dence, and rises into a higher sphere of religion and morality. My suggestion is that a religion of this sort, which has its outworks in paganism and its citadel in pantheism, has always had great power of resistance and endurance, for the very reason that it can change and accommodate itself to social or intellectual conditions. How it will maintain itself in front of the rapid influx of European education and material civilization is another and much more difficult question. In India and in Japan, and to a certain degree wherever European influences have spread in eastern Asia, they are changing the whole atmosphere in which fantastic superstitions and metaphysical speculations grow and flourish; they are introducing orderly government and pacific leisure, scientific methods of inquiry and critical reasoning. Yet, after all, the influence of Europe is mostly industrial and political; we are reorganizing the oldfashioned Asiatic governments and developing commerce and the sources of wealth. I hope that the morality, public and private, of the countries that are falling within the sphere of European influence will be improved. I am not sure what effect may be produced upon the profound spiritualism of eastern Asia.

And this brings us to the weak side of a religion, which, though intensely spiritualistic, is founded on somewhat vague philosophy, and embraces schools of thought, accepts different theories as to the divine nature. It has no dogmatic rulings upon

such questions as are settled by Christian and Mohammedan creeds; and, since it has no ecclesiastical laws, it requires no man's implicit obedience to its teachings. I do not say that Hinduism contains nothing more than philosophic speculations and devotional rhapsodies. In the ascetic desire to be rid of the flesh, to extinguish worldly thought, and, above all, in the longing to escape illusion, change, and all the ills of earthly existence, there is a dominant strain of morality; and the great doctrine of transmigration of souls may well operate as insisting on the penalties of sin and the way of ascending to salvation by purity of conduct. Yet Hinduism, and even Buddhism, has never succeeded in so limiting and clearly stating certain rules of faith and morals as to lay down and impress them upon the people at large, for their practical guidance in life. They have nothing, for instance, like our Ten Commandments or the Lord's Prayer, which order our lives and direct our consciences.

It would be presumptuous to attempt any kind of prediction as to the religious future of India, what will be the nature and direction of the changes that must follow altered circumstances and larger experiences. The antique polytheism will probably disappear, though slowly, before wider and more precise conceptions and before a higher standard of rational morality. Long ago, indeed, the Hindu philosophy struck out one line of thought that undermines all anthropomorphic conceptions of divinity—that ultimate being must be out of relation with the phenomenal world, except, possibly, by an unconscious projection of creative energy. But metaphysical ideas, though they are the central stronghold of all religious systems, have little or no influence upon the multitude; and the more practical question is, What effect will be wrought upon educated Hindus by the teachings of physical science? The supremely dominant principle of modern times is that the world is in a course of continual evolution, that life from the protoplasm is but a phase of immemorable existence, and that the death of individuals is merely the natural process whereby all material forms are thrown into the crucible for reproduction in fresh diversity. But this principle has already been recognized by Indian thinkers, with the vital difference that to them the whole order of nature was spiritual, it was stated in terms of vast metaphysical theories regarding the deified forces and the mysterious relation to phenomena of some Absolute Being from whom all souls issue and to whom they return in dreamless sleep. The Indians could not agree to change a philosophic doctrine for a scientific discovery. On the contrary, they would accept Coleridge's view that the development theory, a theory of progress as regards the physical being, is typical of the progress of man as a spiritual being; that the living soul, springing from an unknown eternity, is capable of endless improvement, ever rising higher and higher through numberless cycles of existence. They would firmly resist the invasion of the spiritual domain by uncompromising materialism, which would insist on dissipating all the allegories, symbolisms, personifications, and theosophies, leaving only the mechanical processes of plastic matter, the observation of phenomena, and. possibly, as some cold comfort. the worship of Humanity. If we are to have the cultus of Humanity, why not of all sentient life, of nature in its totality? And that will bring us round again to a materialistic pantheism. But the Hindu mind is essentially speculative and transcendental; it will never consent to be shut up in the prison of sensual experience, for it has grasped and holds firmly the central idea that all things are manifestations of some power outside phenomena. And the tendency of contemporary religious discussion in India, so far as it can be followed from a distance, is towards an ethical reform on the old foundations, towards searching for some method of reconciling their Vedic theology with the practice of religion taken as a rule of conduct and a system of moral government. One can already discern a movement in various quarters towards a recognition of impersonal theism, and towards fixing the teaching of the philosophical schools upon some definitely authorized system of faith and morals, which may satisfy a rising ethical standard, and may thus permanently embody that tendency to substitute spiritual devotion

for external forms and caste rules which is the characteristic of the sects that have from time to time dissented from orthodox Brahminism.


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