Copyright
Benoy Kumar Sarkar.

Chinese religion through Hindu eyes; a study in the tendencies of Asiatic mentality online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryBenoy Kumar SarkarChinese religion through Hindu eyes; a study in the tendencies of Asiatic mentality → online text (page 1 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ENGLISH WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR



1. The Science of History and the Hope of Mankind. (LONGMANS

GREEN & Co., LONDON, NEW YORK). Crown 8vo. viii+76. Price,

2s 6d,

CONTENTS : Problems of History Scope and Function of History Science
of Life World-Forces in Ancient and Mediaeval History International Politics
and National Advancements in modern times International Relations and the
Forms of Governmental Machinery Relativity of Religious Movements to the
Conjuncture of Circumstances Recapitulation World's Greatest Men Outlook.

' ' The book shows an unusually broad conception of history not commonly
found in scholars of oriental birth. The main tendency is to show the paramount
importance of world-forces for the development of every single nation." The
Open Court, Chicago.

2. Introduction to the Science of Education. (LONGMANS).

Translated from Bengali by Major B. D. BASU, I. M.S. (Retired), Editor,
The Sacred Books of the Hindus Series. Crown 8vo. Pp. 141. Price, 3s 6d.

CONTENTS : Methods of Human Science Divisions of Pedagogics The In-
ductive Method of Teaching The Study of Languages The Study of History
The Study of Geography The Study of Mental and Moral Sciences The Study
of Mathematics The Study of Natural and Technical Sciences General Remarks
on the Inductive Method Foreword to the Book Plea for the Work.

' ' Admirable aim . . . Written in the style of Herbert Spencer or Benjamin
Kidd . . . An idealist, a fervent seeker after truth." The Pioneer , Allahabad.

3. Sukra-niti (Hindu Economics and Politics). Rendered into

English from Sanskrit with Introduction and Notes. [T/ie
Sacred Books of the Hindus, Vol. xiii. PANINI OFFICE].

With an Index by NARENDRA NATH I/AW, M.A. , B.Iv. , Author of ' ' Studies
in Ancient Hindu Polity." 8vo. Pp. 36+270. Price, 7s 6d.

CONTENTS : The Duties of Princes The Functions of the Crown Prince and
other State Officials General Rules of Morality Characteristics of Friends
Treasure Arts and Sciences Social Customs and Institutions King's Functions
Fortresses Army Supplementary and Miscellaneous.

4. The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology. Book I. Non-

Political. [The Sacred Books of the Hindus, Vol. xvi. PANINI
OFFICE].

With Appendices by DR. BRAJENDRANATH SEAI,, M.A., Ph.D., King George
V., Professor of Philosophy in the University of Calcutta. 8vo. Pp. xxiii+366
Price, 10s 6d.

CONTENTS : Relativity of Niti-sdstras (Political Science) Data of Ancient
Indian Geography Data of Ancient Indian Ethnology Data of Ancient Indian
Mineralogy Data of Ancient Indian Botany Data of Ancient Indian Zoology.



OPINIONS :

Dr. GILBERT MURRAY, Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford University:
' ' Not only full of learning but full of points that may throw light on the problems
of my own studies."

PROF. MARETT (Oxford), President, Folklore Society of London: "It will
be of the very greatest value to an anthropologist."

DR. MARSHALL, Professor of Economics (Cambridge): "An important
contribution to our knowledge of India. ' '

PROF. MACDONELL (Oxford), Author of a History of Sanskrit Literature :
"It treats of many interesting topics. ...Much attention to bibliography and
references."

5. The Folk- Element in Hindu Culture A Contribution to Socio-

religious Studies in Hindu Folk-Institutions. (LONGMANS).

with the assistance of H. K. Rakshit, B.A. (Wisconsin).

CONTENTS : A Festival of the People The Bengali Folk-Poesy of Shaivaism
The Gambhird, a popular form of Shaiva cult in Northern India The Gdjana,
a popular form of Shaiva cult in Northern India Folk Festivities in Bengal and
Orissa Popular Buddhism in Hindu Bengal Physical Austerities practised by
the people Folk-Dances in Religious Festivals Socialisation and Secularisation
of Hindu Life Buddhist and Jaina Elements in Modern Hinduism National
Festivals of the 7th century A.D. Socio-religious L/ife of the People of Bengal
under the Palas The Tantric Lore of Mediaeval Buddhism R&mai Pandit, a
Folk-Minstrel of Decadent Buddhism People's L/ife in Bengal on the eve of
Moslem Invasion Islam in Popular Hinduism Sanskrit Texts of Shaiva Folk
lore Invention of Gods and Goddesses by the people.

6. Lecture-Notes for University Students:

(a) Economics (General and Historical) - - - 2s 4d.

(b) Constitutions of Seven Modern States Is.

(c) Introduction to Political Science Is.

(d) History of Ancient Europe Is.

(e) History of Mediaeval Europe - - - - - 2s 8d.

(f) History of English L/iterature 2s 8d.

Opinion of Principal Seal, King George V. Professor of Philosophy (Calcutta
University): " Show wide knowledge of the subject matter and are evidently the
outcome of a mind trained in habits of clear, patient, and accurate thinking."

7 The Pedagogy of the Hindus and the Message of India, pp. 48. 6d.

" Proves in forcible, eloquent and convincing language that the graduates
of ancient seminaries did not get an extra dose of other-worldliness, but acquitted
themselves creditably as worthy citizens, making a mark in all professions, walks
of life and departments of human activity, and states the mission of New India
a New India which is not ashamed of acknowledging the parentage of the past
and hopes to transmit untarnished its splendid inheritance." The Vedic
Magazine, Hardwar, India.



To be had of

1. Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co., London, New York, Calcutta, Bombay,

Madras.

2. Maruzen & Co., Tokyo, Japan.

3. Kelly and Walsh, Shanghai, China.

4. Chuckervertty Chatterjee & Co. , Calcutta, India.

5. Panini Office, Allahabad, India.

6. Luzac & Co., London.



BENfiALI WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR

1. Lessons on Sanskrit (without Grammar, according to Inductive

Method). 4s.

2. Lessons on English (without Grammar, according to Inductive

Method). 2s.

3. The Study of Language, is 4d.

4. History of Education in Ancient Greece, is 4d.

5. Siksha Samalochana (Problems in Education).

CONTENTS : Man-making Emancipation of Intellect Social Service as a
School of Moral Training From Facts to Principles The Meaning of National
Education The Educational Missionary An Ideal Educational Scheme The
Content of Religious Education. Pp. 16+140. Is4d.

6. Studies in History.

CONTENTS : The Hindu view of History The Standpoints of Hellas and
Hindusthan The Nature of a Revolution Great Men and the People Sikhism
in Indian National Life The Alexandrian Age in World's Culture The Science
of History Modern India East and West. Pp. 120. Is 4d.

7. Sadhana (Miscellaneous Essays):

CONTENTS : The New Learning in Bengal The Hindu and the Islamite
The Rights of the Proletariat Influence of Physical Science on Life's Attitudes
A Programme Leadership The District of Malda in Modern Bengal A Few
Defects of our Character Idealism Methods of Truth Investigation The Con-
ception of the Infinite as an Element in Religion (Maxmuller) The Question of
University Education of Indian Students through the Mother-Tongues A scheme
for Fostering the Vernaculars of India The Coming World-Renaissance through
Hindu Culture. Pp. 200. Is 4d.

8. The Great Leader of the Negro Race. Translation of Booker T.
Washington's Autobiography. Pp. 276. 2s.

9 Swadeshi Andolana O Samrakshana-Niti. Or "The Swadeshi (i.e.

One's-Own-Country or Home-Industry) Movement and the Policy of Protection "
Translation from the Historical Section of Frederick List's National System of
Political Economy. In the Press.

10. Vartamana Jagat. (The Modern World) A Survey of Present-Day

Tendencies in Industry, Education, Literature, Art and Social Service,
embodying the impressions of a Tour Round the World (1914-16) . Six volumes,
2300 pages.

Vol. I. The Land of Tombs (EGYPT)

CONTENTS : En route to Egypt Port Said The Mahometan Cairo The
Oldest Capital City of the World (Memphis) The City of God Ammon (Karnak)
Egyptian Art in Hill-caves The Southern Gates of Egypt The Granite Hill's
of Assouan The Nile Barrage The ' ' Mixed Courts ' ' The Line of Pyramids
Egyptology The New Egypt Alexander the Great and Mahomet Ali. Pp.
210. 2s.



Vol. II. The Home-Land of the Britisher

CONTENTS: The Voyage to England The Modern World's Centre of
Gravity (London) The Surroundings of Cambridge Second Time in London
The World-renowned Oxford The Rival of Oxford (Cambridge) The Kith and
Kin of Robert Bruce (the Scotchmen) A Rising Educational Centre of England
(Leeds) The Parent of Modern England (Manchester) The Rebellious Brother
of the English (the Irishman) The Eve of the Great War. 90 Sections. Pp. 600.
3s 4d.

Vol. III. The Kuru-kshetra (Armageddon) of
the Twentieth Century.

CONTENTS : The Nemesis of the 19th century Enmity definedFinancing
a War The Money-Market The Panic for Hoarding Provisions The Un-
employed Question in War-time International Commerce A City on the Eve of
War Combatants and Non-combatants The United States of America British
Patriotism The Belligerents and Neutrals Laws of War-Zone Precautions
against Famine Social Service and Philanthropy The Question of Poland
Labour-Problem. Pp. 125. Is.

Vol. IV. Yankee-sthan, or Europe ' Writ Large. '

CONTENTS : Crossing the Atlantic The City of ' ' Sky-scrapers ' ' (New
York) Niagara Falls A State-Capital (Albany) Harvard University The
Federal Capital (Washington, B.C.) The Middle-WestFarther West The
Westernmost city of the World (Panama-Pacific Exposition) Appendix to the
United States (Hawaiian Islands) . 104 Sections. Pp. 500.

Vol. V. The Parent of New Asia (JAPAN) .

CONTENTS : Ten Days on a Japanese Boat The Capital of Free Asia (Tokyo)
Half Japan in one week (Nikko to Sapporo) The Delhi of the Japanese
(Kyoto) Greater India in Old Japan (N^r^-Horiyuji) The Manchester of
the East (OsakA,) Greater Japan (Korea and Manchuria) . 83 Sections. Pp. 500.
In the Press.

Vol. VI. The First Swaraj (Republic) of the Orient (CHINA).

CONTENTS: The Metropolis of Walls (Peking) The first Buddhist Centre
in China (Honan-fu) The Chicago of the Chinese (Hankow) Trip down the
Yangtse The New York of China (Shanghai) A Capital of the Sung Emperors
(Hangchow). 36 sections. Pp.200. In the Press.



Apply to

1) The Panini Office (Academy of Indian Research), Allahabad, India,

(2) The Grihastha Publishing House, Calcutta, India,

(3) The Student's Library, Calcutta, India.



CHINESE RELIGION

THROUGH

HINDU EYES



CHINESE RELIGION

THROUGH

HINDU EYES

A STUDY IN THE TENDENCIES OF
ASIATIC MENTALITY



BY

BENOY KUMAR SARKAR

Translator of Sukra-mti (Hindu Economics and Politics), and Author of

The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology,

The Folk-Element in Hindu Culture, etc.

with an Introduction by

WU TING-FANG, LL.D. -'

Late Chinese Minister to U.S.A., Spain, Peru, Mexico and Cuba



SHAN OH .A. I
THE COL^]WLE!R,CI-A.Ij FRESS, Ltd..

i & i e

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Prloe 6 Shillings



DEDICATED TO THE SACRED MEMORY OF

KUMARA-JIVA
(c A.D. 405)

A foremost Indian Educator of the age of Vikramadityan Renais-
sance, who carried forward the missionising activity of Em-
peror Asoka the Great (begun with Western Asia and
beyond) by bearing the torch of Hindu Thought
to the Far Eastern Cathay and thus became
instrumental in the establishment of Indian
hegemony throughout the Orient ;

HIUEN THSANG
(A.D. 602-664)

The great Chinese Master of Law, who, having studied Hindu Culture
in Tienchu (or Heaven, i.e., India) for 16 years (629-45) dur-
ing one of the most brilliant epochs of Indian Imperialism
under H;irsha-vardhana and Pulakesin II., propagated
it extensively in his native land under the pat-
ronage of the mighty Tang Emperor Tai
Tsung (627-50) and thus laid the
foundations of a re-interpreted
Confucianism ;
and

KOBO DAISHI

(A.D. 774835)

The scholar-saint of Japan, who, inspired by the example of his

illustrious predecessor, Prince Shotoku Taishi (A.D. 573

621), devoted himself to Hindu vidytis (sciences) for

three years (804-6) in China, and became the first

native pioneer to propagate Indono Damashii in

the land of the Ktimi, thereby developing in

manifold ways its infant civilisation;

By a Hindu Student of the institutions of
MEDIAEVAL ASIA



PREFACE



Neither historically nor philosophically does Asiatic mentality
differ from the Eur- American. It is only after the brilliant successes
of a fraction of mankind subsequent to the Industrial Revolution of
the last century that the alleged difference between the two
mentalities has been first stated and since then grossly exaggerated.
At the present day science is being vitiated by pseudo-scientific
theories or fancies regarding race, religion, and culture. Such
theories were unknown to the world down to the second or third
decade of the 19th century.

Comparative Chronology and Comparative History will show
that man, as an economic, political and fighting animal, has displayed
the same strength and weakness both on the Asian theatre as well
as on the extra-Asian.

Comparative literature and Comparative Art will show that man,
as " lover, lunatic and poet", has worked upon the same gamut of
passions from Homer to Maeterlinck as from the Pharaonic Book of
the Dead down to Gitanjali.

Comparative Philosophy and Comparative Metaphysics will show
that man, as positivist and mystic, has attacked the "problems of the
sphinx" in the selfsame way and with almost similar results under
the guidance of intellectuals from Confucius to Swami Vivek-ananda
as from Socrates to Bergson.

It has been held generally that the Orient is statical, and
that the dynamic doctrine of Change is essentially non-Oriental.
Thus, the following verses of Tennyson

"The old order changeth yielding place to new

And God fulfils himself in many ways

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world"
are supposed to embody exclusively the spirit of the Occident.

Let us, however, take a bit from the Mind of China, which is
the proverbial representative of "the unchanging East," and which,
besides, is known to be "sicklied o'er by the pale cast of the Con-
fucian tradition. " Even the Great Sage himself was an advocate of the
"new order.'' The second article in what may be regarded as the



Xll PKEFACE

Educational Creed of Confucius is thus worded by Mr. Ku Hung-
Ming in his recent translation of the classic Ta Hsueh* :

"The object of a Higher Education is to make a new and better
society (lit. people)."

An old commentary explains what ' to make a new and better
society' means. The following is Mr. Ku's translation of the
explanation :

1. "The Inscription on the Emperor Tang's bath says: ' Be a
new man each day, from day to day be a new man, every day be a
new- man. '

2. The Commission of Investiture to Prince Kang says :
' Create a new Society.'

3. The Book of Songs says: 'Although the Royal House of
Chow was on old state, a new mission was given to it.' "

The nature of the relation between Order and Progress was
also well known to the Hindu thinkers of the Ma/icUMra fa-cycle.
Their Messianic conception formulated:, in the (Pi/a-section (6th
century B.C. 2nd century B.C.) of this literature is pre-eminently
dynamic. The doctrine of YiigCmtara, i.e. "transformation of the
age-spirit" or "revolution in Zeitgeist," is recorded in the follow-
ing announcement of L,ord Krishna regarding the occasions of His
advent into the world of man :

"Whensoever into Order

Corruption creeps in, Bharata,

And customs bad ascendant be,

Then Myself do I embody.

For the advancement of the good

And miscreants to overthrow

And for setting up the Order

Do I appear age by age."

The Hindu Messiah is Revolution, Progress and Optimism
personified. His was the message of Change and Hope. The idea
of "God fulfilling himself in many ways" is thus neither an
Occidental patent nor a modern discovery.

* Higher Education (The Shanghai Mercury, L,td., Shanghai, 1915). This
is one of the four books in the Confucian Bible and has been called The Great
Learning by Dr. I/egge in his translation.



PREFACE Xlll

Comparative Anthropology and Comparative Psychology will
show that man has everywhere and always been fundamentally a
beast, and that beneath a superficial varnish of so-called culture
"the ape and tiger" hold their majestic sway, giving rise to
superstitions, prejudices, idolas and avidyas under different guises
and conventions. The brute-in-man is a fact, the datum; but the
god-in-man is only an idea, the ideal to be realised.

Comparative Religion and Comparative Mythology will show
that man in his desire to have "something afar from the sphere of
our sorrow" has everywhere had recourse to the same modus operandi
and has achieved the same grand failure which in his vanity he al-
ways chooses to call success. It would be found that, after all, divinity
is but an invention of human imagination, in fact, the first postulate
taken for granted. And on a broad view of all the forces that have
inspired and governed elan and activity, some of which are miscalled
religion, and some not, man has ever been essentially a pluralist and
an idolist.

If anywhere there have been people professing a so-called
monotheism in religion, a study of their daily life would indicate
that they have been polytheists with vengeance in every other sphere
indulging in thousand and one varieties, social, economic and
political. These varieties which take away the monotony of life and
give a zest to it, do not, "pragmatically" speaking, differ in the last
analysis from the varied rites and practices underlying a so-called
polytheistic faith. What the polytheists call religion, the monotheists
call culture. Life demands variety; culture, therefore, is varied.
If you abstract a millionth part of this kultur, e.g. , the unverifiable
hypothesis of man about God, and choose to call it religion, every
race can be proved to be monotheistic. But if you take the total
inspiration of a human being or the chart of the whole life that a
people lives, mankind has ever been polytheistic.

If, again, anywhere there have been people who have repudiated
idols in religion, a study of their heart and feelings, their daily
habits, their literary and artistic tastes, would indicate that they are
paying the debt to "old Adam" in the shape of hero-worship,
souvenir-cult, love-fetishes, "pathetic fallacy," mementos, memorials,



XIV PREFACE

relics, and what not. As formative principles of character, these
"charms" are of the same genus as images erected in the temples by
those who in their simplicity confess "We do not understand, we
love."

If there is superstition in the one form of pluralism and idolism
there is equal superstition in the others. These are really "human,
all too human." In fact, the greatest and most abiding of all super-
stitions in world's history has been the human demand for that
ambiguous term Religion.

Superstition is nothing but avidya or mdya, i.e., ignorance,
rendered perceptible. Emancipation from this has been the highest
ideal of man. The prayer of the most ancient Hindu Rishis or
"seers" was

A-sato ma sad-gamaya,
Tamaso majyotir-gamaya,
Mrityor ma amritam-gamaya.
From the non-existent (i.e- transitory, unreal)

me to the ever-existent {i.e. permanent, truth, or reality)
lead;
From darkness (i.e. ignorance)

me to light (i-e. knowledge) lead ;
From death me to immortality lead.

This has been the prayer of mankind ever since. Knowledge is the
only truth the ever-existent reality the light immortality itself.
Whether it be called religion or not, man has ever wanted this
knowledge sat, jyoti, amritam.

The modern world congratulates itself on the thought that the
Bastille of ignorance was demolished with the Papal Doctrine of
Infallibility. The flood of light that was being thrown on world-
questions with the discovery of Sanskrit in the 18th century certainly
heralded a new era. And the modern means of communication did
really bring world-sense home to seekers of truth. Comparative
philology, comparative mythology, and what Maxmuller hesitated
to call comparative jurisprudence, were the first fruits, the Synthetic
Philosophy of Herbert Spencer, the Philosophy of History of Hegel,
and Comte's Positive Philosophy were genuine attempts in the direc-
tion of sat, jyoti and amritam.



PREFACE XV

The holy quest of " enlightenment" is, however, always baffled
by M&ras or Tempters. It is probably not given to man to have
complete enlightenment at any stage of his history. He

trusted God was love indeed
And love creation's final law."
But ' ' Nature, red in tooth and claw

With ravine, shriek 'd against his creed."

The old avidya has only changed its guise. The guise of the
modern idola or superstition has been the dogma : ' ' Nothing
succeeds like success." The successful races of the last three genera-
tions have been interpreting world-culture and human civilisation
from the standpoint of a new "Infallibility." This is but the
modern version of the mediaeval Romanist theory.

The twentieth century demands a new synthesis, a fresh
transvaluation of values," and, as prolegomena to that, a New
Logic. A complete over-hauling of the whole apparatus of thinking
is urgently needed to carry forward the tendencies initiated by the
discovery of Kalidasa for world-literature and by the application of
steam to the furtherance of human needs.



The work owes its origin to the first two chapters which were
read before the Royal Asiatic Society (North China Branch) in
October, 1915, as "First Impressions of Chinese Religion," more than
which it does not claim to be. It was taken up at the kind sugges-
tion of the Society's learned Secretary and Editor, the most unassum-
ing sinologue, Rev. Samuel Couling.

A few chapters were read before the " International Institute"
in connection with their studies in Comparative Religion. Rev.
Dr. Gilbert Reid, Director-in-chief of the Institute, has placed me
under great obligation by taking the trouble of interpreting the
lectures in Chinese for those who did not understand English and
also by publishing Chinese translations of the papers in the Institute
Magazine.

I have made frequent use of the "Christian Literature Society's'
Library, and take this opportunity of expressing my heait-felt thanks
to the Director-Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Timothy Richard, who has been



XVI PREFACE

prominent in the Far East, as being, among other things, a keen
student of Buddhism.

The Bibliography as well as the names of publications in the
Index will indicate the nature and amount of my indebtedness, both
direct and indirect. Footnotes with chapter and verse have, how-
ever, been avoided, as all interesting details, without which com-
parisons could not be instituted, have been given in full from the
works of well-known authorities.

For the benefit of those to whom China with four hundred
millions (?) and India with three hundred and fifty millions are still
only geographical expressions learnt from school primers I venture
here to single out two volumes :

1. Descriptive Sociology: Chinese " compiled upon the plan
organised by Herbert Spencer" by E-T.C. Werner, H.I. B.M's
Consul at Foochow, China (Williams and Norgate, London, 1910).
It is really an Encyclopaedia Sinica made up of extracts from about
200 English, French and German publications besides Journals, and
from over 700 Chinese works.

2. Early History of India (B.C. 600 A.D. 1200) by Vincent A.
Smith, late of the Indian Civil Service (Third Edition, Clarendon
Press, Oxford, 1914). This is the only authoritative and systematic
volume on " the political vicissitudes of the land." It is not a mere
compilation but the work of one who has himself been one of the
greatest figures in Indology.

A considerable portion of this work was published as articles in
"The National Review" (Shanghai) , "The Hindusthanee Student "
(U.S.A.), and in the Indian periodicals, " The Hindustan Review ''
(Allahabad), " The Vedic Magazine" (Hardwar), " The Collegian"
(Calcutta), and " The Modern Review" (Calcutta).

Dr. Wu Ting-fang, U,.D., late Chinese Minister to Wash-
ington, B.C. (U.S.A.), has kindly contributed his ideas on the
Religion of the Chinese in the form of an Introduction to this work.
The author is grateful for the favour thus accorded him by the
veteran Confucianist scholar.

Shanghai, China, )

March 9, 1916. ) BKNOY KUMAR SARKAR.



INTRODUCTION



We often have visitors coming to China from Europe and
America on various missions ; some for scientific research ; some for
economic investigation ; some for educational purpose, and others for
art and general studies. It is the first time, if I am not mistaken,
that a gentleman from India has come to China for such a purpose.



Online LibraryBenoy Kumar SarkarChinese religion through Hindu eyes; a study in the tendencies of Asiatic mentality → online text (page 1 of 27)