Charles Reed Peers.

Universal classics library (Volume 6) online

. (page 25 of 37)
Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 25 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


latter was occupied with the praise of Krishna, to whom
the worshiper of Rama said : ^^ Why dost thou repeat with-
out end the name of a man who was devoted to sensuality,
the name of Krishna?** He answered: *^ Because this name
is better than that of a man who knew not even how to be
certain of the honor of one woman.** This was said in
allusion to Rama's having banished his wife, named Sita, at
the end of the fire-ordeal which she underw^ent to prove
her purity. Some of the pious of this sect eat no sort of
turnips or carrots which in eating, by taste or color, may
remind of flesh. The writer of this work heard from Hansa
r4dja, a Brahman, that it is written in ancient books of this
class, that Brahmans used to fly in the air and to walk
upon the water, when, on account of having polluted their
lips by eating flesh, they lost this power. As the Vair4gis,
too, profess to be V4ishnavas, I will treat of them in the
following article.

THE VAIRAGIS SECT

Vtrdg" is in the dictionary interpreted ** aspiring.'* * This
sect renounces the world ; their liturgy is in verse, and com-
prehends the ^vorship of Vichnu and his incarnations, as
Rama, Krichna, and the like, and these verses they call
Vichnu padam. They make pilgrimages to the holy places
dedicated to Vichnu, and wear around their necks rosaries
of tutasi, which they call itiald-tulasi. TulasI is an Indian
shrub. Whoever among the Hindus, Muselmans, or others,
wishes, is received into their religion ; none are rejected,
but, on the contrary, all are invited. It is said that some
Muselmans also worship Vichnu, because in *-^ Bismilla^^^

♦This is not correct: vira' ga is interpreted « the absence of desire
or passion; the disregard of all sensual enjoyments, either in this or
the next world. ^^



264 THE DABISTAN

they confound Bisem with Bishen (or Vichnu), and most
of them agree about the purity and infinity of Vichnu's
being; in truth, they think he is incorporeal; the spirits
proceed like rays from the light of his being, and all bodies
from the shadow of his existence ; but they say that when
he wills he shows himself, as it happened, with four arms,
and they agree about his having manifested himself in ten
incarnations. They abstain from eating flesh. They are
divided into four classes : Rdtndftujas , Nimdnujas^ Mad-
huachdris, and Radha Vallabhis, as before said: these four
classes they call chdr sampardd [sampraddya).

Kabir, a weaver by birth, celebrated among those Hin-
dus who professed their belief in the unity of God, was a
V^iragi. They say that, at the time when he was in search
of a spiritual guide, he visited the best of the Muselmans
and Hindus, but did not find what he sought. At last,
somebody gave him direction to an old man of bright genius,
the Brahman R&m4nanda. This sage never saw the face of
a Muselman, nor of any other religionist. Kabir, knowing
that Ramanand would not converse with a weaver, dug a
hole upon the accustomed road of the Brahman, and placed
himself therein. Toward the night, Rdmanand used to go
to bathe on the border of a river, and at the time when,
to wash his body and purify his soul with the water of
sanctity, he bent his steps toward a house of prayer, he ar-
rived on the border of the hole made by Kabir, who, com-
ing forth, clasped the feet of RS,mananda. As the Brah-
man harbored in his mind no other thought but that of
God the highest, under the name of Rumc4, he called out:
**Rdm! ** When Kabir heard ^^ Riim '^ from the tongue of
R&mdnand, he withdrew his hands from the Brahman's
feet, and ceased not to repeat the word ^^ Ram, Ram! " so
that no other object but that was hovering before his
eyes, as before those of Rdmdnanda ; and he discoursed
about the unity of God in sublime speeches, such as are
heard only from the most learned men. Kabir, having ac-
quired reputation, people said to RAmiinand : *' There is a
weaver in this town who wishes to be your disciple; it is
to be regretted that you cannot be connected with a
weaver, v/ho is a man of low caste.*' Rdmiinand answered:



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 265

* Call him to me,*' which was done. When Kabir's eye
fell upon that of Ramdnanda, the former exclaimed: " R&m,
R4m!'* the latter repeated "Rdm, Riim!'* and clasped Kabir
fast in his arms, to the great astonishment and wonder of
the people around, who asked the reason of such a favor.
R4m4nand replied : " Now Kabir is a Brahman, because he
knows Brahma, that is, the supreme Being.*'

It is said that a class of learned Brahmans, sitting on
the border of the river Ganga, praised its water, because
it washes away all sins. While so speaking, one of the
Brahmans wanted water; Kabir, who had heard their
speeches, jumped up from his place, and having filled a
wooden cup which he carried with water, brought it to the
Brahman. Kabir, a weaver by birth, being of a low caste,
from the hands of whom Brahmans can neither eat nor
drink, the water was not accepted, upon which Kabir ob-
served : ** You have just now declared, that the water of the
Ganga purifies the body and the soul from the pollution of
sins, and from the foulness of evil actions, and makes
them all disappear ; but if this water does not render pure
this wooden vase, it certainly does not deserve your praises.**

Among the Hindus it is an established custom to bring
flowers to God at the time of worship. One day Kabir
saw a gardener's wife who collected flowers for the image
of a deity ; he said to her : ** In the leaves of the flower
lives the soul of vegetation, and the idol to whom thou
ofFerest flowers is without feeling, dead, without conscious-
ness, is in the sleep of inertness, and has no life ; the con-
dition of the vegetable is superior to that of the mineral.
If the idol possessed a soul, he would chastise the cutter,
who, when dividing the matter of which the image is
formed, placed his foot upon the idol's breast : go, and
venerate a wise, intelligent, and perfect man, who is a
manifestation of Vichnu.**

It is said that when Kabir left his elemental body, the
Muselmans assembled in order to give him a burial, be-
cause they supposed him to have been of the right faith ;
and the Hindus, too, crowded in order to burn his body,
because they thought him to have professed their religion.
At last a Fakir stepped in the midst of them, and said :



266 THE DABISTAN

** Kabir was a holy man, independent of both religions ;
but having during his life satisfied you, he will also after
death meet with your approbation.^^ Having then opened
the door, they did not find Kabir's body, and both parties
remained astonished and bewildered. —

*

In Jagernath, at the place where they burn the dead,
is the form of a tomb which they call Kabir's. —

>

The Vairagis are not devoted to a particular worship;
they say, the name of Vichnu suffices for the acquisition
of mukt, or "the union with God.'* This sect was formed
during the Kali yug, and call themselves also V^iichnavas ;
they renounce the world, and say: "Our way is opposite
to that of the Vedas and of the Koran ; that is, we have
nothing to do either with Muselmans or Hindus.** A great
number of Muselmans adopted their creed, such as Mirza
Salah, and Mirza Haider, two noble Muselmans who became
Vairagis. Of this sect was JVa?-din Ddsl, who sided with
Jidmdnandis, which is one of the Safnpradayas, that is, the
first of the four classes before mentioned. The author of
this book saw^ him in the year 1052 of the Hegira (1642
A. D.) in Lahore. He was one of those who are freed
from the affections of the world; he honored whomever he
saw, and said: "Everybody belongs to the divinity; that
is, everybody is the house of God.** —

* Without Thee there is nothing tliat is in the world;
From Thyself demand whatever Thou wishest; for it is Thyself.'*

This sect do no harm to any living being; which is com-
mon to all Vairagis, as w^ell as to neglect devotion ; but, in
opposition to the creed of the Vairagis, they do not admit
the Avatars, and say that God is exempt from transmigra-
tion and union ; and, according to those who profess the
belief in the unity and solitariness of the supreme Being,
He is not susceptible of (what we call) intimate friendship.
Being asked about the history of Krichna, Pir4nah said :



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 267

^' He was a Rdja, devoted to licentiousness, and oppressing
mankind.^* The writer of these pages saw Piranah in the
year 1050 of the Hegira (1640 A. D,), in Vizir^bad,
and in the same year and in the same place he saw Ananta,
who was of the same creed as Pirdnah, but particularly
addicted to the belief of the singleness of God.

Ananta did not advise abstinence to the sick. One of
his friends being attacked by a diarrhea, Ananta, gave him
substantial and sweet food, until he left this elemental body.
One of his disciples wanted to have a vein opened ; Ananda
having been informed of it, expressed himself strongly
against this operation and prevented it. Thus, the author
of these pages saw, in the year of the Hegira 1050 (1640
A. D.) in Guzerat of the Panjab, another of this sect, called
Afian Ldl, who was venerated by a great number of his
sectaries; he abstained from eating any sort of animal food,
and showed politeness to everybody; like Pirdnah, he never
cleansed his patched garment from vermin, and used to
say: " These insects have an assignment for their daily sub-
sistence written upon my body. '^ V4iragis are also called
Mundis; because they shave four parts of their bodies, and
one shaved is called Mundi. There arose a dissension be-
tween this sect and the Sany^sis ; in the year 1050 of the
Hegira (1640 A. D.) a battle was fought at Hardwar,
which is a holy place of the Hindus, between the Mundis
and the SanyS,sis, in which the latter were victorious and
killed a great number of the Mundis ; these men threw away
their rosaries of Tulasi wood which they wear about their
necks, and hung on their perforated ears the rings of the
J6gis, in order to be taken for these sectaries.



The Creed of the Charvak

This sect call rupa skandha whatever is perceived and
understood by means of the senses. What is ascertained
by the perception of the senses is named vidyd skandha.
Personality, consciousness, egotism, have the denomination
of jnand skandha. The knowledge of animal nature is
termed jnapti skandha. Whatever enters the interior part,



a68 THE DABISTAN

that is, the mind, is entitled sanskdra skandha. They say,
out of these five skandhas just mentioned, there is no other
living principle, neither in man nor brutes; the world and
its inhabitants have no creator, and there is no maker: this
is clear: because whatever has not entered into the field of
manifestation, and has not broken into daylight, cannot
have the color of reality, and to be high or low proceeds
from the nature of the universe ; whatever is written in the
Vedas is not made public, and besides may be a lie which
rests upon no foundation ; and a lie certainly proceeds from
the Vedas, inasmuch as they perform hom^ which is a cere-
mony in which they throw rice and like matters into the
fire, and recite prescribed prayers, saying that this goes to
the gods: now, whatever we throw into the fire, after cre-
mation, becomes ashes — how do these go to the gods? It is
also written in the Vedas, that they are to make an offer-
ing of cooked meal to a dead man — who is to enjoy it?
For instance, when a person is gone from village to village,
from one town to another, and in his absence a meal des-
tined for him is presented to another person, the stomach
of the former will not be filled. In the same manner, when
anything is offered to a dead person, who, according to
the assumption of the followers of the Vedas, has been
translated to another world, what honor and profit will ac-
crue from it to him?

Thus is it also among the revelations of the Vedas, that
the depraved and criminal will be punished, and the virtu-
ous and holy associated to quietness and satiated with
prosperity: the one and the other is a lie: because the vi-
cious man is freed and alleviated from the hardship of fast-
ing, of bathing in cold water, of subjection to pious
practices, and other inconveniences; while the virtuous, ac-
cording to the Vedas, is bound to all these troubles ; further,
the wise ought to take his share of all the pleasures and
cultivate his happiness, because, once reunited with earth,
he will no more return.

"There is no return for thee; once gone, thou art gone.'*

However, nobody is to hurt living beings, as by it he is
liable to cause some harm to himself. It is agreed by the



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 269

wise that no injury is to be done to another ; by the ob-
servance of which men may be set at ease, their numbers
increased, and cultivation be promoted. This is the sub-
stance of the belief of the Charv^k,

We will explain it more clearly ; their creed is as fol-
lows : As the creator is not manifest, and the compre-
hension of mankind cannot attain to any certain knowl-
edge about him, why should we submit to the bondage of
an object doubtful, imaginary, if even wished for, yet not
found ; and why should we, in temples and monasteries,
rub our foreheads on the ground, and present offerings to
deities whose reality, as all agree, will not stand trial? And
why, for the promise of heaven and of future beatitude
should we, like blockheads, abstain from abundance of de-
sirable things, from conveniences and blandishments? A
wise man will not give ready money for an adjourned
good, and deliver up place and power upon the lying
accounts of books, which eloquent men call Vedas, or
heavenly books ; it is upon their authority that they ex-
tinguish all desires in themselves, and press the necks of
men, like those of animals, in halters. We ought not to
be deceived ; we ought not to believe what is not evident.
The frame of the body is composed of four elements, which
by the necessity of nature are united harmoniously together ;
as long as the constitution is firm and health flourishing,
it is proper to enjoy whatever is desirable by its nature, pro-
vided no harm to living creatures arises from it ; when the
frame falls asunder, the state to which the element returns
can only be the element ; after the disjunction of the bodily
structure there is no ascent to a higher mansion, no beat-
itude or quietness, no descent, or fire, or hell. These sec-
taries, when they hear the Vedas recited, say jokingly :
** These are sick persons in a painful fit, or hired journeymen
in an uproar.' When they behold the zunar (sacred
thread) upon the neck of a Brahman, they say : ** A cow
will not be without a rope.'' When they find a pious per-
son watching by night, they say : ^^ He aspires to the dig-
nity of an owl." When they encounter a hermit upon a
mountain, they remark: "He strives to outdo a bear."
When a person practices the restraining of breath, they



«7o THE DABISTAN

observe: "He wishes to imitate a snake. *^ Of a person in
a bath, they say : " He chooses the dwelling of a fish or a
frog '* Moreover, when the Hindus relate that Brahma,
Vichnu, and Mahad6o, their three great divinities, are the
creator, the preserver, and the destroyer of the world,
they reply : " They represent nothing else than the sexual
organs.*^

The Doctrine of Tark

Tark sastra is the science of dialectics ; it is divided into
sixteen parts, as follows : the first, Prayndna; this is the
application of the science, which is subdivided into four
parts: I. Par'ikshd; that is, evidence, which with them is
the sense of discriminating what is particular and well
defined; 2. Anumdna; that is, after having perceived the
mark of an object, to infer its existence; thus shall I call a
mountain igni-vomous , on account of the smoke which pro-
ceeds from it; 3. Apamdna; that is "resemblance'^; thus I
shall say, such as is a cow such is also an elk (or gayal) ;
although I may not have seen an elk, but only heard that
it is like a cow ; 4. Sabda ; t\ia.t \%, " sound'*; by these they
mean speeches which people adopt as sacred; such as "the
Hindus have the Vedas, and the Muselmans the Koran."
These are the four parts which constitute the Pratndna.

The second of the sixteen divisions of the Tark sastra is
Pramiti, that is, the comprehension of what is conjoint and
concomitant. This division is subdivided into twelve parts,
namely, i. Atmd, that is "spirit''; and means something
which is distinct from what is material and sentient ; some-
thing everlasting, eternal, very subtile in all bodies ; 2. Sarlrd,
that is "body"; and this they define to be the seat of sen-
suality and of maladies; 3. fndriya, "the exterior senses";
and these they call the organs of perception; 4. Artha^ and
this they declare to be " the earthly existences " ; 5. Buddhi^
which they term "knowledge"; 6. lilanas, "or the interior
sense, which with the Hindus is the heart," and that is
enough ; 7, Pravritti, and this consists in justice or injustice;
8. D6sha, that is "sinful error," and this is subdivided into
three parts, viz: Rdga, and this is " sensual lust "; Dvtsha^



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 271

that is "hate, enmity'*; Muka, and this is "gross ignorance '*;
9. the ninth of the twelve subdivisions is Pretyab/idva,
which is, ^'^ the reproduction either of the tree from the seed,
or of the animal from the sperma'*; 10. Phal, or "the good
consequence of the good, or the bad consequence of the bad,*'
which means "retribution**; 11. Dukh, or "pain**; and
12. Apavarg-a, that is, "delight,** or the satisfaction of truth,
from which they derive emancipation, or mukt, in the lan-
guage of their learned men. Whoever is in full posses-
sion of it banishes far from himself twenty-one maladies
which they enumerate, namely; i. Sarircu, or "the body'*;
2. Shadindriya^ that is, "the six senses,** five of which are
exterior, and the sixth is, according to the Hindus, the
interior sense, except which they know of no other ; they
say, the mind is the lord of the exterior senses; 3. Shad-
darsa, that is, "the six particular objects of the six senses**;
so as seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, smelling
with the nose, tasting with the tongue, touching with the
hand, and perceiving with the mind; he who sees is one,
and that which is seen is another; so that there is a seeing
eye and a seen object ; whatever is seen, heard, smelled,
tasted, touched, and impressed upon the mind, corresponds
respectively to each of the six senses ; and whatever is
found by these six senses, or the six objects, are called Shad-
darsas; these six, with the six former senses, and the sar'ira,
or "body,** make thirteen; add to these six buddhaya, or
"powers of comprehension**; further, sukkd, or "sensual
delight**; and finally, dukh, or "pain,** and you have the
twenty-one affections before mentioned.

The third of the sixteen parts of the Tarka is the sans' -
aya : this consists in pondering whether a certain object
be such a thing or another, as when a person sees from a
distance an object and is not certain what it is, whether it
be a mineral or a man.

The fourth part is the Pray6Jana, that is, *^ motive,**
which they explain thus : as when one by order goes to
find something either good or bad.

The fifth part is the Drishtdnta ; that is, *^ comparison
by way of illustration ** ; so when they compare a moun-
tain and a kitchen, that is : the mountain contains fire, and



272 THE DABISTAN

so does the kitchen, and both indicate it by the smoke
which they emit.

The sixth part is the Siddhanta ; and this is knowing
something with certainty.

The seventh part is Avayava, ** dividing a subject into
minute parts '* ; for instance, when they say : *^ the moun-
tain contains fire on account of smoke," so is, in this
question, the first part termed pratijnya^ or ^* proposition,'*
THE MOUNTAIN CONTAINS FIRE ; the sccond part, called
Jihtu, or ** cause, reason '* ; in this thesis is, on account of

THE SMOKE WHICH IT EMITS.

The eighth part is Tarka, that is, ^* arguing " ; so when
they say, ^^ the mountain contains no fire,'* it may be re-
plied, ** consequently it also emits no smoke.'*

The ninth part is Nirneya ; which is to find the truth
immediately.

The tenth is Vdda, or ** discussion ** ; that is, to raise
questions about God and the saints.

The eleventh is J alp a ; that is, " wrangling '* ; when one,
in the establishment of what is right, endeavors to con-
quer his adversary.

The twelfth part is Vitandd; which means that one pays
no attention to his own position, but combats that of other
persons.

The thirteenth part is hctivdbhdsa, or ^* fallacious argu-
ment ** ; so when one says : ^* sound is eternal '* ; because what
may be seen by the eye is like the sky, and just as the sky
is perceived by sight, so is sound the perception of the ear.

The fourteenth part is Ch' hala, ** deceit " ; this is when
one substitutes one meaning for another : so as the Persian
word ndii kambil means "a new cover," or "nine covers,"
it may give occasion to equivocation.

The fifteenth part is Jdti, " futile argument " ; and this
may be applied to a lying purpose : so when one says that
** sound is eternal," because it is created, as is the sky; both
are the works of a divinity ; and whereas the sky is eternal,
sound is everlasting.

The sixteenth part is Nigraha^ or " subjugation " ; that is,
when one wishes to be a conqueror at the end of a dispute
with another.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 273

These are the sixteen parts of the Tarka. The followers
of this doctrine judge and affirm that, as this world is cre-
ated, there must be a Creator; the mukt^ or "emancipation,**
in their opinion means striving to approach the origin of
beings, not uniting like the warp and the web, the threads
of which, although near, are nevertheless separate from each
other. This was related to me by the Imam Arastii, who
was a chief of the learned and said to me that he had de-
rived it from an old treatise upon logic, the precepts of
which were without explanation, and to have bestowed on
it that arrangement under which it now exists among the
learned : he meant, probably, that the maxims are the same
as those extracted from the Tarka. The same doctrine was
taught in Greece ; in confirmation of this, the Persians say,
that the science of logic which was diffused among them
was, with other sciences, translated into the language of
Yonia and Rumi, by order of king Secander, the wor-
shiper of science, in the time of his conquest, and sent to
Riimi.



THE BUDDHISTS

THKSK are called yatis. They have no belief in incarna-
tions or Avatdrs of the Deity, but they admit the

transmigration of the soul into different bodies; they
deny several other dogmas of the Hindus; in their opinion
nothing is more detestable than the doctrine of the Brah-
mans, and when a misfortune befalls any one of them, they
say : ^* Hast thou perchance done some good to a Brah-
man, or drunk some water of the bo7ie devourer^^ : so they
call the Ganges, because the Hindus, after the burning of
the dead, throw their bones into that river, and think it a
meritorious act. The Jatis take the greatest care of not
hurting a living being ; on which account they do not like
to pass through water, for fear that an animal might come
under their feet. They eat no animal food, never put their
feet upon grass, and when they drink water, they filter it
first through a handkerchief or a piece of cloth, that no
living animal may remain in it, and then steep this piece of
cloth awhile in water, in order that, if a living being stick
thereto, it may be separated, and take its place in the
liquid. A great number of the Banians or traders are of
this sect ; for the most part they sell corn, and some get a
livelihood as servants. The durvishes of this class are called
Srivaras and Jatis. They pluck the hair of their head
and beard by means of tweezers. When they travel, they
carry a besom of the bark of a soft tree with them, and
out of regard for the life of animals, they sweep the road
with it before they put down their feet, that no living in-
sect may be destroyed. When they speak, they hold a
handkerchief before their mouth, not to swallow a fly or
other insect.

They are frequently learned, and pass their life in celi-
bacy and sanctity ; these they call Jatis, who never be-



Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 25 of 37)