Charles Reed Peers.

Universal classics library (Volume 6) online

. (page 34 of 37)
Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 34 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


he says to the inferiors: * My words are above your under-
standing, and your study will not comprehend them.* To
the intelligent he says : *■ My faith is above the mode of
reason.* Thus, his religion suits neither the ignorant nor
the wise. Another evil attending submission to an incom-
prehensible doctrine is that, whatever the intellect possesses
and offers by its ingenuity, turns to no instruction and advan-
tage of mankind, while the prophet himself has said: —

** * God imposes upon a man no more than he can bear.'

" And whatever the understanding does not comprise within
the extent of reason, the truth of this remains hidden; and
to assent thereto is silliness ; because the doctrine of other
wise men may be of a higher value than the tradition



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 369

or the book of that prophet. Besides, if the maxim were
inculcated that prophets must be right, anybody who chose
could set up the pretension of being one ; as silly men will
always be found to follow him, saying: ^ His reason is su-
perior to ours, which is not equal to such things.^ Hence
have arisen among the Muselmans and other nations so many
creeds and doctrines, as well as practices without number.

" Another defect is that, when the religion of one
prophet has been adopted, and when his rule has been fol-
lowed in the knowledge and worship of God, after a cer-
tain time another prophet arises, who prescribes another
religion to the people. Hence they become perplexed, and
know not whether the former prophet was a liar, or
whether they ought to conclude that in each period man-
kind is to alter the law according to circumstances. But
the knowledge of truth admits no contradiction ; yet there
exists a great number of contradictions in the four sacred
books : hence it appears that, in the first times, the true
God has not made himself known, and that the first creed
with respect to him had been wrong; thus, in the second
book, something else is said, and in like manner in the
third and in the fourth.

*' In the sequel it became evident to wise men, that
emancipation is to be obtained only by the knowledge of
truth conformably with the precepts of the perfect prophet,
the perfect lord of fame. Akbar, * the Wise ^; the prac-
tices enjoined by him are: renouncing and abandoning the
world ; refraining from lust, sensuality, entertainment,
slaughter of what possesses life ; and from appropriating
to one's self the riches of other men ; abstaining from
women, deceit, false accusation, oppression, intimidation,
foolishness, and giving (to others) opprobrious titles. The
endeavors for the recompense of the other world, and the
forms of the true religion may be comprised in ten virtues,
namely: i. liberality and benefixence ; 2. forbearance from
bad actions and repulsion of anger with mildness ; 3. ab-
stinence from worldly desires ; 4. care of freedom from
the bonds of the worldly existence and violence, as well
as accumulating precious stores for the future real and
perpetual world; 5. piety, wisdom, and devotion, with
24



370 THE DABISTAN

frequent meditations on the consequences of actions ; 6.
strength of dexterous prudence in the desire of sublime
actions; 7. soft voice, gentle words, and pleasing speeches
for everybody ; 8. good society with brothers, so that their
will may have the precedence to our own ; 9. a perfect
alienation from the creatures, and a perfect attachment to
the supreme Being; 10. purification of the soul by the
yearning after God the all-just, and the union with the
merciful Lord, in such a manner that, as long as the soul
dwells in the body, it may think itself one with Him and
long to join Him, until the hour of separation from the
body arrives.

** The best men are those who contest themselves with
the least food, and who sequestrate themselves from this
perishable world, and abstain from the enjoyments of eat-
ing, drinking, dress, and marriage. The vilest of the peo-
ple are those who think it right to indulge the desire of
generation, the passion for wine, and banqueting with
eagerness, as if it were something divine. As the mode
which the perfect prophet and apostle, Akbar the Wise,
has prescribed to his followers, is difficult, certainly the
demons excite the spirit of brutish passion against his reg-
ulations; so that there are prophets who, captivated with
lust, anger, pleasures of eating and drinking, costly gar-
ments, beautiful women, and engaged in oppression toward
the children of one race, whom they call infidels, consider
these practices not only as legal, but even as laudable, and
tend toward them. So it happens that many learned men
and their followers, who, for the sake of the w^orld have
chosen to obey these prophets, but in their heart deny them,
and are aware of the falsehood of this sect, wait for an
opportunity with prudent regard to circumstances and a
favorable hour, to adopt the regulations of Akbar.^^ No-
body in the assembly had an answer to give to the learned
philosopher, who, after the effort which he had made, left
the hall.



THE GREAT JENGHIS KHAN

IN THE histories of the Turks is to be found that Jang-
iskhan worshiped the stars, and several things of won-
derful meaning were connected with his person. In the
first line was that which they call the state of the washt.
Some of the spirits of the stars were his assistants. Dur-
ing several days he was in a swoon, and in this state of
senselessness all that the world-conquering Khan could ar-
ticulate was Hu, hu! It is said that on the first manifes-
tation of this malady, he obtained union with spirits,
victories, and revelations of mysteries. The very same coat
and garment which he first put on were deposited in a
wardrobe, there sealed up, and kept by themselves. Every
time that the illustrious Khan fell into this state, his people
dressed him in that coat, and every event, victory, purpose,
discovery of enemies, defeat, conquest of countries, which
he desired, came upon his tongue ; a person wrote down
every thing, and put it into a bag which he sealed. When
the world-seizing Khan recovered his senses, every thing
was read to him and he acted accordingly, and every thing
he had said took place. He possessed perfectly the science
of divination by means of combs, and having burnt them,
gave his decisions in a manner different from that of other
diviners who paid attention to combs. It is said that,
when this conqueror of the w^orld fell into the hands of
his enemies, he recovered his liberty by the assistance of
Amir Shir KhS,n, who, having given him a mare of Kirang,
enabled him to join his men, w^ho had already despaired of
his life. Tuli Kh4n, who was then in his infancy, said one
day : ** My father, sitting upon a mare of Kirang, is com-
ing near.'* On this very day, the Khan returned in that
manner to his camp. When the Turks saw the wonders
of his acts, they opened freely the road of their affection
to him. Such was his justice and equity, that in his army
nobody was bold enough to take up a whip thrown on

(371)



372 THE DABISTAN

the road, except the proprietor of it; lying and thiev-
ing were unknown in his camp. Every woman among
the Khorisaniin, who had a husband living, had no
attempt upon her person to fear. Thus we read
in the Tabkat Nds'eri, "the degrees of Nas'er," that
when Malik Tdj-ed din, surnamed the King of Gh(3r, re-
turned with the permission of Jangis Khan, from the country
of TS,lkS.n to Gh6r, he related the following anecdote :
"When I had left the presence of Jangis Khan, and sat
down in the royal tent, Aghldti herbi, with whom I came,
and some other friends, were with me, a Moghul brought
two other Moghuls, who the day before had fallen asleep
when on the w^atch, saying : ^ I struck their horses with the
whip, rebuking them for their guilt in sleeping, yet left
them; but to-day I have brought them here.^ Aghlan faced
these tw^o Moghuls, asking them : ^ Have you fallen asleep?*
Both avowed it. He then ordered one of them to be put
to death ; and that his head should be tied to the hair lock
of the other ; the latter then to be conducted through the
camp, and afterward executed. Thus it was done. I re-
mained astonished, and said to Aglan : * There w^as no wit-
ness to prove the guilt of the Moghuls ; as these two men
knew that death awaits them, why have they confessed ?
If they had denied, they would have saved themselves.*
Aghlan Herbi replied : ^ Why art thou astonished ? You,
Taji Khan, you act in this way, and tell lies ; but, should a
thousand lives be at stake, Moghuls would not utter a lie. * "
Jangis Khan raised Oktdyi Khan to the rank of a Khalif,
"successor.'** Chdtayi Khan who was his elder brother,

♦Jangis Khan had four sons, whose rank of seniority is diflferentlj'
stated by different authors, and among whom he divided his vast em-
pire. Octdyi was to rule all the countries of the Moghuls, Kathayans,
and others extending toward the East. He died in the year of the
Hegira 639 (A. D. 1241). Chatayi wis to possess Mawer ul nahir,
Turkistan, Balkh, and Badakhshan. He died in the year of the Hegira
638 (A. D. 1240). Jitji was to reign over Desht, Kapchak, Kharizm,
Khizer, Bulgaria, Lokmin, Alan, As, Russia, and the northern countries.
He died in Hegira 624 (A. D. 1226), during his father's life. Tuli
Khan received for his share Khorassan, India, and Persia; he died
soon after his father; but his sons, Manjuka, Koblai, and Hulagii
became celebrated in history.



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 373

in a drunken fit dashed his horse against Oktiyi Khan,
and then hurried away. When he became sober, he re-
flected upon the danger which would ensue from his act,
and that the foundation of the monarchy might be destroyed
in consequence of it ; therefore, presenting himself as a
criminal, he said to his brother : *^ How could a man like
me presume to measure himself with the King, and dash
his horse against him! Therefore I am guilty, and confess
my crime. Put me to death, or use the whip against me :
you are the judge. '^ Oktayi replied : " A miserable like my-
self, what place should he take ? You are the master : what
am I } — that is, you are the elder, I the younger, brother. *
Finally, ChenghAyi, presenting him nine horses, said : *^ I
ofTer this as a grateful acknowledgment that the King did
not exercise his justice toward me, and that he forgives my
crime. ^^

When Oktayi Khan dispatched Jermdghun^ a commander
of a district furnishing ten thousand men, with an army of
thirty thousand warriors, to reduce the sultan Jelal eddin*
king of Kharazim, at the time of the breaking up of the
army, he said to one of the Omr4s, who was subordinate
to Jermaghtm: "The great affair of Jelal eddin in thy
hand will sufficiently occupy thee.^* Finally, this Amir,
having fallen upon the Sultan Jelal-eddin in Kurdistan,
destroyed him completely. The liberality and generosity
of Oktiiyi Khan was as conspicuous as the sun. When
Tayir Bahdder, in the year of the Hegira 625 (A. D.

*Jangis Khan, during his terrific career, in the fourteenth year of
slaughter, devastation, and conquest, fell upon the empire of Khar-
ism and Ghazni. Muhammed of the Seljuks was driven from all his
possessions, and died a fugitive. He had before divided his empire
between his four sons, to one of whom Jcl&l eddin, he had assigned
Kharizm, Khorassan, Mazinderan, Ghazni, Bamian, Ghor, Bost Taka-
nad, Zamigdand, and all the Indian provinces. This prince, retiring
before superior forces toward Ghazni, gained two battles over the
Moghuls, but was at last obliged to fly to the banks of the Indus.
There, closely pressed by the enemies, who murdered his captive son
seven years old before his eyes, he threw his mother, wife, and the
rest of his family, at their own desire, into the water, and then
swam, with a few followers, across the river, before his admiring
pursuers, who followed him no further.



374 THE DABISTAN

1227) moved the army of the Moghuls from Abt' al to the
country of S'lstdn, they besieged the fort Arak ; at that
time the plague manifested itself among the Moghuls, so
that, at first, a pain was felt in the mouth, then the teeth
moved, and on the third day death ensued. Malik Sdlakin,
the governor of the fort, fixed upon the stratagem that
seven hundred young men should lie in ambush : who,
when they should hear the sound of the war-drum from
the eastern gate, opposite which they were placed, were
to break out from the ambush, and fall on the back of the
enemies. Conformably with this plan, in the morning the
eastern gate was opened, and the Muselmans were engaged
in the assault; but when the drum was beaten, nobody
came forth from the ambush : after three watches, a man
was sent to bring intelligence from that quarter, but he
found them all dead.

The world-conquering Jangiz Khan, at the time of his
wasting away, said to his sons : " Never deviate from
your faith, nor lend your powerful support to other re-
ligions ; because, as long as you remain firmly rooted in
your faith, your people and companions will acknowledge
you as the chiefs of their faith, and count you as the
leaders of worship ; but he who changes his religion for
that of others, being a chief of the faith, may be still
considered as a chief by the people of the new religion ;
but in the eyes of his own people will lose that dignity :
because he who passes over with you to another faith will
esteem as chiefs those of the new faith; besides, he who
remains attached to my faith will also be displeased with
you for not having continued in the religion of his fa-
thers." To sum up all, as long as they conformed them-
selves to the last will of the Khan, they were powerful;
but when they deviated from his counsel, they sunk into
distress and abjection. The stars were favorable to them
in everything.*

* Jangis Khan died in the year of the Hegira 626 (A. D. 1228), in
his sixty-sixth year. He left an empire which extended from the
Indus to the Black sea; from the banks of the Wolga to the remote
plains of China; and from the arid shores of the Persian gulf to the
cold deserts of Siberia. Having in his early age, been driven by his



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 375

It is related: KIk Khan, who was of the family of
Chaghaty' Khan, was one day walking with noblemen of
his suit in the plain, traveling about in the desert. At
once, his looks fell upon bones ; at the same moment he
became thoughtful, and then asked: ^* Do you know what
this handful of bones says to mc?'^ They replied: ^' The
King knows best.** He resumed : ^^ They demand justice
from me as being oppressed.'* He demanded information
about the history of these bones from Amir Haz&rah, who
held this country under his dependence. This governor in-
quired of Amir Sadah, who administered this district under
him ; and after reiterated investigations, it became clear
that, nine years before, a caravan had been attacked at
this place by a band of highwaymen, and plundered of
their property, a part of which remained still in the hands
of the guilty. At last it was recovered from the mur-
derers, and restored to the heirs of the slain who were in
Khor&san.

It is said that, when an army of the Moghuls was oc-
cupied with the siege of the fort of Inibdl^ in which were
the mother and several women of the king of Khararem,
nobody had ever given information that the garrison w^as
distressed for want of water. Although a quantity of
rain-water was collected in the reservoirs, so that during
years they had no need of spring-water, yet at the time
when the Moghuls were encamped before the place to re-
duce it, no rain had fallen, and one day not a drop of
water remained in the reservoirs; the next day the women
of the Turks and Nas'er eddin, with thirsty lips, com-
pelled by necessity came down to surrender; but at the very
moment that they arrived at the foot of the fort, and the
army of the Moghuls entered it, a heavy rain began to



subjects from his home, he passed several years under the protection
of a Christian prince, A'Mc.nk Khan, or Ungh Khan, known to Euro-
peans under the name of Pr ester John; and was therefore supposed
by some to have adopted the Christian religion: thus much is true —
he and his successors protected the Christians and persecuted the
Muhammedans, until Nikud&r Oglan professed the Muhammedan
faith, in A. D. 1281, and drove the Christians out of his empire.



376 THE DABISTAN

pour down, so that the water ran out from the ditches of
the fort. When this intelligence was brought to the Sul-
tan Muhammed, sovereign of Kharazem, he became insen-
sible, and when he recovered his senses, he died without
being able to utter a word.

Upon the whole : as long as the Sultans of the Moghuls
preserved the w^orship of the stars, they conquered the in-
habitants of the world; but, as soon as they abandoned it,
they lost many countries, and those which they kept were
without value and strength.



The Religion of the Philosophers

The distinguished men of that class divide themselves into
two sorts : the one are the Oriental, the other the Occi-
dental. As to the religious customs of the Orientals, let it
be known, that they are also called Ravdkin, and in Per-
sian KesMsh, "the religious," Pertavi, "the splendent,*
and Rdshotdil, "the enlightened, '^ and in Hindi Ner tnel
men and ySkishcr : these names relate to sanctity. The
Occidentals are called in Persian Hah beri, ® w^ay-guides,"
and yoya, "inquirers"; in Hindi Tdrkek.

As to their tendency and opinions — whatever relates to
the creed of the Orientals has already been stated in the
chapter on the Tezddnidn, who are also entitled Azarkd-
shangian, but all that is attributed to the two sects is sym-
bolical. The ancient philosophers of Greece, down to
Ajldtun (Plato), were Oriental; it was Aras'tu (Aristotle),
his disciple, who then took the lead in the doctrine, the
centre of which with this class is the argumentative reason.
Both sects, by means of their discussions, cannot explain
the nature of the self-existing being; the essence, unity,
particularity, and all attributes are inherent in his holy na-
ture, as I have said in the account of the religion of the
Hoshanganlans. They have said besides : God is the world
in its universality, but in its particularity mutable conform-
ably with the whole, as it has been stated in the doctrine
of the Yezd&.nlan. They maintain, the work of God is
according to his will; he does; if he wills not, he does



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 377

not ; but a good work is conformable to his nature : be-
cause all his attributes are perfection, in which sense they
draw necessary conclusions with regard to the nature of God.

« The year of God is that which passeth away ; and thou shalt not
find a change in the years of God.**

Their creed is : God is not the immediate actor ; as it would
not be suitable to the dignity of royalty and sovereignty
to perform himself every business ; but it is proper that he
should appoint some one of his servants who, on account
of his great knowledge and power, is qualified for business,
for the execution of the royal orders and the protection of
the subjects. The latter also may, by the Sultan's order,
name another as Vizir or Nawab, for the affairs ; every one
of these chiefs may install functionaries or agents ; so that
the whole administration may be firmly established accord-
ing to the desire and the order of the sovereign. On that
account, God created a first intellect, called in Persian
Bahfnan, that is, "supreme soul,'^ or Bar6si'i, or Fer6sUy
or Ser6sh seroshdn, and "the science of truth ^* ; he who
produced something " new ^* ; he is also entitled " the true
man : God created man according to his image * ; that is
to say, pure, uncompounded, like reason, betwixt necessity
and possibility,* in the centre between both ; necessity is
on his right side, possibility on his left ; the perfect spirit
rises from the left, which is the side of possibility. With
respect to truth, the image of man is dkl^\ "spirit of wis-
dom, the holy spirit, and the image of Eva a perfect spirit*^ :
on that account it was said that the forthcoming of Eva
took place from Adam's left side. The Sofis also agree
with this, as we find it explained by Shaikh Muhammed

* Imkan,



Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 34 of 37)