Abbildungen der Seite

some extent the native mind is roused to thought, A Native Periodical.
and effort upon moral and religious as well as
other subjects; that even the native press is doing

Among all the publications which have something to destroy the influence of the brah- appeared in the native languages, the mins and sap the foundations of existing systems

first place is due to the Prabhákur, or of idolatry and superstition, and thus to prepare

Illuminator. It is in the Mahratta lanthe way for those triuinphs of the gospel which

guage, contains eight pages of common

size letter paper, and is published every assuredly will, sooner or later, come.

Sabbath. It was commenced seven or The Native Press in Western India.

eight years ago, and has been continued

without interruption. It has exhibited It was not till long after Europeans

more candor and fairness on religious had introduced printing into India. that subjects than any other paper or magathe native population showed any desire zine. The articles consist, in a good to use it for any purpose whatever. And proportion, of editorials, communications it was not till missionaries began to use

| from correspondents, and selections from the press in attacking the systems of other papers. Among these last menfalse religion and superstition which tioned we often see articles from our here prevail, and in setting forth the Dnyuandaya ; and generally the very truths and claims of Christianity, that ones we should most wish to see inserted the natives became aware of its power.

in a native paper. Among the corresThey then saw the importance of using pondents, is one who subscribes himself the same means in self-defence, and for Lokahilawadee, or An Advocate for the some years past the native press in good of the People, whose series now Bombay has poured forth a quantity of extends to seventy-four. In the course matter which, considering the previous of these communications, he has treated apathy, has appeared almost incredible. I of a great variety of subjects,-expressSome of these works have been in ing his opinions with much indepenSanscrit, some in Mahratta, some in dence, and urging his views with ability Goojrattee, some in Hindostanee, some and earnestness. in Indo-Portuguese, some in Persian, and some in Arabic. Several editions

The Brahmins Assailed. of the Koran, amounting to ten or

The following is a part of one of his twelve thousand, have been published.

communications concerning the brahThere have been several editions of the Gitá, which, more than any other work,

mins, the hereditary priesthood of Hin

dooism. may be called the Bible of the Hindoos. There have been manuals of Many of the brahmins, like those of fordevotion and of rites and ceremonies, mer days, still say, Of what use is the printlarge and small religious works, maga-ing press ? What is gained by spending zines, pamphlets, newspapers, &c. Com

money on books? What need we care about paratively little has been published on

hearing the news from different parts of the science or general literature. The works

world ? It is sufficient for us to attend to

our own domestic affairs. What need have issued have been chiefly religious and

we of hearing wonderful things? Such are superstitious in their character and influ- the short-sighted, silly views which they ence, or they have consisted of legends entertain. And it was doubtless owing to and poetry, suited to the perverted taste this ignorance and want of spirit on the part and licentious manners of the people. of the Hindoos, that foreigners obtained a Some of these works have contained ve- footing in the country. Had our people, hement attacks upon Christianity; long :

during the rule of the Peshwa, understood

the power and the circumstances of the arguments, supported by a familiar ac

English, they would not have been brought quaintance with the deistical writers of

under a foreign yoke. But the bhats, and Europe, to show that the Bible has no

indeed the whole of the brahmins, care for claim to a divine origin; scurrilous and nothing but their bellies. They think of abusive remarks and mis-statements con-nothing but eating good things. Let a good cerning missionaries, their translations, dinner be provided, and they will flock totracts, operations, &c. Still, all these gether like a company of ants. Then they various works. in connection with the are wide awake, and are all of one mind. study of the English language and lite

But should one of their number be kicked or courage, nor of truth. They are just like and religious subjects. We may cherish hope, the ignorant, brute beasts. As a flock of when we find a heathen writer publishing in Inbirds assembled to pick up grain in a field dia, in a heathen periodical, such sentiments as take to flight at the shaking of a stick, so are

| abused by some person, not one of the others rature, the missionary schools, the distri- villa

will ask the reason, nor give himself any bution of the Scriptures and tracts, and

trouble respecting it; so pusillanimous, cowthe preaching of the gospel, are making ardly, and worthless are ihey. They do not a deep impression on the native mind. I possess the least particle of daring, nor of

the following :- that "there is but one God, and the brahmins. They are expert at eating, but good for nothing else. They be wail the

he alone to be worshiped ”; that men “ must fall of the Peshwa's government, and regard regard the interests of their neighbors as their it as a great calamity; but why? Because own”; that “ as to the externals of religion, they cannot now, as formerly, obtain the every one should be free to act, speak and write means of support. This is the only reason. as he will ” ; that "morality is to be esteemed If you will feed the brahmins, then they

above religious ceremonies"; that most heathen care not what else you do. If you will fill

ceremonies must be laid aside, and that “no their bellies, you may beat them on the face with your shoe, and they will not resent it,

class is to be treated with contempi, no pride of nor feel the least particle of shame. There caste retained,” but “ virtue and merit, and not is a current proverb among them, · Beat us birth, are to be the foundation of social distincnot on the belly, but on the back.'- the lions.”' meaning of which is, Feed us, and then we care not how you treat us. Thus the only | To the Editor of the Prabhákar : anxiety of the brahmins is about what they Sir, -The times demand a reformation of shall eat. This is, with them, the first and

and the Hindoo religion, as indispensable to the great matter.

welfare of this people. I cannot but deem

it advisable, in view of the abounding igpoLet the above sentiments be compared |

rance and folly, that a number of those truly

"interested in ihe prosperity of the country, with the character which the brahmins

nins I should come together for the purpose of enhave sustained, the reverence with which tering on this work of reformation. One they have been treated and which is obvious advantage they would enjoy; nameinculcated in all the sacred books, and ly, the approbation of the government. Why the influence they have exerted for cen- should a handful of ignorant shástrís and turies over the superstitious and priest-pundits frighten us back from this work? ridden Hindoos. It has been said,

They have long held a great sway, and will “ Destroy the pretended sacred charac

be ready to exclude from caste any who

may oppose them. But what is caste? A ter and influence of the brahmins, and

great number of people combined together Hindooism will soon fall.” That it constitute a caste; while a man who stands would fall as soon as some suppose, I do by himself is out of caste. The Sikhs were not believe. The Hindoo religion has originally out of caste, until by the increase its foundation deep in the ignorance, su- of their numbers, they became an indepen. perstition and depravity of the people ;

dent caste. Those who embraced the Chris. and the annihilation of the brahmin tian religion, in its origin, were in like

manner stigmatized; but afterwards, their would only result, in respect to the great

numbers increasing, it came to pass that inmass of the people, in some modified

stead of they being out of caste, it was those form of superstition and idolatry, to who had stigmatized them that were so. continue for a while, and perhaps for a Some time after this religion had obtained long while, under other pretended spir-vogue, it declined very greatly; whereupon itual guides. Yet the man who was ed- there arose certain pundits who reformed it, ucated in the system, as this writer was, though not without a great outcry on the and now has such views, and describes par

I part of many. But when there were people its sacred hierarchy in such a manner,

enough of the reformed faith so that they

could have marriages, &c., among themshows that he himself must be nearly I selves, they then cared but little for their ready to renounce it; while the public

ounce it; while the public benighted opposers. avowal of such sentiments must have Shankar Acharya abrogated some of the some effect on others.

laws contained in ihe Shasters, and some he sustained; and such revisions of the Shas

ters are at times necessary. The religion A Reformed Religion called for.

which relates to God is alone unchangeable.

Let then those who desire the good of their The following is a translation of another com

country not trouble themselves much about munication, in the same series; and the Christian the question whether they will be immedireader will hardly fail to feel that the writer, ately joined by the masses or not. If after whether conscious of the fact or not, has received the promulgation of the reformed religion, light, directly or indirectly, from the Bible. And two or three hundred adopt it, soon many

will flock to them. Many perceive the ne. while, through the medium of a native periodical,

cessity of reform, but suppose the thing im. he is spreading such sentiments among the peo- practicable. The principal features in this ple, little as he may intend to do it, he is in some reformed religion will be these :measure preparing the way for the recognition of 1. All are to practice the sincere worship the Bible as the great source of light upon moral of God.

2. They must regard the interests of their ing a pure morality, and pointing out the neighbors as their own.

course of conduct to be observed by those 3. All rites except those connected with who embrace this reformed religion. This the investiture of brahmins, with marriages ( book they should regard as their Shaster, and with burials, are to be done away. and in all things conform to it. Certainly

4. In all religious ceremonies the lan- a compilation of this kind would have a guage of the people is to be used. Let stronger claim to regard than the work of an those that will, learn Sanscrit; but there is individual Rishi, who had merely his own no reason why those who are ignorant of it ability to rely upon, or than the works of all should use it in religious ceremonies. such.

5. Let every one be free, as regards the Let but one or two hundred persons, in externals of religion, to act, to speak and to this way, simultaneously renounce their vawrite as he will.

rious distinctions and assume the name of 6. In inatters of religion, and in the affairs Reformed Hindoos, or of A'ryas (an ancient of life, the authority of men and women name of this people), and soon great nummust be equal; this would sanction the mar- bers, seeing the superiority of their religion, riage of widows and adults.

will join them. Then, when a girl is left a 7. Morality is to be esteemed above reli- widow, instead of consorting with some dis. gious ceremonies. These latter are now solute person, she will come into this comheld to be of most account, but they must munity and marry. Thousands will do it: cease to be so. Women must not think they and all who in various ways find themselves can make amends for their transgressions by thwarted and hampered by the existing relicircumambulating the pimpal tree.

gion, will embrace the reformed religion. 8. The use of unmeaning sentences to be When this shall have gained the ascenabandoned.

dency, then whatever needs to be done we 9. No class is to be treated with contempt; can do. no pride of caste retained. Kindness must At present there are all manner of divibe shown to all alike.

sions and schisms; the inhabitants of the 10. The love of one's country is to be Concan will not marry with those of the cherished, and her prosperity aimed at. Deccan, &c. The Shasters that contain

11. Let every one pursue the occupation such things must be abandoned ; then will that suits him.

the people be all as pure as the Ganges; all 12. Virtue and merit, and not birth, are will be of one mind, and one religion, and to be the foundation of social distinctions. all will practice only such things as are

13. The authority of the subjects must be needful. Unless this course be adopted, we above that of the rulers; and the welfare of shall not be able to escape from the evils the ryots is to be secured, even by violence, springing out of the corrupt religion of these should that be necessary.

times. While I assert the necessity of this 14. The commands of the sovereign are to reformation, I do not advocate the promisbe observed, as also the inspired decrees of cuous blending of all castes in one. Low

caste people are not found among those of a 15. Knowledge and wisdom are to be high caste; and for this reason a man would sought after by all; and men are unceas- avoid forming marriage connections with ingly to be engaged in consoling the afflict. them. It is evident that a man receiving ed, giving medicine to the sick, instruction five rupees a month, would not take a wife to the ignorant, and money to the poor, ac- from among the mahárs, nor the beggars cording to their ability.

who live outside the villages, but Trom 16. All are to make truth their standard; among those who are of like standing with and all practices contrary to truth must be himself. My idea simply is, that all should abandoned. The truths of science must be lay aside their animosities and live in the unremittingly pursued and published. And exercise of mutual good will; and gradually, all are to be equally free to pursue these as the course of things will admit, shake off acquisitions.

these follies. Let there be a commenceI have it much upon my heart to write a ment made. Many are waiting for it. The book concerning these particulars, with the brahmins hold the mahárs in contempt, and laws of their application and illustrative ex- will not touch them; yet they are willing to amples. Nothing of what I have now writ- associate with the English, on the most ten is contrary to the Hindoo religion All friendly terms. This is astonishing when it indeed is not to be found in one Shaster, but is considered that, according to the Shasters, some in one place, some in another. From it is less improper to associate with mabárs the Gitá, I would take the statement that than with the English. But these brahmins there is but one God, and he alone to be are fools; they will not understand ; whereworshiped;- a statement frequently and fore I suggest the course mentioned above. plainly made. If the Puráns are found irreconcilable with this, then let the Puráns I have no doubt the author of these go. We want only that which is good. Let

sentiments is quite sincere in the opinthe Vedanta pronounce concerning caste.

ions he has embraced. But it is evident The Rishis have written, after their own fancy, a great many works, none of which

he does not see the consequences of the can be adopted as satisfactory; but there

course he recommends and is anxious to might be a book compiled from all, exhibit-I pursue ;-that such a course, so far as it

[ocr errors]

succeeded, would destroy all confidence may be soon revived and exhibit all its in the books now believed to be of former zeal. divine authority, while the Shaster thus The gainas are a part of the Hindoo prepared would have no authority or population. They are an intelligent and sanction beyond the opinion of the com- enterprising class of people, and are pilers, none of whom are expected to numerous in Bombay and other parts of have any spirit of inspiration or of divine Western India. They reject the brahguidance. Thus they would destroy all minical system, with its rites and cereconfidence in the present sacred books, monies, and have their own sacred books and substitute in their place only one of and priesthood. The brahmins hold the human authority.

gainas and all their principles in abhorThe paper in which these articles are rence, while these views and feelings published, is designed for the Hindoo are fully reciprocated. part of the community, and its circula- The Mohammedan population of all tion is chiefly among the higher classes. Hindostan, is estimated at ten or twelve And yet articles containing such senti-millions. They are chiefly in the cities ments, furnished by a correspondent who and large towns, and on the sea coast. lives at a distance from Bombay and has They have, every where, more physical no particular connection with the paper, and mental energy than the Hindoos. (for we happen to know who he is,) are Though they possess not the religious admitted without any qualification. Now zeal and fanaticism of their ancestors, the editor and proprietors would not ad- when they first invaded India, yet there mit these articles if they believed they is much of the spirit of proselytism would be injurious to the paper. In among them, especially in the higher such circumstances, the fact of their classes. This spirit is increased on this being thus admitted shows an exceed- side of India, by their intercourse with ingly interesting state of opinion among Persia and Arabia, and by frequent pilthose who support the paper.

grimages to Mecca. The Mohammedan

population is numerous on all the coast Prospects Encouraging.

from the Persian Gulf to Cape Comorin.

The Roman Catholics in India are The prospects of India are certainly estimated at nearly one million. A few encouraging;- encouraging in view of of these are of purely European origin; the state of the people, as well as in view a far greater proportion of them are of of the promises of God. The history of mixed origin; and probably nine-tenths the Hindoo religion shows that it has of the whole are of native origin; the undergone great changes since its origin. descendants of those who embraced the Hindooisin, as it is professed and prac- Catholic religion several generations ticed at the present day, no more resem- ago. They constitute a part of the bles the religion of the vedas,-their first indigenous population in every large and for a long time their only sacred district in India; using the vernacular books,-than the Christianity of Italy at language of the respective districts. the present time resembles, in faith and They have thus the means of much inpractice, that of the primitive churches fluence, and if the spirit of propagating in the days of the Apostles. And what the Catholic religion should be revived the religious history of India will be among them, numerous and efficient from this time till it shall become a part agents might soon be raised up to carry of the Redeemer's kingdom, and profess on the work; each to labor in his own a faith resting on the word of God, is too vernacular language. uncertain to come within the limits of The Protestant population, when comreasonable conjecture. The Hindoos, pared with any of the preceding classes, who constitute the great body of the peo- is small. The European portion of this ple, are divided into sects, which differ has, as a body, but little social influence as much from each other as the different on the natives; and the native Protestchurches of nominal Christians differ. ants are not yet sufficient in number and And these sects, urged on by their re- strength, in any part of Western India, spective spiritual guides, at various peri- to form a self-supporting and perpetuods in their history, have showed as ating community. The government promuch zeal for making proselytes as those fess to observe neutrality, in all questions churches, or denominations, professing of a religious nature, among the native differing creeds and forms of worship, in population. The protection which would Europe and America, have ever mani. be secured to persons changing their fested. And this spirit of proselytisi religion, would depend upon the circumstances of the individual's requiring it, solemnity and interest. Never have I and upon the disposition of the magis- heard a more pertinent and pungent aptracy of the district at the time. In peal from any Nestorian, or any man, respect to missionaries, they have liberty than the address of Deacon John. His to use all the means for communicating theme was the duty of believers to foltheir principles which the gospel author- low the steps of Christ : and some of his izes. Nor has the government mani- illustrations, drawn from his experience fested any unwillingness, so far as I in clambering over the rugged cliffs, on know, to grant them, personally, all the his recent missionary tour in the wild protection they have required.

| mountains of Koordistan, where a slight Should the general mind of the people deviation from the steps of his trusty become strongly excited on the subject guide might thrust him down an awful of religion, and the spirit of proselytism precipice, and perhaps plunge him into among the different sects of the Hindoos, a dashing river at its base, were most among the Mohammedans and the Cath-vivid and striking. Applying these ilolics, be revived and become what it was lustrations to Christ, as the believer's in former periods of their history, it is only safe guide on the straight, narrow quite impossible to conjecture the reli- and difficult path to heaven, his appeal gious change which might soon take was irresistible; and all the more so as place. Happily for us, our duty is plain, coming from one so eminent as Deacon —now to communicate, by all proper John for habitually and closely following means, the knowledge of Jehovah and the footsteps of his divine Leader. We the way of salvation through Jesus could not help feeling, as we listened to Christ,-and then leave the result to his affecting address, that the spirit of Him whose command is thus obeyed, primitive piety and devotion animates and who has all power in heaven and these sons of the Nestorian church. upon earth.

We were naturally led, at our annual meeting, to recount the mercies vouch

safed to us and the Nestorians during Restoríans.

the past year. And what a retrospect !

Verily, * What hath God wrought!LETTER FROM MR. PERKINS, SEPT. 14,

was the language of our hearts. We 1849.

feel utterly unworthy to record the dis

plays of His abounding grace; to Him Annual Meeting at Oroomiah in Septem- | be all the glory.

Mr. Perkins next speaks of the intention of the We have just closed our series of mission to commence, very soon, a small monthly meetings, held simultaneously with the periodical, to be named “ Rays of Light.” It is annual meeting of the Board. It has intended particularly for the benefit of the semibeen a season of lively interest to us, naries and schools, but is expected to be very quite as much so as any previous anni- useful also to many others of the people. The versary of the kind, and contrasting very native helpers, it is supposed, will be deeply ingratefully with the one a year ago; when terested in the paper, and will aid in furnishing we could hardly rescue an hour from the matter for it and making it an instrument of onsets of Mar Shimon's noisy mobs for good. the quiet enjoyment of a religious meet

Present Aspect of the Field. ing.

We devoted one day in the present. While there is little that is new, there instance, to the Nestorians. In the is still much that is interesting in the forenoon, one of our number presented

general religious aspect around us. We a brief sketch of the missions of the

cannot now report conversions from American Board to most of our native

month to month, as we could last winter helpers and some others, assembled in and spring, but we have great occasion our male serninary, pointing out to them for joy, gratitude and thanksgiving, in each mission station on a large map sus- the consistent walk and conversation of pended from the wall. The audience most of those of whom we have cherseemed deeply interested in the service. lished the hope that they have passed In the afternoon, we held a meeting in from death unto life. the same place, at which addresses were made, interspersed with several prayers.

Labors of Deacon Guergis. The seminary was filled on this occasion, and the meeting was one of impressive We have as yet entered upon no ex.



« ZurückWeiter »