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SiTANATH TATTVABHOSHAH



PHILOSOPHY OF BRAHMA1SM

SITANATH TATTVABHUSHAN



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

1. T.HE VEDANTA AND ITS RELATION TO MODERN THOUGHT :

Twelve lectures on all aspects of the Vedanta. Rs. 2-4.

2. THE UPANISHADS : if A, Kena, Katha, Prafna, Muiiddka,
Mdndiikya, Svetdsvatara, Aitareya and Taittirlya, in Bengali
characters, with easy Sanskrit annotations and a literal
Bengali translation. Rs. 2.

3. THE UPANISHADS : The same Upanishads with the addi-
tion of the KausMtaki, in Devanagari characters, with the
same annotations and a literal English translation. Rs. 3-8.



The Devalay, 210-3-2, Cornwallis Street, Calcutta.



DEDICATED TO

THE HONOURABLE
Sir BIJAYCHAND MAHTAB BAHADUR,

K.C.I.E.,

MAHARAJADHIRAJ OF BURDWAN,

wider whose distinguished patronage these lectures
u-cre delive-fed,

As a humble token of the author's sincere regard and
deep gratitude.



THE

Philosophy of Brahmaism

Expounded with reference to its History



Lectures delivered before the Theological
Society, Calcutta, in 1906-1907



BY



SITANATH TATTVABHUSHAN,

HEADMASTER, KESAV ACADEMY; SOMETIME LECTURER IN

PHILOSOPHY, CITY COLLEGE, CALCUTTA ;

AUTHOR OP ' THE VEDAXTA AND ITS RELATION TO MODERN

THOUGHT,' 'HINDU THEISM,' &o., AND ANNOTATOB AND

TRANSLATOR OF THE ' UPANISHADS '



HIGGINBOTHAM & CO., MOUNT ROAD.



1909 '



PBINTED BY HIGGINBOTHAM & CO., MADBAS.



PREFACE

To write a somewhat comprehensive treatise on the
principles of Theism, one in which the philosophic-
al basis of these principles should be shewn with
some fullness, and the chief duties of life, the devo-
tional exercises current in the theistic churches of
India and the social ideals of the Brahma Samaj,
should find an adequate exposition, has been an object
of desire and aspiration with the author from his
earliest youth. But his life has been a hard struggle
throughout a struggle for very existence which has
left him little time for thought and study, and far
less for writing. His earlier tracts and booklets,
Gleams of the New Light, The Roots of Faith, Whis-
pers from tJie Inner Life, Sddhanbindu, etc., only
expressed, without realizing, this desire and aspira-
tion. In his Brahmajijndsd, the theistic argument,
the proof for the existence and attributes of God,
jperhaps attained some fullness ; but the other princi-
ples of religion were left wholly untouched. In his
annotations on the Upanishads and his Bengali and
English translations of tliem, as well as in his
Hindu Theixm and Veddnta and its Relation to Modern
Thought, he made a humble attempt to interpret
the old Theism of the country and its relation to the
present theistic movement. The last-mentioned
book, tLe only one of his works hitherto published
that reached any considerable size, was made possible
by the generosity of an ardent admirer of the
Veddnta, who founded a lectureship in connexion



viii PREFACE

with the Theological Society. This lectureship,
which was kindly offered to the author by the Society,
set his leisure free for about a year and enabled him
to write out his thoughts on the Vedanta and give
them to the public. The same rare opportunity was
again given him three years ago by the Maharajadhiraj
Bahadur of Burdwan ; whose kind donation to
the same Society enabled them to create another
lectureship for the author. The twelve lectures
embodied in the present treatise are the fruit of
about twelve months' leisure devoted to writing them
after the hard daily school work. Written under such
disadvantages, they could not but be what they ac-
tually are only a partial and imperfect realization of
the author's life-long aspiration. But even for such as
they are, the author scarcely knows how to thank him
sufficiently whose kindness and enlightened interest in
Theology enabled him to prepare them. To another
pious nobleman, the Raja of Pitjiapuram, the author
is indebted for the publication of these lectures. A c
little book named The Religion of Brahman, or the
Oreed of Educated Hindus, which came out in 1906,
and which is, in some sense, an introduction to this
book, drew the Raja Saheb's kindness to the author
and his most valued sympathy with his humble
literary efforts. The author's gratefulness to this
noble patron for the kind interest he takes in his
work, t and even in the struggles of his private life, is
too deep for expression. The author intended to
dedicate the book to both the noblemen to whom its
I



PREFACE IX

preparation and its publication are due. But while
the Maharajadhiraj Bahadur has very kindly given
the necessary permission, the Raja Saheb says
that he has so closely interested himself in the
book it being printed not only at his expense but
under his kind care that he cannot accept its dedi-
cation to him. This delicacy on the Raja Saheb's
part will, no doubt, be appreciated by the reader.
The author's obligation to two of his brethren in
faith for what they have done in helping the publica-
tion of this book, is also very great ; and he will
ever remain grateful to them for their loving services.
They are Principal Venkataratnam of Cocanada and
Mr. V. 1'. Kaj of Madras. They went through the
proofs with the greatest care, and the worthy
Principal also suggested important alterations here
and there.

Th author's obligations to the many writers,
Indian and \\Ystern, whose works have helped him
to write this book, are so numerous that he could ex-
ia them only in the general form in which he has
done it in the opening lines of his first lecture. Those
who have any familiarity with the authors named and
with the minor writers of the schools of thought re-
presented.by th'in,\vill, however, see that theauthorof
this book, though more or less indebted to all, has not
closely followed any of them as regards either the, mat-
>r the form of the system, if it deserves the name,
h.i. -in presented. Readers too fond of classification



X PBBFACE

will no doubt filiate the thought expounded herein to
this or that school, but the more careful reader will
see that, taken in all its aspects, it refuses any precise
classification. For instance, it will be seen that, if
the author's metaphysical views, as they find
expression specially in his fourth and fifth lectures,
ally him to Hegelianism and to the school of Sankara,
his views on the Future Life and the Divine Love
clearly distinguish his position from these schools
and show his affinity to Eamanuja and Vaishnavism.
And, to give another instance, though the author is
a staunch supporter of the constitutionalism and
advanced social views of the Sadharan Brahma
Samaj, he accepts, nevertheless, it will be seen, the
substance of Brahmananda Kesavchandra Sen's
teachings on the New Dispensation. The author
indeed is far from being ashamed of belonging
to a particular church or even a particular sect,
as little so as of belonging to.a particular family ;
but he hopes he has nevertheless been enabled, in 1
expounding his views, to preserve, in some degree
that catholic and cosmQpolitan spirit which is an
essential characteristic of the religion in which he
believes. Praying for the blessing of God on this
humble attempt to serve his children and craving
the reader's indulgence for its many defects and
imperfections, the author sends the book, with great
diffidence, to do its appointed work.

THE DEYALAY, CALCUTTA,
( September, 1909.



CONTENTS

LECTURE I
DEVELOPMENT OP BRAHMIC DOCTRINES

Introductory remarks The Ra j i's creed His system of sddhan
His social views Vedantic stage of the Maharshi's creed He
rejects Vedantism The Upanishads as basis of Brahmaism The
Maharshi's Intuitional Dualistic Theism His form of Divine
Service The Maharshi as a social reformer Brahmdnanda Kesav-
chandra Sen's Theory of Intuition The second stage of his theo-
logy His ' New Dispensation ' Personal Influence in religion
Mr. Sen's pro-Vedantic tendency His system of sddhan His
scheme of social reform The Sadharan Br&hma Samaj Doctrinal
changes in the Samaj Tendency to Monism The new creed : its
varieties Social views of the Sadharan Brahma SamAj The
method to be followed in the succeeding lecturep. Pages 1 41.

LECTURE II
AUTHORITY AND FREE-THOUGHT IN BBAHMAISM

Free-thought a proceJs rather than an event Belief in Pro-
phets and Scriptures Supernatural revelation Miracles do not
prove authority " Eternity of the Vedas "External revelation
unnecessary Modified supernaturalism in the Brahma Samaj
Current disparagement of Reason Reason as Divine as Intuition
The ultimate authority Use of treasured experience Building
the present on the past Our Prophets and Scriptures. Pages 4371.



LECTURE III
BKAHMIC DOCTRINE OF INTUITION

The fallacy of "faculties" Mr. Sen on Intuition HVS view
criticized -Meaning of 'necessity' Religious belief necessary
The Maharshi on Atmapratyay Atmapratyay in the Upanishads
Bankara on Atmapratyay. Pages 73 99.



xii CONTENTS

LECTURE IV

REVELATION OF GOD IN MAN AND NATURE:

THE METAPHYSICS OP THEISM

Intuition of Self fundamental No knowledge without self-
knowledge The Self thought of as universal Things thought of as
known Subject and Object necessarily related The Self known as
universal The Self as subjective and objective The Self as trans-
cending space The Self as transcending time -The Divine omni-
science Metaphysical attributes of God. Pages 101 125.



LECTURE V
THEISTIC PRESUPPOSITIONS OF SCIENCE

Metaphysics and the special sciences The sciences based on
abstraction Three main groups of sciences Presuppositions of
Physical Science The conception of ' Substance' TLe conception
of ' Causality' ' Force,' a mere abstraction Will the real power
Presuppositions of Biological Science Organism inexplicable with-
out Design Design in inorganic nature Presuppositions of Mental
Science Empirical Psychology based on abstraction Mere indivi-
duality an abstraction Relation of Psychology to Theology.



Pages 127 155 t



LECTURE VI
RELATION OF BHAHMAISM TO MONISM AND DUALISM

Both Monism and Dualism historically related to Brahmaism
Reconciliation necessary The Abstract and Concrete Infinite The
finite distinct from the Infinite Error of Absolute Monism The
individual self distinct from the Universal The finite a moment of
the Irffinite Errors of Absolute Monism summarized Dualism
popular and philosophical True basis of practical religion.

Pages 157178.



CONTENTS Xlll

LECTURE VII

CONSCIENCE AND THE MORAL LIFE

Self -realization the form of the ethical life Self-realization true
and false Conscience the Voice of God Moral quality of actions
determined by ends Absolute and relative morals Stages of self-
realization Individualistic life Domestic life National life Life
of universal brotherhood Humanity and Divinity Ethical life as
sensuous, intellectual and emotional Brdhini sthiti The moral
standard How morals differ Penal theology criticized A scheme
of duties. Pages 179-207 .



LECTURE VIII

THE DIVINE LOVE AND HOLINESS

The love of God, the truth of truths Vyasa and Narada
Svaml Prabodhananda Foundations of the doctrine Testimony
of Conscience Objection from bad conscience answered True
idea of God's love God's love to individuals True and false ground
of belief in Divine Goodness Evil only relative Necessity of death
and decay Examples of relative evil A life of love the only means
of keeping up faith in Divine goodness. Pages 200 235.



LECTURE IX
FUTURE LIFE

Moral effect of belief in Immortality Its religious importance
wo foundations Mind distinct from matter Popular and
scientific Materialism Idealism the true answer to Materialism
Prof. James on the relation of mind and matter Materialism un-
scientific Soul identical amidst bodily changes Spiritual powers
ever-progressive Moral argument for Immortality Danger of
Pantheism Conditions of Immortality Rebirth and Spiritualism.

Pages 23T-264.



XIV CONTENTS

LECTURE X

BRAHMA SYSTEM OP S&dlian OR SPIRITUAL CULTURE
Transition from doctrine to practical experience The Raji's
form of service The Maharshi's liturgy History of the present
form of worship The present form described Its difficulties and
advantages Prarthand or Prayer proper Brahma hymns-
Brahma devotional literature Brahma system of Toga Com-
munion with saints Latest contribution to sddhan.

Pages 265296.



LECTURE XI
BRAHMA SAMAJ AND SOCIAL REFORM

Old and new Theism distinguished Brahmic rejection of
Idolatry What keeps many Hindu Theists outside the Brahma
Samaj ' Atrophy of the moral sense ' a national vice Social
tyranny checks individuality It blunts conscience The parting
of ways between anusthdnic and non-anusthdnic Brahmas Bi-
assed defence of conformity Arguments for conformity answered
Dishonest conformity draws contempt Vicious foundations of
orthodox Hindu society Idolatry not symbolism Symbolism
suitable and unsuitable Plea from toleration answered Ex-
communication of reformers necessary Brahmic rejection of Caste
Late origin of Caste Caste opposed to National unity Is there
a natural distinction in castes ? Redistribution of cas'tes im-
possible No moral danger in abolition of Caste Heredity and
individuality Caste the supreme root of all social evils.

Pages 297337.



LECTURE XII
MARRIAGE AND THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN

Advanced social ideas in the Brahma Samaj How the idea of
marriage changed Minimum marriageable age for girl* History of
Act III of 1872 Prospects of amending the Act Advantages of
marriages under the Act What the Brahma Samaj has done for fe-
male education and what for female emancipation. Pages 339 876.

APPENDIX Pages 377388.



LECTURE I

Development of Brahmic Doctrines



>



LECTURE I



Development of Brahmic Doctrines

Harih Om. Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya
dliimahi dJiiyo yo nahprachodaydt.

On this solemn occasion of the commencement
of a series of lectures on the Philosophy of Brahma-
ism, let us meditate on the adorable nature of the
Supreme Being who guides our thoughts.

Reveal thyself to our souls, Holy Spirit ; let us
see the truth as it is in thee and give such an expres-
sion to it as thou canst approve.

>

, Let me also, according to the custom of the

country, remember on this occasion the most emi-
nent of those who have helped me in acquiring
the little truth about God that I know. I remem-
ber and reverently bow down to the Rishis of the
Upanixhci'l*, the first teachers of Theism and the
spiritual fathers of all Indian Theists. I then bow
down to Acharyas Sankara and llarminuja, the chief
interpreters of the teachings of the Rishis. I then
touch the feet of the three great leaders of the
111 ij movement, Raja Rammohan Ray,
Maharshi Devendranath Thakur and Brahinananda



2 LECTURE I

Kesavchandra Sen, through whom have mainly coine
the grace and the power that Brahmaism now posses-
ses. Lastly, I humble myself with grateful reverence
to Dr. James Martineau, the English Theist who
presented to me, in its clearest form, the relation of
Theism to the scientific thought of the age, and to
Professor T. H. Green, the English Idealist, who
first introduced me to the higher Metaphysics of the

West.

i

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Brahmaism, in all stages of its history, presents
itself to us in three aspects, (1) as a creed, (2) as a
system of sodium or spiritual culture, and (3) as a
scheme of social reform. In tracing the develop-
ment of Brahmic doctrines in the present lecture
and in seeking a philosophical basis for Brahmaism
throughout the whole series of these lectures, I shall
endeavour not to lose sight of any of these three
aspects of Brahmaism. In fact they are inseparable
from one another. A creed, a doctrine of God and
his relation to man and of man's duty to God and
his fellow-men, cannot but lead to a theory of the
ways and means of discharging these duties and a
conception of social life consistent with their due
performance. A creed, again, appears to us in two
forms, (1) as a body of particular beliefs, and (2) as
a theory of the source or basis of these beliefs. In
estimating the value of a creed, neither of these two
forms in which it presents itself, should be over-
looked ; and it will be my endeavour, in noticing



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 3

every stage of the history of Brahmaisrn, to keep
this truth constantly in view. The system of
*'i<ll>an and the conception of social life associated
with a creed are also always found backed by an
appeal to some authority, external or internal,
supported by a statement of reasons, good or bad,
in their favour; and it will be my endeavour, in these
lectures, to take a clear view of such statements of
reason in support of every scheme of practical life of
which I shall take notice. I need say only one word
more in introduction before I proceed to trace my
proposed development of Brahmic doctrines. The
Theological Society, in connection with which these
lectures are going to be delivered, is an institution
affiliated to the Sadharan Brahma Samaj, and the

/// in which I happen to be lecturing belongs
to that Samaj. This may lead some who are
unacquainted with the constitution of the Samaj, to
think it does not seeiu likely that any member of
the Samaj is capable of making the mistake that
my view of the history of Bnihmic doctrines or my
conception of the philosophy, of Brahmaism is the
one with which the Samaj as a body is identified.

would this be true of any other individual
connected with the Sara ij. The Samaj, as a body,
is not id- -n^ified with any particular views except
the simple creed to which everyone wishing to be
member is required to subscribe. There ar<>,
pinions and systems of opinions on philoso-
phical, historical and other matters current in. the
Samaj, but these opinions are the opinions t of



4 LECTURE I

particular individuals or large or small bodies of
individuals in the society. Some of these are perhaps-
the opinions of the great majority of the members ;
but even this fact does not make them the opinions
of the Samaj ; for the Sarnaj does not lend its
authority to any but those it has fixed as its funda-
mental principles. Other principles and different
interpretations of the fundamental principles it
simply tolerates and leaves to be accepted or
rejected according to their intrinsic reasonable-
ness or the reverse or according to the varying
idiosyncrasies of its members. The great variety
of conceptions of Brahrnaism underlying the common
and fundamental creed of the Brahma Samaj will
be somewhat evident from the brief history of
Brahrnic doctrines that I proceed to sketch.

At the time of Raja Rammohan Ray and long-
after that time, the term ' Brahmaism ' or ' Brahma
Dharma,' as the name of the religion of the Brahma
Samaj, was unknown. The religion of the Samaj
was, during this period of its history, identified with
Vedantism or the religion of the Upanivhads and the
Brahma Sutras. When and for what reason these
latter names gave place to ' Brahmaism ' and
' Brahma Dharrna,' we shall see as we proceed.
Kammohan Ray represented the religion of the
Brahma Samaj as Vedantism of the scholastic age,
specially as Vedantism interpreted by Sankara. He
believed or wished it to be believed that the Upani-
shqds were the authoritative expositions of Theistic



THE RAJA'S CREED. 5

doctrine and worship. In the prefaces to his edition
of the Upanishads and in his controversies with the
advocates of idolatry and popular Christianity, he
nowhere questions the authority of these ancient
writings or sets up Beason or Intuition as an inde-
pendent authority competent to sit in judgment on
the accepted scriptures of the nation. Next to the
authority of the Upanishads is, to the Rdja, the
authority of Sankara, their commentator. It is in
the light of Sankara's commentary that the Raji
interprets the Upanishads and the Vedantic aphor-
isms. He may, here and there, suggest interpre-
tations of Vedantic doctrines not to be found in
Sankara ; but he never consciously or intentionally
differs from him. I have, therefore, no hesitation in
characterising the Raja's creed, as it is presented in
his writings mentioned above, as scholastic or
mediaeval Vedantism. I call it 'scholastic' or

* mediaeval ' in order to differentiate it from an


earlier, and, as I think, more rational Vedantism, the
religion of the composers of the Upanishads, to
whom there were no authoritative scriptures, no
higher authority than their own intuitions and
reasonings. It is, indeed, difficult to ascertain how
or whether the author of the youthful production,
Tuhfatid .WurciJiidtn, was, in his mature years, con-
verted into that unquestioning acceptor of authori-
tative scriptures whom we meet with in the writings
mentioned. But if we are to judge of the Raja's
views by the productions of his mature age and not
of his unripe youth, and by his public uttera'nces



6 LECTURE I

and not by what one may only guess him to have
thought, then no other characterisation of his
creed is possible than what I have given above,
namely, that he was a scholastic, mediaeval or
Sankarite Vedantist. His system of sdd/nni or spiri-
tual culture is also, as might be expected, modelled
after that of the Sankarite Vedanta. According to
him, our inferential knowledge of God reveals him
to be the Creator and Preserver of the world and as
the object of our worship. This worship is neces-
sarily dualistic, the worshipper and the worshipped
appearing in it as different from each other. It
consists in meditating on the attributes of God \\ith
the help of the Gdyatri and of texts from the
Upani shads. It also comprises adoration and prayer,
such as we find in the well-known xtuti from the
MaMnirnin Tantra. But this form of worship does
not enable us to know the real essence of the
Supreme Being. That can be known only by the
higher form of worship, aparokghdnitbhava, the direut
perception of God, in which he is revealed as our
very Self, as the only Reality without a second. As
to domestic and social duties, the Raja insists, in the
spirit of the Bhagavadgitd, upon their due perform-
ance, and he sums up all social duties under the
all-comprehensive principle of loka-slireya or philan-
thropy. The only thing in which the Raja differs-
from Sankara, not in letter but in spirit, is in
lending the whole weight of his teaching not to
monasticism, as Sankara does, but to the life of the
house-holder. In this he agrees more with the



THE RAJA'S SOCIAL VIEWS. 7

earlier Vedantists like Janaka and Yajnavalkya than
with the great anchorite and his followers. But in
insisting that the Brahmajndni or Theist should be,
as a rule, a house-holder, the Raja also insisted that
in performing domestic and social duties one should
follow the ssfr<is, the xmritis, and not one's personal
whim? rind inclinations. He indeed advocated some
social reforms and spoke against caste in the spirit
of Mrityunjayacharya, whose treatise against the
i he published in part with a Bengali
translation. But it does not appear from his
writings that he desired anything more than the
removal of the evil customs that had grown in later
ages and a return of Hindu society to the some-
what purer state that existed in the later Vedic
period. That he contemplated any radical recon-
struction of society, seems improbable from his
teachings and from the solicitude which he showed,
up to the close of his life^ not to be excommunicated
the pale of Hindu orthodoxy.



Such, then, is Raja Rammohan Ray's Brah-
maism, if you choose to call it so. We shall now see
by what steps the Brahma Hamaj outgrew it, and
how, later on, by a rather curious cycle of thought, it
was partly revived by some Brihmas and still lives
among us as a factor in the composite life of the
Bnihma Sam;ij.

I proceed now to notice the form or rather
forms of Brahiuaism introduced by our next great



8 LECTURE I

leader, Maharshi Devendranath Thakur. A striking
difference between our founder and our next
two leaders is that while the former came to his
work as a formed and mature thinker, the two latter
joined the Samaj in their early youth, and that while
there are scarcely any data for tracing the growth of
the former's mind, the two latter may almost be
said to have thought aloud. We can see the
workings of their mind, the truths they gradually
acquired, the mistakes they made and the changes
they underwent both from their work and from
what they have told us about themselves in their
autobiographical sketches. Thus, for instance, while


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