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Died,

Kith January

1901.

Religious

& Social
BY

Reform

A CollecHoa

of Essays and Speeches

MAHADEVA GOVIND RANADE,
Jitdtre ff.

C.I.E.,

N.A., LI..B., &c.

M.'s High Court ofJudicature, Advocate

;

Dean, Bombay University, &c.

COLLECTED AND COMPILED BY

M. B. KOLASKEP,
Compiler of Mr. JRanade's "Essays on fndian Economics^'

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Bombay:
GOPAL NARAYEN AND
G.
CO.,

BOOKSELLERS.

CLARIDGE AND CO.
1902

CONTENTS,
INTRODUCTION
...

...

...

...

,.

i

X.

ESSAYS AND SPEECHES
I.

:

PHILOSOPHY OF INDIAN THEISM

...
...

... ...
...

-

I

II.

THE AGE OF HINDU MARRIAGE...

>6

III.

VEDIC AUTHORITIES FOR WIDOW MARRTAGR

^
:)2

IV.

STATE LEGISLATION IN SOCIAL MATTERS
RAJA RAMA MOHANA ROY
...

...

V.
VI.
VII.

...
...

...

If

THE TELANG SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
REVIVAL AND REFORM...
...

...
...

35
-6

...

VIII.

SOUTHERN INDIA A HUNDRED YKARS
HINDU PROTESTANTISM
I

AG<
...

>

...

79
'^
...
...

IX.

...

X.
xi.
XII.
XIII.

AM NEITHER HINDU NOR MAHOMEDAN
...

22

)

ATHEIST'S CONFESSION OF FAITH

2-0
27Q
2s>5

CONGRESS AND CONFERENCE

...

..

VASHISTHA AND VISHWAMITRA

...

PORTRAIT.

THE LATE MR.

JUSTICE M. G.

RANADE, Z

(From a photo by Bourne and Shepherd, Bombay.)

fertilizes

sow, and good works are as the rain that are the parts of the plough, and my nLid is the guiding rein. I lay hold of the handle of the Law ; earnestness is the goad I use ; and diligence is my draught ox. Thus
is

"

FAITH
it
;

the seed

I

wisdom and modesty

this ploughing

is
it

harvest that

yields

ploughed, destroying the weeds of delusion. The is the ambrosia fruit of Nirvana, and by this
(jrautama Buddha.

ploughing

all

sorrow ends."

One who never
Never
Held,

turned his back, but marched breast-forward Never doubted clouds would break
;

;

dreamed,

though

right

were worsted, wrong would

triun.ph,

we

fall

to rise, are battled to fight better,

Sleep to wake.

Browning,

COflPILER'S
THE
this

PREFACE.

papers which have been selected for publication in

possess a permanent value, as lines laid down for genuine progress, which no person will be likely to underThose who may defer from**&lr, Ranade's line oi rate. reasoning will have no difficulty, at any rate, in acknowledging

volume

the clearness of his historical vision, the cogency of his arguments, the persuasiveness of his reasoning, the perfect candour and sincerity, and above all, his unique selfles^patrk>tism, qualities which secured to him the affectionate interest
of his countrymen, irrespective of caste or creed, including even those who shared few or none of his views on pressing,
social questions.
I

know

of no other

countryman

ot ours

wnose utterances

exhibit such culture and such clear enunciation of principles of conduct and action bearing upon the question of the

regeneration of his country utterances which cannot be too extensively set before those who may be actuated by a like ambition to serve their fatherland. It is their deep earnest,

and

ness, learning and convincing character which confer so great lasting a value on these papers. They now are and will

continue to be
treasures.

among

the country's most valued intellectual
life

was one of incessant activity and what he conceived to he the mission assigned to him and his colleagues by an over-ruling Providence, the fruit whereof was to be nothing less than the spiritual and economic emancipation of his country, anc^how he fulfilled this mission these papers bear ample testimony. My great regret is that Mr. Ranade has passed away before I could complete this task of love and lay it at his feet, since that it was at his suggestion that I embarked on the Mr. Ranade's
practical

work

in fulfilment of

enterprise.

On

the score of completeness also

it

is

a matter

of regret that I have not been able, in spite of careful search, "The Rise to find one more important paper from his pen

and Decay of Female Rights"
Apart from
of

which he had intended that
in

I should include in this collection.

my
Mr.

one great reward
'I^anade's writings,

undertaking this

viz., the pleasure of compilation the different papers with the gifted sage, and learning reading from his own lips the stress of events and circumstances which

led to their conception and execution,
I

is

the anticipation that

fnigh* thus be able to perpetuate for the good of the country the garnered and aptly expressed wisdom of this latest and
greaJjst of the country's Risfris.
It

was intended

to

annex

a

biographical sketch of the

authcy, but that part of the

work having grown on
life

my

hands

from day
ties

day being comprising almost the entire mental history of the country during the second half of the last century, and it being imthe possible to condense the account within a limited space idea had to be dropped, But, I hope, if time and fortune
(

to

Mr. Ranade's

full

of varied activi-

have already begun and in great sketch. Meanwhile, I have in bringing forth this second to apologise for the delay volume of the series, an undertaking I had promised when
favour, to complete part executed of a
I

what

consistent

presenting to the public some time ago the first volume of Mr. Ranade's writings, c( Essays on Indian Economics." My warmest thanks are due to my kind friends, Ardesir
Framji, Esq., B. A., LLB,, Solicitor B. M. Malabari, Esq., and Racx Bahadur K. G. Deshpande, B. A., Barrister-at-law, for the
;

help, suggestions and advice freely given to enable me to appear before the public in the modest garb of a compiler and expositor.

3 GIRGAUM, BOMBAY. Ibth January, 1902.

INTRODUCTION.

THE
munity
forcibly

this

papers which have been selected for publication in volume contain nearly all'* that is of permanent interest in the matured utterances of Mr. Ranade, oil

the several religious and social questions which concern the The downward fortune of that comHindu community.
its religious, moral, social and industrial pbases appealed to his patriotic emotion as a catastrophe looming in the future if things went on as they had done. Iffe believed it to be the peculiar mission of the particular

in

branch of the Hindu race to which he* belonged to arrest tbis catastrophe, and himself and his colleagues as bound by a sacred
duty to take the lead. Accordingly, from the first moment of his opening public career, he with all the earnestness of his nature began to raise a warning voice and call upon his countrymen to stop and think and arrest the downward mai^h. His appeal was the outcome of that intensity of affection foi his country and that faith in its ultimate redemption which
placed him above the reach of his colleagues, *and which gave It was no use his utterances an almost prophetic strain.

we were

disguising the truth that if we did not move with the time, lost for ever. But this was, accorcfing to Mr. Ranade, not to be. Extinction as a nation was not in the decrees of

To preserve fate, and means existed for averting such a result. and to regenerate, and to that end dispel the state of stagna,tion, and to snap the chains of sacerdotal bondage, to rouse conscience of the nation such was the the sleeping We had done wrong grievous wrong in task before him. the past by perverting all true social ideals and were

IV

bound

to

make complete atonement

if

we wished

to see our

fortunes restored once more.

This was the way Mr. Ranade

defined the problem he essayed to solve. Its solution could brook no delay, no swerving, no hesitation. To-morrows were not to be trusted to in a matter of such moment, and we must
set to

averted.

at oi'ce^ if the threatened calamity was to be was the urgency of the stupendous task he had undertaken and the consciousness of the limitations set by
It

work

nature on what

individual

units,

howsoever indefatigable,

could achieve, which incessantly preyed upon him, gnawing into his very heart. That heart has now ceased to throb ;

Mr. Ranade has now secured that eternal peace which only those can attain who die in the full consciousness of having done their duty. Bu( not before solid results have been attained and the path of kindred spirits made clear. Peace f

Oh

word.

we could comprehend the full meaning of that blessed we do, we may yet be warned in time No more shall we meet Mr. Ranade on this globe, but his example remains with us and the fault will be ours if we do not benefit Men like him are the seeds sown by nature, and thereby. none such are ever destroyed. May his work prevail
!

that

If

!

!

We
only as

trust Jhe following

summary
of his

will

be found of use,

if

a classification

of his diverse activities.

How

Mr.

Ranade redeemed the promise

youth and

fulfilled his

mission will be evident fiom the papers the public in a collected form.

now

presented to

HIS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
was one of the leaders of the theistic Western Indki 'which was started about 1867-68. This movement did not take the aggressive form which had been noticed in the earlier manifestation of a similar spirit in Bengal. There the Adi Brahmos remained strictly Hindus, no doubt professingjtheii new faith with all imaginable fervour and piety, but not thinking of cutting themselves aloof from the Hindu society. But the sober sense of the old generation was not to the liking of the younger men, who, led by Keshab Chandra Sen, separated voluntarily from the general body of the Adi Bramha Samaja, which had been started by the genius of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, and was continued by one of his early disciples, Debendra Nath Thakur, and the higher Hindu Society in general. The seceders called their organization by the name of.the Bh&-

RANADE

MR.

movement

of

ratavarshiya

Bramha Samaja,
get

i.e.,

the

Bramha Samaja

of India

and

New

Dispensation, considered themselves as non-Hindus,
to
in
fact

arranged
selves,
selves.

and

a Civil Marriage Act passed for themformed a separate community by them-

Chandra Sen's child-daughter, contrary
tenets

Later on, the celebration of the marriage of Keshab fo one of the main
the organization, with the Maharaja of Kuch the withdrawal of large section of the This new section of the seceders formed a separate

of

Behar,

led to

Bramhos. church of their own and named it the Sadharana Bramha Thus, from the high ideal the Bramhos had set Samaja. before them, they within less than a generation, true to
the national instinct, split themselves
into
parties, thereby

strengthening, however unwillingly, the existence of that very Caste system they deplored. Thanks to the wisdom of the Western India leaders of the

Prarthana Samaja movement, the schisms of Bengal were not repeated in Bombay, and the supporters of the movement

remained within

r

%

The Maharashtra had

he pale of their respective communities. certainly attained a large measure of

spiritual emancipation long anterior to the advent of Western education and thought, and the public here were tolerant towards schemes of religious reform and though now and
;

agaifc

such movements were caricatured and ridiculed, they came to no great harm by this treatment. Mr. Ranade was not
a 'Tittle responsible
for

guiding

the

movement along the
and sympathe-

lines of least resistance,

and some of

his deliverances collected

in this

book give ample testimony

to this broad

tic attitude

Hindus.

wrote

"
:

but to work dency on all lines together, and above all not to break with the past and cease all connection with our society. We do not proceed on the religious basis exclusively, as in Bengal. We have
is

To The peculiar feature of the movement that we want to work on no single line,

towards the orthodox religious sentiments of the use his own utterances at the Poona Conference, he
in this Presi-

the different Samajas, but somehow or other there is something in our nature which prevents us from bodily moving into another camp. do not desire to give up our hold f

We

on. the old established institutions. Some might say this our weakness others think in it consists our
strength/'

is

He
pa^t,

claimed for his
it

own

religion an

inspiring historical

back to the times of the ancient sages Thus, in his lecture on Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Mr. Ranade observed that that eminent reformer was only one
of Ind.

and traced

of the fathers of the
I

Because I hold, as have said on many other occasions, that we, the mem-

Brahma church.

"

bers of the

Brahma Samaja, can claim
of

a long ancestry, as

old

as

any

the sects

prevailing
first

in the

country.

The

Brahma
in 1828.

theistic

movement was not

brought into existence

We

Bhagwat Gita and the Bhagwat Purana
as

are representatives of an old race, as old as the much older still
; :

old as

Nafeda,

Pralhada and Vasudeva and the nine

sages

who

visited Janaka.
saints

From
down

that time there

is

a

con-

tinuity of

Sadhus and

to the present day."

The same spirit of fair recognition of the past is observable when he describes the characteristics of the movement started by the founder of the Brahma Samaja. It gives us a*clue%fr
the same time to his attitude towards the
started by
4

New

Dispensation'

Keshab Chandra Sen.

Mr. Ranade observes Tfe,

Raja
faith

Ram Mohun
as

Roy, did not regard the Brahma Samaja

a

new

dispensation or a

new

declaration of God's

purposes.

He

aspired only to establish

harmony between men's

and their practical observances by a strict accepted non-idolatrous worship of the one Supreme Soul, a worship of the heart and not of the hands, a sacrifice of self and
faith

not of the possessions of the

self."

*

Coming to his religious beliefs we have a clear exposition " Theist's Confession of Faith," He sets out thereof in his
with a
of problems which are in their nature insoluble and on which no certain light can be thrown by human cogitation,
list

of man, the origin of the world, the origin between God and the created fjniverse, between the There is, howspirit or mind and the world of matter. of problems the affirmation of which is to be ever, another set

such as the
relation

accepted, not indeed on knowledge but on faith, such a% the existence of God and the future state, the origin of evil, the

imperfect liberty of man, the precise destination of the soul

The state oJ body, and its pre-existence. attendant on these he has tried to explain later orj perplexity
after leaving the

via

when
tical

giving the basis of his religious convictions. or moral certitude in regard to these is all that

A
is

prac-

attain-

able.

But
in his

science itself
"

is

based on no better foundation.
"

Thus

Thiest's Confession of Faith

he remarks

"
:

The

being of a complex character, unlike social and political facts, and being concerned about transcendental things, it is not possible with our limited vision to
questions of religion
att?fin

to

more than the strength

of practical moral convicis

tion

on such subjects."
in his "

The

idea

form
?&?ves

"

Philosophy of Indian Theism.''

put in a more forcible There he ob-

We

the faith that
foi

can never demonstrate logically our reasons for we feel in the continuity of Nature and the uni-

into

uToperation of its laws. All science ultimately resolves itself a product of our faith in the trustworthiness of the
'

This sense of trustworthiness is ever-QJbanging Universe. the* slow growth of ages, but it is none the less the basis of
scientific truths as

we apprehend them.
it

If this basis of faith

has equally legitimate claims is not repudiated by science, upon our acceptance in the philosophy of the Absolute.
It not

only

<iinks

us with Nature but

alike with the Infinite Existence,

it links us and nature whose purposes of wisdom

and benevolence, beauty and power are thereby disclosed to our eyes of faith and knowledge science thus holds the torch
;
1

of faith to the mystery of religion.

'

without being merged in it or his energy being drawn upon His work, being, " in the words of the Purusha-sukta, Bigger than the
that
is

The God

Theistic idea of God, according to Mr. Ranade,

is

immanent

in the Universe,

infinite

Universe, and encircling as
of

He
it

did,

the created
all

world

matter

and

man,

exceeded

on

sides/*

He

has also defined it inegatively in another place in the u can neither hold that the Universe following manner isronly the expansion or emanation or manifestation of God's
:

We

IX

extended being; nor that the Universe
being, a
distinct

is

without any real

mere

vision or appearance, only seen

by us objectively

by reason ot our ignorance/'
is

very much inclined towards the Ramanuja u We have In the philosophy, he says these three postulates Chit human soul, Achit matter, and
sect of

Mr. Ranade

Vedantism.

:

Brahma Supreme

spirit

;

the Chit

and\he Achit having

no*

separate existence in the Avyakta, unmanifested from aitd appearing separate only when Vyakta, manifested or individualized. Further on he remarks " As a matter of both
fact,

before Shankaracharya's time and after his death, the moglifiec'

Adwaita system of Ramanuja has played a great part ir, Indian philosophy, and to it may be traced the rise afrt
progress, throughout India, of the Vaishnava sects

who have
^ny

attained to a higher and truer conception of theism than of the other prevailing systems."

His idea of salvation
culled from
soul, tried

is

stated in the following passage
"
:

the Theist's Confession

When

the

human

and purified by self-government and resignation, acquires habits which enable it, while in the body or on leaving the body, to escape its trammels and its lusts, to

God, and realize and holiness and presence blessings recognize Him to be the Lord, Father and Judge, in whose service the soul is bound by love and admiration this
enter into
relation

more intimate

with

vividly the

of God's

consummation of the soul
salvation
in

is

salvation/'

At the same time he

disposes
:

of the

other ideals

of

u Translation $ into the following manner worlds to enjoy sensual pleasures, or absorption iijto other

is

God's essence, or awakening to a sense that the human soul identical with God, or gradually sliding into the state of about salvation held by passionless Nirvana, these views
or less vitiated

the votaries of different religions, are more

as being the result of a too aspiring or sensuous vision, and are, besides, opposed to our own inner consciousness.'*

as

it

His Confession of Faith has a peculiar value inasmuch gives us a clear idea of his religious convictions and the

grounds on which they were based. Regarding idol-worship he had said that u the associations of idol-worship humanize x
(anthropologize
?)

or ''father brutalize our conceptions of God.

The myths which soon

gather about

it,

representing, as they
in

often do, the worst license that

obtains

human

society,

complete the destruction of all exalting faith by blunting the fjonsorience and deadening the intellect." The mellowed

wisdom

of

old

age,

however, only confirmed
so
far,

his

earlier
it

conception
practised

of

idol-worship,

at

any

rate, as

was

uncertain
tr
.

by the saints of the Deccan. terms about tfieir conviction.

He
"

speaks
a

in

no

It is

complete

misunderstanding of their thoughts and ideas on this subject when it is represented that gifted people were idolaters in
the objectionable sense of the word. They did not worship stocks and stones. In Vedic times there was admittedly no
idol or image worship. It came into vogue with the acceptance of the incarnation theory, and was stimulated by the worship of the Jains and Buddhists of their saints. Finally, it got mixed up with the fetish-worship of the aboriginal tribes,

who were received into the Aryan fold, and their gods were turned into incarnations of the Aryan deities. The saints and prophets, however, rose high above these grovelling conceptions

prevalent

among

the people.

Idol-worship was

de-

nounced when the image did not represent the Supreme God." This defence of the saints and prophets shows how anxious Mr. Ranade was to connect his movement 'with the past. Indeed, his estimate of the work done by the saints and

Dnyanadeva in the thirteenth century and ending with the close of the eighteenth, gives one an
prophets, beginning with

XI

impression that in

his

own work Mr. Ranade aimed
respected

at

convincing Hindu the work of the

society that
universally

he was merely continuing Maratha saints,

The good
ment
this

of the past

indissolubly connected wherever there
of society.

and the good of the present are thus a progressive moveis
saints in

He
way

summarises the results of thsVork of these
:

''It

(the religious

movement) gave us a

literature of

It

considerable value in the vernacular language of the country. modified the strictness of the old spirit of caste exclusiveness.

It raised

and
It

social

the Shudra classes to a position of spiritual* pow 3$ importance almost equal to that of the Brahmins.

of

gave sanctity to the family relations, and raised the si5s woman. It made the nation more humane, at the same

time more pure to hold together* by mutual toleratiofl. It suggested and partly carried out a plan of reconciliation w*th
the Mahomedans. It subordinated the importance of rites and ceremonies, and of pilgrimages and fasts, and of learning and contemplation to the higher excellence of worship by

means
ism.

of
It

Love and Faith.
all

It

checked the excesses of polythe-

tended in

these ways to raise the nation generally

to a higher level of capacity, both of

thought and action, and

prepared it in a way no other nation in India was prepared, to take the lead in re-establishing a united native power in
the place of foreign domination.
to impress

These passages will make it clear now Mr. Ranade tried on his countrymen, especially in the closing years
%

of his

life,

his ideas

regarding religious and social reforms.
of continuity.

He

did not wish to break the tradition

He

he merely asked his fellowto carry on the work of the countrymen sages the work which had led to good results, and which must assuredly
innovate
;

did not

wish to

lead to good results

if

carried on in the

same manner and

in

Xll

the same

spirit as did the honoured saints of was no suggestion of policy or expediency here.
;

old.
It

There
was the

real truth

well in

all

the present is always the child of the past, as that is good as in all that is imperfect.
ideal

Mr. Ranade's theistic
he
"
said,

was high. Of Indian Theism

It is associated
it

though

has
.
,

with no particular saint or prophet, to all saints rooip* for reverence and
.

With it the revelation is a perpetual prophets. stream which never ceases to flow. Above all, Indian Theism
is

built

on the rock

of the direct

communion
love.

of the individual
to

s/wal

w.ith the

soul of the

Supreme Universe,

which

it is

linked by the
tusUulimit
.

tie of faith,

hope and

Indian Theism does

its

education of

man

to a single trial in the world.

religipus

The national mind has been cast in a spiritual and mould which does not allow it to sink into the worship

of

and its riches and powers as the highest object but always looks upon the hereafter as its chief desire, resting place. The Universe is not merely His handiwork but He is the Soul who fills the Universe and moves it. Lastly,
of this world
all,

Indian Thefem teaches toleration to

self-sacrifice,

and the

duty of love, not only of
beings."

man

to

man, but

to

all

animated

Such were the

religious views of this remarkable
;

man.

They breathe a spirit of tolerance and love towards all and it may be stated, without exaggeration, that in practice he
strove to carry

them out

to the best of his powers.

SOCIAL REFORM,
since Mr. Ranade entered public life, the two most important social questions that engaged his attention were those of Infant Marriage and \Vidow Re-marriage. His standpoint on these questions

Xlll

He was not one of those who briefly stated. would abandon society because it tolerates what seems to them to be great evils; nor one of those who, after having done
may be
their best to expose those evils leave society to its fate with a sense of sorrow and disappointment. His nature was of

a sturdier, character and

his

attitude

,

the result of a sounder
cut himself adrift from

philosophyS

He

towards society was did not wish to

proud, nor did he convince his brethren of the serious evils they were perpetuating. On the contrary, his efforts were cor/tinucvj&
efforts to

the society of which he was justly rest content with making spasmodic

and

his

utterances persistent.
to

He knew
the

men were keen on adhering
cestors,

that his countrypractices of their ~nrl*
practices
in
^

and

that

nowhere

were

religious
as

so

much
to

mixed up with 1 and writings, speeches
old to
writings,

social

customs

India.*

His
9

therefore,

abound
of

in

references
law-givers,

to

the

injunctions
revivalists

the

and

ancient

usages.

And though he had on one
for their

occasion to
in trying to

attack

the

extreme zeal

bring about a restoration of old practices, he will be always found to have been on the side of those who would historically justify rational practices and fortify reason by

an appeal to the past. A few illustrations will suffice. In " Southern India a Hundred Years his lecture on Ago," he
said
:

"We

the past which

have not to unlearn our entire past certainly not is the glory and wonder of the human race,

have to retrace our steps from the period of depression, when, in panic and weakness, a compromise was made with the brute forces of ignorance and superstition. If this ujiholy
alliance
is

We

set

aside,

we have
itself

the

Brahmanism
our

of the

first

three

Yugas unfolding
in

in all its

power and purity,
history.'*

as

il

flourished

the

best

period of
is

Further

on he says that Reform

really the

work

of liberation*-

XIV
liberation from

the restraints

superior religion, by our surrender to the pressure of mere

law and

imposed upon an essentially polity, institutions and customs,
brute
force for
:

selfish advancement." Again, on another occasion he said "Most of the customs which we now profess to follow run

counter

to

the practices observed in

the old times,
status of

when

the Institutes were writ/en.

The dependent

women,

the customary limits of the age of marriage, the prohibition of marriage to widows in the higher castes, the exclusive

confinement of marriage to one's own division of the subwhich the country has been split up, the ignor(?-;:tes into
ance and seclusion of women, the appropriation of particular Ca%tJ3 to particular professions, the prohibition of foreign
travel, the inequalities

made by
intercourse

and

tfce

abstentions enforced on
of social

women,
as

the license enjoyed by men, the jealous isolation

in matters

regards food and even

touch, indiscriminate charity to certain

castesfor
are

all

these

and

many more

alienations from the old standards

hold the old law-givers responsible.

They

the

you cannot work of

human

hands, concessions

made

to weakness, abuses substi-

tuted for the old healthier regulations, They were advisealy are not known to ancient histoiy. made by men whose names

They

are

interpolations

introduced about the

made to times when

gone from bad to worse. sanction can be pleaded.
best intentions.

up the changes the country had aluady are innovations for which no They It may be they were made with the
bolster

Admittedly, they have failed to carry oul and in sucking these good intentions, if any, then entertained to upset them and restore the more healthy ideal- they
;

are cenau y n- <t superseded, the reformers of the present day to the charge that they are handling roughly our timeopen

honoured

institutions,

It is

rather for

the

reprovers to take

th?ir stand as

defenders of these

ancient

ordinances

and

XV

denounce those who have

set

God's law at defiance to suit their

own

purposes.

"

With
views he

this

clue

to

Mr. Ranade's

attitude

in

matters

regarding social
sets

be able to follow clearly the forth in the following pages. It was not with
shall

reform

we

the zest of a philosopher that Mr. Ranade took up the question, but rather with the zeal of a physicia\ who finds that his
favourite patient
is

threatened with a serious ailment.

INFANT MARRIAGE.
in his essay

on the

(<

Age

of

Hindu Marriage,"

li*.

no doubt veVy irksome, but the p^in must be endured, and the scruples set aside. The Gordian knot
is

THUS, nation's decay

observes

"
:

The study

of the

morbid symptoms of

a

tied during centuries of devolution

cannot be cut asunder by

any must be
success.

spasmodic violence.
closely

The

successive stages of slow decay

watched and diagnosed, if we would work out the solution of the difficulty." And he did not Jespair of
In the case of an individual the
the

doom

of death
of
India,

may
death

be irrevocable, but
of the

Aryan population
race,

numbering one-sixth
if

human

cannot die this slow

" The proper remedies be applied. process of " but if we stimulate recovery may be slow,'* he continues, the stifled seeds of health and growth,' and lop off dead
excrescences, decay
fully averted."

may

yet be arrested, and death success-

This diagnosis leads Mr. Ranade to the following two that the Aryan society of the Vedic, conclusions first,
:

more properly speaking, the Grihya Sutra period, presents the institution of marriage in a form which recognized female
or
liberty

and the dignity of womanhood

in full,

though very

are seen in the existing order of things -except, fortunately, in the old Sanskrit ritual which is still recited, and the ceremonies which are still blindly performed ;
slight traces of
it

and secondly, that owing to causes which it is not possible to trace, there was a retrogradation and Vedic institutions

were

and in their place practically abandoned or ignored, whi^ri circumscribed female liberty in various usages grew up
directions
social

and seriously lowered the dignity of

woman

in the

and family arrangements. After a careful examination of the texts of the various

Swriti writers, Mr.
fix

Ranade comes

to the conclusion that the

marriageable age at twenty-five in majority case of males, and the maximum at fifty. Regarding tne
females, marriage at the twelfth year

the

minimum

and consummation

at

the

'

appear thus to be the normal order of things. Fortifying himself thus with the authority of the Shastras, he
sixteenth

appeals to his countrymen to abandon the present practices, which set at naught the best traditions of society and
injunctions of the Shastras, and are, moreover, opposed to all In calling for a considerations of duty and expediency. on the old lines the reformers seek, not to change
revolutionise,

but to lop

to restore vitality

The

efforts

off the diseased overgrowth and and energy to the social organism. of Mr. Ranade and others at checking the

evil of infant

marriages have borne

some

fruit.

In Raj-

putana and Malwa the Rajput leaders are gradually trying
to raise the limit of marriageable age,

among

the

Rajputs,

Chavans, and other castes. The Mysore State has taken up the subject and passed two enactments for the prevention of
early

and ill-assorted marriages.

In the Brahma and Arya

Samajas the marriageable age for girls is raised to fourteen, in the one case by law and in the other by voluntary convention;

and Mr. Ranade hoped that with the advance

of female educa-

XV11

tion

and

a

better

appreciation

of the

necessity of female

which has disfigured the social emancipation, condition of India for the past thousand years or more, would be removed, and the old purity and elevation of marital
this great blot,

relations restored.

WIDOW
late

RE-MARR4AGE.

Pandit
Sanskrit

THE
to the

great the question
of

Ishwara Chandra Vidya Sagar, the scholar, was the first to agitate
1855,* he
a

with a number

petition Legislative Council of India pointing out that the prohibition of widow re-marriage was a cruel and un-

of widow re-marriage. In Hindus in Bengal submitted

natural custom, highly prejudicial to the interests of morality, and fraught with the most mischievous consequences to
society
;

that

this

custom was not

in

accordance with the
;

Law but according to the interpretation and administration of the law such marriages were held illegal, and the issue thereoT deemed
Shastras or

with a tiue interpretation of Hindu

Hindus who otherwise were prepared to contract such marriages in spite of religious and social prejudices were prevented from contracting them owing to the
illegitimate
;

that

aforesaid legal disabilities, and concluding with a prayer that a

law should be enacted removing

all legal disabilities attaching the marriage of Hindu widows and declaring the issue of all to such marriages to be legitimate. Acting on this petition,

the Legislative Council passed Act marriage of Hindu widows.

XV.

of 1856, legalizing the

progress on account the reform. It was popular feeling against therefore found desirable, especially in the Bombay Presi-

the

Though widow-marriage thus legislative authority, it made

received the sanction ot
little

of the strong

XV111

enlist

dency, to arouse the public conscience, [and if possible, to The late the sympathy of the orthodox party.

Vishnu Shastri Pandit, a learned Deccani Brahmin, an ardent reformer and supporter of widow re-marriage, and
subsequently himself contracted marriage with a widow, came forward in consultation with Mr. Ranade and
other friends, to prove
Shastras.
It was consequently arranged in 1870 to hold in Poona, the centre of orthodoxy, a meeting for the discussion of the question of widow-marriage from the point of view of the Shastras. His Holiness the Shankaracharya of Sankeshwar,
its

who

validity

even according to the

the religious head of the majority of the Deccanis, presided over the meeting, and he was assisted by ten learned Pandits

nominated

as

assessors
also

An

umpire was

by either party in equal numbers, nominated in case the votes were equally
created the greatest possible excitement parties strongly mustered. All
;

divided.

The meeting

at the time, and both the

learned possible authorities were marshalled dissertations followed in the shape of questions
in

and subtle

and answers

a

manner Sanskrit

scholars

alone can

command.

The

statement of a proposition and its refutation were made in the regular order the assessors gave their opinions and the President gave his judgment. Three assessors were in favour
;

of widow-marriage and seven against it and the Shankaracharya, who in the face of his solemn promise not to bring
;

the pressure of his high authority and privilege to bear upon the assessors or interfere with their free judgment, wan-

tonly broke the pledge to secure a majority for the orthodox party to which he belonged, followed the whipped-up majority. The reformers were not dismayed, and Vishnu Shastri

Pandit carried on the campaign in the press and on the platform with undiminished vigour while Mr. Ranade helped
;

XIX

lim with his pen and guided him with
idea

his

advice.

An

controversy will be gained from the paper u Vedic Authorities for Widow-marriage, '' which was writof

the

Mr. Ranade soon after the deliberations Poona meeting. This paper is an able exposition
ten by
position
of

of th e

of the of

the

reformers

from the

Sliastraic
^

point

view.

The

gist of the

guiding authority in re-marriage of a once-married

argument is that* Parashara is the this age, and he has expressly allowed the

woman in the

five cases of afflic-

tions, viz., (i) when the[husband has gone abroad and no news of him has been obtained (2) when the husband is dead
;

;

(3)

husband becomes a Sanyasi recluse; (4) when and lastly (5) when the husband the husband is impotent " It is is guilty of one of the five great unatonable sins. to be remarked," observes Mr. Ranade, "that this text
the
;

when

of Parashara, reviving or re-enacting for this age the old 'aw
is

;

very pregnant with suggestions. In the first place, it is expressly intended for the Kaliyuga in which the Smriti
has precedence over
all

others.

Secondly,

it

enumerates the
is

particular

cases

of

affliction
first

when re-marriage

allowed.

Thirdly,
rajita

it

refers to the

three castes, for the word JPrav-

means a Sanyast\ and only members of the higher castes can aspire to the dignity. Fourthly, it permits re-marriage, though the first marriage has been in every sense completed.''

The
tion
is

that

objection of the orthodox party to this interpretathe word Pati did not mean a husband but

simply a protector. What the sages meant was that the married women should have another protector in the cases
mentioned.

To

this

Mr. Ranade

replies that the

word

shourtl

be taken along with the context.
is

The

particular injunction

band

immediately followed by other cases in which another husand further, in the latter cases there is no is allowed
;

question as to the meaning of the disputed word Pati.

li

so,

should the word be interpreted in a different sense in only the preceding verse which treats of the same subject ? "Moreover, in the text from Manu and Narada about the five

why

afflictions,

translated above (this
)

is

also the Parashara text

above quoted
its

the

first

word

Pati, being understood in

proper sense as husband, it is not possible to give any other meaning to tlfe second word Pati. The same woman,
has
text,
lost

who
the

her
take

to

Pati (husband) is, according to first if by this were meant another Pati.

she was to seek a protector, he cannot be any a (another) He can be anya (another) only with reference to Pati. the first. Besides, a mere protector can be of no help in

remedying
of the
first

the

affliction

which

the

loss

or

incapacity

husband brings with it. A husband who is a e.unuch does not become unfit to be a protector of his wife, for he can protect and maintain her most comfortably.'

r

Moreover, the law-givers have defined the word Pati to mean the husband, and declared that it is after the ceremony of
taking hold of the hand that, at the seventh step, which the bride and bridegroom take together, the bridegroom becomes

Pati of a certainty.

Mr. Ranade continues,

"

this definition of

the word ought t/3 silence all doubts as to the interpretation to be put upon the word Pati in the texts from Manu and

Narada quoted
marriage
afflictions,
is

before.
to

lawful

a

Together they establish that a second woman under the enumerated five
all

which in the jurisprudence of
1

have been held to justify dissolution of the marriage

other nations, tie with

consequent liberty to marry again.' * Against this text the orthodox party pitted some prohibitory texts, but they are very generaland in no way conflict

with the

spirit

of Parashara's

text.

Two new
which seem

texts
to

wer e
are

advanced from

inferior Smriti writers

be more

particular than those previously brought forward.

They

XXI

from Babhravya and Vayu Samhita. These texts are explained " In the first place, these away by Mr. Ranade thus texts are fragmentary ones, the books where they are found
:

do not

exist secondly, they are the works of very inferior Smriti writers and not to be pitted against Manu, Narada,
;

Parashara, Vashistha,

&c

4

;

thirdly, they are not so special in

their particulars as the texts of Parashara which, therefore,

controls

them

;

fourthly, that

even

if

they were so special

in their particular circumstances, the superior efficacy of and Parashara as the law-giver of the Kali age must prevail
;

not prevail, this conflict of two This looks, no Smritis can only create an optional duty.'' But in like the statement of a defendant in a law suit. doubt,
fifthly, that even
if it

did

arguing out with persons of the orthodox type there was no other alternative. The best argument in this connection

was the one advanced by Vyankata Shastri, namely

th^t,

admitting the prohibition is applicable to the Kali age, the time of application is not yet arrived as the present times are included in its Sandhya period which is governed by the
observances followed in the preceding age, viz., Dwapara, and therefore, the prohibitory texts are not only inapplicable now

but
is

Thi s be so for the next thirty-one thousand years. the tables with a vengeance on the opponents. turning
will

To

turn to the main

argument,

it

will

be seen that the

liberty to remarry a

widow was given
;

in the previous

Yugas

in seventeen different cases

the prolrbitory texts restrict and in this way this liberty to five cases out of the seventeen This will amplyi justify the are reconciled. all the authorities
;

position taken

up Mr. Ranade, whose exposition of the Hindu and Shastric systems was not involved in a mysPhilosophy
;

terious obscurity

adepts only.
a nation's

He was
is

or only comprehensible by a few selected not only a thinker and the energy of
in
its

life

thinkers

but

was

gifted

with

XX11

prophetic ardour

and

a

true missionary zeal, which urged

him
first

to popularize his ideas

among

all

without exception,
alike.

men
His

and women, high and low, ignorant and learned
and toleration
:

principles were rectitude, kindness, singleness of purpose

any influence
outward
act

for

conditions indispensable for the growth of good which a man can bring to bear upon

there was no magic in any he held it as a useful adjunct every one's though salvation consisted in and depended entirely on a modification
his fellow-beings.
;

To Mr. Ranade

and growth

in his

own
and

own

self-control
itself

inner nature, to be brought out by his diligence, atid which in the result

into intellectual and moral self-culture and Mr. Ranade gives due praise to the late Pandit discipline. Ishwara Chandra Vidya Sagar in this connection. " By his

resolved

research
life's

and

originality

and the
is

noble

devotion

of his

best days

and

all

that

prized in

human

possessions

to the

promotion of this great emancipation of the of his race, Pandit Ishwara Chandra has become a
hold name
for
all

women
house-

that

is

great and good

in

human

nature

ages to come."

throughout India, and a potent influence for good in the If Ishwara Chandra was so in Bengal, a somesimilar position
in
is to be assigned to Mr. Ranade in this the whole of India, The sight of a

what

Presidency, nay

young widow was

a continual torment to Mr. Ranade,

and

the very sound of the word served to conjure up before his mind a picture of heart-broken despair that made him
miserable.

much

Probably no Brahmin in the country felt so for the poor widow's lot and discussed the main

questions at issue in a
"

manner more

original

and persuasive.
are

Mr. Ranade's concluding observations on

this question

very interesting. thirty years has placed the legitimacy of the movement beyond all danger, and the Poona discussions brought this fact out in

The

agitation of the question for the last

XXlll

a most prominent manner.
to the

Vedic
;

point

question was raised there as texts, though special attention was drawn to the the argument of Vyankata Shastri was not even noticed.

No

up together, the main text, common to Manu, Narada and Parashara, was twisted and tortured in many ways, some of them most ridiculously absurd, and absolutely no attempt was made to show that the only
Smriti texts were jumbled
true and natural meaning of the text was not the one contended for by the advocates. In fact this point was allowed, but it was urged that if the text were so understood, it would come
in conflict

The

with others, as

if

this

was not the most

common

thing in the world with these Smriti writers.

The orthodox

disputants made a mess of their case, and though the majority of the Panch gave utterance to a foregone conclusion, the truth cannot be so hidden in these days. Thanks to the labours of

the late lamented Pandit Vishnu Shastri, and more recentty of the late Madhavdas Raghunathdas, and Rao Bahadur

Vamanrao Mahadeva Kolatkar, the movement has spread, till at the present day more than a hundred marriages have
taken place among the Gujerati and the Deccani communities of the Bombay Presidency, the Central Provinces and the
In the Madras Presidency, Pandit Vireshalingum Pantalu has achieved a similar success, nearly thirty marriages having been celebrated in those parts. In Bengal during Pandit Ishwara Chandra's lifetime many such marriages
Berars.
,

took place, and though since his death :here has been more coldness shewn in this matter, the labours of Babu Shashi-

pada Bannerji have kept up the public interest in this subject. In the Punjab, Dewan Santo Rama took the lead, and about
In in those parts. thirty marriages have been celebrated all India over three hundred marriages have thus been celebrated,

and the movement may be said to have survived the attack of the orthodox opposition. People are being reconciled

XXIV

and persecution is benot obsolete, but more bearable. The advocates of coming, reform may well claim to have secured a healthy change in the public feeling in this matter.
to this renovation of the old custom,
7'

STATE INTERFERENCE HATTERS.
I

IN SOCIAL

N

I

Hindu

^
most

Mr. Malabari convulsed the usually apathetic society with his celebrated Notes on Infant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood. The times were
1884,
suitable
for

Lord Ripon's administhe agitition. for the indigenous intellect of the just opened country a path for political activity. The amendment of the Criminal Procedure Bill, better known as the " Ilbert Bill/' by
tration

had

which Lord Ripon sought to place European accused on the same footing as natives, had roused the enthusiasm of the nation. The spirit of equality breathed by the Bill even in the
ultimately assumed had roused to a sense of fervid recognition of the boon. Here was Mr. Malait

modified form which

bari's opportunity.
politics,

If

the Indians want a spirit of equality in *

why
and

did chey not exercise

...in
it

their

own domestic
his usual

circle

?

Mr. Malabari denounced the customs with
earnestness,
his

vigour

but not

with

that

winning tact

which characterises
and permanent

later writings.

In one direction he
in creating a lively
It is

succeeded to a remarkable extent,
to describe the course of the

viz.,

interest in the subject.

not

my

desire

agitation

or

to

note the im-

portant events that followed in the wake of .Mr, Malabari's pamphlets, such as, for instance, the Age of Consent Act.
I

mean only
in the

to indicate briefly the part

Mr. Justice Ranade

played

drama of

social

reform and the great help h e

rendered to Mr. Malabari in his attempt to induce the British Government to interfere even to the extent indicated by the

above Act.

Government has now become more cautious

than before, and unless the matters complained of came within the p;ile of the criminal law, it has. perhaps wisely,
declared
its

resolve

to

firmly

follow the
of .India,

policy
in

of

non-

interference.

The
lays
in

Government
of

their cele-

brated
or

Resolution

1886, have
a

declared:
is

u

When
its

caste

custom

down
the

rule
courts,

which
but

by

nature

enforceable
to

civil

is

clearly

opposed

morality or public policy, the State will decline to enforce it. When caste or custom lays down a rule which
as

deals with such matters
citizens,

are usual 137-

left

to the option of

and which does not need the
its

aid of civil or criminal
is

courts for

enforcement, State interference

not considered

either desirable or expedient."

Further on, they

observe

1

,

"

Legislation,

though

it

may

be didactic in

its effect,
;

should

not be undertaken for merely didactic purposes and in the competition of influence between legiblation on the one hand,

and caste or custom on the other, the condition pf success

on the part of the former
within
its

is

that the Legislature should keep

natural boundaries, and should not, by overstepping
itself

those boundaries, place
opinion.''

in

direct

antagonism to
the

social

This view of

its

position,

laid

down by

British

Government
it

for its

guidance

in its execrtive

and

legislative
felt

spheres, was not approved of

by Mr. Ranade.

He

that

was very necessary

at certain stages of man's progress to

to

secure the assertion of right ideas by the highest sanctions and invoke the action of the State as representing the highest

and most disinterested wisdom available
as to

give

effect

to

wholesome
tc

die for

want of

effective support.

for the moment, so movements which migh t The State in its collective

XXVI
capacity,"

Ranade, represents the power, the wisdom, the mercy and charity of its best citizens. What a single man, or a combination of men, can best do on their own account, that the State may not do but
;

observes

Mr.

u

it

duty if it sees its way to remedy evils, which no private combination of men can check adequately or which it can deal with mo^e speedily and effectively than any private
its

cannot shirk

combination of

men

can do.
its

regulating action has

In these latter cases, the State's sphere of duty marked out clearly.

On

this,

and on

this principle alone, can State action

be justi-

many important departments of its activity such as the enforcement of education, sanitation, factory legislation, and of
fied in

State undertakings like the postal service, or subsidies given to private effort in the way of railway extension and commercial

development. The regulation of marriageable age has in all countries, like the regulation of the age of minority, or the fit age for making contracts, been a part of its national jurisprucannot be said with justice that this question (infant marriage) lies out of its sphere. The same observation holds truj of the condition of the widow rendered miserable
it

dence, and

in early

life,

and thrown

helpless

on the world.

More

legiti-

mately than minors, the widows are the wards of the nation's humanity, and to the extent that the evil they suffer is remediable by man, it cannot be said that this remedy may
not be considered by the State as fully within
function."
its

proper

the objection that a foreign Government should not interfere in the domestic relations of its subjects, Mr. Ranade would be irresistible reolies " that the force of this
if

To

objection the interference was of foreign initiation. The initiation is to be our own, and based chiefly upon the example of our

venerated

past

and

dictated

by

the sense
in the

representative and enlightened

men

most community and
of the
;

all

this

the hands of the foreigners is to give to responsible sense, as embodied in the practices and usages of the respectable classes, the force and the sanction of
is

that

sought

at

law."
critics

It

has,

that

however, been argued by some well-meaning Mr. Ranade does not meet the objection that

once a

foreign

Government

is

allowed

to

intervene

in

our domestic

there will be np guarantee that the interference will be only at the instance 'of the community
affairs

and not

also at the will of the foreigners themselves. Probably he did not care to speculate on questions which did not require an immediate solution. Hitherto, the initiative has

where foreigners have interests to serve and the initiative is to be all our own, Mr. Ranade remarks that the distinction between a foreign and a domestic Government is a distinction without a
been from our
leaders
;

own

and

in cases

no

difference.

He

was, however, highly considerate and circum-

spect as to the limitations of the doctrine of State interference.

Where
right,

State interference, though legally, socially and morally

be irritating and nearly impracticable, he maintained, it would be better to forego for a time always recourse to this mode of action. Above all he valued peace and unity, never tired of explaining the impossibility of a

might

divided nation really prospering.

Physically speaking,

we

cannot rend asunder our respective cannot separate. sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse, them.

We

We

either amicable or hostile,

must continue between

us.

Why

should there not be, he would further ask, a patient confidence Is there any equal or in the ultimate justice of the cause ? In our present difference^ is better hope in the world ?
either party without faith of being in the right ? If the Mighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice,

be on our

side, that truth

and that justice

will

surely prevail

XXV111

by His divine mercy, formed part of his most cherished sentiments. That sums up Mr. Ranade's creed and it would be
difficult to find

an instance of greater moral courage and simple dignity, patient forbearance and kindly fidelity, all this combined with a tenacity of purpose but rarely displayed with such uniformity and singleness of purpose.

The tendency
towards
religious

of Mr.

Ranade

in social

reform lay always

freeing social relations

from the binding character of

lation,

And in arguing in favour of legisinjunctions. he brings forward the advantage to be gained by a u from the law of status to the law of change contract, from the restraints of family and caste customs to the self-imposed
restraints of the free will of the individual."
It will also result

in liberating the national
tions.

mind from the thraldom

of superstiserious
will

Mr. Ranade, however, was not unmindful of the nature of the reforms he proposed for, he says, u It
;

be

necessary to be very circumspect in graduating the
sired to

change de-

crying for redress. The past century or half a century has effected a change in the national sentiment, which, if not recognised to the extent it
evil

meet exactly the extent of the

has gone, will only lead to a catastrophe and revulsion of feeling that will be simply irresistible, and may involve the
ruin of

many

interests dear to the nation's heart."

formers on

Mr. Ranade, speaking as the representative of the rethe Bombay side, summarizes their views in the
:

following paragraph

"We
the
contracted

would, to start

with,

fix

twelve and eighteen

as

minimum

Marriages ages of marriage before this age should be discouraged, not by

for girls

and boys.

risk of

pains and penalties of the criminal law, but by the attendant making them liable to be ignored, as in the case of

contracts entered into

by minors,

liable

to be

ignored or set
reasons.

aside in case of disputes in the civil courts for sufficient

Marriage, unless consummated, by actual cohabitation, should not be recognized as a perfect union before the limits laid

down above
girl

are reached.

Before such

consummation, the

should not be recognized as having become one with the husband in Gotra, Pinda, and Sntaka. This is the ancient law,

and our revival of
of child

it

will

paralyses the action

of parents

do away with the superstition which in dealing with the misery

widows.

We would

on no account permit

disfigure-

ment except

after twenty-five years,

when the widow may be

presumed to be able to realize the circumstances of her position, and can choose deliberately the celibate course of life. Under no circumstances should one wife be superseded by a
second connection, except under the safeguards recognized by Manu and other writers. The widow's forfeiture of her
husband's estate as a consequence of her second marrir^e should be done away with, and her life interest in her
husband's
choice of
fifty

inheritance
life

should remain
be.

intact,

whatever her

with

girls

might below fourteen should be
to the

The marriage

of a

widower above
prohibited as

strictly

being opposed Mr. Ranade's love for
his

most approved Smriti

texts."

his count ly was so deep and concern for the regeneration of his countrygenuine, men so acute and deep-seated, that he always welcomed with
all

prompt good judgment, from the foreign rulers
lightened

accessory help, whether

it

came

country, or from the enrulers of the Native States or from the frigid
of the

and lonesome

old-fashioned ecclesiastical

authorities,

their

Holinesses the Shankaracharyas, and the much scandalized Shastris the repositories of all ancient lore, customs, usages

and much more that

is,

'faultily faultless, icily regular

and

proving himself an apt utilitarian, always splendidly null,' seeking, nay creating preparatory opportunities to further the

attainment of

his nation's

predestined goal, the fulfilment of

XXX
might otherwise be retarded. Writing to the late Mr. Justice Telang about the Shankaracharyas, and cognate " I am, I frankly confess, not one of those questions, he said,

which

who think that there are not many reform questions in which we shall not be greatly helped if persons in the position of
even
the Sankeshwar Svvamis are open to our arguments, and if not actively on our side, are prepared to welcome some modifications. The position that reformers ought to
regard
is

all

old ecclesiastical authorities as their open enemies,
I

one which
life

active

will

regard as childish, and one which nobody in venture on urging for a moment. These
uses,

authorities

have their

and no great or good purpose

is

served by ignoring them or treating them with contempt. There are some matters in which we must stand out but there
is

no reason

why we

should stand
It
is

out on

all

matters simply

for the fun of the thing.

me and 1 have deemed

it

these public interests ivhich move * to refer to them here benecessary

cause you were good enough to ask me what I thought of Even if the Swami was not prepared to help the matter.

me

on

all

lines, I

should prefer to see
a side to be considered,

him
and

in a

mind

to

realize that

we had

to be agreeable

to fair compromise."

This

spirit of public interest

and

utility

was the keynote of
life.

all

Mr. Ranade's actions throughout his

Mr. Ranade's advocacy of State interference bore some for the Mysore Government passed, in 1894, two regulafruit
tions for the prevention of early

and old

ill-assorted marriages.

Even the Madras Government was converted
it

to his views

and
the

brought similar Bills into
of India

its

Legislative Council.

But

Government

vetoed them, probably "basing their on the Resolution previously referred to. However, in action
1897, a special law was

passed in the case of the
italics are ours!

Nairs

'

"

*

The

permitting those who cared to avail themselves of it to undergo the form of a civil marriage with all its legal consequences. Eighty-three marriages were celebrated under the Act during
the
last

have been celebrated but

four years, and probably many more marriages would for the fact that another Act passed

a year later gives the Nairs wide testamentary powers for dis-

posing of their property, and hence the. chief inducement for contracting civil marriages under the former Act is taken away

from the community. About 1895, in the Baroda State, a measure for the prevention of infant marriages was resolved
on and a
Bill

the measure

was prepared, but owing to unforeseen difficulties was temporarily laid aside. The Gaekwar's
has, however,

Government
legislation

since

remarks.
legalising

The
the

shown greater activity in -social the time Mr. Ranade made the above Baroda State has recently passed an Act
in

higher castes, and it is Marriage Bill will be soon taken with a Civil Marriage Bill. It will be thus seen up together that though the British Government has perhaps properly
the
stated

widow marriage
Infant

that

hesitated to take

up social legislation, enlightened Native such as Mysore and Baroda, have rightly undertaken it. States,

THE TRUE
Mr. Ranade's

SPIRIT OF REFORM.
was not exhausted

interest in social reform

by these two questions, though they were the most prominent ** planks in his platform. In his great speech on Revival and
Reform," delivered at the Social Conference at Amraoti, he passed in review all the different phases of activity in which
the social reformers were engaged.
education,

They included
travel,

fernale

widow marriage,
ill-assorted

foreign

intermarriages

between sub-sections, postponement of infant marriages, prohibition

of

marriages,

the

purity

movement

xxxu
and temperance agitations comprising the anti-nautch admission of converts from other faiths reduction in extravaand similar other questions vitally gant marriage expenses, social fabric of the Hindus. affecting the
;
;

as an irritant in the social English education lias acted activities in social, political, organism of the Hindus, and the of the and even in religious spheres have been the result

dominant influence

of foreign ideas.

But these have brought

everything
structure.

to underin their train materialistic tendencies that threaten At an early date, accormine the orthodox Hindu society. and people began to admire followed dingly, a reaction that was best and permanent in the Hindu social
;

Impassioned

appeals

were

made

to

trace

our

and steps back to the olden times,

to bring

back the pristine

the land of sages, philosophers, poets, glory of ancient India, Even Mr. Ranade in his artists. scientists, warriors and
44

addresses has often advocated this return to past practices. which brought en Fortunately," he wrote, "the causes

have been counteracted by providential we have now a living example before us of guidance, and how pure Aryan customs, unaffected by barbarous laws
this

degradation

and patriarchal notions, resemble our own ancient usages, to take up the thread where we dropped it under foreign and restore the old healthy and barbarous pressure,
practices,

rendered so

dear by

their association with

our

best
is

and days, sanction of the

justified

God

in

by that higher reason which man's bosom." Such appeals are

very

common

in his addresses

and

his

main

object in

making

orthodox party in them was to enlist the sympathy the cause of social reform. But when he found that the cry
of the

was taken up

in its literal sense,

and that people were admiring

because it was indiscriminately everything that was old, simply to explain himself and ask those who simply old, he had need

XXX111

insisted

on an indiscriminate return

to ancient practices with-

out considering whether those practices would altogether suit the changed circumstances of society. It is in this view alone
that Mr. Ranade's attack on the revivalists
in the
is

interesting

;

for,

again referring to the good customs of yore which gave liberty to women and allowed
is

succeeding lectures he

voluntary marriages at a maturer age and with greater freedom. The quotation is a long one, but it will icpay
perusal
*'
.

I have many friends in this camp of extreme orthodoxy, and their watchword is that revival, and not reform, should

be our

motto.

.

.

.

When we
it

are asked

to revive

cW

old institutions and customs, people

seem

to

me

to be very

much

at

sea

as to

what

is

particular period of our

history

they seek to revive. What is to be taken as the old

whether the period of the
Puranas, or of the

Vedas, of the Smritis, of the* Mahomedans, or the modern Hindu times ?
to time

Our usages have been changed from time
process of growth, and in

by a slow

some

cases of decay

and corruption,

and you cannot stop
Shall

at

any particular period without breaking
.
. .

the continuity of the whole. we revive the old habits

What
our
all

of

we revive ? people when the
shall

most sacred of our
as

castes indulged in

the abominations,

we now understand them,

of animal food and intoxicat

ing drink, which exhausted every

bectkm of our country 'b and Botany? The men and the gods of these old Zoology days ale and drank forbidden things to excess, in a way no revivalist will now venture to recommend. Shall we
revive the twelve forms of sons, or eight forms of marriage,

which included capture and

illegitimate intercourse

?

Shall

we
the

revive the

old

liberties

taken by the Rishes
tie?

and by
revive

wheb

of Rishes with the marital of

Shall

we

he hecatombs

animals

sacrificed

from

year's end to

year's end, in

which even human beings were

not

spared

as propitiatory offerings to

God

?

Shall
its

we

revive the Shakti

worship of the debaucheries ?

left

hand, with

Shall

we

revive

indecencies and practical the Sati and infanticide

customs, or the flinging of living men into the rivers or over rocks, or hook-swinging, or the crushing beneath the Jagan-

natha car

?

Shall

we

revive the

internecine wars of the
cruel persecution

Brahmins and thu Kshatriyas or the

and

degradation of the aboriginal population ? Shall we revive the custom of many husbands to one wife or of many wives
to one husband
to be landlords
?

Shall we require oar Brahmins to cease and gentlemen, and turn into beggars and

dependents upon the king as in olden times?'' This was carrying to their logical consequences the arguments of those who seek the revival of the old customs. This language is plain enough, and by no means undeserved
of those revivalists

whose shibboleth of revivalism means the

very reverse of what Mr. Ranade meant and intended. Between Mr. Ranade who desired to revive the ancient practices of

widow-marriage and marriage between grown-up persons, and those of the revivalists who desire to practise the purer
forms of ancient religion and ancient social customs there is only a difference of degree. He thought, and on sufficient data,
that they were only changing the outward form, and not the spirit which has given rise to the present pernicious customs.

In this matter,

whatever

may

attitude towards the revivalists,

be our judgment regarding his we must admit the soundness
in

of the

position

he took up

diagnosing the

causes of

our social downfall.

The

decline during the past

which have been hastening our are isolation, submission to outward
ideas

conventionality more than to the voice of the inward conscience, perception of factitious difference between

men and men

due to heredity and

birth, a passive acquiescence in evil or

XXXV

wrongdoing, and a general indifference to secular well-being almost bordering upon fatalism. "These have been the root
ideas of our social system.

They

have, as their natural result,

led to the existing family arrangements,

where the woman

is

entirely subordinated to the

man, and the lower castes

to

the higher castes,

to

the length of denrivmor

men

of

their

natural respect to humanity."

be thus

summed up
;

:

in

place of exclusiveness

Mr. Ranade's remedies may we must have

fraternity,

or rather

elastic

expansiveness,

and cohesion

in

society
try
to

instead of submitting to outward dictation
respect the

God

in

us,

that

is

learn to be guided by our conscience, coming only to our aid and not to overpower us
of being blind
believers in heredity, birth

we must we must the wisdom of sages
to
say,
;

instead

and the laws of

about

try to improve our condition and bring regeneration by properly training our will-power and instead of passively acquiescing in wrong or evil-doing as
self

Karma, we must

;*

an inevitable condition

oi

human

life,

we must

try to cultivate

a healthy sense of the true responsibility

nature and of high

destiny as men.
"

and dignity of our u We have ost our
]

stature," says Mr. Ranade,

we

are bent in a

hundred

places,

our eyes

lust after

forbidden things, our ears desire

to hear

scandals about our neighbours, our tongue

wants to taste

forbidden

our hands itch for another man's property, our bowels are deranged with indigestible food. cannot
fruit,

We

walk on our
"

feet but require stilts or crutches.

1 '

marriage and enforced widowhood, in the matter of temperance and purity, intermarriages between castes, the elevation of the low castes, and
in the matter of infant

Reforms

the readmission of converts, and

regulations of our endow-

ments and charity, are reforms, only so far and no further, as they check the influence of the old ideas and promote the
growth of the new
tendencies,"

Mr. Ranade

has out an

XXXVI
exquisite ideal before the reformer. infuse in himself the light and warmth
"

The

reformer has to

of nature,

and he can

by purifying and improving himself and his surroundings. He must have his family, village, tribe and nation
only do
it

recast in other
social

and new moulds, and that is the reason why reform becomes an obligatory duty, and not a mere

pastime which might be given up at pleasure.'*

THE SPIRIT OF HOPEFULNESS AND UNION.
PEAKING
about the Telang School of Thought, Mr. Ranade described hopefulness as one of the signs that

was

this special feature

But in none distinguished that school from others. to a greater extent than in developed

Mr. Ranade himself, who went on doing his work undismayed by failure and undated with success. "The sturdy hopefulness
is,"

he observes,

indifference to
desires to

the golden mean between stolid and the sanguineness of temper which change

"

accomplish the

work

cf centuries

in

as

many

decades, and the work of decades in as many years, and the work of years in as many days." People of the latter class do not continue the work in the true spirit of hopefulness and are to be distinguished from those who, while they feel

weighed down with the thought that they have to undergo a long discipline, and have no heart for boisterous displa}'s or dreams of mock revivals
hopeful of the
final

result,

are

still

of

past glory." The ground for this hopefulness lies in " the past history of this country. You may take the map of Asia, Europe, Africa or America, and you will find

is no other country in the world'which presents such a continuity of existence over such a long period of time. Races and creeds have risen, thrived and decayed

that there

XXXV11
in

other lands,
its

but India
in

is

so

favoured

that,

notwith-

standing

abasement

many

other particulars, the people

of this country have been preserved

from dangers,

as

though

.

they were a people with a special mission entrusted to themIf the miraculous preservation of a few thousand
.

.

.

Jews had

a

one-fifth of the

purpose, this more miraculous preservation of human race is not due to mere chance.

We

are under the severe discipline of a high purpose." It may be observed that Mr. Ranade's vision of national

regeneration expanded with age, and that though his main efforts were directed to the revival of the fallen fortunes of his

he came to see from an early date that the fat^ of the second great factor of the Indian nationality was necesthe other. Even in the questions of sarily connected with

own

race,

social

reform Mr. Ranade found a

common
:

platform

for

both

races to

work upon. In his address, delivered at the Socirl Conference in Lucknow, he remarks " Everyieffort on the part of either Hindus or Mahomedans to regard their interests as separate and distinct, and every attempt made by the two
communities to create separate schools and interests among themselves, and not to heal up the wounds inflicted by mutual
hatred of caste and creed, must be deprecated on
In this respect, he fears,
all

hands."

we have departed from the excellent especially when it is borne in mind that the ills that we are suffering from are self-inflicted and their cure is to a large extent in our own hands. Pursuit of
example started by Akbar
;

high

mutual sympathy and co-operation, perfect tolerance, a correct understanding of the diseases from which the body politic is suffering, and an earnest desire to apply suitable
ideals,

remedies

this

is

The

goal to be achieved does not lie in

the work cut out for the present generatioji. any particular advan-

tage to be gained in power and wealth, though that may be the natural result of reaching the goal. It is represented by

XXXV111

he

efforts to attain

it,

heart and the mind, which will
.
. .

the expansion and the elevation of the make us stronger and braver,

Both Hindus and Mahornedans purer and truer men. have their work cut out in this struggle. In the backwardness of female education,
in

the disposition to overleap the

temperance, in their between castes and creeds, in the indulgence of impure speech, thought and action on occasions when they
internal dissensions

bounds of their own

religion, in matters of

are

disposed to enjoy themselves,
in

in

the abuses of

many

customs

regard to unequal and polygamous marriages, in the desire to be extravagant in their expenditure on such

occasions, in the neglect of regulated charity, in the decay of public spirit, in insisting on the proper management of

endowments
*-JY

in these

and other matters both communities
is

are equal sinners, and there

thus

much common ground

improvement on common

lines."

THE NECESSITY OF ALL-ROUND
ACTIVITY.
will

ANOTHER progress country
vity.

great characteristic of Mr. Ranade that be noticed in his writings is his desire to see his
in all

departments of human

acti-

come to be called the Telang School, whose watchward is movement in the line of least resistance, he urged that the work to be accomplished was not onesided or

In describing what has

The liberation that has to be sought is not in one department of life, or one sort of activity, or in one sphere of thought, but it is an all-round work, in which you cannot dissociate one activity from another." Later on, in his address delivered at the Provincial Conference at Satara he pressed home the same lesson on his hearers, u Politics is
piecemeal.

"

not merely

petitioning

and

memorialising

for

gifts

and

favours.

Gifts

and favours are of no value unless we have
'

deserved the concessions by our own elevation and our own You shall live by the sweat of your brow is not struggles.
(

a curse

existence
religious,

pronounced on man, but the very condition of his and growth. Whether in the political, social,
commercial, manufacturing or xsjhetical spheres'
science
or art, in

in

literature,

war

or in peace,

it

is

the

individual and collective

by
If

his

for the time, he has to get up with the whole of his strength, physical, moral and intellectual, and you may as well suppose that he can develop one of these elements of
is

he

own down

has to develop his powers exertions in conquering the difficulties in his way.

man who

strength and neglect the others, as try to separate the light

from the heat of the sun or the beauty and fragrance from the rose. You cannot have a good social system when you
find yourself

low in the scale of political rights, nor can you

be

fit

to exercise political rights
is

and privileges unless your

based on reason and justice. You cannot system have a good economical system when your social arrangesocial

your religious ideals are low and grovelling, you cannot succeed in social, economical or politiThis interdependence is not an accident but is cal spheres.

ments are imperfect.

If

the law of our nature.

Like the members of our body you
feet,
if

cannot have strength in the hands and the
internal organs are in disorder.

your
the

What

applies to the

human
call

body holds good
society or State.

of the
It is a

collective

humanity we

mistaken view which divorces con-

siderations political from social and economical, and no

man

can be said to realize his duty in one aspect duties in the other directions."

who

neglects his

This was the ideal countrymen and which he
in his

Mr.

Ranade

placed before his

tried to realise, as far as possible,

own

case.

And

it

mav

be said without the least ex-

xl

aggeration that there was no kind of activity in the land with which he was not in touch and which he did not try to help on by his personal support and to the best of his power. And
the inspiration he has left to us as our heritage might be appropriately expressed in the terms of Gautama Buddha's " You dying words to his disciple Ananda may, perhaps, begin ' to think, the word is ended now, our teacher is gone : but you
: '

must not think

so.

After

of the Order, which

I am dead let the Law and the Rules I have taught, be a Teacher to you."

Essays on

Religious Social Reform,
i.

and

PHILOSOPHY OF INDIAN THEISM*
K
I
I

^

M

EARLY
him

three thousand years ago, in one of t^e primeval forests of Northern India, Bhrigu, the son of Varuna, approached his father, and ento teach
all

treated

him what Bramha was

that

Bramha

from which
keeps them

beings sprung into existence, that which alive when born, and that to which they

His father, tend, and in which they are finally absorbed. Varuna, told him at first that Bramha was Food, as Food
life and sustained it after birth, and finally on decay resolved itself into the food of other generations of life and being. Bhrigu long pondered over the matter, but was not satisfied with the finality or sufficiency of

generated

He again approached his father with the explanation. the same question, and he was successively told that Bramha was the Breath of life, that Bramha was the
Mind, that Bramha was self-conscious
Reason.

None

of these answers stood the test of Bhrigu's further thought,

and

finally,

he was told that Bramha was the Joy and

the Blessedness which pervaded the universe ; and this reply satisfied the deepest cravings of the young student.
*

Delivered at the Free General Assembly's Wilson College.

2

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
first

These three stages of thought, the
'

'Sat/

absolute

existence/

as

the

stage representing cause of all inani-

mate
it

or
'

animate

matter,

second
'

with

mind and
as the

self-conscious

'Chit/ identifying reason', and the third
joy and blessedness/

'Ananda/

source of

all

these three stages represent the three different phases of thought, which have dominated over men's minds

throughout history. The spirit of joy and blessedness here described is further spoken of as pervading the universe. If there were no spirit of joy in this Universe,
l

who could

live

and breathe
it

in this

world of
sinless

life

?'

Yaj-

navalkya Upanishad.
us peace of

He makes

us feel joy and gives

mind when

becomes

and
I

fearless.

This represents the practical side of the subject to-day to take up for your consideration.
that

propose

There are those among us who are disposed to think we have had enough of these old-world topics about

and death, soul and immortality, sin and punishment, and all that can be known about them has been discovered long since, and all beyond the first few steps
birth
is

mere blind

guess.

They would

dissuade

men from

the pursuit of this wild goose chase, and characterize the students of this dismal science as preternaturally
old men.
suits,

They

will

have us turn to more useful purfor

which

will

secure

us the comforts

of this

world, as the world understands comforts. Now, if there has been any feature of our national history which has

been

glory and the firm belief that
its

its
'

re\vard for

much

suffering, it is

not what a

man

"hath,

but what a

man
is

become/ constitutes his real wealth. This the protest which Indian thought has raised from all
is,

or can

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
time,

3

and which,

it

will continue to raise to

the end of

time.

The

the highest whole mission of Christianity and civilization is meanread in it nothing but the progress ingless for those who of physical comforts, and in the means of 'realizing them On this point, as in others, the highest teaching of the two religions is identically the same. When the great

contrary view derives also no support from The Christian or European ideals before us.

he addressed Apostle of the Gentiles reached Athens, Athenians by appealing to the Unknown God to the whom they had erected an altar, and he described the
words, which are only a paraphrase of the from the Upanishad passage quoted at the beginning In Him we live and move, and have our being, that is,

Bramha

in

:

outside

Him

there

is

neither

life

nor

motion

nor**

being possible.

The hand
those

of

God

who cannot

History is but dimly seen by recognize in the contact of European
in

with Eastern thought a higher possibility for thej future of both races. Already the morning dawn is upon us,

and we can see glimpses of the bright in our ability to see and appreciate each

future
other's

reflected

strength

and

excellence.

Not

to refer to the Theosophical

move-

ment, have we not seen before our eyes the fact that for the "first time after many centuries of stagnation,
Indian preachers are reciprocating in other lands the thousand sympathy which sends to our shores the many
missionaries,

who have

laboured

among

us for generations
it.

to spread the truth as they understand

The

labours

of English and German Professors are taking a new of the Gifford and Hibbert turn, and the foundations

4
series

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

of lectures, and the holding of the Parliament of Religions, these are not events which we can afford to

The Lectures

ignore or which it will profit us to pass by unheeded. of Dr. Fraser on the Philosophy of Theism,

of which I propose to give you a brief summary to-night, from an Indian student's point of view, are an important contribution towards this same end, and I am firmly

persuaded that

I

cannot hope

to

find a

priate place for dwelling

on

this subject

more approthan the pre-

mises of a College which represents the highest philanthropy of the West actively at work in the East.

What, then, is the problem which the Philosophy of Theism proposes to solve ? This is how Dr. Fraser What is the deepest and truest interpretation puts it
:

that can be put

by man upon the immeasurable actuality with which he is brought in contact and collision ever In what since he becomes percipient and self-conscious ? for what purpose do I exist ? sort of environment, and

What h
it

this

presents to me this endless flux ?

Universe for ever changing the appearances ? What is the origin and outcome of
Is the principle

which

finally deter-

events reasonable and trustworthy or chaotic and misleading, or must man for ever remain ignorant

mines

all

about this and unable to adapt himself to it ? What light can enlighten me upon my present duties or my
final

tfill

destiny as part of this mysterious whole ? The eminently human character of these questions be at once perceived by those who are not blinded

If there was no human element importance. ' in them, or as our forefathers said, if there was no Rasa/ and sweetness' in them, it is hardly intellilight
to their
'

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

5

gible why the highest thought of man in all ages and It is our countries has been busy over this mystery!

highest privilege that we feel the mystery and are drawn towards it.
fruition

full

force
is

of this

This

the highest

The awe it of humanity and its final goal. The devotion of the inspires is the seed of all religion. mind to this study of the Infinite is the working force
of philosophy.
this

The

successive steps of progress towards
'
1

knowledge constitutes the hierarchy of science. The existence of evil and sin here below, and the contemplation of Death and what becomes of us after deatji,
intensify the

human

character of such studies and

make

us pause, with Shakespeare, to consider if Death is sleep, or a dream, or else only a shuffling off of the mortal
coil.

Both individual and

the answer

we

social well-being depend upon* It to this question of questions. give

dominates
practical

art

Upanishad,
Universe,
life f

If how can we

morals, it shapes of government. " there be no
live

our legislation and the In the words of the
of joy over-ruling th
in this

spirit

and breathe

world of

"

Yajnawalkya.

Having proposed the problem and shown its human character, we have next to see what final interpretations
have been attempted of
articulations,

this

problem of existence, the

so
it.
'

to

speak, of the
'

human mind with
underlying all the subject and

reference

to

The two
I

postulates
'

thought

are, the

and the

Non-I/

the object. This is the quality of finite existence, each a mystery by itself. This is, however no t an ultimate analysis ; for the question arises when the Infinite and

the Eternal dawns upon

us,

whether besides the Ego and

6

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
is

the Non-Ego there
existence
outside
live

a

third

postulate

of supreme
in

which

both

synthesises both, by the one in which and

being

and
the

by
of

which we
In

and

move
of

and

have

our
sect
'

being.

philosophy

the

Ramanuja
postulates,
'

Vedantism,

we have
'Achit/ ir and Chit

these three
*4

Chit/

human
spirit;

soul,

:^,

and

Achit

Bramha/ Supreme no separate having
the

the

existence,

from
form,
in

in Bramha, and appearing

'Awyakta/
only This

unmanifested
'

separate

when
same

Wyakta/
view
is

iranifested
all

or

individualized.

other

Indian

emphasised, some

systems of philosophy maintaining the existence

variously of three

separate principles, others two, and some affirming In the only the real existence of one principle.

European systems of philosophy also, between system and system resolves exaggeration of one or other of these

the
itself

difference

into

the

first postulates to the point of negativing the absolute separate existence of the other two. One thing, however, is common to

all

:

the

human mind

is

not at rest with the dual solution

of the Finite, which alone its senses grasp. It yearns to find the Finite linked together in some bond with
the Infinite
fear,
;

it

may

be by

faith

by
is

aspiration or

by

love.

Man
is

or reason, hope or finds that his own
intelligible unless

existence for a

moment

of time

not

a background for it to rest upon. He feels that the flux of things is not intelligible unless it also
there
its rest in something which knows no flux. Whether the Infinite Being is potential matter, energy mind or spirit, these are the points on which philoso-

finds

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

1

phy has proposed various interpretations and solutions. The mystery surrounding this third postulate of existence is not more enigmatical than what is involved in a right understanding of what constitutes the Ego
and the Non-Ego.

We

clearly than the other. the fact that he exists, and

more

cannot comprehend the one Each of us can realize
that

sor^Hng

outside

him

also

exists.

His

own

existence and

the existence

of the

Non-Ego become more
the
errors

intelligible to

him when

he also learns to
All

realize the existence of the

Infinite.

of

superstition,

mysticism spring up from our hold on the three distinct postulates of existence.

scepticism and inability to keep our

We

should not either explain away or exaggerate any of them. When we localize God in place or time ani connect Him with uncommon particular events or places,
superstition

creeps in and overturns the balance of our

mind.
in

When we exaggerate our own mysticism. When we unduly allow
to
dazzle
us,

powers we end nature and her
capacities,

forms

and

belittle

our

we

become sceptical. It will be useful to see what element of partial truth and falsehood there is, in each
of the

systems which
the other
of
first

one or
judice

exaggerate and emphasize the postulate of existence to the prelinked

the
of

others

with
sits

it

inseparably.
at

And
of the

materialism,
forces

which

the

feet

its magnifies In European thought this school has oc^upowers. pied a more prominent position during the last few But centuries than it ever occupied in this country.

material

and

nature

and

even

in

our land

two out

of

the six

Darsanas

are

8
partially

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

or wholly materialistic, that of the Sankhya system of Kapila and the atomic system of Kannada As a corrective of extreme idealism, this philosophy

has done good service. has laid the is that it

other service to humanity axe at the root of that conIts

ception of the Universe, which made the earth the centre of tV~ universe and man the centre of the
it was thought, shine the planets revolve and the stars twinkle for our us, The anthropomorphic conception of God rulbenefit.

world.
for

The sun and the moon,

ing the

men and
full

things as a great patriarch of old with display of exaggerated human passions and

force,

and also human weaknesses at times, this conception has been dissipated by the discoveries of modern
its

science

which have reduced the earth to significance and man to his true position on
is

true

in-

earth, so far
of

as he

a

physical being.

The
to

discoveries

Astroresult,
full

nomy and Geology have
and
they

especially

led to this

have

enabled

men

understand the

mystery of the Infinite in space and time. Scientific evolution has also enlarged men's conceptions of the methods of operations pursued in the genesis of life

and

being.

kinds of

equivalence and conversion of different force have paved the way to much clearsubjects.

The

ness of thought on these and kindred
brilliancy

The
spirit

of these
to

results

led

men

to

the other ex-

treme

and

dream of abolishing mind and

altogether from the universe. This mechanical and chemical interpretation of nature, however, solves noIt takes us a step or two back and then it thing.
leaves the

mind more bewildered

in

the labyrinth

o

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
chaos.

of working is explained to some the interpretation of second causes, but the extent, by efficient and ultimate cause remains as shrouded as

The manner

ever,

and as impervious to human vision as when Moses saw the glory on the top of Sinai and received the Commandments. Materialism explains co-sequence and not causation, and it explains co-sequ^^* by making
.

it

out

to

be a casual

to to

evolve order out of
give

no

assemblage of atoms chancing This solution appears chaos. satisfaction to the enquirer. Shankarahis

charya has in
tables

Bhashya

very cleverly
is

turned

f

he

on the atomic
first

theorist.

The
tell

quality

of matter
is

inertia, so

our senses
outside
as
it,

us.

This inertia
is

overcome by
or energy
is

force
still

and what
mystery
should
particular
if

this

force
T

much a

as

the

m) stery
all

of

mind

and and

spirit.

Why

the

molecules be

attracted

repelled in a

way through
spirit
is

mind and
this

left

time and space? And then, out of view, how comes it
of molecules
results
in

that

casual

combination

the ascending scale of first, of life, next of conscious on of thought, self-conciousness and further life, responsible will, which does not come within the do-

main of chances, but

which is is guided by purpose This philosophy thus fails the negation of chances? to interpret nature where it most needs rational interpretation.

patriarchal
rialistic

The anthropomorphic God is more intelligible

conception of a than this mate-

conception of nature without a Providence overit

ruling

Society, law, accomplish purposed ends. and art, not more than theology, thus morals, poetry

to

10

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
or solecisms,
if

become anachronisms
are interpreted,
as

man and
liable
feels

nature

chance

combinations of molecules
to

brought out

without purpose and both Man dis-severed by chance at any time.
tively

be

instinc-

that this surely is not a rational interpretation of the order he sees in the Universe.

He
about

the,. T^Ils
is

back on himself, and begins to think
in

that there

only reality is himself. only, because he perceives them. Things exist OuLside his perception of form and colour, primary him,
for

no truth and that

this

universal flux of things

the

him

and secondary qualities, things have no themselves, and from this the inference

existence
is

in

drawn that

the only real existence is the individual soul. Homo JMensura becomes the rule of thought. It is a useful guide within certain limits, but when pushed too far
it

comes
it is

self-destructive.
for

Self-consciousness
certain
belief

may
he

be a
exists,

good reason
but

man's

that

hardly that the external world of matter and force obeys any laws or enjoys permanence outside his changing consciousness about
it.

sufficient

to

make him

equally assured

Science thus

becomes impossible,
except
in

when
fiction

scientific

truths have

no

basis

the

of his brain, and even sentient beings like himself have no existence independently of his belief about them. This comes out logically as the result

the

which makes the individual soul There is a only measure of being. similar collapse of our moral nature also, when no relationship subsists between one soul and another. Man feels instinctively that, though he may not be
of any philosophy
final

and

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

11

able to say how the world of matter exists, it existed before he came into life, and will exist after he and
his

which can

It is only demented humanity a merely human interpretation of the Universe, and it is to the glory of mankind that there has been no systematic* school which

race cease to
find

live.

rest

in

has given

it

currency

either

in

this

Mitry

or

in
it

Europe,
as a
rival

though

individual

thinkers

have
the

used

powerful
systems.

weapon

to

expose

vagaries

of

The human mind being thus

foiled

in

its

wor cjiip

of nature, and the deification of man as an all-sufficient explanation of being, seeks refuge in an exagge. ration of the third alternative, which makes out that

the Supreme Spirit alone exists, and both nature a: id man are but its reflected manifestations, not separable

from

in essence, but only seen to be separate by of our ignorance. This is the system which reason
it

had its representatives in later Greek and Stoic and modern European, especially German, thought, and which with shades of differences has found its chief

home
It
It
is

in

India.

has several advantages over the other systems. an adequate explanation of the infinity of matter

we
It

see

around

us.

It

is

also

an

pretation of the infinity of force we dispenses with the necessity of explaining the of things and the problem of creation , or origin
see

adequate interaround us.

evolution.

It

has an element of truth about
is

it,

in that

the

Supreme Being
This

immanent
is

in all beings

animate
truer

or inanimate.

a

much

higher

and

12

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
has
the

conception of Supreme Existence than any which found expression in many religious creeds of
world,

man by making Him

which seek to separate God from nature and out to be a being among beings,
distinction
in

only more powerful and wise. There is, however, a notable

this

respect between the pantheistic teachings of European One of thinkers and their prototypes in this country.

the most current mistakes
Monistic system
gre^t

is

to regard
as

the

'

Adwaita/
in

of

thought

formulated

the

Shankaracharya only characteristically Indian explanation of pantheism in this country. As a matter of fact, both before Shankaracharya's time and after his death, the
Sutra,

Bhashya
as the

of

on

the

Vedanta

modified Adwaita
a great part in traced the rise

system

of

Ramanuja

has

played

Indian philosophy, and to it may be and progress of the Vaishnava Sects

throughout India, which Sects have attained to a higher and truer conception of Theism than any of the other
In Shankaracharya's own system prevailing systems. the existence of objective nature was not categorically
denied.

The
the

position taken

up was that neither
in

exis-

tence nor non-existence
to
it

could be affirmed
in

regard

in

same sense
Spirit

which the human soul and
to exist.

the

Supreme

are

known

Besides Shan-

karacharya freely admitted that Bramha, the Supreme existence, as soon as it conceived the idea of creation,

became by reason of that thought 'Ishawara' creator, and all that was created had phenomenal existence. For all practical purposes this philosophy is strictly The European thinkers, on the theistic in its beliefs.

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

1&

all

other hand, exaggerated the doctrine so as to negative other existence.
asserting that
reality,

The European pantheists, while was the only substance, the only
changing appearances of
fall

God

under the

all

finite

things and persons,

all

into the error of consubstantiating this reality with material things and all individual minis, making it
is

co-extensive with them, so that whatever

predicable

The equally predicable reality. absolute reality is thus at once Infinite and finite, the substance and the mode, undifferentiated and deteris

of

them

of the

mined
in

in

the

necessary forms. This error has been avoided Indian forms of pantheism as formulated

This complete effacement of individual things and persons, and the apprehension t)f separate appearances as being only an illusion of the

by

the great Acharyas.

imagination ends by reducing the absolute reality itself to a being of two dimensions only, extension and thought, the Sat and Chit of our philoso-

phy.

There

is

no room

for

the

higher

spiritual

Ananda, without which God is an empty substance, without any spiritual relations towards His creatures, these last being only illusory
manifestation
of
manifestations of His substance.
in becoming, like Materialism,

Pantheism thus ends
fails

or Egoism, an interpreto satisfy

tation

of

what we

see around us, which

our intellectual, moral and spiritual perceptions. are conscious of our differences, we are conscious

We
are

of

our

i

freedom
of

as

well

as

dependence.
right

We

conscious

our

sense
for

of

and

wrong,
action.

and

our

responsibility

self-determined

When

14

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
is

the Infinite
existence
in
is

thus

time,

allowed to swallow up all finite space, and causation, the result is
in

that there

no succession
like

time and space, and that
effect.

Nothing happens and necessarily. Nothing is originated or changed. There is no perfection or imperIn short, fection, notLing good or evil in men and things. the undifferentiated and impersonal unity which extreme
is

there

nothing

cause and

but

only

exists eternally

pantheism
verse to

teaches,

is

which

the

interpretation conditions of our

an

of

the

uni-

self-conscious

being can never permanently be reconciled, and this must always remain a more or less curious unity
speculation with little permanent hold on the head or heart of men, except in moments of poetic or mystic
eostacy,
in

which both

in

Europe and India pantheall

ism

finally sublimates.

Having thus examined
ducing
the
three

the
of

possibilities

of rea single

postulates

existence

to

postulate, man's mind, in despair, has taken shelter in doubt or scepticism, not of the aggressive or militant kind, but in a more resigned form of it, in which it

seeks to rest satisfied with the position that nothing certain can be grasped in connection wr ith these great

problems.

This

is

the latest development of

modern

European speculation, and we have now to see
resign
itself to

known as agnosticism, how far the human mind can
and
is

a conclusion which
it

may

be likened to

a

of thought as paralysis from all contact toise-like,
thing
strikes

One

the

torwithdraws^ itself, with such speculations. student of this subject as a
all

common

characteristic

of

such

speculations.

They

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
all

15
satisfied

demand
or

logical

proof and
certitude.
It

are
is

not
just
all

with

practical

or moral

practical

moral

conviction

is

possible that that is needed

and therefore
search after
for

by the human mind in its the Absolute, and in that case the demand
attainable

logical
If

proof

may

itself

be
is

an

unreasonable
it

demand.

practical certitude
inability

not follow from our

to

attainable, furnish a

does

logical

demonstration by
positively

and
of

way of proof, that nothing can be certainly known about these matters.
human mind
Absolute
confined
large

The
this

failure

of the

to

attain

to

a living

knowledge
disability
is

the

has

partly

arisen

from
This

confusion of certitude

with demonstration.
to

not
are

philosophy or religion

departments of knowledge where demonstrative proof is not possible, and we
only.

There

content
substitute

ourselves
faith
it.

with the next best alternative and

for

and
is

suffer for

knowledge and act on that faith Our Earth, or even the Solar system,

not the universe, nor is our time Eternity Finite existence in time and space become intelligible only when they discover their background of the Infinite.

Second
first

causes

linked

cause which
personal

together necessarily suggest a holds the links together. In our
the
fleeting

own
and

consciousness,

perception
furnish

even

thought

of

each

moment cannot

the origin of true knowledge. That basis is widened by the more permanent results of self-consciousness,

which memory holds together over a great length* of
time
in

what we recognize
Further,

as

'

I/ with

its

past ex-

periences.

connecting our individual thought

16

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

with those of others,
the collective

we come
thought of

to rest our

knowledge

humanity. It would upon be intellectual suicide or madness if we followed any other principle. We can never demonstrate logically
our reasons for the faith that
of nature and the
science

we

feel

in the continuity
its

uniform operation of
resolves
itself

laws.

All

ultimately

into

a

product

of

our faith in the
universe.

This

sense of
it

trustworthiness of the ever-changing trustworthiness is the slow
is

growth of ages, but
sc^ntific

none the

less

the basis of
If this

truths
is

as

we apprehend

them.
it

basis

of faith

legitimate

repudiated by science, claims upon our acceptance
material

not

has equally in the phi-

losophy of the Absolute. This conformity of the
our faith
in
its

universe

with
link

trustworthiness

establishes

the

which

joins

man

with the universe in which he lives
has
like

and
as
like

moves and if we were
the
soaring

his
fish

being.

We
out

do
of

not

feel

taken
to

water

or

eagle

made

walk
natural

over

earth.

This
tions

harmony between
of nature
is

our thoughts and the operahighest
revelation.

the

This

harmony
nor
is
it

springs

not from
of inert
it

man's

consciousness
It

only
links

born

matter.

not

only
alike

us with nature, but

links us

and nature

with the Infinite existence whose purposes of wisdom

and
thus

benevolence,
holds
If

closed to our

beauty and power are thereby diseyes of faith and knowledge. Science,
torch
of
faith

the

to

the

mystery

of

religion.

this torch

not only will Theism

were extinguished or set aside suffer, but with it science itself

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
will

17
ultimately

cease to be
faith

scientific,

for

it

also

rests

on

in

the
its

harmony

permanence of

Universe, and laws and methods of work.
of the

the

The threefold postulates of existence are thus seen to be distinct and yet harmonized together. All atto assimilate and reduce them into one absolute tempts
because they are bound to fail At the they are not distinct in the sense of being disjointed parts of a mechanical whole. They are one and yet they are many. Nature and man each have
existence
fail,

same

time,

definite

relations
rules

of subordination to the great Infinite

which
the

over
of

them
these

and

harmonizes

them,
is

and
the

discovery

subordinate

relations

special

domain of the

philosophers agnostic of power and wisdom,

Even philosophy of Theism. have admitted the existence
beauty

and benevolence,
of
nature.

as

manifested
infancy

in

the

operations
this

In

the

of

science,
as

cpnceived

not
will,

the

power and work of a

purpose was unseen single

agency
deities
arid

and

Devtas,

but as the play of good ana bad angels, spirits, and ghosts, the gods

goddesses

of

mythology,
larger

of

tribal

and

local

origin,

which
over

had

influences

nature
led to
in
this

powers than man.
polytheism

and

more

subtle

This

stage

of

thought naturally
It

and to

idolatry.

obtains

still

and

other countries

among

people of nature's
science

who

cannot understand laws
as

the universal harmony Later on, science discloses it.
classify

taught

men

to

these

agencies

into

good and bad and Ahurmast.

angels,

A

and Daityas, Ahirman hierarchy of gods bigger and
Devas

18
smaller

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
under the banners
of

and
left

evil,

was thus
faith

evolved,

the principles of good and it is best seen in

the early
its

of

the
the

Hindus

and

Parsis

and

has

stamp
of

on

Mahomedan
with
the

and

Christian

systems
scientific

faith.

Finally,

triumphs

of

investigation,

the idea

dawned upon men's

being pervaded one power, wisdom and purpose, which superseded by the old gods and goddesses and the division of good This was the work of Theism. and evil principles.

mind of

the world of nature and

man

This

God was not

as

in

the olden

forms of

Deism,

other beings, a fashioner apprehended as a being among or mechanician setting the watch in motion from
outside.

But

over-ruling the

God immanent in everything and Universe, a God who was not exhausta
of his work,
'

ed by the

limits

of the Purushsukta,

and encircling as He and man, exceeded it on
glory

but was, in the words than the Infinite universe, Bigger did, the created world of matter
all

sides/

It

was the

peculiar

God.

of the Upanishads to have discoursed of such a 'The winds blow from fear of Him, and the

Sun

rises

and

sets as

He

directs.

Fire and Indra

and

even Death run on His errand.' In one of the Upanishads there is a beautiful account >of the way in which
the
their

mythological

gods

of

Fire,

Indra,

&c.,

tried

and were
His

Supreme Bramha, strength in contest foiled in the attempt and submitted to do

with this

rather thought, and the This thereof were created. world and the inhabitants
bidding.
saw,i

He

or

is

also

the

teaching

of

the Old

Testament.

Order
God's'

means

reason, conscious mind, or personal will.

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

19

immanence
This

in

nature

is

seen in

the

order and

the

purpose which animates nature.
account
of

the origin
creation

of

things
in

does time

not
or

make
history.

the
It

work
is

of

an event

a development of Infinite had no beginning In time. Both though Geology and Astronomy, however, show To demonstration that cosmos, as we now see it ordered and
as

much

thought, as

it

regulated, had a beginning, evolution from imperfect to

and

a

perfect,

development or and from simple
this
latter
is

to

complex

orders

of

beings.
for

In
to

the

point important question of time but of seen to be at work in
is

us

note
If

not

vie%, the
is

causation.
infinite

causation

time and space,
purposes
in

it

a sufficient explanation

for the

of practical

certitude.

There can
the
so-called

be

no

natural agents
is

the

proper

sense of the word.

Matter
are

in its essence inert

and

agents only signs by whiph the divine reality regulates the purposes of law and order,

beauty

and

benevolence,
is

power
These

and

wisdom.
'

This

divine activity

what

is

signified by the phrase,
activities
-are

God

immanent

in

nature/

inter-

pretable by man and become trustworthy, because they are His activities and not mere casual combinations and permutations of lawless and purposeless chance.

Material agents are like the telegraph wire through which messages are sent across time and space, and deciphered by man, whether they are messages of
science or of religion.

An

interpretable universe brings

man

face

to

face

with

God

as

the

ever

acting

20

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
cause

immanent
spirit

which
also

and changes, animates and regulates the world.
of
all

natural

the

Just as nature

is

supernatural in this

view,

man
dis-

has

a super-human

element
is

in

him.

The

tinguishing feature in man and his volition which is

his

self-conscious reason

free

to

act

or

not to act

within

ceitain

well-defined

limits.

Free volition can

hardly be said to be present
are
are
sible

in brute creation.

They

solely guided

by

their

instincts

and impulses, and

not
for

in

the

strict

sense

their

actions.

Man

of the word responalone possesses a sort of

between good
distinguishing
his greatest
all

delegated freedom to choose between right and wrong, He alone has the power of and evil.
self-determination

and of being a causal agent.
constitute
his

These

features

responsibility.

They

furnish

highest glory and the bases of

law and government,

morals and

manners,

social

and family arrangements, literary and scientific culture, and finally of religion and worship. He is not a mere creature of necessity, not a mere diagonal result of
opposite forces acting upon him, as is the rest of the world including even the brute creation. Man thus occupies
arises

a higher
this

how

over-ruling

plane of being and the question higher existence is subordinated to the Providence which regulates the universe inas a

cluding
spiritual

man

physical

being.

In man's

case
are

his

relations

with

this

universal

Soul
in

made

manifest

by the sense of conscience makes him feel that he is responsible
exercise

him, which for the proper
feels

of

his

the

:

spirit

immanent

He freedom. delegated in the universe "about

that

him mani-

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
fests

21

His presence in him through this faculty of conscience which accuses him when he goes wrong, and helps and guides him when he is on the right path.

demeans himrewards him self, and the sense of satisfaction which when he does his duty, are the connecting* links between his soul and the spirit he realises as the Sv/ul ol his soul. It is this communion which opens to him the of another and higher world where love and gates
bitter

The

remorse

he

feels

when

he

Intelligent, self-originated volijustice reign supreme. tion under obligation of duty and sense of personil

responsibility, this
is

is

in

the case of

man

the super-human and super-natural

the divine, that element in him-

This ethical and personal conception of man's relation with the universal Soul is a higher revelation than what' nature discloses, and this is the realm where faith and

knowledge join hand to hand, or rather knowledge becomes faith which elevates man from mortal into imrhortal existence.

Though we cannot know

all

that

we

these mysteries, these "revelations of man and nature teach us that the deepest and truest thought man can have about the outside world
is

might wish to

know about

that

it

is

the

immediate manifestation of the divine

or Infinite person in moral relations to imperfect persons who are undergoing intellectual and spiritual elevation
in divine

to be

surroundings. At the same time God is not conceived as merely man made infinite, in his

qualities

and without

his

error of

Buddhism which

This was the imperfections. the wise man above elevated

the old mythological Gods and even displaced the This is the form of idolatry spirit from the universe.

22

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
all

against which
in

religions

have raised

their

protests,

none more emphatically than in the Aryan and system of Faith. The Upanishads have said that He who thinketh that he knoweth God doth not know Him,
'

while he

who

knoweth Him,
eth in J^jpair

thinks that he doth not know Him From Him the speech of man recoilhow to describe Him. The mind of
it.

man

cannot
This

grasp

Only

through

faith,

hope
It

and love can
is

H

be approached.'
natural

the teaching of

Theism.
of

has
in

t? be

supplemented by history which form the basis of

further

revelations
all

God

historical

religions

Historical revelations of movements. Theism must differ from one another according to the circumstances of the age and country in which they oc-

and

religious

curred. Their historical surroundings are, however, destined
in course of time, to

fade in importance as
is

their

work

of

national

education

verge together to supplement each other's
final goal

accomplished, and they conwork in the

which they are

all

intended to reach.

Alone

in

all

the countries

of the world, India has had the

privilege

convergence of historical faiths actively at work without losing its own individual characteristics. With her revelation has not ceasof witnessing this
at

ed

any point
every

of

time.

The stream
in

has

flowed
of
percall-

and
ing

still

continues to
saint

flow

the

lives

and teachthis

of

and
or

prophet
as
I

of

or

other lands.
sonified,

From

the worship

of the elements

Indian Theism,

have elsewhere

ed
of

it

the

the Bhagvata Dharma, developed into the worship power which rules over the elements. This

Philosophy of Indian Theism.

23

power then became

clothed

with ethical

and

moral

old gods and elements into a lower order of beings and Devtas -Deities. The capacities of the human soul next attracted attention, and

grandeur, banishing the

in the

Upanishads the divine nature of the soul was

first

formulated and carried up even to the point of identity. Then came the Buddhists who strengthened tl:3 moral side of our nature, and substituted for the old animal
sacrifices

the

sacrifice

of

the

animal

in

man, as the

of worship and the only road to Next followed the aggressive domination of the Mahomedan faith which had its own purpose in enforcing the claims of strict Monotheism not only in
highest

form

salvation.

intellectual

now

and apprehension but in practical conduct Christian influences are at work. The power o f
;

sin, and indignation of resigned indifference, against wrong-doing place a correct sense of the dignity of man and woman,

organisation,

active

hatred

of

in

active

philanthropy and a
of thought

feeling

of fraternity, freeinto

dom
which

and
be
this

action, these are Christian virtues

have

to

incorporated

the

national
in
all

character,

and

work

is

actively going on

parts of the country. points of contact and

The Bhagvata Dharma
kinship
Spirit
life
is

has

many

with the Christian sysin

tem of
both
as

faith.

The
the

being

Supreme Ocean of

apprehended in which we live

and move and have our being. The three persons of the Trinity have their more logical counterpart, in the

One without a second, 'Sat'; the Logos, or the and the third person, the

who Word

is

absolute
is

existence

eternal

the 'Chit/
'

Holy Comforter

is,

Ananda

'

24
joy

ssays on Religious

and

Social Reform.

in all. inspires joy and peace of the soul becoming one on emanmaterialized in the cipation with the universal spirit is Both systems Christian mystery of transubstantiation.

and

peace,

who

The Hindu

ideal

recognize

incarnation,

the difference being of

one

or

has played an important elements of kinship there are espart. The sential differences which cannot be overlooked. characteristics of Indian Theism, which have enabled

many.

w ith

In

both

sacrifice

these

it

to

maintain

its

identity,
first
its

will

cling

to

it

through

all

times.
is

They
has
It
is
is

are

non-historical
saint
all

character.

It

associated with
it

no
for

particular

or

prophet

though

room
not

reverence to

saints

and
all

prophets. revelation
revelations.

bound down to any
to the
best
is

particular

but

open
it,

influences

of

With
built

revelation to
flow.

a perpetual

stream
Indian

which

never
is

ceases

Above

all,

Theism
to

on the rock of the direct communion
Universe
linked

of the individual soul with the Soul of the

wLich
love.

it

is

by

the

tie

of

faith,
its

hope
educa-

and
tion

Indian Theism
to

does
trial
'

not
in

limit

of

man

a

single
(

this

world.

The
it

modified

law

of

Karma
is

which
the

distinguishes

from
in

fatalism,

which
future,

connects

past

with

the

present
this

and

nowhere
it

better realized than

country,
its

though
in

some of
has

over-logical

much exaggerated in The national mind conclusions.
is

been

cast

a

spiritual
it

and

religious

mould,
of

which does not allow this world and its riches and power
to

sink

into the worship
as

the

highest
hereafter

object of desire,

but always looks upon the

Philosophy of Indian Theism.
as
its

26

chief resting place.

The
is

universe
Soul,

is

not merely
fills

His handiwork, but universe and moves
toleration

He
it.

the

Who

the

to

all,

Lastly, Indian theism teaches self-sacrifice, and the duty of love,

not only of man to man but to all animated beings. It was not therefore, without reason that the Rev. Dr.
Miller,
in

an eloquent
Christians
in

address
to

he gave
in

a^

Madras,
that

asked

the
at

bear

mind
any
there,

God

was

work
or

India long
set
all

before
his
its

Catholic

Protestant,

foot

missionary, and that

the Hindu system, amidst elements of divine Truth.

The

corruptions, contains Christian World, com-

menting

upon

this,

has

observed

that

India

will

not give up all its moulds of thought at the bidding of British or Christian organisations, but it will dratf
into
itself

the

divine

life

which these
will

organisations

enshrine.

Gentlemen,

I

hope

you

excuse

this

last

digression from the professed purpose of the present I have tried to present before you on address. parallel
lines

the substance of Professor Dr.

Fraser's

lectures

which represent the latest phase of European thought, and illustrated it by references to our own ancient works. The parallelism is very suggestive, and I hope it will prove an incentive to some of you to follow

up these

studies.

If

that

result

is

achieved,

I

shall

consider myself

amply rewarded.

II.

THE SUTRA AND SMRITI TEXTS ON THE AQE OF HINDU MARRIAGE.

ONE
social

that,

of the penalties of arrested civilization is while stopping further growth, the seeds

of decay and death are

sown

in
'

the paralyzed

organism.

The

'

popular fallacies which It is not poskilled and exploded a hundred times. sible for a living being, be the unit an individual or a collection of individuals, to remain stationary at any stage of progress achieved by them for any considerable time without, in fact, undergoing the slow process of decay and degradation. The full importance of this fact is not at once realized, because the span of national life is not, like that of the individual man, easily encompassed within our ordinary
vision
;

stationary East is one of those die a very hard death, though

ordinary human life, many stand still when in fact they are sinking in health and vigour, and lapsing into and dotage. Perhaps, no better decrepitude illustration of this great truth can be cited than what

and

even

in

people

imagine

that

they

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
is

27
the

furnished

by an

historical

which
growth

have taken place
in

the social

changes during centuries of arrested usages regulating the institution

survey of

of Marriage in the Aryan population of this country. Without such a survey of the past, it is not possible to understand intelligently the present> or correctly
to
forecast or

tion

has,

in

this

guide the future. The theory ~f evolucountry, to be studied in its other

aspect
tion.

of

what

may

conveniently be

called

devolu-

the

decay and corruption set in, it is not and the strongest that survives in tb$ conflict of dead with living matter, but the healthy parts give way, and their place is taken up by all
fittest

When

that
in,

is

indicative

of the fact that

corruption has set
of a nation's

and the

vital force extinguished.

The study
is

of the morbid

symptoms

doubt very irksome, but the pain must decay be endured, and the scruples set aside. The Gordian knot tied during centuries of devolution cannot be cut
asunder
stages

no

by any
of slow
if

spasmodic

violence.

The

successive

decay must

diagnosed,
difficulty.

we would work out Fortunately, the doom

be closely watched and the solution of the
of death
is

not,
fate,

as
in

in

the

case

the case

populaton of India, numbering one-sixth of the human race. The process of recovery may be slow, but if we
stimulate the stifled seeds

of an individual, irrevocable as of a nation so large as the Aryan

of health and growth, and

lop

off

dead excrescences, decay
all

may
It
is

yet be arrested,
this

and

death successfully averted.
cheer
those

must

who

desire

to

hope which see the dead

28 bones

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
in

the

valley

heave again
sleep of

with the breath of
disturbed

resurrection,

and the

centuries

by

the penetrating rays of living light. It is proposed here to take such

a survey of

the growth and decay of the Aryan social usages regarding the Institution of Marriage in this country during ^'storic times, that is, the times of which we

can

trace

the

presents many stages of of decay, but it is not proposed to growth, as also dwell on them all here. It will be enough for the

customs.

Such

history in a survey

records,

or

institutions,

or

purpose
stages

of

this

introduction

to

note

only

two

the one stage associated with all that is ; old and venerable, associated, moreover, with all truly and noblest in our traditions, and that is best
the

other

stage

when

the
in

civilization
its

mised so well was arrested
decay set
vity,

which proand internal growth,

in, and foreign invasions paralyzed all actiand brought in with them political subjection

and

This distinction of two stages fits in with the orthodox view of looking at these matsocial

slavery.

ters.

The most orthodox

interpreters

of our Shastras

admit that the present is separated from the past by a distinctly laid down land-mark. The Vedic age is separated from the Puranic age in which Aryan society

now
tris
is

lives

and moves, and

has

its

profess veneration for the past, given not to the venerated Vedic

The Shasbeing. but their allegiance
past r but to the

more modern transformations represented by the developments of the Puranic period, and owing to a false
rule of exegesis, they try to distort

the old texts so as

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
to

29

make them
if it

fit

in

with what

is

hopelessly irrecon-

cileable

with them.
is

abandoned
true

This desperate attempt must be desired to look at the subject in its

historical

aspect.
in
this

Two

propositions
:

may

safely

be

laid

down

connection

Firstly,

that the

Aryan

society of the Vedic, or more properly speaking, the Grihya Sutra period presents the institution of marriage in a form which recognized female liberty

and

the

dignity

of

womanhood
in

in

full,

very

slight

traces of which are seen

the existing order of things except, fortunately, in the old Sanskrit ritual which h still recited, and the ceremonies which are still blindly

it is

performed and secondly, that owing to causes which not possible to trace, there was a revulsion of feel;

and the Vedic institutions were practically aban doned or ignored, and in their place usages grew up which circumscribed female liberty in various directions and seriously lowered the dignity of woman in the
ing,

social

and family arrangements.
texts
relating to

By

clearly

the

each period,

the

separating confusion of

thought and ideas, which marks all orthodox discussion of these subjects, will be avoided, and the whole history
presented in a
It

way

at once intelligible

and suggestive.

may

be

noted
the

that
texts

represented by itself a background of

stage of civilization of the Sutra period has the pre-historic times when

the

arrangements of the family life admittedly archaic and barbarous.

and

marriage

were

Mahabharata there are traces of this period when married life had no sanctity, and the tie of wife and husband was The well-known story of to be very loose. felt
In the

30

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Dirghatama
of
these

may

be
a

referred

to

as

an

illustration
texts,

pre-historic

times.

The Yajur Veda
as necessarily

which described
disentitled to

woman
like

inherit,

'Ananshha/ those male heirs who were
an
incurable
their

deformed
point
to

or
th>3

affected

with

malady,

recog/.i^cd

same time, some of by
of

and
the

influence

was
of
a

old

Sutra
possession

writers,

Baudhayana and Apastambha.
wife
is

The
as

by
a

a

relic

family of the

brothers

common

property

same

period.

The lower forms

of Asura and Pishacha marriages

are survivals of the

Slowly Aryan society grew out of this savagery, and one by one female heirs, first the wife, then the daughter, afterwards the mother and sister,
period.

same

began to be recognized as
householder.

heirs to

Monogamy became

a separated Aryan the rule of life, and

rose in national estimation, as the story of
Sita

Rama and

illustrates. Woman's freedom and nobly were vindicated, and, in the Kshatria caste dignity choose her husband in the especially, liberty to form of Swayamvara, marriage by free choice, so

so

well

illustrated

in

the

stories

of

Sita,

Damayanti,
as

Rukmini
matter
of

and

Draupadi,

was
the

allowed

a

course.

Among

Brahmins,

women

given up to study and

marriage altogether, ance by this act of self-abnegation. Marriage took place in all castes at a comparatively .mature age,

contemplation, refrained from and lost none of their import-

and the remarriage of widows was not looked

down
was
of
it

upon

as

permitted

seeing disreputable, by her father to

that

Damayanti
a
feint

make

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
to find out her long-lost husband, a married widow of his

31

and that Krishna's

son

enemy Shambara,
classical

and Arjuna married Ulupi.

This was the

age

of Indian history, when the nation throve in of activity. Later on some cause or another a change, and Swayamvara
fell

all lines

led to

into

disuse,

single life

became unfashionable, late marriages and remarriages became disreputable, women's rights as heirs were also circumscribed in favour of distant male heirs, monogamy lost its strictness so far as males were concerned, the Bramha form of marriage by gift was recognized ^is and women were denounced as best form, the Shudras in respect of being on a level with the Vedic learning and performance of Vedic rites, and they were condemned to life-long pupilage, first to, the father, and afterwards to the husband, and lastly, to
the son.

The

Shastris explain the revulsion

of feeling

by ascribing it to be the result of the change of Yuga, that is, the setting in of the Kali Yuga. The explanais not satisfactory or tion same complete, since tl~
.

texts,
rights,

which ushered in these restrictions on female were equally explicit in regard to many other

customs, such as long continued Bramhacharya on the In part of men, and entering the Monastic order. these matters, the restrictions did not form a bar
to the continuance
institutions.

of the old

practices

as

honoured
of
feeling

The

cause

of

this

revulsion
rise

was
with
such

really
its

the reflex action of the
horror of female
society,

of

Buddhism

confusion
as,

caused

the Shakas,

by Hunas and

invasions

of
Jats,

{he joined with barbarous hordes,

from

outside,

and

32

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

the rise of non-Aryan tribes to power in the country, which deluged the land with bloodshed, and extin-

guished the
dence, and

spirit

of

chivalry,

reduced

the

learning and indepennation to the subjection of
,oi

people with a lower

type

civilization
era.

about

the

commencement of the work was completed
,

Christian

This destructive
of
ideal
sex.

by
for

the

invasion

the
of

Mahomedans, who had a
family revulsion in
institutions
life

distinctly

lower

and

respect

the

female

The

was not confined to the marriage It only. equally affected the law of inheritance by discouraging partition, and encouraging
feeling
living
in

union under
eldest
living

the

of

the

authority and protection male. It affected similarly

the

notion
in

of
its

individual

property

in

land,

and

substituted

place

communal
by

of

the

soil,

as

evidenced

or tribal ownership the tenure of land

in the

North-Western Provinces and the Punjab. The castes was discouraged, and the intermixture of sub-divHons became more numerous and rigorous
Foreign intercourse by sea

than ever.

similarly eschewed

and

discredited.

and land was The domination

of the priesthood became more pronounced than ever, and led to the foundation of the numerous sects

and
this

heresies.

Whatever may have been the cause
front
all

of
is

change of

along the

line,

the fact

indisputable, and cannot be denied. Having thus presented the pre-historic, the classical or Vedic, and the Puranic stages in our vie\^, it will be now convenient to refer more in detail to the
Institution

of Marriage, and trace

its

downward

course

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
step

3&

by
In

be

laid

The following step. down on this point
:

conclusions

may
age

safely

the Grihya Sutras no definite the marriage of females is laid down.
of males
is

limit

for
limit

The age
that
fgr

laid

down by

inference,

seeing

the

studentship commences and at a later age for

at eight

years
or

Brahmins,

other
of

castes,

of

the

three
for

Vedas,

two

and the c tudy of one Veda is

prescribed

or twelve thirty-six, twenty-four as a years in the preceptor's house, preliminary to the Brahmin student's entering upon the life of a
Grihi,

married

householder,

with

his

preceptor's

permission.

While no
for

females,

definite age limit has been laid the texts indicate clearly enough

down
what
4

they mean by
sary
in

the
'

prescribing certain qualifications as necescase of females. The Hiranya Keshi

that the female should Grihya Sutra lays down defined in Sanskara Ratna Mala as be' 'Nagnika fit for cohabitation with her huc^nd, Maithunarha/ and Brahmacharini, similarly defined to be one who
'

This with a male associated person. of Brahmacharini, is a qualification prescribed requisite Vedas and of the different the in all Sutras
has

not

Shakhas.
It

might

be

said
(

that

the

interpretation
'

put

fartoo is and Brahmacharini 'Nagnika' upon fetched, and cannot be accepted as fairly representing Such a contentiort the general sense of the Sutras.

will
in

not be urged by any one
full
3

who
in

reads
all

the
the

texts

for

himself.

The

texts

Sutras

34
require

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
that

for three days at least some texts twelve days, others a year the husband and prescribe wife should be 'Wratastha,' abstemious, that is, should observe certain forms of self-restraint, and among

these

restrictions

are

(i),

that

they should

abstain

from

the
d*e
'

on
the

"

of salted food, (2), they should sleep observe ground, and (3) that they should
use

Bramhachari
of

Wrata'

also

for

the

period.

There could thus be
look
to

no

mistake

about

prescribed the

sense

a

girl to

the words, even out for a

if

the texts, which permit husband, only when she

desires

be

joined

in

marriage,

be

left

out

of

account.

point by the fourth night which used to be Wrata of the performed in former times after the This ceremony is still kept three nights was over.

No

doubt,

however,

is

left

on

this

the ceremony

of

'

'

up in name in the rituals of all the Sutras, except the Ashwalayana, where only the three nights' Wrata
is

mentioned.
is

ceremony
is

In the other Sutras the fourth night's intended to sanctify the ground, that

the

female
for

body,
purposes

so

as

to

make

it

lit

for

association
ritual

of

cohabitation,

and

the

prescribes the union, by actual contact of the bodies and of the members thereof, of both husband

and

wife.

Even the

texts,

which

refer

to

a

later

of the three completion period, Wrata and the union of bodies on the fourth nights'

recognized

the

night as the final step which ' so as to make the couple
incorporate the

made marriage complete, Eka Rishi/ that is, to
the

woman

with

man's

Gotra

gens.

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
This
offer

35

entitled her receive to and incorporation the Pinda after death and observe Sutaka,

Even the Ashwalayana, as interpreted by mourning. the Prayoga Parijata, has stated the efficacy of the
Wrata
of

three
girl

nights,

c.,

to

be,

that

it

took

away
rite
is

the

out
in

of

her

father's

Gotra,

and
This

incorporated

her

her

husband's
at

Gotra.

not
of

now performed
it

the

but

part
at

is

performed
the

after

marriage time, the girl attains

age
of
at

the time of

Garbhadhana
to

consummation
the
rite

marriage, and
the

the
is

omission

perform

atoned for by a Prayaschitta, fourth night's ceremony was understood penance. the husband and wife in actual bodily to join cohabitation, and the Bramhachari Wrata then ceased.

proper time

The

This fact can leave no doubt

as

to

the

correctness

of the interpretation put upon Nagnika and Bramhacharini by the commentator, and it shows that the

marriageable age was fixed at a mature for the husband and the wife.

period

both

This
that

circumstance

also

accounts

for

the

fact

a great many of the Smriti texts favour the remarriage of Akshatayoni girls, widowed in their child-

hood,

before

the

consummation
not permit
it,

of

marriage,

even

when
the

these texts do

more

generally, in

way Parashara, Manu, Narada, such remarriage in the case of all from five forms of distress.

&c., authorised

women

suffering

There is thus a recognized distinction between the status of a wife married with the fourth night's
ceremony, which was most
in

vogue

in

those

days,

36

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
a
girl

and

given

her husband.
distinction
limit,

marriage who had not known There was no occasion for any such
in

in

old times.

this

distinction

With the restrictions of age had to be made as a concession
it

to popular feeling,

The
has

marriage
place
in
it

ritual,

may
girl's

also

be

no

for

the

father

after

noted, the

ceremony, giving away the girl in gift. The subsequent rite is entirely an affair of the husband

Kanyadana
and
love
wife.

The

mutual promises

and

assurances

of

and
in

protection
their

and

much
to

greater capacity in

a presuppose both than can be attributed

obedience

them

childhood.
it
is

The marriage
on
both

rite

is

no

doubt a sacrament, but
supposes
the

a sacrament which presides.

age of discretion

As

now

performed, it loses all its significance, because neither party understands what is said or done.

The
in

circumstance
in
is

that

vogue

royal

families,

Swayamwara was much and among Kshatriyas
the
after

generally,

an evidence of

that
at

marriage

was

contracted

age and years of discretion, matter in which they were allowed no choice. a Even after the Smriti texts greatly restricted female
liberty,

namely, had arrived and that it was not
fact, girls

same

they have expressly
of

reserved
after

to

the

girl

the

power

marrying

oneself

waiting for three

years for the father's choice.

same effect is the evidence of the Puranic legends, which expressly refer to the cases of
the
girls

To

who

refused

to

abide

by the choice
of
Sawitri
is

of their a

fathers.

The well-known

story

proof

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
of
this.

37

Sawitri,

when

she

had

attained
father

to to

the

marriageable age, was told by her choice a for She chose herself.

make
and
within

Satyawan,
die

when Narada
a year, and
to forego
in

said

that

Satyawan would
'

her

consequence her father asked Sawitri she said choice, No/ . and Nanida

is the version given i:: the supported her. This Mahabharata. The stories of Rukmini and Subhadra

are similarly instructive.

The
of

of

Kashi

Raja

and

of the daughters in Mandodari the Devi
choice

confirm this position to Bhagawata legend In some of these cases the girls chose to remain unmarried, and their fathers did not think they were bound to constrain their choice. The several points
tends
noticed
question

above
at

can

issue,

marriages took matters more were
constraint.

leave little doubt upon the* and they show beyond doubt that place after years of discretion, and

of

choice

than

of

parental

To come next doubt, that when
was
a
revulsion

to

the

Smriti
texts

texts,

there
written,

L

^o

these

were

there

of

feeling,

and

it

was

generally

a matter of necessity that no girl should remain unmarried, if the parent could help it, after In their inability to fix twelve or before puberty,
regarded as
the relative
locality,

order or date

of

the

Smritis,

and under
the
Shastris

the

stress

of

a false theory of exegesis,
together,

lump the
task
of

Smritis

and

attempt

the

hopeless

reconciling

No fair view inventing fictions. be secured by mere violent interpretation.

opposite texts by of the subject can

The

better

o8

JZssays on

Religions

and

Social Reform.
texts
as

plan

appears

to

be to

take

the

they

are,

and arrange them in intelligent order, and ascertain on which side the balance of authority rests. The observations have been written with this following
view and

may

prove useful.

is

In regard to the marriageable age of males, there hJt the same diversity of view as in regard to
of females.
If

the age males.

Marriage
desires

is

a

man
is

to

not compulsory for marry, the lowest
Smritis
is

permissible age and the highest

according
thirty,

to
as

the

sixteen,
will

the following

texts

show

clearly

:

Brihaspati

:

A man
ten

thirty

marry a
of sixteen-

girl

of

years.

In

should old years another place the
a
girl

text reads that a

man

of thirty should marry
:
(

Manu
thirty

and

Yama

A man
Kanya/

at

the

age

of

should marry a
:

Dewala
iti

A man
form

at

**"/

in

due

a

the age of eighteen should of seven, who is then girl
'

called

'Gaud.'
:

Ashwalayana

A
'

'

Dwija
'

twice-born

of twenty-

' five should marry a Kanya of eight years. ' Rohini of less than thirty should marry a

A man
'

of

nine

years.

She becomes

Gandhari

'

after

ten,

and

he

who wishes long life should marry such a she attains her menses.
Wyasa:
has
fulfilled

girl

before

A
all

Dwija

of

twenty-six ,years,

who

observances

and

finished

his

studies,

should, with his preceptor's permission, if he desires to be a householder, marry a faultless and grown-up girl.

The Age of Hindu Marriage.

39

Gautama

:

A

householder
girl

should

marry an

un-

married grown-up

men have
marry
'

said

that

of less age than himself. Wise after fifty a man should not

in Kali

Yuga.
:

Wriddha-Qautama
Balya,'

A man
marry

should study
in
i '

in

his

early

age,

and

the.

Yauwana/

period of youth, after finishing his Brahmacharya.' Budha: After finishing the study of the Vedas and the service of his preceptor, and after having

completely

observed
of his
:

all

'

Wratas/

a

man

should

marry a
three,

girl

own
one,

caste.

Ashwalayana
or two,
should,
or

After

finishing

four
his

Vedas,
preceptor,

or

and

satisfying

a

man
for
life.,

after

completing
of

one-fourth
'Grihi,'

of his

life's

period,

twenty-five years,

become

householder,,

the

second

portion

and then

retire into

twenty-five the forest.

years

of

his

thirty years old should, the study of the Vedas, or two Vedas finishing or one, or after a fair master)- thereof and hr^'nq Bralnnachari all remained a the while, become a
:

Manu

(a)

A man

after

;

'

'

'

Grihastha/ householder.

()
of
his life

A man
with his

should

in

the
In

first

quarter

quarter of his

second preceptor. a wife he should stay life, by marrying in his house as a householder.
stay

the

male should be chosen who is Shrotriya well-endowed, one who is Yuwa/ young, intelligent, and beloved by men.

Yajnawalkya:
'

A

1

l

Shatatapa

:

A man

should be

Yuwa who

desires

40

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

has finished his study of the Vedas should marry a well-endowed girl. Before sixteen a man is not qualified for marriage. After he
:

Daksha

A man who

has
his

study of the Vedas and completed Brahmachari Wrata he should bathe and become
finished
his

Grihi, a householder.

Manu

:

The

'

Keshanta/ removal of
in

hair,

may
and

be

performed
a

the

case of

a
at

ceremony Brahmin at
twenty-two, After

sixteen, in

the case of

a

Kshatriya
at

in the case of

Waishya
Snataka,

twenty-five.

bathing
marriage.

he

becomes

anointed

and

fit

for

the Smritis

the majority of favour the age after twenty-five in the case of males. Only one text fixes the age at eighteen and another at sixteen. The maximum limit is also
fixed

These texts leave no doubt that

at

fifty.

The

text of

Dewala about eighteen
text
specifically

is

counterbalanced by his
at

own

which fixed the age
lays

twenty-five.
limit

Daksha
Manu's

down

a

xn^'mum

of sixteen, before text
is

which no man

may
other

legally marry.

about

sixteen relates to

Keshanta ceremony, and text which fixes thirty
medical

balanced by his as the limit of

own
age.

The

works

and Wagbhata

favour the higher ages. Sushruta fixed twenty-one and twelve as the
also

marriageable ages

mation

age twenty-five of marriage by cohabitation. These medical Children born of parents works slate who are r sixteen years less than tw enty-five and respectively
'
:

and

sixteen

of boys and as the

girls

respectively,
for

and

the consum-

old

are

either

still-born,

or

if

born

alive,

are

The Age of Hindu Marriage.

41

All these authorities are thus clearly in weaklings.' favour of late, as against child marriages. Nobody

now

that proposes to wait till twenty-five, though not be unreasonable, but surely a proposal to would

raise

the
is

minimum
not

males

an

age to eighteen or twenty for to the unreasonable concession

weakness of the Kali Yuga. To proceed next to the consideration of the age
for

females.

It

will

be
or

noted that
age

the Sutras
limit,

laid
left

down no minimum
marriages

to marry desired optional. do so at a time of life signified by the use of might the words Kanya, Kumari, Yinvati, Kanta, Nagnika, and Brahmacharini, which in those days were sufficiently
indicative of their being

maximum Those who

but

grown-up

girls.

The way
to
restrict

yi

which the

Smriti
firstly,
life

writers

proceeded
secondly,

this

freedom was, or unmarried

by prohibiting the choice of single
females,

to

by making
to
see

it

compulsory
daughters

on

fathers

or

guardians

their

married

before

puberty

at

the

rist

of

damnation, and thirdly, by inventing the age significance of the words

new

texts limiting

Kanya,

Kumari

Nagnika, &c., used by the Sutra writers. It is a very interesting study to mark the successive stages of this
gradual process
of
restriction

and

withstanding this manipulation, it the majority of the texts favour the age of twelve or the age of puberty as the marriageable age for girls. As might be expected, the Smriti texts, which bear
the

Notdegradation. be seen that will

same

names

as
in

some

of

the

older

Sutras,

are

naturally the most

accord

with the

ideas

of the

42
Sutra

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
period.

Baudhayana, for instance, prescribes a must be both a Nagnika and a that girl Bramhacharini, words obviously used in the sense of
the Sutras, that
is,

as

a

girl fit for

sexual connection, but

who

has had no such intercourse before.

Ashwalayana,
the

Shankhalikhitaf and Paithinasi also use the same words

Naguika and Kanya, but obviously use
a sense different from the Sutras.
uses the
in

words

in

word Kumari,

In the

Katyayana similarly same way Shaunaka

his

qf followed on the

the

Karika keeps up the memory of the traditions of Wrata to be three nights' observance
fourth night by actual consummation. change of habits the three nights'

Owing to the Wrata was enlarged to twelve days or a year's period for the final consummation of intercourse. Satyawrata, another writer of the same early period, also refers
to the three nights' observances, and the fourth nighCs union as completing the marriage. Even when less
liberal

notions

were

Ban^hayana

clearly

evidently permits the

in
girl

the

ascendant,

to wait for three

years after she attains her menses, and if till then her father did riot give her in marriage, she was at Wasishtha liberty to contract a lawful marriage herself.

According to him, belongs to the same early period. the girl eligible for marriage is one who is AsprishtaMaithuna, that is, has not had sexual intercourse, in
other
sense.

words,

is

Brahmacharini

in

the

old

Sutra

The
of

first

decisive

restriction

and

maximum

age for

downward course when the was brought down to the marriage
step
in

the

constraint

was

taken,

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
period
before

43
and the

a

girl

attained

her

menses,

words

Kanya,

Kumari,

Nagnika,

And a new defined accordingly. invented for the Wrishali, was
unmarried
authorities
after

were word of opprobrium,
and
others
girl

who

remained

she

attained

menstruation.

The

on this point are numerous, and belong decidedly to a later period, contemporary with the compilation of the 'Amarkosha' lexicon, which defines

Nagnika by
has

its

not attained

equivalent of N'tgatartawa, one who her menses. The omission of the

word Brahmacharini is easily explained, for ther^ was no occasion for the use of that text when the The descent from Nagnika, age was brought down. who was lit for sexual intercourse, to Nagatartawa,
one

who

had
one,

not

attained her menses,
constitutes

is

a clearly
in

marked

and

the

first

link

the

retrograde

Yama, Ashwalayana, Baudhayana, Dewala, Paithinasi, Gautama, Shankhalikhita, Brihaspati, Wasishtha, and Marichi, all prescribed the gift of a
chain.

Nagnika
called

girl

as

the

most
and

eligible

form

of marriage
Smritib,

Brahma-wiwaha,

the

following
Atri,

Brihaspati,

Parashara, Shatdtapa,

Wyasa,

Marichi,

Kashyapa, Shatyayani, Dewala, Yajnawalkya, Harita, Narada, Gautama, Sanwarta, Angira, Paithinasi, Yama,

and Vishnu, expressly contain
a
girl

texts,

laying

down

that

who
house

attains

father's

her menses, while living in her unmarried, becomes a Wrishali, and her
&c.,
incur the guilt
'

father,

brother,

of Bhrunahatya,
'

murder, or, more vaguely, go to hell, and rfer husband is a Wrishalipati, unfit to be associated with or invited for dead. Shradha, anniversary of the
child

44

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Paithinasi assigns another reason why a girl shoul be given before she attains her menses. That reason should be married before her breasts are is, 'A girl

developed/
a
girl

Angira

and

Kashyapa

also

require

that

not developed, or who has not attained her menses, should be given in marriage. The:- texts, it will be seen, say nothing about the
breasts are
girl incurring

whose

any

guilt.

On

the contrary, Baudhayana

permits her to give herself in marriage after waiting for her father doing so for three years, and according
to the
Smriti
writers,

namely, Wyasa, Atri,
Laugakshi,

Dewala,

Shaunaka, Ashwalayana, Apastamba, and Wriddha-Parashara, even when
Wriddha-Atri,
Marichi,

becomes impure in the course of the performof marriage rites, these rites are only delayed by three days of impurity, at the end of which she is to bathe and after a small penance she is eligible
girl

a

ance

for

marriage,
in

as

if

she had not attained
of
this

her menses.

But

the further development
it

same

retro-

grade

tendency, \icurred guilt, and that
to

was

that /she herself she should be abandoned by
laid

down

her father, and her face should not be seen according

Gautama and Markandeya.
girl,

and Atri the marriage of a
her

According to Brihaspati after she has attained
of

menses,

destroyed

the

welfare

the

giver's

ancestors.
first,

The word

'Wrishali'

was apparently,

at

applied to a barren woman or a woman who gave birth to still-born children. As shown above, the

word was obviously
he t
such

at

this

time intended to embrace
attained

unmarried
the

girl

who had

denunciations

against

menses, connection

und as
with a

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
Wrishali of
the
old sort, contained in

45
Harita,

Yama,

Ushanas, Manu, Wasishtha, Shaunaka, and Gautama, were made applicable to marriages with girls after The next step in order they had attained menses.
of further restriction was taken

by

fixing the

time of

the

first

appearance of menses at the age of twelve.
laid

Yama, Parashara, and Brihaspati
attain
their

down

that girls

twelfth

menses when they have reached the and they condemn the father who year,
duty
in

neglected his that period.

getting

his

girl

married before

Manu and Yama accepted the limit of twelve years as a suitable age limit for the bride of a full grown-up man of thirty, and Sanwarta fixed
upon twelve years
a
Wrishali.
as the age This was thus the
in

when
next

have

been

later

time

than

became and must step the age of Amaraa
girl

view, or in exaggeration of a Nagnika was defined in the Puranas to be a girl it, who did not feel the desire of concealing her IHbs
this

kosha, noted above. In keeping with

a male's presence, or was still playing like a chila the dust, and did not know what was proper and improper. But a time came soon after, when the limit
in
in

of twelve
writers,

was thought to be too liberal by the text and the words Nagnika, Kanya, and Kumari
of

were subjected to further
prescribed the marriage
'
'

The Sutras manipulation. a Kumari/ virgin, and a
'

Kanya, daughter, had stated that

among
they

whose
should

qualifications

they

Brahmacharini.

Nagnika and In the Sutras the words Kanya and

be

Kumari, were never intended to signify any particular

46
age,
'

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
or
state

of bodily development, any more than
'

Bharya/ wife, or Stri/ woman, used in Britiaspati and Apastamba. They are general words, and used in as such Manu, Ashwalayana, Shaunaka, and Baudhayana, in various places, where girls of twelve

and

after

maturity

are

called

Brihaspati,

father

is

Yama, Parashara, condemned to the
desire

Kanya, as also and Vishnu, where
of child-murder

in

a

sin

who

leaves his

Kanya When, however, a
the

unmarried after she attains menses.

began to be
the
as

felt

'Jown

age

from

twelve,

device
a
girl

bring of defining;

to

Kanya, Kumari
reached
a
to account.

and

Nagnika,

who

had

was adopted and turned age, Thus Kashyapa styled a girl of seven Gauri, and a girl of ten was called Kanya, and a girl Another reading called after ten was Rajaswala. of this same text states that a girl after ten becomes
particular

a Kumari.

third reading states that at the age Sanwarta styled a of twelve she becomes Rajaswala. FT I of eight years Gauri, of nine years Nagnika, and

A

Kanya, and of twelve Wrishali, which last became synonymous with Rajaswala. Yama, and Parashara called the girl of eight Gautama, Garga,
of ten

thus

Gauri,

of nine

Rohini,

of

ten

Kanya, and
this

after

ten

she

.

became
a
girl

Rajaswala.

By
after

device

calling

Rajaswala

ten,

of merely these writers

attempted to cancel the definition adopted by previous above of fixing the age of twelve as texts noted
the age
also

of menstruation.

Ashwalayana
Gauri,
their
in

and

adopted Kanya, as the names

the

nomenclature
of girls

Rohini
eighth,

Dewala and
ninth

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
and tenth
Gandhari.
year,

47
after

and

they

called
girl

the

girl

ten

Angira called the
a
girl

before she attained

menses
called

Nari,

called Rohini,

who had attained menses was and one who had developed breasts was
The
of
confusion
of

Kanyaka.
open

seen in these texts,

and
the

their

contradiction

each

other

and

of

the texts quoted before, fixing large the age of marriage by the limit of monthly courses, or

number

twelve years, condemns them as being later tamperings with old texts or later additions. By this ignoble
the marriageable age of girls was cut dowr; two years and reduced from twelve to ten for, by after ten a girl was supposed to be Rajaswala, against
device
;

all

the facts or experience, and the authority of texts which fixed the age at twelve.
the limit of ten was not low enough, and complete the degradation, it was later on suggested

As

if

to

boys, any Upanayana,' initiation ceremony to go through, the marriage sacrament should be taken in tVo place of the Upanayana
girls

that

as

had

not,

like

'

ceremony

of boys, and therefore, the texts laying the age for Upanayana were by analogy made Angira and applicable to girls for their marriage.

down

Sanwarta
the

laid

it

down
as

that wise
a
fit

men have commended
a
girl's

age

of eight

age for

marriage.

But as Manu's authority was required to support the fraud, a text of Manu was made to order, laying it
conception wa s the best time for a boy's Upanayana or a girfs Warana acceptance of a husband. The w ord Warana to c Wiwaha' in the text is not exactly equivalent

down
i

that
'

eight years from birth

or

r

48

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

but it supports the marriage, used in the Angira's text, which the fraud was based. confusion of ideas on and Marichi also as and Dewala,

Ashwalayana Brihaspati, were
the

laid

under

contribution

particular blessings

or particular portions

assigning of heaven to

as

man who married or who gave his was a Gauri, a marriage when she a few In this indirect way Kanya.
apparently fraudulent
additions

daughter in Rohini or a
solitary

and
to

have

been

made

do duty, and the eligible marriage age to what it now obtains in a large number of cases. That some of these texts have been manipulated
can hardly
of

was

reduced

admit of

doubt

;

for

instance,

the

texts
girl

Manu,

Narada
a
in
all

and

Yama
till

which allowed a
death

'to remain

unmarried even

rather than be

wedded to been made
should on
a

man who

is

of a

bad
a

some books to read
accounts be given to

that

character/ such a

has
girl

man, howsoever
is

bad he might be, and her forcible abduction
all

not

at

sin.

In the Kashyapa

text a similar manipulation

of ten for twelve years is proved different still extant books.

by the readings
the

in

Taking a connected view of
it

whole

subject,

will

be seen that the authorities for the marriage of

additions later eight years are obviously to two obscure Smritis, of which and are limited Manu text full texts have not been preserved, and the The Authorities is evidently not to the point.
girls

before

quoted

who
great

at ten are similarly of no support the marriage on a device by which the weight, being based

word Kanya has been

distorted

from

its

correct sense

The Age of Hindu Marriage.
to

49
are

mean
in

a girl

of ten years.

These

authorities

eight

number.
is

The

largest

years down the limit at the speaking, these authorities lay a girl attains one of the signs of puberty period when have menstruation. But, even taking them as .they the limit of twelve is supported' been since interpreted,

authorities

for

twelve

preponderance of as the limit. Properly

by nearly
it

may

of repute, and as such be taken as representing the correct sense ot
thirty

text-writers

It is also supported by the Smriti writers generally. Marriage at the the orthodox works on Medicine.

twelfth year and consummation at the sixteenth appear thus to be the normal and authoritative ages for girls.

brought to a remote close. Leaving the old Sutra period as too to influence the present condition of our population,

Here these observations

must

be

no such objection can

be

urged

to

the

limits

laid

down

above, that

is,

twelve for

girls'

and eighteen or

sixteen twenty for boys' marriages, and respectively, as supported by and twenty-five for consummation,
texts. majority of the really authoritative Those who seek reform in this matter ao not desire

the

vast

to turn marriage into an affair of mutual love. They do not want to thrust aside the parental authority,
or to

diminish

the

sense

of

responsibility

now

felt

They advocate
the
real
is,

sense

a return from modern corruptions to of the old Smriti texts, and their

request
It

is

therefore, fairly entitled to consideration. reaction hoped that, after the present

subsides,

men

will

come

to

see that,

in

clinging

to

the existing

order

of things,

they are

really

setting

50

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
traditions

at naught the

of their

own

best

days and

the
of

all

injunctions of their considerations of
in

own

Shastras,

not to speak

that,

calling

for

a

duty and expediency, and change on the old lines, the
lop
off

reformers seek, not to revolutionise, but to the diseased over-growth and excrescences,
restore vitality

and

to

This

introduction
in

and energy to the social organism. Mr. Dayaram to Gidumal's
1887,

book, written

ends

here.

Since

then the
large

hope expressed towards the end has been, to a
extent,
realised.

Agency, the Rajputana Walterkrita Hitakarini Subha, started about this time, has been carrying on, under the authority of the
In

the

Rajput
raising

among

Rulers themselves, the work of gradually the age limit of marriage in the case of girls the Rajputs, Charans and other castes. The

age limit fixed upon is fourteen years, and from the reports of the last twelve years it is gratifying to note that the rules are being observed throughout
these
large
territories.

The example

of Rajputana

is

being followed in Malwa and other parts of India. In the South the Mysore Government passed in
1894,

two Regulations
ill-assorted

for the prevention

of early and

old

brought

into

Bills were marriages. the Legislative Council of the Madras

Two

similar

'Government, which proposed higher

limits,

and they

were
the

received of

favourably
India,

by
Bills,

the
did

public.

The
on
the

Government
ground advanced
that
to

however,

not

sanction

introduction

of

these

apparently

public
justify

opinion was not yet Government action.

sufficiently

On

the

The Age of Hindu Marriage.

51

Malabar Coast, a special Marriage Law has, however, found favour with the authorities, the effect of which
fail to produce healthy change in course of In the Baroda State, a measure for the preventime. tion of infant marriages was thought of and a Draft

cannot

prepared, but owing to unforeseen difficulties the measure has been for the present laid aside. Froin the reports of the Indian Social Conference and of the
Bill

various

Social

Reform

Associations

established

in

different provinces,

it is clear that the marriageable ages of both girls and boys are being slowly raised, and in most of the caste-associations, the age of twelve for

girls

is

being
In
this

obligatory.

Samaja

recognized as both desirable and the Bramha Samaja and the Arya raised to age has been still further

fourteen, in the one case
socjal opinion.

by law and
in

in

the other

by

This
opinion
action

advance
will

made
fail

the

growth
to

not

before

long
will

of public influence the

of Government,

and

it

be thus seen that

the tendency towards lowering the age, which marked Puranic India, has been vigorously checked, and the
tide

has

turned

towards

the
In

revival

of

the
as

most
will

ancient salutary custom.

other
in

respects,
tin's

appear
the
rally

from

condition
rights

subsequent chapters of the widows is being
of

work, the ameliorated and

female

heirs

are

being
laid

more
in

Vedic

recognized and the
is

on
Epic
every
of

the

lines

down
past that

genethe

times

of
to

our

history.
in

There
respect

then

reason
the

hope

this
al-

the

efforts

reformers

have

not

52

jEssays on Religious

and

Social Reform.

together proved fruitless, and that a better time is dawning upon our horizon, when with the advance of female education and a better appreciation of the
blot emancipation, this great which has disfigured the social condition of India for the past thousand years or more, will be removed,

necessity

of

female

and
of

this

country restored to the purity and elevation

its

ancient grandeur.

III.

VEDIC AUTHORITIES FOR' JWIDOW MARRIAGE.
Re-marriage Controversy was at its height on this side of <A great Council was held to discuss the question, India. tinder the presidency of His Holiness the Shankaracharya of these parts, at Poona. Five learned Shastris were selected as JPunch on the orthodoK side and five others were selected on the Reform side. After nine days' discussion seven Shastris gave their
1

This Paper was written about

i8jo,

ivhen

the

Widow

in favonr of the validity of The Castes. late higher lamented Mr. Vishnu Shastri Pandit was the leader of the Reform party, and he and Jiis friends have continued About a the celebrations of more re-marriages till now. hundred such marriages have taken place on this side of India, including the Presidency of Bombay, Central Provinces and the Berars. The popular excitement at the time was great, and one of the younger reformers, who had been defamed by a Shastri on the other side, brought a criminal complaint in the Court of Dr. A. O. l^raser, who was then the Railway Magistrate, at Poona. Dr. Fraser, in delivering the judgment, discussed the question^ and it was deemed desirable to publish in an English Jorm the principal Vedic and Pnranic authorities, on which the JReformers relied in support of the validity of such marriages. This paper was published at the time and- it With this introexhaustively treats the whole subject. duction the remarks that follow will be intelligible. Editor.

opinions against and among re-marriage

three the

FRASER,

PR.

great stated

in his learned judgment in the Poona Defamation Case, has very clearly* one of the grounds on which the

advocates of

re-marriage

found

their

argument, that

54

Essays on Religious and
is

Sociat,

Reform.

permitted to the high-caste Hindu widow As the learned Judge has so in this present age.
re-marriage
forcibly put it, in seeking this reform, the advocates are only endeavouring to restore the purer institutions of old times. People who are ; however, not conversant

with the merits of the question, may be misled by the special prominence given to one minor argument
in the

Kali age, which is the come, and to which

judgment, namely, that the central period of the Yuga proper Kali-yuga not yet
alone
the prohibitions against

remarriage and other institutions can apply, has not yet commenced, and in fact, it will commence only after some thirty-one thousand years from this date.

This

special

mention
into

of

it

in

the
that

judgment
the
to

may
their

mislead

people
all

thinking

advocates
build

have
that
far

after

a

very narrow basis

great argument upon,
this
false

from
that

this

necessary So impression should be removed. the only one the argument being
their

and

it

is

deemed

advocates
is

ground
it

movement

upon,

the

truth

occupied
discussions
specially

in the late

only a very secondary place Dr. Eraser's attenat Poona.
to
it

fact that

by reason of the Shastri, was the first to discover this line of argument, and he communicated it to the late lamented Vishnu Shastri Pandit, the great apostle of this movement on our side of
tion

was

directed

one of the accused, Vyankata

India,

who made
it

use of

it

in

the late discussion at

Poona, and there
disputants

stood

its

gave however, a very lame argument,

no

answer

ground, for the orthodox In itself, it is, to it.
for
it

has no

force

Vedic Authorities for
if

Widow Marriage,
validity

55

the

This was the position taken up in the late discussions, although as it is a very unsafe one, the Pancha on the orthodox side in

even

antagonist denies the in the previous ages.

of

re-marriage

their joint

decision
'

statement,

that

apply
in in

only
Kali

wisely confined themselves to * by reason of the prohibitions which 01 the to this Kali-yuga practice

remarriage
this

derives
age,'

no countenance from the Shastras
thereby

the
it

previous ages,

when

impliedly admitting that the prohibitions did not
Shastras.

exist,

was
all

valid

by the
is

This

is

a

position

about which there
the
this

opinion of concession

authorities
liberty
is

general consensus of most opposed to the
a

of

to

widows
that
for

in

this

age.
is,

Once, however, it authorized by the

admitted

re-marriage

Shastras

the
to

Vyankata

Shastri's

argument
It

comes

previous ages, the assistance
in

of the advocates of re-marriage

much

the

way

of

a plea in abatement.

simply put up their quarrels for the present, and for thirtyone thousand years more, at which distance of time alone the prohibitions will come inio force, even
allowing

asks both parties to

them

to have

any binding

character.

The advocates of re-marriage are, however, in a They position to make out a much stronger case. are able to show in the first instance, that the re-marriage of widows has the positive authority of
the
all

Shastras,

which Shastra
that
is

authorities
for all

hold good for

the four Yugas,
able

time.

They

are

also

to

establish,

that,

texts for

the

Kali-yuga

to

allowing the prohibitory be in force now, they

56
only

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
restrict,

and do not totally abrogate, the privilege enjoyed before, and that the widow's case falls under
permitted
lawful
is

the class of the
in

circumstances
a

of distress,

which

it

is

for

woman
to
live

once married in
a
life

due form,

if

she

unable

of

single

devotion to her deceased husband's memory, to marry another man. Before we proceed to arrange the
texts
in due order, it is necessary to bear in mind that the Vedas, the Smritis, and the Pur jams including Itihasas are the three-fold authorities which constitute

our Law, and that the Veda texts over-ride
texts,

all

Smriti

and

these latter over-ride

all

Puranas,

in

cases

of direct conflict.
are
silent,

When
the

the former class of authorities
are
is

then

latter
fiction

held
all

authoritative.

The

that

binding and these Smriti

texts

proceeded they must all be reconciled together, a place being found for every text by force of the rules mentioned allows to one before, and also by a rule which
institute

from one and the same source, and

a

sort
all

of

presidential
if

authority for
conflict

its

age
it.

controlling

others,
rules
in

in

direct

with

The ordinary Hindu law as

of interpretation are the same in English law, that words are to be

understood in their plain and grammatical that technical words are to be understood
\

meaning,
in

their

technical sense, that a general law is restricted in its operation by a special and particular one, and so on. With these prefatory remarks, we enter upon

the

argument

by

which

we
to

hope
four

to

establish,

that the Shastras

common

the

ages
in
all

permit
castes.

or authorize the re-marriage of widows

Vedic Authorities for
in only difficulty of the widow to marry

Widow Marriage.

57
right

The

the

way

of

the

completed
permit

first

marriage.
or

again is the fact of her All texts, therefore, which

or authorize

prohibit

an

Udlui,
to

a

woman
again

whose first marriage is perfected, under certain enumerated cases of
or
prohibit,
shall

marry
of

distress,

authorize
widovfs.
;

a

fortiori,

the

remarriage

We

now enumerate
first,

the texts in their order
next,

the

Vedic

texts

the

Smritis

and

after

them

the references in the Puranas and the Itihasas.

The Vedic Texts.
" Get

up,

oh

woman,

you

who

lie

down by

the side of this your lifeless husband. Come to this crowd of living people about you here, and may

you become the wife of some person taking the hand of a widow in re-marriage."
This text
occurs
in

desirous

of

Yajurveda, Taittirfya Aranyaka, Prapathaka, VI Shloka 14. It occurs in all the other Vedas also, and is quoted in Ashwal/iyana
In the course Baudhjlyana. of the re-marriage discussions, this text was brought prominently to the notice of the late Pundit Vishnu
IV,
2,

58,

and

also

in

Shastri
slight

by

Dr.

Biihler,

who remarked
letters
in

that

by

a

modification of

two

one

word,

the

text

was made to countenance Satee, when it was really meant to persuade the widow to re-marriage. It is addressed to the wife of an Agnihotri Brahmin who it seems had in old times by way of deceased,
her grief to lie down by the side of the her dead husband. Some near relation,
is

expressing corpse of

says the Sutra,

to

go to her

after

having

recited

58
this

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
text,

bring
is

and with the right hand raise her up, and This her back to the crowd of her relations.
text,

an express

and

the

translation

as

given

is

If taken word for word from Sayana's Commentary. an Agnihotrf, who has even borne the wife of

children

to

hnn,

may

marry,

all

objection to

the re-

marriage of helpless girl-widows is, a fortiori, removed. 'Therefore many wives to one husband there

may
wife.'

be,

but

not

many husbands
in

together

to

one

This
Panchika,

text

occurs

Aitareya

22

Khanda.

The word

Brahmana, III saha (together'} is
in

very significant, no such word occurs It indicates that one the husband.

reference

to

woman

cannot

have
first

many
husband

husbands

impliedly

sanctioning
is

together at the same time, a second marriage when the

'Your Gandharva became
third husband,

dead and gone, &c. first husband was the
your
husband.

moon, Agni
will

after

him was your
be your
is

and those born of men

fourth husband/

This text occurs in Rigveda, VIII Ashtaka, and on the occasion of marriage. Every girl recited

is

thus the wife successively of three superhuman beings, and what is the most significant part of the text, it says, those born of men (the word is in the plural
altogether, as belonging to the order of beings, be your fourth husband, impliedly giving sanction to successive marriages with human husbands.

number)

will,

human
'

Oh

Ashvini
night
?

during the

Kumara, where do you stay Where do you remain during the

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
?

59
offering

day

?

Where do you
invites

dwell
to

What
sacrifice

priest

sacrifices

you

the

as

a

widow

attracts

her
is

second

man who
her bed.'

husband, or a wife attracts the her husband to be present with her in

useful

is This text occurs in Rigveda, VII. It 18. to show that in those archaic times, it was a
,

common
company
strange,

illustration to

of their second

speak of widows blessed in the husbands. It was no more

no more disreputable, than for a wife to be happy in the embrace of her husband. The mention of a Didhishu husband, that is,

a

man who

marries

a widow,

or a
in

woman who
several

has

been married once before, occurs
the Vedas,
'

places in

as,

for

instance,
:

in

Taittiriya

Brahman^,
of a

III, 4, 4, this

To

passage occurs the Goddess Anidhi,
is

the

sacrifice

Didhishu husband
aii

enjoined/ which passage contains enumeration of human sacrifices to the different
arid

gods,

to

man

who

some god, was married

seems, the sacrifice of a to a widow was specially
it

acceptable, just as others liked children or women or old men, or even Brahmins learned in the Vedas.

Veda IX., in a passage in Atharva which was communicated by Dr. F. Kielhorn, 5, 27, Deccan College, Professor of Oriental Languages,
Lastly,

Poona, it is expressly said, that She who having had a first hnsband subseanother second husband, provided quently marries
'

they two give an Aja
separate/

Panchodana,

they

should

not

60

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

in

more emphatic 'This second husband goes to the same place heaven with the twice married woman, if he gives
following verses are
still
:

The

an Aja Panchodana, a kind of
offerings to the sun.' IX.
'

offering,

and additional

2,

28.

Such married couples
29.

after giving a

cow with her

Calf,

a bullock, a bed, clothes and gold, go to the best
5,

of heavens.' IX.

We

fail

to

see

what more

man

or

woman

can

desire after this assurance.

Against

all

this

mass of express permissive
(and
all

texts

and
have

incidental
in

references

incidental

references

the

case

of

the

Vedas
this

the same force as

express
tjiere
is

permission), against nothing to be advanced

mass of evidence,
on
the
other
side

except one solitary text. 'As about the same

sacrificial

post,

two
marry
round

cords

can

be

tied

wives.
sacrificial

As

one

round, so one man cord cannot be
so

may
tied

posts,

one

wife

cannot

marry

two two two

husbands.'

This text occurs in Black Yajurveda, Ashtaka VI.

Prapathaka comes to no more than
6,

Adhyaya

4,

Anuvaka

3.

After

all,

it

this,

that one

woman

cannot

marry
is

two husbands

at

the same time.

For there

the

nothing to prevent one cord, when loosened from first post to which it was tied, from being wound
post.

round another

And

that

this

is

the- correct

rendering will be seen by comparison of this text with the second text translated before, where the
significant

word 'together' occurs.

Vedic Authorities Jor

Widow Marriage,

61

Besides this solitary text, no Vedic text expressly prohibiting the marriage of widows, or the re-marriage of a girl once married in due form, has been discovered.

sought to infer indirect prohibition from the use of the word Kanyti, daughat the time ter, in the mantras which are recited
7

The

Benares

Pandits

have

of the

first

marriage.

The

father

says to the bridegroom

' :

I

give this

my

Kanyd,
'

daughter

by
is

your hand.

Now
'

it

pouring 'contended
'

this

water
the

on

that

word

Kanya, daughter, should be restricted to the artificial unmarried daughter, as if the relation sense of an
of the father and mother to

the

girl,

the word
the

Kanya
and

or

marriage,

daughter, ceases at the ever after. This position,
for the

expressed by time of

howeverf

cannot be sustained,
to

daughter remains
sits

Kanya
as
as

her father, inherits as
offers oblations to

such,
as

in

mourning
long
the

such,
lives,

him

such
her
in

as

she

and long
are

there

through innumerable texts

after

sons.

Moreover,

which

word

Kanya is applied to a married daughter. The Vedic texts recited at the time of the first marriage, as
they contain no words of limitation, apply with effect to any second marriage when the father
equal
gives

away away

his
his

widowed daughter.

The

father

in

giving

over her.
relations,

daughter does not part with all his rights He only creates other rights and other

good

for

the

time

they

stand.

Just

as

when a prince gives land in service Inam, the grantee he lives, or has issue is the proprietor so long as
capable
of carrying into effect

the objects for which

62 the
gift

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
is

made, and the prince, on failure of issue, may make a second gift of the land, the gift of a daughter in marriage is a conditional one, and not
out-and-out
gift
gift.

an
the

of

a

husband's death,
Desolate
right

The fourfold objects for which is made are defeated by the girl leaving the girl widowed behind him,
and
to

and
the

hopeless,

the
a

father

has
gift

by analogy We have thus shown that the daughter or Kanya, on matters of law, the Vedas, highest authority as a permitted thing even to recognise re-marriage
the
wife

make

second

every of his

of
to

allowed

Agnihotri, and that she should remain as wife, and that it was

an

be

an

ordinary thing of widows and their second husbands.

in

those

days to speak

of the

felicity

II.

SMRITI AUTHORITIES FOR

WIDOW MARRIAGE.
' :

is

Vyasa in his Smriti i, 4, says seen between the Vedas, the

When

a conflict

Smritis

and

the

In case Puranas, then the Vedas are the authority. of conflict between the latter two, the Smritis are to

be preferred/
texts
tion.
First,

As regards preference among the Smriti rules of constructhemselves, there are two
'If

one
is

set

of

Institutes

contradicts the

option' other, (Mitakshara, Commentary on Yajnavalkya, v. 5). And, again, each age has Institute. its presiding Secondly, 'In the Kritayuga

then there

the

Institutes

of

Manu,

in

Treta the

Institutes of

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
Institute of S'ankha

ti3

Gautama,
Parasara,

in

Dvapara
in

the
Kali

and
of

Likhita, and
are

the

age,
'

the
cases

Institutes

to

be

With the help
shall

of

preferred these rules

in

of

conflict.

now enumerate

interpretation, we the Smriti texts in their order,

of

continuing the enumeration of the authoritative texts which permit the re-marriage of a woman who^e

marriage has once been completed. Manu, ' In the case of five

when

afflictions, namely, the husband has gone abroad and no tidings of him have been obtained, when the husband is dead, when the husband becomes a Sanyasi, recluse, when the

husband

is

a

eunuch, and lastly

when

the

husband

being guilty of the five great sins, becomes a Patita, that is, one for whose offence no atonement is prescribed
;

in

these

five

afflictions

another

husband
does
extant,

is

permitted by the Institutes to

women/
This
text
are
as

This
occur
in

is

explicit

enough.
as

not
but

the

Institutes
cites

they
it

Madhavacharya
it
is

and extracts

found in the

be an epitome of

by

all

that

it

is

Narada Smriti Smriti, and it is acknowledged a text of Manu. The fact is, it is

from Manu, and which professes to

Manu

the law of the dissolution of the marriage tie which As the modern law allows seven this text expounds.
years'

unheard-of
these

absence

as

a

justification-

for

re-marriage,

Institute-writers

did

the

same.

A

ciation

absence, of the world or becoming a monk, and lastly excommunication for great offences, these are all valid-

long

unheard-of

death, imbecility, renun-

justifications

for

the

dissolution

of

the marriage

tie

64

Essays on Religious and Social Rejorm.
objects

natural law, for in all these cases the great of marriage are defeated.

by

Narada.
IX.
12, 97-

This same text occurs in

Narada Smriti
after

The
text in

verses
this

which

come

immediately
first

the
text,

Smriti
is,

explain the

word of the
of.

Nashte, that

gone abroad and not heard

Those

verses also explain the length of the period during which a wife should wait for her absent husband of whom

Brahmin wife should wait if she has for her absent husband for eight years she should wait for four, and never borne children,

no

tidings

are received.

'

A

;

then accept another

husband.'

In

a

similar

manner,

and three years, and four and two periods of six for women of the Ksbatriya and years, are prescribed No period is prescribed Vaishya castes, respectively. In all cases when tidings of Shudra's wife. for a
'

the period of absence being alive are received, This is the view of Prajapati should be double. If after the period prescribed, husbands. about absent
his

the

woman
sin in

associates with

another

husband, there

is

no

the act/

About the other

afflictions similar
is
is

uncertainty does not exist, for the period when the disability commences and the Smriti Narada. ' In the case of a husband
to

certain

silent.

belonging
eunuchs,
they

one

of

the

four

different

sorts

of

their

wives should
with

abandon them
IX.
12,
15.

though

have

cohabited
others
of

them,

In the case of

two

the imbecile
is

class,

A kshipla

and Moghdbija,

another husband

months'

trial,

permitted to their wives after six though they have cohabited with them.

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
kind

65

In

the

case

of

a

seventh
in

passion only than his wife, the wife should marry

feels

the

of imbecile, who company of women other

another

husband/

a sure important, index of the meaning attached by the writers of the In both Institutes to the main text quoted before. the texts the word used is Pati, and one of the
texts
are
for

These

they

afford

arguments
fact

in

the recent discussion

at

Poona,

and

in

the

that
texts,

the

argument on the other side was, second word Pati, occurring in the main should be rendered into a protector, which
chief
is

meaning
translated

plainly
this

out

in

and

of place here. The texts the preceding para, remove all

doubt

on

this

after the main text, and in
is

used

all

understood
case of a
1

latter come immediately them the same word Pati through in a manner where it can be as husband and husband alone. The

head.

The

limitation of the

period of absence

is

different in

the
that

in

the

woman who has borne children from case of her who has borne none from
Then
in
first

her

first

husband.

though the
Pati,

the texts about eunuchs, husband has lived and cohabited as
as

Kritcpi

Patikarmani, yet
the functions of

he

is

incapable

of

Patikarma,

a Pati,

or husband, is prescribed. to the sense in which the that
it

This settles

another Pati, all doubts as

is

a

perfect

Pati,

word is to be understood, and not a candidate prois

posed to

be a
texts.

husband

that

spoken

of in

these

and other

Moreover, in the text from Manu and Narada bout the five afflictions, translated above, the first
5

66

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
Pati

being understood in its proper sense as husband, it is not possible to give any other meaning to the second word Pati. The same woman, who

word

has
text,

lost

her

first

Pati,

husband,
Pati.
If

is,

according to the
this

to take

another
to

by
be

that

she
}

was

seek

a

protector

he

were meant cannot be
another, a mere
affliction

Any a
only

another, Pati. with reference

He
to

can

Anya,
Besides,

the
in

first.

protector can

be of no help
loss
it.

remedying the
of
is

which

the

or

incapacity

the

first

husband
for

brings with

A

husband

who

a eunuch does not
his

become

unfit

to be a

protector of

wife,

he
an

can protect and maintain her most comfortably. This same word Pati is, moreover,
ordinary
writers

not

undefined

word.
it.

Nearly

all

the

Institute

have

defined

Manu,
others

Wasishtha, Brihaspati, and

Narada, have said

Yama,
' :

Not

by the pouring
nor by
the
called
after

of

water on the bridegroom's hand,

offer

by

groom
It
is

Pati,

word of mouth, is the bridehusband of the kanya, daughter.

the ceremony of taking hold of the hand at the seventh step, which the bride and bridethat, groom take together, the bridegroom becomes Pati

of a certainty/ This definition

of the word ought to
interpretation

silence

all

doubts

as

to

the

to

be put

upon

the word Pati in the texts from

Manu and Narada

quoted before.
marriage
five
is

Together they establish that- a second lawtul to a woman under the enumerated

afflictions,

other nations,

have

in the which, jurisprudence of all been held to justify dissolution

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
to

67

of the marriage
again.

tie

with consequent liberty

marry

To

proceed with the argument: Manu, IX. 176. 'She who

is

abandoned by her
if

husband

or

is

a

girl

widow,

she

has

never

cohabited with a man, she is fit to be piarried to a second husband. If she leaves her first husband, and returns back without having cohabited with another

man, the

first

husband

may
her.'

go

through

a

second

ceremony of marriage with

Besides the five cases of distress before mentioned, Manu in the text adds two more, only with the qualification, that

Wasishtha,
a
girl-wife,

she should be free from impure cohabitation. XVII.' On the death of the husband of

merely married with the recital of the Mantras, but has never cohabited with her husband, she is fit to be given in marriage again.'
has
If she is a girl widow or has been abandoned by her husband by force or violence, then

who

been

Prajapati

<

she

is

fit

to be

taken as a wife by
if

any

man upon

a second ceremony of marriage.'

Narada
if

'

Even
the
is

completed, the husband, she

the marriage rites have all been daughter has not cohabited with
fit

to be married again.

She

is

like

an

unmarried

daughter,
'

kanya,

or

as

though

no

marriage was celebrated.'

Shatatapa
bad
to
disposition

A

is

not

husband from a low family or of fit to be united in marriage

a

daughter.

Though
repeated,

the
that

Mantras,
is,

texts,

have
rites

been

marriage the though
are

marriage

have

been

performed,

they

not

88
binding.

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
If

she

has

not

cohabited with
force,
1

him,

she

should be wrested back
in

from him by
is

and given
effect

marriage to another

who

qualified.

The

last

two

texts

and others to the same

are of importance. They show what importance is attached to the complete performance of marriage rites. They are not allowed to work injustice even

when
the

the

first

husband

is

living

;

and a

fortiori,

it

cannot have been intended that they should stand in

way

of the

widow
'

after his death.

Katyayana
the husband

having married the girl, dies or disappears, the girl may marry
If

after

again after an interval of six months.' If the husband Katyayana
'

is

of

another

or

a palita, or a eunuch, or of bad disposition, belongs to the same Gotra or clan, or is a slave, in such all or is afflicted with chronic malady,
caste, or

cases, a
all

Kanya, daughter, though the marriage rites have performed, is lit to be given in marriage to another person with clothing and ornaments.'
been
This text
is

who
in

is

afflicted

important as with chronic
a

it

shows that a husband
not stand
fortiori,

sickness does

the

way
dead

of

second
put

husband
girl

cannot
her
<

in

marriage. a claim

A

a

to

keep the
is is

a

widow all Wasishtha
with

life.

If
is

he
a

comes of a low
eunuch,
or
is

evil-disposed,
aiiiicted

or

or

is

family or patita, or
is

epilepsy,

-diseased,
clan, in
in

or
all

or belongs to the

same Gotra,

"an actor, these cases,

daughter, though given wrested back and given again.'

the

marriage,

may

be

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage..
be
less

69

Many
suffice.

other texts
are

may
no

cited,

but

these will

There

thus

than eight different

Institutes

which permit the re-marriage, under peculiar
of
distress,

circumstances

of a

girl

once married in
all

due form.

Of

course,

same

particular

they do not but justifications,

enumerate the
of

five

them

ex-

case of t'he husband's pressly allow re-marriage in the death, and the others, by implication or by analogy.

By way
are

of

summing
than

up,

it

may be

stated, that there

no

less

seventeen

afflictions

upon

the

happening of which different Institutes permit a second marriage to a girl once married in due form.
All

the texts cited hitherto are texts which have

efficacy for all the

well be regarded so in the satisfactorily to establish that as in the Vedas, from there being no recognition of Institutes, so far

Yugas.

They may

the validity of re-marriage, there are express provisions for no less than seventeen cases in which remarriage
is

Against this mass of authorities, what the other side to show ? not a single express have
justifiable.

which negatives this permission. Manu, in his on the duties of a widowed woman who chapter
text

wishes to live in
her

single

devotion to the
says very

memory
in
'
:

of

deceased

husband,
so

naturally,

the

exaggerated way widow should emaciate

common
;

with him, that

The

on
lord

fruits,
is

her body by subsisting and flowers let her not when her deceased, even pronounce the name of another
roots,

man.'

Moreover

:

The widow who from

a

desire

of

children proves unchaste to her husband, and has unlaw-

70
ful

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
intercourse

with another, brings disgrace on
attain

herself,

and will not husband goes.
other

The

the place in heaven where her children begotten on her by any
is

than

her husband

not her progeny nor the

progeny of such begetter.' In respect of chaste women, this other is nowhere spoken of as her second husband.

These are the only texts which have been urged and, strange to say, relied on by a few European scholars of some authority on points [>f law. They all lay down the line of conduct which
on the other side
;

a

widow who wishes

to

live

a

life

devoted to the

memory ot her deceased husband should observe. They only prohibit illegitimate connections. The advocates

of

woman
life

remarriage have never maintained that after her husband's death should not live

a

a

of single devotion to her deceased husband. They such heroic self-sacrifice to a sentifreely allow that

ment

is

peculiarly
live this

meritorious.

But
a

cannot

species
girl,

of

life,

widowed when a

before she

a woman who woman who is knew who was her

husband, before she knew what her duties as wife were surely such a woman cannot practise this devotion. It

on behalf of such women chiefly, that this reform peremptory crying want, and to require them to live a
is

is

a

life

Manu prescribes is a simple of all religion and justice. And after all, the mockery woman is directed not to prove unchaste, not to have
of devotion in the manner

unlawful intercourse with another.

To the same
quoted
:

effect is

another passage from

Manu

often

'To whomsoever the
the consent of the father

father

or the brother

with

gives her in marriage, she

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.

71
/

living, and not prove unchaste The word used is to him even after his death.' which Kulluka Bhatta, the Langhayet, over-step, have to mean commentator, interprets Vyabhicharet

should serve him while

unlawful intercourse.

Manu,
once
in

again

:

'A

girl

marriage. Inheritance from the
once,

Three

can only be g4ven once things occur
ancestor

away
only.

same

can

only

take
once,

place

a daughter

and

the

same

once only.'

By

thing the analogy of the
this

can only be given can be given awa)

away

to another
it

illustrations,

is

apparent, of the first marriage as a general rule, except where other texts intervene by way of exceptions. Except in
places where these marriage, the girl,
texts, intervening,
it is

that

text only

determines the finality

allow

a

second,

admitted,

can

only be given

away
host

once.

allowable are
of

The exceptions where remarriage is Otherwise the as much law as the rule.
which
sanction
of a
forcible
gift,

texts

separation,

which
second
all
is

justify

the reversal

which

allow a

gift, would become simply meaningless. This that has been adduced on the other side against the positive permission of the Institutes. The general

no doubt, is that a first marriage is final, rule, but the very Institutes which prescribe this finality, to this enumerate seventeen different exceptions

which second marriage is allowed rule, in general to women as a permitted resource, not of equal merit with the life of a devoted widow, but still of legal
force

and

efficacy.

Much

indeed has been

made by

the Benares Pandits of a text of Yajnavalkya which

72

JEssays on Religious

and Social Reform.
of a
girl

enumerates the

qualifications
:

who

should

be selected
'

for a wife

He who
after

has

never

had

sexual
his

intercourse,

studies, marry a having completed well-qualified girl, one who has not been given away in marriage to another before, who is handsome, who

should,

does not belong to his Sapindas, near relations, and who is younger in years, who has no disease, who has
brothers,

who

is

not of the same

Gotra,

who

is

not

and mother's

degrees both on the father's whose ancestors for ten generations have been well known, who comes of a distinguished family learned in the Vedas, prosperous, and without
within

the

prohibited
side,

The bridegroom hereditary disease. rhould also possess these same qualifications, be of the same caste, proficient in the Vedas, of potency
any
defect

or

and liked by all.' The qualifications of both the girl and the boy are enumerated at greater length in Manu and the other
proved with care, young,
intelligent,
,

Institutes,
all

these

plain circumstances are

But

it

is

from

the

quotation that
as

mentioned
are

Arthawada,
essentials.

recommendations For, if it were
wife

only.
so,

They

not

no man could marry a

second

on the death of the first, for the text requires that he should be one who has had no intercourse with woman before, a consequence which will not at
be welcomed by those who so strenuously assert that a virgin girl alone can contract legal marriage. So much in the way of answer to these objections.
all

From
in

the

these quotations it will appear that both Vedas and in the Smritis which are common

Vedic Authorities for
to all the four ages, there are

Widow Marriage.

73

no less than seventeen circumstances of distress under which a woman married once may lawfully contract a second marriage, and
there
is

not

a

single
in
is

express

text

negativing
For,

the
this

permission

given

these

excepted cases.

express negation case. The advocates and the opponents both allow that a first marriage is, as a rule, final and binding ;

essential to establish the opponent's
1

the advocates, however, further assert that the law allows exceptions to the rule in the enumerated cases of affliction which form so many justifications for

second marriage.
that there

It

is

for

the

other

side

to

show
force

are other

texts

which
of

negative the
of

of

these

express
or
will

permissions.
assertions

Mere general recomthe
finality
o fir >t

mendations
marriages

not

be

good answer against
is

definite

exceptions allowing re-marriage.

The

proposition then

established that in these

enumerated instances, re-marriage is permitted by the It should be borne in mind that Smriti texts.
these are the

only Smritis which speak anything either

way. The others are simply silent. To come now to our own Yuga
the threshold, for the
first

;

we meet

at

time, with general negations

permission accorded by the unanimous consensus of all the Smritis in the three first ages. Re-marriage, along with several other practices, is

of

this

prohibited in the Kali Yuga by the following texts. Most of them, it is to be observed, are Puranas, of
inferior

validity
Smritis,

to

to

be

Smritis, are the

and a -few, which profess works of inferior authors,

74

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

whose names are not enumerated among the leading
Institute writers.

These negative texts are K rat u 'The practice of begetting a son from the
:

husband's brother after the husband's death, the re-marriage
of a daughter who has been once given away in marriage, a Sanyasi, killing of cows in sacrifices, and becoming
these four things are prohibited in Kaliyuga.' Now, it is to be observed upon this,
last

that

the

practice,

so

far

at present in force,

from being abolished in Kali, is and His Holiness the Shankaracharya
this

If the text is exception. to hold good against one forbidden practice, notwithit must hold standing the generality of its words, the other. good for the same reason against

himself comes

within

A'di Purana- -< The re-marriage of a girl once married in due from, the excess portion due to the eldest brother, the killing of cows, begetting a son on a

brother's wife,

and becoming a Sanyasi, are prohibited
'The
gift in

in

Kaliyuga.'

Brahan-Naradiya Parana

re-marriage

to another of a girl once given prohibited in the Kaliyuga.'

away
Parana,

in

marriage

is

A'ditya

Purana,

Brahma

Galava

and

Devala,
Institutes

the latter

two

inferior Institute writers,

whose

have perished as entire works, and are only extant in rare quotations by modern authors, ^contain the same or similar prohibitions.

Now,
all,

it

is

to be observed

with regard

to

them

that

they

are

all

texts of a very general sort.

None

of them contemplate the particular case of the

Vedic Authorities for
re-marriage
that,

Widow Marriage.
ever

75

of a

widow.
a
girl

Nobody
once

maintained,
in

as

a

rule,

married

due form

Even might be given away in marriage to another. in the previous three Yugas, it is only under special circumstances, which the authors of the Institutes
have
been
careful

to

enumerate,
particular

it

is

.only

on the
that

occurrence
re-marriage

of
is

those
allowed.

contingencies,

Such particular permissions are
prohibiting
in

not interfered with by general texts re-marriage of a girl once married
position which nobody ever
disputes.

the
a

due form,

None

of them,

the of a case widow, contemplating negatives the permission accorded by the texts common The fact, however, to all the Yugas quoted before. so many writers of the Puranas, who lived that

moreover,

comparatively
necessary

in

very
to

modern

times,

thought

it

expressly practice, prohibit convincingly that, as they understood it, the practice was very common in the previous Yugas, and they

the

shows

wished to restrain the
is

liberty
in

of archaic times.
favour
of
of

This

the

strongest

argument

those

who

re-marriage express countenance of the Shastras in the previous Yugasy and was in extensive use and favour in those days.

maintain

that

the

widows

had the

However, to proceed with
quoted

the argument, these texts

above being merely prohibitions general the re-marriage of a girl once married in due against which form, a position nobody ever contended
against,
texts,

as

do not come into conflict with the particular we have ascertained it before, which allowed

liberty to

women

to

re-marry under certain enumerated

76

Essays on Religious and Sociat Reform.

circumstances, the husband.

found
express

in

and among others, on the death of of them Besides, most being only the Puranas, they have no force against
texts,

Smriti

by a well-known

rule

of con-

struction.

Allowing, however, to these texts an operation in excess of the force of the words used, it is to be borne in mind that the leading Smriti for the
Kaliyuga, the production too, of one who is ranked among the most authoritative Institute writers, expressly sanctions the practice of re-marriage in five

enumerated

cases.

As

if

to

anticipate

all

objections,

Parashara, in his celebrated texts, simply reproduces the of Manu and texts Narada quoted before, and, by thus expressly re-establishing these old Institutes
as

the

law

for

this

age,

removes
will

all

manner
is

of

objections out of the way.

Panishara's
for

Institute,

it

be seen,

intended

the Kaliyuga, and this presidency of his expressly Institute, his authority to control all other conflicting
Smritis

and a fortiori

has

been

among

Puranas, as a matter of course, commentators, acknowledged by all the others, by the author of Nirnaya Sindhu, by
all

Nilkantha, the author of the fylayukhas

(see Sanskara

Mayukha Samaya Mayukha), and by Shankar Bhatta, the author of the Dwaita Nirnaya. This right
and
of
controlling
all all

other

conflicting

texts

has
it
'is

been

their writers, by acknowledgment of this supreme right of Parashara to dictate the law for the Kali age, that has forced them to distort the meaning of this text in some

allowed

orthodox

and

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
not
conflict

77
their

way

or

other

which

will

with

favourite prejudices. It is to be remarked,

then,

that

this

text

of

Parashara reviving or re-enacting for this age the old law is very pregnant with suggestions. In the first
place,
it

is

expressly
it

intended
has

for

which, moreover, precedence Secondly, it enumerates the particular cases of

the Kaliyuga in over all others.
affliction

when
the
a

to re-marriage Thirdly, three castes, for the word Pravrajita means first
is
it

allowed.

refers

can

only members of the higher castes the dignity. Fourthly, it permits remarriage, though the first marriage has been in every sense completed. 'On the death, &c., of the first
Sanyasij and aspire to
Patiy

his widow may marry a second husband, husband or Pati! Now nobody can become a Pati,

by any ceremony short of the Saptapadi, walking the seven steps together, which is the binding and concluding rite. In these four respects, this text its is special in permission and authorization. None
or husband,

prohibitory texts has this character. They contain a general prohibition which in no way simply conflicts with the spirit of Parashara's text. The late

of

the

discussion
inferior

Mr, Vithoba Anna of Kariida, who took part in the of 1869, had collected two new texts from
Smriti
writers,

which seem to be more particular

than those mentioned before.

They

are as follow

:

Bebhravya

'

After

age ceremony, if husband, wise men

the completion of the marrithe separation takes place of the should not give away their daugh-

ters in marriage again in the Kali age.'

78

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Wayu Samhita
dead, his wife

<

Whether the husband
beget
children
this

is

living or

should not
In

from

her

husbaud's brother.

has

been married once

in

who Kali Yuga, a girl due form should not be

accepted in second marriage/ Now, in the first place, these texts are fragmenbe found are to tary ones, the books where they

works of very be pitted against inferior Manu, Narada, Parashara, Wasishtha, &c. thirdly, they are not so special in their particulars as the text
do not
exist
;

secondly, they are
writers

the

Smriti

and not

to

;

that even

of Pardshara which, therefore, controls them ; fourthly, if they were so special in their particular the superior efficacy of Parashara as the circumstances,
law-giver of the Kali age must prevail ; and fifthly, that even if it did not prevail, this conflict of two
Smritis can only create

thus

seen that

those

an optional duty. who advocate the

It

will

be

Shastraical

validity of re-marriage are able to give a very satisfactory account of the prohibitory texts which apply to this Kali Yuga. At the best, giving them the most

extensive

given in
cases
;

the liberty operation, they only restrict the previous Yugas in seventeen different
restrict

they

this

liberty to

five

occasions

out

of the seventeen, and by this method of reconciliathe authorities are reconciled. all This great tion,

argument of the reconciliation of the texts was first out by the late lamanted Pandit - Ishvarachandra Vidyasagara, and has stood its ground against
laboured
all

attacks
subject

notwithstanding
since.

the

By

his

the great ventilation of research and originality

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
best days to possessions
life's

79

and
all

the
that

noble devotion of his
is

and
the

prized

in

human

promotion of
of
his
race,

this great

emancipation Pandit Ishvarachandra
for
all

of the

women
a

has

become

household name

that

is

great

human
The

nature

throughout

India,

and good in and a potent

influence for good in the ages to come.

then stands true beyond all proposition of dispute that there is express authority in possibility the Shastras permitting the re-marriage of a girl once
married in due form, on the happening of certain defined contingencies, and that none of the prohibitory do more than restrict the texts greater liberty
allowed to

women
is

in the previous

Yugas.
in

There

one solitary and suspicious text

A'shwala-

yana
'

Smriti,
If a

which requires a

brief answer.

twice-born marries

as soon as he

knows her

ignorance, character, he should abandon
to be remarked that

a

widow from

her ancl do penance/ Now about this

text,

it

is

A'shvalayana Smriti is not intended specially for the Kali Yuga, and even if it has force, it cannot have
previous Yugas, current of express permissive texts, Parashara, whose Institute is the especially against supreme authority for the age ; and lastly, that the
against the whole

more

force

now

than

it

had

in

the

passage quoted from Atharva Veda, which prohibits a husband from abandoning a widow so married, upsets
all

the

little
is

force this text

might otherwise claim.

thus express permission in the Vedas, express permission in the Smriti law common to all

There

80

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

the Yugas, and express permission in the special law and it has been shown that all for the Kali Yuga
;

prohibitory general, and so

the

texts
far

are mostly very vague and from abrogating, only restrict the

number of contingencies when re-marriage is permitted by law. <Vnd such of them as are more particular are controlled by the Parashara text, first because it
is

so special, and secondly, because authority for the age.

it

is

the binding
the

In

furtherance

of

this

great

conclusion,

argument from the texts first formulated by Vyankata Shdstri comes opportunely to aid. The demarcation
line

which separates one Yuga from another
imaginary
one.

an

The theory

is

that

is only the race is

gradually retrograding and degenerating in virtue, in capacity for austere endurance, and length of life, and as the old law would press too hard upon these

decaying generations, and old permissions would be abused into wild license, it was deemed necessary to
provide a graduated scale of
duties

and

observances,

some common
for

to all ages,

and other specially intended

The world's duration is in all twelve each age. thousand years of the gods, which is divided into is made to slide into four Yugas, and one Yuga
another,

the

intervals

being
periods

called

Sandhya

and

Sandhyansha, or
provide
central
celestial

junction

of

for

this

gradual

retrogression,

the Yugas. To a graduated

period of four,
in

three,

two and one .thousand

the Bhngvata Purana and the years is Mahabharata, assigned to the four Yugas in succession, supplemented in each case by a morning and an

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.

81

evening twilight, lasting for as many hundred years each, constituting in all twelve thousand years of the
gods, as the duration

of the world.

The

prohibitions

and the

observances

age have effect in the junction
previous Yugas

prescribed for each particular the central periods, and only in or twilight periods, the la,w of the

may

be

followed

Bhagvata
is

Purana.

The human year

consisting of

360 days

a celestial

day, whence a celestial year is equal to 360 mundane Kali Yuga being one years. The duration of the its thousand celestial morning twilight or years,
transition

period

is,

as

will

be seen from the above,

one thousand divine years, that is thirty-six thousand human years, and as, according to the received mode
of calculation,
since
it

is

only five thousand
there
to
are

human

years,

Kali

commenced,

yet
end.

thousand

human
is

years

run
will

before

thirty-one the Kali

Sandhyd or morning
time,
it

twilight

By

that

oblitethought, caste distinctions will be the Vedas will not be studied, the Ganges will rated, As long lose its sanctity, and the gods become silent.

as

these

evil

prognostics
prohibited

are
in

not realised,
the
Kali

so long

the

practices

Yuga may be

observed.
justification

And
for

the orthodox commentators base their

the domestic
rites,

the continuance of ascetic retirement, worship of sacred fire, and many other

on

them
ages,

Re-marriage being like admittedly a valid practice in the previous continues to be a lawful rite now and for it

this

ground

alone.

thirty-one

thousand
little

there will be

years more, when it is occasion to dispute its validity.

hoped

82

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
IV.

TRACES OF WIDOW MARRIAGE IN THE PURANAS AND IN MORE MODERN TIMES.

To proceed with our main arguments, we think it has been satisfactorily established that the re-marriage of widows among the twice-born classes is a practice
known
whether
Institute

and

we

Hindu law, and that recognized in look to the Vedas or the Smriti or
the
wife.

writers,

status
fact

of a

widow remarrying has the legal This is clearly established by the
son,

that the Paunarbhava

that

is

son

born

to

a widow, who
place in all archaic times,

has married, occupies a very prominent ancient books of law. Except in very
as
illustrated
it

by the references from the
likely

Vedas quoted before, re-marriage, however,
as
is

is

that the practice of

may
with

not have been very popular,
a

but

natural

people

who

habitually

married very late in life, and prided themselves upon This observation a life of the severest austerity.

The warriorholds good of the Brahmin caste only. the sweets of life, caste, being more free to enjoy
seem
not
to

indulgence ; the Itihasas, the

have been equally averse from such and this brings us to the Puranas and
latest

addition

to

our Shastra

lore.

A

few studious scholars have investigated this subject from a desire to remove one great stumbling-block
out
of the

way

of the

favourable reception
this

by

the

population that the practice of re-marriage

orthodox

of

innovation,

by showing was common in past

Vedic Authorities Jor
times,
in

Widow Marriage.
wise
ancestors,

83

the

time
it

of

their

and

accordingly,
age.

that

may

be

revived in

The

industry

of those

who

our present have searched for

such illustrations in the

Purana

myths has succeeded

in discovering three well-attested instances.

The first on the list the widowed daughter of
tribe,

is

a

the re-marriage* of Ulupi, patriarch of the Naga

who,

on

the

given in marriage

death of her first husband, was her father to the famous Arjuna, by

the hero

of the

Mahabharata
is

story.

Uliipi,

in

so

many
him

distinct

words,

described

to

have become

one of Arjuna's

many

is emphatically born son, and not one of the

wives, the son she bore to described to be his legitimateinferior

sorts

of

sons.
still

The

entire

narrative

in

the

Mahabharata, and

more emphatically
this, assertion.

in Jaimini's continuation, corroborates

Thd second
and

illustration

is

from the story of Nala
Princess,
in

Dam ay anil.

The

latter

after

having

the forest, found her way after much suffering to her father's house. While there, she bided in hope for some time, but

been abandoned by her husband

could

with

get no news of her absent lord. the consent of her mother, she
for

Thereupon,
contrived

a

She secured finding out her long-lost Nala. plan the services of a learned Brahmin to advertise to all
the neighbouring princes that she was going to have make a choice of and second a Swayamvara,

a

husband

for

herself,

in

appearance This husband.

and

probable

consequences of the death of Nala, her

disfirst

Brahmin

carried his

message to the

84

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

court of the king of Ayodhya, with whom Nala had sought shelter in the disguise of an obscure charioteer. The king of Ayodhya, on hearing this news, prepared
to go to the Swayamvara, and Nala drove the chariot for him with extraordinary speed, the secret of which

was knowiv
certain

to

him

only.

This display of
led to
his

skill

and

other

circumstances
all

subsequent

recognition,

whereupon

idea of the second marriage

This story has its importance, for it was given up. shows the received opinion among the people of the
day, to whom such an invitation did not appear in any heinous light, did not appear more extraordinary That a than the invitation to the first marriage.
princess like Damayanti, so renowned for her devotion consent of her lo her husband, should, with the parents,
try

to

discover the

whereabouts of her
at

lost

stratagem, by re-marriage did not strike people in those times as an abomination, but as an ordinary commonplace occurrence.

husband

this

once

shows

that

The
story
of

third illustration

is

from Padma Punlna, the

daughter of the king of married no less than twenty times, Benares, misfortune that as soon as the it being her peculiar

the

"unfortunate

who was

marriage rites were all performed, the husband so married died, but though this happened over and over
again,

the

father,

with

the

consent

of

the

sage

gave her in marriage, as often as she became a widow. The emphatic words used in the text preclude the supposition contended for by some disputants, that the several
his

Brahmins of

court, solemnly

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.
death
before,

85

husbands

were

removed

by

and not

after, the binding marriage rites had been celebrated. Dr. R. G. Bhandarkar, in his search of Jain came across a work of the eleventh century Manuscript,

called

the

Dharma

Pariksha,

of which
to

by

the

learned

Doctor

belonged
Jain

the copy seen sixteenth tjie

century.

This ancient

work

gives

an account

of a Brahmin,
his
thirty-fifth

who
it

till he reached and when he came back to his year,

studied at Benares

village

found

difficult

to

secure a

virgin

girl

in

He thereby reason of his poverty. went to a Jain Pandit, who advised him to upon marry a widow. When the Brahmin demurred to the him to the referred savant the Jain proposal, was in the Jain" Manuscript Parashara text, which The Parashara indeed in a slightly different form.
marriage
text as

we now

find

it

in the Shastras

is,

Nashte Mrite Prawrajite
Klibecha patit6 Patau:
In the Jain Manuscript the text reads
:

Patyau Prawrajite Klibe
Pranashte Patite Mrite.

The
in

other half of
Jain

the shloka
the
this

is

the

same
that

both

the

and
value

in

old

Sanskrit
is

Parashara
'the

Text.

The

of

discovery
'

difficulty created

by the
form

Poona
'

Shastris,

the

incomplete

of the word

^
'

was
'

about

Patau now

obviated
t

by the

Jain rendering

*I*ft

Patyau which;
occasions
ol

will

be seen, mentions the same

five

distress

when

re-marriage

is

allowed

to

a

widow,

86

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
story
in

The

the

Jain

chronicle

Brahmin married the widow
prosperous
life.

the that says and led a very happy

only instances as yet discovered in the mythic Puranas and Itih^sas. In a book of the last century,, called Smrityarthasara, or an epitome of
are

These

the

the Smritis, the compiler mentions without comment or disapproval that a girl given by word of promise
'

given away in maintain that before the

may

be

second

marriage; that some
rite
is

Saptapadi
to

a

girl

may
;

be

given

away
is

another
she
till

performed, in second

marriage

that others maintain that

may
the

be given

puberty, that

days of be given may away though she has had sexual intercourse with her first husband, and even after she conceives a child

away

after

the rite

some

texts

performed maintain she

from
the

her

first

husband.'
quarters,

This
alone

statement comes from
interest

entirely

orthodox
of

and has an

which
This

student

history

can understand.
writers

shows
the

satisfactorily

what orthodox

century. It of history also that in several Brahmin communities in Cutch, Sind, and Guzerat, the practice of Pa la marriages
still

Shastra texts in the last

thought of a matter is

obtains.

We know
with
more.
such

there are those
traces,

who

are

not

satisfied

few

and

To them we have
of the
Institution

would fain have many a word or two to say.
is,

The

position

taken up by the advocates
sought
of
for
is

that the

revival

required in the present
A.

circumstances

of

peremptorily our society.

strong

base,

however,

legitimacy

must

be

Vedic Authorities for
established

Widow Marriage.
of

87
can

before
to

the

mass

Hindu
and

society

be

asked
out

sisters

help of their

their

unfortunate

unmerited

daughters irremediable

and

ask them to change national institutions a is of thing expediency they upon grounds When will not tolerate. and cannot understand,
misery.
this

To

legitimate

basis

is

once

established
for

danger of being shaken, to crave
of the
practice
is

beyond all more examples
in

very
is

unreasonable,

respect of

professedly an innovation in of that word, though it may every practical be true, for the matter of that, that it is a renovation

an

institution

which

sense

or a return to the manners of old and purer times. Popular conscience has never been dead to
claims
of
this

the

subject

on

its

attention.

In

two
for

recorded

instances,

the claims of the

kinder consideration under this
souls, of the great Jayasing,

womankind misfortune moved

the

and of
against

the

famous

Pandit

the Maharaja of Jeypoor, Appaya Dixit to rebel
occasions,

custom.
inertia

On
of of

both these
ages
at
last

however,
against
times,

the the

dead

prevailed

promptings
question

nature.
raised
in

In

more modern

the

was
the

our

own

part

of

the

country,

by

famous

Parshurama

Panta

Bhau

Patvardhan, the coadjutor of Lord Cornwallis in the wars of Tippoo Sultan, and the last of the terrible He had a leaders of Maratha conquering hosts.

very tender varying in different accounts from five to nine age, The young Joshi family. years, to a scion of a
at

young daughter, and Durgabai, we She was given in marriage name.

believe,

was her

a

88

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
died
of

bridegroom
marriage
father

festivities

small-pox fever, were not over.
this

while

The

yet the brave old

was so moved by

calamitous

termination

fond hopes to see his daughter blessed, that he wrote to the Peishwa at Poona, tendering his command of the army, and resignation .of his
of his
'

expressing a determination to retire from the world. The Peishwa's Durbar, who knew the value of the

man, and felt with him in his sufferings, assured him that he need not despair, for they would try a remedy to comfort him in his great to find
affliction.

The Shankariicharya
to,

of the

time was

then

referred

and

his

kind

offices

the

men

in

power.

The

old

against

Bhau, and have nothing to advise
the
a

he
in

for by some grudge answered that he would

were prayed

man had
way
than

the

of giving comfort a

to

man

who

was

worse

Yavan.

The

Durbar, it is said, then wrote to the Benares Pandits, the Pandits of the Poona court having shown a perverse disposition. These Benares Pandits
Peishwa's

a letter of assent, in which, moved by the extreme infancy of the bride, and also by the consideration that the cause of Brahmin supremacy would be greatly checked by the withdrawal of the Bhau from public affairs, they found out that the Shastras
sent

of the day thought it and the Poona Pandits were about to follow suit, for none dared to come in the way of the lion of the Deccan, as he was called. The

in infancy. Pandits, the
wise

favour the re-marriage of girls like Durgabai, widowed On receipt of this letter of the Benares

Shankaracharya

to yield,

Vedic Authorities for
astute Pandits,

Widow Marriage.

89

however, waited on Parshurama Panta Bhdu's wife, and through her they gained their object. The mother expressed her readiness to bear with her
bereavement,
introduced.
rather

daughter's

than

see

a

new

innovation

much
to

surprised at this resolution the Pandits, declaring that

Parshurama Panta Bhau was and yielde/i the point he insisted upon it
his

solely

with a view to console
for

wife,

and

if

she

wished
say.

no consolation, he
the

Thus
the

matter

had nothing more to The above account ended.

of

affair

represents accurately
It
is

what happened on

the occasion.

taken verbatim from one

who

has

himself seen the original papers in the possession of the family, in his capacity as one of its old servants
in

The account is, moreover, charge of the records. the received understanding of all the corroborated by
old people in the Patvardhana service, who have often to us that they felt much surprised to find that

said

the opponents of re-marriage still had anything left to say after the solemn settlement of the question in

Parshurama Panta Bhau's time.

We
in

have said

illustration

all that is necessary to be said of the main theme of these observations

The agitation of the question for the last thirty years has placed the legitimacy of the movement beyond all danger, and the Poona discussions brought this fact
out in a most
raised

there

as

prominent manner. No question was to the Vedic texts, though special
to

attention

was drawn
Shastri

the point

;

the

argument of

texts

Vyankata were

was not even
up

noticed.

The
main

Smriti
text,

jumbled

together,

the

90

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
to

Manu, Narada, and Parashara, was twisted and tortured in all manner of ways, some of them most ridiculously absurd, and absolutely no attempt was made natural meaning of to show that the only true and not the one contended for by the the text was In fact this point was advocates. allowed, but it

common

,

was urged that if the texts were so understood, it would come in conflict with others, as if this was not the most common thing in the world with these Smriti writers. The orthodox disputants made a mess of their case, and though the majority of the Panch gave
utterance to
a

be so hidden
of
the
late

foregone conclusion, the truth cannot in these days. Thanks to the labours

lamented

Pandit

Vishnu

Shastri,

and

more recently of the late Mr. Madhavdas Raghunathdas and Rao Bahadur Wamanrao Mahadev Kolhatkar,
the
at the present day marriages have taken place among the Gujerathi and the Deccani population of the Bombay Presidency, the Central Provinces and

movement
than
a

has

spread,

till

more

hundred

In the Madras Pandit Presidency Pantulu has achieved a similar success, Vireshlingum nearly thirty marriages having been celebrated in those In Pandit Ishwarchandra's Bengal during parts.

the

Berars.

life-time

his
this

many marriages took place, and though since death there has been more coldness shewn in

matter, the labours of Babu Shashipada Bannerji have kept up the public interest in this subject. In the Punjab, Dewan Santa Ram took the lead and

about thirty
parts.

In

all

marriages have been celebrated in those India over three hundred marriages

Vedic Authorities for

Widow Marriage.

91

have thus been celebrated, and the movement may be said to have survived the attack of the orthodox
opposition.

People are being reconciled to this renothe

vation

of

becoming, Advocates
secured
a
this matter.

not
of

and custom, but more obsolete,
old

persecution
bearable.

is

The
have
in

Reform

may
in

well
the

claim
public

to

healthy

change

feeling

IV.

STATE LEGISLATION MATTERS.
discussions
raised

IN

SOCIAL

THE

of Mr. and EnMarriage forced Widowhood have been notably distingn'shed for the warmth and freshness of light thrown ipon many of our most cherished social institutions. ^s is usual in the case of all discussions on social much declamation and invective have been rvils, mployed on both sides, to supply the place of aim and critical investigation, and the merits of he questions really at issue have been obscured y clouds of words and figures, and empty boasts f self-satisfied complacency. These questions really

by the

publication

Malabari's Notes on Infant

jduce

themselves
or

to

two
evil
is

points

of

hether
i

not
evil

the
that

institutions

inquiry, first, assailed produce

the whole

more of
more
advice

hether
>eedier

the

than good, and secondly, in them admits of a

and
in

effective

remedy

than

is

iplied

the

of

those
drift

who
along

would
with

let

ings

alone,

and

would

the

State Legislation in Social Matters.

93

stream
nor

of

events,

but
to

neither exert

themselves,
to
regulate

permit

others

make
it

an

effort,

the current and

make

the desired direction.

run steadier and stronger in On the first point, taking the

general sense of those who have spoken out on both general agreement. The sides, there appears to be a
dispute here
evils,

confined to the alleged extent of the which are freely admitted to be real. On the
is

second

point,

the difference of views

is

radical,

and

there does not appear to be any great likelihood of an agreement ever being arrived at which will satisfy both
parties.

When

one sees

how men, who had grown
evils,

grey in

the denunciation of these

turned round
for

made immediately a suggestion was and joined the orthodox majority action,
of

practical

in their praise

' Political RishiY arrangements, the about the deefcts of Hindu character seems warning than justified. There appears to be no to be .more

the

existing

hope, under such circumstances, of seeing any genuine reform movement springing up from within the heart of the nation, unless that heart is

ground

for

regenerated, not by cold the cleansing fire of a
there
will
is

calculations of utility,
religious
revival.

but by

really nothing strange in all

this

outcry.

However, There

and there always have been, as another connection observed, a clean Lord Ripon in and an unclean party in small municipal, as well as
always
be,
in large
social,

arrangements.

If

the

population

of

our cities were entirely left to themselves, and each man's or woman's vote was as good as another's, the good sense of the men of light and leading would

94

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

no doubt prevail in the end, but, in the earlier stage of discussion and argument, we should doubtless hear many an appeal to the glory of our ancestors, their
long
life

and vigour, maintained,
of,

it

might be proudly
of,

observed, in spite

or in
in

the absence

conservancy.
cine,

Even

European
;

countries,

municipal there are

anti-vaccination

doctors

but

leave

the

Shakers, who take body to cure itself
still

no medi;

physical

science

motion

question the truth of the pedants of the earth round its sun centre, and its

who

motion round its own axis. A love of paradox is a weakness which clings to many great minds, grows
with
cence.
is

their

other

excellences

like

a parasitic excresit

Leaving these unnatural developments aside, a chance clear that there is of producing
not think, but
in
it

a

reasonable conviction

who do minority who
those

among not the vast majority of among the considerable
it

every country
in

by

informing

and setting
this
light,

lead public opinion proper form before
is

the community in general.

Viewed
for

in

there

abundant

reason

hope that an

historical

will dispel

many
early

a false

study of these institutions conception of the antiquity
the

and sanctity of the

The
forcible

existing arrangements. celebration of child
of

marriages,

disfigurement prohibiof remarriage in the higher castes, the occasional and local practices of polyandry and polygamy, are all
tion

widows and absolute

admittedly corruptions of recent growth unknown to the best days of our country's history. The late lamented

Hon. Rao Saheb V. N. Mandlik,

C.S.I.,

who

speaks with

State Legislation in Social Matters.

95 has
freely

an

authority admitted that

which
the

few

will
girl's

dispute,

Hindu

marriageable

age

is

twelve, and that the corresponding age for boys has been reduced from time to time as the period of Brahmacharya, studies, was more and more curtailed. Taking the most narrow acceptation of the Grihya

Sutra

rules,

this

period

could

not

well'* be

legally

years, thus making the marriageable age for boys twenty years. In regard to the question of widow marriage, it is admitted by the orthodox
curtailed

below twelve

leaders

of the

part of the for the Kali

opposition that the prohibition forms Kali Nishedha, or prohibitions intended
only.

Yuga
show,

The
is

Yajnawalkya
confirm,

what

writings of Manu and the Puranas and Itihasas

that

monogamy

the natural condition of

Aryan

life

and that both polygamy and polyandry are
excrescences.

disreputable

Nobody

can,

under

these

circumstances, contend that, on the strictest interpretation of the texts, the local usages which obtain at present agree with our best traditions of the past.

Those who advocate
things are
imitators.

a

return

to

the

old

order

of

thus in good company, and are not foreign

came to pass of time departed Aryan population from the vigorous and healthy usages of their ancesSuch an enquiry alone will enable us, who now tors.
have to consider, next,
it

We

how

that the

in course

aspire

after

without risk

a higher life, to trace our of failure or disappointment.

way back The Hindu
if

community
original,

has

always

been

self-contained,

not

in its

grasp of social matters, and no analo-

96
gies

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

drawn from Christian or Mahomedan nations can

have any convincing force, unless they are supported by reasons and associations of our own venerable
past.

The rise and fall of female rights and status Hindu Aryan Society has a history of its own,
once interesting and suggestive in
corresponding developments another kindred stock, the
in
its

in at

analogies

to the

the

institutions

of

Roman

Aryans,

who

have

so largely influenced European ideas. Both began by a complete subordination of the women in the family to the men, and of the men themselves to the head
of the family.
like

In early Vedic times, the woman was, the deformed or the sickly member of a family,

devoid of rights,
tion,

was

disentitled

and, being incapable of self-protecto share the inheritance. The

succession in a united family after the death of its chief went to the surviving male members, his sons arid
brothers,

and

in their default the

more

distant agnate

males.

The
asserted

earlier Sutrakars,

clearly re-affirmed this exclusion

Baudhayana and Apastamba, from inheritance and
of every

the perpetual

subjection
;

woman

to

her

father,

her

husband

and

her

son.

Gradually,

however, as the
the
,

necessities

Aryans settled in the land, and of war gave place to the gentler
of

virtues

and
the

victories

peace,

the
for

earlier

Smritis

found
mother,

admission

by express

texts

the

-wife,

the

grandmother, daughter, and the sister, and finally to the female relations of the male Gotraja
Sapinda.
It
is

hardly

necessary

to

follow

this

Stale Legislation in Social Matters.

97
this

growth

step

by

step.

the of recognition chivalrous regard for

Corresponding of family claims
for

with

affection,

a

women, and
was
equal
part

their

personal

comfort

and

liberty,

asserted in

The
in

women
solemn
places

took

with

other ways. the husbands

religious
in

rites,

and

as

quaens

took
the

their

single

of display and were permitted at their choice to remain power. They and unmarried, and neither the father nor the
deliberations

great of State,

religious

sacrifices

and

on

occasions

mother
choosing

would

interfere
for

by

exercising

their

husbands

them.

They

power of were poets,
hymns,

philosophers,

and

Rishis,

and

composed
argued with

wrote

works

and studied and

men on

This went on for many centuries, equal terms. and the proofs of it are too numerous in all our
early

writings

to

admit
the

of

any
as

hesitation

on

the part of
texts

even

most

hostile

was optional with man
of the

as well
ritual,

critic. Marriage with woman. The

Marriage

the rule

for

selecting

brides

wara on the death, or absence, or incurable impotency, of the first husband, both before and after consummation,
the
strictness

or rather bridegrooms, the practice of Swayamin mature age, the liberty to be married again

of

the

monogamous
to

tie,

all

these
natural

privileges

were conceded
things.

women

in

the

growth of

Thus far, there was no break of continuity, and smooth sailing. The analogies between the all was Roman and Hindu developments were complete so In course of time, the Arvans. like the Romans. far.

98

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

having overcome their enemies, fell to fighting among themselves, and long and murderous wars between

Brahmins and Kshatriyas devastated the land.
pressure strong love of

Under
the

the

of

these

complicated
virtues

difficulties,

the

active

of

fighting

and
to a

hunting, chivalrous regard for

women, and the enjoyment
generally, gave

of the innocent pleasures of

life

way

philosophy which regarded life and being itself as a of the arts of peace pain and a calamity, the bustle And natuand war as a vanity of vanities. weak woman, from being the soul of chastity rally and virtue, came to be described as a snare and a
burden.

The

gods,

who had
with

cheered
their

the

conquering

and
could

militant

Aryans

countenance, retired

with the Rishis to the Himalayas and beyond. no longer be seen, and gave way

They
to

a

fatalistic belief that

man was
and
to

the slave of
it

his

own
till

miserable

Karma,

he
coil.

learned

how

best

must bear throw

patiently
this

off

mortal

The

deluged
society,

great excess the land with

of

bad passions
blood
of
status

which
in

had
the

fratricidal

demoralized

and
the

lowered
State,

the
in

women

family,

and

the
lost

social

arrangements

generally.

The Aryan
of

ideals

their charm,

and a
its

lower

type

character

and

morality [asserted

predominance as the down-trodden races, which had been driven to the hills, issued from their haunts, and fell upon the demoralized and disunited Aryan At the same time, a new kingdoms on all sides.
race of invaders from Central Asia, partly Scythian

and

partly Mongolian

in stock, entered

India

by the North:

State Legislation in Social Matters.

99

West, and the North-East, drove before them the old Aryans, and established their power and colonies in the
Central India, Rajputana, Bengal, in parts of Maharashtra. This process of the upheaval of non-Aryan races, and the invasion and settlement of barbarian Scythian and Mongolian con-

Punjab,

Sind,

Guzerat, and even

querors,

was

in active

development
political

for

many

centuries,

and these ethnic and

forces

have profoundly

modified the institutions and usages of modern India. They brought to the surface races of men with a lower
civilization,

more
institution

patriarchal,
life.

and,

therefore,

less

chivalrous ideals of

a normal

Polyandry has always been of the non- Aryan or Scythian

new dignity from It derived and Mongolian races. backward races. The to power of these the rise woman's lot has always been one of dependence and
misery in barbarous countries. It could not be otherwise liere. Woman in these ruder races was bartered
in marriage as a moveable chattel or slave. She was burned with the deceased lord, with his bows and

arrows,

his

horse

and

weapons,

comfort in another world.
power,
in

When

to provide for his these races rose to

the better minds were driven to seek shelter

asceticism
for

had

and abandonment of the world which them no charms, and only misery, life-long
instead
in

and unrelieved; and peace and goodwill

of

being

tha

deity

of

the

family,

woman became

the symbol of corruption and vice. Optional celibacy and Swavamwara were under these circumstances out of
the question.

The

was

re-affirmed.

Late marriages, and

old state of pupilage and dependence the liberty of

100

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

second marriage to widows, were denounced, though here and there they were allowed to associate with their
husband's
surviving

brother for

the

purpose

of

pro-

The well-marked four-fold creating children for him. divisions of life lost their meaning and their sanctity, and baby -and child-espousals could not but come into
fashion,

and

bring

in

their

train

Things thus settled concubinage. level of barbarous usages. lower
Gradually, the better and the the community recovered from

polygamy and themselves on this
Aryan
the
portion

of

surprise

and

Middle Ages discomfiture, and the dark clouds of the Kali Yuga of the of Indian History, the dreaded

The Aryan Religion, began to clear up. institutions were reformed social polity, and marriage on a footing of compromise, and those who guided
Puranas,
the

course of

events tried their best to re-assert the

dominion of the Vedas
represented in their of the olden days.

and

of

the

Brahmins,

who

persons the This form

highest civilization of restoration and

renascence
invasions,

was again interrupted by the Mahomedan which repeated for some centuries all the
the

horrors
license

of
of

previous

dark

period.

Before

the

Mahomedan
it

outrage,

women
for

shrank from
their

and public gaze,
to
secrete

became necessary
dark
illicit

them within the

recesses

safety of the

house.

Polygamy and
will

concubinage became once

more

fashionable.

It

be clear

from

this

review

that

internal

dissensions, the

predominance

upheaval of non-Aryan races, Scytliian acquired by barbarous

and the

and

State Legislation in Social Matters.

101

conquerors, degraded the condition of the female sex, deprived them of their rights of inheritance

Mahomedan

freedom, and made woman dependent on man's of being his equal instead and honoured caprice,

and

and ethnic agencies of great Political have wrought the evil, and we cannot afford power
helpmate.
to lose sight of this fact in our attempts to elevate female sex. the status of the Fortunately, the

which brought on this degradation have been counteracted by Providential guidance, and we have now, with a living example before us of how pure Aryan customs, unaffected by barbarous laws and
causes
patriarchal

notions,

resemble our
thread

own

ancient

usages,

where we dropped it under up and barbarous pressure, and restore the old foreign healthy practices, rendered so dear by their association with our best days, and justified by that higher reason^ which is the sanction of God in man's bosom.
to take

the

The next
difficult

question
deal

is,

as

stated

above, a
gentle

more
revo-

one
is

to

with.

How

this

lution
past,
is

to

a

be effected without breaking with the problem which admits of difference of
are

views.

There

two
the

schools
this

of thinkers
subject.

those

who
tend
set

have
all

discussed
active

among One set
agencies the ;

would which
other
course,

utilize

and

passive

to

encourage
leave
in

and

vitalize

reform

would

firm

the

to take their own things confidence that the passive

agencies at work

would

secure

all

our ends just as

we
full

Those who feel the desire, slowly force of the ethnical and political causes mentioned
but surely.

102

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

above, and also feel how necessary it is at certain stages of man's progress to secure the assertion of ideas by the highest sanctions, advocate to right

some

extent

the

help

of

State

regulation,

as

representing the highest arid most disinterested wisdom of the times, working to give effect to the other
tendencies,

Those

who

themand concentrating popularizing are not sufficiently alive to these consitrust

derations

would
of
achieve
that

to

education
ideas

and
their
It

the

gradual
internal

development
force,

better
all

by

own
is

to

that

we

desire.

needless

to
are

5cdte

the
is

publication

to which these remarks

prefaced
first

intended to
of
thinkers,

the

set

and
in

strengthen the hands of to show, by the
the
past,

example
State

of

what
is

occurred

that timely

regulation

not

attended

with

the

mischiefs

which people attribute to it, and that it co-ordinates and vivifies the healthy action of the other agencies.
in this connection, necessary to consider the several objections urged by the advocates briefly of the let-alone school in their order of relative It

becomes,

importance.

The
these

first

objection

urged

on

this
it

head

is

that

are

social

of

the

State
is

questions, which to regulate.

is

not the duty
that
this

We

answer

not open to those who welcome, as the argument of this vast class of opponents majority freely
do,

regulation for the abolition of Sati, of the suicide of j ogees on the banks of infanticide,
State

the Ganges,
idol
shrines,

and
or

self-torture

by hook-swinging before

to

those

who propose compulsory

State Legislation in Social Matters.

103

education,

and

compulsory
force,

vaccination,

and sanitary
action
is

precautions

generally.

Individual

liberty of
liberty

no

doubt a

great

but
fact

this

has

its

limitations

imposed by the

should

encroach

surround him.

upon the Whenever there

that no man's liberty of those who liberty
is

a

largo

amount of

unredressed evil suffered by people who caYhiot adopt their own remedy, the State has a function to regulate and minimize the evil, if by so regulating it, the evil can be minimized better than by individual
effort

and
State

without
in
its

leading

to

other

worse

abuses.

The

power, the
citizens.

capacity represents the the mercy and charity, of its best wisdom, What a single man, or a combination of men,

collective

can best do

on

their

own

account,

that

the

State
sees
it's

may not do, but it cannot shirk its duty way to remedy evils, which no private of mea can check adequately or which
with more speedily
combination
of

if it

combination
it

can

deal

and
can

effectively

than any private
latter

men

do.

In these

cases,

the State's regulating marked out clearly.

action

has

its

sphere
this

of duty
principle

On

this,

and on

important departments of its activity, such as the enforcement of education, sanitation, factory legislation, of State unpostal service, or subsidies given to private effort in the way of railway extension and

alone, can State action be

justified in

many

dertakings

like

the

commercial development.
able age

has in
of

all

regulation of marriagecountries, like the regulation of

The

the

age

contracts, been

minority, or a part of

the
its

fit

age

for

making

national

jurisprudence,

104

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
it

and
lies

cannot be said with justice that this
its

question

The same observation holds true of the condition of the widow rendered miserable in early world. More legitilife, and thrown helpless on the mately than minors, the widows are the wards of the
out of
sphere.

humanity, and to the extent that the evil they suffer* is remediable by man, it cannot be said that this remedy may not be considered by the State as
nation's
fully within its

proper function.
the

The next argument urged on
that the evil
is

other

side

is

and that it be no doubt
laid

not so great as some people think, There can really needs no State action.
that,

to

some

extent,

Mr. Malabari

has
of

himself open to

this side

attack.

The

evils

child-marriage, 5
stricted

and

enforced

polygamy,

are not quantitatively,
returns,

widowhood, and unreand calculatMr. But this does not go due allowance for all
so

ing
to

them

by
that,

statistical

great

as

Malabari described them to be.

show

after

making

exaggerations, the residue of unredressed wrong which for remedy is not sufficiently great calls to justify
action.

Much

the

same

thing

was
in

said

when

it

was proposed
there
cases
is

to prohibit Sati or

Infanticide.

Wherever

undeserved misery endured
is

a large number of

a ground for State interference, always supposing that the interference will lead to the redress of the wrong, better than any individual effort can

there

accomplish.

A

third

the parties
strangers

way who

of stating the same objection is that suffer do not complain of it, and
therefore,

have

no

business

to

intervene.

State Legislation in Social Matters.

105
It

This

is

a

very

old

line

of

defence.

was
of
ren-

urged
slavery,

as
as

an

argument
as

against

the

abolition

well

against

the

laws

which

dered Sati and Infanticide crimes, and validated widow marriages. Perhaps, the worst effect of injustice is
that
it

depresses

the

down-trodden
lick

victims

to

such

an extent that they

the hand of

The

on the side Northern liberators. planters against then, if the helpless women and widows
slaves

fought

the oppressor. of the Southern

their

No wonder
side with the

orthodox majority.
action
in

If the State

contemplated forcible
of

spite

of

the

wishes
with
or

the

victims, the
effect.

argument
in

might
his

be

urged

some

But

nobody such method of procedure.
not
the
relief

senses can,

does,

contemplate any
children are

Widows and

own proper persons under the \\rong that is done to them, and to society, and this argument therefore, falls to the ground.
can
seek their
Fourthly,
it

who

is

regulation action, and that

such

urged that, admitting the fact that falls within the province of State
these
evils,

after

making

all

allowvictims,

ances for exaggeration and the apathy of the
are
still

sufficient

to justify

State

action,

if

such

action

can remedy the wrong without leading to other and greater abuses, and that it is not proper to wait
the victims rebel

till

vernment
jealousy

urged that a foreign Gocannot be trusted with this pov\er. This
it

is

not

foreign interference altogether a bad sign, and

of

in
if

social

matters

is

the interference was

of foreign initiation, the force of this argument would In this case, however, the foreign be irresistible.

106

JSssays on Religions

and

Social Reform.

Rulers have no interest to
If

move
selfish

of their
interests

own

accord.

they

consulted

their

only,

they

would rather let us remain as we are, disorganized and demoralized, stunted and deformed, with the curse of folly and wickedness paralyzing all the healthy of our social body. The activities and vital energies
initiation
is

to

be our own, and

based

chiefly

upon

the example of our venerated past, and dictated by the sense of the most representative and enlightened men in the community, and all that is sought at the

hands of the foreigners is to give to this responsible sense, as embodied in the practices and usages of the

These
Pfcist,

respectable classes, the force and the sanction of law. considerations weighed with our leaders in the

when they welcomed
of
Sati

this

co-operation

in

the

abolition

and

Infanticide,

and

also

in

the

recognition of the validity of widow marriages. If we are to abjure such help under all circumstances,

we must
of

perforce

fall

back behind the

Parsis,

Mahomedans, and
themselves

Christians,

who have

freely availed

the

help

The Parsis arrangements. secured to their community the benefit of
Marriage
Parsi

recasting their social through their Punchayeta

in

the

Parsi

Act,

and
to

their
assist

Matrimonial
the
secure

Courts

with

delegates

Judge.
similar

The
in

Khojns
Malabar,

have
for

been

striving

to

concessions

their

own community.
recently had

The Nayars
to

have very
Marriage

the benefit of an

improved
legislature.

Law
in

extended
of
resnect

them

by

The

movement

proper
nf

endowments.

regulation of religious -wVnVVi rmhlir nnininn

State Legislation in Social Matters.
is

107
illustra-

almost

unanimous,
to

may
all

be

cited

as

an

tion

of the

readiness of
State

classes

of

people

not
of
that

to

object

foreign

rulers.

Legislation as Further,

at
it

the
is

hands
likely

foreign rule

will

last

over us for an indefinite length
ourselves,

of

time,

we
to

reduce

by

policy,

the

extreme

absurdity

accepting of shutting
to come.

this

out

a very useful help for many centuries such matters, the distinction of foreign
rulers
is

In

and

domestic
It

a distinction

without

difference.

has a
over-

meaning and
ride

significance

native interests, but

when when

foreign

interests

the

interest to serve,

and the

initiative

foreigners have no is to be all our own,

the recognition of State help is not open to objection urged by those who think that we

the stock
forfeit

our

independence

by
It
is

seeking

such

regulation

on

lins

approved by
Fifthly
action,

us.

further urged, in deprecation of State

that in

this

matter

we must not

lose sight of

the fact that institutions, like constitutions, must grow and cannot be made to conform with foreign ideals to
order.

There

is,

no doubt, some

force in this observation,

and

it would be a fatal objection if the argument for change were based on the ground that we must copy the foreign exemplar. The remarks which have been made above are, however, a sufficient answer to .this

but

allegation. as a

The change is sought not as an innovation, return and restoration to the days of our
of texts revered,
it justify it on the and admitted to be binding The intermediate corruption and degradation

past history.

Those who advocate

authority to this day.

108

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
of the nation's seeking.
It

was not

was

forced

the predominance of barbarous influences,
intolerance

upon it by and by the
having
our
old

of ruthless conquerors.

That

force

ceased
old

to be operative, order of things, if

we must now we are to grow
of

return to the
to

history proportions. Infanticide and of Sati shows that

The

the

suppression of these institutions,

which had

grown

as

excrescences

upon the

healthy

system of ancient Hindu Society, were checked, and could be checked, only by the strong arm of Law,

and once they were denounced

as crimes, they disap-

peared from the face of the country.

Before Govern-

ment made up

its

mind

to

deal

finally

with

these

and evils, the usual arguments that institutions grow, cannot be made to order, were urged, and the duty 01 religious neutrality was held up in terrorem to
frighten

the

timid

and

arouse

the

tions

ignorant and the prejudiced. The of the body cannot, and should not, be dealt with in the same way as its normal and healthy

passions of the diseased mal-forma-

developments. The sharp surgical operation, and not the homoeopathic infinitesimally small pill, is the proper remedy for the first class of disorders, and the

analogy holds good
as
also
in

in the diseases of the

body

politic,

dealing

with

the

parasitical

growths

of

social

degeneration.

Sixthly The apprehensions against State legislation expressed in some quarters might have been most reasonable if, as a fact, Hindu Society was really not
first

governed by any law, and it was proposed for the time to regulate these matters by subjecting them

State Legislation in Social Matters.

109

to the controlling action of the State. The fact, however, written law, and a very stringent one is that law, a too, does regulate these matters, and it is enforced

much

in the

same way

as other

laws by our Courts

of Justice.

The

courts are

that law, and decree personal rights What is in strict accordance with it.
to substitute the
later

bound to give effect to and disabilities

now
law,

proposed
for

is

more ancient and righteous law
off-shoot
is

a

travesty

degenerate of law which

of

that

cancel the
all,

condemned by
and
utilize

at least
force

more

amenable
can

to

reason,
final

the

of

State sanction as a

support.

standing
is itself

prevail
it is

unjust law as

now

against the enforced. The

private undercoercive power of

No

new law proposed

of the ancient

not a foreign importation, but is only a revival law of the country as laid down in
all

the texts, and
to

that the

Government

is

called

on
to

do

is

to

revert

from

the times of

corruption

the times
vigorous.

when Hindu
is

Society was more healthy and
incidental

There
advantage

another
to

and

an

likely

accrue

in

consequence

important of the
liberation

change
tends
the

to

in social proposed. All progress be a from the law of change

status

to

law
free

of

contract,

from
the

the restraints
self-imposed

of

family

and caste
the

customs
will

to

restraints

of

Nay more, the confusion caused by inconsistent Smriti texts and judicial
individual.

of

the

authorities

on ancient Hindu
argument
for

Law and custom
a
definite

furnishes

the

strongest

improvement

based on ancient lines by

way

of codification on the sub-

110
ject

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

by the

legislature.

There

absurd, which cannot be The usual practice of reconciling text of ancient law. intended for different ages and countries, and the texts,
loss of the
spirit

not a custom, however defended by some strong
is

of true criticism, have

benumbed the

power of judgment.
thraldom,
proposed,
It
is

The
will

liberation
result

which
be

from superstitious from the changes

will

graduating of extent

not likely to be the least of its benefits. be very circumspect in necessary to desired to meet exactly the the change
the
evil

century
national

or half a century

crying for redress. has effected a
if

The
change

past
in

not recognized to the which, sentiment, has gone, will only lead to a catastrophe and revulsion of feeling that will be simply irresistible,
extent
it

and may involve the
the nation's heart.

ruin

of

many

interests

dear to

There
think

which only one more objection It is said that deserves a passing notice.
is

we
all

against positive permissive nature, while the evils now spught to be remedied are not crimes, and the remedies proposed are not of a permissive

previous

legislation

was
of

directed

crimes,

or

was

only

a

character.

practices
far

On the first point, we must urge now complained of are in some
criminal than those which
Sati

that the

'more

respects State action has

checked.

was

committed

under

temporary

insanity caused by

many They

cases

grief, while infanticide was in too dictated by a similar mad impulse.

were

both
their

offences

not

committed

in

cold

blood, and

effects spent

themselves in a single

State Legislation in Social Matters.

Ill

act of violence,

which

inflicted

the

perpetrator himself or enforced widowhood and disfigurement, the destruction of home sanctity by polygamous connections, the
marriages, are not impulsive acts, cold blood, and they inflict lifelong undeserved misery on helpless victims, while the

the greatest shock on In most cases herself.

stupidity

of

baby
in

they are

done

and

offenders

suffer
is

but

little.

So

far

as

their

moral
criminal

heinousness

concerned, they are inflictions of injustice

without

any

redeeming
the

features,
is

and
all

the

responsibility of the nation

beyond
of

reprieve.

As

regards
find

question
in

permissive

versus

compulsory

legislation,

we have no
in

who
need

can

consolation

patience with those The empty words.
permissive,

remedies proposed are
give
offence

their nature

and
IsPys

to

nobody.

If

the

law

that no polygamous connection shall be entered into except for reasons specially permitted by
strictly

down

the ancient law of Manu,
legislation
is

we

fail

to

see

how

such

When
of

compulsory permissive. the law lays down that no widow may disfigure herself except of deliberate choice, and at a fit time
life,

more

than

say after she is twenty-five years old, where indeed is the compulsion ? When the law lays down that marriages shall not be celebrated below a certain
age,
at
least

twelve for

girls

and eighteen

for

boys,

under penalty that earlier celebrations will not meet with the recognition of the Civil Courts in cases of
disputes,

We

where again is the compulsion ? have thus noticed and answered

all

the usual
the

objections urged by those

who

honestly

support

112

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
of

continuance

the

existing

order

of

things.

The
be
is

of principle is one question out in all its bearings. argued
recognized, be left to
It
is

which

must

first

Once the
legislation

principle

the

details

of

may

safely

the

common

sense

of

the

community.

compiler of this publihimself to the task of placing cation betore the public, in an accessible form, the literature of the subject in the shape of the debates that took

with this view that the
has
addressed

place

when

the

Widow
urged

Marriage

Bill

was
have

just

intro-

duced

in the Legislative Council thirty years ago.

The

arguments

then

and

refuted

a

curious

family likeness to those we hear at present, and just then entertained were disapas the apprehensions so surely we trust to see that all our ignorant pointed,
will be pfophecies which the marriage
falsified.

The

directions

in

law

needs

reform

have

been

already briefly indicated. Diwan Bahadur Raghunath Rao has already sketched out a draft Bill in which some of the reforms urgently required are set forth in

Maharaja of Burdwan submitted thirty years ago a scheme for abolishing polygamy. The views of those Who have given thought to the subject
full

detail.

The

late

on
the

this side of India

We
periods
practice,

be briefly thus summarized. would, to start with, fix twelve and eighteen as

may

minimum
are

ages of marriage for girls and boys. These in full keeping with the most approved

more respectable orthodox sentiment of the present day. Even Rao Saheb V. N. Mandlik has stated twelve years for females as a permissible
and the
limit,

and

for

boys we

do not think he

will

regard

State Legislation in Social Matters.

113
Marri-

an years as eighteen contracted before ages
couraged, law, but

unreasonable
this

limit.

age

should

be

dis-

not

by

by pains and penalties of the criminal the attendant risk of making them liable

to be ignored, as in the case of contracts entered into by minors, liable to be ignored or set aside in case

of disputes in
Marriage, should tation,

the Civil

Courts for sufficient reasons.

unless

consummated
not

by

actual
as

cohabi-

a recognized perfect union before the limits laid down above are reached.

be

Before

such

consummation,

the

girl

should

not

be

recognized as having become one with the husband This is the ancient law, in Gotra, Pinda, and Sutaka. and our revival of it will do away with the

which paralyses the action of parents in child widows. the misery of We with dealing would on no account permit disfigurement except
superstition

twenty-five years, when the widow may be presumed to be able to realize the circumstances of her
after

and can choose deliberately the celibate course be of life. Under no circumstances should one wife superseded by a second connection, except under the
position,

safeguards

recognized

by

Manu
of

and' other
husband's

writers.

The

widow's

forfeiture

her

estate

as a consequence of her second marriage should be done away with, and her life interest in her husband's inheritance should remain intact, whatever her choice of life might be. The marriage of a widower above with girls below fourteen should be strictly fifty

prohibited as Smriti texts.
8

being

opposed to

the

most

approved

114

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

These
advocates

are

the

of
in

Reform
of

which the several changes seek to accomplish, not all at

once but
that

due progression.

They

are

fully

aware
easily

the

details

legislation

will

not

be

settled,

which
time,

without suggesting many difficulties and doubts The will be provided have to against.

however,

for suggesting these details has yet to

come.
stage

We
when

think the
all

discussion

has

now

reached a

Commission of

may well agree in asking for a Such a Commission, composed Inquiry.
sides

of representative Natives and Europeans, on the model of the Education Commission, will pave the way for
practical

suggestions.

Its

inquiries

the discussion, and tend to

give point to preserve the interest that
will

has been aroused

in all quarters.

V.

RAJA RAMA MOHANA

ROY.

JT
All

has been arranged that after service this day, should speak to you a few words about the life and teachings of Raja Rama Mohana Roy.
I

aware that this day, the 2/th of He died the anniversary of his death. September, while he was on a visit to England ; and his remains
of you
are
is

were
*833
;

buried

there
in

by
1896.

loving

friends.

He

died in

we

are

We

are therefore, celebrating

on this occasion the sixty-third anniversary of the death of this great man. Among the orthodox community, this particular fortnight tfre dark half of the month of Bh&drapada is dedicated by a very
in this place

ancient

and a very useful custom to commemorate the death of our departed ancestors. Each man and woman tries during these fifteen days to remember the debt of gratitude he or she owes to those who

gave

them
has

birth

;

and
place

though

in

this

Samaja

this

practice

no

and

we may

not follow the

outward observances, the sense of filial love and duty, which moves thousands of people in all parts of

116

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

the country to show their gratitude for the debt due ancestors has a significance and a truth our to

which

we

cannot

afford

to

ignore.

This

is

then

the sixty-third anniversary of the death of a person who might well be called one of the fathers of

the

Brahma Church.
Because
I

I

say

one of the
as
I

fathers,

and

advisedly.

hold,

have said on many

other occasions, that we, the members of the Brahma Samaja, can claim a long ancestry, as old as any of The Brahma the sects prevailing in the country.

movement
1828
;

was

not

first

brought

into

existence
;

in

we
;

are representatives of an

old race

as old
;

as the
older

Bhagwat Gita and the Bhagwata Purana much as old as Narada, Pralhada, and Vasudewa still
sages

,and the nine

who

visited

JANAKA.

From

that

time there

is

a continuity of S&dhus and saints
day.

down
I

to the present
said,

Raja

Rama Mohana

Roy, as

was thus one of the fathers of the Brahma Church but he was neither the first nor the last. For even in these modern times we have had the the of Swami Narayana sect, Keshava founder Chandra Sen, $nd Pandit Dayananda Saraswati which fact shows that the old fire, that animated those
;

who have made this land the sacred birthplace of many religions and religious movements, has not been
burnt out.
Before, however,

Raja

Rama Mohana
will

Roy's
I

life

you

be
to
in

interested,

come to speak about and teachings, some of believe, if I "draw your
I

attention

the

fact

that

while
of

the

anniversaries

celebrated
in

the

case
are

Gods

and

birthdays

the

case

of

men

allowed

to be buried

and

Raja
for
is

Rama Mohand
forgotten,

Roy.

117
find

the

most

part

we

that

it

the anniversaries

are

honoured

all

over
this

of the deaths of great men that There must be the world.

some meaning

in

custom so universally prevalent
Parsis,

among
and
accident

Christians,
;

Mahomedans,
not
the
well

Buddhists,

Hindus

it

could

have

been a mere

that,

incarnations

are the

of

men we
is

Jayanties of gods and of their births, in the case days celebrate the time when they leave us.

while

There

a very

difference.

No

good and suffijient reason for this man, till death takes him away from
can say
his

the temptations of this world, nor can it be said of him the

to

himself,

by

friends,

that

accomplished. purpose philosopher was asked a similar question, He said, ' wait till that particular man dies before The life that you. sing any song about him.' we lead here has a serious purpose ; it is to

man's

life's

has

been

A

Greek

be

guided

by

discipline,

and
start

discipline

is,

as

you
those
lie

know,
of

hundreds

a always thousands

hard

master.
in

Out of the
race of
life

who

the

reach the goal are but few. in the way, and the difficulties that

who

Temptations

we

experience

disable

many

of us,
or

and

it

a

man's

death

that
that

his
his

cannot safely be said till life's purpose has been
is

accomplished
is

a

life

worthy
it is

of

the

purpose the reason

for

which he was sent into

this world.

That

why
him.
the

in

the case of
is

men

the anni-

versary of death that

commemorated by those who
can be called great
life,

remain
has

after

No man
last

who
the

not,

to

hour of his

fulfilled

118

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

responsibility which greatness implies ; and this brings us to the consideration of the question, what constitutes

the
their

greatness death.

of

the

men

we

love to honour after

When we

celebrate

the anniversaries of

own ancestors, of our fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, the question is not whether To they are great or whether they are not great. every one of us our fathers and mothers are always objects
our
of reverence as
the
ancestors

who

gave us
the mere

birth,

and

whatever

fact that may be their failings, they are persons to whom we owe all that we have, constitutes a debt of gratitude which we are bound

to

once

discharge by a year in

celebrating

their

memories

at

least

a

more
to

solemn manner

than
;

we

do on other occasions but ijiay disposed when we make a public commemoration of our great What is it that men, the question naturally arises constitutes greatness in the sense in which you and I and everybody else understand the word ? What
be
'
:

is

it

that

constitutes

this

greatness

of character
subject.
I

'

?

There are various views
such of you
as< are

held

on

this

To
would
the

recommend
English

a
'

very
or

interested in this study careful perusal of some

of

authors,

especially

Carlyle
'

on

(

Heroes and

Emerson on Great Hero-worship two books will place Men/ These
that
that

or Representative

before
'
:

you
is

all
it

might

be
a

said

on

this

makes
to
'

man
view,

great,
his

so

question that we

What
should

be
to

anxious

keep green
purpose

memory from
Carlyle's

year

year

?

One
of

that

is

sincerity

and

earnestness

view, is that of conviction

Raja

Rama Mohana

Roy.

119

make
there

a
is

man
a

great.

Everyone of us
in

can

feel

that

All of us are

of

this

good deal of truth more or less acting world. Every one of

that
in

observation.

parts
us,

the theatre

be he small or

great, be he learned or unlearned, each of us has a on that he struts and strides, moves about small stage
;

and goes
playing
in
his

on,

himself that he

persuading others as he also persuades is not playing a part but that he is

the

reality.

However, when he
sees

is

shut up

own chamber, when nobody

him,

then

every one of us is disposed to wonder you and to laugh at the way in which he moved in this For the most of us there is no reality about theatre.
find that
it.

Sincerity

certainly

of purpose and earnestness of conviction go a long way to make a great man's
If
it

character.

we
is

are
in

wanting

in

one

thing

more

than another
In
the
case

this

sincerity

and

worthy

great men, that is, of being so reckoned, you will

of

men who

earnestness^ are

find that this

element of greatness is more or less found in a much larger measure than in the ordinary run of men and

women who
sincere

constitute

human

society.

We may

be

sincerity

earnest on habitual but occasions; of purpose and habitual earnestness of action are a gift, a possession, and a treasure that are denied

and

to

most of
in

us.

You may

take up the

life

of

any

man whom
find

a

the world classes as great; and you will large number of such men this trait of

character.

there were
himself,

Take the case of Luther. In his time more learned and even better men than

such as Erasmus and Melancthon,

who were

120

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

But what was equally gifted and equally endowed. wanting in them was the earnestness of conviction and
sincerity

of

We
there

are

all

constraint,
is

Luther. purpose which were found in of us more or less speaking under we know that moving under constraint
;

no outside
constraint
;

control

over
find

us,

our
of

own

and we
left

yet we make that full freedom
is

movement is not what constitutes a
another
instance

to

us.

That
I

not exactly
give

great
this

man.
trait

will

you

of

of character in great

There was a son of a Mahomedan butcher, aged ten or eleven. His father told him to follow his own trade. When, however, the knife was given him and

men.

was told to father was using
he
use this
knife
feels

use
it,

it

in
:

the
'

way
I

in

which

his

he said

am

not

going to

on

this

poor dumb
to

how

it

when
;

applied
I

animal, till I know the sentient parts of
.

my own

body

till

am
;

satisfied

on

this

head

I will

so saying he used the knife on his own person first and feeling that the pain was he gave up that trade, he gave up the insufferable,

not use the knife/

And

associations in wl^ich he
retired

was born, and left the world and and thus became the great Mahomedan-Hindu
Maharastra,

saint

of
is

Shaik

That

one of the

traits
it

Mahomed of Shrigonda. of character which makes a

not mere sincerity and mere He must earnestness that go to make a man great. be original. He must have imagination which brings

man* great.

However,

is

him
Such
a

into

contact

with

the

infinite

and

the

real.

men are called geniuses. Things strike them way in which they do not strike us. We are

in

so

Raja

Rama Mohana

Roy.

121

familiar with things that we can scarcely realise the inner spirit in them ; somehow or other there is an obtuseness about us which prevents us from seeing

things as
told of

they

are.

For

instance,
as

there

Dayananda

Saraswati

regards
his

a story the circumis

home and become was, sanyasi. you know, a great man our whatever may be there is no denying it, the men of the present differences with him. Among can be named alongside with generation few men
stances which led

him

to leave

a.

He

as

;

him.

When

a

boy
in

he
a

perform

worship

night of a fasting day. that the boy should sit

was sent by his father to Shaiwa temple during the The father's command was

up all through the night, and see that the water -pot which was hanging over the god was always filled and that water was
over it. dripping continuously ten or twelve went to the
night
out.

So
place

the

boy
sat

of

and
found

the

At about midnight
less

he
;

that

he
not

was

more or keep his hand
still

getting

sleepy

he
his

could

steady
;

and

prevent
all

closing

involuntarily

he tried
;

eyes from manner of means,

but

he was dozing
creatures
close

those

dirty

and he found that some of which are always found in
'

dark
Linga,

and
and
the

temples sat unconcernedly over the disturbed the flowers. As soon as he

heard

noise,

he

water was falling on
idol.

got the
a

up
rats

and found
instead

that

the
the

of

over

Well,
all,

that
it

is

very
to

us

but

suggested

common experience of him a new line of
leave
his

thought

which

made

him

home.

It

122

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

him that the dumb mechanical worship had no power in it and that the spirit must approach the Soul of the world in some other way than this. This is only one instance. But it shows
suggested to

how
tion,
trait

great
like

men

are original. Originality sincerity of purpose, is thus

or imagina-

an essential

in

again.

human greatness. Not only must a
It

There

is

a third element

plane of thought and attraction about him.
other physical

great man occupy a higher action but he must have an

cannot be called magnetic, or

form of attraction, but there is any such an attraction about him, that it inspires in those
about him the same
spirit

which he

feels of self-sacrifice

and public devotion. Any man who stands by himself and whose example and teachings have not single succeeded in penetrating into the hearts and intelligences
of other people in such a way tkat these hearts and intelligences are bound to become part of him, cannot

be called a great man.
Truthfulness, great impulses, moral aims, resourcefulness to attain those aims by the bond of love and

fellowship these t are the traits of character which go to make a great man, and those in whom they are best developed are the greatest of men. You have
all

read accounts of the

hold upon
dreds

life of Buddha. He had such a men's minds that wherever he went hun-

and

thousands

followed

him

as

the

Great

Teacher, so that they ensured the permanent success of the

movements which he inaugurateda most unparalleled success in the world's history. Take again the story of the prophet Mahomed. A poor illiterate man, he

Raja
did

Rama Mohana
religion
in

Roy.
youth,

123

not

dream of

his

and yet

at

forty he goes into retirement, incessantly moves about in such a country as Arabia find that he is to

persecuted and has to

fly for

life;

but there was such
that
ablfc

an attraction among
in

men and women towards him
or twenty

years to dictate terms to the largest and the most powerful potentates of the day. Here then you have a general
idea

the

course of

ten

he was

of

what
all

constitutes
in

greatness.

Earnestness

of

purpose,

sincerity

action,

originality,

imagination

and
call

above
it

the

power
to

of magnetism

we might
are the
I

vital

or

spiritual

magnetism
a

these
great.

qualities

which

go

make

man

have

thus given you

my own
not the

man

is.

He

is

conception of what a great richest man, nor the most

man, nor the most cultivated man, nor the most successful man, but a great man is he who, whether he be poor or rich, learned or unlearned, in
intelligent

the profession or out of the or unsuccessful in life, life,

profession,

successful

in

the

great

man
I

is

he

who combines
just

some of those virtues that to draw your attentipn to. attempted
this

have

Having

much we shall turn to see whether in Raja Rama Mohana Roy some of these virtues can be found in a way to justify our' regard for him as one of the greatest men that India has produced
said

during
fathers

the of

last

the

two centuries and as one of the Brahma Church movement. His is a

very simple life. He was born in 1774 and he died in 1833 ; he thus lived for about sixty years; a time which many of us here are now nearing, and some of us

124

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
exceeded.

have

He

was born a

Brahmin,

and that

if utilized. it is great advantage, fully mother's side he belonged to the Shakta sect, On which is the orthodox sect on the Bengal side.

was

one

On

his

his

father's

side
for
its

he

well-known

Vaishnavis7n.

came from a family which was So the Sh'ikta and

Vaishnava blood joined together in a sort of mutual
reconciliation
this great man who was work which this union of a Vaishnava father with a Shakta mother typified. In those old days when schools and colleges did not

in

producing

destined to accomplish

exist,

this

boy

and went to which were then the Court languages. At sixteen he went to Benares and there studied Sanskrit for four r be a Pandit, but to understand the years, not to
real

the age of twelve left his village 'Patna to study Arabic and Persian,
at

significance of the old learning.

He
that

thus became

an

knowing

Arabic, a

Persian,

and

Sanskrit
till

scholar,
age.

without

word
with

of

familiarity

the

English Arabic

His

and

the

Sanskrit

philosophy enabled him at the age of sixteen to conceive a dislike to the idolatrous practices which in those parts of Bengal have reached an exaggerated form,

with which most of us here are not
are
idolatries

familiar.

There

But the Bengal system of Kali worship is something of which even we have no idea. This was the sort of idolatry which he denounced
and< idolatries.
at sixteen.

we
of

did
us
?

at

might well compare notes as 'to what sixteen with such a record. Were any

We

lighted

up
father

with
got

the

fire

that

burnt in his
;

heart

His

vexed

with him

and

he

Raja
had
India
to as

Rama Mohana
home.
Thibet

Roy.

125
outside

leave
far

his

He
and

went
there

of

as

he

became

practically

familiar

with

the

knew Musulman
philosophy,
in

and

in

philosophy, the four

He Budhislic system. he knew the Sanskrit
years'

time

that

he
the
his

travelling spent After four years' Budhistic philosophy. father got reconciled with him and

he

became

familiar

with

travelling

to

return
learn

home.
English,
Till

There

at

him he commenced twenty
allowed

to

twenty-five.
service of the

completing that study at about he spent his time in the forty He did not rise Government. English
;

to

any

Head
the

but was, I believe, the very good position Clerk or Shirastedar to the District Judge or

At forty he retired from Collector in several places. service and for the first time came to Calcutta.
then
public

Till

he

had

not

taken

the

movements.
1814
far

He
in

more.

From

to 1833, his

any part in any of lived twenty years life was of incessant
measure
like

work which
of

exceeded
of

the

labours

many
at

hundreds
once
a

people
reformer,

ourselves.

He
of

was
great

social

the
'

founder

a

religious

movement

and

a

great
in

politician.

These three
a

activities

were combined

him

in such

way

that they

the best

among
to

us

put to shame tfye performances of at the present time. Raja Rama
to

Mohana Roy's
confined
activity.
first

services

the

country

were
of

not

any

particular

department
against

human

He

waged

war

polygamy.
1818
British

He
when
rule.*

denounced the

practice

of Satee in

our Presidency of

Bombay came under

126

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
that time to

1828 this crusade was carried on obtained continuously for ten years. But not having success he went on this same mission to England in

From

1830

when he was

called

to

give

evidence

before

a

Parliamentary Committee that was was also entrusted by the Emperor of Delhi with This crusade against Satee mission. some
sitting there.

He

political

represents

the

most

prominent
his

side

of

his

social

Upanishad period, it may be noted that after coming to Calcutta in 1814, he established a rudimentary form of the Brahma Church where people might meet to discuss and in a spot

As regards activity. Monotheism of the

attempts to revive the pure

and join in prayer. From 1814 to 1828, was carried on with unflagging enthusiasm, this work not was kept up only brisk arid controversy of defenders orthodox Hinduism, the with
also pray,

but

with

the

Christian

Missionaries.

He
to

called

Christians both upon In the back to the wisdom of their ancient sages. which are published of his life you two volumes will find that nearly one whole volume is devoted to and pamphlets addressed to the Raja's publications missionaries. The rest of the volume the Christian
is

and

Hindus

return

devoted

to

his

expositions

Upanishad philosophy. and protesting, preaching
doing

He was

cussing all these twenty years. all that, he did not abstain

and and writing, reading and disrefuting But while he was
of the

Vedantic

~

from studying the of his time. In those early wants and needs political when the Charter of the East India Company days,

Raja
was about
India
to

Rama Mohana
in

Roy.

127
called from

be renewed

1833, he

was

and
climate
in

he

went
not

to

useful evidence before

that

most England to give Committee. Unfortunately,
with
cause,

the

did
his

agree

him and he

fell

a

sacrifice

country's

among

strangers

in

a foreign land, far away from his dear home. Here ends a brief exposition of the life of this

man. He started the Brahma Samaja movement He made and that Samaja is his living memorial. efforts for the abolition of the practice of Satee, and
great

though
this

he

did
felt

not
itself

live

to

see

the
the

result,

the
of

Government
great

man

to

compelled by take measures to
his

labours

stop

Satee

by

legislation five

years after

death.

People here are

not quite familiar with the enormity of this practice of Satee in those days. I know there are some

mn

was a wrong step to stop Satee You will have some idea of the or' to abolish it. of this evil from one of the pamphlets Raja enormity Rama Mohana wrote and the petitions he submitted to Parliament. In one of those pamphlets figures are for fourteen years, and in the Lower Provinces given of Bengal alone there were eight thousand cases of
still

who

say that

it

Satee-burmug during the fourteen years, or an average of six hundred per year. There was not a single
family

which

last century.

but

women Once a woman
her relations

had no case of Satee-burning in the These Satee sacrifices were not voluntary; were pressed to immolate themselves.
.

said
it

'yes*

in

her
for

agony
her
to

of

grief,

made
If

impossible

change
it

her

mind.

Government had not stopped

we

128
should

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
have had
these

early days, themselves, or jump

-If eyes to this day. horrors belongs to any man, that credit must be these Rama Mohana Roy. Sa to-burning was given to Raja not the only horror men inflicted on themselves in but men and women used to drown those

repeated before our the credit of putting an end to
horrors

down from
is

lofty

precipices

into

the waters below and thus invite death in a hundred
other forms.
for
If there

credit

due

to

any man
right

having
in

turned
this

the
matter,

national

current
credit
is

in the

direction

that
political

Rama Mohana.
to

Of

his

due to Raja activities I shall not

say anything from

this platform.

Anybody who wants
is,

know what
men
in

true patriotism

had

better

the evidence
td

years ago long before of Congress meetings and Conferences. our era We shall now turn to the religious movement

that he gave power over sixty

and

the letters

study he wrote

to which

he devoted

his

chief attention.
in

The Atmiya
All

Sabha of 1814, was developed
years into the

the course of fourteen

Brahma Samaja,

established in 1828.

who

wish to

know what

the

Brahma Samaja

is,

not

by

I believe, do merely what it is' reported to be, cannot, better than read the Trust Deed in which are stated that great man his views about the noble objects and

aims of the Brahma Samaja movements. The spirituality, the deep piety and universal toleration which are manifest in every word of this document, represent an
ideal

of

beauty iand

perfection

which has
it

not been

realized

by

his

successors,

>nd

may

centuries before

its full significance is

yet take many understood by our

Raja
people.
is

Rama Mohana
destiny

Roy.

The

future
in

of the
of
time.
it

Brahma Samaja

concealed
it

the
fail.

womb

We
will

cannot
succeed.

say

may
its

not

We

hope
it

But
shall

what
tell

founder

intended

to

be

is

not a
I

question

can which we what he intended you

afford

to

dispute.

both those
are outside

of

it

was
us

among
to

it to be, and request who belong to the Samaja, and those who its pale, to consider whether his conception not as noble as any which the highest and in other lands have ever been able

form.

What
had
in

Raja
India

Rama
a
all

Mohana
gifted

felt

was
a

that

we

nation,

with

religious history transcending

the records of every

other race.

Here was
endowed,
This

a

nation,

which
in

was
all

gifted,
its

was

well

was

spiritual

real

gradually ascended ta the conception of the purest form of Monotheism that the world has yet seen. In the Upanishads and had developednot by a in the Bhagwal Giia it
aspirations.

nation

had

any single growth and process prophet, but by the of Monotheism evolution a system of the purest form
mere impulse,

not

by

the

command

of

slow

of

that

man
the

can conceive.

The higher thought
its

of the

nation had learned to place
Spirit,

trust

in

a

Universal
all

One without a

second, in ^

whom

lived

and moved and had their being, who of all, the Lord of all, the Friend of all, the Guide most the of all, the most fatherly of fathers, and
motherly
structed

was the Cause

of

mothers.
edifice,

One age
laying

after

another
brick

con-

the

brick

upon
after

and
rose.

layer

upon

layer,

and

story

story

130

Essays on Religions and Social Reform
highest
Pandits,

this Well, confined to
it

conception
Philosophers property of

was and

not
Shastris,
class,

only but
the

was

the

common
of

every

socially low, nor very respectable, the poor villager, the hunter, the gardener, the fisherman, the weaver, the goldsmith, the barber, the shopkeeper they all shared this common faith equally with the

very not much respected

lowest

the

men

who

were

Brahmins, the Pandits, and the Yogis.

While Raja
universal

Rama Mohana was
of

struck with

this

prevalence

the

monotheistic

principle,

he

was
it

deeply
faith

exalted

pained at the thought that this was turned to no practical account,

was associated with external observances and rites which were in entire discord with it. These external rites and observances made the nation worship all manner of gods and goddesses,
because

with

elemental, the

mythological,

tribal

and

local

divinities,

inhuman

grotesque features and the worst This polytheism associations. had also

most

grown

side

by

side

Upanishads,

that

God was

with the higher teaching of the One without a second,

and of the Bfiagwat Gita that He alone was to be worshipped. This contrast between the monotheistic the polytheistic observances strikes every spirit and
student of our religious life as a puzzle which baffles You can well imagine how it the understanding.

must have struck a great soul like that of the Raja who from his very boyhood had been brought up an iconoclast and waged war with idolatry of all
kinds.

He

brooded

and

thought

over

it,

and

he

Raja

Rama Mohana
for
it

Roy.

131

worked, and suffered have no conception.

in

a

way

of which

we

The

himself was, how does it latry does not go hand in
in

question that he put to come to pass that Mono-

India,

when

in
is

theistic

principle

latry

has been for

hand with Monotheism other countries where the monoless exclusively professed, monotwo thousand years and more the
is

This prevailing practice ? to consider each for you
tion of
it
;

the

question
I

I

request
solu-

himself.

offer

no

thinking

because though I have been myself to-day about it for a long time I have not yet
find

been able to

a rational

and

consistent

solution

you will recollect, is That difference renon-idolatry. of devotion and not to the lates to the method The difference to which I have of worship. object dra^vn your attention has a deeper source and reIn most cases quites our most anxious consideration.
question,

of the difficulty. not of idolatry or

The

only a consequence of this practical polytheism which prevails in the land and which leads
idolatry
is

to

against the teachings of their own higher reason think that one Supreme Will does not govern all the operations of nature, but that many gods and

men

goddesses, good and bad deities, or devatas, are permitted to influence the operations of nature and the wellbeing of man in a hundred different ways, and it is
these

subordinate
its

powers which must be propitiated
its

each in
less

own way and on

own

day.

It is this cease-

distraction of the

mind between
of
all

the devotion

to

the

and the claims of the small agents of good and bad influences which multiple

One Supreme Lord

132
is

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
evil.

the real

There

Roman

Catholics

and

image worship among the there is saint worship and
is

Pz>-worship among Christians and Mahomedans, but on the whole they do not detract from the monolatrous
character of the devotions
this

of these people.

With us

has been overstepped with the consequent debasement that we see all about us. Rama Mohana
limit

Roy naturally felt pained at this modern debasement, and with a view to bring into accord our practical
w ith our monotheistic faith, he gathered kindred souls who felt with him on this point together and established the Brahma Samaja. He did not regard the Brahma Samaja faith as a new Dispensation, or a new declaration of God's purposes. He aspired only
devotions
r

to

establish
their

harmony between
practical

men's

accepted faith
a
strict

and

observances

by

mono-

latrous

worship of the One Supreme Soul, a worship of the heart and not of the hands, a sacrifice of
self

and

not of the
foreign

possessions
in
its

of the

self.

There
or
their
their

was

nothing

conception,

origin,

method.

He

own

ancient treasures of

wanted men and women to cherish faith and to secure

freedom from the bondage of superstition and ignorance. This was the work which the Brahma Samaja

was intended

how
been

It is not for carry out. far that promise has been fulfilled. If
fulfilled,

to

me
it

to

has

say not
us

the blame

is

not

his

but ours.
it

To

problem on the right solution ot which our destiny nere and hereIn connection with this anniverafter greatly depends.
it is

the same problem presents him early in the century.

itself

to-day, as

did to

And

a

Raja

Rama Mohana

Roy.

138

sary I beseech you to take this great lesson to heart and try to work out its solution in such a way that the integrity of your soul may be restored.

correspondence between the head and the heart, this concord between the flesh and the spirit is Indian monotheism will be a great established,
this

When

power

in
in

the

land,

uniting 250

millions

of

men and
The
continue

women

a bond
differences

which

shall

be indissoluble.
creeds
will

historical

of national

to exist like the
Christian
like

different styles

of architecture.

The

a

church will not look in outward appearance Mahomedan mosque or an Aryan temple, but
of style

the differences

and form
of

will

not

interfere

this is unity purpose. another great idea, the union of all reaccomplished,
spiritual
ligions,

with

the

When

which Raja
heart,
will will

in
all

bis

lands

Rama Mohana Roy cherished deeply be realised, and with it people in say with one voice 'Thy Kingdom
Earth.'

has

come and Heaven has descended on
Since this address

was
the

first

delivered

there

are

in

evident signs of the all countries to

awakening of thoughtful
necessity

minds
the

of

securing

co-operation And the best

of

all

nations

towards
it

this

great end.

evidence

of

was furnished by the

great Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in connection with the great Columbian exposition, the smaller Unions among Christians themselves held at

New
The
sign

York, U. S. A. and Paris, France, this year. great World's Temperance Union is a similar
of the times.

We may

note also the

fact

that

the missionaries from this country have been actively

134

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
in

working both
the

America and
those

in

Europe to
the
the

familiarise
spiri-

people

tualism

parts of our ancient land.

in

with
Also

higher

Theosophical

movement, which represents men who profess all the known religions and yet feel that they can co-operate
together in this
tions

common

elevation.

All

these indicawill

may

be

before

long

regarded usher in,

as the
in

early

full

dawn, which the Sun blaze,
will

of
all

Righteousness
nations in a

and

Glory

which

unite

common

brotherhood.

VI.

COMMEMORATION ADDRESS. THE TELANQ SCHOOL OF THOUGHT,
are aware of the nature of the business which has brought us together in this place on the present occasion. It is a function of a friendly and social commemoration, and must one of us in the spirit be. undertaken by every A meeting like this which suits the occasion. to have been held earlier, and it was arranged ought

YOU

but owing to unforeseen engagements accordingly of the most pressing character, the managers of the Club had to put it off to a more convenient
;

Death, as you day. so very busy among

all

know,
that,

has

been

of

late

notwithstanding the our every-day life of toil absorbing distractions and enforced rest, our minds are in a more serious mood attracted naturally towards those who have been gathered to our forefathers some of them -preus

of

maturely, long before their mission in this life had been accomplished. Our minds are, as each fresh loss comes upon us, with its sudden surprise, distracted

136

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

we soon temperament, recover our usual equanimity, and seem apparently to
elastic

with grief for a of our tial gift

moment

;

but such

is

the providenthat

It is not, however, always the case. forget the past. There are times and there are seasons when even

in

are our thoughts distractions, absorbing to converse turned from the present day engagements

these

in

spirit

and

solitude

with

those

with
our

whom we

lives, worked in various past during in the great resand whose company we now miss come upon us as each day rolls on ponsibilities that and makes room for its successor. It is not, there-

fields

without reason that our wise ancestors ordained it as a part of our religious duty that once at least in the course of the year there should be a fortnight set apart for these commemorations, so that each
fore,

one
in
fact

in

his

own

small

sphere,

and
is

all

of of

us

our
that

collective

our

sphere, may present existence

take
here

stock

the

an existence

by conditions over which we have no control, and that unless we teach ourselves to regard it only as the place for fitting and preparing ourselves for a
limited

better existence,

we

fail

to understand the mission
are

of

the

life

with which
the

we
in

so mucft

absorbed.

Last

month was

month

which these commemorations

were held throughout the country, in domestic circles and more at large in high places, where- the claims of. the dead commanded a larger circle of mourners. These commemorations remind us of our duties to those who have left this troubled life of ours, and some extent with a similar object in view it is to

The Telang School of Thought.
that
their

137
it

the

members of

this

Club

have

felt

to be

duty, which they had long put off for various to meet together in this place, and to commemorate in a proper spirit the loss which the Club has
reasons,
its

sustained in the death of

late President,

Mr. Justice

Five years and more have now elapsed since that eventful departure from our midst took., place

K. T. Telang.

of one
It

whom we

all

knew

so well, and loved so dearly.

thought by the members of this Club that this long period of time should be allowed to elapse, for in the excess of our present grief we might be

was

tempted to put too high a value upon the loss that we had suffered, and that it was far better to wait

and see
five

if,

like

many

of

our

other

sorrows,
reconcile

these
us to
it,

years the loss that
as ,we

of

separation

we had
man}'-

suffered

might and make us forget
afflictions

not

do forget

other

that

trouble

our existence here.

Five years have passed, and yet
is

every one of us, 1 believe every one who hall, and many hundreds who may not be
day, w ill admit with me that these not reconciled us to the loss, and
r

in

this

here to-

five

made
late

years have us forget
President

the

estimation in which

we

held

the

of this Club during his short but brilliant career. It was on this account that the members of this

Club thought that

the
this

time

had
too

now come when

we

could

discharge

duty

without being exposed

to the

charge that
course, on

we made
purpose
eyes of

Of
for such

such occasions,
as

much of otir loss. when we meet here
this,

a

solemn
mind's

memories
faces,

rise

before

the

many

familiar

and

138

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
flit

the shades of the dead
reality

before our vision with
life

a

which

is

almost as vivid as

itself.

Not

memory the great men of the past about whom many of you have no personal generation, knowledge, but whose works we read and admire
to recall to your

not to go so
ourselves

far

back as that period,
the
is

only
of

to

memory
and
faces

which

confining past five or six years, the so fresh with us, our hearts

and

our

recollections

are

drawn
as

to

many

familiar

whom we

miss

now

the miser misses his

wealth, or the mother her lost child. miss, for the sturdy features of Mr. K. L. Nulkar, instance, than whom a more sustained worker in all the

We

higher
this

activities

of

our

life,

a

more

earnest

sympathiser
part

in

all

of

India.

that was good, did not breathe in Another loss we feel is that
S.

of

my

friend

Mr.

P.

Pandit,

whose
coupled

cast

of

features

indicated an unbending will,

with

a

tenacity of purpose and undaunted courage peculiarly his own. His was a life, though short, of great

and continuous struggles and noble achievements on behalf of posterity. We further miss the familiar
face

of Dr.
years

Atmaram Pandurang

who

during

three-

and ten took the lead in our Society, in all I good works of benevolence and charity. him more not on account of his ministering to our prize
score

bodily maladies, but on account of his ministering to our spiritual longings. His loss is still so fresh, and

the debt

we
I

owe him has been
do not
feel

so badly discharged

by
to

us that

iay more about him.

We

myself at present disposed miss again the face of

The Telang School of Thought.
Mr.

139

Modak, the great educationist, and a man whose life was an example to us in all things
A.
good, a
secular

W.

man who
duty.

We

before
at

our

vision

least

cannot
Rishi,

passes a poignancy of grief that I miss our describe in words.

applied miss

himself devoutly to every

him

as

his

shade

with

We

Political

Mr.
for

N.
and
a
of
life

M.
years

to

his

bed

ten

Parmanand, and more
a of
friend

confined
of

one

continuous

suffering,

yet

from

whom
or

we

never
In
a

heard
matters
purer us and

word
and

complaint
social

of

sorrow.
elevation
lived

religious,

a

purer

or political never soul us
is
till

with
last

never
him.

worked
Another

with

the
left

breath

left

gap

that

by
in

my
its

friend
in

soul

formed

a

'A Yajnik. a soul above vanity, higher mould,

Mr.

Javerilal

U.

and

capacities

equal to

all

that

we

expect in

our great men, joined with humility and resignation that

was unequalled by any who who might come after him. N. Bhagwat, a silent worker
I

lived

before

him
Mr.
It

or

We
in

miss
higher

V.

the

fields.

know

his

charity

was

a

silent

charity.

was

charity which he loved to hide from all his most intimate friends, a man whose independence of character was never sullied by any blemish of

a

irreverence or faultfinding. miss all these and

We

many more.
on an occasion
the shadows

It

would
this

be too long a
to
recall to

list

tor

me
all

like

your minds

flitting before
'

our eyes, some more clearly perceptible than others, and we miss above all our friend, for the commemoration

140

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
death

of whose
this

we

have

met

more

especially

on

friend Mr. Telang was not was confined to this city or reputation this Presidency. He was India's representative, the type, I may say, of New India. Had it not been that the cruel hand of death took him away from us

occasion here.

Our

a

man whose

top soon, there was every promise that year after year the rose that had blossomed with such beauty and with such fragrance in our midst, would have filled
all

the whole country with of life was exemplary,

its

sweet scent.

his

His simplicity sympathies were always

foremost in the support of everything that was good and true. Noble in mind himself, contact and converse

with

visited

him made every one, even a stranger who him for the first time, discover in the man the nobility of character which only those that have this magnetic power developed in them by the gift
of nature can realize.
all
;

His countenance is before you no photograph can ever portray his features, that calm life which I believe we all realize, though it is

not possible to describe it. The intellectual cast of that countenance was of a character which I had the
privilege to

mark

in

its
it

very

first

stages.
I

Some
in

five

and

thirty

years ago

was

that

noticed

the

young man who

then attended the college, there was a power and force concealed which would carry him up to the very highest stages of our. social and
political
life.

There

were

lines

in

that

countenance

which marked him out as an intellectual giant before all our modest performances would look as if we were only trying to follow him, but could never

whom

The Tclang School oj Thought.
get up to

141
there
silver

him.

Those who
here

heard
will

must be

thousands

him speak remember his
;

and earnest eloquence it was all Those who heard him one sweet flow of reason. will remember him not as an orator who could speak thunder, but as one who gave light, heat, motion,
voice, his persuasive

and hope to the masses about him in a way to,, make them feel that they had profited by listening to him, even for a short space of time. Such was the man as he was seen and as he was heard, but when we went beyond the spheres of sight and
hearing,

and

when we when we
multifarious

when we met saw him at work
saw

the
in

his

man in own

converse,

house,
in

or
his

him

as

he

was

engaged

have
as

been

our estimation of him which might formed by hearing him or seeing him
duties,

developed
a

into

a

love

which

we

liked

to

cherish

privilege.

day by day and citizenship which
be

with him grew intimacy inch by inch into a privilege of under no circumstances we would

Our

induced to forego.

Never out of temper

himself,

always put other people into their best temper, always thinking that there was something in everybody else which deserved his admiration. As a scholar,
as a speaker,
as

he

a politician, as a .judge, as a
official

mem-

ber of our political and

bodies, his services are

on record.
duty by him
in

Though
in

his

friends
his
life

have

not done their

letting

allowing

the

reminiscences

remain unwritten, and of his life to be still

gathered from the remarks made here and there, that work has been undertaken by an English friend far

142

Essays on Religious and Social Rejorm.
separated

from India, and by a Parsee gentleman who, however, has not been able to understand him and ins life property. I can imagine one reason why it has been found impossible by some intimate Their friends of his to do full justice to the man.

away

excess of love for him
to put
their

made

it

impossible

for

them

to

way as thoughts in writing in such do adequate justice to the great excellences of his

a

character.

To
existence

those

who may
is

think that the claims of future
for
us,

have

no regard

and that

all

that

our present existence, and that we need care about after death there is an end of all things to us, an

end that can never be recalled to them, there is no hope and no joy in store. But most of us cherish
the
faith

in

a

future

existence for the

soul

where

are given to us in abunopportunities, denied here, where our powers are still further developed, dance and where our foibles, if any, are corrected, our
;

temper
This
is

is

strengthened, and our virtues are enlarged. the belief of Mr. Telang's friends ; and it is
gives

this belief of theirs that

them

consolation,

and

partly reconciles 'them to the loss they have suffered in the departure of so many of our great and good

men.
spirits,

What who

converse
are
?

shall

we
'

hold
our

with
in

these

hovering

over
shall

heads

and
with

about this

place

What

we

converse

them ? Certainly not of our petty disappointments not of the many toils and trials that and sorrows
;

we have

to

suffer.

What

shall

we

converse about
to
fix

with souls like these ?

Everyone has

in

his

The Telang School of Thought.

143

own mind what he

shall

converse

about.

have a family likeness which distinguishes many of our other friends who have gone
before

They all them from
either

them
is

or

after

them,

to the

existence

from

which there

said to be

no
are

return.

And
minds
spirits,
I

while

you

what

converse

contemplating in your own you should hold with these

shall

suggest to

you the
are

particular

features

of

this

likeness.

likeness

brought think that
are

these features of family which distinguish those whose memory I have Some of you may to your recollection ?

What

there

no common

family likeness ; that there features in the great and good work
is

no

done by these men, which would justify my calling them a school and still 1 want to show to you, if am permitted to do so, that they do form a I
;

school.

In the absence of a better
as
call

name

I

may

call

that

school,

ticsI
and
to

may
the

representing all its best characteristhe Telang School of Thought it

action.

Shall

we
of

make
this

ourselves
in

worthy
present

be

followers

school

our

existence, either as teachers or disciples ? For teacher and disciple are alike in the same condition in respect

of this high spiritual converse. in such matters ; teaching is
discipline again.

Teaching
discipline
;

is

learning
is

learning

What
all

then are
these
?

these

common
all

fea-

bring together in our estimation
great

tures

which

great and

good men
these

What makes
rise

men and good
as
if

people
of

together before our
;

minds
if

they

were members of one family
one
society
;

as

they

were

members

as

if

they

144

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

were incLibers of an association with common purSuch of you as knew these poses and objects ? need hardly to be reminded of persons intimately
the
particular

and

salient

features of this

school.

I

do not deny that there are
tinguishing
features
;

other

schools
last

with

dis-

I

should be the
love
I

deny

that.

Though

my
are

for

this

person to school grows

higher every day, to deny that there
the

members

last person other schools, and possibly of those schools might have equal right
still

should

be the

to assert their

own

superiority.
as

But on
not
the

this occasion

we

have been invited which Mr. Telang,

the

members

of this

Club of

though
leader.
in

founder,

was a
store

most distinguished up in our minds lessons with which
and
lessons

We
his
;

meet

here

to
all

this
life,

commemoration

the

his

teachings, his actions,

his sufferings are so fraught

we

shall carry those

by

way
to

of

discipline

and by

way

of en-

couragement

us

all.

The
hopeful

common feature is men. You may perhaps
first

that they were

all

not

understand
is

me
one
a

when
which

I

say that this

privilege

of hopefulness

may
;

disentitle

themselves

from

claiming
to

share in

some of you may not be able
in
is
it

see

what

can exist grounds for hopefulness abasement when the whole world
finger

of

scorn
all

at

us.

And
If

yet

present pointing the is a fyct that

our

any one wishes to become hopeful. they werp a member of this Telang school of thought and hold converse with these great teachers of this school, he
must
first

learn

the

lesson

that

hopefulness

is

the

The Telang School of Thought.
badge
of the
if

145
of

school.

We

should

be

unwortny
our

ourselves

we

are not

which
of

transcend
world.
Africa,

the

tradition

the

You
or

hopeful of every other nation take the map of Asia, may

with

traditions

Europe,
there
sents

America,
in

and

you

will

find

that
pre-

other country is no such a continuity of existence over

the world

which
such
a-

Jong

period of time.

Races and creeds have
in

risen, thrived,
is

and
that

decayed

other

lands,

but

India

favoured
other

notwithstanding its abasement in the people of this country particulars,
preserved from people with a
dangers,
special

many
have
to

been
a

as

though

they

were

mission

entrusted

them.

of the present, or those of our ancestors of the immediate past, may not be worthy to bear the standard

We,

of that

mission,

but

still

there

is

the

fact

that

we

of traditions, of literrepresent a continuity of creed, of philosophy, of modes of life and forms of ature,

thought, which are peculiar to this land, and which have been carried to other countries by our illustrious

ancestors in the past from this land,
in this
feel

What

is

there

should

be for

circumstance, you may ask, that we hopeful on this account. It cannot surely nothing that this particular favour has been
to

If the providential guidance. miraculous preservation of a few thousand Jews had a purpose; this more miraculous preservation of onerace is not due to mere 'chance* fifth of the human

shown

us

under

We
This

are under the
is

one

severe discipline of a high Purpose. ground of the hopefulness which has
feature

been the characteristic
10

of this school.

They

146

\Essays on Religious
\^

and Social

ejorm.

were hopeful men, they they were hopeful of the that if they lived under
in

felt

proud of the past, and future. They were hopeful
this
discipline,

they might
place
in

time

be

fitted

to

take

their

proper

history.

What
unites

our

one

in

which dislocated races together and makes us All the creeds and aspiration and thought ?
is

the

nature

of

this

discipline

civilizations
spiritual
political

are

gathered
beliefs

in

this

land;
;

all

the

forms

and

are

here

all

social

and
;

and
these

this

experiments are being tried on a large scale is the only land where you will find all
represented

creeds

by hundreds and thousands,

and

millions, living peaceably together and partaking the charities, learning, and excellence of each in a pf spirit of toleration for all which you will nowhere find

on the broad face of this earth. This is a discipline which has not been vouchsafed to any other country

The Jews were punished in Egypt; world. were taken captive to Persia and were brought they back and restored to their promised land, and finally
in

the

again

scattered, to

the

four

corners

of

the

world.

We
and

also
still

have been
the

upon

us,

but

punished for our wrong-doings, providential discipline keeps its hold we have not been scattered to the

We are slowly being prepared by discipline winds. and trained to be what we were certainly intended the mission which has still not fulfillers of to be been fully acomplished. Our great ancestors accomplished
it
it

in part,

their

successors

failed

and

suffered

the reverses that

we

to accomplish are now labour-

The Telang School of Thought.

147

ing under, and we feel hopeful that this work has come to our hands, and we are being trained to If we can take away undertake it in a proper spirit.

with us this source of strength from this commemoration, then we shall have taken the first steps in
the lessons which are taught in this school. You will recognize that this sturdy hopefulness
is

the

golden

mean

between

stolid

indifference

to

change and the sanguineness of temper which to accomplish the work of centuries in as
decades, and the work of decades in as many and the work of years in as many days. The
indifference

desires

many
years,
stolid

to

change

old age, and the the difference between the child and the man.

represents the decrepitude of sanguineness of temper represents

Many
every

of us are
little

still

in

that us

state

of

mind

when

success

elates

and

every

little

depression

little start in life, and they have mastered the whole situation a they little piece of good fortune happens to them, and they feel that they are the luckiest men in the world. People who have got this spirit of sanguine-

dejects us.
feel

Give them a

as if

;

developed in them are, I say, clearly to be distinguished from those who, while they feel hopeful of the final result, are still weighed* down with the
ness

thought that they have to undergo a long discipline, and have no heart for boisterous displays or ^dreams
of

mock

revivals
in

of

to be achieved

past glory. ourselves and

The

results

are

not by change of
results

extraneous

circumstances.

And
has

these
to

are

to

be

achieved, and

change

be

brought

about

148
in

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
a wa>
fulfil

which
that

it

would

be

difficult

to

anticipate

at

present, but such

to

change must come if mission which has been
that

we
left

aspire
half-

accomplished.

We know
are

we
not
us,

should
outside
in

not
us

be
but

over-sanguine in such matters.

Our
inside
us,

difficulties

really

the

difficulties

are

in

our inertia, in

our weakness, in our physical inability to sustain hard work, in our inaptitude to work long for great These are our difficulties old results by great toil.
;

habits are to be changed ; we have by long centuries of debasement learnt to be like little children who
are

old

disappointed on being deprived of a toy, or like men we are irritable and querulous. We should
to be men,
right,

learn

stalwart puritan

men,

battling

for

the

not

indifferent

nor

sanguine, trustful but
is
.

not

elated,

serious

change
the

in character

That dejected. which has to be accomplished.
but

not

the

is necessary here. It is not of which we are to feel proud, past but of the past of our great ancestors in whose time our philosophies were developed, our literature and

One word

of caution

immediate

sciences
lands,

grew
off

far

up, and our people went to foreign to Java, to the East, and far away
to

beyond Mongolia

the

North.

we

ought immediate past has brought us to our present position and stranded us into the difficulties in which we find
ourselves.

to

have

intense

About these times The more reverence.

We
are

are creatures

of that

more immediate
our

past,

we

suffering the

penalty of

weakness,

hesitation

and self-seeking and mutual

jealousies.

That

The Telang School of Thought.
immediate past has landed us There have been periods even
about which
into
in

149

our

debasement.

that imnrediate past
legitimately proud as

we may be

all

as

of the days of our great ancestors. There have been lights blazing on the mountain tops which shone with

a brilliancy as

great

as

of the Rishis in the

olden

These lights have, however, been extinguished. days. They were so few and far between, and the work to be accomplished was so great that lights failed and

we
it

are to

some extent involved
veil

in our

own

darkness

;

and that
unless

has to be

lifted,

and nobody
ourselves.

can

lift

we welcome

the

light

Vast

agencies are set in motion, by the guiding hand whose kindness it is our privilege to recognise at every step, but it is a work which takes years and years, and
centuries after centuries before
t

it

can be fully accomplished.

these are some of the distinguishing features What else is there to be said about of this school.

Now

the

common

family

features

of

this

group of great

and good men that we have called to converse with us ? There is this further common feature that they all agreed in holding that the work to be accomplished
is

not one-sided work.
is

The

liberation that

has to be

sought

activity, or in one sphere

not in one department of life, or one sort of of thought, but it is an allin

round

activity from another.

you cannot dissociate one Take the improvement of our To do that you may taks many physique alone. The great fallingdecades, you may take centuries.
which
off that has taken place during

work

many
evil

centuries as the
habits,

result

of

false ideals

of

life,

and bad

150

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
can
only

institution^
efforts to

be

counteracted by persistent

combat the

mischief.

that

But besides physical development the other duties have to be performed are of even still more

peremptory characters.
are the

And what

are they

?

They

The

improvement of the social surroundings about us. very air in which we live and move and breathe has

to be purified. These environments have to be in a sense re-ordered in a way that would help not merely

our

physical

growth,

but

also

our

intellectual

moral
our

growth. friend, the
lying
for

That
he

Political

was the idea in Rishi. Those who
been
in

and the mind of

knew
there

him,

as

had

bed

in

sorrow and
that
if

suffering

ten or twelve years,

knew

was anything which preyed on the mind of that man it was not the pain that he suffered though that pain was excruciating but it was this thought, that some of us were attaching too much of importance to one form of evil and paid little attention to the other forms. There was the work of religious

Not that we need regeneration to be attended to. a foreign country and borrow our faith from to go
foreign masters.
'

Spiritual life

was developed

into the

highest perfection, not merely in the writings, but in the actual existence of great men who flourished in

the past. have not

We
to

have to revive
set

that

life

in

us

;

we

up

a

particular

separated from another.
that.

one

friend

from

which doctrine and one church another,
is

Too much importance

attached to

We

have

symbols

while

preserved the outward forms and the spirit has evaporated the spirit

The Telang School of Thought,

151

which teaches us to do justice between man /and man, and between man and woman too, and high low alike. aiyfl While we developed new forms of thought in
philosophy,

we

circumvented

ourselves
in

with
being

new
able

temptations, and we are neither to move out, nor

now

a

fix,

move with
if

the

mass,

and

social you want emancipation, or by any other name, religious or social revival if you please is a task that has to be accomplished. Next there is the economical and industrial Our industries are in the same condition movement. in which they were when man first entered on the

yet the

to call

it

Millions of people are working the year round in a most desultory toiling fashion, managing to eke out their living in some
agricultural
stage.

and

all

form or other.

Labour

is

unskilful,

capital

is

and without organization, our material resources
not utilized or undeveloped. It is a revolution like that unaided.
placed us in
best form.
difficult to

scarce either

accomplish
secure

But Providence has
to

a most favourable state
this

the
its

development of

side

of

human

character in

have been put to school under the best living captains of industry and organisation.
have, lastly, to learn to take interest in the political well-being of our people, and, though it is to be a very easy lesson to learn, it is one thought

We

We

which
with
it

is

most

we

difficult to accomplish, unless ordinated secure the regular development of other

useful activity in us.

You may frame
machine,

a

you may

build

system, you a house,

may
but

fashion

a

you cannot

152

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

manufacture

men

in

the

manufacture dead machines.

way in which you You must have men to

can
deal

with this system, to live in this house, and to work this machine. There are other schools in this country proclaiming a dozen other missions. But the great

have called the Telang school is that you cannot develop the chest without you cannot starve deve!6ping your other organs
characteristic

feature of

what

I

;

yourselves and yet desire that your muscles shall grow and your nerves have the same elasticity as before. There is an interdependence between the parts, so that it is not possible to do justice to one

without

doing

justice

to

the

other

also.

This

I

believe to be a very difficult lesson to learn, and yet every one of those men that I have named, every

one
this

of

them

lived
I

and died

in

a steadfast faith in
to

great doctrine.

may

bring

the

work
here

done by our
to

friend,

your recollection whose death we have

He was, as commemorate. specially a writer, a social and economical reforyou know, mer, and he was the most active worker in the He was a man who was a great political field. not a scholar in the old sense of the word scholar but a scholar both in the old and new sense only of the word. He was a scholar whom the Pandits of the West and the Pandits of the East had learnt He combined to revere, and learnt to understand. thes v activities in himself, and he was trying to all give a helping hand to all in other fields when he
met
;

;

f

could

not himself work.
think
that

In

such

matters

as

these
I

people

they cannot help one another.

The Telang School of Thought.
should
that.

153
idea
like

be the

last

person to

entertain

an

The strongest among us has sometimes his moments of weakness. A man who does not get the
support
of
his

friends

at

such

times

feels

that

he

is

left

We

are

for

alone ^and sinks occasionally and sins badly. a moment led to believe that we cannot
of greater
opportunities without running one of the mistakes which the

make

use

greater risks.

This

is

always entails upon the strongest of our men. It should be our duty to try and remedy this weakness and to see that such a
of

weakness

human

nature

mistake

may

not

occur.

When you

find

that

you

have made a mistake you must not try to hide it or defend it, but you should seek help, and try to
see that
it

that

we have
is

does not occur again. That is the lesson to learn from true hopefulness that
;

hopefulness mission assigned to us

based

on
;

the

belief

that
is

there

is

a

that mission

not assigned

by any among us, assigned by one who alone has the power to assign the mission. And that belief is based on a sure foundation, not on the foundation of our common sense, or our powers and our
one
but
capacity.
this

But

it

is

a

religious
us,

beHef that there
only on

is

sort

of guidance given to

one con-

dition, that

we

fully

realize

that >ve have to

our

own

liberation

and

our

own

work and betterment,
one direction.
;

that betterment not in one field or

in

Our muscles and sinews have to be hardened our hearts have to be humanized to the sense of justice
and our and prepossessions prejudice
in
all

directions

;

intellect to
;

be freed from

freed from the beliefs of

154

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

superstitions
us.

which have been

long

dominating over

a work of a very difficult character, and yet each one of us, unless he puts his hand to the wheel, can never help himself to obtain success in his own emancipation. I said that there are other features This
relating
to

&

this

particular

question

which

I

cannot

describe at present. I have thought about them, but c I do not at I feel that can do justice to present

them.
the

I

am

privilege

quite sure that many of of longer intimacy with

you here had
the
friend
I

have now brought to your recollection, whose memory we have come here to commemorate. The teachings of the Telang school are seen in the life and writings
of the

men whose
recollection

family

likeness

your

on

this

have brought to We have a occasion.
I

duty to discharge ; of course in feeding
not want, not of this
istence

all owe a debt of duty, not them with things which they do but to feel for a moment that you are world, that you are in some better ex-

we

world, and that your soul converses with their souls in the other existence in order

than

in

this

to

throw
I

off

its

bondage.
f

This

is

accomplishment
utilized. I

which occasions
will

like this

an object to the should be

hope you
t

be able to

do that work.

trust

much

that this Club, in which Mr. Telang took so interest, and a Club in which, I fear, there is
it

something wanting to make and th?t occasions which
multiply
till

clubbable, will prosper, bring us together will

and make
raise

us

feel

the

want

of Club

life,

we

this

Club to
other

the position

occupied
in
this

by
city.

the

Clubs

of the

communities

The Telang School of Thought.

155

A
a

Club without
of sand.

common

feelings

may

be said to be
a

rope Every you ^ias got function to perform in this connection. The common feature of Club life is co-operation and association. I believe I am not far wrong when I say that
the few principles which
I

one

of

have tried to place before

you now find response in your hearts, and there are many more to which your attention may hereafter be
directed.

In

the

meanwhile

there

is

no

reason

why we may
is

not join in common fellowship which to be productive of such good results. likely
Address delivered at the
'

Hindu Union

Club,'

Bombay,

in 1895.

VII.

REVIVAL AND REFORM.*
time
last

year,
India,

when
I

we

met

in

the
that held

THIS

metropolis of the gathering

of

the

ventured to say was Conference

Few under the shadow of a great calamity. of of us then the realized accumulation fully mOseries and sorrows which this unhappy year now about to close had in store for us. The shadows darkened and deepened in their horrors as the year seven advanced, and it almost seemed as if the plagues which afflicted the land of the Pharaohs in old times were let loose upon us, for there is not a single province which had not its ghastly record of death and ruin to mark this period as the most calamitous year of the century within the memory of
many
generations, past.

No

more from these dire of Bombay, and we

visitations

province has suffered than the Presidency

are still carrying the yoke of this hard discipline of sorrows with a patience, and I might add, courage, which baffle all description. The has been very unequal, and we have been fight
*

Address delivered at the

I.

N.

S.

Conference, Amraoti, 1897.

Revival and Reform.

157

worsted
paralysed,

at

every and our

point,
losses

our
great

activities

have been
.all

beyond

previous

Speaking on an occasion like this, I cannot but give expression to the grief which presses
anticipations.

heavy
once

on
so

our

hearts,
in

as

we remember
Conference

the

faces*

familiar

these

gatherings,

conspicuous by their absence here to-day soldiers of God in the great fight with evil, who have been of their taken away from us in the full bloom

manhood,

and
to

whose
fill

place

we

can

never

hope

such earnest soul, the adequately late Rao Bahadur Chintaman Narayen Bhat, was the
up.
life

One

and

light
it

of

this

movement.

I

had
to

fondly

hand over my privilege hoped of this great service, for which to him the charge the many great and good qualities of his head ahd But this was not to be, he^rt fitted him so well.
that

would be

and

we have now

to

console

ourselves

with

the

mournful satisfaction that he died a martyr to his selfIn another imposed labour of love and charity.
place
I

have described our sense
in

of the loss suffered

by
fight

us

the

death

of

another

veteran
V.

in

the

the

universally

lamented
a
to

Mh
for

A. Modak.
work,
his

Though disabled for soul was ever alive
he lived and died.
sorrow

time
the

active

of duty for which Friends who knew Mr. Gokuldas
call

Leula of Sind have paid a similar tribute of their to the memory of this sincere wetter, who

died a victim to the plague, while administering relief tribute of to those who suffered from its ravages.

A

respect

is

also

due to the memory of Mr. Kashinath Pant

158

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
of
in
I

Natu

Poona,
\

and
parts
recall

Mr.
the
to
it

Vaman
your
has

known
Berars.

these

Daji Oka, Central Provinces

well

and

might

mind
pleased
is

the

names

of

many more
convince
,-

whom
us,

Providence
necessary in our

to take
to

away from
you
been

but this
the

hardly

that

year's

casualties

ranks
their

have

very
only

heavy.
that

When
our

and
the

impatience elsewhere are
are

complain

friends

people in here
fail

glib

when they
most

called

on to
feature

act,

prominent

badly they seem to forget of our experience of
talkers,

and

these great visitations namely, that in every town and city, where distress in any form prevailed, whether it was due to famine, plague, or earthquake,
or floods or hurricane, the

members
their

of the

various

Reform
always
if

Associations

and
to

been

the

first

sympathisers have volunteer their help, and

they have lost heavily, this loss is due to the perseverance with which they maintained the fight. We, who have been spared till now, may well pay
this

tribute
like

of

respect
this,

to

their

occasion

when

we

memories on meet together

*

an
to

reckon our gains and losses for the year. As might be expected, the reports of this year's work which havte been received from nearly sixty Associations, large and small, and which have been

summarized up to date, complain that the year/ has not been as successful as

their

work

for

in the previous

two
the
the

years.
lines,

And yet to those who can read between there are manifest signs which show that
as

work has been

earnestly pursued as ever.

To

Revival and Reform.
instance

159
of Female

a

few

cases

:

Under

the

head

Education, the Bethime College of Calcutta, the Girls, High Schools at Poona and Ahmedabad, the Kanya

Maha Vidyalaya
School at

at Jallunder,

Lahore,

the

Maharani's

the Sing Sabha's Girls' Girls' School at

Mahakali Pathashala organized by Mataji Tapasvini Bai, a Mahratta lady in Calcutta, a^d the Sylhet and Mymensing Unions, all show a record of
Mysore, the
progress,

each
not

in

its

own

line

of

development.

single Reform Association of any the country which has not lent its best position in efforts to raise the standard and popularize the system of Female Education. Many Associations, Sabhas, and

There

is

a

Samajas

maintain
others

own,
less

and

independent girls' schools of their have their home classes more or
in

actively

employed
to

carrying

on
for

the

work

ot

the, schools

educate

the

more
lectures
at

advanced students.
ladies,

Others
Ladies'

again

have
started

their

and

Associations, such

as

and
is

Madras,

and

Ahmedabad, Bombay, maintained by the ladies

themselves.
still

Though the

condition of female education

that are
signs

very backward, though the experiments now carried on are on different lines, the

and

are clearly visible that throughout India, the national awakening to the necessit/ of developing the

moral and intellectual capacities and aptitudes of 'our sisters has found universal recognition.

As regards another

sign of this liberal

movement,

which seeks to do equal justice to the rights of the female as of the male sex, it is satisfactory to note
that though the

number of widow marriages

this

year

160
has

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
been
the
smaller

than
that

that of

the

previous years,

still all

have taken part in the movement. provinces

The

reports

show

in

all

twenty-five

widow

marriages were celebrated throughout India during the
in the Punjab ten, Bombay six, the Central past year Provinces four, Madras three, North-West Provinces and Bengal one each. The widow marriages in the Central
:

Provinces
indirectly

have

been

all

brought
efforts

about
of

directly

or

by

the

persistent

Rao

Bahadur
re-

Kolhatkar, the President of this gathering. marriages in Punjab the credit is due to

For the

Dewan

Sant

and his friends of the Widow Marriage Association there, and in regard to Bombay the same honour is due to Mr. Bhagwandas, the son of the late Mr, Madhavdas
in whose house two re-marriages Raghunathdas, were celebrated. The credit of the widow marriages

Ram

celebrated in Madras
Pantalu.

There
friends

due to Rai Bahadur Vireshlingam was thus not a single province in
is

which

of
in

the
it,

cause

did

not

manifest their

active interest

which remark does not equally

hold good for the previous years. The paucity in the total number was partly due to the calamities
of the
year,

marriages

partly to the due to the year being

and

prohibition

of

all

a

Sinhastha

year.

Another good sign of the times which may be noted some of the castes, in which no is the fact that re-marriages had been celebrated before, joined in the

movemght

for

the

first

time

this year.

It'

was

also

reported in the papers that the Maharajah of Nabha, in the Punjab, had exercised his influence in favour

of

bettering

the

condition

of

Hindu widows, and

Revival and Reform.
inducing
influential

lt>l

widow marriage

Hindu gentlemen In the movement.
the

to

support the
a
y

Chandraseniyasimilar

of Kayastha Prabhu caste was made by pronouncement

Bombay,

leaders

of
it

the

community
resolved
to

in

favour

of

re-marriage,

and

was
next

bring up subject Kayastha Prabhu Conference to be held at Baroda. Another satisfactory indication of the times is furnished by the fact reported from Guzerat, that the Audicha

the

before

the

Brahmin

community

at

Damun

has

made

a similar

pronouncement in favour of widow marriage in their The Widows' Homes at Baranagore and at caste. have also been successfully maintained notPoona
withstanding pecuniary difficulties, and the numbers of widows attending the homes has slightly increased,

thanks
f

to

the

efforts

of

Mr,

Shashipad

Bannerjge

and Professor Karve of Poona.

As

good

regards Foreign Travel, the year has Several gentlemen record to show.

had
of

a

the

Saraswata

Brahman

community

have

returned

from

England, and though the Guru, High Priest, of the the reform caste has refused admission to them, and in North Canara have at Mangalore party
succeeded in openly
these men.

showing

their

sympathies

with

Raja Nowlojee Rao Gujar, a scion of the house of Nagpore, returned from England, princely and was well received, and Messrs. Booti "and
Alonikar
of

of

Nagpore,
Gwalior,

Mr.

Krishna

Rao *$holanath

Ahmedabad,
of

Professor

Ketkar

Gokhale of Poona, nd Mr, have similarly, though not

formally, been admitted

by some

of their caste people

162

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
not

and the opposition has
difficulties

ventured

to

place

any

in

their
in

way.
that

Two

Bhatia gentlemen, for
left

the

first

time
full

community,

for

England

In the Punjab, support of their caste. several young men in the Biradadri castes, who had

with the

been to England, were
opposition.
caste*

admitted

back

without

Two young men

from

the

any Aourorbans

went to England last year. The liberal section of the Cashmere Pandit's Sabha is strongly in favour These instances show that, slowly of foreign travel.
all

but surely, in
against long the
learn

parts
is

of the

country, the prejudice

foreign travel

orthodox
tolerate

on the wane, and that before community or communities will
departures

to

these

from

custom

as

an

inevitable change.

In regard to the question of Inter-Marriage, the Bengal papers announced an inter-marriage in high between two sub-divisions of the Kayastha life

community, which hitherto kept aloof. In the Punjab, there was a betrothal between two sub-castes of the
Serin community.

This was the

first

instance of an

inter-marriage between these two sub-divisions. Many of the widow Carriages have also been instances of
inter-marriages,

and

for

the

first

time

last

year two

and and ladies were reported. The Bengalee gentlemen North-West Provinces reports show instances of similar
instances
inter-marriage
lusion
'*

of

between

Madrasee

Between
and
in

sub-divisions

of
is

the
a

Kayastha
similar

caste

there,

in

Guzerat
of

there

tendency

manifest
together.

some

the

castes

to

amalgamate

Revival and Reform.

103

As regards the postponement of Infant marriages, the reports from all provinces show a decided tendency
to increase the limits

and boys.
passed
caste

a

of marriageable agas of girls In the Punjab, the Aourorbans Sabha has resolution that no girl belonging to the

be given in marriage unless she has her twelfth year. In the Madras Presidency, completed the opinion is gaining ground that the time has
should

now come
on
the

age for

applying to Government for legislation least at the marriageable subject to fix boys, if not for girls, and to lay down a
for

maximum

limit

of

age

for

old persons

who marry
the
Social

young girls, on the plan adopted by The Madras Provincial Government. the District and ference Godavery
expressly

Mysore Con-

Conference

passed

resolutions

on

this

subject.

The

Hindu Social Reform Association at Madras has alo appointed a committee to draw up a memorial The Hon. Mr. Jambulingan with the same object.
Mudliyar
this
.is

introduction

to reported of a Bill in the

contemplating the local Council there on
also

be

subject.
in
girls

There

have
of

been

individual

instances

some
have
very

parts

grown-up
periencing
caste.

been
bitter

the -country where exmarried without
opposition

any
all

from

the

Nearly

the Associations have been pledged to

support the Purity movement, including fiie antiNautch and Temperance agitation, and the work done during the year shows considerable progress under

both these heads.

164

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

next to another question in which the Conference has been interesting itself for the past few yeaVs, the Admission of Converts from other some progress has been made during the faiths, The Shuddhi Sabha admitted nearly 200 Mahoyear.

To

turn

medan
for

converts

this

year.

Hitherto

the

movement
faiths

the readmission of converts to other
the

back
the

into

Hindu

society

was

chiefly

confined to

Punjab.

instances of

This year, however, there have been also such conversions in Bengal, the North-

Burmah, one of them being a convert Christian and the others The Shuddhi Sabha of Lahore and Mahomedans. the Arya Samaja there have deservedly taken the

West

Provinces,

and

far

away

in

lead in this

movement, and it will be a source of great strength to them that the movement has been The Central taken up in the other Provinces also. for the year show that Mr. Shanker Provinces report Shastri of Jubbulpore has published a pamphlet on
the
subject,

and

it

is

a

strange

coincidence
of

that

Professor Rajaram this year a paper

Shastri

Bhagvat
the

Bombay
of

read

before

branch
in

the

Royal
the

Asiatic Society there,
v

showing how

old times

non-Aryan races were brought within

the fold of the

Aryan system.
regards the reduction of extravagant expenses in marriage, a very important movement was started in Calcutta under the auspices of leading Kayastha

As

gentlemen,

including

such

men
Hon'ble

as

Sir

Chundra Mitra and the Chandra Ghose, who met

Mr.

Romesh Madhava

at

Babu Ramnath Ghose's

Revival and Reform.
house,
likely

165

and
to

be
of

several which are resolutions passed attended with good results. Nearly

every one

the

vinces contains

details

of reports of the

the North- West

Pro-

manner

in

which

the

Kayasthas, the Bhargavas, the Chaturvedis, the Vaishyas, the Jains, and the other castes have tried to lay down
of marriage expenditure, curtailing extraunder many heads, abolishing Nautch parties, vagance In the Punjab, items. fireworks, and other useless
sliding
scales

the Aurorbans have
in

very

considerably

reduced

the

extravagance marriage expenses. On the Bombay mandal and the Dasa Oswal the Bhatia side,
Jains have successfully

w orked
r

in

the same direction.

Even
caste

in

far-off

Baroda,

the

Dasa

Porwad
in

Bania
matter.

people Following the

have

been
of

moving
the
castes
in

the

example
non-Rajput

Rajputra

Hitakarini

Sabha/
the

many

Rajputana

and

Malwa have
same
Sabha.

laid

down

rules

which are
of

sanctions

as

those

enforced by the principal

As regards Conference work
noted that
caste parts

Conferences
of
India.

generally, it are the order
I

may

be

of the

day
this

in

all

have,

on previous
held

occasions,

mentioned
in

the

gatherings

annually

week

several

West Provinces
community.
holding of
the

towns fn the Northlarge of the Kayastha and the Vaishya
year

This
first

was

distinguished
Social
also

\y?

the
in*

Provincial

Conference

Madras,
very

in

which

Presidency

we

had

two

district Conferences,

District,

one on the East Coast in the Godaand the other on the West Coast at

166

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

Mangalore.

New

associations
in

are

auspices very favourable country, n&tably in the districts of Bombay and Madras Presidencies, to support the work of -the Conference and to give effect to its resolutions.

being formed under many parts of the

Encouraged by the success which has attended the Malabar efforts of the Mysore Government, and the two Bills Marriage Law passed in the Madras Council, of great social importance have been introduced, one
in the Imperial
religious

Council,

to bring under better control

and Endowments, and another has Madras Council to remove all doubts and codify the la\Y in regard to what constitutes self-acquired property under the Hindu joint family
Charities

been introduced

in the

system.
is

have suggested subjects for discussion at the ensuing Conference this year, and it
Bills

Both these

not, therefore, necessary for

me

to enlarge

upon their

the a importance. Viceroy's Council which, though it relates to a particular section of the Mahomedan community, has a wider
is

There

third

measure

before

bearing which interests us
this

all.

The Memon
were

section of

community

in

Bombay

originally

Hindu

converts, they embraced Mahomedanism, they retained their old Hindu customs in regard to inheritance and "succession, and these customs were

and though

recognized

by our Law
the

Courts.

A

majority

of that
of the

community, however,

govern property of deceased persons. The Government of India accordingly intend to pass a sort of a permissive measure, by which a member of
their succession

Hindu customs,

now desire that, in place Mahomedan Law should

to the

Revival and Reform.
this

167

community may

retain

or abandon the old rules
his choice,

by

a formal declaration of

which choice,
bristles
if
it

once made, will be final. The subject difficulties, but the permissive legislation,
success in
actual

with

proves a

operation,

will furnish

a precedent

which may prove of considerable help to those who wish to have more liberal laws of inheritance,^ and
succession without a change of religion. Such is the brief record of the
principal
spirits

social

events
us
will,

of

the

year.

Many

ardent

amongst

doubt, be very much dissatisfied with the poverty of this record. At the same time we must bear in mind that hundreds and thousands, nay

no

of our countrymen regard this poor record as very revolutionary, and condemn this as one of the unseen causes which have brought about the physical
millions,

catastrophes upon the land by way of punishment for the sins of the Reformers. These are the two extreme sides of the question, and it is not
for

and -moral

say to an audience like this, side the balance of truth may be found.
to
,

me

'

on which

The Arya

Patrika of the Pun'

.rich

is

a recognized organ of

the Arya Samajas there, has, in its words of advice to the Conference, expressed its view that we are radithe wrong in seeking to reform the usages of our society without a change of religion, and it
cally
in

seriously

suggests that

we

should in the

first

instance

become members of the Arya Samaja, and
will bring with
it

this

all

the desired reforms.

conversion Many en-

thusiastic friends of the

Brahmo Samaja

entertain similar

views

and give us

similar advice.

All I

can say to

168

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
advisers
is

these welcome
realize

that they
difficulties.

do

not

fully

the situation and
their

its

People have
their
for

changed

religion

and

yet

retained

social

usages unchanged. especially the Roman

The

native Christians,

example,

Catholic

section

among them,

and many sections of Mahomedans, are instances in Besides, it has been well observed that even point.
for

a change of religion,

it

is

too

often

that the social surroundings must be way to help people to realize their
ties,

liberalised

necessary in a

own

responsibili-

Lastly, these well-meaning advisers seem to forget that the work of reform cannot be put off indefinitely till the
far

and to strengthen them

in

their efforts.

more arduous and
is

difficult

work of

religious con-

version

the

Arya
to
is

accomplished. It Brahmo or the
general
to

may

take centuries before
establish
their

Samajas
In
the
social

claims

recognition.

the

meanwhile
?

what

become
its

of

organization
ideas

Slowly but surely the be allowed to work
customs,

progress of

liberal

must

way

in

and

the process

cannot

reforming 'our social be stopped even

though we
especially,

may

wish

it.

In the case of our society

the usages which at present prevail

among

were admittedly not those which obtained in the On most of most glorious periods of our history. the* points which are included in our programme, our own records of the past show that there has been
us

decided change for the worse, and it is surely within the range of practical possibilities for us to hope that we may work up our way back to a
a
better state
of
things,

without

stirring

up

the

ran-

Revival and Reform.
corous hostilities

169

which

religious

differences

have

a

reason

There is no earthly tendency to create and foster. whatsoever why we should not1 co-operate
with these religious organizations, or why they should not rather with us in this work in co-operate

which
majority

our
of

interests

are

common,
hold

because
different
,,

the

our

countrymen
I

views

about religion from those which
to these Samajas.
full

commend
am,

themselves

am

speaking these words with a
in

sense ol

my
a
I

responsibility, for I

my own

humble
truth,
in

way,
full

member

Samajas, and

am

of one, if not both the a sincere searcher after religious

sympathy with the Arya and Brahmo Samaja movements, and I hope, therefore, that these of ours will take my reply in the same advisers Schismatic will not misunderstand me. spirit, and methods of propagation cannot be applied with effect within their are not to vast communities which
narrow
pale.

On
find

the other

side,

some of our orthodox
because
but
the

friends

fault

with

us,

not

we have in methods we follow.
forms

view,

on

of the particular reaccount of the

While

new

religious

sects

condemn

us

for

being

orthodox section

denounce

too orthodox, the extreme us for being too revolu.
last,

tionary in our methods. According to these should be directed to efforts revive, a^ji
reform.
I

our
to

not

have

many

friends

in

this

camp
is

of ex-

theme orthodoxy, and Reform, val, and not

their

watchword

that Revi-

should be our

motto.

They

advocate a return to the old ways, and appeal to the

170

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

old authorities, and the old sanctions.
in

Here

also,

as

the

instance stated

above,
to revive
to

people speak
of
their

without
words.

realizing

the 1
are

full

significance

own

When we

asked

our

old

institutions

and customs, people seem

to be very much What at sea as to what it is they seek to revive. of our history is to be taken as the particular period old whether the period of the Vedas, of the Smritis,

me

Mabomedans or the modern Our usages uz.ve been changed from time to time by a slow ierrocess of growth, and in some cases of decay and 5er s s^tion, and you cannot
of the Puranas, or of the

Hindu

times.

/

stop

at

any
his

particular

\

be put without

breaking
revivalist

the

continuity of the
presses
x

whole.

Wt

i

my

friend

CQ"

to

argument upon some subterfuge which

m?

he has
really
shall

to

seek re-

furnishes

no

own
the

question.

What
of

we

revive?

the

old

habits
castes

our people

when

most

'

sacred of our
as

abominations, food and intoxicating
section

we now

indulged in all the understand them, of anima drink, which exhausted every

country's Zoology and Botany. The the gods of these old" days ate and drank forbidden things to excess, in a way no revivalist

of our

men and
will

now

venture to

recommend.

Shall

we
-

revive

the twelve

forms of sons, or

eight forms of marriage,

which

capture, and recognized mixed and Shall we revive the Niyoga intercourse ? illegitimate system of propagating sons on our brother's wives

inclyded

when widowed
tfaken

?

Shall

we

revive

the

old liberties

by

the Rishes and by the wives of the Rishes

Revival and Reform.

171
the

with the marital
of
end,

tie ?

Shall

we

revive

hecatombs
to
year's

animals
in

sacrificed

from

year's

end
?

which
as

even

human
offerings

spared
revive

propitiatory

beings' to God
of

were
Shall
left

not

we
?

the
its

Shakti
indecencies

worship

the

hand,

with
Shall

and
Sati
living

practical

debaucheries

we
the

revive
flinging

the
of
or

and

infanticide

.customs,
rivers

or
or

men

into or

the

over

rocks,

hook-swinging,

the

beneath
the

the

internecine
or

Shall we Jagannath car? wars of the Brahmins and

crushing revive the

persecution custom of Aboriginal population ? Shall we revive the wives to many husbands to one wife or of

cruel

and

Kshatriyas degradation of the

m^

one
into

husband

?

Shall

we

require

ou

Brahmins
and
as

to cease to

be

landlords

and

beggars and dependants olden times ? These instances
plan
'

gentlemen, upon the King
will
suffice

turn
in

to

show
and
not
is

that the

of

reviving

the

ancient

usages

customs

will

not

work

our

salvation,

practicable.

If these

usages

were

and good and

bene-

wise ancestors? ficial, why were they altered by our can any and injurious, how If they were bad
claim

many
in a

be put forward for their restoration after so * that ages ? Besides, it seems to be forgotten
living

organism,

as

dead and and burnt once for all, and the dead dead, buried, a repast cannot, therefore, be revived except by
possible.

The

society is, the buried

no

revival

is

or^ burnt

are

formation of the
beings.
If revival

old
is

materials
impossible,

into
this

new organized re-formation is*

172
the

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
only
it

alternative

now

ma)' be which this re-formation

open to asked what

sensible
is

people,
principle

and

very hazy ideas on that it is the outward form which has to be changed,

on must be based. People have It seems to many this subject.
the

and
all

if

this

change

can

be

made,

they
If

think

that

the difficulties in our

way
in

will vanish.

we change
change our

our outward manners
food

and customs,
a

and

and
in
is

dress,

sit

particular

way,
think
is

or

walk
them,

a particular fashion,
I

much
to

accomplished. of the prejudice against

our work, cannot but
the
is

according to
that

reformers

due

this

form
to

but

misunderstanding. the inward form,

It

not the outward

the

thought
form,
is

and the
that

idea which

determines the
if

outward

has

be changed,

real

reformation

desired.

Now
which
past

what have been the inward forms
have
been
hastening

or

ideas

our

decline

during

the

three thousand

These ideas may briefly years? submission to outward force or power more than to the voice of the inward conscience,
set forth as isolation,

be

perception

of factitious

difference

between

men and

men, due to
scence in

passive acquieheredity and birth, a and a general indifferevil or wrong-doing,
Well-being,

ence

to

secular

almost
the
as

fatalism.

These

have

been
have,

bordering upon root ideas of out
natural
result;

social

system.
is

They

their

led to th$

existing
entirely

woman
the

family arrangements, where the subordinated to the man, and

lower castes to the higher castes, to the length oj natural respect for humanity depriving men of their

Revival and Reform.
All

173
flow

the

evils

we

seek

to

combat

from

the

prevalence of these ideas. They are mere corollaries to these axiomatic assumptions. They prevent our from realising that they really are in all people
conscience
fellows,

neither

better

nor

worse

than

their

and that the average man, whatever garb he may put on, is the worse for his assuming dignities and powers which do not, in fact, belong to him. As long as these ideas remain operative on our mind we may change our outward forms and institutions, and be none the better for the change. These have produced their results, and we must ideas or bad qualities, as St. Paul judge of their good

Now that these results have says, by their fruits. been disastrous nobody disputes or doubts, and the lesson to be drawn for our guidance in the fftture
from
this
fact
is

that

the
in

current

of

these
of

ideas

must be
worship,

changed,

and

worship
isolation

we must accustom ideals. and reverence new we must have fraternity, or

place ourselves and

the

the
others

old
to

place of rather elastic

In

expansiveness. At present it is everybody's ambition to pride himself upon being a member of the smallest community that can be conceived, and the smaller the number of those with whom you can dine or marry or

the higher your purity and perfection.. The and does purest person is he who cooks his own food, allow the shadow of his nearest friencf to fall, upon not
associate,

his

cooked food.
a

Every
to
split

caste
itself
life.

and

thus

tendency

every sect has into smaller castes
in philosophy,

and

smaller sects in practical

Even

174
it

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
is

a

received
are

maxim
is

that
for

knowledge
esoteric

and
few,

salvation

only

wisdom and power, and for the rest of mankind, they must be left to grovel and vice, with only a colouring of in superstition Now so-called religion to make them respectable. must be changed. The new mould of thought all this must be cast, as stated above, in fraternity, or allwith
only
attracting

whom

possible true

the

Increase

and cohesion in expansiveness, society. your circle of friends and associates, slowly
if

and cautiously
be to
will

you

will,

but

the

tendency

must

turn

our face towards a general recognition of
equality between

man and man. That and power. It will strengthen beget sympathy the sense that you have numbers your own hands by with you, and not against you, or, as you foolishly The next idea which lies at imagine, below you. of our helplessness is that we were always the root
the essential

intended to remain children, to be subject to outside control, and never to rise to the dignity of selfcontrol
sole

by making our conscience and our reason the
to

guides
this

our

conduct.

All

our past history

has been a

terrible

witness to

the

havoc

committed

We are children, no doubt, misconception. but the children .of God, and not of man, and the
by
voice of

God

in us

is

bound
neglect
in
us.

to

listen.

to that voice

Of when we

the only voice to which we are course, all of us cannot listen
desire

we have benumbed With too many of
righteous
or
sinful,

because from long it, the faculty of conscience a thing is true or us,

false,

simply

because somebody

Revival and Reform.
else

175

has said that
duties

it

is

so.

Duties

and

obligations
feel

are
to

and

obligations,

not because

we

them

but because somebody, reputed to be wise, has laid it down to be so. Of course, in small
so,

be

matters
dictation

of
is

manners
not

and

courtesies,
its

this

outward

without
entirely
wills,
it

use.
this

But

when

wo

abandon
depend

ourselves

to
is

on

others'

no
is

helplessness, and wonder tfnat we

become as helpless which should take
rebellious

as

children.

Now,
not

the

new
idea
of

idea

its

place

the

of
all

authority,
alone.

and independence but that of freedom

overthrow

Great and wise

men
on

responsible to in the past or in
regards.

God
the

present,

have

a

claim

our

But they

must not come between us and our God -the Divine
principle
It
is

this

to'
it

the
is

everyone of us, high or low. sense of self-respect, or rather of respect God in us, which has to be cultivated, and
seated within

cultivate.
it

a tender plant which takes years and years to But we have the capacity, and we owe

as

a

duty
all

to

ourselves

to

undertake

the

task.

Reverence
all

human
and
the

authority,

pay your
but
.

respects to

prophets reverence to

revelations,

subordinate
in us.

that

Divine

command
in

Similarly,

men

differ

aptitudes,

men, natural and heredity and birth are

from

capacities

factors of

importance in our development, but it is at time true that they are not the all-important factors them froifl sheer that we have learnt to regard idleness, as determining our fates by a sort of moral
necessity.

and some the same

Heredity and birth explain

many

things,.

176

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

but neither they, nor the law of Karma, explain all things, and what is worse, they do not explain the

mystery
really

that

makes

man and
of
feelings,

woman
image
pride

what they
of

are

the

reflections

the

God.
our

Our passions and our

our

and

ambition, lend strength to these factitious agencies, and with their help, the doctrine of Karma completes our conquest, and enforces our surrender. Heredity and
birth

can be controlled and set back

trained will,
Will,

when

this

will

is

a properly subservient to a higher

by

This misconception is very hard perhaps the hardest of the old ideals,
it

to remove,

but

removed

must be, if not in one life or generation, in many and many generations, if we are to rise to our full The fourth old form or idea, to which I will stature.
lives
rjllude here,
is

as an inevitable condition

our acquiescence in wrong or evil-doing of human life, about which we

need not be very particular, as after all human life is a vanity and a dream, and we are not much concerned with
it.

It is in fact

atheism in
ceases

its

worst form.

No man
does

or

woman

really

to be

animal

who

not perceive and realize that wrong and evil-doing, impurity and vice, crime and misery, and sin of all
is It is really our animal existence prolonged. the beast in us r which blinds us to impurity and vice

kinds

and makes

them

even

attractive.

There

must

be

nautches in our temples, say our priests, because even the gods '-cannot do without their impure fairies. This in imis only a typical instance of our acquiescence
purity.

There must be drunkenness in the world, there must be poverty, and wretchedness, and tyranny, there

Revival and Reform.

177

must be fraud and force, there must be thieves and No doubt these robbers, and the law to punish them. have been facts, and there is no use denying their ex' But in the name of all that is sacred and istence. do not hug these true, do not acquiesce in them,
to your bosom, and cherish them. Their contact it does not is poison, and the worst poison, because sense of the true men. healthy kill, but corrupts of our nature and of man's high destiny is the dignity I think best corrective and antidote to this poison.
evils

A

have said more than enough to suggest to your to reform. is that we have reflecting minds what it We have de-formed. All admit that we have been a hundred places, lost our stature, we are bent in
I

our eyes lust after forbidden things, our ears desire to hear scandals about our neighbours, our tongue wantg to taste forbidden fruit, our hands itch for another
property, indigestible food.
require
stilts

man's

our

bowels
This

are

deranged
feet,

with

We

cannot walk on our
is

but

or crutches.

our present social polity,

and now we want this deformity to be removed, and the only way to remove it is to place ourselves under
the discipline of better ideas and fornjs such as those Now this is the work I have briefly touched above. matter of infant in the Reforms of the reformer.
marriage and
enforced

widowhood,

in

the matter

of

between castes, temperance and purity, intermarriages of the low castes, and the raadmission the elevation

endowments and regulations of our no further, as far and charity are reforms, only so the influence of the old ideas and promote they check
of converts, and
12

178

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

the growth of the new tendencies. The reformer has to infuse in himself the light and warmth of nature, and he can only do it by purifying and improving
himself and his surroundings.
village,
tribe,

He must
in

have

his family,

and new and that is the reason why social reform moulds, becomes an obligatory duty, and not a mere pastime and nation,
recast

other

whictt might be
I

given up at pleasure. Revival is, as as impossible as mass conversaid, impossible faiths. But even if these were possision into other

have

ble,

they would only be useful to us
surroundings,
if

if

they reformed

us and our

us stronger, they with all our faculties of endurance braver, men, and work developed, with all our sympathies fully
truer

made

awakened and
acting in

refined,

and with our heads

and hearts

unison with a purified and holy will, if they made us feel the dignify of our being arid the high destiny of our existence, made us love all, work with
all,

and

feel

for

all.

This
is

is

tKis7 in

my

opinion,

the reason

the reformer's worl^and why the Conference

meets from year to year, and sounds the harmonies in rery ear which can listen to them with advantage.

VIII.

SOUTHERN INDIA A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. *
more within a cycle meet for the third time
India,

of twelve
in

years

we

ONCE Southern
Conference.
first

this

the

birth-place

holy region of of the Social

have moved fast siiic met under the leadership of the late Raja Sir T. Madhava Rao, the first President of the ConThe shadow of the great calamity, which ference.
things

Men and

we

has been
years,
is

dogging
still

our

footsteps

for

the
clouds

last

three
still

thickening

upon us, on the southern horizon, while
its

and

dark

are

it

has not

IH the Bombay yet stopped its destructive work The persistency with which these calamities Presidency. succeed one another and intensify our suffering has

made more

some
dire

wise

men
in

among

you

prophesy

still

calamities

the years

to come.

These

prophets derive their knowledge from observations of We" less and planets. the conjunctions of stars can but bow to them as we look at gifted creatures,
*

Address,

" Indian

National Social

Conference,"

Madras,

1898.

180

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
the earth

the signs below our feet, on move and have our being in.

we

live

and

in your than a hundred years Province for thirty years, more ago, has left on record his impressions of Southern

A

Chrjstian

missionary

who worked

India

as

he

saw

it

in

those

old

days,
fill

and

the

words
with

of

despair

he

has

uttered

one's

mind
of our

graver forebodings than
observers,

the prophecies
in

astrological

Abb6 Dubois, whose work has
of his chapters pronounced this curse

been

on

recently published, has, the 'Poverty of India/
'
:

one

upon the people

It

is

the English people can of the Hindus. The efforts

a vain hope to suppose that ever improve the condition

of a

humane and

just

government may succeed up to a certain point, but as long as the Hindus cling to their civil and religious
institutions,

customs

and

habits,

they must

remain

what
and

they have always been, grovelling in poverty These institutions and customs wretchedness.
a

are insurmountable

To make
religion,

new

obstacles in their path -of progress. race of Hindus, you must begin

by undermining
and
barbarians,
religion,

the foundations

of their
into

civilization,

polity,

and turn them
give

atheists

and

and
ne\*

then
polity.

them

new

laws,

new

But even then, the task will be half accomplished, for we should still have to give them a new nature and different inclinations ;

and

otherwise,
state

they would soon

relapse into

their former

and worth.'

This pronouncement, by one who had no motive to judge us ill, and who had the best opportunities

Southern India a
to judge us well,
far

Hundred Years Ago.
if

181

worse

would, calamity than

true,

be

to

my

mind a
and

the

physical

sufferings

we are now enduring, and which, according to some of our wise men, we are fated to suffer a hundredfold more in the near future, It is strange that these, a Christian Missionary and our wise men
trials

should thus join their hands over the wide expanse There are of time and space that separates them.
those
dently

among
of
of
all

us

who have
and

firm

faith,

quite indepenin

the planetary conjunctions,
virtue
in

the

piety decay the fatal limit of five thousand years from the

this

gradual land when

com-

mencement
and

of

the

Kaliyuga

has

been

reached,

according to whom we are now just on the law verge of crossing this Rubicon which separates from anarchy, and virtue from impiety, and nothing
that

-men can do

in

the work of their

own

salvation

toill

ever help to avert the crisis. meet In this situation we

here

under circumus

stances

which

are

calculated

to

make

anxious

by
in

and to sober and moderate our and thoughtful, enthusiasm. Here, we have met full of hope, and we find that Nature and Man, the latter as represented an eminent Christian Missionary, and also by our
kith

own

and

kin,

our eyes place this skeleton before

the midst of our rejoicings. Are we then all indulIs Fool's Paradise ? ging in the fond dreams of a
<

this
race,

Holy Land, peopled by one-sixth of the human no other use than to be the accursed fit for
'

desert of
lizing

human hopes and

wishes,

without the
its

ferti-

rains of divine favour to water

dry and parched-

182

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.
plains,

up
I,

eyes,
for

green vegetation to bless the and no sweet sounds of music to lull the ears ?
;i:

and

no

one refuse to believe that such a doom

is

reserved

for this favoured region, even though it is pronounced by reverend missionaries and our own revered religious for one, refuse to believe that we can teachers. I,

make, no headway in the path of progress, and that the British connection with this country, with all its

humane
avail

and
lift

just

administration,

will

prove

of

no

The
our

us up from the mire of our wretchedness. seeming alliance between the missionary and to

wise

people

has

this

weak point

in

its

armour

According to our people, the state of the country a hundred years ago, was much better in all respects, morally and socially, than what it is
of defence.

now.

The

upon him by the

Missionary's despair was, however, forced state of the country as he saw it

a hundred years ago, and one can feel almost sure, from the way in which things have moved since he

he had lived a hundred years later, he would have joined with the contemporary men of his calling, in conferring on us his blessings instead
wrote, that,
if
*

of

his

curses.

The
to
sight,

formidable

alliance

thus

turns
it

out on

examination
'

be

not so formidable as

seems
final

at

first

and
other,

we

can turn one of our
in

assailants

against

the

and await
the
social

hope the

result.

What
a

then was

condition of

Southern

India

hundred years back, and have the

past hundred years worked no permanent change for This will be the theme to which I the better ?
shall

address

my

observations to-night,

and

I

hope to

Southern India a

Hundred Years Agj.

183

show that, if things are not all as bright as we wish them to be, they are not so dreary and cheerless as some would have them to be, and * that the British connection and its 'just and humane
j

be able to

administration
religion,

have brought about a change and polity, of such a character law,
it

in

our

as not

to

make

necessary

that

we

should
to

be

all

turned

into

atheists

and

barbarians,

be

whitewashed
that,
if

again into

civilisation

and manners,

and

we

have not acquired a new nature, we have at least acquired inclinations and aspirations which will 'prevent
our relapse into our former condition.

hundred years ago, Abbe Dubois mentions that among the Nairs on the Malabar coast, women had and several husbands at one and the same time, the Namburi Brahmins of that province, *f amongst
died unmarried, her salvation that the

A

a

girl

it

was

deemed necessary

for

some Brahmin
burned.
caste

hired
in

for

corpse should be married to the purpose, before it was

'Then

the

Madura

district,

there

was a
uncles

called

Totiyars,

among

whom
wife
caste

brothers,

and
in

nephews Eastern Mysore there was a
giving

had

a

common

among them, and
in

which

the

mother,
to

her

eldest

daughter in marriage, had
fingers.

puncture coast in those

two of her
days,
all

On
drunk

the Malabar
toddy,

Sudras

^nd

In the Carnatic % hills men opium. and women did not wash their clothes till they wore In those days again, besides the caste away by use.

Brahmins

used

and

sect-divisions,

there
left

were what

are
in

called

the

right hand and the

hand

factions,

which the

184

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
castes

were divided upon such questions as the wear slippers, to ride on horseback, or to right to certain, streets, or to sound certain music before pass

low

them.

All these

citations are

made
the
his
in

from
editor
desire

the
of
to

first

chapter of Dubois' book has found it

work,

and

that
state

the tryth,
exist.

that

all

necessary, these customs
factious

of polyandry

and

uncleanliness,

and these

feuds have ceased to

In
is

the

second chapter
of
the
is

of

the
of

same
the

work,

mention

made
of

condition

Pariahs.

That
details
baffle

condition

bad
their

enough

even

now,
in

but the

given
all

wretchedness

this

work

description.
streets,

Brahmin
hood.

or to

They were forbidden to cross come into Brahmin neighbourCoast,

On
good

the

Malabar

the
sold

Pariahs

were
In

attached to the land as
those
old

serfs

and

with

it.

death

inflicted

days, adultery was punished with on the woman, and that death was

inflicted

by the members
for

of

the

caste.

Expulsion
irrevocable,
friends

from caste
unless a

breach of
faction

caste-rules

was

rival

was

created

by the

of

Even when thousands the person excommunicated. of Brahmins of those days, as well as Sudras, were
'

forcibly

converted

by
with

Tippu
to
for

Sultan,

the

Brahmins
found
it

who

were

applied

re-admission

impossible,

even
of

the
to

help
effect

of

the
.

Brahmin

Government
while

many

Poona, thousands

their
r

restoration,

of

Christians

w ho had been
were
freely

similarly

converted

by

Tippu
Dubois,

Sultan,

admitted back into the Christian
intervention

of

Abb6

Colonel

community, by th e and Wilks,

Southern India a
General
Wellesley.

Hundred Years Ago.
professors

185

The

of

the so-called

Fine

Arts,

belonged be lower
their

in

as music, painting, and sculpture, those days to castes which \vere held to in the social than the Sudras, and scale

such

touch was pollution. These things have now to the editor of the work, all changed been, according for the better. Adultery is not punished by death without
trial,

excommunication

is

not

irrevocable,

wholesale
there
faiths

conversions

by
to

force

are

impossible,
to

and
other

are

movements

re-admit

converts

when they seek such re-admission. This year, the Arya Samaja in the Punjab admitted live such And men of the Christian and Moslem proselytes. caste are now engaged in the practice of the highest fine arts. As regards the Brahmins themselves, the
power of the Gurus
r

those days in exacting PaftaPuja w as something terrible. Dubois' mentions without had to sell their children for reserve that many
in

Guru-dakshinas.

Women,

dishonoured

by

the

called Garud Baswis or Linga Baswis, Guru, were and had the stamp of Garud or the Ling branded on And then, these of their bodies. tender parts

women became
temple, In Dubois'
till

wives

of

they became time the girls were married at the age of or at the utmost, when they were pine five, seven, years old. Widows, of course, were not allowed to marry
in

gods, and served in the old and lost their attraction.

the

higher

castes,

and even

the

Sudras followed

the fast-days people not only to6k Lhe example. ao food on the nth day, but also ate only once on ^he ioth and the i2th rlavs. In Bengal, the widows

On

ZLssavs

o?i

Religious and Social Reform.

Nag, serpents, had to expiate offence by a ceremony, called the Pavadan, their of an incision made on the thigh which consisted or arm of the offender, or of some other person who
to
kill

may not even who happened

drink water on

the

fast-days.

People

might stand as substitute In the large Dakhshina.
sprinkled on the

on
last

the former's
case,

the

paying a blood was
that while

body of the

offender.
says,

As regards intemperance, Dubois
the

Europeans are noted for their drunkenness, the Brahmins are in their turn open to the charge of

even as regards drunkenness, he says, they were not altogether exempt from the vice, and an instance in which a Tanjore Brahmin's gives
gluttony,

and

house

wre

fire, and, caught among the things saved another of one vessel of salted pork and

arrack or

native

rum.
Shakti
use

Of

course,

these

Brahmins

must have been

among whom
indecent

the

worshippers or vama-margis, of forbidden food and drink,
of
tests

and promiscuous
the
secret

mingling

men and women
for

in

gatherings,
society.

were

admission

into

The
best

respect

due

from
to

the

Shudras to the Brahmins, and from

women

men,
the

was

in

those

days

shown

by

uncovering

upper part of the body of the inferior person before As regards Sati, it was the the eyes of superiors. commonest occurrence to witnessDubois himself
witnessed the deaths of several
the Ranees
of
Satis,

among

others

with the

Tanjore, who immolated themselves corpse of the deceased Raja. There were

<some seven hundred Sati deaths in the year

1817 in

Southern India a Hundred Years Ago,
the Bengal Presidency alone.

187

As

regards the belief in

Dubois states astrology, magic, omens, and palmistry, belief that there was in his time almost a general
in

these

superstitious

fancies.

These
idea

beliefs

are

still

not extinct, but

we have
a

no

of the

influence

they

again, years ago. of the country, the turning to the popular religion Devadasees was recognised as so position of the even gentlemen visiting private respectable, that

exercised

hundred

Then

each

other

on

formal

business,

had

to

be

accompanied by these attendants.

in Mysore, belonging to the aboriginal gods,

There were temples where fairs
with
barrenness,
in

were held

at

which

women

cursed

made vows
these

to

vows

had

get children, the most resort to

and

connection with
dirty practices

which
in

cannot

be

described

in

decent

langi&ge.
processions

Their gods and goddesses were
those
to

carried in

days,

gestures
still

one
in

made to being These another.

mimic

obscene

processions

may

be* seen

robbed of

much

various parts of Southern India, but of their obscene features. Walking

on burning fire, hook-swinging, piercing the cheeks and the lips or the tongue with iron rods or forms of received the were wire these silver
devotion in
I

many
,1

temples.

think

have

said

enough

to

give

idea

of the state of things in Southern

you an India which

Dubois
years

witnessed
ago.
It
is

with

his

quite

eyes a hundred * a that beingpossible,

own

missionary,
points,

he

unconsciously

exaggerated
others.

many

and

misunderstood

many

There aye

188

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
reasons
to

good
in

think
;

that

he

was

misinformed

for all but making allowance many respects these defects, the general correctness of his description, of the ignorant classes of society, can especially

There are hardly be impugned. all of these enormities vestiges
even
still

fossil

remains

and

and

superstitions

visible

outside
if

our

larger

mofussil.

Even

one-tenth of the

towns in the evils and vices,
his

and obscenities, and enormities were make up true, they
sufficiently

which met
together the most
fact
is

eyes

a

picture

disheartening defender <of the past.

to

enthusiastic

The

that

Brahmin

civilisation,
strict

rules

less"

penetrated than ten per cent, of the population. easily understand these phenomena from
present experiences.

poetry, and philosophy, with of abstinence and had hardly purit)^ below the upper classes who constituted

with

all

its

We
our

can

own
is,

The
brutal

practical
this

question

for

us

to
<

consider
;

whence came

polyandry

and

polygamy

this

this of conception gods and goddesses ; confessed cruelty to women these superstitions ; these feuds between castes and sub-sections of castes
;

and
to
for

factions

?

the
all

Brahmins
these
else
it

Abbe Dubois has been very unjust when he holds them responsible enormities. The Brahmin civilization,
was, was certainly not a
,

whatever
which,

civilization

favoured polyandry or

and

obscenity, cruelty and vice. which mirror the thoughts of the

polygamy, drunkenness We have records

Brahmin
of

settlers

m

Southern

India.

The

ideal

marriage

was

Southern India a

Hundred Years Ago,
best
typified
in
is

189

monogamy, and it is the Ramayana, where
above
all

the story of
distinguished

the

hero

men
The
records,

for

consort.

single-hearted devotion to his women, as depicted rin the early
his

Brahmin
remain

as

also in
their

the

epics,

are

respected
or to

and honoured,
single,

left

to

choice

to

marry

and are oftentimes noted as composers
writers

of hymns, and
wife,

of philosophical works.

The
is

even
her
of

in

the
of

rituals

we
The

now
as

recite,

the

sole

mistress

the
in

house,
life.

and
not

free

an agent
in as

as

partner
Sati

immolation
recognised

the
a

form
duty,

was
if

not

only

but

second

open to her,
Yugas.

marriage was prescribed as quite she so wished it, in all the first three

Early

marriage was

not

dreamt

of,

and one

of the qualifications for marriage was developed womanhood. The castes were not so strongly separated as to
for interdining, the

prevent inter-marriages in the order of the caste. As first three castes among themselves

observed

no

jealous

distinction.

And

the

better

were specimens of the fourth caste mended as servants for cooking food.
and
cult.
is

specially

com-

Devil-worship

were

As

for

crossing

Ghost-worship unknowij to the Brahmin seas on long voyages, there

Brahmin missionaries and and their religion themselves established settlers and Sumatra, and their Buddhist far-off Java, in
historical

evidence

that

successors

converted half the

human

Siam,

China, Japan, Tibet and Even in India itself, the Aryan settlers found with them the in incorporating difficulty no

ntee in Burma, distant Mongplia.

190

Essays on Religious and Social Reform
races
faith.

non-Aryan

into

fellowship

in

the

profession

of the Aryan

The
that

institutions

question thus recurs again, how it happened and practices so essentially just and

pure, so healthy and considerate, came to be deflected from their natural growth, and made room for the distortions which struck Abbe Dubois as so monstrous

and excite

surprise in us even at the present day the chivalry and honour of our noble ancestors

;

how
dis-

and demon-worship,
Unless

appeared, and their spiritual worship gave way to ghost the ministers of [which in many

cases are the descendants

we

find

same old Brahmins? some working solution which satisfacof these

torily accounts for this transformation, we shall never be able to find our way with sure steps out of this

labyrinth.
true.

Abbe Dubois'
fact

explanation
be,

is

obviously unI

The

appears to

though

speak with

diffidence,
settlers in

and subject to correction, that the Brahmin Southern India and the warriors and traders
with them were too few in
in

who came
too

numbers and

weak

power to

make any
the

beyond
titudes

their

own

limited circle

who

constituted

impression the vast mulupon aboriginal races in the
lasting
India,

Southern

Peninsula.

In

North
felt,

where
to

their

power was more
been about the

distinctly

they appear
the

have
era

commencement of

Christian

submerged by fresh hordes of Scythians or Shakas, of Huns and the Jats or Goths who subverted the
Empire. In Southern India it was not foreign invasion, but the upheaval of the aboriginal Dravidian races which brought about pretty nearly the same

Roman

Southern India a Hundred Years Ago.
results.

191

There

in

the

despondency and panic Puranas written about this time which can
is

a

tone

of

only be explained by some
ever this

such phenomena.
\vlaen

How-

may

be, this

is

certain, that

Hinduism

revived from the depression into which it had fallen, in consequence of the rise of Buddhism, it did not revive in its old, pristine purity, but in the more or
less adulterated

form as
their

we now
to

see

it

ever? at the

present

day.

In

and
the

later

on the Jain

faith,

anxiety destroy Buddhism, the Brahmins allied them-

selves

countless

with the barbarism of the land, represented in multitudes whom they had till then
as

contemptuously treated

Sudras,

and

as

out

of the

pale of their early institutions.

From

being sages and

prophets, poets and philosophers, they descended to the lower level of priests and purohilas, and tjius sacrificed their independence for the advantage of

power and
Dasyus,
or

profit.

The

gods

and

goddesses
place

of
in

the

the

Rakshasas,

who had no

the

old pantheon, were identified as being more or less pure forms of the old Brahmanical Triad, or rather

of the

two

divisions

of Shaiva

and Vaishnava
three
divisions

cults.

The
lised

old

elastic

system of the

of

the

Aryas and the fourth non-Aryan section became crystainto local and professional castes of which the Brahmins became the priests and these sub-divisions
;

became

strict

and

insurmountable

barriers.

Such

a

not be brought abdht without a surrender, all along the line, to the brute force of barbarous influences. Woman ceased to be an object

change as this could

*

.

of respect,

and became

the

subject

of distrust

and

192
jealousy

Essays on Religions and Social Reform*

who always must remain dependent
The
tp
institution

on- her
all

relations.

of Sati,
;

found
marriage

in

bar-

barous
gave

nations,

was
the

introduced
practice

by

choice

way

of sale in marriage;
legalized

and

polygamy and polyandry became
Brahminism, having power, allowed itself thus
failed

institutions.

to to

conquer be degraded

from want of

and con-

quered i>y the multitudes whom it failed to civilize. As priests of the castes and the aboriginal gods and
goddesses,
their
it became their interest to magnify for and with advantage the old superstitious beliefs view to justifying this action, books, called the
;

a

Mahatmas, were composed in the names of the Puraand new texts were introduced, condemning nas, old approved institutions, such as celibacy, all the seg voyages, late marriages, and widow marriages as
Kali-yuga, and therefore This seems forbidden, though practised in old times. to me to be the only possible explanation of the

being unsuited to

the

new

change of front

which
the

we

see

in this

the

old

records.

Of
spirit

course,

in

midst

of

degradation, the
entirely
extinct,

of the

old civilization

was not

and

the

great Acharyas,

who

flourished in

Southern

and the equally great saints and prophets who them, entered their protest against this cruelty and wrong and degradation of the priesthood, and' held up the light on high with the indepenIndia,

succeeded

dence

of

tke

old

Rishis.

Their

labours

bore

no pernranent result, because of the irruption of the Mahomedans which soon followed, and the establish-

ment of Moslem power aggravated the old

evils

by

Southern India a

Hundred Years Ago.

l'J3

the example which the Mussalmans set to the subject races. Even the Mahomedans, however, were not able
to extinguish the old fire completely, and the spirit of righteous self-assertion and of faith in God, which had distinguished Brahmanism from the first, only

wanted an opportunity
If this

old liberty. account of the deflection or corruption
to regain
its

of

Brahmanism be approximately with a clue by which we can
in
this

correct,

it

furnishes

us

trace

back

our

steps

labyrinth of

confusion.

The

opportunity

so

sorely needed has come to this country, and slowly but surely priest-ridden and caste-ridden India is loosen-

Abbe Dubois was unjust to ing its coils of ages. the old civilisation when he thought that we should
have to unlearn
atheism
all

our past,

%nd

barbarism,

and to commence with and then take our religion,

Even if law^ and polity from our foreign masters. the task were possible, the remedy would be worse than the disease. We have not to unlearn our entire
past,

the past certainly not wonder of the human race.

which is the glory and We have to retrace our

steps from the period of depression, when, in panic and weakness, a compromise was made with the brute If this unholy force of ignorance and superstition.
alliance
first
is

set

aside,

we have

the Brahmanism of the

three Yugas unfolding itself in all its power and purity, as it flourished in the best period of our history.

This

is

the

work of the Reform movement.
'

I^ast

year
to

I

spoke of

Revival and

Reform,'
Revival.

and

*I

tried

show how Reform was not
above

The
the

line

of

thought developed

shows

that

work of

194

Essays on Religious and Social Rejorm.
is

Reform
from

really

the

work of

Liberation,-

liberation

imposed upon an essentially and polity, institutions and superior religion, our surrender to the pressure of mere customs, by brute force for selfish advancement. Our nature has
the
restraints

law

t

not to be changed. would be hopeless
aspirations
its

have
to

to

were necessary, escape indeed. Our inclinations and be shifted from one quarter to
If that

opposite, from

the

degradation

the

more immediate past of our most remote past of our glory.

We
to

need no foreign
if

enough
all

masters for the purpose. It is the peace, and enforce toleration they keep
for

who work
will

righteousness.
to
us,

Super-imposed
as
in

laws

not

do

service

unless

some

extreme

Surgeon has to be sent for to stop and allow the Physician time to heal the hemorrhage This work of liberation must be the work patient.
cases, the

of our
his

own hands, each one working of It is in tin's spirit that own release.

himself for
the

work

has been carried on during the last thirty years and more. For the last twelve years, the Conference has been
trying to establish a bond of union between the several associations and individuals who are working in this
direction in this

and

in other parts of the country,

and

to publish the results

of that work for the information

Measured from year to year, the progress seems small, and in many years the harvests The year about to close has been are not plentiful. whole a lean year, owing to causes which on the* need not be detailed here, the plague being the
of
all

concerned.

principal

cause

among

others.

The

results

of this

Southern India a

Hundred Years Ago.

19

year will be placed before the delegates in a summary form at the first meeting to-morro\v preliminary One general observation may be made on morning.
this

occasion,

The

question
in

is

often

asked,

who

arc
tin:

the

heroes

and

martyrs

this reform

work?

prevailing impression being that unless heroes a\d martyrs are forthcoming, no cause can make progi< ss.
I

would say
is

in

answer that to the
the
cause

extent
its

Huit

this

impression
in

true,

had
Chawlij

heroes

and

martyrs Pandit Vishnu

Pandit

Ishwar Mr.

Shastri,

Karsandas

Vidya Sugar, Muljee and

Madhavadus Raghunathdas, and even now have Rao Bahadur Kolhatkar, our President of
Mr.
year,

we
last

Bhandarkar, our President of one of the honoured President this year, previous years, our Pandit Viresalingam Pantulu, Prof. Karve, and otters
Dr.

who
Set

no mention, who have an example which shows that
require

in

their

own
is

lives

the

lire

not

yet

put

out

altogether.

Dr.

Jaising,

and

Mr.

Dwarkanatha Gangauli, who died this year, may also be mentioned, one as the life and soul of the Shudhi
Sabha, and the other as the practical It among the Brahino community.
all
it

reformer
is

from

not given to
cause.

to be heroes and
is

martyrs

in

such a

But,

given

genuine hundreds
their

every one In that \vorker.
to

to

bp
are

an

earnest

and
ot

capacity

the

names
is

may

be mentioned

who

unknown beyond
therefore,

own

circles,

and whose work

one

of pure love and self-sacrifice. Lala Devraj a.id LaJa Munshiram of Jallundhar, Lala Hansraj and Lala Ruchiram of Lahore, the late Gokuldas of Succur.

196

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Mr. Dayaram Gidumal of Sindh, Mr. Lai Shankar of Ahmedabad, Mr. Damodardas Goverdhandas, the late Dr. Atmaram Pandurang who died during the year, Babu Shashipad Bannerjee, Babu Rash Behari Mukerjee who also died this year, Dewan Bahadur Raghunath of the Rao, Mr. R. Venkatratnam of your part Mr. Vishnu Pant Mahajani of Berar and country, Lala Baijnatha of N.-W. P., may be mentioned in this connection as persons about whose genuine there can be only one cause to the devotion
opinion.

In
is

spiritual,

if

the remark

true that

in temporal matters not a man's wealth is measured

not by what he has in the
side

way

of

possessions

out-

himself,

but

the

way

of his

by what he is or may become in own development from year to year
life.

into higher

and

fuller

Liberties

bestowed on us

by
force

foreigners

are

concessions

forced
are

on us by the
not
really

of
are

circumstances.
possessions multitudes

These
only

ours,

they

and

not

developments.

But, when the country
roundings,

and

yearn each

for

of people in different parts of a change in their social surhis

in

place

seeks to

work
it

it

out

at

great

sacrifice

of

his present

interests,

can

hardly be but that those yearnings and struggles must One of our most popular saints has in his bear fruit. inimitable way, described this fruit to be the own

w^ich comes from the resolve to be better and judged by this test, there can be no reason and this to doukt that this desire to be better, resolve to strive for it, are both growing in all the
strength
;

many

races that dwell

in

this land.

Other influences

Southern India a

Hundred Years Ago.

197

are co-operating to help on the work, and make it But without smoother and easier of accomplishment.

such

a desire and would be powerless

such
to

a

resolve,

these

forces

have therefore, no reason to be depressed by the calamities and by and of our the to of evil come, prophecies
act.

We

unalterable

doom pronounced by
harvest
is

our
his

own

or

other

people.

The
is

ready
to
give
for

to the hand

one who
the
after

prepared
earn

every honest labour for
life

of

day,
life.

to

his rest

the night in

and

IX.

HINDU PROTESTANTISM.*
more we
meet on this platform to take gains and losses of the year

that is about to close. Many familiar faces that cheered us in our work and helped us with their sweet encouragement, have left us, and their vacant places have not yet been filled up in our hearts and The sad reflection comes upon our minds memories. as we recollect these losses, whether after all this
Theistic

ONCE

stock

of

our

movement
founded
if

who
ago,

first

and

we

not destined to out-live those our midst twenty-eight years were left upon our resources, this
is

or
in

is

it

overpower us with its however, is that the heavy weight. movement has struck its roots deep in the past, and the future may, therefore, safely be its growth in embrace a than is to longer period expected
feeling

of

dismay

might

The

fact,

represented by the lives of the present generations of our leaders. During the last few years I have been
trying
*

to

set

forth

from

this

platform,

and

in

Anniversary Address at the Prarthana Mandira, Bombay, 1895.

Hindu
other places
also,

Protestantism.

199

the

and progress of

what

past history of the origin has been well described by

our saints and prophets for two thousand years and more, as the Bhagawata Dharma, of whiclf the present Samaja movement is only a faint reflection and a

humble

off-shoot.

One

of
is

the
its

essential

features

of

the Bhagawata Dharma As among the Jews,
risen

Protestant
after

character.

prophet

proptfet

has

among
and

us,

and

in their lives

and precepts
certain

have
of

protested

against

and

denounced
of
action

habits

thought

principles

which

have

an

inveterate tendency to encrust the true spirit of our faith and to give a human coating which obscures from

view the essentially divine element. Bhagawata Dharma described as Protestant may, therefore, be safely and I would bespeak your favourable Hinduism,
long continued protest, which has done such great service in the past, and which is likely to do still greater service in- the future. Our students are tolerably
familiar

attention to-day to the

chief

feature

of

this

and
the

with the fact that the searching of the spirit, the cleansing of the heart which culminated in growth of Protestantism in Western Europe were

contemporaneously
this
result.

working as powerful agents in our own country, and with a similar beneficial

The
as

Christian

leaders

of

modern
of
t

thought
Latin

protested

against

the

supremacy

the

of expression and thought in language the schools and churches. They protested agakist the
a vehicle
excess of

the ascetic ideas of the

monks

of different
in

orders, and the necessity of priestly

intervention

200
all

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
rites

and

ceremonies.

They

protested

against

and they protested against pilgrimages, indulgences, and confessions fasts, They protested casuistry.
against
the.

image-worship

and

relic-worship

and
to

pompous
elevate

which did ceremonies, the heart and the mind
in
their

not
of

tend

man.

They

succeeded

own

time

by
the

the direct

effect
still

of their

wonderfully, action in their
their
reflex

not only

own
on

communities, but

more by

effect

Catholic Church, which not only purified and kept up its authority over itself in the struggle a large part of Europe, but with renewed vigour, has again been able to raise its head as the oldest and
noblest
struggle

Roman

representative of

constituted
reason.

authority in

its

with

protest

was

emancipating not over with
has

The
century

need

for

the

which
Latimer.

produced

Luther and

Calvin,

Knox

and

The

established faith

always

and everywhere a
too
fire

tendency to grow too rigid and authoritative, mechanical and formal to retain the celestial

pure and burning. of the seventeenth and the Wesleyans and Methodists of the last century are all valuable only as protests the weakness and corruption of the estaagainst
blished
topic

The Puritans and the Covenanters

order

of
here,

things.

I

need

not

pursue
is

this

further

as

my
to

main

concern

to

trace

the growth
country.
I
.

of the Protestant

movement

in

our

own

With a
at

view
state,

may j

once
I

for

prevent misapprehensions the information of my

audience,

that

have based
biographies

my own

movement on the

history of this of saints and prophets*

Hindu

Protestantism.

201

not written by any one of

us,

but

by

writers such

as Nabhaji, Uddhav-Chidghan, Priyadasa, and rendered familiar to us by Mahipati's great work written more than a century ago. Mahipati's collection makes us

acquainted

with

the out

and

prophets,

history of one of which about

hundred
fifty

saints

are

from

The
the

Maharashtra, and the rest from other parts of India. * saints and prophets, it may be noted, include
ten

about

women, and
about
eighty,

as

many Mahomedans,

and

rest,

number
creeds
:

of

these last

an equal comprise about and non-Brahmins,- and among are representative men of all castes and

Brahmins

butchers,

spinners

and
and

weavers,

goldsmiths,

mahars, kings farmers, bankers and soldiers. This is the most noteworthy feature of the leaders of the Protestant movement in India. No

barbers and

country
p'ure

in

the world can

present such a galaxy
in
for

of

and

pious
their

men born
and strove

humble

circumstances,

who
not

struggled

by

-

own

strength,

the cause, and won it but by their humility.

The genuinely natural character of the movement is attested by the fact that it spread to all classes and touched all hearts, both of men and women, and of Hindus and Mahomedans alike. There is always good
reason for despondency and despair, so long as any movement is not so general in its character. This

has been the weakness of the Samaja movement, bottt of our own and of the Arya and Brahma Sajnaja,
that they have
failed

as

yet to

stir
is

the

heart

-of

nation, and their influence few souls a over brought up

the

in

only a

operative
particular

202

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
It
is

atmosphere.
this

on

old

history

account that the study of of matter becomes to us a
this

paramount

importance.
f

These
and

one

hundred

men

immortalized by Mahipati, cover

Nabhaji
a

years, and even yet

period of the stream has not been

Uddhav, Priydas and hundred six five or
dried
see what were the

up

altogether.

We
own
and
wars

have next to

principal

features
his

of the protest that these
place

men

raised
in

each

in

and

time,

each

his

own
to

manner
neither
or
spirit

method.
or

Their

struggles

led

bloodshed

nor

persecutions,
silently
surely.

inquisitions,

banishments.

They
us,

worked
but
the
as

as

God's

works

in

silently

These
of the
learning,

men
old

against protested Sanskrit language

supremacy
vehicle
his

a
in

of

and
stock

they

enriched,

each

own
The
is

time,
battle

the
of of

of their

vernacular
against
It

treasures.

the

Vernacular

the
is

Classics
old,

not

our

own
Pandits

time

only.

an

old

struggle.

pounced
to

upon

Ekanath

and

Tukaram
so
as

for

to

old learning popularize the daring make it accessible to the meanest of the
story

mean.

The
of
is

of

the

drowning
the

of

Ekanath
of

and

Pandits

Tukaram' s works at The well known.

bidding

the

maintained
Rasal

by

agaipst

same struggle was Ramdas against Wainan and by conThe -Saints Namadev.
the

and so far end, quered in the the vernacular in each province of of the measure of the growth
Clement
in

growth
has

of

India

been
raised

the

protestant

that

province.

The

protest

was

Hindu
by these men
the
to
against

Protestantism.
the

203

importance the growth
are

of

rites

tendency to exaggerate and ceremonies as helps
spirit.

of
after

the
all
is

religious

Rites
if

and
their

ceremonies
symbolical the mind,

character

symbols, not vividly
the
religious

anj.

presented
vision,

to

they
place
for

obscure
of the

and
of

usurp
true

the

purity

of

heart

and

devotion

which they
for

were

intended* to

be

auxiliaries only,

and not masters.

Nearly everyone of
in
this

the saints worked

righteousness
if I

direction,

and

it

would take too long
they
achieved,

were to enumerate

the

triumphs
Pharisees
lives

Jesus'

and

Sadducees

was

against the protest the reproduced in
in

of every

one

of

these

men

their

with orthodoxy and this department has not they of Sanskrit
our
their

Brahminism.

Their

struggles in success

been equal to

that

which
read

achieved

in

learning,

breaking but anybody
our

down

the

monopoly
can

who
and

Smrities

and

religious

ordinances

strictness

with

practices,

can

alone

measure

present the greatness

customs

compare and
of

the

work already achieved. The third protest hokl of the these saints was against
system
of
austerities

and

the

supposed

by Yoga powers it
the

raised

conferred on the Yogi of performing -wonders. In this Our almost is success the direction complete. countrymen have learned to discern the vanity of
their
foolish

attempts

to

strive

after
full,

occult

power,
::o

which
gain.

even,

when

The

possessed in exhibited contrast

means
the

real

in

lives

of

Dnyandev and Changadev, and of Dnyandev

himself

204

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
typifies
this

and Namdev,

feature

movement
nothing
the
to

with

remarkable
desired.

be
rwas

The
rules

protestant leaves and accuracy, of the fourth feature

of the

movement
inclusion of

directed
caste

against

the

relaxation

of

strictness

of

and

distinctions.

The

the

mahars and barbers, cobblers and butchers, inclusion of women and Mahomedans among
represented
will

the

saints,

an

which you

scarcely

find

enlargement of view to a parallel elsewhere.
Kabir,
-

The

lives

of

Ekanath

and

Ramdas

and

Tukaram, typified the highest efforts of true religion in this direction. The success here is not so permanent

and
raised

assured

as

in

other
gained.

respects,

but

still

much
was

ground

has
against

been

The

next

protest

cruelty

and human deities and
success

sacrifices,

impurity, against animal against the worship of cruel

and

the
is

performance
complete.

of

Shakta
next

rites.

,The
of

here

The
in

ground

protest was equally strong against Polytheism, though

not
of

against

idolatry,

except

the

Nanak and
of

Kabir.

The

saints

advanced sects were practically
efforts

worshippers

one

God,

and

their

not

to

The multiplicity of rival gods was heroic. was equally loud in favour of proclaiming protest that God was a Joving God, and that his spiritual
admit
a

Providence cared
with
ff

for

the

meanest

of

His

creatures

more than a mother's and
loving

father's love.

This

sense of a

God who
the

spoke

to

and

walked

with, worshippers, that sense is our richest treasure, though the stories told of this

and

comforted

inter-communition

with

men

have

been

often

of

Hindu
a
very
grotesque

Protestantism.

205
then
are

character.

These

the

which Indian Protestantism has done us and if we are true to our gieat ancestors, this is the work and these are the lines on which we should carry on the struggle. Coming
points in
service,
in

contact

with

Mahomedans
of

the

Hindu

Protestant

Saints

made

converts
concessions

thoughtful

Mahomedans
an*

by
of

making

which
it

implied
called

Providence,

whether

was

Rama

unity or

We have come in contact with Christianity Rahim. and we have our own concessions to make. But, whatever we give in or take from our surroundings,
it is

one
a

not

we must never forget that movement started by a few English
thing

educated
that
is

natives,
in

and that
or the
India,

its

founder was

this

or

man

Bolder

Bengal than Modern
in our

Punjab.

The movement
is

and

it

not confined
Its

to the

English

educated classes

in

the towns.

roots

lie

there

all

how we
Authority
is

history and we must study it deep along the line if we want to understand and whither we have to go. really stand,
in

matters

of

faith

is

as

essential

as

authority in matters of secular happiness. not a creation of the imagination.
create

We

Authority cannot
to

the

same which

teaches us. to

bow

noble

and good men of

the past, and

we cannot

dispense

with their help. We must seek them as l our guides. Our domestic guides are in such matters to. be
these last h-\ve not preferred to foreign guides, because of our flesh, and the bone of our bone. been the flesh
If

we would

bear that in mind and work the

movement

206

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

on

the lines of the Bhagawata Dharma in the times to come, success is sure, because it is His work, and He will carry it through by the hands of poor

men

if

only

we swear

fealty

to

Him and

hold by

Him

through

good and bad

report.

N.B.
the

The substance
of the
It,

notes

lecture

taken

of this at
to

Paper
the

is

made up from

tic friend.

treatment

however, fails contained in the

by a sympathereproduce the fulness of the In fact, original address.

time

Mr.

Justice

Ranade

had deemed

it

necessary

011

this

account to treat this subject in a more systematic manner u The Saints and in one of the chapters, Prophets of " Maharashtra,'^ in his History of the Rise of the Maratha Extracts ftom the said chapter are with the Poiver^ authors permission, attached hereto, for a fuller elucidation the subject. EDITOR. of^

We
outline

propose in
the
history
India.

this

chapter to
this

trace

in

rough
in

of

religious

upheaval

Western
will

Our

main

sources

of

information

be the voluminous biographies of the saints and prophets of Maharashtra, written by one of our own
Mahipati, towards the close of the last century, before British influence was felt in these parts long as a factor of any importance. Like the political struggle for independence, the religious upheaval was
poets,
also

not the work of a single

man,

or

even

of

a

.single

Its early century. traced even* anterior to the

commencement

can

be
of

Mahomedan
of the
saint

conquest

the Deccan.
Devgiri,

Under the
the

rule
first

Yadav kings of
and

Dnyandev,

Maharashtra, wrote his

famous

prophet of commentary on the

Hindu

Protestantism.

207

Bhagwadgitlt in the spoken language of the country. Mukundraj, who lived under the Ballal Kings, also in \vrote his famous work, the first of the kind
Marathi, in
invasions
for

the
a

twelfth

time

The Mahomedan century. seem to have paralysed all

activity, but gradually the national spirit regained its healthy elasticity, and just about the time of the rise of the Maratha power we had a galaxy of saints and pro-

phets,

whose names have become household words with

the people of the country. The stream continued to flow in full tide for two centuries, and then it appears
to

have

dried

up,

domination also
speaking
religious

and with its ebb, the political became a thing of the past. Roughly
the state that history of this covers a period of nearly live hundred
this
in

we

may

revival

years,

and during
flourished

period
this
its

some

fifty

saints

rnd

prophets upon the country and
justify
in

land,

who
in

left

their

mark

people so

sketches.

Mahipati including A few of these saints were women, a few

them

indelibly as to his biographical

were Mahomedan converts to Hinduism, nearly half of them were Brahmins, while there were represenin the other half from among all the other tatives
castes.

Marathas, kunbis,

tailors,

gardeners,

potters,

girls, even goldsmiths, repentant prostitutes, the outcaste Mahurs. Much of the interest of this

and slave
the

religious

upheaval

is

centred

in

facts

we
that

helve

noticed

above, influence of higher
this

as

they
but

indicate

plainly

the
to

spirituality

was

not confined

or that class,

strata of society,

male

permeated deep through all and female, high and lov.,

208
literate

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

and

illiterate,

Hindu and

Mahomedan

alike.

These are features which the religious history of few other countries can match or reproduce, unless

where

the

,

elevating

influence

is

the

result

of

a

In Northern widespread popular awakening. Eastern India a similar movement manifested

and
itself

much about
Punjab
in
r

the same
rise,

time.

Nanak
a

stirred

up
effort

the
to

to

and

made

supreme

reconcile

Hinduism with
far

Mahomedanism.

the

East
of
;

the
the

worship

sought to bring Shakti and Kali
while

men
to

Chaitanya back from
faith

the

of

Dhagawat
and
in

Ramanand
and
has
to the

and

Kabir,

Tulsidas

Surdas,
his

Jayadev
influence
it

buted each
great and

own way
but

Rohidas, contriwork of spiritual

enlightenment.

Their

no doubt been

abiding,

cannot be
saints

the

work

done

by

the

compared with and prophets of

Maharashtra.
Nivritti

The names

of Changd^v and Dnyandev,

and Sopdn, Muktabai and Jani, Akabai and V6nubai, Namdev and Eknath, Ramdas and Tukaram,
Shaik

Shanti Bahamani, Damaji and Bhanudas and Kurmdas, Bodhle Bawd and Santoba Powar, K<5shav Swami and Jayaram Swami, Narasinha Saraswati and Rangnath Swami, Chokhamela and the two pptters, Narahari Sonar and Sa valid Mali, Bahiram Bhat and Ganesh Nath, Janardanpant and Malopant, and many others that might be cited, furnish an array which testifies to the superior efficacy

Mahomed and

Udhav,

of this

movement
parts

in

Maharashtra.
a

The Brahmins
in

in

these
saints

furnished

much

larger

and prophets than was the case

proportion of any of the

Hindu

Protestantism.

209

other parts of India where the Kshatriya and Vaishya castes furnished a much larger contingent than the Brahmins.

As
the

is

the

case

with

all

powers, notably those of raising the dead to life, healing the sick and feeding The stories which are told 'of the the hungry.

popular imagination wonderful and miraculous

attributes

of saints, biographies to these persons

way

in

which

they

agency

in their mission

were helped by of love may or

may

supernatural not be

accepted in these days of vigilant criticism. Lecky has remarked, it is the atmosphere
like

As Mr.
of child-

credulity

accept

these

ordinary themselves did not

which predisposes men to require and wonders and miracles as events of saints and The occurrence, prophets
claim miraculous

powers.

They
beyond
surprise.

were meek and
'

suffering

men who
trust

placed their trust
justified

in

Providence,

and

their

was

their

expectations,

often-times to their

own
but
lives

The

moral

interest

of

these

biographies
feats,

centres
in

however,
struggles,

not in their miraculous

their

and

in

the testimony their
eternal
spiritual

afforded

in vindication

of the

verities
life.

of
It
is

the

moral

law and man's higher

with this

aspect of their life that we concerned in the sequel, and
in
this

are

more
to

immediately

we hope

show

that

they accomplished was respect blessed beyond all comparison. priceless and There is a curious parallel between the history
the

work

of

the
the

Reformation
struggle

movement
represented

in

and

H

Western Europe by the lives and

210

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

teachings and writings of these saints and prophets, who flourished about the same time in Maharashtra.

The

European

reformers

of

the

sixteenth century

protested strongly against the priests and the clergy
at
their

the

authority claimed by with the Roman Bishop

head.

a

tradition

The clergy and the Pope of authority which had come

represented

down from

the remote past, and had done signal service in its own time in humanising and civilizing the hordes the devastated of the barbarian conquerors who

Roman
instead

In course of time, the priests, provinces. of being the servants, claimed to be masters

and

rulers,

with temporal

and

spiritual

powers, and

intermediaries between

God and man.

The

exercise

of this intercession was hedged round and ceremonies, and in course rites

by numberless of time many
sympathy.

abuses

crept

in

These abuses

and assumed

alienated
their

general

worst

forms about the

time that Luther rebelled against the authority which Peter's Pence, not as issued indulgences and levied to subserve the temporal power charity, but as a tax
of intriguing Popes and
their vicious

Cardinals.

The

Reformation in Western India had its counterpart in Ancient authority and tradition had this respect.

been petrified here, not in an
hjs clergy, but caste,
in

ambitious

Bishop and

the

monopoly

of

the

Brahman

and <it was against the exclusive spirit of this the saints and prophets domination that most manfully to protest. They asserted Struggled
caste

the dignity of

the

human

soul

as

residing
its

in

it

quite independently of the accidents of

birth

and

Hindu
social rank.

Protestantism.

211

The circumstances

of their

own

birth

and

education naturally predisposed some of these As observed preachers to take up such a position. half of them were of caster, other than above, nearly

Brahmans,
indeed.
also

and

some
of

of

them
the
in

of

very low
inherited

castes

Many
some
or

Brahman
their

reformers
purity
against

had
led

stain

which
all

forced
restraints.

them

to

rebel

artificial

Dnyandev
were
born

and
to

his

brothers

and
he

sister

Muktabai
retired

their

father after

had

from

the world and

be-

came a Sanyasi, monk. nand, came to know
obtained
his

His
that

spiritual guide,

Ramanot

this

Sanyasi
to a

had

wife's

willing

consent

Ashram,

and

he

ordered

him

to

go

change of back to his

native place and live with his wife. The children so born to the Sanyasi became marked objects of caste aversion, and the Brahmans refused to perform the
Initiation

ceremony when

the

brothers

reached

the

proper age.
condition
all

The

children remained in this unrecognised
life,

their

and

were

revered

notwith-

standing

this
saint,

defect

in

their

caste

respectability.

Another
girl,

whose marriage, and the husband did not abandon her, but only held no intercourse with her, and when on
death,

Malopant, was married to a low-caste caste was not discovered till after the

her

he

performed

her death-rites

as

usual,

a

which satisfied his worst displayed enemies, that Malopant and his Mahar wife were both holy by nature. Jayaram Swami's master, Krishnadas, was similarly married to a barber girl, and
miracle

was

212
the

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
inferiority

of

her

caste

was
after

discovered

after

marriage. The holy life such an effect that at

of
last,

the

man had, however, much persecution

Shankaracharya of the day no objection. raised Eknath, it is well known, made no secret of the little importance he attached

even

the %igh

priest

to casje distinctions.
his

He
for

fed

a

hungry
of

MahAr

at

house,
a

and,
to

when
river

out-casted, allowed himself to

be taken

the

purposes

purification,

by which the merit of be far a hungry Mahar was proved to feeding greater than that of feeding many hundred Brahmiracle

when

took

place

mans,
sion

for

disease,

when

on

the former merit cured a leper of his foul the latter failed to make any impreshim. very common miracle is reported

A

to have been

performed by

many
and

of the saints, not-

Nagnath, when, on ably by Dnyandev, Eknath, the refusal of the Brahmans to officiate on Shraddha
ceremonies in their places for breach of caste regulations, the deceased fathers of the obstinate Brahmans

were made to descend
siveness

to

earth,

and

shamed
In

their

incredulous sons into the belief that their

caste exclu-

was
his

Wholly

out

of

place.

Namdev's

of Pandharpur, who had allowed biography, invfte Brahmans to a feast and himself Namdev to

God

partook of that feast with the excommuificated, and then the

saint,

was Himself
relates

story
spirit,

how

Dnyandev,

who
:

was

present

in

remonstrated

with* the Brahman persecutors.

He
God.

said

There was
alike

none
him.

All

were

to

low with Never entertain the
high
or

Hindu
thought
is

Protestantism.

213

my neighbour not polluted, nor is the wind tainted, nor the earth rendered untouchable, because the low born and high born bathe in the
I

that

am

high born,
is

and

low of

birth.

The Ganges

one, or breathe the other, or the third.

move on

the

back

of

The most
which

Mah&r
for

touching incident, however, is that occurred in the persecution of the Out-caste Chokhamela for his having dared to enter

the temple of Pandharpur.
his

When

remonstrated with
that his

temerity,

Chokhamela

replied

God

took him inside by force, and he did not go of his own accord. He remonstrated with the Brahman
worshippers
availeth
learning,
if

of
in

the

temple

in

this

strain

What
Though

birth

high
is

there

caste, what no devotion, or

availeth rites or
faith ?

a

man
t

be

of

low

caste,

yet

if

he

is

faithful

in

and loves God, and regards all creatures as though they were like himself, and makes no distinction between his own and other people's children, .and speaks the truth, his caste is pure, and God is Never ask a man's caste when pleased with him. has in his heart faith in God, and love of men. he God wants in his children love and devotion, and he does not care for his caste. The Brahmans, as
heart,

by this expected, were not converted of high wisdom, and they complained 'to preaching the Musalman officer of the place, and he, like
might
another
Pilate

be

of the

Bible

story,

ordered

Chokha-

m&a to be punished by being tied to and driven bv a team of bullocks, and tortured to death in

214
this

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
cruel

fashion.

God,

however,

miraculously

delivered his worshipper, and baffled the oppressors, for the bullocks would not move from their place.

The
this

story of Bahiram Bhat is also connection. Being a Sh&stri, he
in

interesting

in

did

not

find

rest

medan

Brahminism, and therefore became a Mahounder the impression that its monotheism

would satisfy the cravings of his heart, but failing to find the satisfaction he desired, he returned back
to

Brahminism.
fault

Both
with

found

Brahmans and him for these

Mahomedans
changes
of

Hindu or but he disclaimed faith, being Mahomedan. Bahiram Bhat challenged the Brahmans to make him a true Brahman as long as his circumcision mark was not removed, and he challenged the Mahomedans to fill up the holes in his ears, which showed that he was still a Hindu. The Mahomedan converts to Hinduism, represented by Shaik Mahomed's
either

followers even to

day observe the Ramjan fasts and the Ekadashi fast, and make pilgrimages td Mecca as also to Pandharpur. There are many other saints of great renown who, like Kabir, Nanak and Manik Prabhu, are claimed both by Hindus and Mahomethis

dans

as

belonging

to

their

respective

communities,

and worshipped and reverenced as such by both. These examples will suffice to show how the lives of these men have tended to elevate the national
conception of man's spiritual hold of caste intolerance.
nature,

and shake the
is

The
in

result
fact

of

all

this

elevated

teaching

seen

the

that

caste

exclusiveness

now

finds

n6

Hindu

Protestantism.

215

place in the religious sphere of life, and it is relegated solely to the social concerns of men, and even there
its

restrictiveness

is

much
the

judge with

who compares
their

relaxed, as any one can Brahmans of Southern India,
prejudices,

exclusive

caste

and
lower

their

abhorrence of even the shadow of the
defiling

castes

indifference

Brahman shown

streets,

in

such

the comparative with matters in the* Deccan

portion of Mah&rashtra.

This feeling of indifference is most accentuated at the time of the annual Pandharpur

pilgrim gatherings, and the mixed greetings with which is celebrated on the last day. Just as in Europe, men ceased to believe that the priest was

the Lord's Feast

a

necessary purposes of

medium between
salvation,
in
this

God and
part
as

man
India,

for

of

the

domination
creation,

of the
the

Brahman
of
its

caste

the

Gods
serve

of

whom
lost

other castes

should

and
and

worship,
free

much

potency,
feel

and

men

women^ high and low, came to
to
attain

salvation

by

faith

that they were and love in spite of
further against

their

low

origin.

The European reformers protested

the institution of the Monastic Orders, and celibacy of the clergy, and the unnatural retirement of women

who
nuns.

exiled

themselves

from the jvorld and

became

in the
their

There was a counterpart of this same protest way in which our saints and prqphets raised and voice self-mortification fasts, against
penances

and

meaningless

and

endless

pilgrimages.

The

same

spirit

prompted

them

to

condemn
the

austerities practised

by

those

who

followed

Yoga

216

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

system with a view of acquiring the power of working wonders which, it was supposed, the Yogis enjoyed in consequence. This contest between Yoga and

Bhakti
reliance

is

\jrell

illustrated

by

the

encounter

of the

proud Changciev with Dnyandev, when the former, in on his Yoga powers, rode on tigers, and
used
serpent

whips,

and

was

put

to

shame

by

Dnyandev riding on a wall. There was a similar encounter between Dnyandev and Namdev, when the became former, by the exercise of Yoga powers,
small in
size,

and drank the waters of a
his devotion, brought the well for all time, so that
felt

deep well,
the waters
all

while

Namdev, by
by,

to overflow

who
their

passed
hearts'

and

thirsty,
stories

content.

These

might most

drink

to

beautifully typify

this feature of the teaching of the saints

and prophets

of Maharashtra.

The story of Kanoba Pathak, who was upbraided a Brahman of Benares for his inordinate love of by children, and astonished his critic by throwing away well with child into a his seeming indifference,
illustrates

cannot

the vanity of the vows of celibacy, which by themselves produce equableness of mind,
pains

and
his

indifference to
life

and

pleasures.

Eknath

all

lived with, his wife

Turkaram
blessed

and

Namdev,

and children, and so did though they were not
relations.

withd

sympathetic female

Bodhhale

Bawa, Chokham&a, Damajipant, Bhanudas, the two potter .saints, and many others lived in the midst of their families. Dnyandev's father, who had become
Sanyasi

without

obtaining

the

free

consent

of

his

Hindu
wife,

Protestantism.

217

was directed by Ramanand to return to his home, and live with his wife. All these incidents
prove that a very high conception of the sanctity and saints of family-life was realised by these
prophets, and they did national weakness which
their

best

to

correct

the

shrinks

from trouble

and

anxiety by retiring from the world's conflict. The a special interest in lives of the female saints have
this

to

owing and implicit faith, God helped them out of their difficulties by assisting them in their and by assuming strange household work, daily wanted disguises, permitted them the freedom they
biographies
their devotion

connection.

The

relate

that

without being missed by their jealous There is a danger in all such stories of relations. making Providential intervention too cheap, but t>his
to serve
fault
is

him

more

than

balanced

by the
was

high

moral
sanctity

which
of

underlies

these

accounts.
life

The

married

and
these

family
saints

cated

by

and

vindinobly and this prophets,

was a
All

signal

moral triumph over the
of

past traditions
are

of asceticism.
students

modern

European
their
tjie

history

aware that the

Reformers achieved

manent
from

success in the liberation of

most pernational intellect
and
the

the

thraldom of scholastic

learning,

in which oppressive preponderance of the classical Latin, best books were till then written. The Bible all the

was,
first

by
time

the

help

of

these
all,

Reformers,

for

the

made

-accessible to

the

monopoly

of learning,

till

high and low, then enjoyed by

and
the

218
priests,

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

was shaken to
of
lines.

its

foundations.

the

process

liberation

was
of
first

Here, in India, carried out on the
the
to

same

The
for

professors

old

Sanskrit

learning
surprise,

found
that

the

time,

their

great

and prophets addressed the both in speech and writing, in their own people, vernacular, and boldly opened the hitherto hidden treasures * to all and sundry, men and women, Bnihmans and Shudras, alike. The final victory was
saints

nhe

not achieved without much struggle and considerable suffering. Dnyandev was the first adventurer to stray into these forbidden regions, and his example

was followed by Eknath and Ramdas, Namdev and and Tukaram, Vaman Pandit and Mukteshwar, Shridhar and Moropant. These last four gifted men are more celebrated as authors and poets than as religious
teachers,

but they derived
as the
for

their

inspiration

from the

It is same sources. were not translated

true the

Vedas and the Shdstr&s

Bible was, but there
difference.

was
the

a

sufficient

reason

this

These early
after

Marathi writers knew that
Buddhistic
revolution,

modern
less

India,

was

influenced

by

the

Shasjras than by the Ramdyana and Mahabharata, the Bh&gawata Purana and the Gita> and these latter .works were translated and made

V&das

and

accessible

to

all.

The

pioneers in

this field,

Eknath

and Tukaram, were each made to bear the brunt of Brahman opposition. Their works were not burned as- in ^urope, but they were ordered to be thrown
into water.

The

river

gods,

however,

so

the story

runs, would not

let

them be destroyed, and the works

Hindu

Protestantism.

219

remained dry and would not sink, and thus became more famous than ever. Vaman Pandit, the great not deign to speak Sanskrit scholar, who would
or

write

in

the

popular
to

language,
see

as

unfit

to

be used by a Pandit, was, when brought in with

contact
of
his

ways

;

Ramdas, made and a Brahman
Salya
Rasal,

the
of

error

translator
r

the

Rdmayana
of
his

named
message

w ho

was
that

over-prouA

superior learning,

was

similarly

from his

goddess

put he should
it

to

shame by a

work

corrected

the tailor

by Namddv.
of
said

submitting

to

get the the revision of

Dnyand6v

also

was

made the

instrument
buffalo
heart.

performing a miracle, by which a to have recited the Vedas by This story is obviously an allegorical parody

was

of

the

mental

condition

of

those

who
the

prided

themselves upon their ability to recite without understanding their contents.

Vedas
Classical

The
Sanskrit-

struggle

between the claims of the
Vernaculars,
days,
is

and the
these

of which

we

hear so
the
the

much
issues

in
in

thus

an
in

old

conflict,

which

were

decided

favour

of

scholars

Vernacular or living languages long ago, and whatever and antiquarians may urge to the contrary,

there can only be

one answer to the
the
saints

question,

the

answer which was given by

and prophets

when they
and

laid Sanskrit aside as useless for their
all

worK

and spent growth of their mother tongue. It may safely be said that the growth of the modern vernaculars in India
their

energies in

the

cultivation

is

solely the result of the labours' of these saints,

and

220
that
the

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
provinces in the

which

showed

most

decided

tendencies

most

healthy

way of reform, also showed the of their vernacular development
reformers
in

literature.

The

Protestant

Europe
in

achieved

another change of great

importance

the

way

in

which they raised their voice against the excesses to which image-worship and saint-worship were
carried in the
also, this

Roman
was

Catholic Church.
raised,

On

our side,

protest

but

it

did not assume

the iconoclastic
especially

form which the Protestant reformers,
stricter

the

sect

among

them,

adopted.

condemned both in theory and in practice by the saints and prophets of Maharashtra. Each of them had his own favourite
Polytheistic worship

was

form of the divine incarnation, and one favourite form left no room
other
gods.

this

worship

of

for

allegiance to

Ramdas,

for

instance,
;

under the name of Rama Swami worshipped Him under the name of Krishna, Tukaram, Chokhdmela and Namd&v under the name
of
the

worshipped God Ekandth and Jayaram

Vithoba

;

Narahari
;

Sonar

and

Nagnath

under

Janardan Swami and Narasinha Saraswati under the name of Dattatraya; Morya Gosavi and Ganeshnath under the name of Ganpati, and so

name

of Shiva

on

for the

rest.

biographies

of

Strange the way

stories

are

told

in

these

in

which the

saints,

when

they visited other shrines, refused to see the image in the form in which they did not worship God, and as a consequence the image manifested itself to

them

in

the form

fiamiliar

to them.

The supremacy

Hindu
of

Protestantism.

221

one

God,

One without

a second,

was the

first

article

of the creed with every one of these saints, which they would not allow anybody to question or challenge. At the same time, as observed above,

the iconoclastic

spirit

was never

characteristic

of this

country, and all the various forms in which God was worshipped were believed to merge finally into one Supreme Providence or Bramha. This* tendency of the national mind was a very old tendency-

Even

in

Rudra,
sacrifices

Vedic times, Indra and Varun, Marut while they were separately invoked at
offered
as
for

and
the
re-

their

garded

supreme

Lord

interchangeable of creation.

acceptance, forms of the

were

all

One and
tendency

This

same

explains the comparative indifference with which the saints and prophets treated the question of inaageIt is a complete misunderstanding of their worship.

thoughts and ideas on this subject when it is represented that these gifted people were idolaters in the
objectionable sense of the word. They did not worIn V6dic times there was ship stocks and stones.

admittedly no idol or image worship. It came into vogue with the acceptance of the incarnation theory,

and was stimulated by the worship of the Jains and Buddhists of their saints. Finally, it got mixed up
with the fetish worship of the aboriginal
tribes,

who

were received into the Aryan fold, ^and their gqds were turned into incarnations of the Aryan deities. The saints and prophets, however, rose high' above
these
people.
grovelling conceptions prevalent amongst the Idol worship was dgnofcnced when the image

222

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Supreme God. Both Tukaram and Ramdas have spared no words in denouncing these aboriginal and village gods, and their frightful In the life of Bhanudas, it is rites and sacrifices. told the King of Vidyanagar that the stated that h
did not represent the

Goddess he worshipped served
in

his

God

at

a

menial
it

found

capacity to be the truth

as

a

sweeper,

Pandharpur and the king

when he

visited Pandharpur.
is

In the lives of two other saints, it Goddess Kali, to whom human and

stated that the
sacrifices

animal
the

frightened by protest of of Hari against such cruelty, that the sacrifices were given up by the command

were

offered,

was so

the saints in the

name

of the Goddess, not
time.

only

for the

These

illustrations

will

time, but for serve to show

all

in

what light image-worship, as an aid to was utilised by these saints, and unless this
is

devotion,
distinctipn

borne in mind, it will be impossible to understand the true position occupied by these teachers in, this

in which the point, however, and prophets in this country differed reforming essentially from thoe who were working in the same

important matter. There is one
saints

cause elsewhere, the
ers
in

Europe.

From

the

Arydn

gods

contemporary Protestant reformthe V6dic times downwards, have been gods of Love and

Brightness, of < sweetness and of light. There were, of course, terrible gods also, such as Varun and Rudra,

who
But

inspired awe the national

and

filled

the

mind with
to

terror.

tendency

was
chiefly

dwell
bright

with
side

affection

on and contemplate

the

Hindu

Protestantism.

223

of divine Providence, unlike the Semitic idea which dwelt upon the terrific manifestation of a distant God whose glory could not be seen save through a cloudy
a severe Chastiser of

human

frailties,

and a Judge

who

He Awarded, and punished more frequently than even when He rewarded, kept the worshipper always This conception lies at the in awe and trembling.
root of
all

Semitic religions, and

it

is

to the credit

of Christianity that it attempted and partly succeeded in the the intervention bridging gulf by securing of God incarnate in the flesh, as Jesus Christ, who

mankind and atoned for intervention was never found necessary
suffered for

their sins.
in the

This

Ayran reliRome, or of India. God with us has always been regarded more as a father and a mother, a brother and a friend, than a judge and a chastiser Not that He does not judge, or rule; and a ruler.
gions of Greece or

but

judges, rules, and chastises with the love of a father or a mother, ever ready to receive the repentant
prodigal,

He

son

back

into

his

arms.

The orthodox
bring

Brahminical

conception

does

not

out

this
it

feature of a kindly Providence so prominently as found to be realised in the teachings and

is

life's

and prophets. They are were able to see they emphatc their God, and hear His words, and walked and talked with Him, and held intercourse with Him. ^In their higher moments they, no doubt, describe Him as One Whc did not speak, but their most normal condition of
experiences

of our

saints

in their assertions that

mind was one of
presence
as

satisfaction
realise

when they
presence

realised

His

we

the

of

sensible

224
things.

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

The
waking

Yogis

and
of

the

V6ddntis

their

dreams
with
this

being
distant
all

one

only talk in with God, but
difficult

Namdev and Tukaram, Eknath and Dnyandev, were
not content

and
the

union,

which

did

not
life,

last

during

conscious

and compared

their

moments of their own happiness in
above
or
all

such daily intercourse with God as being Veddnt. the attainments of Yoga and
believe the miracles ascribed to these
believe them, but statements on tic
Christian

We may
dis-

saints

we cannot
this

disbelieve their

emphadeath

point.

All the
life

love that in

lands

circles

round the
in

and

of

Christ Jesus has

been
in

India

freely

poured

upon

the

intense

realisation

the

Supreme

God

the every-day presence of the heart in a way more

of

or the sense of touch convincing than eyes, ears can realise. This constitutes the glory of the saints, and it is a possession which is treasured up by our

people, high in life beyond

and low, men and women, as a solace
all

value.

As a consequence of this conception of God's relations with man, the supreme efficacy of devotional Love, Bhakti, over all other methods of attaining to His knowledge became the cardinal creed of these
Vaishnav
sketches
Faith,
superior such as
'

sects.

There

is

not
in

a

life

in

all

these

drawn
in

by
are

Bh&wa,
the

Mahipati not emphasized
all

which Bhakti and
being far of worship, and ceremonies of
as

virtue

to

other
of rites

forms

performance

external'

worship,

pilgrimages
$asts,

mortifications

and

and ablutions, selflearning and contemplation.

Hindu

Protestantism.

22&
the

These have relation only to the body or
while
in

the

Spirit

His

service,

mind, what God desires to see engaged The rites and ceremonies may be
is

performed as indifferent matters, just as food may be taken and thirst quenched, and the } rest of sleep enjoyed, as they come naturally without effort or
is

unnecessary anxiety about them. The best ablution when the senses are drowned in the ocean of

God's

made

presence about us, and the same presence is to fill us inside and out. The best sacrifice

and the highest Dana or gift is when we surrender ourselves to His sweet will and for His service, and claim nothing as our own. The best mortification is
that which

makes the
is

spirit

humble before Him, the
glory
is

best contemplation
all

when His

sung with

our powers.

health nor

Neither knowledge nor Yoga powers, wealth, nor children nor possessions, not

even
of

Mukti
love

freedom

from
is

birth

and
is

death,

is

desirable in
full

itself.

What

desirable

to be always
all

for

Him

and His works, including

creation,

men

and

animals.

Namdev

cried

while

removing the bark

of a tree, because he thought he blood coming out from the stroke of his axe, saw and he struck himself with the axe to see how he
felt,

and

realise

what
sent
first

the

tree

might
to

feel.

Shaik

Mahomed,
butcher's

being
trade,

by
cut

his father
his
r

practise the

own

finder

with

his

knife to see

how

the animal

w ould

he felt drove him to forswear from the world in which such pain had to be
ed
for

feel, and the pain his trade, and retire

inflict-

earning

one's

livelihood,

Tukaram

felt

that

226

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

there must be something wrong about him, when, on seeing him, the sparrows left the field he was sent
to watch,

though he did not intend to disturb them.

This intense spirituality and absolute surrender of Self may sound (somewhat unreal to men not brought

up
can

in

the

there can be
alse

atmosphere these saints no doubt about the

breathed.
fact,

But,

and there
ideal

be

no doubt

that

the

national

of

spiritual excellence has been shaped by these models. It may be that a stronger backbone and more resisting

power
but
in

are

needed
account

in

the
of

times

in

which
and

we

live,

an

the

saints

prophets

as

they

flourished

more

than two

hifndred

years ago,

we cannot
wishes.
It

afford to interpolate

our

own wants and
note

may
in

be

interesting

to

saints

thought and
contact

came

spoke, with a
faced

and
their

how,

how when
and

these

they
'like

militant

religion

Mahomedanism, they
quered them.

troubles

con-

The
full

lives

of

and

others are
foct

of such incidents.
this

Namdev, R&mdas, Eknath, The most noteis

worthy

in

connection
converts
to

that

several

Mahomedans became
and
in

obtained

such
ft

a

help was invoked

by

public the Hindu authors

the Hindu Faith, that their recognition

who wrote
Shaik

those times, along with

the

Hindu

saints.

Mahomed ?nd
this

Kabir
of

may

be cited

as examples of

catholic

spirit

recognition.

On

the

other

h,and,

Tukaram and
contact

Eknath were so

influenced

by

their

with

composed verses

7 fn fr

that Mahomedanism they Urdu of so catholic a character

Hindu
as

Protestantism.
the
strictest

227

to

be unobjectionable to
did the

Mahomeclan.

Ramdas

same when one of

his disciples,

Udhav

got into trouble at Bedar.
servant of the Bedar Kings,

The
is

story of Damajipant, a. In a well known to all.

time of famine he distributed the Governpent stores of grain among the poor, and on being taken to task he was relieved by an unexpected remittance of the full

came out
rulers,

value of the grain to the King's treasury. T.he saints well in their struggles with their foreign

by by quiet resignation to the Will of God. There was a tendency perceptible towards a reconciliation of the two races in mutual recognition
prevailed
fighting
resistance,

and they
but

not

by

nor

time

of the essential unity of Allah with Rama, and by the on the this reconscene, Shivaji appeared

ciliation

seems to have been almost complete,
of

occasional outbursts

Mahomedan

fanaticism

though were

not altogether unknown even then. We have thus noticed all the principal features of the religious movement, which, commencing with

Dnyandev who
growth
country. of caste

lived in

the

fifteenth
last

century,

can

be traced to the end of the
in spiritual virtues.
It

century as a steady

considerable value in the
It

gave ^ us a literature of Vernacular language of the
strictnes

modified

the
It

of the

old spirit
classes

exclusiveness.

raised

the Shudra

to a position of spiritual power and social importance almost equal to that of the Brahmans. It gave
sanctity to the family
relations,

and

raised

the status

of woman.

made the same time more prone
It

nation
to

more humane,* at the hold together by mutual

228

Essays on Religions and Social Reform,

It suggested and partly carried out a plan toleration. of reconciliation with the Mahomedans. It subordi-

nated
of

importance and pilgrimages
to

the

of rites
fasts,

and ceremonies, and and of learning and

higher excellence of worship contemplation, means of Love and Faith. It checked the excesses by

the

of polytheism. It tended in all these ways to raise the nation generally to a higher level of capacity .both of thought and action, and prepared it in a

way no
take
the

other
lead

nation
in

in

India

was
a

prepared
united

to

re-establishing These place of foreign domination. appear to us to be the principal features of the religion of Maharashtra, which Saint Ramdas had in view when he advised Shivaji's son to follow in his

native

power

in

the

father's

footsteps,

and

tolerant

and

catholic,

propagate this Faith, at once deeply spiritual and yet not

iconoclastic.

X.
I

AM NEITHER HINDU NOR
MAHOMEDAN.*
time
last

year,

I

had

occasion,

at

the
at

on the subject of " Southern India a hundred years ago." To-day I find myself far away in the north, surrounded on all sides by
the
oldest
tradititions

of inauguration THIS Madras, to speak

the

Conference

held

of

a

civilization

older

than

the

the land of the Aryan race settled in India, tracing its descent from the self-born Swayambhu Manu, where the Solar dynasty flourished
to
history,
for

known

thousands of years, the land of the Ikshwakus, of Dilip and Raghu, of Dasharath and the incarnate hero Rama, with his illustrious brothers and the still more honoured wife Sita, the land where Vasishtha and Vishvamitra lived and flourished, the home of
all

that

is

beautiful

and

true,

and lovely and

godlike*

in

Aryan
has

birth

history. also in later

This favoured land of yours gave

who
*

been
4>

times, to Shakhya well described a* the

Muni Buddha,
perfection

of

Address,

Indian National Social Conference," Lucknow, 1899.

230

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
in
its

humanity
"

highest and noblest development, and " whose Wheel of law still regulates the thoughts and feelings of half the human race in its efforts to attain The south and the north thus contrasted beatitude.

together, suggest recollections that are so overpowering, that I am tempted on this occasion when we meet to

inaugurate the work of the Conference at Lucknow, to dwell for a few moments on this subject, and I bespeak

your thoughtful attention Far in the South, which

to the
is

lessons

it

suggests.

stronghold of Brahmanical ideas uninfluenced by outside contact, the Aryan civilization no doubt made its way, but it conthe
tinued
to

now

be

an

exotic

civilization

confined to a
in

small
that

minority of

they
in

were
those

Aryan overwhelmed

settlers,

so

few
the

numbers,
of
its

by
It

influences

the earlier

Dravidian

dominion.
regions,

never made
the

home
people under

remote
their

and

common
old faiths

continued

adhesion

to their
effects

new

names.

What

the

of
address

this

subordination were, was depicted in Madras in the words of a foreign
lived

my
ago,

at

missionary

and worked a hundred

years

and

who who

had exceptional opportunities of studying these effects. I propose this time to draw your attention to the turn which the Aryan civilization has taken under
the influences
i

by the conquest of this part of the country by the Mahomedans, nearly a thousand years back. The one factor which separates from its Southern neighbours, is the Northem India
represented

predominant

influence

of

this

conquest

by

the

Mahomedans, which

has

left

ks

mark

permanently

/ am

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
actual

2:U
to

upon the country, by the

conversion

the

Mahomedan

faith

of

one-fifth

of the population, and

by the imperceptible but permanent moulding of the rest of the people in the ways of thought and belief, the like of which is hard to find on the Malabar or Coromandel I draw my Coasts. to propose
materials
travellers

from

the

Mahomedan

the
the

who visited India, both Mahomedan conquest had changed
country.

philosophers and before 3nd after

the

face

of
to

Owing
our

to

the

absence

of the

historic

instinct

among

people,

we
of

have

necessarily

depend upon That testimony

the
is,

testimony

foreign

historians.

was

for

however, unexceptional, because it the most part given before the Mahomedan
effected

domination had
tinguishes

the

the
India

old
in

India

separation which of the past from
are

dis-

the

modern

which

we

now

living.

This

domination also separates the line which marks off of which I spoke last southern India, year, from the north, in one of the most representative centres of

At the outset, we which we are met here to-day. must have a correct understanding of what northern India was before Mahmud of Gazni made his
numerous expeditions and temples, cities
tenth century. witness to this
of
Alberuni,
after
for the plunder

of

its

far-famed

at

the

commencement

of

the

Fortunately for us, we have a period of our history in the writings

whose
the

work
of

on

India

was

written

shortly

time
Dr.

that

Mahmud
a

crossed

the

Indus

as

a

conqueror

infidel;.

That

work has
in

been

translated

by

SachaJ,

professor

232
the

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
Berlin

now

University, accessible to us
his

and
all.

English form, is Alberuni was a native of
in
its

Khorasan,

birthplace

being

near

Khiva.

Mahmud of Gazni conquered Khorasan, and Alberuni had thus to shift to Gazni which was then the seat of a flourishing empire, the rulers of which were great patrons of Mahomedan learning, Alberuni was
in

special

favour with

Masand the son of

Mahmud,

and he was thus enabled to travel throughout India, where he spent many years, having mastered the Sanskrit Language. He was a philosopher by profession and Indian for and had a temper, special liking which he studied with the same care philosophy, and attention that he bestowed on Plato and Aristotle. His work on India consists of eighty
chapters,
Idolatry,

relating
Civil

to

Religion,

Philosophy,
Science,

Caste,

Polity,

Literature,

Mathe-

Geography, Astronomy, Cosmogony, and Astrology. His took great pains to give Alchemy a full description of all that was known to the Hindus
matics, Medicine,

under these
his

several

heads,
his

bigoted Mahomedan, \vhole work with a single desire to promote the cause of true learning. While Alberuni shows a great
regard
for

and being naturally not a book shows that he wrote

Philosophy, Astronomy, and not slow in finding out the weak Medicine, he was points of the* Indian character. In his chapters on
the
caste

Hmdu

and

idolatry,

in

the

condemnation

he

pronounces on the want of practical aptitudes of our their in devotion to and people, superstitious
{

observances,

Alberrni

did

not

spare

his

censures.

I am

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
democratic
equality

233
of

He

contrasted

the

the

Mahomedan
of the

people

with

the

innumerable

divisions

of the Indian races.

He

notices the helpless position

women

of India,

and the

filthy

customs and

habits of the

people in those days.

to

the

few educated

Brahmans

He gives praise whom he separates
fallen condition

from the superstitious multitude whose

he deplores.

Even among the Brahmans, Be

notices

the verbosity of their writings and the word-splitting which passed for wisdom. He notices the greediness

and tyranny
agree to join

of the

Hindu

princes,

their efforts together purpose, and the timidity and the submissiveness of the people who, in his expressive language, were 'scattered like atoms of dust in all directions' before

who would not for any common

the invading Moslems. The prevailing feeling among the Mahomedans of the time was that the Hindus
to no mercy and entitled or and the only choice to be allowed to consideration, them was that of death or conversion. Alberuni did not share in these views, but they were the views of his
infidels,

were

master

Mahmud
led

of

Gazni

and

of

the hordes

who

were

by
Ibn

him

on

these

expeditions.

Another

Tangiers in North visited this Africa, country about a hundred years alter Kutubuddin established the Afghan kingdom
traveller,

Batuta, a native of

at

Delhi.

the

then

Like him, he was taken into favour b^Delhi Emperor, Mahmud Taghlak, under

he acted for some time as a Judge of Delhi. Ibn Batnta travelled more extensively than Alberuni. He travelled from the extreme w^st of Africa to the

whom

234
extreme

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
east

of

China, and

went round the

coast

was, however, His journal of travels is interesting, but he did not observe the manners and customs of the people with ,the same mastery of
neither a philosopher

from

Malabar to

Coromandal.
nor
a

He

scholar.

every page. Ibn Batuta in the only course of his travels through India were the rite of Sati of which he was a witness, and the practice of

details

that

Alberuni's

work

shows on

The

points which

struck

drowning men in the Ganges, both of which struck him as inhuman to a degree he could not account
for.

He
and

also

notices

the

self-mortification
in

of the
last

jogees

their juggleries,

describing

which

he

mentions

the fact

that in

the

presence of

the

emperor,
air

he saw a

and

keep

it

jogee raise his body up in the there for some time. Another
visited

traveller,

Abder

Razzak
lay

India
in

about

A.D.

His

travels

chiefly

the

1450 southern

peninsula, Calicut, Vijayanagar and Mangalore. narratives of two other travellers, one a Russian

The
and

the other a Venetian,
fifteenth

who both
published

visited

India in the

century,

are

by

the

Hakluyt

Society,

and

afford

most

interesting

reading.

The
these
their

general
travellers

left impression was a respect

on

the

minds

of
for

for the

Brahmans,

philosophy and attainments in astrology, but for the common people, the vast multitudes -of men and

women,
in
his

their

sense

disappointment.

Abder
in

was one of and disgust Razzak expressed this feeling
a reply
to

own words

the invitation
'

of
If I

the King of Vijayaiaagar.

He

said to the king,

/ am
have once

neither

Hindu nor Mahomcdan.

235

and
In

from the desert of thy love, escaped reached my country, I shall not set out on

another

voyage even

in

the

company

of

a
that

king.

Southern

India, these

travellers

found

both

besides being black, were almost and divided into innumerable castes and sects, nude, This abuse of which worshipped their own idols.
idolatry and caste struck every traveller as the peculiar characteristic of the country, and gave them offence.

men and women

The

practice of self-immolation, or Sati,
to
idols

and of human
beneath
the

sacrifices

by
the

temple
the

car

are

also

being mentioned.

crushed

Finally,

testimony

of

emperor

Babar,
'
;

we have who in his
Hindustan
is

memoirs thus
a

describes this

country

country which has few things to recommend. The people are not handsome. They have no idea of
the

charms

of friendly

society

together in familiar intercourse.

mixing have no genius, no They

or of freely

comprehension of mind, no politeness of manners, no kindness or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical
invention in planning and executing their handicraft work, no skill or knowledge in design or architecture. They

have no good horses, no good flesfy, no good grapes or musk-melons, no good fruits, no cold water or ice, no good food or bread in their bazars, no baths, no colleges, no candles, not even a candlestick. They have no aqueducts
they
or canals, no gardens, and no palaces ; in their buildings nor neither nor climate, study elegance,

appearance, nor regularity.
classes all

Their peasants
tying
Ian?.

and lower
a langoti.

go

about naked

on
'

only

The women too have onlv a

The onlv

ood

236

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
of Hindustan

points which Babar could find in favour

were that gold and

it

is

a large

silver,

and there

country and has abundance of is also an abundance of

workmen

of every profession and trade for
the

any work

and employment. Such was

picture

Mahomedans when they

to the presented the entered India through

A

passes in successive hordes for three or four centuries. great portion of the disgust and disappointment felt by these Mahomedan invaders may be set down

to ignorance
time,
it is

and the
always of

pride

of race.
to

At the same

how

India appeared in
foreigners,

know exactly advantage its strong and weak points to
I

intelligent

such as those

have

mentioned

above. The question for consideration to us at the present moment is, whether in consequence of the predominance of the Mahomedans for five centuries, which
intervened from the invasions of
sion

Mahmud

to the acces-

of Akbar, the people of India were benefited by the contact thus forcibly brought together between the

There are those among us who think that this predominance has led to the decay and corruption of the Indian character, and that the whole story of the

two

races.

Mahomedan
purposes, and sorrow.

ascendancy
as

should
a

for

all

practical

be

Such

regarded a view,

period

of

humiliation
to be

however, appears

correct of the unsupported by any appreciation work for the elevation or depression forces, which

of

nations.

It

cannot
*

be

God's

providence,
inhabit
India*

such

assumed that in easily vast multitudes as those
placed
centuries

who

were

together

/ am
under

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
restraints

2o7

influences

and

of alien

domination
of

unless such
to

influences
service

and
in

restraints

were calculated

do

lasting

the

building

up

the
in

strength and character of the people in directions which the Indian races were most deficient.
j

Of

one thing we five hundred way,
the

are

certain,

that

after

lasting

over

years,

the

Mahomedan
for

empire

gave
of

and
old

made room
in

the

re-establishment

native races

the

central

Hindustan
of a

and

Punjab, and throughout Southern on India,
solid

foundations

much more
easily

character

than

those which
the
early

yielded so

before

the assault of

Mahomedan
had
not

therefore,

The domination, conquerors. the effect of so depressing the
unable
If

people
again

that
in

they

were

to

raise

their heads

greater

solidarity.

the

Indian races had

not

and example of men with stronger muscles and greater powers, they would never have been able to reassert themselves in the
benefited

by the

contact

way

in .which history bears testimony they did. Quite independently of this evidence of the broad change that took place in the early part of the

eighteenth century,
pieces and
settlers,
its

when
was

the

place

taken

but by revived native

Mogul empire went to up not by foreign powers, we have more

convincing grounds 'to show that in a hundred ways the India of the eighteenth century, so far as {he native races were concerned, was a stronger and better constituted India than met the eyes of the foreign
travellers

from

Asia

and
the

Europe
first

who

visited

it

between the period of

five

centuries

from

238
1000

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
to

1500.

In
first

Akbar's

time,

this

regenerate

India

assumed

a

decided

process of character

which could not be well mistaken.
reign
will
fail

No
of a

student of Akbar's
first

to notice

that for the

time
India

the
in

conception was

then

realized

united

which Hindus and

Mahomedans,

such

of

them

as

had become permanently established in the country, were to lake part in the building of an edifice
rooted in the
hearts

of

both

by

common

interests

In place of the 'scorn and and common contempt, with which the Mahomedan invaders had regarded the religion of the Hindus, their forms of
ambitions.

worship, their manners and customs, and the Hindus looked down upon them as barbarous Mlenchas, whose touch was pollution, a better appreciation of the

good points

in

the

character
basis

of

both
union.

recognized the first to see and realize the true nobility of soul and the devotion and fidelity of the Hindu character,

as

the

of

the

came to be Akbar was

and
to

satisfied

himself that no

union

was

possible

as

long as

the old bigotry and fanaticism was guide the Councils of the Empire.

allowed

He

soon

gathered about him the best
historians

men

of his

time,

men

like Faizi, Abdul Fazel and their father Mubarak, the

Abdul Rahim, Nizamudin Ahmed, These were set to work upon the translation's of the Hindu epics _and Shastras, and books of science and philosophy. The pride of the Rajput races was coijciliated by taking in marriage
Mirza

Badauni and others.

the princesses of Jaipur, and Jodhpur, and by conferring equal or superior commands on those princes.

I am
These
latter

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
hitherto

239
enemies,

had

been

treated

as

They were now welcomed

as the props of the empire,

and Maharaja Bhagwandas, his great nephew Mansingha for some time Governor of Bengal and Kabul,
Raja Todarmal and the

Brahman companion

of

the

Emperor, Raja Birbal, these were welcomed to and trusted in the full consciousness that
interests

courtj
theii

were the same

as

those

of

the

Musalman

noblemen.
counsel of

The Emperor himself, guided by such his Hindu and Mahomedan nobles, became

the real founder of the union between the two races, and this policy for a hundred years guided and

swayed the councils of the empire. two races was sought to be made

A

fusion
still

of the

firmer

by the

establishment of a religion of the Din-i-Ilahi, in which the best points both of the Mahomedan, Hindu, and

other faiths were sought to be incorporated. Invidious taxation and privileges were done away with, and

became the universal law of the To conciliate his subjects Akbar abjured the empire. use of flesh except on four special occasions in the year, and he joined in the religious rites observed In regard to the particular by his Hindu queens. customs of the people relating to points where natural humanity was shocked in a way to make union impossible, Akbar strove by wise encouragement and stern control, where necessary, to help the growth of better ideas. was virtually abolished by Sati under restraint which nobody could being placed find fault with. Re-marriage was encouraged, and marriage before puberty was prohibited. In these and
toleration for all
.

faiths

240

Essays an Religious und

Social,

Reform.

a hundred other ways the fusion of the races and of was sought to be accomplished, their many faiths with a success which was justified by the results of removing This for a hundred process years.
all

causes

of

friction,

and

establishing

accord
reigns

went
of
eldest

on

without
Jahangir

interruption

during

the

Akbar,
sor,

and

Shahajahan.

Shahajahan's

Dara Sheko, was himself an author of no He translated the Upanishads, and mean repute. in which he wrote a work sought to reconcile the

Brahman
in

religion

with

the

Mahomedan

faith.

He

This period of a hundred years may died 1659. be regarded as the halcyon period of Indian history

when
full

the

Hindu
If in

and
place

Mahomedan
of
as

races

acted in

accord.

Aurangzeb, Dara Sheko
the
eldest

had succeeded to

power

son of

Sha-

set on foot by the genius of hajahan, the ^influences have gathered strength, and possibly Akbar might averted the collapse of the Mogul power for another

century.

was, however, not to be so, and with Aurangzeb's ascent to the throne, a change of system commenced which gathered force during the long
It

Aurangzeb however, to follow the traditions of his three had, He could not dispense with Jaising or predecessors. who were his principal military commandJaswantsing
time that
reigned,
ers.

this

emperor

Even

In the tfeign

of his

bigotry wa s kept check by the -presence of these great Rajput in one of whom, on the re-imposition of the chiefs,
of
fanatic

him were governed Governors. The revival

whole provinces under by Rajput, Kayastha and other
son,

I am

neither

Hindu nor Mahometan.

241

emperor a protest couched in unmistakable terms that the God of Islam was also the
Zezia, addressed to the

God

of the

Hindus, and
treatment.
to
this

the

subjects

of both races

merited

Aurangzeb unfortunately and the result was that the empire built by Akbar went to pieces even when Aurangzeb was alive. No one was more aware of his failure than Aurangzeb himself, who in
equal
did not
listen

advice,

moments admitted The Marathas a mistake.
his
last

that
in

his

whole

life

was
the

the

South, the

Shikhs
in

in

reign of his empire immediate successor, with the result that nearly the was restored to its native Hindu whole of India
in

the North, and the dismemberment of the

Rajput

states

helped

the

sovereigns,

except
It

Bengal,
will

Oudh,

and

the

Deccan
far

corruption, the native races gathered strength by reason of the Mahomedan was directed by the wise counsel of rule when it

Hyderabad. from suffering from decay and

be seen

from this that so

those

Mahomedan and Hindu
of the

statesmen
a

who

sought

the weal

and

equality.

country by policy of toleration Since the time of Ashoka, the ele-

ment of strength born of union was wanting in the old Hindu dynasties which succumbed so easily to
the

Mahomedan
in

invaders.
strength, there can

Besides this source of

be no

a hundred other ways the Mahomedan domination helped to refine the tastes and manners

doubt that

of the

Hindus.

understood by

the

Hindu

sovereigns.

The art of Government was better Mahomedans than by the old The art of war also was sineru-

242
larly

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
defective
in
till

the

Mahomedans

came.

They

of gunpowder and artillery. In of Babar, they " taught ingenuity and " mechanical invention in a number of handicraft arts,

brought the words
the very

the use

nomenclature

of

which, being
foreign

non-Hindu words, shows
introduced candles,
paper,

their

made up of origin. They
furniture,

glass,

household
the

and saddlery.

They

improved

knowledge

of

the people in music, instrumental and vocal, medicine and astronomy, and their example was followed by
the Hindus in the perversions of both these latter sciences

alchemy and astrology. Geography and history and literature were first made possible departments of knowledge by their example. They built roads, and the post office, aqueducts, canals, caravansarais, and introduced the best specimens of architecture, and
into

improved

gardening, and made us acquainted of new fruits and flowers. The revenue with the taste

our

system as inaugurated by Todarmal in Akbar's time, is the basis of the revenue system up to the present

They carried on the entire commerce by sea day. with distant regions, and made India feel that it was a portion of the inhabited world with relations with
all,

and not cut

off

from

all

social

intercourse.

In

these respects, the civilization of the united Hindu and Moslem powers represented by the Moguls at
all

Delhi,

was a 4

distinct

advance beyond what was pos-

sible before the tenth century of the Christian era.
.

More

lasting

this contact
religion

in the

and

have, however, accrued by higher tone it has given to the In this respect, houghts of the people.

benefits

/ am
both
the

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
and

243
by-

Mahomedans
one another.

Hindus

benefited

contact with
dans, their

As regards the Mahome-

historians admit that the Sufi heresy from contact with the Hindu teachers, gathered strength and made many Mahomedans believe in transmigration

own

and

in

the final union of the soul with the

Supreme

Spirit.

The Mohorum

festival

and
in

saint

worship are

the best evidence of the

way

which the Mahome-

dans were influenced by Hindu ideas. We are more concerned with the way in which this condirectly
tact

has affected

the Hindus.

of pantheism
rested

had established

the few from the and establishing no bridge between them. This many,
separation of the old religion has prevented its higher precepts from becoming the common possession of

theism among our most content with separating

The prevailing tone a toleration for polyrevered ancient teachers who

whole
a

races.

Under the purely

Hindu system, the
declines

intellect

the sight of God, The Vaishnava movement, however, has succeeded in establishing the bridge noted above, and there can be

may admit, but the heart common platform to all people in

to allow

no doubt, that

in the

hands of the followers of Ram-

ananda, especially the Kabirpanthis, Malikdasis, Daclupanthis, the followers of Mirabai, Lord Gauranga on
the Bengal
fifteenth
side,

and Baba Nanak

in the

Punjab in the

and the sixteenth centuries, the followers 'of Tukaram, Ekanath and Namdev in the Deccan, Babalalis
Prananathis,

Sadhs, the
this

Satnamis.

the Shiva-Narayans
ot

and the followers of Mahant
last

Rama Charan

the

two

centuries

elevation

and the purification

244
of the

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Hindu mind was accomplished
at

to

an
the

extent
in

which very few
all
its

the

present

moment
and

realize

significance.

The

Brahma

Arya

Samaja movements of this century are the continuations of this ethica and spiritual growth. Caste, idolatry, and gross conceptions of purity and polytheism
1

pollution

Mahomedans
one
this

were the precise points in which the and the Hindus were most opposed to sects named above had another, and all the

general characteristic that they were opposed to these defects in character of our people. Nanak's watchward was that he was 'Neither Hindu nor

Mahomedan, but
or

that

he

was

a worshipper
first

of

the

Nirakar, companion was Mahomedan authors pay him a Mahomedan, and the compliment of saying that his teacher was a The Hindus naturally do not admit Mahomedan. There can be this claim, with reason on their side.

the

Formless.'

His

no doubt

that,

while

calling

himself

neither

Hindu
also

nor Mahomedan, Guru Nanak wanted to establish a union

between the

two

faiths.

Lord Gauranga

had

Mahomedan disciples. Mahomedan saints like Shaik Mahmud, Shaik Farid and Mahmud Kazi were respected by both Hindus and Mahomedans. The abuses of polytheism were checked by the devotion to one object of in the case of worship, which many of these

Vaishnava Sects was the Supreme God, the Paramatma, and the abuses of caste were controlled by conceding

Hindus and Mahomedans alike, the right to was the worship and love the one God who
to
all,

God

of

all.

1
In

am

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
Shikhs,

245

the

case

of the

developed
imitation

even
of

under

the

puritanic spirit a coarse persecution, into Mahomedan fanaticism directed
;

the

against the Mahomedans themselves of the other both sectaries,

but in the case
old

the tolerant

and the

suffering

spirit

o^

and new, Vaishnavism
towards
influences

has prevailed, breathing peace and good-will
all.

Such
resulting

are

the

chief

features

of

the

from
in

the

contact
India.

of

Mahomedans and
brought

Hindus
fusion

Northern
thoughts

They

about a both

of

and

ideas

which

benefited

communities, making the Mahomedans less bigoted, and the Hindus more puritanic and more single-minded in their devotion. There was nothing like this to
in Southern India as described by Abbe Dufyois, where the Hindu sectarian spirit intensified caste pride and idolatrous observances. The fusion would have

be found

been more complete but for the revival of fanaticism for which Aurangzeb must be held chiefly responsible.

Owing

to this circumstance, the
;

work of fusion was

left

and in the course of years, both the incomplete communities have developed weaknesses of a character, which still the needs disciplining process to be
continued for
a
longer

time

under
lack

other

masters.

Both Hindus and
virtues represented

Mahomedans

many

of those

by the love of order, and regulated Both are wanting in the love of municipal authority. freedom, in the exercise of virtues necessary for civic

life,

and in the aptitude for mechanical skill, in the love of science and research, in the love of daring

246

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

and adventurous discovery, the resolution to master difficulties, and in chivalrous respect for womankind.
Neither tne
civilization

old
in

Hindu,

nor

the

old

Mahomedan
these
virtues
level

was

a condition to

train

in

a

way

to bring

up the races of India on a

with those of Western Europe, and so the work of education had to be renewed, and it has been now
going on for the past century and more under the Pax Britannica, with results to which all of us are
witnesses in ourselves.
of the past have any value, one quite clear, viz., that in this vast country, thing Hindus and no progress is possible unless both
If the
is

lessons

Mahomedans
to follow the

join

hands together, and are determined
of
the

lead

men who

flourished

in

Akbar's time, and were his chief advisers and councillors, and sedulously avoid the mistakes which were

committed
action

by
a
desire

his

from

great-grandson Aurangzeb. sense of common interest,

Joint

and
of

a

common
thoughts

to

and

feelings

bring of men, so as to tolerate small

about

the

fusion

the

differences and bring about concord these were chief aims kept in view by Akbar, and formed principle of the new divine faith formulated in
Din-i-Ilahi.

the

the

the

Every

effort

on

the

part

of

either

Hindus or Mahomedans to regard their interests as separate and distinct, and every attempt made by the two communities to create separate Schools and interests among themselves, and not to heal up the wounds inflicted by 'mutual hatred of caste and creed, must be deprecated on all hands. It is to be feared
t

/ am
that this

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.
not

lesson

has

been
in

sufficiently

kept
in

in

mind by the
struggle
for

leaders

of both

communities
the

their

existence,

and

acquisition

of

power and predominance during recent years. There is at times a great danger of the work of Akbar being undone by losing sight of this great lesson which the
history of his reign and that of his well calculated to The teach.
brings

two

successors

is

so

Conference
'

which

together is especially intended for the Din or Dharma, and it is in propagation of this connection with that message chiefly that I have
us
'
'

'

ventured to speak
subject.

to

you
evils,

to-day on
are

this

important
are,

The

ills

that

we

suffering

most
is

of them, self-inflicted a large extent in our
series

the

cure

of which

to

own

hands.

Looking

at
his

the

of measures which Akbar adopted in to cure these evils, one feels how correct

time

vision

when he and
to

his
in

advisers put their

was his hand on

those

need
higher

very be

defects

our
first

natural character,

which
on mutual

remedied

before of

we

venture

enterprises.

Pursuit

high

ideals,

sympathy and co-operation, perfect tolerance, a correct understanding of the diseases from which the body
politic
is

suffering,

and an
is

earnest

desire

to

suitable

remedies

this

the

work

cut

out

for

apply the

The awakening has commenced, present generation. as is witnessed by the fact that we are met in this
for joint consultation and place from such distances All that is needed i? that we must put action.

our hands

to the plough, and face the strife and The success already achieved warrants the struggle,

248

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
persevere on
right
lines,

the expectation that if we the goal we have in view
goal
in
is

may

be attained.

That

not

power

any particular advantage to be gained and wealth. It is represented by the
it,

efforts

to attain

the expansion and the

the

elevation

of the
stronger
is

heart

l

and

and

braver,

mind, which will make us This purer and truer men.
I

at

leas*,

the lesson
past
rolled
is

history of the

thousand

draw from our more recent and if those years,
to

no purpose over our hopeless beyond cure. That is, however, not the faith in me and I feel sure it is not the faith that moves you in this great our own weak selves, than which struggle against nothing is more fatal to our individual and collective Both Hindus and Mahomedans have their gnr.vth. In the backwardness work cut out in this struggle.
centuries have

away

heads,

our cause

no

doubt

;

of female

education, in the disposition to overleap the bounds of their own religion, in matters of tem-

perance, in their internal dissensions between castes and creeds, in the indulgence of impure speech, thought, and action on occasions when they are disposed to enjoy themselves, in the abuses of many customs in

regard to unequal
desire

and polygamous marriages,
in

in

the

extravagant such occasions, in the neglect

to

be

their

expenditure

on

the decay

of* public

spirit

in

of regulated charity, in insisting on the proper

management
matters
there
is

endowments, in these and other both comir unities are equal sinners, and thus much ground for improvement on comof

mon

lines.

Of

course,

the

Hindus,

being

by

far

/ am

neither

Hindu nor Mahomedan.

249

have other difficulties and they are trying in their gatherings of separate castes and communities*, to remedy them each in their own way. But without co-operation and conjoint action of all communities, success is not possible, and it is on that account that the general Conference is held in different places each year to rouse local interest, and help people
;

the majority of the population, of their own to combat with

in

their

separate

efforts

by a knowledge
are

of
in

what
other

their
parts.
I

friends

similarly
is

This
that
to

doing the reason of our meeting here,

situated

and
to

trust

this

message
this

I

have

attempted
satisfy

deliver

you
cannot

on

occasion,

will

you
the

that

we
for

conceive

a

nobler

work

than

one

which we have met here to-day.

XI

A THEIST'S CONFESSION OF FAITH.
I

T

is

often

made

a

matter

of

reproach

to

the

which are springing up in all parts of the world, and notably so in this country, that they have little or no elements in them which correspond to the earnest religious wants of mankind, and which will secure to
1
theistic organizations

numerous

them permanent
established

success

in

their

conflict

with
beliefs

the
are

religions.

Their

fundamental
of

their solutions few and indefinite, problems of life and eternity are full

the

great
are

of

difficulties

and

qualifications,

illustrated

their rise and no instances of heroic by

progress
self-sacrifice

and

their precepts, their hopes, and their bear no warrant of authority on their face promises, to satisfy the religious of the mass of instincts

austere devotion,

The followers mankind. of established creeds proclaim with *pride that Pure Theism has. never been hitherto the religion of any considerable body of
people, and there is better chances for
it

nothing to show that there are in the future. If we do not
or
inquire
for

dive beneath

the

surface,

ourselves,

A
and more
it
still,

Theisfs Confession of Faith.
if

251

we

take

most of these new-born would seem as if there

the professed apostles of movements at their word,

were

but

too

many
the

reasons to justify this pride and confidence on part of those who feel themselves secure under

the

wings of one

or
risk

other
their

of

the

established

religions,

and refuse to

tiny

bark

on the waters of
leaders

vague speculation.
ately

Many
that

enthusiastic

of the
deliber-

Brahma Samaja movement have been heard
to
declare

the

only
it

cardinal

points

of

Theism necessary

to constitute

a religion

of

man-

kind, the only articles of its confession of faith, are the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of man.

These

necessary to

and

only points which it is absolutely hold fast to for purposes of regeneration And with fifty years of working salvation.
are

the

History,

our

leaders

seem

content

to
is

lisp

this

same
at

story

of

early
all

childhood.

There

no attempt

grasping in
ties

earnestness the great religious

difficul-

which have puzzled people's faith during all time, and driven them to seek rest in revelation. Neither the old nor the new sections seem to be aware of any such necessity. Religion has only an
emotional
character
in

their

eyes,

the

difficulty

is

It

not of the understanding, but of- believing in is not intended by anything that is said
under-rate
in

faith.

here

to

the

progressing purposes of
limited
leaders

our

importance part of the

of

tlie
;

work
but
fact
for

now
the

world
this

the

present

inquiiy,

of .the

and

precarious

grasp

which

the

Brahma
religious

seem to possess of the great mass of

252

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
developed
in

doctrines

the

course

of

centuries

of

earnest inquiry by the best minds of all times, confirms tne view we have taken before, that the
theistic

in

a

movements, both here and abroad, deserve measure the reproach which is so great
*in

pointedly cast
several

their

face

by

the followers

of the

established

religions.

To come
creed
in

nearer home,

our

friends

of

the

Prarthana

perfectly

satisfied

with
a

a

Samaja seem to be which consists
the
unity
of God,

of

only

one

positive

belief

the against protest special of Hindu religion, viz., the article existing corruption which denounces the prevalent idolatry to be a sin,

accompanied

with

and an abomination a new Church can
such
less

;

and
be

ardently hoped that built in course of time on
it

is

a narrow foundation of
extent,
this

belief.

To

great difficulties

same which

oblivious indifference
stare
his
in

a greater or to the

his

face

when an
move-

earnest inquirer starts

upon
and

search of the domain
all

of religious

thought

characterizes

similar

ments
fact

in in

Europe
these

exception
is,

favour of

a partial America, with The the Unitarian Church.
their
origin

that

movements owe
is it
is

to

an iconoclastic spirit which fulness and details, and, as
assertiveness
effort

dissatisfied

with

the

called,

dogmatic
first

of

of established religions, and in the reaction from which stage none of

them

have yet emerged, they necessarily partake of the one-sided character stamped upon them by the force
of their repulsion from existing creeds. Thus and thus only can we explain the self-satisfaction which

A
good and pious
concern of
nature,

Theisfs Confession of Faith.

253

people feel in what they call the with the emotional side of their religion
exclusion

with the heart alone to the

of the

reason,
sciously

notwithstanding borrow in an eclectic
beliefs

the

fact

that
their

they

uncon-

way

complement

of intellectual

from

they

condemn, though
without
the

the very religions which of course, they borrow the
of

word

sanction

the

spirit

which
earnest

consecrates the word.
It is time,

we

think,
this

to

venture

on

an

attempt to remove Pure Theism, it
stituted

reproach.

The
have

doctrines

of

may

be

true,

never

con-

professed religion of any large section of men, but that fact does not dispose of its claim in the future. The rites of idolatry, and propitiation

the

by

visible

sacrifice,

and

the

'duty

of

religious

persecution, constituted

these

and

many

more

beliefs

have
the

the

essential

characteristics

of

all

old religions,

but

long

prescription

has in
all

no
the

way
more

prevented advanced faiths
fore, true to

their

final

banishment ifrom

of the present age. It is not theresay, universally that there has been no

progress,

no
of
is

change
the

in

the

religious
;

feelings

convictions
sure,

races

of the world
'

and

and to be
a
are

there

absolutely nothing to shut out such

the future. Nay more, prospect from manifest signs that in a truer sense than at time past, the kingdom of God is near at hand.

there

any

The evidence
sive,

of history

is

therefore, not conclu-

as

Faith

we have we profess

shown
to

before,
in

to

dissipate

the

have

the

establishment of

254
a

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

universal

kingdom
sectional

of

God

on

earth these

below
in

in

place

of

movements now
direction
their

and churches, to the surging up
are
indications

theistic
all

surface
in

quarters of the world

the

same
of

which have

no
in

small

probative
world's

force

own.

At no time
religion
in
it,

the

history
satisfied

has
all

the

prevailing

of
a

the
large
it

country
a
is

the higher* minds

number have always
purer
inspiration

struggled to rise above and a holier knowledge.
this
fact

to

There
sight

no

reason
if
it

why
be
the

should

be
it

lost

of,
fail

and
to

properly understood, conviction that the
of established
religious

will

not
boast

carry

proud

of the

expounders
the
final
is

religions,

that they

alone satisfy
furnish
Soul,

instincts

of

mankind,
of
that

and
the
are

answers
justified

to

the

inquisitions
facts,

not

by the
the

they

not

so

inside

as

superficial

looker-on
alter all theistic
is

seems
not
so

strong to think,

and that the comparison
unfavourable to
first

decidedly
as

the

new

religion

on

a

survey
It

it

strikes the

eye to be.
closer

will

be

also

seen on

the

so-called

authoritative
difficulties,

solutions

inspection that are no really

solutions

of the

with incomprehensible where th e intellect that,
;

some of which are simply our limited and capacities,

foils to keep its grasp, the be leapt over on the wings -of faith, cLasm cannot which too often is degraded to stand a substitute

for

ignorant

credulity.

Faith

has a function of
its

its

own,

and

we
But

do
It
is

not

under-rate

supreme
it-

importance.

simplv out of nlare whpn

A
is

Theist's Confession

of Faith.
at

255
the

appealed

to

in

vain

attempts

making

incomprehensible easy of comprehension. We propose, then, such a survey

for* ourselves^

not with the hope of making any original contribution to the Philosophy of Religion, but simply of
bringing together the shadows before the
floating

ideas

which

flit

like

mind's

eye

of

most of

us,

of

determining the quality of truth which \9 demanded, or which it is possible to attain to, in such inquiries,

of passing under review nearly every question which with has been discussed or determined apparent other of the one or the established by finality
religions,

of

separating

those

doctrines

about
the

which
is

certain

knowledge may from others which possible, and contradictions, helpless
those
directions
is

be attained, and
involve

unanimity

mind

in
if

thus

demonstrate,

demonstration were

wanted, not permitted,

that further

and

progress that it

in
is

simply self-deception to expect people to understand these mysteries by force of a so-called faith, or by
the help of revelation.

We
historical

shall

pursue this inquiry according method, the only method which
Starting
after

to
is

the

likely

to

appreciable results. a priori set of principles, framed

lead

to

with

an
of

a

model

our

own

individual thoughts,

would

sirpply be begging

We shall best the question, and land us in chaos. our meaning, if we therefore, commence the 1 inquiry by simply laying down the entire range of
illustrate

subjects

which

it

is

necessary for any definite system

of religion to have

surveyed anc|

measured

in

their

256

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
if
it

depth and height,

puts forth pretensions to win

the joint allegiance

of
is

human

intelligence,

human he art.
all

f

As

sides

connected

very natural, theology is the with kindred sciences

and the on
of

nature
territory

and
is

of mind, and the borderland of disputed
as

accept

the

yet unsettled. ascertained results

We
of

shall,

however,
respective

the

sciences as ^postulated to be true,

and try to reconcile

our conclusions to them as best they What is then the range in
the
Science
of Religion
?

may be
its
is

reconciled.

entire

extent of

What
which
and

the nature

and
other

character

of the
established

questions
religions
started,

in

one

or

of

the

theosophies

of the

world

have

been

determined
of authority there tion,

by
?

the

force

somehow, and of reason or by the voice
discussed

Before
are

we proceed with

the

enumera-

determined
assurance
these

to be preliminary points the extent and character of the First, of certainty obtainable in the solution of
:

two

religious

difficulties

;

and
in

secondly,

the

inter-

mediate
Ethics
equally
faculties

position

which

religion

occupies
it

between
concerned

and
of

Metaphysics, with both the

that

is

practical

and

speculative

our

nature.

All

religions

founded

on

Revelation bear willing testimony to the fact that absolute Certainty, that is, mathematical certainty which is* based upoft a hypothetical state of facts, is not
attainable in
free

these

matters,

The
is

assent,

though
It is

it

is

froqi
is

all

consciolis doubt,
free

based on

conviction
to
fill

which

not
gap,

from

liability

to error.

up

this

to

grve this

double

assurance

by the

A
sanction
necessary.
qualified

Theisfs Confession of Faith.
authority,

of

that

revelation

is

deemed
to

This consensus of

testimony

as

the

us in

character of the truth certainly attainable by, these matters, is an important piece of evidence,
gain
little

and
things

we

from
us
to

ourselves.

by trying to hide this state of Even independently of this
are

indirect

argument,
a
relate

there

cogent

reasons

which
of
the
time,

help

similar

conclusion.

The problems
and
of
infinity

religion

to

the

unconditioned
the
to

transcendental,
relate

they
origin

concern
of

to

the

things,

the

nature

and

character of spiritual existence, and to principles of divine government. They are all problems which partake of

the
facts,

complex
about
before
these

character

of

social

and

which
is

absolute

certainty

in

psychological the sense
t

specified

case

of

admittedly unattainable, and in the religious difficulties, besides the com-

plexity of determining causes, we have the additional element of the transcendental character of the subject-

matter

.

introduced.

Though
a
priori

religious

knowledge,

therefore, partakes largely of the character of simplicity

and

directness

of

truths,

yet

we
is

frankly

allow that the

assurance

of

certainty

felt

never

free from doubts and

difficulties,

and cannot be
conviction
in

comthose

strength pared departments of thought which the a priori philosophers think, owe nothing to experience. White we are free
to

with

the

of

allow this point,

we must

that on some

points,

at the same time insist which may be regarded as the

cardinal principles of Theism, the certainty of assurance
is

of

a

very

high

order

indeed,

higher

than

is

258

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
in
far

attainable

social

science,
is

in

politics, or in

ethics,

and higher compel and
practice.

than

actually
to

found
in

sufficient

to

justify

men

act

most matters of
religions

The testimony

of

the

established

be appealed to with confidence in this respect, for, it is on all hands admitted that, independently of revelation, the evidence in favour of all the great

may

universal truths

of religion is very cogent and strong. it confirms, Revelation lends merely further sane tion
;

already perceived and acknowledged. This is its special function. As none of the revelations can claim to have an eternal origin, but all have had an historical growth and development, being
it

ratifies

truths

limited to particular
particular
conflict

times,

to particular countries,

to

tongues and
their

tribes,

they
to

are obliged in the
this

of
to

pretensions
other,

allow
their

ground

each

and found

common own special

superstructure thereon.

This point will be better understood in the sequel of the argument. What we have said already will take up. It will suffice to indicate the position we
as a postulate throughout our argument, be a sufficient answer to the scoffing sceptic of his insists upon our removing all doubts out

serve

and

will

who way
of of

before he will yield vp his disbelief. The other point, the double-sided
religion
belief

character

as

a

practical

and

a

speculative system

long simply iwish to guard ourselves from the confusion of those who, in their search of reasons,
present.

and conduct,

need

not detain us

for the

We

end

in

mistaking

metaphysical

disquisitions

as

the

A

TJicisfs Confession of Faith.

251)

only department of religion worth their serious thought, and from the other extremity of those, who, in their
search of a guide to practical duty, deny the
tion
distinc-

between morality and
set

religion,

or
as
list

come
which
this

to

look

upon a formal
their
will

of

observances
at

the essence of
follows

system. the satisfy

A

glance candid inquirer

the

that
in
all

double

relation

has

been
is

acknowledged

established

systems, strong natural

which

prima
in

fade
the

indicative

of of

a

necessity

constitution

our

common
direction.

spiritual nature

impelling

us

in

this

double

With these prefatory
proceed to state
those

observations

we

shall

now

who

the principal Articles of the Faith of believe on a system of pure Theism as

underlying all religions and giving to these religions the claim they possess upon the allegiance of men of all We shall attempt to state these races and creeds.
positions with as

much

precision

and freedom as
is

the

subject admits.
I.

The Theist

believes

that there

a religious

or spiritual element in our human nature ; that the human Soul has spiritual wants and spiritual senses,

connecting
to

it

wuth the world of
existence of

spirits,

and directing
faculty

it

God.

The

this

religious

is

proved by the fact, that in all times cind countries and in all races of men, religious worship has prevailed, as also from the inner spontaneous moral consciousness

which each one of us

feels,

that

man

is

a

helpless

dependent being, dependent upon a power beyond and over him, mysterious and sublime.

260
II.

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

The

measure of assurance

or
to

certainty

of

conviction
religious

which
doctrine

men
has

can
not

attain

in matters of

the character of

mathe-

matical demonstration, based on a

of
feel

facts.

It

is,

however,
the
facts

regarding

equal of our

hypothetical state to the certainty we
consciousness.
cardinal

The
of

assurance
religion
is,

upon the
thus,

great

and

points

of a very high order, indeed, higher
in

than

is

attainable
is

social

science,

and higher

far

than what

found

sufficient to

most important matters of like social and religion, being of a complex character, about transcendenand being concerned political facts,
tal things,
it is

make man act in The questions of practice.

not

possible

with

our limited vision
practical

to attain to

more than the strength of
are,

moral

conviction on such subjects.
III.

There

of
sort,

the
the

moreover, some problems in religion therefore insoluble and unconditioned
quality

characteristic

of
as

which
it
is,'

is,

that

the

human

mind,

conditioned
either

cannot
negative
of

logically

conceive

the

positive

or

position to be exclusively true,

and yet cannot pause

between the
the

two

extreme

positions.

The

origin

God and
mind

world, the origin of man, the relation between the created Universe, between the spirit or

and

tl^b

world

of

matter,

are

some of these

problems.

hopestly confesses his inability to resolve absolutely these problems, for they lie beyond But he has the sphere of our limited intellect.

The

Theist

strong

moral

conviction

on

some

of

these

A
points,

Theisfs Concession of Faith.
is

261
of
Life

which

sufficient

for

the

purposes

and

Eternity. IV. There are, moreover, other problems the full' scope and surroundings of which are not seen by us

with our
regards
lessness

present

limited
is

faculties,

and

though

as

them, the mind
of

forming
its

no

not reduced to the helpfinal conclusion, and does

take

up
of

position

intuitively,
in

and

ilso

on

a

balance
direction,

evidence, strongly the conviction is not

one or the other free from perplexing
rest.

doubts
accepts

which
this

cannot

be
as

set

at

The Theist
of knowledge The origin of
liberty
after
'

perplexity

a

condition

and
evil,

faith,

and reconciles himself to it. physical and moral, the imperfect
precise

man
its

enjoys, the

destination

of the
its

Soul

separation from

the

body,

and

pre-existence,

are

some of the
character.

questions which partake of

this perplexed

V.

The

religious

consciousness

of

mankind has

two

aspects

intellectual

progressive with is a kin sister to

or speculative, allied to and philosophy, and the practical, which

the moral

elements of our nature.
of

Though
ethics,

there

are

many

systems

theology

and

there is only one religion and one morality. Love of God, and love of man, though practically inseparable, spring from two distinct though allied

elements
rooted

in

our

constitution,
is

and

as

the

religious

element of the two
in

the

more strongly and deeply
it

human

nature,

has a great influence in

forming the moral type or ideal, and lends its sanction in securing the practical observance of morality.

262
VI.

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

The Theist

believes

in

the gradual

and pro-

gressive development of the idea which man's religious consciousness has formed of the Power beyond us which controls man and the world of matter. The central idea of Theism, the existence of one God,

gradually grasped as the conditions of the action of the mind are more and more perhighest
is

only

fectly developed.

VII. The Theist believes that the object and scope of religion is to teach man to regard God as the absolute object of reverence, faith, and love to
;

inculcate voluntary

and self-conscious obedience to the

law of God
conscience,
partially

as

discovered
religious

by

our
;

instinct,

reason,

and

emotions
to

to
in

teach
his
fit

man
nature

to

attain

to

God's

goodness

here
for a

;

to realise

his relation

God, and to

himself

higher existence.
VIII.

The Theist

believes that our

sense of help-

lessness

and dependence implies an absolute
this

whom
is

dependence
This

rests.

The

idea

of

God on God is
such
the
dic-

therefore, given
natural.

by reason and
natural

intuition,

and as
is

consciousness

confirmed

and a posteriori reasonings, and by testimony of history, study of nature, and the

by a

priori

tates of enlightened conscience.

This

conception
of

of

God

is

a

necessity

of our

self-consciousness

and
thus

involves

no

contradiction.
is,

The
exists,

idea
?.

God
all

discovered
spirit,

that

God

living

being or

exists as

Being, Cause of
space,

Causes,

unconditioned

one Supreme in time or
is

Supreme Ruler of the Universe which

regu-

A
lated

Theisfs Confession of Faith.
providence,

by

His

Pre-eminent

in

power,

wisdom, goodness, love, justice, and holiness: Lord, Father, Judge, and Moral Governor of all human*
souls.

not merely a power or simply a force, nor nature in its created or developed state as the universe of matter, nor in its potential or seed-like
IX.
is

God

form

or

germ,

nor

is

He

the

great

elements

of

earth, water, fire, air, nor the sun, the moon nor the stars, There are nor the principle in the body of nature. not many Gods, nor a hierarchy of Gods, nor

good and bad powers, nor principles of light and darkness, of matter and spirit, of Prakriti or Maya and Purusha. God is One and without a
deified

second
duality

and
of

not

many
in

persons,
is

not

a triad, nor a
self-absorbed
indifferent

persons.

Neither

He
and

Bramha resting contemplation, what happens in the world of matter and X. The Theist believes that the
ter

to

spirit.

precise

charac-

of the

relation
is

material

creation

and the existing between God a mystery which transcends our
of

knowledge.

Material creation out
;

nothing

is

an

impossible conception can neither conceive a time
not, and commenced to was co-eternal with God.

with

our

limited

vision

we
was

when

the

universe

be, noi that the Universe can neither hold that

We

J

only the expansion or emanation or manifestation of God's extended being, nor that the
the Universe
is

Universe

is

without any real being, a mere vision or
us
objectively
distinct

appearance, only seen by reason of our ignorance.

by

The

Theist,

however, while

2tf4

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
his

confessing

inability

to

solve

no

doubt

that

God
as
is

'His providence,

shapes evidenced by

mystery, feels and regulates nature by
this

marks
of

of skilful

design
ligent

and
being

kind

disposition

indicative

an

intel-

actively

presiding

over

the

operations

and formations* of inanimate and animate matter, and giving them existence, motion and life, and control-

themr for His purposes. His influence is thus immanent everywhere in space and time, actively, The perpetual vitally, and essentially present everywhere.
ling

mategrowth, decay, formations and renewals of the world are an exhibition of God's power to the rial The existence, motion and life of matter is senses.
from

God.

The

various

objects
in

of

the

material,

organic,

and

animate
chemical,
different

worlds,
vital,

their

involuntary,

mechanical,
energies,

instinctive,

and

rational

reveal

degrees

of

Divine

influence

according them.

to

the

capacity

primarily

bestowed

upon
is

XI.
a
spirit,

The
that
or

Theist believes that the human- soul
is,

a form
stood,

physically has various powers of perception, reasoning, and volition, a feeling of pleasure and That the of right and wrong, &c. pain, a sense soul is moreover, immortal, and lives after death, which
that
this

has a being by activity of matter as
soul

itself,

and

is

not

under-

separates it believe that

from
the
is

the

body.
soul

"The Theist does not
is

human
oiily

one
be

and

identical

with God, and

seen to Theist

distinct

human human

soul

ignorance. has a distinct and subordinate

The

believes

that

through the

existence,

A
and The
is

Theist s Confession of Faith.

265

is

not an emanation or a reflection of God's being,
Theist
souls

moreover,
as

believes

that
beings.

there

are

as

many
tical

there are
for

human

While
of the

there
prac-

evidence sufficient
truth

convincing

us

of

these

several

positions

regarding

the

soul, the Theist confesses his inability to remove all no perplexities and doubts regarding them, and lays

pretension to the possession of any thorough and accurate knowledge regarding the nature or origin,
existence or the
destination
of the soul,

nection
created

with the

Divine

Spirit,
it

and
in

and whether

its
it

con-

was
of

by

or

whether

was co-eternal with God.
as

The

Theist

believes

that,

the

universe

is actively immanent everythe world of spirit does His influence where, form the essence and the life of the human scjul in

matter,

God's influence
in

so

nobler aspirations and workings. XII. The Theist believes that God's will governs and regulates inanimate and unconscious matter by a
its

scheme of general or uniform providence, and that the same Will governs self-conscious and voluntary spirits by a scheme both general and of special Providence.
Both schemes of Providence conduce to the glory of God and the welfare of his creatures. This scheme of special Providence is, moreover, a moral government, and has its sanctions in the misery and happiness
which follow as the physical or immoral conduct, as also
consequences
in

the

satisfaction

of mpral or

discontent, degradation, or edification, of the conscience The fact that God is a moral governor within.
in

no way

conflicts

with the

voluntary

and

limited

266

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

freedom of man's activities, at least so far as we have a foresight of their good and ill consequences, and can with effort avoid the one and secure the
other.

In

this

world,

these

sanctions
there
to
is

are

not

uniformly and fully
there
is

operative,

often

an

apparent

impunity

vice,

delay, there is

oftentimes apparent misfortune attending moral conduct. This causes perplexity and doubt, but in no way
disturbs

our

conviction
is

that

the

special

scheme

of

God's Providence
XIII.

The Theist
is

of existence

a moral government. believes that our present state one of trial and preparation, a state

of probation and discipline in virtue and piety, qualiThere is fying us for a future sphere of existence.
the liability to go wrong, there are temptations in our vay, external and internal, which draw us away

from what

we

often

know
are

to

be

This fact shows

we

under

and proper. probation and trial.
right

These
to
is

us habits

temptations and dangers, require in of self-denial and discipline, and submission present pain for future pleasure our present state
difficulties,
;

therefore, one not

merely of
is

also.

This conclusion

but of discipline strengthened by the fact
trial,

that

we

are

endowed with the capacity of improving

by experience and the growth of the active and passive habits, which inculcate self-government, of all' virtue, and pious as the practical principle submission to God's will. Our present existence is of trial and school peculiarly fitted to be a state
ourselves

of discipline

;

the
in

snares

that

surround

us

tend

to

educate

us

habits

of

self-government, and

the

A
sight

Theisfs Confession of Faith.

267

of

the

world

and

its

defects

promotes

due

feelings of

dependence on

God,

and

continuance of temptations
righteous habits.

contribute

the length and to perfect our

XIV.
and
that,

The Theist
or

believes that the soul
its

is

immortal,
life,

according to

deserts

in

this

will

happiness other world.
tion
is

misery

be

meted out

to
this
sort.

it

in

the

The

particular

mode

of

dispensa-

a

mystery

of the

insoluble

Whether

before this tenanting body has passed through previous stages of existence, and must pass
soul

the

through
quality
this
till

successive

transmigrations
is

hereafter,
its

the
in

of

which

determined
lies

by
shall

conduct

life,

or whether the soul

in a state of
it

the resurrection day,

when

rise

dormancy up with
it

its

human body
state

for

judgment,

or

whether

lies

in

a

of purgatory undergoing purification, as also \vhat kind of organism our spiritual being is clothed

with,
is

and what the pleasures and pains with which
in
its

it

surrounded

after

existence

are,

these

are

problems over which hangs a dark veil which are forbidden to remove. The Theist confesses
inability to

we
his

form

Heaven and hell, and the pleasures to be there experienced cannot be of a sort which are cognizable through our sensuous organism, and his trust in the goodness and m^rcy
of

regions of conception but he feels satisfied that tbe pains

any

of

the

Providence

enables

him
of
the
final

to

hope
is

that,

as

the
to

whole scheme

of

God's
the

government
soul's

intended

promote
perfect

the
its

growth

capacities

and

powers,

consummation

of

His

268

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
in

benevolence will not come

the
of

shape
soul

of
in

eternal
creation.

damnation

and misery

of any one
doctrine
finite
life
is

The Theist rejects the ment for the sins of a
the existence of a Being

eternal

punish-

as inconsistent with
perfect mercy, justice

who

and wisdom.

XV.

The Theist

believes that

man

has a measure

of free agency sufficient to fix the responsibility of his acts on him, and to enable him to achieve by At the same time, the Theist effort self-conquest.
the quite ready to confess that the influences of time and the place he is born in, and of the society
is

which he moves, and early education, and associations, and physical temperament in a great measure These freedom of man. unconscious restrain the
in

restraining
in

influences
religious

have been variously represented
systems, as Karma or Pralabdha, of acts committed in a

different

the

virtue

of

influence

former state of existence, as the three-fold attributes of matter Satwa, Rajas and Tamas, as the conflict of good and bad principles, as the compulsion of

superhuman
diverse ways,
steers

beings,
as the

and demons, pulling in gods The Theist Fates or Destiny.
the

midway
free

between

extreme

doctrines

of

unrestricted
positions

agency, and

fatalism, both of

which

are clearly

untenable.
confesses his inability to account
evil,

XVI.
for

The Theist
is

the existence

of moral

for

what
our

we

call

physical evil

simply

the
the
trial

result

of

knowledge,
existence
is

except a stage of

on

supposition

imperfect that this

and

discipline,

which

it

A
can hardly be

Theist s Confession of Faith.
if

269'

there were

no

evil

in

life's

way.

Although
to sin,
exists

does not necessarily imply liability the Theist at the same time admits that siji
free

will

as

a

fact,

and

that

it

cannot

be

explained

away
tion,

as

shadow or negation

only, or as

mere imperfec-

or a mistake, or as a quality $f matter, or a The origin and final cause falsehood, or a delusion.
is

of sin

a mystery which

is

absolutely insoluble with

our present vision of the purposes of God's Providence. XVII. The Theist believes that the doctrine of
original
sin

tainting

the

soul

w ith
r

an

inborn

corruption, the result of the disobedience of the first progenitors of the human race, has no foundation in
fact,

and

is

inconsistent

with our idea of the perfect
believes that the doctrine that
all

rectitude of God's distributive justice.

XVIII.

The Theist
predoomed

God
bliss,

has

from

time

some

souls

to

and predetermined others to eternal misery, has no foundation in fact, and is inconsistent with the
perfection

of God's character.

XIX.

The

Theist believes that there

is

virtue in

supreme necessity of holding comprayer, and a munion with God, as a daily duty to edify the human We should pray for God's help to guide us heart. in life's difficulties, and his light to enable us to see While it is thus the path of virtue and holiness.
our duty to pray, the consummation of the prayer should be entirely left to the disposition of His
Providence, as knowing what is best for our welfare. XX. The Theist believes in the virtue of heartfelt
*

and abiding repentance

to purify the soul.

Instantan-

270
eous

JSssays on Religious

and

Social Reform.

or

death-bed

repentances
or

which

leave

no

abiding effect have P.epentance, to be

little

no

virtue

about

them.
increas-

of

any

avail,

must
and
our
to

be
an

followed

by

a

strengthened

determination

ed power to resist the temptation submission to which gave occasion
It
is

first

weak
sorrow.

the

renewed strength in after-endeavours the purification of the soul by sorrow It is never too late for repentance. and repentance. God's grace in these matters acts with a suddenness
in this

that

we

feel

and
daily

an

effect

none can

foresee beforehand,

and our
of
this

prayer
lift

must be to

secure
fall

the

help

grace to

us up

when we

into sin.
is

XXI.

The Theist

believes than man's salvation

effected under God's grace by faith, devotion, prayer and submission to God's providence, by the love of man and love of God, which these instil into our In hearts, and by the practice of virtue and piety.

the absence of love and devotion he

the virtue
charity,

has no faith in mere repentance, or of works of outward of
the
practice

of

of severe austerities,

of the

knowledge of our true Being and of our real identity with God, or of sacrificial rites of worship, though the effectiveness of these and various other for

ways

the

purpose
in

of

salvation

has been

strongly

insisted

systems of Faith, and they may be upon cultivated with advantage as an aid to salvation.
diverse

XXII.
his faith

The
all

Theist holds as

a cardinal article of
are

that

men and

women
It

equally

the

children God, and in his obtains between man and man.

of

sight
is

no
not

distinction
for

man

A
to
in
limit
all

Theists Confession q/ Faith.
in

271
is

God
God

his

methods.

His

spirit

abroad
that

on the

earth,

and

in

every

nation,
;

he

feareth

and

worketh

righteousness

s

accepted

of

Him.
XXIII.

The Theist
and
acquires

believes that

when

the

human

soul,

tried

purified

resignation,
in

by self-government and habits which enable it, while
escape
its

the body, or
its

on leaving the body, to
lusts,

trammels and
relation

to

enter

into

more intimate
the
blessings

with God,

of God's

holiness, and recognize Him presence to be the Lord, Father and Judge, in whose service the soul is bound by love and admiration, this

and and

realise

vividly

consummation of the
into

soul

is

salvation.

Translation
pleasures,

other

worlds
into

to

enjoy
essence,

sensual
or

or

absorption sense that the

God's

awakening

to a

human

soul

is

identical

with God, or

gradually sliding into the state of passionless Nirwana, these views about salvation held by the votaries of
different

religions

are

all

more

or

less

vitiated,

as

and are besides
sciousness.

being the result of a too aspiring or sensuous vision, opposed to our own inner con-

XXIV.
is

The Theist
of

believes
flesh

that

incarnation

or

actual assumption

human

by the Divine Spirit

both an unnecessary and incredible supposition. God sheds his influence with bountiful abundance upon favoured men, and these men so exalted incarnate His All holy influence. men, the moral heroes and
martyrs of
clay
in
this

world,

are of His making,, like the

the

potter's

hand,

and

embody

in

spirit

272
God's
tions

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
influence or grace. All

the

different incarna-

may

be
it

most
avoids

consistently

manner, aud
conceptions.

explained in this the absurdities of immaculate

XXV. The
in

Theist believes that

God
his

reveals himself

external nature,

and

in

the

inner

world of

our

mind, and in history.
public
revelations.

These are

permanent and
all

When
or

and

countries,

are
fire,

favoured souls, in born, inspired with a
a

times

prophet's

vision,

a poet's

great

preacher's eloquence,

a philosopher's wisdom, or a martyr's self-surrender,, then the vision and the fire and the eloquence and the wisdom and heroism are Divine, that is, special gifts

what these favoured men see, feel and and their whole life, are a special teach, of sort a and a truer revelation in the higher All other book tenable sense of the word. only revelations are now merely reflections, and being as a matter of course, local and temporary, their value is only relative and provisional.
of

God,

and

XXVI. The Theist believes mind has passed through its
stages,
Spirit

that,
fetish

when
and

the

human

polytheistic

and attained to the conception of one Supreme

presiding over the Universe, the worship of idols becomes a folly, and that, with men so advanced, the usual defence put forth on behalf of idolatry,

that
realise

it

served

to

steady 'our

faith
is

and

make

us

the Unseen
'

actijal

fact.

At

the

more vividly, same time,
is

the

not grounded in Theist freely

allows that idolatry form of worship of

a stage of progress from pure and simple fetishism,
-

the

and

A

Theist's Confession

of Faith.

273

as such, idol worship renders a service in preventing men from sinking lower into savages. When, however,

the lowest stage has been once passed, an4 men can conceive a Supreme Lord of the Universe, the of idolatry is strictly speaking a degrading
practice
rite.

or worship humanize, rather brutalize our conceptions of God. The myths which soon gather about it, representing as they often do the worst licence that obtains* in human complete the destruction of all exalting faith,

The

associations

of

idol

society,

by

blunting

the

conscience

and

deadening

the

intellect.

XX VI
are
far
is

I.

The Theist believes that miracles in the sense
the
uniformities

of occasional breaches of

both

more

likely

unnecessary that those

and

incredible,

of Nature and that it is

claimed for

on whose evidence credit miracles were misled in what they saw
usual
for

or heard, than that the

course

of

things

was
is

interrupted and violated believe^ that the testimony
little

a
of

moment.
external

The
signs

.Theist

of
of

value

in

matters of

faith,

that

the worker

miracles is not necessarily a that the continuance of the
its

preacher of Truth, and universe of matter in

equipoised between all a greater standing miracle in of distracting forces, number of violations of favour of Theism than

ordained

course,

manner

is

any

by> mere supported invoked to establish testimony can be, which are the divine origin of most of the established religions. XXVIII. The Theist believes that the practice of
this

uniform

course,

human

austerities
18

and the

virtues

of ascetic

life

defeats the

274

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
^

deprives us of the education and discipline of self-government, which living in society has a tendency to foster
in
us.

main end of our existence

in this world.

It

Asceticism

defeats,

moreover,
it

of
in

creation.

As an
of

institution

is

the great end mistake. But

the

case

conflict, flight

unequal to the world's from temptation may be the only escape,
individuals,

and
lives

if

a holy life, there fault with such conduct.
at the proper season

the ascetic devotee improves the occasion, and is but little reason to find

Retirement from the world
life

of

may

be, .moreover,

often
are

a

duty,

after

all

our

worldly

engagements

At the same time, in a society too much to self-indulgence and luxury, the example given up of men vowing to spend their manhood in unselfish work, and in the practice of poverty, chastity and austerities, is good as a protest, and is productive of the most salutary consequences. XXIX. The Theist believes in the virtue of congregational prayer, and regards it as an institution which must always supplement private devotions,
fulfilled.

as

quickens ardent faith by the contagion exclusive and pride, example, disarms men's
it

of

by

placing
in

only occupy God's sight as his children, habituates us to regard all mankind as our brethren in God, our com-

us

all

on

the

level

we

mon
an

Father.

/

XXX. The

Theist believes that the institution of
priests
is

organized body of conserving the interests
tion

of

great

use in

of

religion.

The
or a

organizaclose

of a

hereditary priestly caste,

bodv

A
of

Theisfs Confession of Faith.
special

275
as

men with

interests

of their
is,

own

op-

posed to the mass of the laity, of great mischief, and as far
discouraged.
this
It
is

however, productive as possible must be

matter
of
of
root

must be remembered, however, that one of mere form and government,
ordination,

and not
the
society

divine

and ^does
positive

not go

to of

religion.

The
great

necessities

must
of

to

a

extent

organization priesthood, order of birth, or ordination, or election for superior An order of men selected for the priestly gifts.
office,
its

whether

it

this regulate is to be an

and

devoting
is

their

life's

best

energies
in

to
best

discharge,

absolutely necessary
believes

the

interests of religion.

XXXI.
large

The Theist
prayer,
tasteful,

that

for

purposes of

congregational

temples
are

and

and

absolutely

prayer-houses^ needed. On

of worship, splendour music and artful decoration, if these do not tend to obliterate from the mind that heartfelt prayer and the essentials of all worship, are thanksgiving are
occasions,

the

pomp

and

great

helps

in

humanizing

the

minds

of

men,

and

inspiring them with devotion. XXXII. The Theist believes

that the observance

of occasional
institution

festivals
is

and
as

anniversary
in

which
of

absolutely needed

days is an the present

circumstances
especial

society,

inspiring

men
away
look to
so

.with
for

devotion,
least,

and

drawing

them
to

a
the

time
world,

at

from

the

absorbing

interests

of

ani solemnly warning them
with God.

their

account

Men, moreover,

are

weighed

276

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
the
cares
of
life,

down with
relief for

that

brief holiday times is the soul, and let it enjoy rest and quiet ease for a moment under the shelter of religion.

express occasional necessary to unbend

XXXIII.
of
life,

The

Theist believes that the solemn events

births,

initiations,

marriages
a
religious

and
with

deaths,

ought to be clothed with
that these occasions
services

sanction,

and

should be

marked

special

on

invoking the parties concerned, so as to with the solemn of responsibility

and

observances

God's

blessing

impress them the acts so

commemorated,
celebrated

and

that

such

occasions

should

be

by the practice of free bounty to the in this It is and the helpless. connection poor Shraddha ceremony in the honour of the & only that
dead

mry be XXXIV.

performed on occasions to edify the

soul.

The Theist
and
the

believes that

religious teach-

ing should chiefly be directed

to the

inculcation

of
;

the
that

unselfish
error

austere
side
is

and self-denying
of
charity,

virtues

on

mercy,
for

benenatural

volence and self-restraint
selfish instincts

welcome,
strong
side.

the

are

sufficiently

to

correct

any

occasional
too,
is

excess on this

Religious

enthusiasm
too

so rare a gift that

we cannot make
any
it

much

of

it,

where
if

it

is

found in

strength,

though

.oftentimes,

ill-regulated,

has a tendency to slide
notion

into fanaticism.

XXXV. The
local

Theist believes that the

of

sanctity which induces

men

to

go

on pilgrim-

ages has a foundation in reason, in that strange places

by

their natural scenery

or their historical associations,

A
are

Theisfs Confession of Faith.

277
religious

oftentimes

more
in

fitted

to
soul

move
than

the

passion or

devotion

the

those
this

witk

which
religion

men have
should
this

grown
not
of

familiar,

and

be

neglected.
sanctity

At
is

help . to same the
in

time,

feeling

local

great

danger of dragging the soul into the jbonds of fetishism, and therefore, must be kept under proper control. XXXVI. The Theist believes in the great influence
for

good which
exerts
in
us.

contact

with

superior

or

sanctified

souls
in

At the same

developing the religious temperament time, the absolute necessity of

a

Guru, teacher, or
that

asserted in

a mediator or a priest has been such extravagant terms in some systems

of faith,

one

cannot

protest

too

against the assumption that no

man

emphatically can save himself

own single efforts. XXXVII. The necessity of a mediator or redeemer between God and man is also so strongly insisted upon in .some religions that we must always be on our
except by his

guard not to forget that the work of regeneration is one of self-effort alone, and cannot be done by
substitution.

The
is

assistance

of

a

teacher
superior
all

or

a

friendly guide

or master,

endowed with
in
;

gifts

and
there

virtues,
is

course necessary a limit to their usefulness
of
struggle

cases,

but

and the ultimate
'

Ml one's own, and neither mediator nor teacher can help us much. No
efforts

and the

must be

man
to

has supererogatory merits which he can spare save other souls from perdition, and the doctrine
merits of

of a substitutive or

by the superior

purchased salvation of one soul another is not grounded

278
in

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
our
consciousness,

and

is

moreover

opposed

to

our experience of God's government. XXXVIII. The Theist believes that the rights of individual conscience are paramount over all other considerations

of mere political and social expediency, and are limited 'only by the fact, that there is no outrage done to morality, and that the toleration of no man's right extends to the imposition of any

restraint

upon
rights.

the

equally
or
in

free

exercise

of

other

people's

No man
set

up claims
they dwarf which
are

to

infallibility

body of men can set matters of religion, and
be resisted, because

such claims,

when

up,
if

must

false,

and,

men's
is

intellect,

once allowed, they tend to reduce them to a slavery,

XXXIX. The

the more mischievous for being unconscious. Theist acknowledges no distinction

between the province of Reason and the province of Faith in matters of religion. Faith is practical and
earnest
reason.
in

potent claim
social

therefore, no more Authority has matters of religion than in kindred
It is to

and
not

political sciences.

be revered and not
this

lightly

questioned,

but
to

beyond
the

the

immunity

does

extend

prohibit

use

of reason in

matters of Faith.

XII.

CONGRESS AND CONFERENCE

THE
,

idea of holding periodical in gatherings each Presidency for the discussion of Provincial matters of public a legitimate is interest

now become
these

off-shoot of the great National Gatherings an institution of the land.

which have
This year
the
three
success
this

gatherings Presidencies and
indicates

have
it is

been

held

in

all

obvious

that

a healthy growth of public sentiment. In the Madras Presidency the in political gatherings that Province have always been accompanied by the friends of Social Reform utilizing the occasion on

the

analogy of the great national gatherings of the Congress and the Conference to meet together for the discussion of social subjects, and though
in

Conferences held in this political has not been found possible to fallow Presidency, this example, it is a matter of great satisfaction to find that our have realized the Satara friends necessity of supplementing the work of the Political
hitherto

the

it

*

Address, Provincial Social Conference, Satara,

May,

1900.

280

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

Conference
to
in

by

inviting

the

friends

of social

reform

come together and take stock
the social sphere

of our

gains

and

losses

of our activities.

Owing

to the circumstances under which this work had to be undertaken at Satara we have had to content ourselves with a very brief programme, but it is to

be

hoped

that

the

seed sown

to-day

will

bear

a rich fruit

hereafter.

ADVANTAGE OF SUCH GATHERINGS.
I

know
sort

there

are

those
or

among

us

who
social

see

no
of

advantage in
this

holding local the consideration for
others

national gatherings

of
that,

topics.

There

are

who

think

though
the

such

gatherings

may have

joined together in

they and time with place

their uses,

should

not

be

political

meeting, as they only serve to distract the attention It of the workers and lead to no practical results..

may

be of use

to

attempt' a

brief

reply to

both

these objections.

As regards the
arise

first

difficulty

it

from

a

confusion

of

ideas,

seems to me to which is very
of

right prejudicial to the both in the political

appreciation

our

duties

and
that

social
in

sphere.

The
duties

underlying assumption
consist chiefly in

is

politics our

stating our

wants and grievances to

in strangers who have been placed by Providence are ill-informed about us and who command over

our

real

condition.

Politics

in

this

sense
favours

means
which

simply formulating claims for gifts

or

Congress and Conference.
require
social

281

no other action 6n our
sphere

part.

While

in

the

understand

more exclusively outside in whfch the regulation As I or control. help is not needed for guidance two the between distinction this
our
duties lie

with

of our

own

actions

it,

is activities spheres of our The integrity of any mistake.

basefl

on

a

radical

be

broken

of the sort
objection.

being of activities spheres separate up raise this those who contemplated by
into

human

cannot

For the

sake
its

of

convenience

you

may

beauty say from but you can no more separate the fragrance end the beauty, and any attempt to do it can only What is true of the inin the destruction of both. whom dividual is true of the collections of individuals

that the rose has

and

its

fragrance,

we may

or community. and you can no These communities are organizations and their activities provisionally
call

by any name,

tribe,

class,

more separate
for

except

the time.
it

Every

little

village
its

in

our land,
its

how-

ever poor
its

may

be,

has

temple and

chowdi,

and watering place, and every town of or city must have its township civic life made up or religious are not wholly political interests which or commercial. The shops and the bazars, the temples and the theatres, the schools and the hospitals, the the courts and the barracks, the young ?nd the old,
resting place
is the women, the poor and the rich it; inconcourse which constitute the this variety and

men and
terest

of village, town, and city
;

life.

Some may
follow
;

rule,

others obey

some may
is

advise,

others

but
the

the

distinction

only

provisional

and

not

in

282

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

nature of things. of your own where

You cannot even
you
do
not

build

a

house
for

for strangers or the wayfarer. the Gods' place of worship, a place where the thirsty, hungry, and the sick, may be cared for, and there
is

keep a place You have to provide

no man so *poor and so

selfish

that he does not

claims.

all these varied interests and recognize their Each concern has to be attended to in its own time and in its own way, but it is the whole What is collection which makes it a human interest.

share in

true

in

our private
Politics

concerns

is

equally true of

our

public

life.

morialising for gifts are of no value unless
cessions

is not merely petitioning and meGifts and favours and favours.

we have

deserved

the con-

by our own elevation and our own struggles* live by the sweat of your brow' is not a curse pronounced on man, but the very condition of his existence and growth. Whether in the political,
'You
shall
social,
tical

religious,

commercial, manufacturing or
in
it

aesthein

spheres,
in

literature,
is

science

or

art,

war

or

peace,

the

individual
his

and

collective
his

man who
If

has

to

develop

powers

by

own

exertions in

he

is

down

conquering the difficulties in his way. for the time, he has to get up with the

his strength, physical, moral and intellectual, and you may as well suppose that he can develop one of these elements of strength and neglect the others, as try to separate the light from the heat of the sun or the beauty and fragrance from the rose.
.

whole of

You cannot have
find

a

good

social

system

when you
rights,

vourself low in the scale of Dolitical

nor

Congress and Conference.

283
rights

can

you
and

be

fit

to

exercise
social

political

privileges

unless

your

system

is

based

and on

reason

justice.

You cannot have
social

a good econo-*

mical system
fect.

when your

arrangements are imper-

If your religious ideals are low and grovelling, cannot succeed in social, economical, or political you This inter-dependence is not an accident but spheres. Like the members of our is the law of our nature.

body you cannot have strength
if

in the

hands and the

feet

your internal organs are
call

in disorder.

What

applies to

the

human body holds good
the

of the collective humanity,

we

It is a mistaken view society or state. which divorces considerations political from social and economical, and no man can be said to realize his

duty

in

one aspect

who

neglects

his

duties

in

the

other directions.

THE FAMINE
may
well be considered.
as
If

CRISIS.
crisis

As an example the present
were as perfect

of the

famine

our social

arrangements

they might be made, half the terrors of famine would vanish and the political There is no problem would be much simplified.
question
social or

which

is

purely
or

political

any
;

economical,

even
our

religious

more than and they
are

make
same

a fatal mistake

who

suppose

that these
nature.

separate departments in
historical

composite

The
same and
not

forethought, the spirit,

the

same

resolution,

the

the same
spheres

comparative scrutiny strenuous endeavours are needed in all the
activity,

same

of our

and

therefore,

it

will

284

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
for us to

do
to

say that in politics our duties are clear The whole man has but not so in other spheres.

be developed and perfected for his own advantage and the glory of God, and it is only a conception crown like this which can strengthen our efforts and It is on this account that them with real success. when we take stock of our wants our mind must be

open on
hear,

ajl

sides

;

the

hands

the eyes must see, and the move and the feet support.

ears

This
all

devoting to our difficulties of everyday life claims. Owing time for toil and sorrow, we cannot always find
things.

can only be

done

by

our

attention to

of
all

When we

therefore,

meet

for

one purpose of

is just taking thought of our political condition, that when we have the spirit of unselfish the time

devotion

stirred
its

man

in

up in us to approach our internal most tender moments, and there is an
in

obvious

convenience

seeking

to

utilize

the

ad-

vantages of time, place,

Company and

the

enthusiasm

springs from association with equals, and you will thus see why the Congress and Conference gather-

which

ings have

we
work

If I had the choice been joined together. since have added other spheres of should long

so

as

national in

to make the name and aims.

national

gathering

really

The claims of some kind

of work

more absorbing, than those of thers, but each must have its time and place, and proportional attention devoted to it, and I am glad
mig^.t

be

to. see

that

these
in

considerations
inviting

have weighed with
this

our

friends

us

to

gathering

at

Satara on the present occasion.

Congress and Conference.

285
fabric
is

But
not
the

it

may be
of

said

that

our

social

work
social

institutions

under which

human hands we live, and
the

like

the
ifl

political

that

regard
laid

to

these

customs

law

has

been
to

down
to

from
to

time
it

immemorial
it is

and
for

we have only
115

follow

and

not

changes those misconceptions

suit

our exigencies.
for

This
there

is

attempt another of
to

which

seems

be

no

excuse except

a

false

pride,

which
a are

makes us
of
fact

cherish

dangerous

delusions.

As

matter

at the social arrangements present not those for which we can plead

admittedly the sanction of

the great Law-givers whose names we revere in lip worship but whose behests we disobey at every step. Most of the customs which we now profess to follow

run counter to the practices observed in the old tnnes, when the Institutes were written. The dependent status of women, the customary limits of the age
in

of marriage, the prohibition of marriage to widows the higher castes, the exclusive confinement of marriage
into
to
one's

own

division

of

the

sub-castes

which the country has been split up, the ignorance and seclusion of women, the appropriation of
castes

particular

to

particular

professions,

the

prohibition of foreign travel, the inequalities made by and the abstentions the license enjoyed by men

enforced on

women, the

jealous

isolation

in

matters

of social intercourse as regards food and even touch, indiscriminate charity to certain castes for all these

and many more

alienations

from

the

old

standards

you cannot hold the old

Law

givers responsible.

They

286
are

jEssays on Religious

and Social Reform.

the

work of human hands, concessions made to
abuses
substituted
for

weakness,
regulations.

the

old

healthier

made by men advisedly known to our Ancient History. They are interpolations made to bolster up the changes introduced about the times when the country

They

were

whose names

are not

They are already gone from bad to worse. innovations for which no sanction can be pleaded.
had
It

be they were made with the best intentions. Admittedly, they have failed to carry out these

may

good
ideals

intentions,

if

any,

then

entertained

seeking
are

to

upset them and
superseded, the

restore the

and in more healthy
;

they

Reformers of the present

certainly not open to the charge that they day are handling roughly our time-honoured institutions.
It
i*

rather for the Reformers to take their stand as

defenders of these

ancient

ordinances
at

and

denounce
to
suit

those
their

who have set own purposes.

God's law

definance

THE INEVITABILITY OF REFORM.
But, even
if

this

were otherwise and even
special

if

it

proper deductions is quite plain that no from the lapse of time can bar the way of reform, where such is needed Above by the exigencies of our present difficulties.
old textf ,
it

shown by a long made are to some changes
could be

pleading that the

extent

mere ordinances of Institutes, stands the law Eternal of justice and equality, of pity and compassion, the suggestions of the conscience within and of nature We can no more resist the stream of without us.
all

Congress and Conference.
these
influences
roll

287

as

working
tide.

for

righteousness

than

we

can

back the

All real
full

dictate

that

we
the

should take
far

prudence would measure of these
of

influences

and decide how

we must accommodate
All
classes

ourselves to

inevitable.

society,

Reformers and anti-Reformers

alike, unconsciously

admit
while

the force of these considerations.

The only
the
fact

difference

between
the

the

two
seek

consists

in

fhat

latter

yield

the

former

unconsciously to use conscious

and

under
effort

pressure,

to

ac-

complish the

same purpose,

and

between

the

two

victory must be for those who do not wish but wish to be guided by the admonitions

to drift, of their
history.
like
it

inward
People
or not,
as

monitor
will
visit

and
force

the

lessons

of

past
will

England whether their elders
of circumstances
will

and the
of

prevail.

The education
each
year
will

women
on.
raised.

similarly be
limits

encouraged
of

rolls

The

age

for

marriage be will
relax and

be

Inter-marriage

restrictions

dissolved.

Caste

exclusiveness

must
in
all

the

greatest

freedom

predominate

transactions

men
this

prudent the question for us will be, shall we float with As these influences are current or resist it ?
our duty
is

between

man

and

man.

As

Providential,

clear
find

and
that

this
in

duty becomes
so
acting

more
are

pleasant,

when we

we

not
the

only

to

ways
is

obeying God's law, but also returning of our forefathers, over-stepping the

obstacles put in

by our

fathers in the way.
still

There

one

objection

which
reform

hampers the
is

way

of

Reform.

Granted

that

desirable,

288
it

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
still

is

claimed that

onh"

the

ecclesiastical

heads

of the different communities and the caste elders alone have legitimate authority to act in such matters, and that it is not for a miscellaneous crowd of people
like

ourselves to

claim this privilege.
elders

To
the
In
of

a

certain

extent
are
caste

the

caste
in

and
in
all

even

Acharyas
the
India
great the

moving

the

right

direction.

conferences

held

parts

Kayastha, Vaishya and other organisations that might be named without number, there are visible signs bones heaving with life of a new of the dead
spirit.

Even the Acharyas

in

the South,

by Native Rulers, and in some cases moved but spontaneously have put forth efforts to There is what is right and proper. promote
therefore,

when moved when not so

no occasion
be

They however, have
and
it

to quarrel with these agencies. their vested interests at stake

will

these things in

more than human if they look at the same light as we who feel the

Their them. to regard disposed should be welcomed, but the question co-operation The duty is cast upon us to does not close here.

pinch

are

see
is

that

the

commonwealth

to

which

we

belong

We prejudices. endangered by any human being can never forego the right of every to act in copcert with others of his own way of
not
vested

our condition thinking and make the effort to better with the light that is given to us and with the

Of course, afford us. help that religion and history the work of education are limited, but our powers in increasing the strength of the Dowers consists

Congress and Conference.

289

by propagating both by t precept

and

example what
fail

we

feel

to

be

right

and

proper.

We may
and

or

even miscarry, but the effort will do us incalculable good, and the very failure will serve as a warning.
This
is the law of no exemption from it.

all

progress

we

can claim

Lastly,
into
sects

it

has been said that
divisions,
is

we* are so

split

up

and

castes

and
for

sub-castes,

that no
us,

common concert and that if we mean
and
joint action
at

possible

the

best of

real

work
not
for

we must
indulge

begin
in the

with castes

sub-castes

and

dream of
come.

least,

many

centuries

to

This argument is double-edged and has been used by those who do not feel with us, to damp our energies in the political as also the social sphere of

it more carefully w,e find more fallacious than true. Castes and subcastes have no doubt their particular preferences and dislikes, their own evils and iniquities to account for,

action.

When we examine

that

it

is

and

as

we

see

everywhere from

the
are

reports

of the

Social

Conference their best
evils.

men

gling to cure these forgotten that this

It should,

manfully strughowever, not be
the main has
to blot

caste

difficulty

is

on

our social

not outskirts. Quite of this circumstance, the differences beindependently tween the castes merge into minor matters by the

maintained

system. here and

The

great on *he

fight

be

side

of their great
all

similarities.

In the social sphere
alike

of our activities

castes

and even creeds are

defective in not recognizing the claims of justice and equality, and according to the respect and freedom
10

290

Essays on Religious and Social Rejonn.
to

due

the

female

sex,

and

cherishing

the

abuse

claimed by men as men and by the members of one class of imn to the disparagement of other castes.

This furnishes
can
this
act,

the
it

common
only

and and

is

which all platform on the education received on
can
alone

common
be
taller,

platform,

that

command
will

the

elevation
to

freedom,
wiser

which
and

help us

better

individually

and

collectively.
I

have
man}'

thus, attempted

to

forestall

by

anticipa-

tion
are

of

the

objections

which
not

urged

by

those

who

are

might be and disposed to be

work of our social emancipation. With work that has been done in the different Provinces by more than a hundred Associations that are
friendly to the

the

in
it

full
is

sympathy with

the cause
here
to

of

social

progress^

purpose the Conference for the
record to which
is

not

my

reports oi last thirteen years furnish a living

deal.

The

all

can

refer

with
large

advantage.

It

a record which does not

show

achievements
can read be-

in

accomplished
the
is

facts,

but to those

who

tween
there

lines

a land

spirit that animates this work, of promise opening its vistas before

the

them

in a way to encourage the most despondent. To no further back than the past five months, I find go from the notes of events kept with me that even in
3

of distress some seven re-marriages took three in the Punjab, one" in place Bombay, one in the North- West Provinces, 'one in Madras and one in the
this

ear

:

In Bengal, where the widow Provinces. movement commenced in Pandit Ishwar Chandra marriage
Central

Congress and Conference.
Vidya-Siigar's

291

time

were
a
the

celebrated,

jnany as forty-six marriages were celebrated since and thirty
as

forty-one
total

more celebrated among the Brahnaos, making one hundred and seventeen. Including Central Provinces and the Berars, the Bombay
of
last thirty years, since

Presidency has, during the
marriages distributed and the Deccanis.

the

movement began, shown more than f a hundred such
equally

between the

Gujrathis

The Punjab and the North-West Provinces show a total of more than thirty, and Madras The total of marriages presents nearly the same figure.
would, therefore, be about three hundred throughout India in the several Provinces, in the higher castes.

Miss Manning's Indian Magazine,' in one of its the total number of Indian recent numbers gave
mostly students studying in England, to be three hundred and fifteen, of whom nearly half, or one hundred and forty-one, were Hindus, seventy-nine
residents,

'

Mahomedans,
blowing and

sixty-one

Parsees
figures

and

twenty-two
is
is

Native Christians.

These
the

show how the wind
in

how
side.

stream of events

steadily

on the right

The Native papers

the Punjab

show

that during the last five months admissions of converts from Christian and

some seven

Mahomedan

Faiths were

an

active

the Arya Samajis, and there is controversy going on for the wholesale

made by
some
the

admission of
success

hitherto

despised

castes.

.

The

Bethune College in Calcutta, and Female Schools and Colleges at Jullundeiy Poona,
of

Ahmedabad, and
in

Mysore
previous

has
years.

been

full

of

promise

this

as

in

Among

legislative

292

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
after the passing of the

events next
laws,

Mysore marriage

noteworthy event during the past has been the enactment of the Hindu five month Bill Gains of Learning by the Madras Council.

the most

The

local Sabhas,

such

as

the

Deshamukha
in the

and

Kunbi Sabhas

in the Berars, the

Rajput

North- West

Madras Presidency Provinces, the Saunishtra in the and the Khatris in the Punjab have held their meetings
and passed resolutions in favour of marriage reform under good auspices. Many instances of late marriages have taken place throughout the country, also of in different parts of This is, India. inter-marriages no doubt, a brief record, but as observed before it is
full

of promise.

The
the

present
is

country

through which our part of passing under the stress of plague
crisis

'

and famine has
adequate steps
all classes.
all

intensified
for

the

necessity

of

taking

alleviating

the distress

suffered
in

There are particular directions
reform
organizations
in

by which

might work with such a crisis. advantage Many thousands of poor have been rendered homeless, and although orphans
social

they are supported through famine by private and Government charity, the time is coming when with the rains on us, this charity will cease to flow and
the unclaimed orphans will have to

be

provided

for

when
have

che

distress

is

over.

Missionary
to
effect

Societies

pledged

themselves not
is

conversion

while the

distress

at

its

height,

and

they

are
will

prepared io give over the children to those
claim

who

them.

The

rest,

who

will

be unclaimed, will

Congress and Conference.

293

have to be

everywhere with these
their

cared for by these societies, and people must consider the question how to deal

poor

children.
is

Freedom
which
largeness
f

to

return
all

to

community
if

a

charity

we
of

can
to

display,

we have
the
issues

the

heart

understand

involved.

The

economical

question here becomes
amelioration.

one
behalf

of

religion
is

and
claim
of

social

has

been

Equally on urged

affecting

the

which
childin

of hundreds

widows

who

have

been

rendered

miserable

consequence of the famine and the plague visitation. In normal times their condition was bad enough, but
their

misery has been aggravated by

the

misfortune

of these hard times, and those who have any heart to feel for their wrongs might well be asked to take thought as to how their misery might be alleviated.

The
limit

question of postponing marriages to the latest of marriageable age to the age of puberty,

while
to

the

visitatons

are

upon
both
to

us,

will

not

fail

attract

the

attention

of

the

Reformers
this

and

of

those

who
and

profess

be indifferent to
will,
I

subject.

These

other

matters
of

doubt
are

the engage assembled to-day.
not,

attention

friends

who

We
on

shall

not but

be
if

able to

take

any

immediate
claims

action

here,

these

mattevs

allowed

our

when we go
not
fail

to our places

consideration, thoughtful the work of reform canuseful
results.
is

to

lead to
like
this,
is

some

For

this

and work
concerted

concerted action

needed,,

and

action

circumstances

when

we

only possible think and

under

existing

work

together.

294

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.

A

committee consisting of ail those who sympathise with the progress of Reform is, therefore, sorely needed in this part of the country to co-operate with similar workers elsewhere, and it is with this
view that our
forming
lines

work
a
it

to-day

will

chiefly

consist

in

such

committee
is

and

laying

down
a

the

on which
I

to work.
all

This

is

which
heart

trust

you

will

join,

and

duty in join with a

disappointment, but will strain every nerve, each within his own sphere, to about the practical well-being of our people bring in which the well-being of every individual is
that
will suffer

no

involved.

This

is

the

sioned
here,

by and

friends
I

message that I was commiselsewhere to communicate to you

now
in

commend
full

anxious care

the

subject to your conviction that the work is
this

one

in

and

in

which which

we
no

co-operate with advantage progress is possible without such
all

can

co-operation.

XIII.

VASHISTHA AND VISHWAMITRA.*
year I had occasion, of the Conference held inauguration Lucknow, to dilate on a text of Nanaka,
this

time

last

at
at
in

ABOUT
in

the

Neither a Hindu which he proclaimed himself to be nor a Mahomedan.' To-day, I find you have come together in the extreme North-West corner of India,
'

the land of the Five

Rivers,

the

original

home
Vedic

of. the

Aryan

settlers,

who

composed
sacrifices.

the

hymns and performed the great met to-day in the land of
Vashistha

You have

the

and had not taken its root in our Indian when men and women soil, asceticism had not freedom and equality, enjoyed overshadowed the land, and life; and its sweets were enjoyed in a spirit of joyous satisfaction. The
Vishwamitra
caste
lived

and

where Rishis, flourished at

a time

when

the

institution

Punjab, during its eventful the compliment, that it is

1

istory,

has well deserved
of the Rishis.

the

land

The

question,
*

then, naturally

arises,

who were

these

Inaugural Address, Lahore Conference, 1900.

296
Rishis
?

Essays on Religious and Sociat Reform.

What was the condition of society when they lived ? What thoughts stirred them, and what
actions ennobled
their lives

and their struggles
it

?

For
not
arti-

most of
up

us,

long habit has rendered
state

impossible to

imagine a
split
ficial

of

society
divisions

where

men

were
its

into

petty

of caste, with

barriers,

their

limiting men's activities and narrowing sympathies. It is a revelation to many of us

to be taken

back
state

to

two

or

three

thousand

years

ago
as

;

to

a

of society

when

class

divisions, such

Brahmins and Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras, were unknown, or not well established, and the only distinction recognized in practice was between the

Aryans and non-Aryans.
separates our own Rishis flourished,

To

illustrate

the gulf which

times

from

the

days

when the
the
fact

we need only

mention

Lopamudra was given in name Lomapada by
marriage Trinabindu also
Pulasti,
in

that

the daughter of the king of Vidarbha marriage to Agastya. Another Raja,

gave
gave

his

daughter

Slants!

to

one
thus

Rishya-Shringa.
his

The

King
to

daughter

Gou

and Bhagiratha
Rishi.

Koutsa

daughter Hansi to gave The king Sharynti's daughter Sukanya
his

was given in marriage to Chyavana Rishi. Instances in their wh^re the Brahmans daughters gave Thus were also not uncommon. marriage to kings Shukr-Jiarya's daughter Devayani, was given in marKritwi to riage to Yay ati and Shu cacharya's daughter
Anuha,
are
told

Independently

of

marriage alliances, stories

where Rishis, who were born in royal or were Rajarshis, became, by their sanctity houses,

Vashistha and Vishwdmitra.

297

and devotion, entitled to be called Brahmarshis. One was so elevated, and Shini, Gargya, Priyamedha and Trayyaruni were also so promoted to the status
of Brahmarshis, and their progeny to that of Brahmins. and Gritsamada, who were before kings, Also

Mudgala became thus Brahmins.

no scruple in in DhanAgastya Muni, as is well known, was skilled n on- Aryan king Ilvala, and urveda, and conquered the the Kalakneyas, who were pirates on the sea-coast.
felt

The Brahmins, on their side, or archery: learning the DhamnVeda,

in archery, Agniveshya was also noted for his skill himself a and he was the teacher of Dronacharya,

great

Brahmin commander

in the

wars of the Maha-

bharata.

His son Ashwatthnma, and his brother-inlaw Kripa were similarly renowned. Inbtanccs where
caused the
ruin

Brahmins

of the

kings of the

day

than by their curses are, no doubt, more frequent and brought those where kings cursed the Brahmins
about
their
ruin.

As
is

illustrations

of

the

first class,

we may
Raja,
his

mention stories about King Nahusha and Vena
as

Nahusha,

well known,

had by reason of

become the occupant of India's him in a throne, but he made the Brahmins carry the ill-treatpalanquin, and Agastya Muni resented and cursed him, which led to hi& downfall. ment VashisKing Vena was similarly dethroned, f imilarly,
superior merits
tha's

curse

against
off

ruma to lop
also

Sahasrarjuna enabled Pau'shuVashistha is his numeroi s hands.

mentioned as having cursed Raja Kalmashapada, and Rdjii Trishanku became Chandala in consequence

of the curse.

On

the other hand,

Vashistha himself

298
did

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
not

There is, besides, the escape unharmed. of Ambarisha, who was persecuted by Durvasa, story and in the result Durvasa had to entreat Ambarisha
to grant

which
rest.

him pardon and withdraw the Sudarshana perpetually followed him and gave him no As regards the women, numerous stories are
their

told
lives,

of

throughout their and of their engaging themselves in the pursuit
remaining

unmarried

of devotional exercises or in the study of philosophy. The story of Ambti, who remained unmarried all her
life,
is

well

known.

She

wanted

to

marry

with

Shalva, but he would not take her and she would not accept the choice made by Bhishma for her.

The daughter of Kunigarga
life.

also

remained
historical
in

unmarried

Gargivachaknavi, during are Sulabhumaitrai all these

Vadavapratitheyi

and
of

names

passed celibacy engaged in discussions on philosophic subjects in the court of Janaka.

women who

their

lives

and

Perhaps, the most instructive of these ancient stories is that which is connected with the rivalry of

Vashistha and Vishwamitra,
in

Both these names occur
though
their
rivalry
is

the

Vedic

hymns,
for

and

noticeable even in these
.o

authority

their

rames

in

hymns, they furnish which gathered round legend the period which succeeded the comearly

the

hymns. Vashistha" is a great exponent The legends seek to make Brahmin orthodoxy was not by right a Brahmarshi. out that Vishwamitra He was only a Rajarshi, and aspired to be a Brahmarshi. Vashistha would not support him iri this
of

position of the

Vashistha and Vishwdmitra.
ambition, and that accounted for their strife. out the story Vishwamitra represents the those who try to admit the non-Aryans

299

Throughview of
into

th^

Aryan

community

and

seek to elevate them.

The

story of Trishanku, for instance, notwithstanding its Vashistha had exaggeration, has a moral of its own.

without justice condemned Trishanku to be a Chandala simply because he aspired to go to her.ven by the
force

of his merits.

Vishwamitra took

and performed
saved
his

the

Yagnya,
children

because

up his cause Trishanku had

wife

and

The

result

was that Trishanku was accepted

during a great famine. in heaven

The story notwithstanding the curse of Vashistha. of Shunah-shepa, who was the son of a Brahmin, and was purchased as a sacrificial victim to be offered to
Varuna
in

promised,

is

the place of the king's son, who was also full of the same liberality on

first

the

between Vashistha and Vishwamitra was a complete victory on the part of the latter, for Vashistha admitted Vishwamitra's claim to be a Brahmarshi. Vashistha's line
result

part of Vishwdmitra, his- mediation. The

who

saved the Brahmin's
of

life

by

the

conflict

was continued

by

his

grandson,

Parashara,

Krishna-

dwaipayana, Vaishampayana, Yadnyayalkya, Shukra Muni and Jaimini, all belonged to the ortliodox sitX
Vishwamitra's
family

was

connected

with that of Bhrigu, Jamadagni
great

Rishis

who

colonised

by alliances and Parashara. 'The Southern India were

and Atri, who with their wives and Anusuya occupy a prominent place in Lopamudra the story of the Ramayana. King Rama stopped in
undoubtedly Agastya

300

Essays on Religions and Social Reform.

their Ashram, and Valmiki's description of these Ashrams presents a picture of these holy settlements, vrhich does not lose its charm even at the present

These settlements were the pioneers of civiliday. zation in Southern India, There were similar establishments in other parts of India,
the civilized kingdoms.

on the borders of
with his wife and

The

Rishi,

his numerous pupils, kept herds of cows, cultivated the land, and founded colonies or cities, and helped the Rajas from the north to establish their power

in

the south.

Jamadagni's story of the conflict with

Kartavirya, and the subsequent wars between Parashunima and the sons of Kartavirya, no doubt refer to

such expansion of power.
helped

King

Rama

himself

was

by

Agastya

in
is

the final struggle with King
said, to- have

Ravana.

Parashuraraa

similarly carried

on a war with the Rakshasas, which was put an end to by the mediation of Vashistha. The early Rishis

were great both in peace and in war. In this respect the Rajarshis were as great as Brahmarshis. the Risabhadeo, for instance, had one hundred sons, of whom nine devoted themselves to meditation and philosophy and eighty-one followed the Karma-marga, and
the remaining ten ruled over kingdoms. King Janaka W's great as a sovereign ruler, and greater still as

Vamad^o was noted for his piety, devotion and knowledge, which came to him in his mother's womb. The Brahmin I ishi Balaki was taught higher
a saint.

philosophy by Ajatashatru, the Raja of Kashi. It may be seen that there was no monopoly of learning in
those early times

and

Rajas

and Brahmins

sat

at

Vashistha and Vishw&mitra.
the
in

301

foot
fact,

of each other to

learn wisdom.

There was,

no

permanent
and,

division
therefore,

of

functions between

the
like

two

orders

they were^ somewhat
of
in

the temporal and spiritual lords we know England. They could interchange place, and did, fact, so interchange them in numerous instances.

This brief account
nourished in this
quiry
as to

of the time
naturally
in

when
leads

the
to

Rishis

country
it

the in-

how

was that

course of time Brah-

min Rishis came practically to monopolize the title and deny it to the Rajas. The story of Vashistha and Vishwjlmitra furnishes some clue to a solution of this difficulty. The great names of Agyastya and
Atri, Vashistha

and Jamadagni, Bhrigu and Bharadwaja, and Vamdeo, Vaishampayana and YagnyaParashara valkya, Valmiki and Vyas, Kapila Muni and Shuka
Muni, naturally
people.
carried

influence

with

all

classes of
for their

The

Rajarshis were not

much known

authorship, and when these old families succumbed to
foreign

conquerors in the early period of the Christian era, the new Rajput, or Jat, conquerors had no

hold on the popular mind, and the Brahmins retained or increased their hold on the affections of the
people.

The
this

Puranic

literature
this

which

had

its

birth

about

time

confirmed

superiority

of

the

came

Brahmins, and the result was that che term Rishi to be applied only to Brahmins, as being the cultured cl; ss of the time. Their only literary or

predominance continued unchecked, except so far as the Vaishnava movement came to the relief of the nonBrahmin classes. The Vaishnava movement has struck

302
its

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
deepest root in the
Punjab,

where the ten Gurus,

from

Nanak
The

to

change the like
exhibit.

Guru Gobind Sinh, have effected a of which no other part of India can Grant h Sahib has taken the place of the
.

old Vedas and Puranas, and

the

Gurus and their des-

cendants occupy the place of the Brahmins. Since the establishment of the British rule new forces have

been
as in

in

operation, and

the road
of
all

is

now

again

open
aspire,

by which

the

best

men

classes

might

the past,

to

be the

true

Rishis of the land.

A

movement which has been
lull

recently started in the
that

Punjab may begun to realize the

be accepted as a sign
significance

you

have
of

of

the need

creating a class of teachers who may well be trusted to take the place of the Gurus of old. The

chief
this

point,

however,
is,

that

is

to

be be

considered

in

connection
It

who

should

these
I

the future.

is

with
before

this

view that

Gurus of have endeaof the

voured
true

to place

you

a brief account

Gurus of the past, namely, the Rishis who were both Brahmarshis and Rajarshis, only distinguished
abilities.

from one another by their individual inclinations and We must keep that ideal before us if we
to

mean
our
die

prove ourselves the
ancestors.

worthy descendants
taught
in

of

earliest

Of

course, the

methods a^d

the

subjects

must, oe

made

to suit our
*

new

teachings and these days exjgencies and envi-

ronments, but the spirt animating the teachings must be the. same as that which led the first settlers to
cross the
in

Vindhya Range, and

establish

their

colonies
in

the South.

By

reviving our ancient

traditions

Vashistha and Vishwdmitra.
this

303

hope in the near future to instil into the minds of our young generations lessons of devotion to learning, diversity of studies and permatter

we may

loyalty to the teacher without which no system of school or college education can ever bear any In addition to fruit. This, however, is not all.

sonal

these lessons, our new teachers must know how to introduce their pupils to a correct appreciation of the
forces which are at work in the wider world outside, and which, in spite of temporary checks or seeming
reverses,

represent
their

all

that

is

best in

human
Our

efforts

for the elevation

and happiness of man.
pupils to
reali/e

teachers

must enable
as

the dignity of

man
to

man, and to

tendencies
in

apply towards exclusiveness,
of ages.

the necessary

correctives

which have

grown

us with the growth

They must

see that

our thoughts, our speech, our actions are inspired by a deep love of humanity, and that our conduct and our worship are freed where necessary from the bon-

dage

>

of

custom

and

made

to

conform

as

far

as

possible, to the

surer standard

of our conscience.

We

the same time, be careful that this class of teachers does not form a new order of monks. Much

must

at

good,

I
is

am

free

to admit, has tyeen

done
this

in the past

and

being done

other countries

long celibacy service of man and the

by and who

days, those who take

in these

in

as

well as of HK
:

+he

vow

consecrate

their lives* to .the

greater glory

of our

Maker.
are able
varied
res-

But

it

may

be

doubted
in all
its

how

far

such
in

men
al 1

to realize
relations,

life

fulness

and

its

and

I

think our best examples

in

this

304
pect are
r

Essays on Religious and Social Reform.
furnished

Agastya with his wife Lopamudra, Atri with his wife Anusuya, and Vashistha r ith his wife Arundhati among the ancient Rishis, and in our own times by men like Dr. Bhandarkar Row in on our side, Diwiin Bahadur Raghunath Maharshi Debendra Nath Tagore, the late Madras, Keshab Chander Sen, Babu Pratap Chandra Mozumdar and Pandit Shivanath Shastri in Bengal, and Lala Hansa Raj and Lala Munshi Ram in your own

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A race that can ensure a continuance province. of such teachers can, in my opinion, never fail, and with the teachings of such men to guide and instruct and inspire us, I for one, am confident
will be when we time hastened that the be vouchsafed a sight of the Promised Land.

may

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