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affection ; but the sanction of that religion which the Rajkoomar professed, was appealed to in aid of the ordinances of civil authority, and an engagement binding them to desist from the barbarous practice was prepared, and circulated for signature amongst the Rajkoomars. It may well be doubted how far this influence could extend, when the root of the evil remained untouched, though not unseen, as the philanthropic Duncan pointed out in the confession of the Rajkoomars. All unequivocally admitted it, but all did not fully acknowledge its atrocity; and the only reason they assigned for the inhuman practice was, the great expense of procuring suitable matches for their daughters if they allowed them to grow up. The Rajkoomar is one of the Chohan Sachae, chief of the Agriculas, and in proportion to its high and well deserved pretentions on the score of honour, it has more infanticides than any other of the thirty-six royal races. Amongst those of this race out of the pale of feudalism, and subjected to powers 'not Rajpoot, the practice is four-fold greater, from the increased pressure of the cause which gave it birth, and the difficulty of establishing their daughters in wedlock. Raja Jey Sing's enactment went far to remedy this. Conjoin his plan with Mr. Duncan's : provide dowers, and infanticide will cease. It is only by removing the cause that the consequence can be averted. As to the almost universality of this practice amongst the Jarėjas, the leading cause which will also operate to its continuance has been entirely overlooked. The Jaréjas were Rajpoots, a subdivision of the Yadus, but by intermarriages with the Mahomedans, to whose faith they became proselytes, they lost their caste. Political causes have disunited them from the Mahomedans, and they desire again to be considered as pure Rajpoots ; but having been contaminated, no Rajpoot will intermarry with them. The owner of a hyde of land, whether Seesodia, Rahtore, or Chohan, would scorn the hand of a Jarėja princess. Can the ‘sic volo' be applied to men who think in this fashion ?”
The conflicting opinions which have prevailed among the most intelligent Oriental writers respecting the origin and antiquity of this and the Jaina sects, and the little historical light that has yet been afforded to disperse the darkness that ages has spread over them, leave us, at the end of many learned disquisitions, involved in almost as many doubts as when we commenced upon them. By some, the extensive sect of Buddha is supposed to have derived its origin from, and to have been identified with, the ninth avatar, or the last appearance of Vishnu upon earth; when he is said to have appeared to reclaim the Hindus from numerous abominations into which they had fallen, and to teach them more benevolent forms of worship than those which, through the means of human and animal sacrifices, they then practised. These mild doctrines were too simple, and interfered too strongly with the privileges of the Brahminical priests to be long tolerated by them. A religious war, in consequence, ensued between the old and the new sects, and that of Buddha was ultimately expelled from the hither peninsula of India.
In noticing this most beneficent of the explanations of Vishnu's ninth incarnation, we are left in considerable perplexity to account for the apparently inadequate manifestation of his power to punish the sacrilegious Brahminical opponents of his divine will: and this will lead to the observation, that the Buddhas wholly, and the Brahmans partially, disavow this incarnation of Vishnu; the former insisting that the worship of Buddha possesses a far higher claim to antiquity than that of the deities of the Brahmans, who, they maintain, came from other countries, and established their own religion, mainly by the power of the sword, on the ruins of the
more ancient one of Buddha, which had for ages before prevailed. This point will be noticed again presently.
The Brahmans, on their side, aver that this appearance of Vishnu was not an incarnation, but merely a manifestation of his power; the object of which they account for in a manner peculiarly their own.
It may have been noticed in other parts of this work, that the gods of the Hindus were not remarkably scrupulous about the means which they adopted for the accomplishment of any especial purpose that they might have had in view, whether that purpose were the establishment of individual supremacy, the benefit of the celestial hosts, or, more benevolently, the good of mankind. Thus we find Vishnu, in the Vamuna avata ceiving Maha Bali to dispossess him of his three kingdoms : and thus we find him, as Parasu Rama, and Varuna, opposing craft against craft to each other, as readily and effectually as two of the most skilful of modern diplomatists; the one to obtain a promise that he might take an undue advantage of it; the other, to evade that which sacred ordinances forbade him to
In the argument of the Brahmans here alluded to, we shall find the doctrine of the end sanctifying the means, carried to an extent which must be deemed more demoniacal than divine, and more in accordance with the character of a minister of evil, than of the preserving deity of the universe. "
It is accordingly urged, that Vishnu (in some accounts it is said at the solicitation of Siva) manifested himself in the form of Buddha, to overturn the supremacy of the Asuras (or demons), the opponents of the gods; who, under Divodasa, by their extraordinary virtue, piety, and practice of the holy doctrines of the Vedas, had become eminently powerful and happy. It would thus appear that the Hindu immortals were not behind earthly mortals in cherishing those evil and base passions of the heart, envy and uncharitableness, which we are apt so frequently to decry, and, like the gods of Swerga, too frequently to nourish. But be that as it may, Indra and his subordinate deities were alarmed at the increasing virtue, and, in consequence, extending power of the Asuras; and applied to Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva to protect them from the distress which th icipated from such exemplary holiness and goodness. Brahma, whose blundering good nature, as may be discerned on many other occasions, so frequently led the gods into almost insurmountable difficulties, appears also on this to have granted a boon (and to have obtained Siva’s consent thereto) which he could not recall, to Divodasa, that none of the deities should exercise their power in that monarch's dominions of Kashi. Vishnu and Siva accordingly declared, that it would be impossible to resist or overcome the Asuras, so long as they continued to be virtuous and to adhere to the religion of the Vedas. Continuing, however, to experience the solicitations, and to witness the anxiety of Indra and the other gods, Vishnu at length assumed the form of Buddha, and by preaching doctrines of a more humane character than those of the Vedas, caused Divodasa and the Asuras to become apostates from that faith, and thus enabled the gods to overcome them, and establish their own supremacy on the subversion of their just and pious opponents.
This legend, of which there are several versions, puerile, and we may add highly immoral as it may appear, is a correct specimen, in point of extravagance, of many others contained in the Puranas. It reflects too little credit on their deity, for the Vishnaivas to insist so strenuously on the manifestation of his power in the ninth avatar as in the others; and this incarnation is in consequence held in infinitely less esteem.
The more beneficent explanation of Vishnu's appearance in the ninth avatar, mentioned in the preceding part of this article, must be equally unsatisfactory to the Brahmans; inasmuch as it places the priesthood in a direct and sacrilegious opposition to the god whom they profess to serve.
The Buddhas, however, as I have before stated, wholly deny the identity of their deity with the avatar in question. They admit the divinity both of that god and others of the Vedantic faith; but they insist that they are greatly subordinate to Buddha, the worship of whom they carry back to a period far anterior to that of the gods of the Hindus. They do not acknowledge a creation of the universe; but they admit that it has been destroyed many times, and by some extraordinary operation been as often reproduced. Each of these regenerated worlds was governed by Buddhas, of whom they enumerate twenty-two. The present universe has been ruled, successively,
by four, of whom Gautama or Gaudama, whose doctrines now prevail in Ceylon, Ava, and some other places where the religion of Buddha is acknowledged, is the fourth. A fifth, Maitree Buddha, is yet to come.
From the contradictory jargon of the Buddhas respecting the objects of their worship, it may be collected, that they were men (although their worshippers say they were first gods) of surpassing piety and virtue, who by their holiness raised themselves to a state of beatitude; obtaining, in the first instance, admission into one of the lower heavens, from whence, after a stated period, they again, in accordance with the Buddha doctrines of transmigration, manifested themselves upon earth, and by increasing piety obtained a title to a higher step on the ladder of celestial bliss, and so on through various births and successive elevations, until they arrived at the highest heaven, or absorption into the divine essence, at which all the supremely good will eventually arrive. The personage who last governed the universe (such as he may be, divine or human), and who is now worshipped, they say is dead; and that a sort of interregnum will prevail till the appearance of Maitree Buddha, during which the governing power is in the hands of a servant of Gaudama, Maha Brahma, who is consequently (though not a Buddha, which he may become hereafter) the regent of the universe, and at present superior over all the gods. His reign or regency will last many ages longer, when that and the present universe will terminate together. He will then ascend from the ninth heaven in which he now resides, through the seventeen superior heavens, till he arrives at the highest, when he will become a Buddha, and be worshipped in his turn. How many may be now on the road before him it may be difficult to ascertain ; but in respect of the universe, a new one will, some how or other, be formed, or will form itself, over which another vicegerent will preside: and so matters will go on till worlds shall be no more, if such a thing can, according to the belief of the Buddhas, happen.
With these extraordinary and complicated ideas of infinity, the Buddhas may well challenge the Brahmans on the score of antiquity. Fortunately, however, for the latter, the claims of the Buddhas are veiled by as much mystery as their own; so that, as neither of them are sufficiently lucid to