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fond of them, because they are then released from their monotonous confinement. Not unfrequently they originate in vows. A member of the family is dangerously ill, and in the hope of restoration, a pledge is given that an offering will be presented to a certain temple. English Christians often pity Hindu ascetics, whom they suppose to be sin-burdened souls, vainly endeavouring to obtain relief. One of several instances given in the life of Rhenius may be quoted, as a specimen of the real state of things with regard to the great majority of such men :
" On my way home, I met with a person walking on spikes, and having a thick iron staff in his hand, with which he beats. himself every now and then. I stopped and addressed the man. As soon as I called him, he threw off his spiked shoes, which his wife took np. I asked him why he did this ? He said, for the sake of my livelihood. 'Has not Almighty God given you your hands and feet, in order to yet a livelihood ?' And, suspecting that he did this rather as a penance, I questioned him about it but he said, No ;-~ to get rice is his design.” Memoirs, p. 99.
The distinction between moral right and wrong is recognised in theory; but the conscience, in general, seems past feeling, seared with a hot iron.
Politeness is a characteristic of the Hindus. It has been said that every Hindu is a born gentleman, Persons even in the lowest walks of life, conduct themselves with propriety. The Missionary may turn this feature of Hindu character to good account. Bishop Middleton noted in the rules which he laid down for himself before leaving England, “ Manner is something with everybody, and everything with some.” Few attach more importance to it than the Hindus. As in general they are treated very cavalierly by the English, courtesy on the part of a Missionary is the more appreciated. It will produce a most favorable impression at the outset, and cause the Gospel message to be listened to with much more readiness. By every consideration, the Missionary is bound to “ be courteous.” In the
remarks on visiting native gentlemen, some hints are given as to the Hindu ideas of polite behaviour,
Shore observes of Europeans in India, “ Those of the lowest origin usually give themselves the greatest airs." The Hindus are remarkably acute in detecting such men.
Insincerity. -" The most prominent vice of the Hindus,” says Elphinstone, "is want of veracity, in which they out-do most nations even of the East.” Dubois says,
Amongst the vices peculiar to them, we may place in the first rank their extreme suspicion and duplicity.” The Greeks,* in the time of Alexander the Great, considered them truthful; and the wild tribes are still so, to a large extent. The oppression to which they were subjected had a strong influence in producing the present feature of the national character. Macaulay remarks,
« All those arts which are the natural defence of the weak are more familiar to this subtle race than to the Ionian of the time of Juvenal, or to the Jew of the dark ages. What the horns are to the buffalo, what the paw is to the tiger, what the sting is to the bee, what beauty, according to the old Greek song, is to women, deceit is to the Bengali. Large promises, smooth excuses, elaborate tissues of circumstantial falsehood, chicanery, perjury, forgery, are the weapons, offensive and defensive, of the people of the Lower Ganges.
One of the grand lessons inculcated in the Pancha Tantra, a popular work used in many schools, is, how to overcome by deceit. In this the Hindus have been apt scholars. The Rev. F. Schurr speaks of the Bengalis as a “nation whose greatest skill consists in craftiness and cunning, and who pride themselves in their superiority in these unenviable qualities over their more dull European superiors."*
* Arrian asserts that no Indian was ever known to tell an untruth ; Strabo says that the Indians were so reasonable as never to have recourse to a lawsuit. Elphinstone remarks, that although these statements are erroneous, they show the impression produced on the Greeks. * Caloutta Conference Report, p. 91. + India and Christian Missions, p. 22.
The Hindu never thinks of the question, “ What is truth ?" in reference to the most important of all concerns. The Rev. E. Storrow observes :
“ Whatever else it is, religion is not with the Hindu a question of evidence and of truth. To prove his religion true, or to reject it because he cannot do so, are alternatives he does not see the necessity of accepting. Hinduism is the religion of the Hindu race; it has been so from the beginning. It is the custom of his caste to worship certain gods, and to maintain certain usages, and that is all he cares to know, and thinks it a statement which ought to prevent you in future troubling him on the matter."
The duplicity of the Hindu occasions perhaps the sorest trial to the Missionary, anxious to hear the question, “ What must I do to be saved ?" At last a religious inquirer appears. The following extract from Lacroix explains the usual result:
“ How often has it happened, for instance, that individuals, who for weeks together attended on a Missionary protesting in the strongest language, and with seeming sincerity their contempt of idolatry and their readiness to embrace Christianity, were all the while actuated only by some sordid motive, such as the hope of getting the Missionary to assist them in a law-suit they had in court; or for the purpose of being employed by him, or recommended for some situation to persons in authority.”I
Minor Features---A brief summary, abridged from Arthur, may be given of some other points of the Hindu character.
“ In the matter of temperance, both Hindu and Mahomedan, with pride and derision, boast their superiority to the Christian ! Nor is our shame lessened by alleging numerous defections among these two classes, when it is sadly manifest that such apostacies are often due to our presence... I do not think that a
Calcutta Conference Report, p. 26.
lack of filial regard is generally chargeable on the Hindus. Contempt of either parent is held to be a frightful crime affection for the mother seems deep and universal.
“ The Hindu has little active cruelty. He would seldom inflict pain for the sake of inflicting it ; he would not, like Domitian, take the trouble of catching the fly for the pleasure of killing it. But he has an apathy which enables him to look on the most harrowing miseries without a pang. He will not go out of his way to torture human beings; but if revenge or the hope of gain stimulates himi, he will do so to the utmost pitch, and as unmoved as if he were cutting sticks. His revenge once roused is unsparing and unquenchable. Coolly and yet furiously he pursues his victim : he will spend his last farthing at law rather than fail to ruin him ; and many cases have occurred in which, to bring upon him public odium, he has starved himself to death. . The temper of the Hindu is generally even.
H Н lacks vivacity and fire. He is seldom giddy, seldom gloomy ; for the most part, sedate and mild; but it is the mildness of apathy, not of benignity. He is avaricious of money ; greedy to seize it, firm to hold; but litile given to care. His apathy protects him from anticipatory troubles. An eccentric prodigality chequers their habitual avarice. They will sometimes give amazing sums to erect or adorn a temple, to feast the Brahmans, or to reward the address of an expert flatterer. They have also a passion for fame, and are therefore sensitive to praise, aud captivated with any project that will make men' mention their name.'
“ The Hindu mind is patient, fertile, and astute; close in application, prolific in fancy, and keen in discernment It lacks breadth and fire. Its education narrows while it refines ; its religion holds up to the heart no pure grand object; and its domestic affections are, like the feet of a Chinese lady, cased in iron from childhood, and ever retain a fixed and feeble stiffness. As a result, fervour and tenderness are not there. But give the Hindu an education large as known truth; a religion calling up his emotions to a stainless blessed God; a home where mutual love wants no chill protections; and then that mind of his will spread a broad wing, and take a bold flight in the upper regions of intellect. It is not likely that in material enterprise they will ever display the rough energy of our harder
" It is a
clime. But in works of the mind, they will toil as hard, and build as high as we.
Position of Hindu Women.-The following just and discriminating remarks on this subject are abridged from Dr. Caldwell's "Tinnevelly Missions":
nistake to suppose that Hindu women are treated like slaves, if hard work is regarded as an essential feature of slavery ; for, perhaps, in no country of the world have women less work to do than in India. They live an easy, shady life, with little to do and less to think about ; they are well fed, better clothed than the men, well hung out with jewels, rarely beaten when they don't deserve it, and generally treated like household pets. In their own opinion they have nothing to lament as a class, but are as well treated as women could wish to be, and are perfectly content. On the other hand, if slavery means social degradation, Hindu women must be regarded as slaves ; for not only are they denied equal rights with the men, but they are regarded as having no claim to any rights or feelings at all.
"The Hindu wife is not allowed to eat with her own husband ; her duty is to wait upon her husband when he is eating, and to eat what he has left. If they have any children, the boys eat with their father, and, after they have done, the girls eat with their mother. Nor is this the custom among the lower classes only ; it is the custom amongst every class of Hindus, in every part of India where I have been.
If a party are going any where on a visit, the men always walk first, the women humbly follow; the wife never so far forgets her place as to walk side by side with her husband, much less arm in arm. Worse than all this is the circumstance that women are unable to read, and are not allowed to learn.
“ It is commonly supposed, even by Europeans who have some acquaintance with India, that Hindu women are destitute of influence ; but this is a mistake. After residing amongst them for some years, and acquiring an intimate acquaintance with their social and domestic life, we found that the majority of the married women of India are quite as influential in their families as women any where are.”
* See Mission in the Mysore, pp. 343-434.