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from her, and makes them tend outward; for the soul is the true controller, and does all she wills."
“When the sage perceives the Eternal Cause every where present, then abandoning the consequences of good works and of bad works, he becomes perfect, and obtains complete absorption. The sage who recognizes that God resides in all creatures, forgets all idea of duality. He is convinced that there is only One real existence, and that is God. He directs all his senses toward God only, the origin of his own consciousness. He concentres upon him all his love, detaches his spirit from all earthly objects, by fixing his soul continually upon God. A person thus devoted to God is esteemed the most perfect among the adorers of the Divinity.”
“To know that God is, and that all is God, this is the substance of the Vedas. When one attains to this, there is no more need of reading, or of works; they are but the bark, the straw, the envelope. No more need of them when one has the seed, the substance, the Creator. When one knows Him by science, he may abandon science, as the torch which has conducted him to the end."
The following is one of the numerous prayers contained in the Vedas: “Where they who know the Great One go, through holy rites and through piety, thither may fire raise me. May fire receive my sacrifices. Mysterious praise to Fire! May air waft me thither. May air increase my spirits. Mysterious praise to Air! May the sun draw me thither. May the sun enlighten my eye. Mysterious praise to the Sun! May the moon bear me thither. May the moon receive my mind. Mysterious praise to the Moon! May the plant Soma lead me thither. May Soma bestow on me its hallowed milk. Mysterious praise to Soma! May Indra carry me thither. May Indra give me strength. Mysterious praise to Indral May water lead me thither. May water bring me the stream of immor. tality. Mysterious praise to the Waters! Where they who know the Great One go, through holy rites and through piety, thither may Brahma conduct me. May Brahma lead me to the Great One. Mysterious praise to Brahma!"
The Code of Menu is next in antiquity to the Vedas, and ranks the next highest as sacred authority. It is called Menu Dherma Shastra, which signifies Ordinances of God. Sir William Jones dates its existence one thousand two hundred and eighty years before Christ; about three hundred years later than his date of the Yajur Veda. This Code embraces political regulations as well as religious, and up to the present day it forms the basis of the whole civil policy of Hindostan. It rests everywhere on the authority of the Vedas, quotes them at every page, and is regarded with similar reverence. When India came under the government of Great Britain, it was very desirable to have an English translation of their Sacred Laws, that the administration might avoid unnecessary interference with the ancient customs of the people. But the Bramin, who read them to Sir William Jones, earnestly begged to have his name concealed; so great was the offence of making those holy words known to a foreigner. On no account would he read them on a forbidden day of the moon, or without first performing the ceremonies prescribed in the Vedas, previous to reading the Sacred Writing. When the Eng. lish obtained leave to translate this Code, they were required to promise that it should be bound in silk, or velvet, and by no means in any kind of leather, which, being the skin of an animal, was deemed unclean. The Bramins at Benares positively and unanimously refused to assist in the translation.
The book takes its title from Menu Satyavrata, called likewise Vaivaswata, or Child of the Sun, also Grandson of Brahma, whom Hindoos believe to have escaped from a great deluge, and reigned over the whole world in the earliest ages of their chronology. He is represented as saying: “Brahma, having created this code of laws, himself taught it fully to me in the beginning. Afterward, I taught it to Marishi and the nine other holy sages."
He thus describes creation :-" This world was all darkness, undiscernible, undistinguishable altogether, as in a
profound sleep, till the self-existing, invisible God, making it manifest with five elements, and other glorious forms, perfectly dispelled the gloom. Having willed to produce various beings from his own divine essence, he first with a thought created the waters, and placed in them a produce tive seed. This seed became a golden egg blazing like a thousand suns. In this egg he was himself born in the form of Brahma, the great Father of all Spirits. The Great Power remained inactive in the egg a whole year, at the close of which he caused the egg to divide itself, and from its two divisions he framed the heavens above and the earth beneath. In the midst he placed the subtile ether, the eight regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters. From the Supreme Soul he drew forth Mind, existing substantially, though immaterial, and unperceived by sense." Vishnu is described as assisting in the creation of the world, under the name of Narayana, “The Spirit Moving on the Waters." In common with other Asiatic nations, they suppose creation to have taken place in six successive periods, and that man and woman were formed last.
The following extracts will serve to give some idea of the Code of Menu:
“To patriarchs, to deities, and to mankind, the Scripture is an eye giving constant light. The Veda Shastra could not be made by human faculties, nor can it be measured by human reason."
u The birth which man derives from his parents is merely human; that which the Vedas procure for him is the true birth, exempt from age or death."
"To a man contaminated by sensuality, neither the Vedas, nor liberality, nor sacrifices, nor strict observances, nor pious austerities, will procure felicity.”
“A wise man must faithfully discharge all moral duties, even though he does not constantly perform the ceremonies of religion. He will fall very low, if he performs ceremonial acts only, and fails to discharge his moral duties."
“By honouring his father, mother, and sister, a man effectually does whatever ought to be done. This is the highest duty, and every other is subordinate. All duties are performed by him who completely honours these three; but to him by whom they are dishonoured, all other acts are fruitless."
“Whatever oblations a man actuated by strong faith piously offers, as the sacred laws have directed, become a perpetual unperishable gratification to his ancestors in the other world."
“Those rulers of the earth, who, desirous of defending each other, exert their utmost strength in battle, without ever averting their faces, ascend after death directly to Paradise.”
“He whose sins are mostly corporeal, will assume after death a vegetable or mineral form; for sins mostly verbal, he will assume the form of a bird or beast; for sins merely mental, he will again assume a human form, but in some of its lower conditions. An unauthorized teacher of the Sacred Books will return into a dumb body. He who steals a lamp, will be born blind.”
“A Bramin who drinks spirituous liquors, shall migrate into the form of a worm, or a fly feeding on ordure, or of some ravenous animal.”
“Any twice-born man, who has intentionally drank spirit of rice, through perverse delusion of mind, ought to swallow more spirit in flame, and thus atone for his offence by severely burning his body."
"Should a Bramin, who has once tasted the holy juice of the Moon-plant, so much as smell the breath of a man who drinks intoxicating spirits, he must remove the taint by thrice repeating the Gayatree, while he suppresses his breath in water; and by eating clarified butter after that ceremony."
“He who explains the Law to a man of servile caste, and instructs him in the mode of expiating sin, (except by the aid of the Bramins,) sinks with that man into the hell called Asamorita."
"A Soodra, though emancipated by his master, is not re
leased from a state of servitude; for such a man was created by the Supreme Being for the purpose of serving Bramins. No superfluous collection of wealth may be made by a Soodra, even though he have power to make it; since a servile man who has amassed riches becomes proud, and gives pain even to the Bramins."
"If a wife speak unkindly to her husband, she may be superseded by another without delay.”
" A woman is never fit for independence."
"A man untainted with covetousness may be sole witness, and may have more weight than many women; because the female understanding is apt to waver.”
“Whatever exists in the universe is all, in effect, though not in form, the wealth of the Bramin; since he is entitled to it by his primogeniture and eminence in rank.”.
"He who mentions a Bramin with contumely should have an iron style, ten fingers long, thrust red-hot into his mouth. He who, through pride, attempts to give instructions to the Bramins concerning their duty, should have hot oil dropped into his mouth and ears.”
“Let not the king, though in the greatest distress, provoke the Bramins to anger; for, if once enraged, they could, by sacrifices and imprecations, immediately destroy him, with his troops, elephants, horses, and chariots.”
“No greater crime is known on earth than killing a Bramin. The king must not even form in his own mind the idea of slaying a priest. He must never put a Bramin to death, though convicted of all possible crimes. He may banish the offender from his realm, but with all his property secure, and his body uninjured."
“Let the murderer of a Bramin voluntarily stand as a mark for the most skilful archers; or throw himself into the fire three times, his whole length; or walk a hundred leagues reciting a Veda, eating little, and keeping all his senses subdued; or make a pilgrimage to the source of the Sarawasti, nourishing himself only on wild seeds; or recite the collection of Vedas three times, without taking nourishment; or expose his life to save a cow, or a Bramin.