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AND OTHER TALES
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VOLTAIRErF-..c.in• cc· H
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(1746-1767.)

A NEW TRANSLATION

THE STORY OF A GOOD BRAHMAN.
. BY

(1759.)

ROBERT BRUCE BOSWELL, M.A.,
TIU..'(SUTOll 01' L\Cl!fE'8 DRAMATIC WOIU\S, f:TC.

LONDON

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~;ORGE

BEU, AND SONS
1907
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others think that they know a secret that expla." I was really pained at the state of this good soul.inty that poeeeaaee me. I have nothing to say worth hearing. which waa & fine one eitua. he wu rich.y. a.ching for the rest of my life. when I consider that.aculty within me. or if they a.' they aay.a. was produced by Vishnu. and I am ready sometimes to fall into despair.) . I know not whether my undentanding is a. yet I am questioned eTery day on all these points.e of extraT&gant notiona. reTerend father.tion and d.on a point between two eternities. after a.id. and whether I think with my head in the same way as I gra. and lose themsel.uybody. I tell them sometimes that all is well and could not be better. and I have no conception of et. nor whither I go. loas as thoee who &sk me that question . being in want of nothing. l liTe 1ubject to the limitation• of time.shamed of myself.-e1 ma mar. and I am obliged to make some answer. I find myself. for. like the power of walking or of digesting food. but-that of my muscular movementa is equally obscure. no . •Ah. and they are so many yean wasted .ee the painful feeling of uncert. I remain confused a. 'teach ua how it is that evil flood. and.ia conduct. Heuen is my witness that I know nothing about the matter. and I can think. a. half-witted. yet I have neTer been able to satisfy myself as to what produces thought.wise.ina eTerything. and extremely poor. simple f.id to me : ••Would that I had never been born! " I uked him what made him aay that. the whole earth?' I am a.rkneas greater.· J ONCE met. a. I retire into my own houae eruahed by the weight of my own ignorance and unsatisfied ooriosity.t. nor what i: am. he waa engaged in studying philoeophy.tions. dwelt an old Hindoo woman.ed in the midst of charming gardena.a much at a. nor what will become of me.re both eternal. and profoundly learned. VOLTAIRE'S TALES. Not only is the essential nature of my powers of thoug~t unknown to me. I speak to my compa. when on my travels. that life is to me intolerable. u our sage. I know neither whence I come. who wa.rs.inly 1how.ft.sp with my haoda.niona. but I am not spa.11 mv 1nvestiga. moreoTer. he bad no need to deceive a. and.te of things fills my t0ul with 1uch humilia.ing himaelf with them. Ria hou11ehold wa1 very well managed by three handsome wiTet who wd themeelvee out to pleue him. "I etudied for forty yee. any more than I do myeelf. I read our ancient books. (1759. in couequence. I am composed of matter. I have been tee.• • 346 THE STORY OF A GOOD BRAHMAN. One day the Brahman Ba.e e:r:Cleedingly . All tends to increa.nd.a my answers only too pla. Near hie house. all the more correct in b. full of native intelligence.er all baa been Ba.n old Brahman. a. mankind .ernity. and he replied u follow•: .isgu1t. some tell me in reply that we must enjoy life and laugh at. "It is eTen wol'Be when people uk me if Brahma.ring of my words.in. I have been born into the world.nd a. bigoted. I cannot tell why I exist. and I am ignorant of eTerything. when he wu not enterta. u. and I know not what time is . but thoee who ban been ruined and maimed in the wars do not believe a word of it. This ata. and they only make my Qa..

I I . I returned to my philosopher. I eu. nor more sincerely in earnest.1 were the a. we value reason even more. hundred tim. Tided she might 10metimea have a little water from "the Gange• with which to wuh herself. if reason contributes to onr unhappineBB in· however small a degree. she had n&ver reflect. whereas those who exetciae their reason a.-whereon there is a. wha. She did not enn comprehend my queetion. and the keener the eemibility of hia heart.re to me that to prefer reuon to happiness is to be very een10leBB. and their opinioD." Thia reply of my Brahman impreeaed me more than anything elle. It is clea. 1he deemed henelf the molt fortUD&te of women. for. The ame day I •w the old woman who lived in his neighbourhood.ea that I 1hould be happy if I were aa lilly aa my neighbour. Struck with this poor cmi. and yet eomehow I have no wish to att&i\t such happineu. to be happy at the expense of my intelligence· ' I referred the problem to eome philoeophera. when it waa a queation of purchaaing contentment at the price of becoming a fool. " that we should be constrained to choose the loRB of reason. 347 one could be more r&tional than he was.ve wilhed. and pro. whilst at your very gate there i1 an old automaton who thinks about nothing and lives contented i'" " You a.re bt ·no meana II so certain tha.IDUN.mined my own heart &nd dilooTered that. any more than be. and yet I found no one willing to aooept the bargain. after all. after having reflected on this matter.I to be Ba.t is the question P-How to be happy.nner of thinking.re right. the gree.1 ] THE STORY 01' A GOOD BJU.ter waa hia unhappineea.r then. "I have told myeelf a .e I concluded tha. Hen<'. I 1hould not ha. But. " For all that. How can this oontradiotion be explained P Like all the othere. thoee who are contented with their exiltenoe a. she belieTed in the inO&l'DAtion of Viahnu with all her heart." said I. ·it a.ture'• happineH. ud I uked her if 1he had eYer been di1tre88ed at not knowing how her 10ul waa fonned.ppea. great dee.eel for a Bingle moment of her life on any one · of thoee point. " There ia a wild contradktion in thia ma.id.t they exerciee it aright." aaid I." he &n1wered. if I had the ofter. What doea it matter whether one is intelligent or Billy P Moreover." Everybody agreod with me in this opinion. I conceived that the brighter the light of his undentanding.a which tormented the Brahman.re quite sure that they are ae.t if we aet a high value on happiness.me aa mine. and said: " Are you not aah&med of being unhappy.

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