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difference of race. Many plausible facts, too, might be brought forward in support of the Hellenistic connection, and consequent (?) Egyptian origin;-and none of them were neglected. Thus there was a Greek Trinity of Zeus, Poseidon, and Dis, and there is a Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; and, that great fact being proved, it mattered little, that the functions, attributes, and powers of the Hindu divinities differed in every essential particular from those of their Grecian prototypes. The supposed resemblance was still further carried out, and generally with the same inapplicability:-both coins were of the same metal, and the learned instantly arrived at the conclusion, that they were both struck from the same mint, and scarcely troubled themselves to notice the difference of image, character, and superscription. In reality, we believe, esoteric Hinduism differs greatly, both from the popular Hellenistic worship, and the philosophical deductions, which were subsequently drawn from the original forms of belief. The Greek, with all his finely wrought theories on the immortality of the soul, and although able to prove almost to a demonstration, that there was within him an essence, distinct alike from the body and the life, never firmly believed in his own reasoning. He thought of the whole discourse, particularly if it was his own, as a piece of graceful rhetoric and convincing argument: but the idea of carrying his theory beyond the Academia never entered his imagination. He had allowed the assertion, that he himself possessed a soul; had proved the proposition, that the soul was immortal; but neglected the corollary, that his own soul must be immortal also. The lowest Coolie in Bengal, on the other hand, firmly believes in a state of reward and punishment, though his ideas on the subject are perhaps not so clearly cut, and sharply defined as those of the Muhammedan. It is possible to make a Bengali talk like a Deist, a Theist, an Atheist, or any thing else; for his mind is plastic enough; but he never really loses his fear of a hereafter reckoning, and never abandons the hope, that his good actions will ultimately be rewarded. The Greek never believed, either the one, or the other. His shadowy "Shade-land" was a place, about which he had heard much in very magnificent poetry; and he had an undefined idea that he might possibly find himself there at some future period: but all was as vague as a half forgotten nightmare. With the Bengali of the lowest grade, the future life is all in all. It regulates his downsitting and his uprising; it burdens him with an endless succession of trifling observances; and its accredited ministers,-those who sprang from the mouth of the Creator-must be held in reverential awe,
as the slightest disobedience to their commands would plunge his soul into eternal misery. It is almost impossible for a Western imagination to picture the degree, to which the movements of the Bengali are influenced by his creed. He cannot bathe in the morning without remembering, that he is washing in (what he believes to be) the stream of redemption; he cannot sit down to his meal of rice and salt, without looking carefully round, lest one impure should touch his food, and he should thereby be injured in his caste, and consequently in his hope of ultimate absorption. Mixed up with this, and, as it were, a part of this belief, comes the second point in which the Hindú differs from the Hellene. They possess the idea of that mysterious sacrifice, of that punishment of another for things. committed by themselves, which constitutes the great theory of EXPIATION. Of this doctrine, the Greek knew absolutely nothing. He sacrificed, it is true, but it was to avert the further wrath of an angry deity, not to cleanse his soul from the stains already contracted. It was the smoke of the victims, the savour of the sacrifice, which ascended to the well-pleased nostrils of Zeus, Hera, and Athene ; while the theory of Hinduism declared, that the Ganges redeemeth not all, but only those who enter her of right, and in faith. The expiation granted by this river, according to Hindu writers, is so complete, that it amounts almost to the Christian idea of justification. The powers ascribed to her are nearly omnipotent, with respect to sin and perhaps the best summary of them, and the best proof of the assertions we are making, is to be found in the poem, the title of which we have placed at the head of this article.
And Gunga's wave they drink;
Dwarka, Mathura there,
They all are sacred, I have said,
The earlier Missionaries also, who were of all men perhaps the best acquainted with Hinduism in its external forms, brought to the investigation of its creed a horror of the idolatrous system, which, though in itself perfectly just and righteous, was not exactly the frame of mind, best fitted to understand the depth and breadth of the esoteric mythology. Whoever reads Mr. Ward on the Hindús, will perceive at once, that, if his pictures are correctly painted, society must instantly go to pieces from the force of its own wickedness. Yet every syllable of fact, that Mr. Ward has asserted, may be proved from the evidence of eye witnesses. His error was, that he made no allowance for counteracting circumstances, and ascribed far too high a degree of social importance to the licentious criminality, which is characteristic of eastern creeds. He looked upon the system with that peculiar iconoclastic spirit, which would appear to have been natural to the Missionary, and which, though an important element of success, was unfavourable to the development of a fair spirit of enquiry. To understand the native character, we must remember that the Asiatic who does evil deeds, is not therefore reckoned necessarily an evil man. The deed may be bad, but it is not judged so, and its effect upon the man's social relation, in England and in India, is widely different.
Another fact, necessary to the comprehension of Hinduism, is, that a native is perfectly capable of believing two falsities, or a falsity, and a truth, one of which directly destroys the other. Thus the pandits declare Siva to be Sorboshokteman, Omnipotent; but, in the same breath, deny him the first place in the Triad, as if the Omnipotent could be less than first. Many pandits will acknowledge the truth of Christianity; but they affirm, and, what is more important, believe, that Hinduism is equally irrefragable. These, and many other peculiarities of the Indian mind, Europeans, in general, do not practically recognise; and these, together with their indisposition to examine into the ulterior reasons for native superstitions, incline them rather to
* A mountain of the Himalayan range.
laugh at the Hindu's foolery," than either to understand, or to remedy it. We may give one instance for the sake of illustration. One of the names of Siva is Nilakanta, or "the blue throated;" and almost all Europeans, who notice the fact, ridicule the idea. It cannot be denied that there is something absurd, to a European mind, in the idea of a blue-throated Deity. Such is not the effect upon a Native. He sees, in the image, the impersonified God, who, in love for the world, swallowed the poison evolved in the foam with the Amríta, and saved the Universe and the blue tinge is to him, the living evidence, that the God, he adores, is also a World-Preserver.
The whole basis of exoteric Hinduism rests upon those dogmas, which (having regard to the authority of the hereditary priesthood) are called Brahminical, and of all the divisions of the system, the nature and extent of the Brahmínical power appears to have been most unfairly treated. The Brahmins are invariably represented, as a proud and dominant caste, whose only weapon was fear, and who, while they punished severely all recusants from their faith, left to their humbler countrymen but few of its advantages. To understand, however, the very peculiar position at present held by the order, we must recur for a moment to its earlier history.
That a successive importation of conquerors has taken place in India, and that the system of caste is of gradual establishment, must, we think, be evident from the physical disparities, which exist between the races, and which cannot be accounted for, on the supposition, that the modifications were all made from some previously equal race. The general (and we believe the most correct) theory is, that the Sudras, entering India from the North-West, about 3,500 years ago, cleared the country alike of its forests, and of the aboriginal races who inhabited them, and finally settled down to the quiet and permanent occupation of the soil. The second race, the Kshetriyas, one of the great warrior tribes, another branch of whom had founded the empire of Darius, poured into India like a flood, and fertilized more than they destroyed. With the hereditary gregariousness, which they have displayed in every corner of the globe, they raised and beautified enormous cities; and the ruins of Kanouj and Magodha, and the lost Palibothra, attest the architectural genius of those, whose forefathers may have founded Babylon and Nineveh. The Brahmins, or third family, brought with them a more northern blood, and a creed disfigured by all the wild extravagancies of northern imaginations. Another division of the same tribe, it is
supposed, and probably about the same time, traversed Europe, and occupied the great islands of Scandinavia. The difference between the severe climate of the northern forests, and the enervating miasma of the eastern jungles, gradually affected creeds originally, perhaps, the same; and the nature of the change is well represented in their ideas of heaven. The Northern, burning with martial instincts, and the peculiar enthusiasm, which springs from a powerful physical organization, pictured his heaven, as a Walhalla, or an Elysium of eternal battle and eternal drunkenness. The Oriental realized his idea of bliss in the halfsleeping Narayana, borne on the lotus blossom over the ocean of eternity, and gazing with half closed eyes at the luxurious movements of the ballet girls of heaven. The struggle immediately commenced between the disciplined and civilized Kshetriya, and the more energetic Brahmin; and its first development appears to have been in Kanouj. At first, either the nature of the Kshetriya worship, or their superior learning, rendered them alike insensible to the reasoning, and to the swords of their Brahminical enemies. The latter however found means to detach from them a portion of their number, whom they designated the sons of flame, (Ugnikúl), and vanquished the warrior caste throughout Northern India; from whence they gradually spread southward, greatly assisted by the series of catastrophes, which form the subject of the Ramayana.
In the midst of this theory, however, the antiquarian is perpetually perplexed by the recurrence of the Buddhist creed, under various forms, and in such widely separated districts, that he is led to believe it was once a dominant religion. We are told that Buddhism must have been the earliest creed, and extant before the arrival of the Brahmins, with whose faith it carried on for years a long and destructive contest. We scarcely. think that the theory of those, who assert that Buddhism is an original creed, i. e. one of the earliest, of which we have any information, can be now maintained. Strong as the evidence of monuments and sculptures may be, those of the human mind are still stronger, and a rationalistic faith can never precede superstition. It invariably grows out of it, and is nourished by peace and luxury. We may imagine that the faith of the Sudras, at the time of their first entry into India, was one of the vulgar kinds of paganism, such as exists in Borneo, and the Eastern Archipelago; while the original Kshetriya belief was a kind of Zoroastrian idolatry, that is the worship of the Supreme Being, under the symbol of fire, but mixed with rites of a more degraded character. Of this some traces still exist. The worship of Indra, or the sun, is evidently much older than that of any other Deity,