of the
its

community, and defend
enemies.
class

their

country against

They
of

are the

merchants, mechanics and planters who, organizing vast economic schemes, increase the wealth of their country.
artists,

Kshatriyas.

Then comes the

These are the Yaisyas. The lowest class consists of those who, without any power of initiation, can only carry out the wishes of those more richly endowed
than they.

These are

the Sudras.

Now,

I

have no

serious objection to urge against this division of classes

according to aptitudes and occupations, though I think Let me take for granted that it is not strictly logical.

born with different aptitudes and that they are meant by God for different occupations. Let me
are
also

men

grant

that

men

of the

same

aptitudes and

occupations do naturally form a class. But what I do not understand is why the classes so formed

mutually exclusive here and elsewhere, aptitudes castes. Everywhere, both and in development even change by progress
fossilise

should

themselves into

individuals.
in

One who

is

his

youth,
to

tactful

grows merchant in
into

a mere labourer, a Sudra, into a skilful mechanic or a

his

manhood.

A
Sri

merchant
mercantile

used
affairs,

managing large
developes a

and

intricate

politician.

Krishna,

as pictured in the Mahdbhdrat, combined in himself the highest qualities of both a Kshatriya and a Brah-

mana.

There does not seem to be any reason, there-

REDISTRIBUTION OP CASTES IMPOSSIBLE
fore,

299

why

to

one

the classes should be exclusive in regard another and should not interdine, inter-

marry or interchange professions. Then, as to heredity, children do indeed in many oases inherit the
aptitudes of their parents ; bat the exceptions are so many and so patent, that none but those who have

a foregone conclusion to defend would say that the son of a Brahmana must necessarily be a Brahmana, and the son of a Sudra necessarily a Sudra. Even
in

caste-ridden

India,

and the pariah
ings teachers.
of of

religious teachers like Kavira saints of Southern India have arisen

from the lowest castes.
the

Some

of

the highest teach-

Upanishads proceeded
great

from
the

The

Buddha

and

Kshatriya founders

were Kshatriyas, and so were Nanaka, the founder of Sikhism, and some of the other Sikh
Jainism
gurus.
in

of the ablest preachers of Yaishnavism and our have been Yaidyas and Ka*yasthas Bengal third great leader Kesavohandra Sen, one whose in*
;

Some

fluence over

the country

has been the widest, was

by caste. Swami Vivek&nanda, who so preached Vedantism, was a Kayastha and so are some of those who are ably carrying on his work. The great founder of Christianity was a carpenter's son and in free Christendom, in only and America, the ablest preachers, the proEurope
a Yaidya
successfully
;

foundest thinkers, the aoutest politicians and the most successful merchants are continually rising from the lowest ranks. In the face of all this, who
will say

that

there

is

any naturalness, any

Divine

300
sanction, in

LECTURE XI

castes
will

?

even the primitive fourfold division of Men of the same aptitudes and occupations

more closely with one another than with men of different aptitudes and occupations. But there will always be, as there have always been,
no doubt
transfers from one
class
to

mix

another,
call

degradations,
ness of those
of

if

yon choose

to

promotions and them so, which will
short-sighted-

show unmistakably the ignorance and

man

ever-growing soul in artificially-made fetters. The vice of our
impossibility of any to another, whereas
is

who would keep

the

present system of castes is the actual transfer from one caste
the distinction of classes which
civilised countries
is

to be

found

in other

free from

this ruinous

principle

of exclusion.

There can be
the

no

actual

comparison

therefore

between
of

the latter cannot be
existence
the

two, and the existence of urged as a justification of the
Besides,

former.

who
castes
;

is

to decide

which of the numerous
which of the original
tribution according
desirable,
to
to

existing four castes

belong
if

to

and

a re-dis-

guna and karma be thought
this

who
the

is

carry out
is

re-distribution

?

Happily

country

now

under

rulers

who,

and their race feeling notwithstanding strong the numerous defects in their system of administration due to this race feeling) recognize no distinction

of castes
their

Under
is

the proper sense of the term. impartial treatment of all castes, more
in

than by

any

other

influences,

the

caste

system
enligttt-

slowly but surely breaking down.

Even

NO MORAL BANGER IN ABOLITION OP CASTE

301

ened Hindu rulers are ignoring their caste notions,. if they have any, in the distribution of their patronage and in the administration of justice. There isin fact no power in the land to help in the re-distritheir reduction to the bution of the castes and
primitive
four.
in

The
all

was supreme
is

power, which social matters in times gone-by,
old

Kshatriya

irrecoverably destroyed
to
it

;

and those who have sucfor evil, a
be.

ceeded
idea of

have, for
society

good or
should

very different
idea

what

Their

may

not be quite correct, and we need not and should not follow them blindly in reconstructing our society. But there can be no doubt that, whatever form

our society
of
this

may

take as

the result of that process

reconstruction

which
will

reconstruction

ifc is slowly undergoing, follow that line of impartial

and ability, irrespective of recognition of virtue the accidents of birth, which at once agrees with
the declared policy of our rulers and the verdict of the collective reason of the human race. re-con-

A

struction

of

society

on narrower

lines,

and

social

reforms of a halting and partial nature, such as the numerous caste-conferences in the country are
trying to effect, are not only inconsistent with truth and right, but are also without that important factor
in social reform,

the

sanction

of

the

state.

called leaders

of society

may pass

resolutions

The and

socall
is

upon
there
tions

their

castemen to respect them,
prevent the
latter's

But what
T

to

spurning such resolu-

and asserting their independence

The days

302
are gone
social

LECTURE XI

by when Hindu kings and,
as

after them, such

potentates
into
effect

the

Rajfi

of

Krishnanagar,
of

carried

the

social
life

legislation

the

Br&hmanas
and
cution.

and made the
reformer

of

a non-conformist

would-be

miserable

by

social

perse-

People may now break all your artificial rules of caste and custom and yet not only be safe under

the protection of the state, but rise in rank and power under its patronage. In spite of the declared religious
neutrality of the
British

Government,

it

is

distinctly
of

opposed to the artificial caste-restrictions orthodox Hindu society and in favour of the
rather

thorough-going reform scheme of the Brdhma Samaj.
It
is

strange

that

the

full

significance

of

this fact escapes the attention of the

so-called

leaders

of

Hindu

society,

I shall notice

one more argument of the modern

defenders of caste before I close.
practice
of

Against the Br&hma
it

inter-caste
is

marriages,

is

urged that,
castes,

though

there

no natural

division

of

the

different castes of India have so long been separated from one another and represent so many different

grades of intellectual and moral progress, that at least in the present state of Indian society the commingling
of the different castes will lead inevitably to a deterioration of

the higher castes.

It

is

claimed for

these

castes, specially for the

Br&hmanas, that they are much ahead of the lower castes and that the latter must take yet a very long time to come np to them, even admitting that they are advancing under the modern

HEREDITY AND INDIVIDUALITY
system of universal education.

303

Now, without denying

that one class of people may have a distinct advantage over another, if the former ban diligently tried to

improve
In the

itself

and the

latter has

not,
is

it

may

still

be

shown that the above argument
first

much

overstrained.

place, the Indian castes are not such real as this Individuals and unities argument implies.
families in a single caste differ
so

much
that,

in

respect of

intellectual

and

moral character,

taken as a

whole,
is

it is

difficult to

say whether a particular caste
in certain

'high' or Mow'.

Secondly, castes excelling

on qualities over others present certain bad qualities the other hand in such abundance, that, if the exhighest and the lowest, are left out of consideration, it would be impossible to say
tremes, namely, the

which caste

is

decidedly better than which other caste.

There are highly intelligent and morally advanced individuals and families in all castes except, perhaps,
the sami-Hinduised lowest castes.
lecture I

As

I said

in

a

delivered

in

this

hall

sometime ago,

one

which has appeared in substance as the introduction to my Social Reform in Bengal A side-sketch "Jt well be asked whether the Brahmanas are, may very
; :

if all things be taken together, really superior to the other castes. How many Br&hmanas can claim to be

the descendants of a long line of learned ancestors ? Have not whole families (and even sections) been but

unlearned priests from time immemorial ? As to virtue, if the Brfihmanas have shown certain excep-simple,

tional virtues, are not certain vices,

on the other hand,

304

LECTURE XI

such aa egotism, arrogance, mendicancy and want of self-respect, found among them in a super-abundant

same manner, are not the Kshatriyaa peculiarly liable to being irritable, overbearing and oppressive ? The so-called higher classes are then not
degree
?

In the

altogether higher than those whom they consider as On the other hand, there is a good their inferiors. deal of spiritual culture among some of the so-called

lower castes,

many
piety

such culture as makes them superior to belonging to the 'higher*. In fact, modesty,
to be

and benevolence seem

more common among

the classes spoken of as 'lower' than in those who boast In regard to purely intellectual of their high birth. culture also, are not cases of keen intelligence and
great mental powers,

among

the classes from which

expected, growing more and more numerous and showing that the doctrine of heredity,

they were
as

least

commonly accepted,
is,

is

much

overstrained?

The

fact

into account.

heredity and individuality must both be taken An individual is not a mere reproduction
If

of his parents (or remoter ancestors).

he were

BO,

there would be nothing in

them.

But

as

him more than there was in Darwin says, and as we might see even

without the help of Darwin, every individual shows a 'variation' inexplicable by his pedigree. And sometimes the variation
limited
is

is

most surprising, and shows how
in

the

truth

the doctrine
of a

of

heredity.
simple*

Immanuel Kant was the son

poor and

saddle-maker; and yet he constructed a system of philosophy which is the wonder of the world. Every

CASTE THE BOOT OP SOCIAL EVILS
individual,

305

we should remember,

is

a fresh incarnation

of God, a fresh

and there

is

manifestation of the Divine essence, no knowing how much of that essence will

be manifested in each."

There does not seem to be

any reason, therefore, why the higher castes should not intermarry with advanced individuals and families
of

the

so-called

lower castes

but rather

wait for

generations and perhaps ages for the near approach of the castes to which they respectively belong. If the decided superiority of one caste to another were a
fact,

and a

real

argument against inter-caste marriages,

no length of time would indeed suffice to bring the castes in line with one another, for as the lower would
advance, so would the higher, and
thus the latter

would always leave the former behind in the race of intellectual and moral progress. Happily the alleged There are individuals and fact is no fact at all. families in the so-called lower castes which can compare favourably with the best
so called higher.
to

be

found

in

the

Inter-marriages

are not likely to do any

harm

is now happily levelling up these differences and raising us to a moral platform

may have been our common system of education
ever
love,

among such people the parties. Whatdifferences in the past, a
to

sympathy, co-operation and unity apand more valuable than all other pear to be things higher If, therefore, the so-called higher castes of onr things. were even to lose certain of their long acquired people excellences in contracting marital unions with the

from which

so-called lower castes, the gains of snob unions

would

be.

20

306

LECTURE XI

incomparably greater than the losses. In tbe place of a nation torn by internal feuds, though containing
sections advanced in a lower

and outward

sense,

such

^

unions would lay the foundation of a united nation strong in the genuine strength of love and brotherly sympathy. We already realise the blessings of such

unions in miniature
in

in

our

Brahma

which a common living

religion, the

religious gatherings, highest of all

unifying factors, obliterates all distinctions and makes us embrace men of all castes and grades of society as
brethren.
classes

When

will

such blessed unity pervade

all

and ranks of Indian society y When will those pernicious distinctions which are sapping the very life-blood of our nation be at an end, and India will rise
as a strong united nation
fit

to fulfil the

which Providence

has

ordained
this,

for

her

high destiny ? There
friends,

cannot be a surer truth than

my

that

that high destiny cannot be fulfilled without the utter destruction of the supreme root of all our social evils the caste system.

LECTURE XII
Marriage and the Rights of Women In my last lecture, that on ''The Brahma Sam&j and
Social Reform/' I dealt with only the two fundamental

principles on which the Brahma Samaj, as a reconstructed society, is based, namely the spiritual wor-

ship of

God, which excludes idolatry and

sacrificial

worship of all sorts,
social institution.

and the

abolition

of

caste as

a

I have

ment

of the reform

the introduction of

already said, the through caste only imperfectly, and there are individuals in the other two principal sections of the Brahma

now to trace the developmovement which commenced with these initial reforms. As I have Adi Brahma Samaj has broken

Samaj who still retain a good deal the same way, there have been, in
progress in

of caste feeling.

In

all stages of social the Sam&j, persons and even classes of persons who have not taken to the reforms advocated and adopted by the more advanced members of the

Samaj. But this by no means proves that the advanced
ideas taught and practised by these progressive minds do not form a part of Brihmaism as a creed and a scheme of life* In no society can uniform progress be

seen

all

along the

line*

Everywhere there are men

308

LECTURE XH
are very
little

ahead of the starting point as well as to be hardly seen by the laggers behind, the space between being occupied by
as those

who

who go

so far

men

in all stages of progress.

nature of a movement,

In ascertaining the true both these extreme points as

well as the intermediate forms

and seen

in

have to be recognised their mutual relations and in the proper

order of thoir development. In dealing with Br&hma* ism in its social aspect, we must take into cognizance

both that rudimentary form

which

is

contented with

the mere rejection of idolatry and sacrificial worship while conforming to all established usages, rational or
irrational,

and

which

consists in a

and
tice.

social life

type of Brdhmaism thorough reconstruction of domestic on the most liberal principle?, as well
that

advanced

as all the intermediate varieties

of

thought and prac-

to

Now, the Brahma

marriages that took place according rites differed very little from orthodox
first

marriages.

The

rites

were indeed divested of their

idolatrous character

but otherwise they remained un; changed. The brides, when they were spinsters, were all under age, their ages varying generally from 9 to
15,

and they were "given away," according
that

to

the

orthodox fashion, by the guardians to the bridegroom
the old idea remaining unchanged under the absolute disposal of men.
in the

women

are

The progressive

party Samj felt the absurdity of the notion for we find that in the vary first marriage that was celebrated by then*
;

Adi Brdhma

seems to have early

HOW THE IDEA OP MARRUGE CHANGED
after the separation,

300

giving away Was changed into bhardrpan or making over charge. Instead of saying that he gave away his daughter to the bridegroom, the bride's father said he made over the

mmpraddn

or

charge of his daughter to the bridegroom, the idea still prevailing that the bride was a minor and unable to
take care of herself.
into this marriage were

Two
still

other

features

introduced

have since characterised

all

more important, and they marriages that have taken

place in the progressive sections of the Brahma Sam&j. They are sammati-grahan, the asking of both the

bride and the bridegroom's consent to the marriage, and udbdha-pratijnd or the marriage vow taken by both parties. The old and still current idea in what Manu calls 'Br&hma' and 'Prajapatya' marriage,

namely, that marriage
bride's

is

guardian and guardian, was thus entirely discarded, and its place was taken by the more or less western idea that
is a contract between the parties themselves which the consent and help of the guardians might indeed be required, but the validity of which depends

an arrangement between the the bridegroom or rather his

marriage

in

upon the
parties.

free

will

and

Thus Brahma

consent of the contracting marriages came to be distin-

guished from orthodox Hindu marriages not only in respect of the religious ceremonies associated with

them, but even in their underlying spirit and essence. That the question of the proper age of the parties should soon be raised, was but natural. As long as marriage is looked upon as an arrangement between

310

LECTURE

XII

the guardians of the parties, an arrangement into which the will and consent of the parties themselves do not enter as a factor, it matters nothing what the

age of the parties may be, Bat when it ceases to be such an arrangement and comes to be looked upon as a free and willing contract between the parties themselves, the question
ties are physically

and morally

cannot but arise whether the parfit to enter into the
of physical fitness

was indeed appreciated by most, and Brahmaa so naturally it absorbed the attention of and non-Br&hmas interested in the question. Kesav
contract.

The question

the one which

could be

adopted a very practical method of deciding the quesHe addressed a circular letter to the leading tion.
medical

men

of the country

in

those days,

both the

European representatives of the medical profession, asking them to state the minimum age, according to them, at which girls should be
the

Indian and

married in this country.
lished

The

replies of these

eminent

physicians to Kesav 'a letter, all of which were pubin the annual report of the Indian Reform

Association for 1870-71, are

a very instructive docureprints, as the question of the marriageable age of Indian girls is still raised and discussed in public meetings and periodi-

ment and would bear repeated

cals at intervals of

some four or

five years.

The reply

Sarkar specially was a most elaborate one, discussing the question from various standof Dr. Mahendralal

points and showing clearly the ruinous effects of premature marriage on the bodies of both the mother and

MINIMUM MARRIAGEABLE AGE FOR GIRLS
the child.
It also pointed out

311
is

a mistake which

very

common, even among otherwise well-informed persons, namely that the beginning of adolescence is the mini*

mum
this

age for the marriage of
is

girls.

He showed how

beginning

cious

marriage

hastened in this country by pernicustoms, and also that the menses

regular and normal, before which marriage should never take place. However, I give here, in a table, a summary of the opinions
take considerable time to become
of the medical

men

consulted

by Kesav on the minigirls.

mum

marriageable age

for Indian

Some

of

them

have also stated, as they were asked to do, the proper age of marriage for our girls.

Minimum
age.
Dr.

Proper
age.

Chandra Kumar De

...

14 14
15

Dr. Charles

...

Babu Nabin Krishna Bose Or. A. V. White Dr. Mahendra Lai Sarkar Tamiz Khan Bahadur
Dr.

...

18
18

15 or 16
16

16 16
...
... ...

Norman Chevers
Bwart

18
18 or 19

Dr. D. B. Smith
Dr.

16
16
16

18 or 19
18 or

Dr. Payrer

20

Dr. S. G. Chakrabarti
Dr.

...

16

21

Atmaram Pandurang
"The practical result of
9

20
this investigation

was thus

epitomised"

Year Book for 1879,

says Miss S. D. Collet in her Brahma, "in a speech of Mr. Sen's at the

312
Calcutta

LECTURE XH

Town

if all

on September 30 bh, 1371
Calcutta/ said he,
the
is

"
:

'The

medical

cuthorities, in

'nnanimonaly

declare that sixteen

minimum marriageable age

of girls in this country. Dr. Charles makes a valuable suggestion ; he holds that fourteen, being the com-

mencement

of adolescence,

may
at

for the present

be re-

garded as the

minimum age

which native

girls

may

be allowed to marry, and may serve as a starting-point In conformity with his for reform in this direction. suggestion and the opinions given by the other referees,

we have come to

the conclusion that, for the present st be expedient to follow the provision in least, it would the Bill (he means the Brahma Marriage Bill which

was then before the Legislature),
teen the country, leaving
ness.
it

which makes fourof
girls
in

minimum marriageable age
in the

this
this

hands

of time to develop

reform slowly and gradually into maturity and ful" Another question concerning Br&hma marwas raised almost simultaneously with this, riages

namely, whether they, since they bad departed so far from the orthodox form, specially since they broke through the restriction of caste, could at all be re-

garded as Hindu
valid in the far

marriages,

and

if

not,

eye

of

law

?

Indeed,

this

were they question was

advanced when the investigation as to the proper age of marriage, to which 1 have referred, took place,

and the two became which now began to

practically one in

agitate

Brahma

the controversy society, and to a

great extent native society in general, the controversy a to the desirability of a new Marriage Act. As to

HI8TORY OF ACT

III

OF 1872

'M H

the legal validity of

was

practically

Brahma marriages, the question settled for the progressive Brahmas by
J.

the opinion of Mr. General of India.

H. Cowie, the then Advocatea reference being made to him on the subject, "Mr. Cowie replied in effect that the Brahma marriages, not having been celebrated with

On

Hindu or Muhamtnadan rites of orthodox regularity and not conforming to the procedure prsscribed by
any law or to the usages of any recognised religion, were invalid, and the offspring of them were illegitimate." As to the Hindu or un-Hindu character of
marriages, in both the Adi Brahma Samaj form and the form adopted by the progressive Brah-

Brahma

mas, the point was settled very

satisfactorily

by the

most eminent pandits of Calcutta, Nadia and Benares, whose opinions on the subject were sought by the progressive Brahmas in the first two cases and by the

Adi Br&h ma Samaj people
neither of the

in the last,

and who declared

unanimously that marriages solemnized according to Brahma forms was valid nor, in their opinion, according to the Hindu shastras. The need for an enactment to legalise Brahma marriages being
thus proved beyond any reasonable doubt, Kesav and his followers applied to Government for the desired
relief

and were most strenuous
it

in

their

efforts

to ob-

tain

during the four years

their first attempts

and
its

their

that elapsed between final success in 1872.

The

Bill took,

during

period of incubation, three

distinct forms, the history of

bered in order that justice

which needs to be rememmay be done to those who

314
got
it

LECTURE

XII

future
of a
tians

passed and that efforts to have it amended in may not be misdirected. It first took the form
Civil

who

Marriage Act applicable to all non Chrisobjected to be married according to
the
established

the forms of

native

religions.

The

declaration to be
''I

made by the marrying
accordance with the
Buddhist,
Bill

parties was,

do not profess the Christian
married
*'

religion,

and
rites

I object

to be

in

of

the

Hindu,
religion.

Mahammadan,
In
this

Pars!

or

Jewish
fierce

form the

met with a

opposition from the orthodox Hindu community and had thus to be given up. It was feared by them that it might induce many professed Hindus to

contract

marriages
retain

in

disregard
position
in
in

of

caste

rules

and

yet

their

the

orthodox

community this fear was too

and

share
true,

the

advantages.

That

has no doubt been proved
the

amply
of that

by the growing
community.
If
to,

heterodoxy of many member* Bill had been passed in
disruption
of

the form referred

the

orthodox

society would have been far more rapid than it has actually been. The second form taken by the bill was that of a Brahma Marriage Act applicable only

Hindu

met with no opposition from the orthodox community, but it was opposed
to

Brahmas.

In this form

it

tooth and nail

by the Adi Br&hma Samgj people,, who feared that, as Brahmas, they would have to come under the operation of the Act, and even if
this

should not take place,

would widen the gap between the

the passing of the Bill Br&hmas and the

HISTORY OP ACT

III

OP 1872

315

community and also minimise the chance of the Adi Brfihma Sam&j form of marriage being ultimately recognized as a Hindu form. This opposition necessarily led to the abandonment of the Bill in its second form and to the adoption of the
orthodox
third

Hindu

and

final

form
all

in

which

it

was passed.
to

In

its

applicability

to

who

objected

being married

according recognized forma, the Bill went back to its first form ; but the declaration as to objection to orthodox forms of marriage had to be changed to one
to the

of

an actual renunciation or non-profession of orthodox systems of religion. That this form was made necessary

the

by the opposition of the orthodox Hindu community to first form of the Bill and that of the Adi Brahma

Sam&j

to its second form, will

be clear to those

who

have followed

be made more clear, if possible, by the following extract from the speech of the Honourable Mr. Fitzjames Stephen, the then
so far.
It will

me

legal

member

of the Viceroy's Council,

on the occasion
form.

of the introduction of
is,

the Bill in

its final

"There

I

think," said

Mr. Stephen, "a distinction in this

matter which the

It is Bill, as introduced, overlooks. the distinction between treating Hindu law as a law binding only on those who submit to it of their own

will,

and treating
it

it

as a law binding on

those

who do

they choose to do so. only It is surely one thing to say to Hindus, "You are at liberty to change your law and religion if you think

submit to

so

far

as

proper, and you

shall

suffer

no

loss

and quite another thing

to

say to

by doing so j them 'You are

1

316
at liberty to

LECTURE
play fast and

XII

with your law and religion ; you shall, if you please, be, at one and the same time, a Hindu and not a Hindu.' By
IODSS

recognizing the existence of the Hindu religion I as a personal law in this matter of marriage,

think that we have contracted an

obligation to enforce its provisions in their entirety upon those who choose to live under them, just as we have, by estaof religious freedom, blishing the general principle contracted a further obligation to protect anyone

who

chooses to leave

the
so,

Hindu

religion

against

injury for having done
institutions

and to provide him with recognized by law and suitable to hii

I think that it is hardly possible peculiar position. for us to hold other language on the subject than

you please but be one thing or the other, and do not ask us to undertake the impossible task of constructing some compromise between Hinduism and not-Hinduism which will
this

'Be a Hindu or

not

as

;

enable you to evade the necessity of knowing your own minds. The present Bill is framed upon these
9'

principles.

After recounting
Bill

the

history

of

the

previously introduced by him and given up on account of the opposition of the Adi 'The Brahma Samdj, Mr. Stephen continued
:

Brahma Marriage

question, accordingly, had to be reconsidered ; and after some intermediate steps, and a very careful

consideration of the

matter

in

council,

I

asked the

representatives of the two bodies of

the

one would be

satisfied

with,

Br&hmas whether and whether the

HISTORY OF ACT
other would object
to,

III

OF 1872
confined
to

317
persona

a Bill

who had renounced
not profess,

or

had been excluded from, or did

the

Hindu,
Jaina
it

Muhammadan,
?
I

Buddhist,
offer,

Parsee, Sikh or

religion

made the

expecting

that

would be

accepted by the Adi

Br&hmas, whom it would nob obviously affect, and that it would be rejected by the progressive Brahmae. I supposed that they occupied one of those intermediate
religious

positions

which

are so

common

in the

in which people dislike to say either present day, members of a particular that they are or are Dot a bolder line. But they took Before the creed

views

of
at all,

Government
they sent
in

had

been

communicated
by way
of

to

them
to

a paper,

reply

the

able

Adi Brahma Satmij, containing this remark"Hindu" term does not sentence. .....The

include the Brahmas,

who deny

the

authority

of the

Vedas, are opposed to
religion,
trorn

and
sects.'

being

every form of the Brahmanical admit eclectics, proselytes
Christians

Hindu?,

Muhammadans,
Nothing
than this
;

religious

could be

straightforward
distinct

and

I

and other plainer or more wish to add that
has corresponded

the subsequent conduct of the
to
this

sect

avowal of their views.

They have

unreservedly accepted the offer made to them by me on behalf of the Government, and the Adi Samaj
have, with equal frankness, admitted that the measure
is

ona to which they have no right and no wish to As for the views of the general body of the object. Native community, they appear, I think, sufficiently

318

LECTURE

XII

from the replies which were received to Sir Henry
Maine's
Bill
(i.e.,

the the

Bill

in

its

first

form).

The
would

great majority community regard with indifference a measure applying to persons who stand outside the pale of the native religions."

of

Native

Now,
to

Mr.

Stephen's

remark

as

to

the

indifference of the

great majority of the Native com-

munity

the

measure

during the six weeks for Bill remained in abeyance after the delivery of the speech from which I have quoted. Among other replies to the request of the Government to pass an
opinion on the Bill, the Sanatan Sabha of Calcutta said that in

was sufficiently verified which the passing of the

Dharma Rakshini
its

opinion

the

amended Marriage Bill was not likely to Hindus and their religion, and that therefore
objection to the passing of the Bill. Now, an amendment of the Act

affect the
it

had no
felt

has been

to be

very desirable by
too,

some Brahmas

and some

would avail themselves of its healthy provisions if it were divested of its objectionable features. The most important exception taken

non-Brahmas

who

to the

Act
it

under

is that it requires the parties marrying to virtually renounce the Hindu name. The

intense feeling of nationality

which has been growing

in the country during the last thirty years or so makes this renunciation repugnant even to many of

those

who

care

little

for

orthodox
a

Hinduism,

A
of

considerable

and

perhaps

growing

number

Brdhmas

share in this

repugnance.

An

increasing

PROSPECT^ OF AMENDING THE ACT
familiarity

319

with

the teachings of the

higher

Hindu

scriptures on the part of our educated men perhaps deepens their attachment to the Hindu name. On the

other band, several circumstances have contributed greatly to a broadening of the Hindu name in the minds both of Hindus and non-Hindue. The Brahmas,

even those who have practically renounced the Hindu

name by marrying according to the Act, are now often spoken of even by the members of the orthodox community as an integral portion of the Hindu community. Even the Government, which, in 1872, in a manner compelled the progressive Brahmas to renounce
the Hindu
legal
to

name

as

the

condition

of protecting their
in

rights,

would not allow them,

the last census,

return

themselves as a

body

distinct

from the

Hindus, but forcibly, as it were, classed them as a branch of the Hindu community. Besides, a number of recent cases in the High Court and in the Privy
Council
inspite

have
of

made
It

it

clear

that

their

heterodoxy,

are

the Brahmas, Hindus and under

would seem, therefore, that if the Government were now asked to extend the scope of Act ill of 1872, to make it go back to its first form and become available for all who, whatever
law.
religions

Hindu

they

may

profess, object to

to the established forms, the storm of opposition

marry according which

was raised against it in 1868 would not be raised now, and that whatever opposition might be raised by the strictly orthodox, it would have less weight
with the Government now than
it

had at the time

320
referred
to.

LECTURE

XII

Bat

to

have the Aot amended
of

in this

direction, a large body

men

calling

themselves

Hindus and belonging mostly to the orthodox community, mast come forward acd ask for the protection

of

a new and liberal enactment,

speak of
as
I

my own
that

feelings,

I

jf I were to would say that thinking,
its

Brahmaism, in same movement that was started
do,

essence,

is

the

by

the

Rishis of

indeed dislike anything that may Upanishack, seem to indicate a severance of spiritual ties with
the
1

them, an ignoring of historical continuity between the past and the present. But I must say that the a particularly happy one, and name 'Hindu' is not as it denotes both the grossest idolator and the

worshipper of the Infinite Being, it fails utterly to describe the religion of the Bra*hma Samiij. Though, therefore, I do not like that the law
spiritual

should extort

from

do not profess the renouncing Hinduism
only the

unwilling declaration "I Hindu religion,** I know that by
the
in

me

this

manner

I

renounce*

popular Hinduism of idolatry, caste and priestcraft, and not the exalted Theism of the ancient
Rishis and their

modern

followers,

to

which

my

relations remain quite unaffected
*

by

this declaration.*

Since the above was written and spoken no fewer than three

attempts have been made, by liberal-minded gentlemen belonging amended on to the orthodox fold, to have Act HI of 1872 the line indicated. The last attempt has met with partial success.

The Law
appended

is

now

available for Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas
its

Sikhs wishing to marry under
in full to

provisions.

and The amended Law is

my Manual of Brahma

Ritual and Devotions.

ADVANTAUi:* OF REFORMED MARRIAGES
I

321

the advantages which Brahma marriages registered under the provisions of Aot III of 1872 offer to members of the Native
shall

now

summarise

community, specially those of Hindu nationality, and the changes they have inaugurated in that community. I need hardly say that the provisions of the Act were, for the most part, suggested by the Brahmas
themselves.

much

Secret marriages are prevented by them as they can be prevented by law. A fortnight before the marriage, one of the parties, after a fort1.

as

previous stay iu the place where celebrated, has to send a notice to the
night's

it is

to be

Registrar, with

full details as to

Marriage both the parties, and
Office

that notice has to be put up in the Registrars for a fortnight, exposed to the public view.
2.

sible
iu

The marriage of children is made imposWhile even the most enlightened by this Aot. the orthodox community often act against their
views
in

liberal

this

respect,

while
in

girls of 10 or 11

are

sometimes

married

even

such

a

socially

advanced family as that of the Maharshi, it is imamong those possible even for the least advanced who have adopted this reformed system of marriage to give away in marriage a girl under 14 and a boy
under
the
18.

And
of

the fact

is,

proposers

the

Bill,

was anticipated by that the age of marriage
as

gradually been raised much over that provided for in the law, so that one scarcely hears now of a has
girl of

14 and a boy of
21

18

being married under the

322
Act.

LECTURK

XI

1

That

reforms like this cannot be

left

to

the

progress of

mere public opinion, but needed the

help-

ing hand, the coercive force, of law, is evident from this, if it were not already evident from the history
of social reform in European countries.
3.

That the consent of the parties
is

is

essential

to

marriage,

clearly

recognised

in

this

form

ot

marriage, and the recognition of this principle sharply distinguishes reformed marriages under the Act from

orthodox Hindu
nised

marriages.

The

principle

is

Act.

by Br&hma public opinion and by Whatever religious rites may or may not
both
in

recogthe
be

with the marriages! the Law should express their consent requires that the parties and declare that they take each to the marriage

observed

connection

other

as

legal

husband and
and
this

wife,

and that
of

this expres-

sion of consent

declaration

entering into

the marriape contract should be heard by the Marriage It is indeed true that in many Br&hma Registrar.

marriages
or little

recognition of better than, nominal.

the

this

principle

is

only,

Where

mature age, where they opportunity of freely mixing with each
not
of

the parties are are not given the
other

and

knowing each other closely, consent cannot but be more or less nominal. But even the nominal recognition

of

this

principle

is

important and marks a great

advance from the old idea of marriage in which con* sent has no place. As the progress of education and
that of liberal ideas bring the sexes into closer social consent and mutual intercourse with each other,

ADVANTAGES OF REFORMED MARRIAGES
choice

323

become more and more real. Within my own experience there have been several cases of genuine attachment and free choice proceeding from long and close acquaintance with each other and some cases
where the selection
of

a bridegroom by the bride's

guardians has been set aside by the bride. As the female sex comes to understand more and more
clearly the truth

and nature of its God-given freedom and the responsibility and solemnity of the marriage vow, and men themselves come to understand that women are not mare means of pleasure or mere
domestic drudges, but companions and helpers in the solemn journey of life, the former will cease more

and more,
specially

in entering into the marriage relation, to be guided by the opinions of parents and guardians,

by mere worldly considerations, and seek more and more the light of God within, and the latter will be contented less and less with the nominal consent of women to the marriages proposed for them and wish more and
are

when they

dictated

more
4.

to

see

them come up
form
of

to

the level of free and

responsible humanity.

marriage abolishes caste distinctions altogether. Notwithstanding the loosening of caste notions among the educated in the orthodox

This

community,

marriages are practically impossible in that community, and even the Adi Brahma

inter- caste

Sam&j, notwithstanding its avowed heterodoxy, scarcely ventures to break through caste rules in marriage, lest,
it

would seem, the marriages celebrated by

it

should

324

LECTURE

XII

be pronounced un-flindu. Marriage reform, then, in any but the most elementary form, has hitherto been
people of Hindu nationality outside the Brahma Samaj and the Native Christian Church. The Arya Samaj has, indeed, celebrated a small
impossible
for

number

of inter-caste marriages.

But

their

number

is

so small, and they have met with BO much opposition, both direct and indirect, from the conservative section

of the Samaj,

which forms the great bulk of the
reform.

movement, that they can scarcely be counted as a
factor
in

the

great work of social

Fifthly,

this

form

of

marriage

has

abolished

polygamy once for all in the society growing under its protection, and thus dealt a death-blow to one of
the most crying evils of Indian society. Under no condition whatever, whether it be change of faith,
the

absence
is

of

issue

or or

the invalidism

of

one of
ac-

the parties,

polygamy
lastly,

polyandry
reformed
important

possible,

cording to its provisions.
Sixthly

and
has

the

marriage

initiated

an

social

system of reform

by recognising the need and affording the possiblity in extreme cases. Nothing indeed is of divorce more harmful to social peace and well-being than But few will deny that divorce should be easy.
if

that ie extreme cases of conjugal infidelity, specially it be of a deliberate and persisting nature, the

marriage tie nnst be regarded as dissolved, and both law and society should provide for the dissolution of marriage in each cases.

ADVANTAGES OF REFORMED MARRIAGES
I

325

have DOW done speaking of Br&hma marriages and have next to speak of what the Brhma Saroaj
has done
for

the

education of
social

women and
in

for deliver-

ing them from the

bondage

which

they

usually live in this country. On the first point, I shall content myself with reproducing, with slight additions and alterations, what 1 have said on the

subject in

my

essay

on ''Female Education,"
Social
:

in

my

pamphlet
sketch.
efforts

entitled

In

made

that paper I in the country,

a sidr Reform in Bengal Lave spoken of the various
since

the advent of fhe

promote the education of women. On the present occasion I shall make only a few short extracts from it, bearing specially on the part the Brahma
British, to

Samaj has taken
"In

in

that great work.

1870

Babu

Kesavchandra

Sen

visited

England and by
with English

his public speeches

men and English women
in

and conversations of light and

leading greatly interested them

the cause of social

progress in India. While at Bristol, Mr. Sen joined in the ceremony of founding the National Indian
Association, which has been helping female education work in India in a variety of ways ever since its foundation.

After his

return

to

Kesavchandra Sen established

Babu the country. the Indian Reform

Association and opened a Female Normal School under the auspices of its Female Improvement Section.

This school continued for a number of years and did good work as a Girl and Female Adult (School. Bat

on the raising of the Bethune School to the status of

326

LECTURE xn
a College,
it

a High School, and subsequently o

waa

practically closed. Girls' School, called the Victoria School, of

It was, however, succeeded by a

somewhat

intermittent existence, and by an organisation of the same nature 1 mean, of the same flickering vitality called the "Victoria College for the High Education
of

Women," (and

latterly, the Victoria Institute)
serial

which
or

organises

lectures,

or occasional,

on

scientific

and other
preachers.*

subjects,

by

well-known

professors

with his wife,
that country.

"In 1871 Babu Sasipada Banurji visited England who was the first Hindu lady to visit
This
visit

promoted the cause of female

education both directly and indirectly. Mrs. Banurji's bold conduct must have had a far-reaching result in
effectively breaking

open the iron- doors of the Zenana and encouraging her country-women fearlessly to go
in their

on

pilgrimage of progress.

As

a fact, she

was gradually followed by several of them, who visited both Great Britain and the Continent, for either study
or travel.

'In 1873 an educated English lady of a philanthropic bent of mind came to India and became the guest of Sir John and Lady Phear. Her name was Miss Annie

Akroyd, but latterly she became Mrs. H. Beveridge. Mr. Sasipada Banurji had met her while in England

and learnt her intention of
*

visiting India to

study and,

The Victoria
School

Institution has for

seme years past been a

High

affiliated to

the Calcutta University.

FEMALE EDUCATION
if

327

possible, help the female

education work here.

She

her object, and her services now came were eagerly availed of by the small band of reformers who were disappointed by the failure of the scheme
to carry out

improving the Bethnne School (narrated in another A higher class school called portion of the pamphlet). the Hindu Manila Vidyalaya was opened by them under
for

her superintendence at Baliganj near Calcutta. The Committee included Sir John as President and Lady Phear as Secretary. This may be said to be the

beginning of the movement for the high education of

grown-up Hindu ladies. But, as had happened in the case of the Female Normal School scheme, the orthodox party kept away from the movement, and even Babu Kesavchandra held himself aloof from it. But
the

school continued
till

its

noble

work
closing

for

a number
school

of years

the retirement of Sir J. and
closed.

Lady Phear

led to
left

its

being

The

of this

a gap which was soon filled up by the establishment of the Banga Manila Vidyalaya in 1876 chiefly

through the exertions

of Messrs.

Durgamohan Das and

Anandamohan

Bose.

To

the former and to his wife

the country owes a debt of deep gratitude for services to the cause of female progress, and many an educated

lady

who now
it

possesses

a happy
Indian

home thankfully
Association esta-

acknowledges "In 1876 the National
blished a
as

as due to them.

Bengal Branch with Mr. Sasipada Blnurji

its corresponding Secretary. In a paper read at one of the meetings of the Branch, Mr. B&nurji made

328

LECTURE

XII

a few suggestions of work on new lines. Three of these suggestions were carried out. One of these was the appointment of two Zenana teachers who went

about visiting Zenana ladies and imparting knowledge This scheme has to them on a non-sectarian basis.

now been taken up by
scale,
little
its

though hampered by want of qualified teachers. The second suggestion was the publication of a number of
books for females
Carpenter
Series.'
;

the Government on a large carrying out is not a practical

suitable

under the

title

of

the

*Mary

Handsome
result

prizes

were

offered to the authors

and the

was the appear-

ance of such

meritorious

books as Pandit Sivandth

S&stri's 'Mejo au* and 'Suruchir Kutir^. The third

foundation of

Dvarakan&th Gnguli's work taken up was the a committee of ladies and gentlemen
the task of visiting Girls' Schools and
prizes

Bbu

who undertook
stipends."

Zenana students and encouraging them by

and

"The remarkable progress

in

female

education

daring recent years the imparting of a really liberal education to our women, their submission to public tests of their acquirements equally with persons of
the obher sex, and the
tion

consequent yearly multiplica-

graduates and nndergradutes dates from an event which took place in 1877. It was the
of

female

tioned above with

amalgamation of the Banga Manila Vidy&laya The the Bethune School.
it

menlatter

was then, as
ac\u>o\

had been

for

many
fc\tU,

years,

a mere

attended by

\\ttta

It

FEMALE EDUCATION
;

329

by Lady Lyfcton in 1877 and it was the dissatisfaction which Her Excellency expressed at it that, perhaps, more than any other thing, disclosed its unworthiness
to enjoy,
in
its

old form, the

receiving for a long series of

support years from

it

had been

Government.

Her Excellency's

visit to

two other Institutions

Babu

Kesavchandra Sen's Female Normal School and the

Banga Mahila
of

Vidyjilaya,

and her hearty recognition
at

the

good

work

done
for
its

the

latter

school,

led to the

proposal

amalgamation

with the

Bethune. The amalgamation really consisted in the -Government taking over the charge of the Banga Mahila, their promise to support it with its scheme
high education of grown-up women and its boarding arrangements conceived according to reformed
for the

any recognition necessarily somewhat anglicised
tastes,

without

of
in

caste

rules

and
its

form,
of

and
as

transfer

to
It

the

spacious
so

buildings

the Bethnne

School,
addition

was not

much an amalgamation

an

the addition of a number of higher classes and a boarding establishment to a primary school. Babu Kesavchandra Sen's party opposed the amalgamation tooth and nail, but could nob prevent it.

They opposed
at the

it

able character

of

on the ground of the alleged unsuitthe education which was imparted

Banga MahilA and which the reformed Bethune School now pledged itself to impart, and the so-called
un-Hindu character of the boarding arrangements which obtained there and were now going to be perpetuated. These objections of coarse carried no weight

330
with
the

LECTURE

xir

supporters of the amalgamation scheme. The fact is that there already existed at the time, and has since increased in extent and volume, a body
of

opinions on

social

matters

much
and

in

advance of

those

held
;

followers

by and

Kesavchandra
it

his

immediate

is

the

men
to

holding

those views,

whether they called themselves Hindus,
Christians,

Brahmas

or

who now began
School.
of

the

Bethune

while

men

really

The old and

guide the destinies of has been that result

orthodox views

still

content themselves by giving their girls the sort of primary education imparted in the lower clases
of the dra's

Bethune College, and while Babu Kesavohanparty still hold themselves aloof from the

higher courses of the College, except in a very few education imparted in the College cases, the high
is

fully availed

specially

the

of by people of Sadharan Brahmas

the

other

party,

and

the

Native

Christians.*

The Boarding Institution of the College, which consists chiefly of the advanced students, is therefore, as it could not but be, heterodox and in that sense un-Hindu, as Babu Kesavchandra's party

complained it was. However, the Government, as might be expected, made a few liberal concessions
to the

managers of the
its

taking over
*

charge

Banga MahiU Vidy&laya in and connecting it with the

During the
in

last

few years there has been a large influx of

girls college and the higher school classes from the orthodox fold and the followers of Kesav have practically given

the

up

their old opposition to the higher education of girls.

FEMALE EDUCATION
Bethune.
service

331
daily devotional

They were

(I)

that a

according to the principles of the Brahma Sanaa] should be allowed to be held in the school premises for the benefit of the Br&hma students, (2)
that the

Brahma

girls

should be taken to a
in the

Brdhma

place of worship every

Sunday

school

omnibus,

and
or
of

(3)

that there
in

should

be at least three Brahma

members
these

the school committee and that no teacher

professor

should

three

be appointed without the consent members. As it was the Brhmas

who furnished
classes,

the

Bethune

School with
still

and as these

classes are

higher mostly recruited

its

from the Brahma community, these concessions werp
nothing but just." "In 1S76, the
It
first

Indian
of

girl

appeared at the
University.

Entrance Examination

the

Calcutta

was

who

a Christian lady, Miss Chandramukhi Bose, afterwards became the Principal of the Bethune
the

She passed College. the immediate cause of
classes
in

examination and became

connection

of the College with the Bethune School and

the formation

the opening of the doors of the Calcutta University to

Indian ladies.

The great
by
this

impetus

given
is

to

higher
indirect

female education
to

measure

too well-known
of
its

require

particular

mention.

One

was the gradual opening of several High Schools and even a few Colleges for girls by Christian missionary and other agencies. As I have already
results
said,

Br&hma

ladies

in

large

numbers availed them-

selves of the opportunity

which was thus afforded to

332
them.

LECTOR

XII

They were led by Miss K&dambini Bose, afterwards Dr. Mrs. Ganguli, who graduated in or about 1880 and was followed by numerous Brhina lady graduates. Mrs. Ganguli was also the first to enter
the Medical College and show a to Brfihma and other Indian

new

field of

usefulness

ladies.

In

J883, the

Brahma
chiefly
S&stri.

Girls'

Day and Boarding School was founded,

through the exertions of Pandit Sivanath It was soon raised to the status of a High
official

School and has since, through
support,

and

non-official

its own. buildings spacious with the object of combining religions with general education, which could not be done in schools managed by the Government. In

got three

of

It

was

established

1887,

Bbu

Sasipada Banurji opened the Barahanagar
of
all

Hindu Widows' Home, the pioneer
institutions

other similar

throughout the country. It was virtually a Brahma Institution and educated a
established
large

now

number settling down
reformed

of

young

ladies

and helped

them

in

or

in life as mistresses of Brahma homes Hindu homes. It was closed in 1901, as ill-health and the infirmities of old age made it impossible for its devoted founder and manager to
it

keep

up any longer.

"

I shall close this hurried sketch of the

history

of

female education in the Brahma Sam&j with only a bare mention of the organs which the Brahmaa have

promotion of female education. The place of honour is due to the Bdmdbodhini, started in 1864, whose founder and editor, the
to time started for the

from time

FEMALE EDUCATION

333

venerable Babu Umeechandra Datta, has just left as after a life of pious and devoted activity, the like of

which

is

scarcely seen.
y

The next

to

be

named

is

the

Abald Bdndlial> now defunct, which was started, about 1869, by the late Bcibu Dvarakanith Gnnguli, whose
devotion to the cause of female progress

won him the

name

Women.

means, 'the Friend of female journalism was the Mahiltf, edited by Biibu Giriscbandra Sen of the New
of
1

his

paper,

which

A

later addition to

Dispensation Apostolic body.

Anta/ipur,

now

defunct,

was started by Babu Sasipada Bunurji and conducted for a number of years exclusively by ladies headed
by
his

daughter, the late Banalata Devi.

The Bharatt,

started originally by Babu Dvijendranath Th&kur, was long edited by his accomplished sister, Srimati Svarna-

kumari Devi, and is still edited by her daughters. Two more Brahma journals for and edited by ladies were the
Bhciral

Kahili, long edited

by

Srimati

Sarayubla

Datta and the Suprabhdt, started and long conducted

by two lady graduates, Sriraatis Kumudini Basu and Hasan tf Chakravarti.*

3

Three recent movements

for

the education of
all

women and
Brahmas,

the amelioration of their condition,

initiated

by

deserve to be mentioned,

(i)

numerous schools under
for

it,

(2)

The Nari Siksha Samiti, with The Vani Bhavan, a training school

widow?, both
(3)

and
and

under the management of Lady J. C. Bose, the Sarojnalini Industrial School with branch schools

started by Mr. G. S. Datta. The Gokhale Memorial School, ably managed by Mrs. P. K. Ray, may also be reckoned as practically a Ur&hma institution.
associations,

334

LECTURE

XII

From

this

rapid sketch, which

I

close

here,

it

Brahma will be seen what a remarkable part the Samaj has taken in the education of women. In fact it
has been the chief factor daring the last half-a-century and more in the progress of Indian women ; and it is decidedly the foremost of
all

Indian communities

in

social progress, excepting perhaps the Native Christian community. I shall now say a few words, and

these shall be

my

last in this lecture

and

in

this

series

other side of female progress, of lectures, on the that called female emancipation. I have no objection to the word 'emancipation' as applied to our women, as some, who do not quite see the points at issue,

seem

to

have.

1

believe

that

Indian

women
(if

art*

under a thraldom at least as real and abject
as

not

our political subjection to the British, and more) that the one as urgently calls for remedial measures
as the other.

our mothers, sisters and wives often effectively hides from us the reality of their social slavery to us, just as the benevolent ten-

Oar

love

for

from our view, and
plate that the

dency of British rule for several generations long hid still hides from many eyes, the
It
is

reality of our political slavery.

sad to contem-

break the

fetters

Brahma Samaj has done so little to which bind women, though by

promoting their education it has, no doubt, laid the foundation of future progress in this matter. The S&dharan Brhma Samaj has also proved its faithfulness to

one

Brahmaism

of the fundamental principles of 'Nara ndrt sddhdraner samdn adhikdr?

FEMALE EMANCIPATION

335

men and women have
its

by laying open all that of ministers, to women. high offices, including But the wave of social reaction which has been
equal rights
the
to

all

passing over
century, has,

country for over a quarter of a some extent, affected the Brahma

Sainaj and crippled it* reforming activity. I know of several families which were, some years back, in the forefront of social reform, but from which no

reform, worthy of them, can any more ba expected. That this is the effect more of the benumbing in
fluenca
of

the

social

losa of spiritual vitality,

atmosphere around and of the than of any reasoned scheme
appears frotn the fact that are advocated and proposed

of

social

conservatism,

when reform and progress

by bolder spirits, they are not actively opposed except by the most thoughtless. I have no doubt therefore
that this

wave

of

reaction
forth

will

pass

away
in

if

a few

earnest minds

set

the
of

doctrine

way, from

that the

freedom

women
of

the proper follows logically

the
the

essential

principles

show

way
I

to

practical

reforma

Brahmaism and in their own

families.

do not think that anyons who is earnest about Brahmaism can be anything but earnest about

female liberty, if he sees the connection of the two. If one nation has no right to enslave another, if one man has no right to enslave another man, neither has
the male kind any natural right to keep the female kind under perpetual bondage. It is indeed open to epme people to argue that so far as their imaginations
go, the

time will never come

when women, however

336
educated, will
British

LECTURE
be
fit

XII

for complete liberty ; just as even of the radical camp, argue Imperialists,

that Indians, so far as their prophetic eyes go, must always be under personal Government. But such

arguments are evidently vitiated by as palpable a bias in the one caee as in the other. It is the bias of
organised selfishness in both the cases and of an additional moral cowardice in the former. To earnest,

unbiassed

people,

it

must be

evident
of

that women,
free,

equally with
livelihood.

men, have the right
education, free

that

is

liberal, all-round

movement and

free

But practically we,
also very

Rrhma9, have up to
rights What a imperfectly. get a really liberal

this time recognised only the first of these three

of

women, and that
!

small proportion of our women In even the wealthiest of our homes, such education as can afford to give the highest education to their

young members, what a sad contrast is to be seen between the boys and the girls ? the former receiving the highest education that the Indian and the English universities can give, and the girls married away before
they have scarcely gone up to the secondary standard With regard to free movement, it would not be too much to say that we have not gone more than one step Over fifty in advance of orthodox Hindu society.
!

years ago, the right of women sitting outside the pardtf Mandir of India was wrung from in the Brahma

Kesav by the then advanced party in his church. In the Mandir and other meeting places of the S&dharan Brahma Sam&j this right has been recog-

FEMALE EMANCIPATION
nised

337

without a question from the very beginning. But have we, as a community, gone a step farther
allowing free movement to our women during the last four decades and more j It is strange that even the orthodox Hindu women of Bombay and

than this

in

Madras are
our

freer in this respect than the

most enlight-

ened of Bengali Brdhtnikas. We see daily the health of women breaking down under the strain of domestic

duties

we do not
in

and the harder strain of higher studies, and yet afford them the facilities of free exercise
open
air.

the

there are,

at the

opportunities present moment, open to our young

Then,

how

many

people, in the shape of public meetings, for improving their minds and widening their Our sympathies
\

young men freely avail themselves of these our young women are mostly shut out from

;

but

these,

because they are not allowed the liberty of walking their to them, and are thus left decidedly behind
brethren
in

That one or

experience and usefulness. practical two families here and there avail them-

selves of the liberty of free movement allowed them by the heads of their families, is only an exception

which proves the rule of female seclusion prevailing

amongst
of

us,

a

seclusion

almost

as
to

perfect as that

orthodox Hindu women.
a civil

As

what
for

is

usually

said about the country's
in

unpreparedness

way with women
that there are

I

am aware

moving places where such
is

behaving about freely,
free
safe.
t'hat

movement, even under proper escort, But from long personal experience, I
22

not

know

338
in cities like

LECTURE

XII

Calcutta a gentlewoman runs no risk of unsafety by walking on the public thorougfarea in the company of a male friend or relative. And when
the larger cities get accustomed to such free movement on the part of our ladies, the small towns and In villages will no doubt soon learn to respect it.
fact,

the villages are,
cities.

in

this

matter, better off than

However, as to the third form of female it liberty mentioned by me, that of free livelihood, seems to me almost strange that we are doing nothing to effect a reform which is becoming a pressing one year after year. Numbers of unmarried women and
the

widows among us are continually being thrown upon the shoulders of over-worked and struggling male relatives
;

and yet we are doing nothing

to find out

means

of independent livelihood for

kind.

By

our

own

our unemployed womanefforts as well as through other

agencies, the old systems of forced non-consentuous marriages and joint families are breaking down about

and yet we are doing nothing to meet the wants which this social revolution is creating. That our
us
;

women

are slowly taking to teachership and the medical profession, is not a proper solution of the difficulty.

How many women
for

even

if

our ladies

could these departments provide were more largely entered into by they than they actually are f It therefore

behoves the more thoughtful members of the
Sanaa]
to

Brhma
in

give
for

up
our

their

apathy and inactivity
in

regard to this
livelihood

matter and devise a scheme of free

women, both

the interest of

FEMALE EMANCIPATION
their true
spiritual

339

progress and of their
the
close
1

temporal

comfort and happiness.
I

now come
in

to

of the series of lectures

1

began

April last year.

of

repeating

my

take this opportunity thanks to the members of the Theo-

logical

Society for

having elected

me

lecturer

and

given

me

this opportunity of re-thinking the

grounds
to

and principles
the results
of

of

Brhtuaism and presenting
reflections.

you
this

my

1

embrace also

opportunity of expressing publicly
of

my grateful feelings and, 1 trust, of everyone of you, to the Maharajadhiraj
Burdwan, whose pious and enlightened
interest in

Theology made the foundation of this It now remains for me, before possible.
to indicate, in as

lectureship
I sit

travelled in

down, ground have the course of the twelve lectures I have

few words as

I can, the

I

delivered here on the Philosophy of Brahmaism.
will
in

You

see,

from

my

recitation of the subjects dealt with

these

lectures,

called the "History

that the series might as well be and Philosophy of.Brhmaism." In

my
of

first

lecture I gave you a history of the development Br&hmic doctrines from the time of Rja Ram-

mohan
all

Ry

to

quite recent times, touching briefly on

this

the chief phases of thought which have arisen during important period of the history of Brihmaism.

In

my

second lecture

I

set

forth

the claims of free
of

scientific

thought

as

the

true

basis

Brfthmaism

and exposed the errors of supernaturalism in both In my third lecture I its gross and subtle forms.
gave a
critical exposition

of the

doctrine

of Intuition

340

LECTURE XH

Devendrandth Th&kur and' by Maharshi Kesavchandra Sen, and pointed out Brabm&nanda both the permanent essence and the passing forms
taught
of that

doctrine.

In
is

my
the

must have seen,
system laid
analysis of

fourth lecture, which, you corner stone of the whole

by an and thought, hew the reality of knowledge an infinite and eternal Consciousness as the very life
in

down

these lectures, I showed,

and support of
at

finite
all

intelligence

and of Nature,
life.

lies

the root of
I

forms of conscious
the

In the fifth
principles

lecture
of
all

showed that
whether

fundamental

sciences,

physical, biological
scientists

and mental,- are
themselves

metaphysical,
this

know

or

not,

and imply the existence

of an intelligent

Being at the root of Nature. showed the place of both
philosophical
I

In the sixth lecture I

Monism and Dualism
In

in

Br&hmaism.

my

seventh

lecture

expounded the idea of self-realisation, which I regard as the tiue basis of ethics, and laid down the main
lines of

moral duties.
the
truth

In
of

establish

my eighth lecture I sought to the Divine love and perfection

on the basis of the doctrine of conscience expounded In my ninth lecture I set in my previous lecture.
forth the arguments for the immortality of the soul, dwelling at some length on the latest forms of

Materialism,

as

ably

dealt

with

by

the

eminent
In

American

my

tenth

Professor Psychologist, lecture I treated, both

W.

James.

historically

and

critically, of

the various systems of spiritual

culture

*wbich have been taught

by Br&hma

ministers

and

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
writers on
practical
to the

341

religioa

from the time of Raja
la

Rammohan Kay
lecture I

present day.

my

eleventh

some length the chief Brahma arguments against idolatry and caste and tried to meet the objections which are usually raised by Theists
stated at

still in

orthodox Hindu society against the existence

of the

Brahma Samaj a? a

distinct
I

social

organisation.

In this
seen, a

my

last

lecture,

brief

history

of

have given, as yon have marriage reform in the

Brahma Samaj with a statement of the advantages by Brahma marriages over orthodox forms of marriage, and have also told you what the Brdhma
offered

has done up to this time and ought to do in future for promoting the education and emancipation I close with the hope that my humble of women.

Samj

labours in the cause of

Brahma Theology

will

be

I

rewarded by your seriously reflecting on the subjects have set forth before you. May God be ever with
us all in our search after truth
!

Om

Sdntih Sdntih Sdntih, Harih Om.

APPENDIX
I

am

afraid

that

the

statement
in

and

exposition
lecture
will

of

metaphysical
felt

principles
to

the

fourth
It

will be

by some readers

be too brief.

perhaps

seem specially so to those who have been led by their study of works on Philosophy to conclusions different
from those stated in
Philosophy
is
it.

confined

to

Those whose acquaintance with the current manuals of Psyparticularly
shall,

chology, will
confusing.

perhaps find my statements For readers of these classes I

in this

note, go into a

somewhat
the

closer analysis of perception

than
consi-

I have done in

text,

and shall
a
lecture.
It

also

name and
I

der some anti-theistic theories,
carefully avoided in

course which
will

have

the

be found that
is

the criticism I
in

offer, in this note, of

these theories

given

substance in the text.

But a

detailed criticism involv-

ing a statement of these theories,
helpful to some readers.

may perhaps
of the

be more

The reader may have heard

doctrine that

we

cannot perceive anything unless it touches our body and affects our senses. To those who have had nothing to do with Psychology or Philosophy, it does not seem to be so.

To them

it seems that we do perceive things not in contact with our senses, even things lying at a great distance from them. But th'e fact is that the doctrine referred to

is

substantially true ; and as an apprehension of its truth is likely to facilitate the understanding of the main ideas-

dealt with in the lecture, I shall offer

nation of

it.

The reader

will

see

here a brief explathat the coldness,

smoothness and hardness of the table before me,
us suppose before him,
are nothing
to

and

let

us before

we

feel

them by actually touching it. And as we feel them, they are what we call tactual sensations, affections of our
sensibility.
It

will also be clear that the smell of a rose is

of

we actually smell it, before particles the rose-pollen are in direct contact with our olfactory nerves, and that smell as felt is nothing but a sensation,
nothing to us before
sensuous feeling.

a
of

In tho same manner, the sweetness

perceived only when the object comes into actual in this contact with our tongue, and as felt manner,

sugar
is

is

it

All this
table

but a sensation, a modification of our sensibility. is easy to understand but that the colour of the
,

is

also

a sensation and

seen

is

in direct contact

felt only when the object with the nerves of the eyes, will

present difficulties to the ordinary reader. It seems as if we directly perceive colour as in an object more or less
distant

from the body. But really it is not so. Before we perceive colour in an object, the rays of light falling upon it must be reflected on our eyes and form an image on the retina. What we feel as colour is the sensation

which follows upon the formation of this image. It is much due to the contact of light with the visual nerves as the tactual sensations are due to the other varieties
as
of sensuous impact.

But what
instance,

of the distance

the distance
Is

of

the table,

for

from

my

eyes ?

not this

distance

The

distance in the line of sight directly perceived ? reader will see, on somewhat close observation*
is

that a knowledge of this distance
direct

acquired, not
this

by
in-

perception, but by inferenoe, and that

Ill

ferential
it

knowledge has become so habitual
If

to

us that a

he seems like direct perception. pencil horizontally before his eyes, he will note that he can see only one end of it, the one immediately close to his
holds
eyes, .'and

not the other end.

If

distance

in

the

line

of sight were directly perceptible, the whole length of the pencil, including the other end, would be seen.

As

it is

not seen,

it is

proved that distance in the line of
It
is

not perceptible. eight see you only one end,
is

a

contact with your eyes. colour in a distant object,
contact

namely What, then, you seem
is

straight line of which the end in immediate
to see as

really in

an object in direct

with your body in your eyes rather, as much as smell is in your nose and taste in your tongue. That what we directly see is only an image in our eyes, or rather

two images coalescing into one, will be clear from the fact that when we, by pressing a finger on one of oar eyelids, move our eyeballs and disturb the parallelism of the eyes, the two images on our eyes become distinct, and the image seen by the moving eve moves with
its

movements.

If

both the

the images move and thus and not without the eyes. That there
that the colour in

eyeballs are moved, both show that they are within
is

a distant object,

your eyes
is,

is

caused by a reflecting
already said,
circumstances.

object lying at a distance,

as I have

an

inference

arrived

at

from
is

various

This inferential knowledge
psychologists
will
tell

you. the eyes of people born with defective eyes, eyes long unused, have been opened, all things seem to these people as touching their eyes ; and it is from the fact

It

only slowly acquired, as has been found that

when

that in order to touch

the things they Bee,

the objects

IV

from

they have to move to greater or less distances, and from other circumstances of a similar nature, that they come to learn the

which

comes the

light

they

see,

distances of these objects.

The

faintness of colour pre-

sented by distant objects, their diminished size, and such other facts have now become to us signs telling us with more or less immediacy that such objects are at a distance

from
as

us.

we

feel

These remarks hold good of sound also, which, *o the contact of the it, is a sensation due
of
air with the nerves of the ear, but

vibrations

which has
distant

gradually become a sign of objects from us

more
I

or

less

Now, does

it

follow

from what

have

said

above

that in perception we know only sensations, the passing modifications of our sensibility ? Far from it. It will be clear, on close observation, that with every sensation

we

perceive our organism
tastes,

as

an

extended
colours

object.

In
the

experiencing various tactual

smells,

sounds,

and

the various organs affected the tongue, the nose, the ears, the eyes and the skin are perceived as extended objects. The body or organism is
sensations,

the object of direct perception but through it we know the world in space. The body is known as occupying a part of space, and space is known as unlimited.
;

Objects lying outside the body are known through their contact with the various senses. For instance, the tabie
before

me
it

is
it

known through
in

the Visual, tactual and other

sensations

produces in me.

Fro a the sensation
1

of colour

which
that
is,

produces

me,

know

it

as a coloured object,

an object having the power or quality of reflecting light. Through the sensations which it produces in me when I touch it and press my hand upon it, I know it as

a hard resisting substance, and so on.

The

steps
of

processes through whioh we acquire the knowledge

and what

we call external objects are matters of Psychology and cannot be dealt with here in detail; but as the reader must have seen in reading the fifth lecture, metaphysical theories are sometimes mixed up with the subject matter
Psychology theories which Theology cannot overlook. Let us here come face to face with some of these theories.
of

The question which concerns us most

is

the nature of the
to
is

objects known through perception, their relation knowing mind. The ordinary unphilosophical view

the
that

the objects perceived by us exist outside the perceiving mind and are yet endowed with qualities which are called
sensations in philosophical language. People living without reflection think that colours, sounds, tastes, touches

and smells exist in extra-mental objects, just as we experience these sensations. That this view involves a selfcontradiction will be admitted

by everyone who has any
'sensations'.

conception of the

meaning

of

Sensations or

sensuous feelings can exist only in a sentient or feeling mind ; they cannot exist in objects conceived as extramental.
sophical view

The philosophical theory nearest to this unphilois what is called Dualism or Realism. In this

realities
to,

theory objects perceived are supposed to be extra-mental endowed with qualities not like, but corresponding
the sensations which they produce in us.
the brown colour of the table before

me

is

For instance, indeed, on ite

subjective side,
object, it is

mind, but as in the an extra-mental quality. The hardness of the

a sensation in

my

table

objective side,

side, a sensation in me, and on ths a certain extra-mental quality which produce a this sensation. It will be seen, if the reader thinks upon
is,

on the mental

Vi

that this theory only partially avoids the self-contradicIf colours, sounds,, tion which vitiates the popular view.
it,

taste g, touches

and smells, as in objects, as out of the

mind, are entirely different from colours, sounds, tastes, touches and smells as we experience them, is there any reason for calling the former by the same names as the
supposed to produce in us the sensation of colour, is unseen and if it is to be called colour, it should be called unseen colour,
latter P
is
;

The

ethereal

vibration which

nothing better than a contradiction. Nor is the supposed quality in the table which absorbs all other colours and presents only brown to our eyes, anything that
is
is

which

or can

ever be
* 1

seen

;

and yet
in

it

receives the

names

'colour'

and brown
1

in the theory

question.

In fact the

'qualities

of the Dualistic theory
its

are

themselves, by

own admission, and

entirely unknown in are only supposed

causes of sensation.

A
its

cause,

it

seems, can be a cause
effects;
for,

without explaining
sensations are known,
are quite

supposed

whereas
causes

what are supposod
Explanation,
it

to be their

unknown.

seems, consists in
in

referring the
is

known

to the

unknown, and

referring

what

mental to something conceived as extra-mental. That be conceived, that we never the extra-mental cannot
conceive
the text.
in
in
it,

though we And even if

often seem to do
it

so,

we have
it

seen in

could

be

conceived,

could not

any sense explain things mental. What is in the mind, consciousness, can be explained by the mind alone.

As may be seen without much

difficulty,

philosophical
;

Dualism or Realism could not but lead to Agnosticism and in the philosophy of Herbert Spencer it has necessarily
led to a

system in which everything known
it

is

sought to be

explained by referring

to

an Unknown and Unknowable.

Vll

Mr. Spencer
-expounds
as
it

calls

his

system 'Transfigured Realism
part

1

and
his

at great length in

VII

(Vol.

II)

of

Principles of Psychology.

He

admits fully that the world,

we know

it, is

and constructed out
rejects

a mental picture, existing in the mind of materials wholly mental. So far he

Dualism or Natural Realism in both the popular and the philosophical form. His Dualism or Realism
consists in tracing this mentally -construe ted world to the action of a Reality which, in his system, takes the place of

matter in ordinary philosophical Dualism, differing from
of the

matter, however, in being ultimately the source or origin mind itself and not merely of its passing phenomena.

Of the Ultimate Reality which causes our sensations and is the source of what we call our minds, we know nothing,
In what Spencer, beyond its bare existence. sense, then, is it the cause of our sensations, and how do we know that it is such a cause ? Whence do we derive
says Mr.

our idea of causality and how far are \ve right in conceiving the Ultimate Reality as a cause in our sense of the term V

In answering questions like these, Mr. Spencer's Agnosticism is greatly modified and his Unknowable renounces
a large part of
fiction.
its

Mr. Spencer thinks that the resistance which objects offer
real objectivity

unknowableness or becomes a pure it is in our experience of
to

us that

direct contact with extra- mental reality
of objects

we come and know

into

the

their existence independently

of mind.

Thus, in pressing my hand against the table before me, I become aware that my power, that which causes the pressure I put forth, is opposed by another

power essentially similar in nature to mine. Mr. Spencer admits that our idea of causality or origination is derived from our own activity, the voluntary putting forth of energy

Viii

reality

on our part, and that we necessarily conceive objective But be avoids the in terms of the subjective. Theism which necessarily follows from such an admission
one, however,

by a curious form of scepticism
inevitable result of

which

is

the

the abstract

way

of

thinking which

characterises

the

school of thought he
is

power

in us, he says,
;

The represents. endowed with consciousness and

purpose but we have no right to think that the power without us is so endowed, it may very well be without these and Mr. Spencer elsewhere tries to show that qualities
;

consciousness

and purpose are finite attributes which cannot be ascribed to the Infinite. But what remains of
Mr. Spencer evidently thinks that power is something even though unendowed with consciousness and purpose,

power when consciousness and purpose are abstracted from
it ?

and that power, as without

us,

is

essentially
its

similar to

power as
purpose
consists.
?

it is

in us,

only

devoid of

consciousness and
similarity

One cannot but wonder wherein the
However, the viciousness of
is

this abstract

way

of

thinking
lectures,

sufficiently

shown

in

our fourth and

fifth

the latter specially

dealing
or

with our

ideas of

causality

and power.
is

What now

specially

invites our
of

attention

the reasonableness

the

reverse
of

Mr.

Spencer's contention that our
constitutes a proof of

experience

resistance

other than

Dualism, of the existence of a reality Let us consider the matter consciousness.

somewhat
It will

closely.

be seen that the seeming proof of Dualism
that

lies

in a misinterpretation of externality,
of one object to another in space is

the externality
it
9

wrongly explained by
called
'force'

as the externality of something
to consciousness,

or 'power

The

table

before

me

is

indeed external

IX

to

my

from

body, occupying a portion of that which my body occupies.

space different We have seen

in the text

that the externality of the parts of space the non-externality, the unspatiality, of the conimplies
of

sciousness
of space

which

they

are

objects.

Two

portions

in

which are external to each other are both included Thus the table the consciousness which knows them.

and

my
I

body are both
call

included

in

the consciousness
to

what
appear.

my
I
If

own
call

consciousness
are

which

they

What

their qualities

objects of this

consciousness.

I

conceive

them as permanent powers,

not as merely passing sensations, as we all do, for we I still think believe the world to be a permanent reality,
of

them as

objects of consciousness,

as

permanent ideas

in

the mind, which I conceive as both subjective and objective, in my body and in what I call external objects. Is there

any one among these qualities which forms an exception, which either stands out of the mind or speaks of
really

an extra-mental
quality?

reality ?

Is

hardness or resistance such a
it

How

so?

Asa

sensation,

is

just

like

other

If it is sensations, implying a mind which experiences it. a permanent power causing sensations, so are other qualities
too.

A permanent power to cause sensations means nothing more than a permanent capability or potentiality of the mind to experience sensations to manifest itself as the

subject of sensations. If this implies activity, as it really does, this activity cannot belong to anything else, if the
existence of anything else were at all
conceivable.

than

the mind, by its own activity, manifests itself as the subject of sensations like colour, sound, smell and taste, so does it, by its own inherent activity, mani-

the

mind

itself.

As

fest itself as experiencing

what we

call hardness,

resistance

or weight.

As

little in

the latter as in the former cases do

we come

into

contact

distinguishes other sensuous experiences is that it is accompanied by a volitional effort on our part, an effort which makes us

What

with a reality alien to the mind. resistance from our experience of

aware
our
to

of

a fund of activity in us,

a power which we
actions, all

call

will.

We

are right in ascribing all
;

events,

such a power
call

consciousness or some

but we are wrong in imagining a mind, inconceivable reality, other than

our consciousness, as the source of all events not accompanied by our volitions. Volitions come out
of

what we

the same source from which involuntary
arise.

colours and sounds

involuntary alike,

phenomena like phenomena, voluntary and require a consciousness, a permanent and
All

active consciousness, as their ultimate explanation.

To say
latter

that volitions arise
out,

from within and sensations from withis

the former from a reality which
is

here,

and the
of

from one which
to

space a region transcending space, a region in which space relations themselves find their ultimate explanation. It is the region of one indivisible Consciousness to which
all objects

there,

is

to transfer

relations

or

phenomena are
individual

related

in

indissoluble

unity.

In that region the

from the Universal, the shown in the text but it
;

can indeed be distinguished finite from the Infinite, as I have

division,

a difference

different, as

only a distinction and not a and not out of, unity. It is very the reader must have seen, from the Spenceris

in,

ian scheme

mind,

which we call our coming somehow or other into contact with an alien reality, equally or more unknown, and receiving sensations and ideas from it, somewhat in the same
of

one unknown reality,

manner

as

a piece of

wax

receives

impressions from

a

XI
seal pressing

upon

it.

able will be found,

The philosophy of the Unknowwhen the reader understands it, to be

nothing better than a figure of speech wrongly used. It will be seen that in the system explained in the
text,

one which, under

many

varieties,

is

called

Absolute

Idealism in western Philosophy,

but which we, Indians,

by the simpler name of Brahtnavid or Brdhmaism, as it centres in Brahman, the Absolute Spirit, not a jot the reality of what are or tittle is taken away from

may

call

called

material

objects.

Their

existence

in

space,

their

permanence as

substances,

and their variety remain as
is

they are in popular or philosophical Dualism. It their supposed independence that is transferred

to

only the

Supreme
to
in
exist.

Spirit, in necessary relation to

which they are shown
matter cease to be,

The

so called

qualities

of

system, abstract qualities or powers of an ununknowable Reality, and conscious or unknown and
this

To the eye of reason, faith, or spiritual vision, by whatever name we may call the highest stage of knowledge, even what is called the
become powers
of a

living

Mind.

*'

material world, the world of space ar time, of colours, tastes, smells and touches, of the objects of everysounds, day use which surround us, is spiritualised and becomes
the living presence of God as much as the world of lofty ethical ideas, of love and holiness, of the communion of
saints

and

so on.
of time

The world

and change, the relation
has,
It

of

change

to the Eternal Spirit,

I feel,

treatment in the text.

must

received very inadequate be evident to the careful

reader of these lectures that according to the system set forth in them, every change is to be interpreted as the

appearance of a Divine idea to the individual soul, or

the*

disappearance of one from it. As an idea is inseparable from a mind or person, being an abstraction which finds
concrete reality in the latter, the ultimate interpretation of change is either the self -manifestation of the Infinite
Spirit to the finite, or its self-concealment from the latter. This interpretation of change presents no difficulty so far as changes in the individual consciousness are concerned.

But
are

it

offers

when we have
either of

a difficulty which seems all but insuperable to deal with cosmic changes. If all changes

of Nature must consist consciousness, changes innumerable cosmic souls higher than man, but lower than the Supreme Soul, or of a single cosmic soul

to, the Supreme Spirit. which appears in the Vedanta Philoconception sophy as Brahma, A para -Brahman or Hiranyagarbha, and in Christian Philosophy as the Logos or co-eternal Son of God. As I have discussed the subject at some length in the third lecture of my Veddnta and its Relation

co-eternal

with,

but subordinate

it is this

lu

Modern Thought,
it

notice of

here.

content myself with only a brief I cannot say that I am fully satisfied
I

with the
state

conclusions
it

stated

there,

that

seems

to

me

far

more

but I need hardly satisfactory than the

Realism or by Agnosticism. According to the former, changes in Nature and accorare the action of blind forces on dead matter ding to the latter, that of the Unknowable on itself.
explanation offered
either

by

ordinary

;

Both the theories use conceptions which a true philosophy, but abstraclooking facts in the face, shows to be nothing tions having no place in a concrete world of reality.
the present writer began his philosophiMill and Spencer were the most prominent studies, of anti-theistic thinkers in England and their influence

NOTE.

When

cal

23

Xlll

was very

largely

felt

in

educated Indians*

When

the thinking circles of Englishthese lectures were written and de-

livered, that influence,

specially

waning, was

still

considerable.

This

that of Spencer, though is why, in writing the

metaphysical portions of this book, Spencer and those

whom

be criticised were specially kept in view. Br&hmaism, as a system of Theism, must take notice of prominent antitheistic

systems. arisen in England
in

New
and

schools

of

the

revival

thought have since of Vedantism and

Yaisbnavism

has gained new to the latter fact, English schools of thought now engage far less attention in this country than they used to do
before.

already proceeding then, force during the last two decades. Owing
country,

this

The most prominent
Idealism,

of the

new

schools,

Pluralism
in a

or Personal

has

been

briefly

dealt with

supplementary

chapter of the English version of my Other recent books by me, Krishna ami Brahmajijndsii. ike Qitd, The Theism of the Upanishads and Krishna and
the

Puranas

deal with revived
of articles in

Maydvad and Neo-Vaishna-

the Indian Messenger on recent British Idealism and another series on the philosophies of Yajnavalkya, Indra and Prajapati both of vism.
series

A

which series are intended for publication in a book form -have the same object in view, the exposition of recent views on philosophical religion and the study of old systems from the stand-point of modern thought.
I state these facts as an
for

appendix, in the first edition of the book.

apology for the brevity of this not making it much larger than it was

Other worke by the same author

Hindu Theism
The
Hindus.
*

:

A
of

Religion As. 8.

Rs. 1-8. Defence and Exposition. or The Creed of Educated Brahman

j^Sankaracharya
Maitreyi:
of

His Life and Teachings.

As.

8.
life

a story illustrating

Vedic times. Madras. As. 4,

Natesan

&

the theology and social
4,

Co.,

Sankar

Chetty

Street,

X The Philosophy
racharya."
leading
*s. 12.

of Sankaracharya

in

Natesan's "Sri Sanka-

Gleams of the
principles

New
of

Essays in exposition of some Light pure Theism, doctrinal and practical. *

As.

5.

The Roots of Faith : Essays on the grounds of belief in God and in criticism of Scepticism and Agnosticism. * As. 5. Whispers from the Inner Life Essays on Theistic Ideals and Experiences. As. 4.
"

God: Prayers offered Thirsting^ after devotions. Sadharan Brahma Samaj Office.

in

times of private
2.

As.

Fundamental Principles Samaj Office. As. 2.

of Brahmaism.

Sadharan Brahma

A Manual of Brahma Ritual and Devotions. Sadharan Brahma Samaj Office. As. 8. Our Spiritual Wants and their Supply. Presidential Address. Sadharan Brahma Samaj Office. As. 4.
j
i

ititin

amrotw

*

Out of

print at present.

Opinions

Gleams of the New Light, Roots of from the Inner Life

faitfe* aft*

Whiiperf

the

New

Light'

[

3ta

]

^tw,

Whispers from the Inner Life'
fintftai

"lit*

*piw

ca

I have much pleasure in Rajnarain Base that you have evinced remarkable ability in handling the very important subjects treated of in them (the first series of essays). This collection will be highly acceptable to all rightminded Theists, Your lucidity of exposition does great credit to you.

The (London) Spectator. These two pamphlets (the first two) contain essays implying a (peat deal of lucid thought and study, The former presents us with a by a man of no small power. corapendkms defence of a species of theological idealism, and the of this idealism to the spiritual life. latter with the application She metaphysical pamphlet shows that Mr. Datta's avowed study of pr^Martioeau has been thorough, and not without great inThe pamphlet containing short spirit* 3*i:Jhfs own mind. however, to our mind, the more original, though not the Abter of the two. The two essays on "Why cant r for hwtance, are both simple and telling, and relMT the cotmtels of some of the Catholic saints. Still mo owe whh the tUe essay called (i An Aid to Commit jtht

$,
'

f%

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