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come those acts, the performance of which is enjoined in
the Vedas, or the celestial revelation, such as the established
worship and the requisite acts of obedience which prevail
among the Hindoos ; under the second head come those
acts, the committing of which is forbidden by the text of
the celestial code ; such as shedding blood, theft, immoral
practices, and other similar acts there enumerated. The
supreme Lord stands not in need of our adoration and
obedience, nor is He in any want of us for the performance
of the above-mentioned duties at our hands ; but the results
of our acts and deeds, in reference to rewards and punish-
ments, accrue and adhere to us. For instance, if the invalid
should adopt habitual moderation, he obtains that health
which is the object of his wishes, and his existence is thereby



176 THE DABISTAN

rendered happy ; but should he, from a bias to reprehensible
pleasures, the concomitants of disease, withdraw from the
restraints of abstinence, his life becomes embittered ; the phy-
sician, in either case, being totally independent of the patient's
welfare and sufferings. Moreover, the world is the abode of
disease, and human beings are the patients : if they acquit
themselves in the most perfect manner of their prescribed
duties, and strenuously avoiding what ought not to be done,
they attain the state of health, the most elevated degree of
which is liberation from this degraded body, and union with
the ambrosial sweets of paradise ; which state is called Mukti
by this sect ; and the mode of attaining the highest degree
of Mukti is not being immersed in the pleasures of this
world, plucking away the heart from the gratifications of
sense, being content with mere necessaries, abstaining from
food, breaking the fast with viands not relished by the vile
appetite, and such like ; just as in sickness, for the sake of
dissolving the morbid matter, it becomes necessary to fast
one day, and to swallow bitter draughts.

Such is the substance of the tenets professed by the sect
entitled Budah Mimansa, which coincide exactly with those
of the Yezdanians, except that the latter admit the being
of the self-existent God, the sole and true object of adora-
tion ; regarding the acts and deeds performed in this world
as the means of elevation and degradation in the next ;
holding the angelic dignities to be imperishable ; and es-
teeming human perfection to consist in attaining to the so-
ciety and service of the sublime assembly in the court of
heaven; while the followers of the Budah-Mimans4 do not ad-
mit the existence of the eternal and infinite Lord ; but accord-
ing to them, the term ** Almighty ^^ signifies the human
soul, acts, and deeds. They also assert that the blessings
of paradise are transitory, and that the angelic dignities are
liable to perish. However, the orthodox opinion, which is
most prevalent at this time, is this : they admit the being
of the truly-existing God, by whom the world subsists ;
but account His holy essence altogether exalted, and exempt
from whatever effects created beings. They also believe that
human beings are confined by the yokes of their own works,
and enchained by their deeds, in the manner before stated.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 177



Concerning the Creation

In the second part of the Bhagavat, one of their most
esteemed Puranas, it is recorded that the Almighty Crea-
tor, in the beginning, first placed the mantle of existence
on the bosom of Prakriti, or ^* nature/^ and produced the
fourteen Bhuvanas^ or ^^ worlds.*^ The first sphere is that
of the earth, which has been estimated by some of the an-
cients at five Kotes (50 millions) of Yojans, each Kote be-
ing equal to one hundred Lakhs (10 millions) and each
Jojun to one Parasang and one-third ; above the terrestrial
is the aqueous sphere; above which is that of fire; beyond
which is the aerial, over the celestial; beyond which is the
Ahankar^ or that of ^^consciousness''; and higher than this
is the Mahat-tat [jMahat-taHvam) or ^^ essence,'' which is
equal to ten of those below it; and Prakrit having envel-
oped it, intelligence penetrating through all the things be-
foresaid, rises above: on earth it becomes knowledge; by
means of water, there is taste; by means of fire, form; by
means of air, the touch of cold and dry; by ineans of the
heavens, there is the perception of sound; and the organs
of perception are the exterior senses ; and the internal
sense is the seat of consciousness. In the same part of the
Bhagavat it is stated that, by nature, the heavens are the
vehicle of sounds ; and, consequently, the nature of the air
gives the perception of sound and touch; in all other bodies
the air is spirit, and from it arises the energy of the senses.
To the nature of fire belongs the perception of sound,
touch, and form; to the nature of water, that of sound,
touch, form, and savor; and to the nature of earth, that
of sound, touch, form, savor, and odor.

Physic^ue of the Deity

Of the fourteen created spheres, seven rise above the waist
of the Almighty, and the remaining seven correspond with
the lower part of his body ; according to which enumera-
tion the Bhu-lok, or the earth and terrestrial beings form
** his waist " ; the Bhiivanlok, or the space between the



178 THE DABISTAN

earth and sun, "his navel *^ ; the Surlok., "his heart *^ ; the
Mehrlok, "his breast >^; the Jonlok, "his neck"; the Tap-
alok, "his forehead''; the Satyolok, "his head''; the Atel-
lok, "his navel and podex " ; the BateUok^ "his thigh";
the Sotollok, " his knee " ; the Taldtellok , " the calf of the
leg"; the Mahatollok, "the heel"; the Basatollok, " the up-
per part of the foot"; the Pdtdllok, "the sole of the foot."

There is another division limited to three spheres : the
Bhulok, " the sole of the Almighty's foot " ; the Bhuvarlok,
" his navel " ; the Surl6k^ " his head " : the \vhole fourteen
gradations in detail are thus reduced to three, signifying a
mighty personage, the same as the Deity.

In the same section of that volume it is also stated, that
from the Almighty sprang Svabhdvah, " the self-existing " ;
that is. Nature and Time ; from Nature and Time proceeded
forth P7-akrit, which signifies Simdi, universe ; from
Prakrit came forth Mahat-tat ; and from this latter,
which is the same as Mddah^ "mental exaltation," issued
the three Ahattkdrs, or modes of consciousness, " personality,
egotism," Safek, Rajas, llamas. Satek, " goodness," means
"the intellectual energy"; Rajas, or passion, "the attrac-
tion of vile propensities," or "sensual pursuits"; and Tatnas,
(darkness), "the repelling of what repugns," in Arabic
Ghazab, or " wrath." From Rajas issued forth the senses;
from Satek, the lords of nature and the servants of the ex-
isting beings ; and from Pamas came forth S/iatd, " en-
chantment " ; Shurcsh, " confusion "; Rup, " form " ; Darsan,
" sight " ; and Gatidah, " smell " ; that is, hearing, touch,
sight, taste, and smell ; from which five were produced the
heavens, air, fire, water, and earth. Also from the three
above-mentioned properties {gunds) the three mighty angels,
Vis/ina, Brahtna, and MaMsh, came into the area of the
creation. Moreover, for the purpose of creation, eight other
Brahmas were also impressed by the first Brahma with the
characters of existence, and these became the various gra-
dations of the spiritual, corporeal, the high, the low, the
mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms.

In some of their treatises, God is the same as time,
works, and nature; while, according to others, these are
regarded as the instruments of His majesty.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 179

In other treatises, the Almighty is held to be light, sur-
passingly great and splendid, of exceeding brilliancy and
radiance, corporeal, invested with members.

Other descriptions represent Him as pure light, abstract
being, simple existence, unconfined by place, exempt from
transmigration, free of matter, without parts, uncompounded,
divested of the attributes of accidents, and the creator of
the world, and all therein contained. According to other
dissertations, God is the producer of beginning and end,
exhibiting Himself in the mirror of pure space, containing
the higher and lower, the heavenly and terrestrial bodies.

It is stated in the first part of the Bhagavat, that the
Truly-Existing is an abstract beiiig, one without equal or
opposite, who in the various languages among the hu-
man race has denominations suited to the belief of His
worshipers, and that the mode of attaining union with Him
depends on eradicating wrath, extirpating bodily gratifica-
tions, and banishing the influence of the senses. This holy
essence is called Nardyan, whose heads, hands, and feet
exceed all number.

At the period when this world and all it contains were
buried under the waters, Tot or ^Mntellect ^^ lay reclined in
the sleep of unity, on the head of Adsesh, the supporter of
the earth. From the navel of this exalted being appeared
the lotus flower, called by the Hindoos Ka-ival; out of
which arose Brahma, from the members of whose mighty
existence all created beings hastened into the area of visi-
bility.

It is recorded in other treatises of this sect, that they
give the name of Nardyan, or ^^ the majesty without' color,®
that is, ^^ without the qualities of accidents,*^ to the abso-
lute essence and abstract being of God, who is in pure
space. They say, moreover, that His essence, which is de-
void of all forms, made a personage called Brahma, who
was constituted the medium of creation, so that he brought all
other existences from behind the curtain of nonentity into the
luminous area of being. In like manner that sublime es-
sence manifested itself in the soul of Vishnu, so that he
became an Avatar, and to him is confided the preservation
of whatever Brahma created. That glorious essence next



i8o THE DABISTAN

called up Mahadeo, for the purpose of destroying Brahma's
creation, whenever infinite wisdom requires the transforma-
tion of the visible into the invisible world ; from which
three agents arises the arrangement of all things in the uni-
verse. They say that Brahma is an aged man with four
heads; Nardyan^ or J^ishnu, holds in his hand the Chakra,
or Disk, "a sort of weapon'*; he always assumes the
Avdtars, or ^' incarnations '* ; of which ten are greatly cele-
brated. Avatdr means appearance or manifestation ; Karan
signifies cause ; Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahadeo are called
Trikaran, or the three causes.



The Mystical Avatars

In the Satya-Jog there was a Rakshas, named Sdmak
Asur^ who performed such great religious austerities, that
he became enabled to work miracles ; he having taken the
Anant-Ved which was in Brahma's possession, and from
which are derived the four Vedas given to mankind, fled
into the water; on this Vishnu, on the fifth day of the
fifth month, Chtt, « March- April, >* in the Kishn Bichak,
having assumed the jMatsydvdta}', or ** the form of a fish,**
plunged into the water, slew the Rakslias, and recovered
the Veda : this was the first Avatar.

The second was the Kzirmdvdtar, or " that of the tor-
toise.** Anant Ved signifies "the numberless Vedas**;
Matsya, " a fish ** ; Avdtar, "descent,** or "manifestation**;
Ch^t^ " the fifth solar month '* ; Kishn Bicheh, " that por-
tion of the month which is without moonlight and when
the nights are dark.**

On the twelfth of Chet, in the Kishn Bicheh, he as-
sumed the Kurmdvdtdr, or "that of the tortoise.'* They
say that the Angels and Deeves (A&uis), taking the ser-
pent Vdsukir, formed with him a cord» and fastening this
to a lofty mountain called Manddra, made with it a churn-
staff, which they moved about in the mighty ocean, while
Nardyan remained under the mountain to prevent it from
falling ; and by this agitation they procured the water of
life. In the kingdom of Kalinga, they have formed the



SCHOOL OF MANNERS i8i

image of a tortoise, and among the wonderful sights of
that region is the following miraculous event : if they cast
the bones of a Brahman or a cow into the adjacent reser-
voir, in the course of a year one half of it becomes stone,
and the other half remains unchanged. It is worthy of
remark, that some Persian astronomers represent the con-
stellation Cancer by a tortoise, nay, call it by that name,
instead of Kharchang, or ^^crab.'* Ferdtisi, the sage, thus
expresses himself : —

«The lunar lord beheld the ascendancy of the tortoise. >>

And as they account Cancer the ascendant sign of the
world, it is therefore likely that the ancient HindCi philos-
ophers represented this constellation under the figure of the
Kurma, or " tortoise ^^ ; also by the Matsya, or *fish,** ig
meant the constellation Hiit^ or *' Pisces. *'

The third was the Bardh, or ** boar Avatar,'* when a
Rakshas, named Karanydksha^ having taken away the earth
and carried it under the water, Vishnu, on the sixteenth of
Ch6t in the Shakl Pacheh, or " bright half of the moon,''
assumed the form of a boar, slew the demon with his
tusks and brought out the earth.

The fourth was the JVarsinha, or *^ man-lion Av&tar."
There was a Rakshas named Kir any a Kashipii, w^hose son,
Prah!dda, worshiped Vishnu, and as his father persecuted
him on that account, Vishnu, therefore, on the fourteenth
of Baisakh, in the Shakl Pachah, or " bright half of the
moon," having assumed the form of the Narsingh, whose
head and claws were those of a lion joined to a human
body, slew the demon Kiranya Kashipu.

The fifth was the Vd-mana, or ^^ dwarf Avdtar." When
the Rakshas, Bali daitya, through his religious exercises
and austerities had become lord of the three worlds, that
is, of all above the earth and below it and the heavens, so
that the angels were hard pressed and deprived of their
power ; Vishnu, therefore, on the twelfth of Bhadun in the
Shakl Pachah^ descended in the Vdfnanah Avdtdr, and
coming into the presence of Bali, requested as much of the
earth as he could traverse in three steps : to this Bali con-
sented, although Sukr a, or '^ \.\\^ planet Venus," the director



i82 THE DABISTAN

and guardian of the demons, exhorted him not to grant the
request, saying : *' This is Vishnu, who will deceive thee.*^
Bali replied : " If he come to me as a suitor, what can
answer my purpose better? " Vishnu, on this, included the
whole earth in one step, the heavens in the second, and in
the third, rising up to his navel, said to Bali, ** whither
can I pass?** Bali, on this, presented his head; on which
Vishnu, who saw this, having placed his foot, sent Bali *
below the earth, where he has ever since continued to reign
with sovereign power, during many hundred thousands of
years. It is to be noted, that J'd-mafza means a dwarf,
as he was a diminutive Brahman.

The sixth Avatar was Paras u Rama. The Chatri, or
"military caste,** having become evil doers, in consequence
of this Vishnu, on the seventh of Bhadun, in the Shakl
T^acAfl'//, or *^ bright half of the moon,** assumed the Avdtar
of Parasiiram, who was of the seed of the Brahmans. In
this incarnation he exterminated the Chettri class so utterly,
that he even ripped open their females and slew the foetus.
According to the Hindus, Parastiram is always living; they
call him Chira?igivah, or "long-lived.**

The seventh is the Ra7n Avdtar : when the tyranny of
the Rakshas Rdva?ta, sovereign of the demons, had exceeded

*Vdmana was so small, that in his journey, when he got to the
side of a hole made by a cow's foot, and which was filled with water,
he thought it was a river, and entreated another Brahman to help
him over it. On coming into Bali's presence, he petitioned only for
as much land as he could measure by three steps ; and the king
ordered his priest, notwithstanding his remonstrances, to read the
usual formulas in making such a present. Vdmana then placed one
foot on India's heaven, and the other on the earth; when lo ! a third
leg suddenly projected from his belly, and he asked for a place upon
which he might rest his third foot. Bali then, by his wife's advice,
gave his head for Vdmana to set his foot upon ; Vdmana next asked
for a Dakshina, "a small present which accompanies a gift'*; but
Bali was unable to comply, as he had now lost everything: in this
dilemma he ofTered his life, which Vishnu declined taking, as he
had promised Prahldda not to destroy any of his race. He therefore
gave him his choice of ascending to heaven, taking with him five
ignorant men; or descending to Patdla, the world of the hydras, with
five wise men. Bali chose the latter, as Vishnu promised to protect
liim against suffering punishment there for his crimes on earth.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 183

all bonds, Vishnu, on the ninth of Chet in the Shaklpachah,
becoming incarnate in Rama, who was of the Chettri caste,
overthrew at that time Rdvdna, chief of the demons of
Lanka (Ceylon). Now Lanka is a fort built of golden
ingots, situated in the midst of the salt ocean. He also
recovered Sita, the wife of Rama, who had been taken
away by the Rakshas, which is a name given by the Hindoos
to a frightful demon.

The eighth was the Krishn Avdtar. When Vishnu, in
the Divafar-Jogy on the eighth of Bhadun, in the Kishn
pachah, having assumed the Avatar of Krishna^ slew
Kansd. Krishna was also of the Chettri or ^^ military caste.**

The ninth was the Budh avdtar. When ten years only
of the Dwapar-Jog remained, Vishnu, in order to destroy
the demons and evil genii, the causers of night, assumed
the Avatar of Buddha^ on the third of Baisakh, in the
Shakl Pachah.

The tenth Avatar is to occur at the expiration of the
Kali-Jug, for the purpose of destroying the Mlechas, or
"enemies of the Hindoos.** The Kalki Avdtar is to take
place on the third of Bhadun, in the Shakl Pachah, in the
city of Sumbul, in the house of a Brahman named Jasa.
Kalki is also to be of the Brahman caste. He will destroy
the corruptions of the world, and all the Mlechas, that is,
Muhammedans, Christians, Jews, and such like, are to be
entirely extirpated : after which the Satyog, or "golden age,**
is to return.

They moreover maintain that the contingently-existing
inhabitants and beings of earth are unable to penetrate into
the presence of the necessarily-existing sovereign, and that
the essence of the Creator is too exalted for any created
beings to attain to an acquaintance with it, notwithstand-
ing the high knowledge and piety with which they may
be adorned : it therefore seemed necessary to the Almighty
God to descend from the majesty of abstractedness and
absolute existence, and exhibit himself in the various
species of angels, animals, man, and such like, so as to
enable them to attain to some knowledge of himself.
They therefore assert, that for the purpose of satisfying
the wishes of his faithful servants, and tranquillizing their



i84 THE DABISTAN

minds, he has vouchsafed to manifest himself in this abode,
which manifestation they call an Avatar and hold this to
be no degradation to his essence. This tenet has been thus
interpreted by Shidosh, the son of Anosh : According to
the Sufis, the first wisdom is the knowledge of God, and
of the universal soul, his life ; and in this place they have
expatiated upon the attributes of the Almighty ; thus by
Brahma they mean his creative power ; and by the old age
of Brahma is implied his perfection : philosophers also call
the first intelligence, the intellectual Adam, and the uni-
versal soul, the intellectual Eve. The sage Sunai has
said: —

"The father and the mother of this gratifying world,
Know, is the soul of the word, and the sublime wisdom.*

By Vishnu is meant his attribute of divine love, and
also the universal soul ; and they give the name of Avatar
to the spirit derived from the soul of the first heaven ; in
which sense they have said : " Avatars are rays issuing
from Vishnu's essence. ^^

But these sectaries do not mean that the identical spirit
of Ram, on the dissolution of its connection with his
body, becomes attached to the body of Krishna ; for they
themselves assert that Parsurdm (the sixth Avdtar) is im-
mortal, and his body everlasting.

When Ramachandra became incarnate, he encountered
the other ; and Parsurdm, having posted himself on the
road with hostile intentions, Ramachandra said : ^* Thou
art a Brahman and I a Chettri : it is incumbent on me to
show thee respect *' : then applying the horn of his bow to
Parsuram's foot, he deprived him of all power. When
Parsuram found himself destitute of strength, he asked his
name, and on learning that it was Ramachandra, he was
greatly astonished, and said: ^* Has Ramachandra's Avdtar
taken place.'''* and Rdmachandra having replied "Cer-
tainly,** Parsurdm said: ** My blow is not mortal, I have
taken away thy understanding.** On this account it hap-
pened that Ramachandra possessed not intelligence in his
essence, and was unacquainted with his true state, where-
fore they style him the Mudgha^ or stupid Avdtar.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 185

Vasishta, one of the Rishies, or ** holy sages,** who is
now along with his wife in the heavens, enrolled among
the stars : he was the instructor of Rdma, and brought him
to the knowledge of himself; and his counsels to Rama
have been collected by the Rishi Valmiki in the History
of Rama, called the Rajndyana, and the name of yog-
Vashishta^ given to them, which they call lndrazahardj6g
Vashishta. Some parts of these tales were selected by a
Brahman of Kashmir, and afterward translated into Persian
by Mulla Aluhamfned, a Stlfl. To resume : Rama, on
hearing this expression from Parsuram, said : " My arrow,
however, errs not ** : he then discharged some arrows which
have become the janitors of paradise, and do not permit
Parsurdm to enter therein. This parable proves that they
are by no means taken for Avatars of Naryaan ; as, al-
though Pursuram and Ram were two Avatars of Vishnu,
yet they knew not each other. Again, it is an estab-
lished maxim among philosophers, that one soul cannot be
united in one place with two distinct bodies. Besides it is
certain that they give the name *^ Avatars of Narayan ** to
the souls which emanate from the universal soul; and that
they call Narayan the soul of the empyreal, or the fourth
heaven. As to their assertions that Narayan is God,
and their acknowledging his Avatars as God, and their
saying that the Almighty has deigned to appear under cer-
tain forms, all this means that a Narayan is the same with
the universal soul, which the Sufees entitle " the life of
God.** As life is an attribute of the Almighty, and the
perfection of attributes constitutes His holy essence, conse-
quently the souls which emanate from the universal soul,
or that of the empyreal heaven, which is the life of God,
know themselves, and acquire the ornaments of pure faith
and good works ; and also, on being liberated from body,
they become identified with the universal soul, which is
Vishnu, or the life of God, agreeably to this saying : " He
who knows his own soul, knows God ** : that is, he be-
comes God.

As to their acknowledging the fish, tortoise, and boar to
be incarnations of the divinity, by this they mean that all
beings are rays emanating from the essence of the Almighty,



1 86 THE DABISTAN

and that no degradation results to him therefrom, according
to this narration of the Mir Sdfd Sharif, of Jarjan
(Georgia).

As a Sufi and rhetorician were one day disputing, the
latter said : " I feel pain at the idea of a God who mani-
fests himself in a dog or hog " : to which the Stifee re-
plied : " I appeal from the God who displays not himself
in the dog.'* On this, all present exclaimed: ^* One of
these two must be an infidel." A man of enlightened
piety drew near, and showing them the exact import of
these expressions said: "According to the belief of the
rhetorician, the dignity of God is impaired by his manifest-
ing himself in the dog ; he is therefore distressed at the
idea of a God thus deficient. But, according to the Siifee,
the non-appearance of God in that animal would be a
diminution of his dignity, he therefore appeals against a
God deficient in this point: consequently, neither of them
is an infidel.** So that, in fact, the Siifis and these sectar-
ies entertain the same opinions.

The author of this work once said to Shld(5sh : " We
may affirm that by the fish is meant the lord, or conserva-
tive angel, of water ** ; as, according to their mythology, a
demon having taken the Vedas under that element, was
pursued and slain by Vishnu, and the Vedas brought back :
thus their mention of a fish originated from its inseparable



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