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OVERWEIGHTS OF JOY
OVERWEIGHTS OF JOY
Keswick Missionary C.E.Z.M.S.
AUTHOR OF "THINGS AS THEY ARK," ETC.
WITH PREFACE BY
REV. T. WALKER
C.M.S. South India
HE MUST REIGN
LONDON: MORGAN AND SCOTT
(OFFICE OF "tftlje djmtian")
12, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C.
And may be ordered of any Bookseller
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I HAVE been frequently asked by readers of Miss
Wilson-Carmichael's former book, Things as They
Are, and sometimes with considerable incredulity,
" But is it really true ? "
I take this opportunity of saying, once for all, that,
so far as my experience goes, after twenty years of
Missionary work in Southern India, I can endorse it as
quite true. An Indian civilian, whose duties lie in that
part of this great continent with which the book specially
deals, expressed to us his surprise that anyone should be
startled by what they call its " sad revelations " ; for, as
he said, " they are commonplaces to many of us out here."
Possibly he had seen things " under the surface," which
do not lie patent to the view of all, whether missionaries
or civilians. However that may be, I repeat my personal
testimony that Miss Carmichael has accurately described
" things as they are," writing from a special standpoint.
It is true, absolutely true, that indifference to the glad
tidings of the Gospel is the order of the day among the
multitude of non-Christians who surround us here. As
Dr. Miller put it so well at the Keswick Convention of
1903, speaking of the people of Hausaland, " Make no
mistake. They do not want the Gospel ; but they sorely
need the Gospel."
It is true again, absolutely true, that untold cruelties
abound in heathendom. While we missionaries gladly
recognise the good qualities of many of our Hindu friends,
and love the people among whom we work, we should
yet be criminally blind if we shut our eyes to ugly facts.
The tyranny of caste leads to evils which are beyond
words to tell. Why should the supporters of Foreign
Missions, who quote and requote the text on Missionary
platforms at home, " All the earth is full of darkness and
cruel habitations," be startled and shocked when they are
plied with facts, hot from actual experience, which after
all are only concrete illustrations of the platform text ?
It is true also, absolutely true, that here, in Southern
India, we are " skirting the abyss," an abyss which is
deep and foul beyond description, and yet is glorified, to
Hindu eyes, by the sanctions of religion. Growing
knowledge and accumulating information are only serving
to make the awful darkness of that fell abyss more and
more visible to view.
Once more, it is true, absolutely true, that the fight is
an uphill one. With all my might would I emphasise
this fact. India has not yet been won. Thank God for
what has been done; and Miss Carmichael was not
ignorant of it when she wrote her book, as will be clear
to anyone who reads between the lines. But let there
be no doubt about it ; the upper ranks of Hindu society
show a practically unbroken front. The Shah Najafs
are not yet taken. The citadels of Hinduism and
Mohammedanism frown down haughtily on our feeble
and desultory attacks. What then ? Have we no
soldier-spirit in us ? Shall we say, like some of Nehe-
miah's builders when difficulties loomed ahead, " The
strength of the bearer of burdens is decayed, and there
is much rubbish, so that we are not able to build the
wall ? " Or shall we not rather say, with grand old
Nehemiah himself, whose courage only rose with danger,
" Be not afraid of them ; remember the Lord which is
great and terrible, and fight " ?
When the " Black Week " in South Africa seemed to
bring disaster on disaster to British arms, it only served
to stimulate the courage of our people, and to nerve
them for the fight. The whole Empire rose, as one man,
in the strength of a firm determination, " This thing
must be carried through." So be it with the Christian
Church. Because the odds against us are so great, and
because the task is so stupendous, and because " things as
they are " seem otherwise than we had hoped, brothers !
let us face the work in deadly earnest ; let us " remember
the Lord " and "fight"
The present volume is a sort of sequel to Things as
They Are. Let me say of this book also, that you may
rely on its accuracy ; it is a description of facts ; it is
certainly true. It offers to sinking spirits something of
a cordial in the shape of Overweights of Joy. But it is
not intended, for a moment, to " tone down " the facts of
its predecessor. It would not be true if it did. And
Truth (with a capital "T") is the main thing. "We
can do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth."
T. WALKER, C.M .8.
I. "BEFORE THE GODS WILL I SING" . . .1
II. THE FORT ...... 5
III. HE MAKETH THE STARS . . . .14
IV. "Lo! THESE ARE PARTS OF HlS WAYS " . .21
V. "YET" 26
VI. OPENED . ..... 34
VII. THE CLAN 40
VIII. THE CLUE . ... 47
IX. THE SHAH NAJAF . . . . .52
X. " FOLLOW THE GLEAM " . . . .60
XI. "THE GRACE OF THE PEOPLE TO COME" . . 67
XII. ALONE 78
XIII "No BEAUTY THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE HIM" . 89
XIV. "WITH His STRIPES WE ARE HEALED" . . 98
XV. "HE SHALL SEE OF THE TRAVAIL OF HlS SOUL " . 104
XVI. "NOT PEACE, BUT A SWORD". . . .113
XVII. "AT VARIANCE" 120
XVIII. " ALL THESE THINGS " 132
XIX. GARDENS BY THE RIVER'S SIDE . . .146
XX. A SINGING BIRD IN GOD'S GARDEN . . 154
XXI. DRY LAND 162
XXII. "LET IT BRING FORTH TENDER GRASS" . . 169
XXIII. "AND IT WAS so" . . 174
XXIV. "HOLD ME ON WITH A STEADY PACE" . .183
XXV. DARKENED WINDOWS . . . .191
XXVI. GRAVES WHICH APPEAR NOT . . . 200
XXVII. "DAGON MUST STOOP" . . . .212
XXVIII. THE SPACES BETWEEN . . 220
XXIX. MOSAIC ..... .230
XXX. BACKGROUND . . . . . .241
XXXI. WARPED LAND . ... 250
XXXII. THE CHILDREN'S HOUR . . . .260
XXXIII. GREEN CLOUDS AND THE LAMPS OF GOD'S VILLAGE 268
XXXIV. LOOSED 279
XXXV. PERSIST . . . . . .285
XXXVI. THE SONG OF THE LORD 291
Two LITTLE OVERWEIGHTS OF JOY . . . Frontispiece
ROCK BELOW TIGER'S CAVE ON THE GHAUT KOAD
LEADING UP PROM THE PLAINS . . . Facing page 5
" LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE? CHRISTIANS AT HOME?" 15
STAR'S LITTLE COUSIN . . . . 17
IN THE SHAH NAJAF :
TYPE No. 1. THE BRAHMAN . 53
2. WORKERS IN GOLD . 55
3. WORKERS IN IRON . 67
4. WORKERS IN WOOD . 58
A DROP FROM THE SEA ; A GRAIN FROM THE HEAP 75
NELBETTA (THE SPLIT ROCK), NEDUVATAN . . 78
Showing the plateau and the plains 4000 feet
"THEIR INSCRUTABLE FACES TOLD ME NOTHING " . 80
MOUNTAIN BOUNDARY BETWEEN BRITISH INDIA AND
TRAVANCORE . . . . 113
The double-peaked shadow is cast by Makurti,
from which mountain the photo was taken.
LOTUS ........ 121
BRILLIANCE ....... 123
LOTUS' AUNT AND LITTLE COUSIN . . 124
LOTUS' STUDENT COUSIN . . . 130
TAKEN IN OUR COMPOUND . . . 134
THE TEMPLE MUSICIAN
ONE OP THE ORTHODOX RELATIONS OF THE
BRAHMAN WIDOW ....
ON THE VERANDAH .....
THE FALLS OF DARKNESS, NEAR SESSPARA
LAMB'S ROCK .....
In the middle distance is the Droog from
whose summit Tiboo Sahib is said to have
hurled his prisoners down the precipice.
TYPICAL YOUNG WIFE ....
EAGLE CLIFF : SHOWING THE PLAINS ON THE
EASTERN SIDE .....
ITINERATING WORK ON THE PHYSICAL SIDE
SESSPARA TOP .....
When last we went to Sesspara the valley
and all the surrounding hills were completely
covered by sunlit mist. We stood as it were
on the edge of the world and looked over.
There was nothing anywhere to be seen but a
shining dream of white.
LAV ANA ......
PREENA AND LAV ANA ....
FIREFLY AND ANOTHER CHILD
How WE CRADLE OUR BABIES
RUKMA AND PREEYA .....
LOLA AND LEELA .....
SUNSET ON THH FOOTHILLS : FROM MAKURTI PEAK
Facing page 136
"I have more than an
Overweight of Joy"
ii CUR. vii. 4
Conybtare and Howstn's Translation
THE photos of village and town's folk, usually typical of
life and character on the plains, were taken by the
comrade known as "The Picture-catching Missie Animal,"
Those of our little children were given by another friend.
Those of the mountains are the work of an expert in capturing
the spirit of the wilds. Several of the photographs are rare,
notably the one which shows the curious double-peaked
shadow of the mountain from which the photo was taken.
These mountains, the thousand mile range of the Western
Ghauts, whether South by our homeside at Dohnavur, or four
hundred miles North where great arms branch off and form
the Nilgiri (Blue Mountain) group, at all times, in all moods,
are strength and inspiration to us, veritable Overweights of
Joy. It would be ungrateful not to share what can be shared
of them with you. But thoroughly to enjoy a scenery photo
imagine yourself and your camera camping out on the
mountains. Fill the forests with life, the clouds with move-
ment. Flood all the wide spaces with light and with colour.
Then let the wind blow over the uplands, and stir the grasses
and the little mountain flowers at your feet.
OVERWEIGHTS OF JOY
"Before the gods will I sing"
THE main purpose of this book is single and simple.
It is to let the song out before the gods in pos-
session here. A sentence spoken in the Keswick
Convention some years ago suggested the thought.
The sentence, as it reached us in South India, ran
" I will praise Thee with my whole heart ; before the
gods will I sing praise unto Thee " his (the Psalmist's)
glad resolve to sing praises unto his God, not in a clear
and open atmosphere, but before the gods, the giant
powers which lay behind the giant heathenism of his
day. He, as it were, looked them in the face, and
weighed their strength and force ; and although they
seemed to suggest the hopelessness of the cause of God,
he was not moved. " Before the gods will I sing praise
If this book's atmosphere is dark it is because the
2 "BEFORE THE GODS WILL I SING "
gods, the giant powers which lie behind the subtle
systems of our day, still exist in strength and force.
The song is sung in the night : let no one dream the
night has passed.
Here and there through the valley of Christendom in
India there has been a noise and a shaking, and a
Coming of the Breath. We have seen and heard
something which in its mystery and spontaneity passes
anything we knew before. But we have not seen India
stirred. No movement in the valley has as yet affected
those wastes of desolation that rise like mountains bare
and bleak and utterly lifeless around us. " Bow Thy
heavens, Lord, and come down : touch the mountains
and they shall smoke " we have not seen that yet
We are waiting to see such a manifestation of Divine
energy as shall convince the Hindu and Mohammedan
world that the LOBD is GOD. And now in the moment
of pause before the coming of the Power, now while we
wait, we sing.
The book is meant mainly for those who read Things
as They Are, and were discouraged by it. We know
there were some who in reading it did not catch the
under-song that sang through the bitter battle. The
Tamil words on the cover, " Victory to Jesus," were not
interpreted. They put the book down in despair
" if these things are so, is prayer answered at all ?
Is it worth while going on ? " " Nay, do not wrong
Him by thy heavy thought," let Overweights answer
earnestly. Prayer is being answered. It is worth while
But though we would praise Him with our song, His
A FOREWORD 3
Word alone is the cause of our sure confidence. The
song may brighten the day's work, and lighten the very
night, but nothing short of the Word of the Lord stands
strong through everything. This battle is His. The
victory was won on the Resurrection morning. Christ
our King is King of the ages. Although we could not
sing we would still go on.
The " we " of the book refers usually to our small
band here, Rev. T. Walker, Mrs. Walker, and our Indian
comrades, who on the women's side are the faithful
Golden, Pearl, and Blessing, and, of late years, Star, Joy,
Gladness, 1 and others, without whose loyal co-operation
the work that has grown among the Temple-children
would have been impossible. But though for the sake
of straightforward story-telling I explain the personnel,
there is nothing we should so deprecate as the focusing
of attention upon us. Rather overlook us, and look
wherever in all the field you have a friend who would
welcome the cheer of a freshened affection, and the
sympathy which braces because it understands.
Perhaps in order to avoid needless misunderstanding
it should be said at the outset that we write from Old
India, and that we do not profess to touch upon aspects
and problems affecting New India and India in transition,
matters so delicate and intricate that they are better left
to abler pens. Each phase of life as we find it here is
a study in itself. Each is intensely interesting. But
the voice that speaks through these pages, if indeed we
have caught it clearly enough to make it articulate to
others, is the voice of the old land : for of the three
1 Translated names.
4 "BEFORE THE GODS WILL I SING"
distinct voices sounding in India to-day, we have heard
it longest and know it best.
Finally, we have tried to be true. We cannot say
more. Those who have tried to be true know how
difficult truth-telling is, perhaps because we see so little
of the whole truth at a time. We found a large shell
on the shore one day, blackened at the edges, iridescent
above. It lay where the wave had washed it, wet and
shining on the sand. The south-west monsoon had
brought us many beautiful things. The sand was strewn
with them. But this special shell for loveliness lay alone
among them, and we stopped before we picked it up to
look at it in its setting of sand, which on that part of
the coast sparkles as if garnet dust had been sprinkled
over it. Then we saw that the little Crustacea had
stopped to look at it too. They were crawling over it
and into it and all about it ; but they did not see it as a
whole. They were too small. Truth is like that shell.
We are like the infant crabs and beach fleas. Perhaps
the most we can hope to do is to tell the changeful
colours of the little bit of the shell we see, avoiding
over-colouring as we would avoid a lie. And we can
resist the temptation to omit all mention of the broken,
blackened edges of the shell.
IT was early afternoon on the edge of a South Indian
town, at the place where it touches the desert. It
was hot, but those happy little sun -birds, the
children, darted about in the sunshine, or played in the
doubtful shadow of the palms which border the Brahman
street. There were vivid splashes of colour where the
little children played, otherwise the street was colourless
and empty, for the people who lend it life were out of
sight in the close dark of windowless rooms, trying to
feel cool. To the left of where we stood, above house-
tops and palms, rose the central Temple tower, carved
in stone for a hundred feet. A wall faced us, crossing
the end of the street.
The wall was of clay, clumsily but massively built,
rough with uneven additions and patches, the work of
careless generations. It was bare and ugly, and covered,
as all the world was then, with the dust of rainless
months. The little flowers and grasses that had struggled
for life on its ridges, in the last wet season, had been
burnt up long ago. Only their famished shreds were
left to tell how the poor wild things had tried to decorate
man's prosaic. But green trees showed above it. We
wondered what was inside.
6 THE FORT
A door was set deep in the wall, facing the Brahman
street. We knocked, but no answer came. Then
friendly voices called us from across the street, and we
saw that friendly faces were watching us from verandah-
shaded doorways. We crossed again, sat down gratefully
in the shadowy recess of a verandah, and questioned our
new friends about the place behind the wall. But India,
though frank, is reticent. The door at which we had
knocked was always locked. The Fort lay behind the
wall. This was all they cared to say. So we talked of
other things for awhile, until we had passed the first
boundary-line fencing us off from their confidence, and
they told us part of what they knew, the pith of which
lay in the fact that there were people in the Fort whose
ways were not as theirs, and therefore most uninteresting,
unworthy our inquiry. The women, they told us, never
came outside. Never till death was a woman seen out.
And even then she was not seen. She was sewn in a
sack and carried out by a gate in the wall on the other
side. Two such gates lay on that side. By one dead
women were carried out, and by the other, men. No
townsman ever went into the Fort. All men of all
castes were strictly forbidden, except the servants of the
Fort who tilled the Fort lands outside. There was no
stringent law about women ; but no woman they knew
had ever gone in. " May we go in ? " we asked.
The question came as a surprise. Every face was a
blank. They had never thought of going in. And yet
they had lived all their lives within sound of a laugh
or a cry from the walls. The East and the West meet
often, but sometimes they walk apart. Perhaps the
WHY GO IN ? 7
Eastern way is the more dignified. Why should we pry
into what, for probably excellent reasons, our neighbour
has concealed ?
Something a little less fine, may be, is mixed up with
this sentiment ; for the women's remarks hardly suggested
the sublime. " Why go in ? There is nothing to see.
The people are not like us. They are mere animals ;
poor jungle creatures." Then after a pause came the
hesitating after-thought : " Once, it is said, a white
woman went in, and nothing evil befell her " as if a
thought of evil had ever crossed one's mind ! " But this
is foolish talking ; you would be as a parrot watching
the silk cotton pod [the pod ripens, the wind blows the
light-winged seed away, the parrot gets nothing] ; for
even if they let you pass the wall, you might wait for a
lifetime and never see a woman. Each lives in her
house with the door fast shut."
There is a curious instinct in our race, which always
wants to explore the unknown, and finds in discourage-
ment impetus. This moved within us as the women
talked. " It is hot, so hot," they repeated dissuadingly.
" Why go out in such a heat ? " But we went.
It was certainly hot. There was no shade. The
wall seemed to concentrate heat, and throb it out to us.
Below, the dust struck hot through one's shoes. Above,
the sky overflowed with light, a clear white blaze of heat.
There is a beautiful story in the " Kamayana " (one of
India's epics) which tells how Kama, Prince of Oudh,
and Lakshman, his noble young brother, while journeying
with their spiritual guide through forest and plain, came
to an arid desert, " so hot that the tongue would scorch
8 THE FORT
if it tried to describe it." But the guide taught the lads
a certain charm, and as they chanted it the fiery ground
changed for them into cool water springs. We thought
of this old tale then. We have a Charm by which life's
glowing sand becomes a pool, and even the common fiery
ground to be trodden under common feet is cooled by
the Charm for us. So, hardly minding about the heat,
we traced the wall further, and came to a door fitted with
huge locks and bars, and a hinge that looked centuries
old. The door was open. We went in. A white-washed
wall built half-way across intercepted the view. We stood
there for a moment, and then went on, passed another
wall, mud-built and broken, and saw fine tamarind trees
shading the approach, and altars guarding it; beyond
stood picturesque groups of red-roofed houses, and great
stacks of straw. We had no time to see more ; for
before we reached the houses an old man met us, and
leading us back to the door, asked us our business.
He was a very old man. From his ears hung long
gold rings. His dress was the loin-cloth and scarf of the
South. His manners were those of a chief. " These
tidings," he said, after listening a little, " are excellent
for those outside, the ignorant people of the town. But
we of the Fort are different. We require nothing
external. Nor do we desire it," he added, " so kindly
A year passed before we had an opportunity of
attempting the Fort again. But such a year need not
be wasted, and we went with hope renewed. We tried
to find the head of the Clan, to win his consent to our
visiting it, but no one outside could direct us to him ;
N AT LAST 9
so believing we were meant to go in, and that the
way would be otherwise opened, and asking that the
very light might be spread as a covering for us to
veil us from any who would disapprove, we walked
This time we were not turned back. Unhindered we
wandered through silent streets, so strangely silent that
they seemed like streets in a city of the dead. The
houses were solidly built, and often enclosed in courtyard
walls. Their windows were few, and heavily barred.
We stopped before one notable house, three-storied,
built of stone and brick, coloured buff, terra-cotta, and
blue. There was some fine wood-carving in the lower
verandah, and the upper balcony was decorated with a
pineapple device. There were small outhouses near,
and a deep empty well, cut in a regular spiral. But
not a woman or a child was visible anywhere. In the
distance we saw men, but they did not see us. The
blaze of noontide covered us as with a shining screen.
We walked on unaccosted, down a short street, with four
small quaint houses on either side, all shut up. They
reminded one of a book often examined in childish days,
which had a lock and key . What wonderful things must
be inside, too wonderful for everyday reading, and so it
is locked up we thought, never imagining then, as we
handled it almost reverently, that the wonderful things
concerned mere money matters. But here there was a
difference. Wonderful things were most surely inside.
Only the old house-book was locked, and the key hung
out of reach. We sat down on one of the little stone
verandahs, facing an iron-clamped door. No one saw us,
10 THE FORT
for no windows looked out on the street. The stillness
was oppressive. Was the place asleep or dead ?
At last the door opposite opened. A woman looked
out. She was just going to slam it, dismayed, when a
smile reassured her, and before she could make up her
mind what to do, we were on the other side of the
narrow street, persuading her to let us sit on her
verandah, and to keep her door open six inches, and let
us talk to her.
She was a pleasant-faced motherly woman, this pro-
duct of a system considered exclusive even in exclusive
India. She had the peculiar sweetness and grace of the
typical Indian woman of gentle birth. There was the
flash of quiet humour too. She was very human. Had
she lost anything after all by her long exclusiveness ?
Perhaps her life had included life's essentials ; she had
her home. We talked with her, and after her first
surprise had passed, she talked with us. Then we knew
what she had lost.
For we had not come to play in the shallows, to
study character or creed, or a new and suggestive prob-
lem. We had come to speak to the soul in the name
of God about that which concerned it infinitely. The
first thing, then, was to find the soul, and only those
who have talked to one whose mind is as a fast closed
outer room, know how much may hinder the finding of a
way into the far more fast closed inner room we call the
The woman listened as one asleep. The message we
had brought was something so remote from anything
she had heard before, that it fell on her ear as a strange
FURTHER IN 11
song sung to a bewildering tune. How could it be
otherwise ? The " murmur of the world " outside had
never reached her. Her range of vision, mental as well
as physical, was bounded almost absolutely by the wall
that surrounded her house. It is true that the call that