« EdellinenJatka »
various, some of them being ascribed to different deities, male and female, others to kings and princes, or to sages and holy men.
The name of the Vajurveda. signifies that it concerns oblations and sacrifices. Soon after it was compiled by Vyasa, it became polluted, and a new revelation called the White Vajush was granted to Vajuyawalk ya, while the remains of the former Yajush is distinguished by the title of the Black Yajurveda. Some of the prayers called Rich are included is this Veda, but its own peculiar muntras are in prose.
A peculiar degree of holiness is attributed to the Samareda, as its pame signifies that which destroys sin. Its texts are usually chanted, and I have occasionally been delighted with the solemn tones issuing from the domes of the native temples at sunset, before the moment for the ceremonial ablations had arrived.
The last, or Atharvan Veda, is chiefly used at rites for conciliating the deities, or for drawing down curses on eneinies, and contains some prayers used at lustrations.
The better notions of the Vedas, and particularly those of the Aitareya Aranyaca are professedly the fundamental doctrines of the philosophers of the Vedanta sect, whose specu. lations appear to coincide nearly with those of Berkeley, and perhaps of Plato. The Sastra, which contains the doctrines of the Vedantas, is ascribed to Vyasu, and the commentator is Saacara, who explains and enlarges the very ancient and alinost obsolete texts of this author. The opinions of this school concerning matter are, that it has no existence inde. pendent on mental perceptions, and consequently that existence and perceptibility are controvertible terms. That ex. ternal appearances and sensations are illusory, and would vanish into nothing, if the divine energy, which alone sustains them, were suspended but for a moment.
Specimens of Hymns from the samu-vedu." Possessed of in. numerable heads, iunumerable eyes, innumerable feet, Brunhu fills the heavens and the earth; he is whatever was, what. ever vill be ; he is separate from all; in this separate state he exists in a three-fold forın above the universe, the fourth part is transfused through the world : he is therefore called the Great Being; his command is as the water of life ; from him proceeded the Viratu-poorushu ; he is the source of universal motion ; he is not separate from the universe ; he is the light of the moon, of the sun, of the fire, of the light. ping, and of all that shines ; the vedu is the breath of his nose trils; the primary elements are his sight; the agitation of hø•
man affairs is his laughter; his sleep, is the destruction of the universe ; in different forms he cherishes the creatures, as, in the form of fire, he digests their food ; in the form of air, he preserves them in existence; in the form of water, he satisfies them ; in the form of the sun, he assists them in the affairs of life, and in that of the moon, he refreshes them with sleep ; the progression of time, forms his footsteps ; all the gods are to him as sparks from fire. In the form of fire, he cherishes the gods ;-therefore I bow to Him, who is the universe ; to the gods who dwell in heaven, I bow ; to the gods who dwell in space, I bow ; to the gods on earth, I bow ; to the regent of waters, I bow ; to the gods who guard the regions, I bow."
“ Brumhu is the life of life, mind of mind, sight of sight; he dwells in the centre of light; be, without eyes, sees whatever was, is, or shall be ; without hands or feet, he holds every thing, and executes his purposes with the rapidity of lightning ; without the appropriate members, he hears and tastes of every thing ; becoming the cultivator, he tills the ground ; becoming the clouds, he waters it ; becoming corn, he fills the creatures. His power is seen in the cooling draught, the burning fire, the scorching sun, the cooling beams of the moon ; in the butter-yielding milk ; while he dwells in the body, it retains the vital heat ; when he retires, it becomes cold ; he preserves the life of those appointed to live ; he conceals those who are appointed to be hid ; he beholds the world ; he appoints the names and forms of things, and thus makes them knowa; he who seeks refuge in him, is worshipped by all the gods ; he destroys the sins of such a devotee as fire consumes the cotton thread ; to the holy, he is ever near ; from the wicked he is afar off ; he is the source of truth and of falsehood ; to assist men in their worship, to him have been assigned name, form, and place; be wbo takes refuge in him, is a holy person ; he whose face is turned from him, is a blasphemer.>;'
It appears, that when the Hindoos chant these hymns, the sounds are modified by peculiar rules of prosody, which may properly be called the melody or tune in which they are chanted.
Specimen of the Prayers of the vedu."O Ugnee, come and eat ; sit on this kooshu seat ; l invite thee to feed on clarified butter, that thou mayest invite and entertain the gods ; thou art adored by all the gods. The gods have placed thee on earth to cherish all. O Ugnee, thou who dwellest in the mind, as well as in all places, thou knowest all creatures ; make known my desires to God, that my sacrifice may be accepted, and that I may be honoured among men. He has no enemies, who praises Ugnee, and who presents offerings to him in the sacrifice, while the flame, unmixed with smoke, burns bright, and surrounds the altar from the south. Like a guest, Ugnee is welcome among men. He is applauded as an excellent charioteer, or as a swist messenger ; to know him is the object of desire. He is the most excellent of all the gods ; the Great Lord of earth ; he makes known the good and evil belonging to all. ( Ugnee, satisfy, as Chundru by his welcome beams ; preserve us from our enemies ; come before us ; deliver from all fear of future birth.”
“O Ushwinee-koomaru ! we request your presence. The juice of the somu is prepared in one place, on the seat of the kooshu, for you both. Come, and receive all this somu. What do you resemble ? you are the destroyers of enemies ; the removers of disease : the lovers of truth. As the giants make their enemies, so make our enemies weep.”
Their notions concerning the human soul approach nearly to the Pantheism of some other philosophical sects, and may be understood from the following text. “That spirit from which these created beings proceed ; through which, having proceeded from it, they live ; toward which they read, and in which they are ultimately absorbed, that spirit study to know ; that spirit is the great one.”
The oldest pbilosopical sect in India appears, however, to have been that of the followers of Copilla, inventor of the Sanc'hya or numeral philosophy, which Sir William Jones thought resembled the metaphysics of Pythagoras, who is said indeed to have travelled into lodia in search of knowledge, and who might possibly have adopted the tenets of the Brabmins bis instructors. Next to the Sanc'hya, Gotama, and Canada invented the Nyaya or logical philosophy, admitting the actual existence of waterial substance in the popular sense of the word matter, and comprising a body of dialectics, with an artificial method of reasoning, with distinct names for the three parts of a proposition, and even for those of a regular syllogism.
The philosophy of the Bauddiha and Jaina religious sects, is branded with the name of atheism by the orthodox Brahmins, who assert that they deny the existence of spirit independent of matter, and consequently that of the supreme intelligence. But we may doubt, how far the assertions of enemies and rivals are entitled to belief or regard.
A VIEW OF THE
OF OTHER PAGAN NATIONS.
SECTION I. THE RELIGION OF CHINA. It has already been intimated, that the object of worship is the same, essentially, in China, India, and some other eastern countries. But the idolatry of China would seem not to be of such a gross and mysterious character as that of the Hindoos.
Confucius, the Apostle of the Chinese, taught a simple and excellent doctrine of moral philosophy ; but, though the Chinese still hold his memory in great veneration, and affect to be guided by his precepts, they have greatly departed from his practice, and the pure laws he laid down for their conduct in life.
This great and good man was contemporary with Pythagoras, and a little before Socrates. He was but three years old when he lost his father Tcho leang he, who had enjoyed the highest offices of the kingdom of Long ; but left no other inheritance to his son, except the honour of descending from Ti ye, the 27th emperor of ihe second race of the Chang. His mother, whose name was Ching, and who sprung origin -ally from the illustrious family of the Yen, lived 21 years after the death of her hushand. Confucius did not grow in knowledge by degrees, as children ordinarily do, but seemed to arrive at reason and the perfect use of his faculties, almost from bis infancy. He took no delight in playing, running about, and such amusements as were proper for his age ; he bad a grave and serious deportment, which gained him respect, and plainly foretold wh:t he would one day he. But what distinguished him most, was his unexampled and exalted
piety. He honoured his relations ; he endeavoured in all ? things to imitate his grandfather, who was then alive in China, a most holy man ; and it was observable, that he never ate any thing, but he prostrated himself upon the ground, and offered it first to the supreme Lord of heaven. One day, while he was a child, he heard his grand-father fetch a deep sigh ; and going up to him with many bowings and much reverence, “ May I presume," said he, “ without losing the respect I owe you, to inquire into the occasion of your grief! perhaps you fear that your posterity should degenerate from your virtue, and dishonour you by their vices.” “What put this thought into your head, said Coum-tse to him, and where have you learnt to speak after this manner ?” “From your. selt," replied Copfucius : “ I attend diligently to you every time you speak ; and I have often heard you say, that a son, who does not by his virtue support the glory of bis ancestors, does not deserve to bear their name.” After his grandfather's death, he applied himself to Tcem-se, a celebrated doctor of his time ; and under the direction of so great a master, soon inade a surprising progress in antiquities, which he considered as the source from whenre all general knowledge was to be drawn. This love for the ancients very nearly cost him his life, when he was not more than 16 years of age. Falling in. to discourse, one day, about the Chinese books, with a person of high quality, who thought them obscure, and not worth the pains of searching into," the books you despise,” said Confucius,. “ are full of profound knowledge, which is not to be attained but by the wise and learned ; and the people would think cheaply of them, could they comprehend them of themselves. This subordination of spirits, by which the ig. norant are dependant upon the knowing, is very useful, and even necessary in society. Were all families equally rich and powerful, there could not subsist any form of govern. ment: but there would happen a yet stranger disorder, if mankind were all equally knowing : every one would be for governing, and none would think themselves obliged to obey. Some time ago," added Confucius, “ an ordinary fellow made the same observation to me about the books as you have done. and, from such a one indeed, nothing better could be expected: but I wonder that you, a doctor, should thus be found speaking like one of the lowest of the people."
At the age of 19 years, he took a wife, who brought him a lie son, called Pe yu. This son died at 50, but left behind him a son called Tsou-tse, who, in imitation of his grandfather, applied himself entirely to the study of wisdom, and by his