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23. If these truths have been told to a highminded man, who feels the highest devotion (bhakti) for God 1, and as for God so for his Guru, then they will shine forth, then they will shine forth indeed.'
Here then we have in the Upanishads the idea of bhakti or devotion clearly pronounced, and as no one has as yet ventured to put the date of the Svetâsvatara 2 Upanishad later than the beginning of our era, it is clearly impossible to admit here the idea of early Christian influences.
The date of the Bhagavadgîtâ, in which Krishna is represented as the Supreme Spirit, and loving devotion for him is demanded as the only means of salvation, is more doubtful 3. Still, even if, chronologically, Christian influences were possible at the time when that poem was finished, there is no necessity for admitting them. I do not wonder at readers, unaccustomed to Oriental literature, being startled when they read in the Bhagavadgîtâ IX. 29 : “They who worship me (bhaganti) with devotion or love (bhaktyậ), they are in me and I in them (mayi te, teshu kâpy aham) 4.
But such coincidences between the thoughts of the New Testament and the thoughts of Eastern sages, will meet us again and again, because human
1 Sândilya (Sûtra 18) explains deva as a god, not as Isvara, the Lord.
2 Professor Weber in one of his earliest treatises (Indische Studien, i. 421 seq.) has indeed discovered in the name Svetâsvatara, i.e. white mule, something that may remind us of a Syro-Christian Mission, but I doubt whether he would still like to be held respon. sible for such an opinion. With the same right Krishna might remind us of an Ethiopian missionary.
3 See the Bhagavadgîtâ, translated by K. T. Telang, Sacred Books of the East, viii. 34, 1882. + St. John vi. 57; xvii. 23.
nature is after all the same in all countries and at all times.
A whole system of religious philosophy has been built up in later times, founded on the principle of bhakti or love, namely the Sûtras of Sândilya ?, who in his second Sûtra explains bhakti as affection fixed on God.
And at the present moment no system is more popular in Bengal than that of Kaitanya. Kaitanya was born in 1486, and he did much to popularize and humanize the old Brahmanic doctrines ?. With him bhakti or love became the foundation of everything, and different steps are laid down through which a worshipper may reach the highest perfection. The exoteric steps consist in discipline, (1) social discipline (svadharmâkarana); (2) discipline of the intellect and a surrender of all to Krishna (Krishnakarmârpana); (3) mendicity (svadharmatyâga); (4) philosophic culture (gñânamisrâ bhakti); (5) simplicity of the heart (gñânasûnyabhakti); and (6) dispassion (sântabhậva).
Then follow the higher or esoteric steps, viz. loving devotion (premabhakti), consisting in humility (dâsya), friendship (sâkhya), and tenderness (vâtsalya); and, as the crowning step, sweetness and love (madhurabhâva, kântabhâva), represented by the highest and purest love between husband and wife.
Bhakti, therefore, may be used as an equivalent of religion in the sense of devotion and love, but it is, comparatively speaking, a modern word in Sanskrit.
1 Edited by Ballantyne in the Bibliotheca Indica, 1861, and translated by Prof. Cowell in the same collection, No. 409.
9 See Yogendra Chandra Ghosh, Chaitanya's Ethics, Calcutta, 1884 ; A. de Gubernatis, Giornale della Società Asiat. Italiana, 1888, p. 116 ; and Kaitanya-kandrodaya, ed. Rajendralal Mitra, Bibl. Indica.
EXAMINATION OF DEFINITIONS.
Sraddha, falth. There is, however, a very ancient word for faith. It is a very important word, for while bhakti is a purely Indian concept, and even in India of later growth, sraddhâ, faith, is a very old word, and must have existed before the Aryan nations separated 1. Think what that implies. We read in the Rig-veda I. 55, 5: When the fiery Indra hurls down the thunderbolt, then people believe in him.'
Adha kana srat dadhati tvishimate
Indraya vagram nighanighnate vadham. Here you have in one line the whole secret of natural religion. When people see the manifestation of power in the storm and lightning, then they believe in Indra. It is not said that they perceive Indra, or that they find out by reasoning that there must be a god, called Indra : no, they believe in him, they accept him, they do not doubt his existence. Or again, Rv. I. 102, 2: Sun and moon move in regular succession, that we may have faith, 0 Indra.'
Asme sûryakandramase abhikakshe
Sraddhe kam indra karatah vitarturam. Here we have no longer faith in Indra or any particular deity, but faith in general, and that faith is taken as the result of our seeing the regular rising and setting of sun and moon.
Faith, therefore, is represented as reposing on terror produced by the overpowering convulsions of nature, and on trust, called forth by the discovery of law and order in nature. Few of the best living
1 Hibbert Lectures, p. 309. According to Sândilya (Sutra 24), bhakti is not identical with sraddhâ, because sraddha, belief, is merely subsidiary to ceremonial works; but not so is faith in Isvara.
philosophers have anything better to say on the origin of faith.
And now let us consider this word sraddhâ a little more closely. It is letter by letter the same as the Latin crédo, and our creed. When the Brahmans said srad-dadhe, the Romans said credidi; when the Brahmans said sraddhitam, the Romans said creditum.
The two words are therefore clearly the same; but if you ask me what sraddhâ meant etymologically, I can only say, We do not know. Professor Darmesteter derives it from srad, in the sense of heart, and dhâ, to place. Phonetically this etymology might be defended, though srad, by the side of hrid, the regular word for heart in Sanskrit, would be without analogy. But Professor Darmesteter has not considered that srad occurs elsewhere by itself, and that there it cannot possibly mean heart. For instance, Rv. VIII. 75, 2, srat visvâ vâryâ kridhi, “ Make all our wishes true!' Here srad cannot possibly be taken as a dialectic form of hrid.
How srat should come to mean true, and sraddhâ, to make true, to accept as true, we do not know. But this only shows how old a word sraddh â really is, and how early in the history of the human mind the idea must have sprung up that we may accept as true what can neither be confirmed by our senses nor proved by our reasoning, but what is nevertheless irresistible. Here you see how we may discover embedded in the very deepest strata of language the germs of religion --for there can be no name for believing before the first rays of faith have dawned in the human heart.
MY OWN DEFINITION OF RELIGION.
Former Definitions. W E have now examined the most important and
most characteristic definitions of religion. We have seen how some of them looked chiefly to the practical character, others to the theoretic character of religion, while some philosophers, such as Schleiermacher, would recognise the true essence of religion neither in its practical nor in its theoretic manifestations, but only in a complete change of our nature, in a loving devotion to and almost union with the Supreme Being
Do not suppose that I look upon all these definitions as wrong, or that I intend to criticise them one by one. On the contrary, I believe that most of them contain some truth, some very important truth, but they all seem to me to be vulnerable in one and the same point, namely in taking the object of religious thought for granted and therefore leaving it undefined. This may be defensible, if in defining religion we only think of our own, or of the religion of the present age. But if the historical school has proved anything, it has established the fact, to which I alluded at the end of my last lecture, that in religion as in language there is continuity, there is an unbroken chain which