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and for those women who have voluntarily burned themselves with their husbands." *
To these fourteen spheres of reward and punishment, the Geeta, in various places, directly, but obscurely, alludes. In that episode, Arjun, just ready to stain his sword with the blood of his relatives assembled to oppose him in the field of battle, is checked by the reflections that the regions of Naraka, the abode of serpents, “ are provided for those who murder their relations." This, however, is not the only bitter reflection to which his painful situation gives birth; the baneful consequences will extend to others, since the dead themselves are affected by the crimes of the living. The forefathers of their slain brethren, “ being deprived of the ceremonies of cakes, and water offered to their manes, will sink down into the infernal regions.” Geeta. p. 3. The ceremony of the Stradha, which is here alluded to, has been explained before; to which I shall now add, from Mr Wilkins upon the passage, that, in those regions, the condemned are doomed to dwell “ for a period proportioned to their crimes, after which they rise again to inhabit the bodies of unclean
See the preface to the Code of Gentoo Laws, p. 46, edit, quarto, London, 1776
beasts.” Both the astronomical phrase and the allegorical allusion are in direct terms mentioned in the following passage.
66 There are three passages to NARAKA ; lust, anger, and avarice, which are the destroyers of the transmigrating soul; wherefore a man should avoid them; for, being freed from these GATES OF SIN, which arise from the influence of the TAMA-GOON, (those who inculcate the worship of departed spirits,) he advanceth his own happiness, and at length he goeth the JOURNEY OF THE MOST HIGH." Geeta, p. 118,
In the passages before-cited, the word mansion, or abode, is frequently used; and it has been proved, that the superior Boobuns are not less the mansions of departed piety than those of Naraka are of the guilty. Concerning the superior Boohuns, there is one or two of those extracts so very express, that I must be permitted to bring them again before the eye of the reader; in particular I wish him to re-peruse that passage
in which Kreeshna tells Arjun, that all THE REGIONS between this and the ABODE of Brahma afford but a transient residence; and that in which the same incarnate deity declares, that the virtuous shall be rewarded with “ the REGIONS OF EENDRA, the prince of celestial beings, in which HEAVEN they feast upon celestial food and divine enjoyment.”
Geeta, p. 80. "They, who are acquainted with day and night, know that the day of Brabma is, as a thousand revolutions of the YUGS,* and that his night extendeth for a thonsand inore : as, on the coming of that day, all things proceed from invisibility to visibility, so, on the approach of that night, they are all dissolved in that which is called invisible: even the universe itself, having existed, is again dissolved ; and now again, on the approach of Brahma's day, by the same divine over-ruling necessity, it is re-produced, That which, upon the dissolution of all things beside, is not destroyed, must be superior and of another nature from that visibility ; it is invisible and eternal. He, who is thus called invisible and incorruptible, is even he who is called the SUPREME ABODE; which men having once obtained, they never return to earth ; that is my MANSION !". Aliusive, doubtless, to the transmigration of the soul through the seven sidereal abodes of spirits in the progress of purification, all finally terminating in the most sublime and exalted, Arjoon,
• The Yugs are certain grand periods, alluding to the revolutions of the heavenly bodies; they are in number four, and will be amply explained hereafter. The vanity of the Brahmin chronologists has induced them to apply to terrestrial concerns the vast periods used in sidereal computation.
in page 94 of the same episode, in this style of elevated piety, addresses the Supreme Being. “ Thou, O mighty Being, greater than Brahma, art the prime Creator! eternal God of gods! the world's MANSION! Thou art the incorruptible Being, distinct from all things transient! Thou art before all gods, thé antient POORUSH, and the supreme, supporter of the universe! Thou knowest all things, and art worthy to be known! Thou art the suPREME MANSION; and by thee, ( infinite Form ! the universe was spread abroad.” In page 75, recently cited, occurs that very curious passage quoted in a former part of this Disa sertation, as having an undoubted astronomical allusion, and which I shall again insert with the addition of the context, since it appears very evidently to inculcate a doctrine not only congenial with that of the Greek philosophers, but with the hypothesis of the two principles of LIGHT and DARKNESS, or rather Good and EVIL, in the Persian code of philosophical theology. “I will now (continues Creeshna) speak to thee of that time in which, should a devout man die, he will never return; and of that time, in which, dying, he shall return again upon the earth.
the earth. Those holy men, who are acquainted with BRAHME, departing this life in the fiery light of the day, in the bright
season of he moon, WITHIN THE SIX MONTHS OF THE SUN'S NORTHERN course, 30 unto him, but those who depart in the gloomy night of the moon's dark season, and while THE SUN IS YET WITHIN THE SOUTHERN PARTS OF HIS JOURNEY, ascend, for a while, into the regions of the moon, and again return to mortal birth. These two, LIGUT and DARKNESS, are esteemed the world's eternal ways. He, who walketh in the former path, (of light, or piety,) returneth not; while he, who walketh in the latter path; (darkness, or evil,) cometh back again upon the earth.” Geeta, p. 76. It is in possible to avoid observing in this passage the origin of the doctrine of the TWO PRINCIPLES of the Persian philosophers, with which nation, it has already been observed, the Indians had an immemorial intercourse,