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forty-nine days. He was then visited by successive kings, who implored him to commence the salvation of the world. The princes of the genii at length presenting themselves before him, joined in the intreaty; and his five disciples, recognizing for the first time his divinity, fell upon their knees, and adored him. The countenance of the saint shone with a divine majesty, and he at length consented to reveal himself to the world. Having spread his doctrines throughout India, and triumphed over the arguments and sorceries of his opponents, he died at the age of eighty years, prophesying the expulsion of his followers from India, and the ultimate diffusion of his doctrines over all the world.*
What these doctrines were from which an effect so fatal to the Indian Buddhists resulted, is an inquiry of much importance ; it is an inquiry, besides, which has been prosecuted with tolerable success by some of the literati of Europe-yet it has invariably led to a recognition of the almost absolute identity of Brahminism and Buddhism. This singular conclusion has been the source of much perplexity and consternation among the savans of France and Germany ; and as we mean, on the present occasion, to deviate a little from our original plan of making the article a mere echo of the opinions of the learned, we shall take some pains to explain the subject. It
may be observed, in the first place, that the obscurity which still remains hanging over the Buddhist doctrine is owing principally to the prodigious prolixity of the books in which it is explained. No single European scholar, possessed of a wbit less of patience and self-denial than Buddha himself, could be expected to wander through those vast magazines of theology, mythology, metaphysics, poetry and romance—each of which is literally a load for an elephant. The Thibetian “Gandjour” itself-a mere résumé of the religionis in a hundred and eight thick volumes, forming in the mass a burthen as heavy as a camel can walk under. But not contented with this enormous reality, the theological dictionary called “San tsang fa sou" gravely indicates a work containing as many Khiei (or sentences of about twenty words) as there are atoms in three thousand
* Ward, in his “View of the History, &c. of the Hindoos," although apparently unacquainted with the speculations of Klaproth, or the documents from which the original of the above abstract was taken, conjectures froin historical evidence that the Buddha was the son of a king of Maghada. This king, Klaproth, after the Mogul writers, calls Soudadani, "he who eats genteelly," and Ward, Múhēēpătee, “ lord of the earth,”-which are evidently titles that might have belonged to a single individual.-Ward, vol. iii. p. 418.
universes, divided into as many sections as there are atoms in the terrestrial world ; and another, a single sentence of which; taken in its most limited sense, would require the ocean to be turned to ink, and the grass on Mount Sou-merou for reeds to write it. There are other qualities besides, beyond mere diffuseness in the Buddhist writings, which render them somewhat difficult of approach to the European student; and these are glanced at by Remusat in the following passage: “I fear not to be confuted,” says he, “in affirming, that a man who has not read any of the Buddhist books must be ignorant of the extent of human extravagance, and unable to form an adequate conception of the degree of absurdity into which the human mind may be conducted by meditations without aim, and the application of disjointed abstractions to 'subjects beyond all understanding."*
In the mean time, enough has been gathered from those intractable masses, to prove that “there is only a step between the Vedanta philosophy and Buddhism.”+ Like all the religions which originated in India, Buddhism is founded on the great principle, " that the universe is animated by a Spirit individualized in endless forms by matter which is nothing more than illusion.”The lingam appears in it as the emblem of creation ; the world exists only in figure and quality by the work of Maya or Illusion; the trimourti retain their place, with the three elements, the three fires, the three colours, the three worlds, and the three times. Chaos is presented under the figure of an egg, from whence the father of all beings comes forth; the world is personified under the image of a man, or some huge animal. Even the hierarchy of the gods, the regulation of the world and of time, the nature and destinies of the human soul, the métempsychosis or transmigration of souls-all meet in common in the two religions. The fundamental idea of the divinity is the same in Buddhism as in the Vedas; for although the former doctrine is taxed with atheism, yet the charge is disproved, not merely by a comparison of the general parts of the system, but by the very passages which give rise to it. The pure, luminous, and transparent æther, the infinite and illimitable
space of the Buddhists, does not result from the absence of forms—but, on the contrary, it is the origin and cradle of forms, and exists anterior to all things. Every creation, the work of
* Melange's Asiat., i. p. 151. The majority of these books exist at present only in Sanscrit and Chinese; but the cultivation of these languages is making rapid strides in France. + Guigniaud's Creuzer, p. 300,
Klaproth, Asia. Polyg., p. 7.
Maya, is as nothing before the uncreated Being ; and every movement must end in his holy and profound repose. The universe exists from all eternity, but only in its principle, which is the eternal power of nature, producing and reproducing continually from its own substance. *
A. W. Schlegel declares frankly that he has been unable to form any idea of Buddhism in its relation with Brahminism. “ We know,” says he," that in the Buddhist temples we find the whole Pantheon of India. Not only the theogony, but even the heroic mythology, so closely connected with the dogmas and law of Brahminism, have been transplanted into the Buddhist countries. The latter, no doubt, may have been inherited or borrowed from the priests of the ancient faith ; but where then is the novelty, where the distinctive character of the new religion?” The monotheism, he goes on, which is found at the bottom of all this idolatry, is common to Brahmins and Buddhists, and so is the mystical morality which teaches man to unite himself to God by the extinction of the flesh. The merciful law of the Buddhists also, which forbids the slaying of animals, was extolled by the ancient saints of the Brahmins. "Buddha,” pursues M. Schlegel,“ rejected the Vedas; he abolished a part of the rites and ceremonies which their books recommend; he effaced the distinction of castes. All this, however, was merely negative. Could it be necessary for such changes that a new revelation should be given, and a prophet erected into a god? In fine, it is certain that the sect of Buddha, after having been for a long time exceedingly numerous in India, was either exterminated or expelled ; and hardly had this sect disappeared, when the Jains sat down unopposed in its place, between whom and the Buddhists no difference perceptible to me exists.":
The solution of the enigma by Creuzer and Guigniaud is exceedingly unsatisfactory. It consists simply in the erection of a hierarchy by the Buddhists, while the Brahmins formed a religious aristocracy. “ The Rajas,” they continue, “uniting with the Brahmins, turned their arms against those dangerous sectaries, who thus threatened to raise the edifice of their spiritual monarchy on the ruins of every other power; and the voice of the ferocious Koumaril Bhatta was heard exclaiming to the ministers of his vengeance, From the bridge of Rama even to the snow-capt Himala, let no man spare the Buddhists, young or old, on pain of death."
• Guigniaud's Creuzer, p. 656; Goerres, Mythengesch, i. p. 171; Deguignes, Hist. des Huns, i, p. 2, 226.
of Indische Bibliothek, 1. i. 414. | Religions de l'Antiq., p. 305-6.
Hierarchy," it must be confessed, is a dignified and mouthfilling word enough ; but why the simple fact of a church being governed by a single priest, or a council of priests, should stir up such deadly hate in another, governed by an aristocracy of priests, is by no means obvious. The conclusion is the more lame and impotent, following, as it does, what seems to us to be the true explanation, although given unconsciously by the authors. "We are inclined to think," say they, “that the reform of Buddha was slow and insensible ; that the innovations were gradually introduced, and had at first no other object than secondary points of doctrine, and practices more in harmony with the theory of the religion ; that the Buddhists separated themselves slowly from their brethren the Brahmins; and that the first considerable schism took place when the sectaries produced sacred books and philosophical theories of their own. They then rejected the Vedas, proclaimed themselves the only true believers, and, whether from conviction or the need of partizans, broke down the antique barriers of caste, exalted divine inspiration above the laws of the priesthood, and invited to the preaching of the word all those who felt an inward call."
To persons who have studied thoroughly the political constitution of India, ancient and modern, there is, in the foregoing brief sentences, every thing that Creuzer, Guigniaud, Schlegel, and Mr. Upham, are in search of. The Brahmins, says Creuzer, had no common centre, composing a sacerdotal aristocracy, just as the warriors did a military aristocracy; they never aspired to form a state within the state-to elevate a spiritual beside the temporal monarchy. True! They had no common centre, because they were like Pascal's description of space, "a circle, of which the centre is every where and the circumference no where;" they never thought of forming a state within the state, because they were themselves the state ; they did not elevate a spiritual beside the temporal monarchy, because their dominion was spiritual and temporal in one. Egypt, where the crown was hereditary in the military body, the very fact of a warrior becoming a king constituted him a priest ;* but in India this was unnecessary, for the sovereign, no less than the meaneat paria, was bound hand and foot in the trammels of the Brahmins. The Brahmins were the priests and legislators in one ; they were the counsellors and advisers, or rather the masters, of the king; they were the inventors of the Vedas. The phrase “ Brahminical system,” does not by any
* Strabo, 789 ; Plutarch, de Isis, p. 452; Diod. Sic. i. 70.
means apply solely to the religion of India, for Menu was a temporal as well as a religious lawgiver; in fine, the political and sacerdotal systems were woven inextricably together.
On what foundation did this compound system rest? What base was powerful and solid enough to sustain a column so vast and so shapeless? The system of castes. The Brahmins, according to the laws of Menu, were the masters, temporal and spiritual, of the world; the Chatryas and Vaisyas were their subjects, and the Sudras (the mass of the people) their slaves-their footballs. The similarity or dissimilarity of doctrine, so much insisted upon by European writers, has nothing whatever to do with the question. Brahminism was, and is, essentially tolerant; and if the new sectaries had followed peaceably their vocation, they might have flourished in India to this day. Not contented, however, with emancipating themselves from the monstrous dominion of the Brahmins, the Buddhists at length put forth their sacrilegious hands against the Vedas, and hoisted the standard of freedom before the whole world. This was the signal of fury and dismay. The Brahmins felt themselves attacked in the very vitals of their power; and rising like giants from their sleep, to wield that tremendous weapon of the caste, which time had rusted but not eaten through, they scattered their enemies before them. In this point of view, the war which deluged India with blood from the third till the seventh century of our æra, + becomes doubly interesting as a war of liberty.
A very remarkable collateral proof of the correctness of this theory is to be found in the history of the Jains. Well might Schlegel say, that he could discern no difference between the tenets of this sect and those of Buddhism, for in point of fact no substantial difference exists. The Jains, however, taught by the fate of the Buddhists, were prudent enough to respect the
* Controversialists on this subject have been led into error by supposing that in India the same rancorous hostility must naturally spring up between different or opposite sects, which we are so well acquainted with in Europe. The Brahmins, however, listen with absolute indifference to the most heterodox and damnable doctrines, they even commend a man for holding fast to his own religious opinions whatever they may be. “A man's own religion,” says the Geeta  “is better than the faith of another man, be it ever so well followed :-it is good to die in one's own faith ; for another's faith beareth fear.'
Moor tells us (Hind. Panth. 356-7] that at Porna, at the Mohammedan festival to commemorate the martyrdom of the sons of Ali and Fatima, the Brahmins join in the procession.
† Wilson, Sanscrit Dictionary, pref. p. XV-XX.